Following yesterday’s fairly heavy technical sessions it felt like the best way to start the day would be to ski without too much stopping, taking advantage of fresh, empty slopes and and fresh (hopefully less empty) legs. It takes a considerable amount of skiing in both consistent and varied conditions to allow feelings and awareness to develop. Not many people can directly translate exercises into fully realised skills without a fair amount of experimentation. The only thing I mentioned about technique was to begin pulling back the outside hip in the turn during the whole turn – right from the turn initiation.
Unbelievably for Dec 23rd we found transformed Spring snow off-piste and had it all to ourselves. Varied and steep pitches and working on the control of hip rotation had Léonie noticing her Centre of Mass distinctly for the first time. It’s a big step in dynamics when you can clearly identify the effect of the Centre of Mass. There’s a definite shift in perception when the Centre of Mass is sensed as an active physical participant – rather than a theoretical concept.
Skiing proceeded with feedback being given from time to time but no real technical work. We managed to avoid the crowded pistes and consistently find some good off-piste conditions. Only in mid afternoon was attention returned to technique.
Initial technique work was a brief revision of yesterday because everyone was still struggling with control of hip rotation. New exercises included “hockey stops”. Tibo was strong at this once he calmed it down a bit, but everyone else had trouble on the left leg with the hip coming around. It did however demonstrate that those stops need to be practiced. My feeling was mainly that whole body inclination was not being used enough during the braking. If the body lean/inclines more uphill during the braking action then it’s easier to control the hip and prevent it from rotating. When skiing it’s this aspect of dynamics that also permits good hip control. If the body doesn’t get far enough inside a turn (usually because it didn’t exit the previous one by coming over the downhill ski) then it’s hard to manage the hip joint correctly.
Wide Stance (cowboy) Pivots
After this revision, including one ski pivoting and “The Exercise From Hell”, very wide pivots were used to try to substitute dynamics and keep the Centre of Mass well displace laterally from either foot. The idea here was that it would enable better hip control as a result. Leonie did a good job. Luke was still managing to lift the front of his inside ski on each turn. Florence didn’t quite manage to keep her legs independent enough.
Foot Forwards – Hip Backwards
I thought about increasing dynamics now to continue towards hip rotation progress but then considered how pushing the outside foot forwards in the turn while pulling back the hip simultaneously actually significantly helps and even enables dynamics – so I suggested this instead. Léonie commented that when doing this action during the turn transition the dynamics seems to happen automatically. That’s a good observation. You know something is working when you have the sensation that things “happen to you” instead of you making them happen. In the past people have often not responded to adding the push forward of the foot to the hip action but have responded this way to the initial pulling backwards of the hip.