Luke, Leonie and Ella returning for a late season long weekend manage to make it to Val d’Isère in time for a very useful couple of hours skiing – despite starting the day in the UK at 3:30 am. That’s a pretty good achievement on its own.
We only had a few runs in some fairly poor weather before finding ourselves on the narrow Mattis red run – with its fair share of bumps and ice. Ella had started out afraid due to having missed skiing altogether last year and having recently dislocated a knee. However she soon recovered her confidence during our first few runs on easy pistes. Everyone was challenged by the difficulty of the Mattis run so it was a good idea to video this. Even if with some practice everyone would have skied better the advantage here is that the video captures the main weaknesses very clearly so that they can be identified for working on tomorrow. We are best to strengthen the skiing before considering venturing off-piste.
There are a lot of positives in the skiing - like good dynamics for instance – but here I’m focusing on the issues that need to be fixed ASAP!
Hip Rotation Stemming
Stemming / Weight back
Stemming / Weight back / Skis crossed
The common denominator here is the tendency to always try to get the turning ski on its inside edge from the start of the turn – as in a snowplough, stem turn or flowing parallel turn. This doesn’t work well for pivoted turns in bumpy and steep terrain – hence the problems encountered here. For Luke this translates into accelerations which leave him in the back of the ski boots – for Leonie it causes strong hip rotation and big defensive stems and for Ella it causes a loss of control over speed and line.
We need to work on clarifying the necessary skills to overcome those issues – and we will get into that properly tomorrow. Meanwhile the two hours today was used constructively to get Ella her confidence back and to return everyone back to full skiing mode.
To encourage pivoting and to stop everyone trying to systematically feel for the inside edge of the ski at the start of the turn we did one exercise only on pivoting. Standing on the uphill edge of the uphill ski (poles for support) I asked everyone to allow the foot to roll onto its downhill edge inside the boot – separating the edge of the foot from the edge of the ski. This is what allows the ski to be pulled inwards into the new turn – instead of pushed outwards in a stem. The separation of the foot edge and ski edge is critical – but only one component so tomorrow we will work on other supporting aspects of the pivot and how to change perception of the entire process in a way which easy to focus on and repeat.