Monday, April 3, 2017

Suzanne, Ella, Daisy Day 2

Today’s session began with revision – Suzanne having caught a bad cold and nobody having managed to ski earlier in the day and this being a late afternoon session. We began with using the poles dug in the snow to point the skis downhill and skating out of the fall line. Suzanne was having trouble skating and Ella was not on top of things either so we needed to work more on this.



The aim of skating the turns is to learn to move the centre of mass. Quite simply turns are made much tighter by diverging the skating step much more and taking really big steps inwards. This is counter intuitive but works very well for building the confidence of stepping from ski to ski and leg to leg. Skiing is really a “one legged” act so this independence of the legs is a critical skill to develop. Before long both the girls could cope with the “nasty” turn at the end of path down from the Village chairlift. This is a key prerequisite before we can safely move on to bigger and better pistes! Once the skating was conquered it was easy to then bring improved dynamics into parallel turning – but not before we also worked directly on the use of the feet!




  • Stand on the heel (front of the heel below the ankle)
  • Do not allow weght to come onto the ball of the foot when bending
  • Bend at the knee and hip only – ankle stiffens by reflex
  • Roll the foot onto its inside edge by using the subtaler joint
  • Engage the adductor muscles on the upper leg
  • Use the following formula when skiing (outside leg in the turn) – heel/edge of foot – adductors – centre of mass
  • Always pulling inwards towards the turn centre (centrifugal force being an illusion – drive everything inwards)

Comparisons were made with the weak, collapsing ankle when weight is forward on the foot – resulting in leaning on the boot and the knee twisting inwards. When support is correct the anterior tibialis (shin) muscles are contracted and the ankle becomes strong – the shin making contact with the front of the boot.

Rolling the foot onto its edge causes the forefoot to turn away from the direction of the turn – not into the turn. In contrast twisting the foot into the turn forces the foot onto its outside edge – preventing the ski from functioning. (Suzanne still has this tendency but was much improved by the end of the day)



Ella needed to stand actively on the outside ski of the turn during dynamics and she really felt this strongly on her last run at the end of the day. Her falls on video (and in the sequence below) are mainly due to not standing solidly on her left leg – which then causes her to rotate her whole body in the hope of making a turn. Each fall was simply caused by spinning at the end of the turn due to rotation. Suzanne also has this situation but not so severe. Daisy is coming along fine – without developing excessive rotation of the body into the turn.

























The path from the top of the chairlift was being used to develop the “forward diagonal” sideslip – as a prelude to working on pivoting. Both Ella and Daisy were doing well with this but we had not worked on the actual pivoting yet.

All three were assisted through a single pivot to be able to feel the sensations correctly. Suzanne was the most succesful at her first attempt on her own. This is a frustrating skill to learn so we only approach working on it for short bursts and then return to dynamics and flowing skiing instead.

The ski does not travel forwards during pivoting so the ski cannot support the centre of mass in the normal way as it does in reaction to dynamics. Instead the ski pole has to be used to control the motion of the centre of mass. The foot (outside ski) has to be rolled on edge and the adductors enaged to pull the front of the ski into the turn – being pulled by the centre of mass and controlled through pressure on the ski pole.

Examples are demonstrated (and explained) on the fixed page…

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