Today we introduced Pivoting, Carving and Skating techniques. Being holistic, skiing is impossible to get right by just focusing in a narrow area. Top notch racers can be terrible in bumps and off piste and top notch bumps skiers terrible in racing simply because they have specialised skill sets which are mutually exclusive. Pivoting (Bumps) and Carving (Racing) are polar opposites. To really get the most out of skiing and be a good general skier all the ingredients are necessary for the cake to emerge out of the oven correctly. Each part is necessary as a part of a self organising system which optimises automatically and in a self reinforcing manner.
The video shows the first attempts at pivoting and carving on gentle terrain…
At this early stage the idea is to supply the group with the basic information but not to give detailed individual feedback – whch is time consuming with four very different skiers. I assisted everyone through a single pivot so that the sensation could be experienced and then explained how the planted pole supports the centre of mass instead of me standing there for them to hold onto.
When skiing with forward momentum and dynamics the ski generates lifting power for interaction with the centre of mass – but from a standstill and sideslip there is nothing to guide the certre of mass other than pole support.
Rather than go into too much detail here there there is a fixed page for Pivoting with full demo videos here… http://skiinstruction.blogspot.co.uk/p/pivot.html
One common factor between pivoting and other skills is the “pulling inwards” coordination – which in this case permits the ski to sideslip from the front down into a turn. The centre of mass provides the pull – through the adductors and the rolled foot/feet – and the pole allows control over the handling of the centre of mass.
Pivoting is a “braking” form of skiing – for use in bumps, tight fall line sking (the body not crossing the hill) and in deep powder fall line skiing. The braking however is a consequence of the pivot – not a deliberate braking action.
When carving in front of Ant I was travelling much faster than he could keep up with so I asked him what he thought was the reason. From the answer given it was clear that Ant did not have a clear perception of carving as a property in its own right and this is why nobody in the group was ever seen even approximating a carved turn.
Carving is simply railing along the edges. We began by traversig until everyone was holding the skis locked on their edges. Actually Katherine wasn’t quite manging so she needs to focus on this for a while. We then worked on changing the edges (hence direction) statically by moving the body only – from both uphill edges to both downhill edges – using ski poles to prevent us from falling over. Ant did particularly well in converting this into real carving when skiing. Harry and Emma also came through strongly but katherine was not really locking on. This is common so it will come with further practise.
After checking that everyone could skate and finding that they were all strong skaters we went straight into “direct method” – skating directly downhill and introducing dynamics by falling more and more between the skis as speed allowed the skis to provide support for dynamics through turning. The skating transforming progressively into skiing. Ant was the one who nailed it – picking up the natural timing and rhythm. The down/up action of the legs supports the down/up action of the dynamics (inverted pendulum).
For the others who didn’t manage so strongly we then went onto some skating exercises. Starting out by sidestepping uphill we sorted out the sensations in each foot. The downhill foot was on its inside edge and downhill ski also. The uphill ski was on its outside edge but this foot also was on its inside edge – just like happens in pivoting. Once this was clearly felt we used it to skate across a slope just pushing up from the downhill leg and standing onto the uphill one.
Following a few traverses with this downhill skating action we then made the final skate lead to standing up properly on the uphill ski – uphill edge and then falling into a turn downhill using the centre of mass. The fact the ski is on its uphill edge is useful for preventing any “pushing out” and the push up from the lower leg gives the impulse to stabilise the centre of mass ready for turning on one leg. Everyone managed smooth progressive turns with independent leg action. Harry initially still tried to push his heels out towards the end of the turns though.
The skating was tapered down to two skates athen one skate and a small traverse to just one skate linking turns. Harry in particular looked the most different from before with good independent leg action and using the ski to turn instead of his two footed heel pushing skid.
In both carving and when skating the control of speed comes from the shape of the turn and the line – not from a braking action.