Today was Sergei’s turn to have the dreaded norovirus. I’m convinced this “stomach flu” epidemic is sustained through even small amounts of gluten in the diet. 15 years ago those bugs were uncommon in ski resorts and now they hit nearly everyone. I used to pick up the virus sometimes twice per season and having removed carbs and gluten from my diet I just don’t get it any more. Carbs also reduce vitamin C circulating in the body – with type 2 diabetics having 30% vitamin C – so whether it’s the carbs or the gluten or both I don’t know.
Ivan scored a day on his own and so we went straight up the Aiguille Rouge – but the cable car wasn’t open so we skied down a bumpy black run instead. I took the opportunity to teach a little about “compression turns” and Ivan understood the principle. This is where the timing is adapted due to the need to absorb the bump. You flex the legs (as much as 90° or more at the knees and hips) to fall down into the new turn – while pivoting and using the downhill pole plant for support.
Aiguille Rouge with a halo…
For our second run we went up to the ridge over Villaroger to introduce Ivan to proper off-piste. Ivan had a transceiver on and a vague idea of how it worked – but we wouldn’t be going on anything dangerous – just perhaps places with excellent views, soft snow, peace and quiet and freedom from the overcrowded pistes. As predicted Ivan soon found that he had to keep his feet apart on the steeps and in the deep snow he couldn’t push his skis to the side. I didn’t have to say anything – he already knew what to do.
Ivan had to ease off his skiing in the afternoon due to his right shin hurting too much. After analysing him a bit I asked a few questions and found that he was standing on the fronts of his feet. So we had to work on changing his stance.
I explained that it’s necessary to stand on the front of the heel, just beneath the ankle joint. With boots off Ivan understood how flexing with the weight kept only on the heel causes the ankle muscles to stiffen and the bending to take place at the knees and hips instead. When standing on the front of the foot – or even the whole foot – the ankle collapses when bending – sending the knee forwards and the weight is taken up by the ski boot instead – hence damaging the shin.
In addition, you can only roll the foot from edge to edge when standing on the front of the heel – it doesn’t happen when standing any other way.
Prior to doing the indoor exercise foe the feet we had worked a little more on – pulling inwards with the feet while pivoting because Ivan was still under the impression that he should be “turning” his feet. We did an exercise where I blocked the movement of his ski tip with a pole while he pulled the ski against it with a sideways action – to feel how this has nothing to do with “turning” as a physical action form the leg or foot. With the indoor work – boots off – added to this he was able to understand the issues clearly and why his shin had become so badly bruised.
Glacier ice on Mont Pouri – right next to the Aiguille rouge…