Today the glacier had a 30cm coating of wet and heavy snow – so slalom training was too great a risk for Alex at the moment. Conditions such as this can be useful for strong and experienced racers but Alex needs more work on technique and on building confidence in the gates before being exposed to such difficulties. The heavy snow however was a great opportunity to give Alex necessary experience outside of the gates so he could feel how technique applies everywhere and not just in racing.
My goal for the day was to help Alex to develop a better understanding of Angulation “banana” so that he could generate hip angulation without contradicting the dynamics he was already using. Alex would have to try to continue with the movements that we had already been working on but now add more. The aim was to reduce rotation and create an angle at the hip as the turn progressed – while maintaining pressure on the front of the boot and ski – but keeping the body down and inside the turn enough with this angulation so that he couldn’t be spat out over the front of the skis.
- Pull the outside hip backwards from the beginning of the turn. (chi-skiing)
- Point the ski pole dowhill and the pole will be ready to plant if required.
- The pelvis faces downhill as a consequence of this action .
- The turn is tightened by this action which facilitates rapid turn entry and exit – short turns.
- Rotation must be eliminated – the body moves across the skis out of one turn into the next.
- “Mind The Gap” get pressure on the outside ski and actively thrust the body downhill – don’t wait.
- The skis must be pulled inwards and the adductor muscles used.
- Use the downhill ski to come over it and out of the turn.
Photo 1: Alex is in a good stance prior to his turn to the right. Everything appears to be in the right place…
Photo 2: The turn initiation is being made here with a shoulder rotation instead of the body coming clean over the downhill ski. This is followed with the tails of the skis being thrust outwards to catch up with the body. This overwhelms Alex’s efforts to pull everything inwards.
Photo 3: Alex completes the turn rotated and falling on to the inside ski with no hip angulation – the initial shoulder rotation having led to the skis and the hip being swung outwards instead of pulled inwards.
Regardless of the above example Alex was making great progress and understanding the objective. He found the sensations strange and unfamiliar which indicates that he was making changes. He could feel how the turns tightened automatically and he linked the short turns very well. His improvements are what allow more accurate and constructive criticism to be possible. Alex is very responsive to input but it must be understood that what he is working at here is extremely difficult to master – so he is doing extremely well.