Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Derin 2015 Day 7

Edge Control

Travelling on the chair over to Val d’Isère was a cold and windy experience but  brave little Derin never complained once. She skied all the way to the Marmotte lift – down the schuss – off piste down a gully and then skated across the flats all by herself. Her edge control for skating actions is improving every day.

The first part of the video clip is Derin working on side stepping up an icy slope and then side slipping down again. This requires good coordination and the confidence to use the outside edge of the uphill ski. It also requires keeping both skis parallel and quite close together while both pointing properly across the fall line of the slope. Good side slipping skills are extremely important to develop. With those skills improved Derin’s overall stance will narrow naturally and she will feel less and less obliged to spread her feet wide apart for stability. Also she will have two edges working properly to control her climbing or side slipping – instead of just the bottom ski.

We didn’t spend long on those exercises – just the length of time seen in the video – but the trick is to do this each time at the top of a run.


Being an extremely cold day there was no time to stand around explaining anything. The dynamics were happening just by giving Derin a tight track to follow behind me and going slightly faster and on steeper terrain. She understands the “feeling” now so the thing needed most is exposure to physical constraints. Following a tight line is exactly like trying to stay in a racing course – but at a lower speed. Here the “environment” shapes the skier.

Off Piste

One major “environment” aspect of skiing is “off piste”. Dynamics are the key to good off piste skiing and when over a few days you see a child adapt and stop falling over it’s due to a direct improvement of dynamics. The ski lifts the skier up and out of a turn – and this is massively amplified off-piste. If the skier doesn’t respond by falling much more strongly to the inside of the turn then they get kicked out of it prematurely and fall over as a result. This is why very early on in skiing much development is achieved by using off-piste, bumps and racing poles. However this must be done with a clear understanding of dynamics – the “magic wall” – or it can be far more destructive than constructive (which is most often the case!).

Derin skied in steep, very difficult heavy snow without falling over once.

Derin can also now negotiate the bumps on a red run comfortably. Today she skied several red runs – both on and off piste – maintaining rhythm behind me all the way. She also managed to remain on her feet when on ice.

The music here in the video is “The Fairy Queen”. We had another discussion about fairies today. I explained that there were none around today and that’s why it was so cold. They only come here to make us new snow and keep us warm. The alternative for snow^making is the big snow canons beside the pistes  - but I had a hard job explaining simply how they manage to make snow. It’s easier with the fairies!

Bitterly cold day at minus 17°C with a strong wind.

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