Today it was windy and humid, which means “cold”! It is important to continually be active when outside in weather like this so we began with a warm up on the lower section of the Face de Bellevarde to work on angulation. Steeper terrain helps to develop those skills because that’s where they come into use. What I hadn’t explained to anyone was that I was basing this instruction on something I had developed over several years from understanding running better…
There’s a fixed page here which is really a summary of chirunning http://skiinstruction.blogspot.fr/p/chiskiing.html for anyone interested. However the application to skiing is specific and probably more important. Normally people are taught to face their shoulders downhill towards the completion of a turn to produce angulation at the hips. This unavoidably twists the spine as the ski pulls the outside hip forwards in front of the rib cage. The problem here is that the ability for postural muscles to work reflexively is inhibited and so most skiers end up with serious lower back problems (I have had major back surgery three times!) Instead, the children were taught to pull that outside hip backwards – causing only the pelvis to end up facing downhill and to fully preserve postural reflexes. What they don’t know is that this causes the spine to twist slightly in the opposite direction – but this actually strengthens the core muscles when that outside leg is loaded up with pressure. We didn’t go into any of this detail. The task was to pull that outside hip backwards and everyone understood that. The aim was to prevent body rotation , create angulation and control of speed and turn development, give improved grip on ice and improved confidence.
Everyone felt the muscles in the midsection working and I explained that all movement – both globally (centre of mass) and internally should begin from the centre of the body. This automatically controls the skis (centre of mass) and aligns the bone structure for using the feet and adductor muscles in the legs.
The work on angulation was carried out prior to returning to the slalom with the aim of each skier hopefully being able to control a better line in the course. We were also working on using the fronts of the skis to get off the backs of the ski boots.
Kerim was more stable and holding a better line so then with added dynamics he managed the fastest time of the week at 35.26 seconds.
Lal also improved her time and managed a personal best of 40.75 seconds. She fell on her first descent due to pushing the skis out sideways sharply at a turn – then catching the inside ski as she was drifting sideways. Remember – always pull inwards instead of pushing outwards. Keep the line high and use angulation.
Alp was struggling with the idea of “line” and eventually managed a good slow line – which although being a relatively good line was not fast (he would still be late on the steeper sections). This allowed him to focus a bit more on technique but he was still quite far back in his ski boots. Alp’s posture is not holding him correctly on his left leg – where he cannot keep his upper body stable on the head of the femur of the left leg. If I had more time I’d have worked on him personally to correct this – but it also takes a lot of physical awareness of the individual to correct posture. Alp was overall slower than he was at the start of the week – but only by a few seconds. The corrections he has been working on would gain him up to 12 seconds when accomplished.
Iram also had a go at the slalom and was working on the same things – improving rapidly over just a few runs to reach 32.91 seconds.
End of Turn Dynamics
After a little revision and practice of pivoting we went on to explore another facet of Dynamics. This is explained at the bottom of the fixed Dynamics page http://skiinstruction.blogspot.fr/p/dynamics.html but it simply means completing the turn on the downhill ski with the body coming up and out all the way to perpendicular while still on this ski. Until now we had only worked on aspects of dynamics regarding the start of turns – but the end of each turn is actually even more important as it is what facilitates the start of the next turn. Developing this skill taks a little bit of courage – expecially in tricky snow off piste – but it is essential part of dynamics and racing cannot be done without it. Pivoting is intended for tight, braking turns with no forward speed (across the hill) of the skis and the use of pole support. Dynamics (generated in combination with forward motion – as on a bicycle) is the opposite and is intended for racing or difficult off piste where skis cannot slip sideways.
No photos today – miserable weather! The children were great to work with and hopefully seeing their own efforts on this blog will encourage them to work in the right direction in the future. I left them with the message that skiing is NEVER boring if you are focused within your own body and on the quality of your movements. It’s not about “black” pistes – it’s about what you feel and the skill you have built to replace inappropriate emotionally driven actions.