Sunday, March 6, 2016

Liz - Morning 1

  • Scene 1 - Walking with one ski - circle - left ski on to go right - foot rolled on edge.
  • Scene 2 - Star turn with diverging ski tips. (encouraging correct mechanics)
  • Scene 3 - Bullfighter turn to start - then skating turn out of fall line.
  • Scene 4 - First linked turns with dynamics.
  • Scene 5 - Already parallel skiing. (skating the inside ski if it sticks in a slight plough)
  • Scene 6 - Traversing/ Side slipping  -  with diverging skis for speed control.
  • Scene 7 - Fluid parallel skiing.
  • Scene 8 - Sideslipping on steep terrain.

Feet and Ski Boots

Starting off fresh with Liz it was best to look at the use of the feet - indoors - before locking them up inside ski boots and rendering them invisible. The feet and lower legs are the only body parts to have contact with anything solid when skiing so it helps a lot if there is a clear idea of what do do with them. 

Anterior Tibialis

Asking Liz to stand (one boot off) and bend down a little like she thought she should on skis - she immediately over flexed the ankle and blocked the hip joint. Standing on the front of the heel beneath the ankle joint changes flexion so that the ankle stiffens and the knees and hips bend instead. This is exactly what Liz was able to feel - including the tension in the Anterior Tibialis running up the outside of the shin. 

Flexing incorrectly with the ski boot on causes all the body weight to be supported by the front of ski boot and the legs muscles to stop holding you up - a scenario which should be avoided. For thsi reason we try to centre the weight over the fronts of the heels.

Subtaler Joint

Beneath the ankle and above the heel lies the subtaler joint - which permits the foot to be rocked on edge. This joint can only be properly accessed either when there is no weight on the foot or the weight is on the heel.  The width of a ski is generally greater today than the foot - so to hold a ski on its inside edge requires assistance through rocking the foot onto its inside edge through the subtaler joint. The shaft of the ski boot running up the lower leg also serves as a lateral support - preventing the ski and foot from flattening out when held on edge.


When the foot is rolled onto its inside edge the adductor muscles on the inside of the upper leg contract. This provides some strength towards holding the ski on its inside edge whilst stabilizing the knee and preventing it from moving too far inwards. When there is pressure on the middle or front of the foot  any attempt to rock the foot causes teh knee to swing around instead due to the ankle collapsing.

Centre of Mass

All of the above "inwards" actions support the motion of the centre of mass towards the turn centre. The full series of exercises Liz carried out is covered here:

Skating and respective motion of the centre of mass are the reasons for developing the control with the feet and adductor muscles. The fixed page linked to above describes in detail why the skis are kept diverging and the fundamental difference between this and the inappropriate muscle actions cultivated in a "snowplough" based approach to initial learning.


The ski boots were checked for alignment and were good. Liz has very good coordination and was able to accurately execute every instruction and make rapid progress. There were no negative issues to report - everything was looking good. 

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