We started out with a warmup run over to Val d’Isère from Tignes. Timmothy is growing and as his body changes it’s important to supervise his skiing correctly because it’s this period when things can go wrong. The first clips in the video are of both Timmothy and Victor skiing just after a warm up run so we could record and study the current level and any issues that might be present. Timmothy’s main problem here is that he is on the back of his skis and boots with no flexion at the hips and a strong rotation. Victor was skiing well – but later on I spotted that he was defending his right hip – this turning out to be due to back pain. Those two issues for both Timmothy and Victor are partly connected and can be helped by working on the same principles.
Timmothy was told that we were going to work on being on the fronts of the skis and boots – but carefully – so as not to bend/collapse the ankles. Victor translated into Russian for me so I tried to keep the explanations as simple as possible. The goal was to stay on the heels but press against the shins of the boots at the same time – lifting up the toes and trying to apply pressure on the fronts of the steeps. Timmothy had said that he found steep ice the most difficult so this was an appropriate way to start the session because it is also the best way to grip on ice.
We did a few exercises – just leaning hard forwards (this time up on the fronts of the feet) and exaggerating the action of using the fronts of the skis. Almost immediately Timmothy’s stance looked far better now that he was not locked in the backs of his boots. To help all of this I asked Timmothy to roll both feet onto their inside edges, squeeze the adductor muscles together and tighten the muscles in his legs in general.
Victor mentioned about how in the past I’d explained that the feet and knees remain ahead of the body in deep snow – so there appeared to be a contradiction. There is no contradiction but it was necessary to explain – however this made a good lead more deeply into the subject exactly in the direction I was intending.
Standing still facing across the hill – if you bend the knees and hips in ski boots so as to “sit” then you fall backwards. Face everything downhill and then as you “sit” you end up resting solidly on the fronts of your ski boots – knees and feet “in front of the body”. Gravity pulls you into the boots. Now only turn the boots across the slope below you and keep your bottom sitting uphill and you still remain on the fronts of the boots. To achieve this when in action you need to pull back the outside hip more than the shoulder to face the pelvis downhill. By pulling the hip out of the way you can sink down into the turn – sitting on an invisible uphill chair – staying on the fronts of the boots and with no danger of being pitched over the fronts of the skis in deeper or unpredictable snow. This also allows the hip to flex while removing strain from the lower back and permits postural muscles to function correctly – helping Victor’s back issues. (Though we didn’t go into that much due to language issues for Timmothy) I explained that the hip action was made during the turn transition. Victor found for himself that this mad the new turn initiation automatic by getting the hip out of the way for the body to cross over the skis.
We looked at how the build up of pressure and edge grip was developed by this sitting action – but then with the aid of preparing for the use of the downhill pole this would then be used to bring the body out over the fronts of ths skis downhill into the next turn (called “anticipation”). Only short pivoted turns use the pole in this way – to restrict the dynamics but give support instead and to act as a feedback so that you know you have avoided rotation and are not too far back with the body to start the next turn. I did one static exercise when Timmothy was held by me and pulled over the fronts of his skis so he could feel the process. Timmothy did well skiing with this – correcting his pole use, stance and rhythm whenever it fell apart – as seen in the second series of video clips – where also Victor shows no problem with his right hip.
We used the same movement pattern for carving – fronts of the skis – hip position/flexion. Feedback is often clearer when carving so it is good to develop both the carve and pivot together.