James’s first session began with a short test at the bottom of the mountain and as it was clear that he is a competent skier we then went straight up to the top of the Tovière. From the top of the Toviere we skied over to Val d’Isère – as a warm up run - to go up the Marmotte chairlift and then use the “Tranquille Zone” on the Vert to work safely on technique. Before starting to change anything James was filmed skiing and this is the first video scene below.
- Scene 1 – Before working on technique
- Scene 2 – Face-planting off-piste (didn’t quite manage to use dynamics here!)
- Scene 3 - Using dynamics
- Scene 4 – Pivoting
We followed my standard explanation and exercises for dynamics and James both understood and performed better than most people do. There is a fixed page to give details on this subject here… http://skiinstruction.blogspot.co.uk/p/dynamics.html There is no need to go into any particular detail here because everything progressed well and we will be able to develop further from there tomorrow.
James really wanted to try to off piste so I worked on his dynamics properly beforehand because dynamics is the key to safe and functional off piste skiing. The snow however was windpacked and so very unforgiving and this naturally made James very uncertain and caused him to lose his new dynamcis and hence end up with a classic face-plant – and me having to climb back up to help him get his ski back on in the deep snow! He would have been fine if the snow was good. The reason he fell is because the “lifting up” power of the ski is amplified in deep snow so if you don’t move even more to the inside of the turn you get thrown straight out of it.
James had pivoting explained to him and then was physically assisted through a pivoted turn so that he could feel it. He had no trouble understanding the concept and performed his first few attempts with more success than most people do. Once again we followed standard procedures and there is a fixed page here for going into detail… http://skiinstruction.blogspot.co.uk/p/pivot.html
With pivoting – because learning it can be furstrating initially, we go at it only for short periods but return to it frequently.
Towards the end of this first session, with dynamics becoming more natural for James we began working on getting him off the backs of his ski boots and using the fronts of the skis. There is no point even attempting this until dynamics are mastered to a reasonable degree because the two go together. Tomorrow we will hopefuly go deeper into this subject.
James’s skiing prior to starting to use dynamics had many basic faults – but none of them realy due to James himself. Everything slowing James down and making his skiing awkward is a result of teaching – the consequence of being a good student and applying bad instructions very accurately. The centre of mass was being moved in the wrong direction (but the direction he had been taught), the outside ski pushed outwards and hip rotation was a consequence of this and also the resultant reaction of ending up in the backs of the ski boots. This is all damage from skiing being taught with wrong physics (balance etc) and snowploughs (wrong coordination). In contrast James shows really good promise for continued progress. It will take a while to overcome defensive habits that already now exist – but I suspect he will get there more quickly than most people gauging by his quick and accurate responses during coaching.