One Ski Pivot
After a warm up run we started the session with one ski skiing. I wanted Brian to use the pivot to build skills and awareness so as to be able eventually to ski on one ski in a controlled manner with tight, linked turns. Standing on one ski it doesn’t matter which direction it is going to turn, the foot always remains rolled on its inside edge. (This appears to adapt edge control automatically to compensate for the asymmetry of bring on one leg)
Brian had a tendency to twist the ski into the turn. All that is required is a pole plant downhill and behind the feet – which acts as a fulcrum for the pivot by blocking the tails from sliding downhill. Simply lowering the body towards the pole flattens the ski enough for the tip so swing downhill – but not enough to change edges until pointing down the fall-line.
When skiing on one ski this type of edge control allows braking and speed management along with tight turns. Most people try to ski on one ski by running along the edge and this won’t work on steeper slopes where speed will not be controlled.
Slalom – Correct Timing
Yesterday’s work on timing allowed Brian to experience a run in the slalom where he felt in control and un-rushed. Unfortunately the course clock wasn’t running so the time wasn’t recorded. Tomorrow!
Unlock or Block
While skiing down into Tignes I noticed Brian bending sideways when finishing a turn so we stopped to address this issue directly. The body should just hinge at the hip (resembling skating) and there should be no bending sideways. The hip joint needs to be relaxed and not locked and braced. Movement of the upper body down into the turn is a supple dropping action at the hip. This supple action helps the ski to carve while the bracing causes skidding.
Part of Brian’s blocking/locking tendency is caused by reaching outwards with the pole arm while trying to hold the body down an inside the turn. Holding both poles to the inside of the turn overcomes this problem and helps to unlock the hip. Effectively “everything” is reaching inwards towards the centre of the turn along with the centre of mass – until it is time to move back out of the turn.
Heel – Shin
Using the front of the ski effectively for tightening a turn requires some pressure against the shin and strong ski boots. This is best accomplished with the weight on the heel to stiffen the ankle. This isn’t quite the same as standing on the ball of the foot during a short, skidded turn to be central on the ski for enhanced grip. Standing on the ball of the foot however also stiffens the ankle – if done with an extension of the ankle and foot.
Compression Turns – individual
Compression turns on the flat are really a simulation of bump skiing – with the compression being replaced with leg retraction. This is a two footed very close stance pivot (a two ski platform) and it’s important to avoid an early edge change. The body moves downhill with the compression and is secured with the use of a strong pole support. Ideally Chi Hips are used and the skis “worked” as normal - but with a full leg extension (both legs) to complete the turn. The exercise is relatively static and when transferred to actual bumps the bumps have to be taken one at a time.
Standing on the shoulder of a bump the tips and tails are in the air and so a pivot is easy. The turn is initiated with a retraction and motion of the centre of mass downwards and downhill. The extension is made while sideslipping the lower face of the bump.
Bumps - Dynamic Compression Turns
Linking bumps together requires awareness of how the compression on one bump is not designed to keep the body uphill – but the bring it downhill in a controlled manner – to move directly over the bump into the next turn. When timing is right the bumps do not feel “rushed” or difficult.
Line in Slalom
Brian’s line is the one on the outside! Don’t need to say much more about that really! When the course is quite straight there is little need to turn.