Thursday, January 7, 2016

Eve & Charlie day 4

Eve and Charlie’s last day with me coincided with a blizzard dumping 35cm of snow on us during the day and winds recorded up to 119 km/hr. Although I tried to work a bit on technique the degrading weather made that impossible and left us only the shelter and improved visibility (light contrast) of the trees as a final refuge.

I had remembered the SEP Field. “Somebody Else’s Problem Field” which renders something completely invisible to people. Yesterday I’d been looking for this term  (From The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) to describe how visual perception is selective and cannot see something that isn’t understood.

In the morning Charlie’s skiing looked strong and he had retained everything from his breakthrough yesterday. Eve was struggling with the invisible powder bumps on the piste. Charlie had a bit of a speed control problem due to being too far back. Eve was too two footed and needed to get her feet apart. Both needed to sense the front of the skis more. Eve was comfortable with her two footed platform in deep snow where speed was slowed down by the snow itself and she also understood how to increase the dynamics to make a stronger turn for controlling speed. However, this two footed platform is not ideal for chopped up snow with invisible bumps. We worked for a while on a wide stance with the “end of turn” dynamics remaining the same as usual but the uphill leg extending to give immediate grip and pressure (without popping up). This wide stance also allows easier lateral motion of the centre of mass across the skis and a fully independent leg action. I didn’t want Charlie to try this because he already has his feet apart  - which is why he was more comfortable in those conditions than Eve.

I explained “racing” timing – keeping the skis more in the fall-line for difficult snow. This involves making the apex of each turn out to the side instead of directly down the fall-line. The result is a spreading of the load during the turn avoiding one massive and overwhelming loading at the end of the turn. Using good dynamics this still controls speed and also allows stronger use of the fronts of the skis as they are never overloaded. We didn’t really have the conditions to work enough on this though Charlie was doing very well on the piste.  Eve stayed true to form with her two footed stance off-piste in the deep snow, but Charlie almost immediately reverted to his old timing and compensations as soon as the snow was deep - especially as he became a bit more tired. That’s unfortunate because it cut the day (and holiday) short as it ended up with a badly strained knee when a binding failed to release on a fall while Charlie was consciously struggling with timing issues. Both Eve and Charlie were doing extremely well and making fast progress. I hope that Charlie recovers quickly and returns eventually to drill in the movements he was just starting to really enjoy and needs to be secure and safe in his skiing in the future.

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