Demet’s last day with me today and she appeared happy to go up to the Bellevarde sector and see a different view for a change. The problem with this area is that the access to the training slope from the Olympique Télécabine involves a short, icy steep section that has to be negociated carefully as there are hundreds of people crossing paths in different directions. There are in fact four main lifts that all arrive at this point and it opens out onto six pistes.
The way we negociate this tricky start is to sideslip. This involves keeping the skis parallel and horizontal across the hill so that two edges can be used for control. Demet was initially uncomfortable with this because her uphill ski kept wanting to point downhill in a snowplough – which is exactly how to get into trouble! She was also unsure about judging the horizontal. All of this is typical and requires experience to overcome.
Technique involved is to stand up straight to slide and to sink down a little and push the bottom uphill to edge the skis and stop. (This is also developing angulation at an early stage in development)
Part of the exercise is to slide forwards diagonally and then backwards diagonally just by slightly altering the pointing of the skis – down at the front to go forwards and down at the back to go backwards. This was carried out facing the oppoiste direction on the second run.
Practice at sideslipping is boring but very important.
The first exercise that Demet is doing in the video is to help her with control on the steeper slopes. The exercise is to develop the feeling of pushing the outside foot forwards. This causes the turn radius to be tigntened up and also helps to prevent body rotation – both issues that Demet was now in need of addressing. When skiing with dynamics (forward motion – not pivoting) then turn radius is controlled through a combination of dynamics and pushing the outside foot forwards. At higher skill levels and with greater dynamics both feet are pushed forwards but there is no need to be concerned with that just yet.
Demet’s hired ski boots turned out to be between two and three sizes too large for her. Now that her awareness was growing she could begin to feel the need for better fitting boots. Checking the foot against the insole removed from the boot the difference in length is obvious (Size 42 against her normal size 39)
This is a useful way to see if a boot is close to fitting correctly or not. Never buy soft boots – minimum flex din 90 for a woman! This is because softer flexing boots are only designed for snowlough, twisting/steering and timing that is not related to dynamics – all major errors in skiing education. (I can supply more information on this if required)
Fore/Aft Control – Perpendicularity
Another typical issue affecting Demet at this stage was that she was finding herself on the backs of the skis and boots and with the body mostly in vertical all the time. It’s early days for correcting this but the sooner it is brought to attention the better. As the skis turn downhill they go from horizontal to a slope gradient of say in this case 10 °. While horizontal the body is vertical and this makes it perpendicular to the skis. The trouble is that the body tends to remain vertical when the skis go off downhill and the skier ends up on the backs of the boots. For this reason an effort needs to be made to move slightly forwards and adjust the body to perpendicular to the slope and skis as they go downhill. This is a basic movement at this stage in development and there is a lot more to it in reality – but just being aware of trying to be perpendicular helps a lot.
Demet was working on all of the above and doing a good job – dealing once again with steeper slopes than she was used to and the tension that this can create in the body. Tension tires you out more than exercise. It was at this point that Demet began to slow down – just a bit too slow to generate the nesessary forces from the ski design – due to tiredness.
Overall Demet was doing very well and has good coordination and focus. Patience and practice will be well rewarded – please don’t rush things here but do persist!