Michel, Eric, Veerle and Jennifer received a rapid crash course in dynamics in Tignes today. Most intermediate skiers are stuck forever on an uncomfortable plateau with their skiing and they also find that hearing the same instruction that they heard before doesn’t lead to great changes taking place. Time on skis is often limited – so with all of this in mind I decided to take a chance by throwing everyone in the deep end – almost literally. The objective was to attempt to generate a profound change in understanding, mindset and movement pattern all in the space of about an hour.
The key to creating such a huge shift is “dynamics”. There is a fixed page on dynamics here http://skiinstruction.blogspot.fr/p/dynamics.html After a rapid explanation of the difference between dynamics and “balance” we carried out some static exercises to show that it is the acceleration of the centre of mass down and into a turn that generates pressure on the outside ski. Acceleration in physics is the exact opposite of balance. The skier needs to learn to fall over laterally to the skis – as if on a motorbike. The ski works by lifting the skier back up. With a bike there is a limit as to how far over you can fall and hope to get back up – but on skis the grip and lifting effect only increases as you fall harder. The limit of the skier is actually the ability to increase the dynamic range – most will only manage about 15 degrees compared to 80 degrees for a top racer. It’s a mental and emotional issue too – because falling downhill laterally to the skis is scary – until you know how it works.
There wasn’t time for feedback and correction but everyone could feel the difference – Eric noticing that his legs weren’t getting as tired as usual. Veerle was keeping her weight on her lower ski and stemming the top ski outwards – negating the effort to use dynamics – but she was aware of this and needs time to work on changing it. (plus a few simple exercises).
Eric asked about pole use so I rapidly explained that as with a motorbike the body goes down into a turn and up out of it – this is a universal principle even if ski schools teach the opposite. The pole is only needed as a light touch for feedback when falling into a turn and it’s the movement of the body which does this – not the arm. This actual issue is referred to as timing.
Both Eric and Michel needed to work on avoiding being stuck in the vertical plane (to gravity) and to try to adjust continuously to achieve perpendicularity to the slope.
Jennifer didn’t need as much feedback at this stage and was quietly getting on with it.
Eric asked about skiing with the knees/feet together so I demonstrated the “pivot” and how two footed skiing works with the skis slipping into the turn from the top edges. There is a fixed page here also (at the top of the blog) on the Pivot with exercises shown on video.