Monday, January 25, 2016

Derin 2016 Day 1

Derin wants to be an artist when she grows up. I think she’ll be a good one because she clearly has her own way of seeing things and is very thoughtful. I can’t remember what I wanted to be when I was seven. However, if somebody asked me today what I want to be the answer would be “seven”!

We started off very slowly so that Derin would have the time to get used to sliding again. She’s grown a lot since last year and with big changes happening to the body there can be lots of surprises. By the end of 2 hours she was back to where she left off a year ago  - and comfortable coming down green and blue runs. Her stance was a bit defensive and in the backs of the ski boots but I didn’t comment on this because she just needed time to get her confidence back and then the rest will be sorted out later when she begins to learn new things. We tried a few new things to see how she would get on and she is now old enough and physically aware enough to be able to learn accurately and rapidly. It looks like a lot of progress will be made this year.

We started with “sideslip” and skating which are in the video below. Here is Derin with her first ever proper skating actions…

Where things are potentially frustrating we only spent short periods at a time focusing on them. One of those things was “side stepping” up the hill. This is because Derin doesn’t have any clear awareness of edge control – of either the feet of the skis. Bit by bit this was improved – both stepping up the hill and through skating exercises. In both of those, and the sideslip, I emphasises using the adductor muscles (inside of the legs). For example in the sideslip the idea was to squeeze the legs together – to keep the skis close together. In the skating the issue was to diverge the ski tips – but still squeeze the legs inwards – to pull the skis onto their inside edges. Derin got it – which is how she managed to skate. Initially she let her knees go outwards when diverging the skis but she was able to correct this. The exercise she still found the hardest was sidestepping uphill – but she still improved there. I noticed that she likes to think about those things a bit on her own afterwards and she listens more than she appears to. Once a few of those skills begin to develop she will start to understand their value and will become both more confident and more interested.

We also did a few “pivots” from the uphill ski – with me assisting. Once she can sideslip well and properly feel the edges of the skis we will be able to develop this properly. Meantime she skis using only her inside edges – which is fine because she mostly pushes the ski forwards and moves her body into the turn rather than making a real snowplough by pushing the ski outwards. The key is that she naturally moves her centre of mass (as she was always taught) so the apparent “plough” is not a big concern – it will soon disappear. She also has very clear “independent leg action” which is another good thing.

Derin was a bit tired by the end of the afternoon – but that’s because she didn’t want to stop for a break so we skied for the full four hours. It was a nice day – almost Spring in the sunshine – so it was good to stay out and make the most of it. I want to teach her how to use her feet properly so at some point we will have to go indoors as the boots need to be off for this.

(Huge windslab on the ridge of Mont Pourri)

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