Yesterday was a long intensive technical day, but today turned out to be a full on skiing day – leaving all but one (Kerim) worn out by the end of the morning. No more being confined to the green training piste – we began the warm up on a blue run. When I asked each person what they had been thinking about during the warm up the answers were impressive – feet, pulling in, moving the body, magic wall – and for Alp “not braking”. Given this response we then immediately went up to the top of the Tovière and skied down a steep red, then cutting over onto the steep route on the “Familial” off piste (with bumps) and then over to the race piste down to la Daille – a proper black run with protective netting. All this went without a glitch – no falls and no time lost.
Skating, Timing, Independent Leg Action
The above – including riding back up the Funicular took us until 10:36am so I decided to make a complete shift over to technique for a while. If we can cover one important subject per day while fitting in some strong skiing then that makes a useful approach. I asked about “up/down” timing and Kerim was the only one who seemed clear that he had been taught to go up to start a turn and down to finish. This is “standard ski school” but unfortunately completely wrong. When a motorbike goes into a turn it leans over and comes down – coming back up to finish – and the skier needs to do the same. Just the Magic Wall alone gives some of this correct timing – but using the legs in a skating action makes this clearer.
We first of all tried the “direct method” where I skated off straight down a shallow slope and then when there was some speed began to fall inwards between the skis with the body (Magic Wall) and the skating transformed into skiing – again by magic and without stopping the skating. Only Lal managed to do this while improving her timing – so we left this exercise aside.
The video shows the results of a series of exercises we used to develop skating timing and independent leg action… Kerim manages really well and Lal overcame initial difficulties to do well also. Alp was so far stuck on the backs of his ski boots that it was pretty impossible for him to succeed.
Skating obliges you to come off the backs of your ski boots – which is why Alp is struggling here as he is superglued to the backs. This is partly why we are doing skating exercises – to help overcome this sort of problem. The others also tend to get defensively stuck on the backs of the boots so it is good exercise for everybody.
We began with side stepping uphill and seeing how the edges of the feet and edges of the skis can be differentiated. This was something we had also looked at yesterday during the pivoting exercises. The downhill ski uses its inside edge and also the inside edge of the foot – but the uphill ski uses its outside edge yet remains on the inside edge of the foot too. (The shaft of the ski boot and its lateral stiffness permits this to happen).
The idea was to then skate across the hill using those edges and on the final skate step up properly onto the uphill ski (outside edge) and while standing on it fall downhill into the next turn (Magic Wall again). The effect on Lal was huge because she could not do this and throw her skis out to the side like she usually does – and after a few goes she got it – turning solidly on the outside ski from the start of the turn (Through good use of the Centre of Mass) and preparing this from a push up from the lower ski. Kerim managed it even better.
I’d already explained that real skiing is on one ski – which is why it relates to skating and this is made possible through dynamics – hence the Magic Wall. Putting this together makes the legs functional and the timing generates stability and a correct pressure cycle to make the skis work more efficiently and effectively.
We finished the session with a very long run from the top of the Borsat back down to Val village through Santons and apart from Alp wiping out at least three times there were no incidents. Lal declared it the most difficult blue run she had ever come across! I’d agree!