Demet is at a fragile stage in her skiing development and it requires lots of patience. There are two important principles to observe at the moment; first of all don’t push or rush things and secondly make sure all actions are the most appropriate, accurate and highest quality possible. It’s like learning a musical instrument – if done in a rush it always ends up a mess – if done patiently and correctly it can be amazing.
This won’t be such a long blog today because we mainly revised yesterday’s work and tried to instill it more strongly. We revised the following:
- The skating stance with the feet rolled onto the inside edges and the adductor muscles engaged.
- Side stepping uphill
- Stepping out of the fall line to turn across the hill
- Assisted (me supporting) pivoting – standing on one ski
- Linking (dynamic) parallel turns with some forward momentum
We spent some time descending with me supporting Demet with the ski pole. The aim here was to talk Demet through the situation and to habituate her to higher speeds in security. It took a while to fully clarify with her the need to stand up on the uphill ski and then let the body fall into the turn. We did one of the static “Magic Wall” exercises where she pushed against me to help this idea ingrain itself. After working on this for a while we then returned to the safe beginner’s area where she could try to bring it all together – on her own - without worrying about the steepness. There was still some stemming of the left ski/foot but she was far clearer about the need to stand on the uphill/outside ski and to use the foot/leg for support (not twisting it) to then move the body – which causes the turn.
Skiing is a “holistic” activity – which means that it doesn’t have to be done perfectly for it to work. A car (not holistic) for example with a wheel missing will stop – but a skier can make many mistakes and still get along. What I could see happening with Demet was that she was still being a bit defensive on steeper ground and stemming but she was starting to use aspects of her new technique to replace the snowplough and was managing to remove it to varying degrees in different situations. This is how progress is normally made.
We repeated those exercises often as patience is critical with all of this, leaving just enough time to take the chairlift up the Madeleine ski run for her first proper taste of freedom. Demet negociated the steep top part by herself then I took over by supporting her for the rest of the descent. During this long descent she gradually took more and more of the control for herself and I loosened the grip on the pole. Demet was clearly making the turns happen when she followed me talking her through each action and she was not too distracted by higher speeds than she is used to. Unfortunately we ran out of time at this point as we had to get back down the mountain from the Solaise plateau – but it was clearly a productive session. Demet seemed very upbeat about her experience and seemed to enjoy the speed and sensations.