This afternoon I stumbled upon two skis clothing models posing for a photo shoot…
Both Eve and Charlie were excited to tell me how they had worked on their carving – exploiting the groomed slopes and good visibility. This left me no option but to check and see how they were getting on… Yes there had been a little progress but the critical issue is always t start of the carved turn and it just wasn't happening. There is nothing better for learning dynamics than carved turns – and when someone can already skate then this is the way to go – so the plan for today was decided.
Eve’s new ski boots turned out to be perfect. It’s tough getting it right with boots and the shop boot fitter was steering us away from those supposedly narrow fit boots. The problem is that it’s almost impossible to find wide fitting high performance boots – and a proper women’s fit as well. In the end the gamble paid off – the forefoot only being expanded by the boot fitter. Charlie also acquired new boots – also high performance – and also working out well. The alignment for both was spot on without any canting adjustment. This set up varies from manufacturer to manufacturer so this was a spot of luck. I had to verify Charlie anyway because he does have a tendency to bow his legs and also Eve is the opposite – structurally however both are fine.
I decided to work on skating to try to change the perception of grip at the start of the carved turn. We started by just doing diverging step turns out of the fall line to one side, then to whole turns this way and then to linking them. We then varied the angle of ski divergence to sharpen up the turns and to link this to the falling inward of the centre of mass. This pulls the skating ski over onto its inside edge and so increases grip, while also reducing the need to push back up in the skate against gravity later in the turn.
Just for completeness of information I included some skiing with diverging skis then some traversing with diverging skis – to show how superior this was compared to snowplough for a beginner ( or anyone). It’s clear that the diverging skis convert to parallel automatically – while snowplough leaves people in precarious control and stuck for many years with intractable problems.
This solution was however not achieving the goal of producing clean railed carving – so I moved on to “pulling” everything towards the centre. Using the inside ski as a stabiliser and putting the body over it the idea was to place the uphill ski on its edge and pull the leg away as if trying to remove pressure from it. This is of course rapidly overwhelmed by the deflecting force of the ski when moving forwards – but the body is effectively “pulling inwards”. Immediately both Eve and Charlie were locking on with a carving ski. The exercise got the feeling across and both were able to then produce fully carved turns from then on.
We were able to use carving for experimenting with the first sensations of both aspects of dynamics. Neither Eve nor Charlie could extend their initial dynamic range beyond about 10 or 12° so there is a lot of work to be done in that department. Both however could feel the turn exit dynamics that produces flow from one turn to the next.
When descending the bumps on the Epaule du Charvet I explained how the angulation they had learned for the pivot was really about facilitating turn exit dynamics for very short turns efficiently.