Saturday, March 31, 2018

Alex, Ben, Sam – Slalom


Feet sometimes getting too close to the gates – poles grabbing the shin guards (when rebounding) – all tripping you up. Perhaps the only immediate answer to this is to apex slightly further away from the pole and incline more. When you need to reach for a pole don’t forget to angulate – work on pulling back the hip – this helps to compensate and sorts out most problems with keeping pressure on the fronts.


Watch for that counter rotation creeping in (especially free skiing) and drill yourself to stay focused on your body and movements. Pulling back the hip works well for you too but it still needs more pressure on the fronts of the skis.


Now you understand “pulling in” the difference in your skiing is huge. Pull back the hip, pull in with the adductor muscles (inside of the upper leg) and drive the centre of mass inwards – all of this helping the ski direct you inwards away from a straight line. “Pushing” on the outside ski is what was causing your leg to be unstable – just pull inwards. (remember this is not the same as pushing your knees into a turn)

Encrypted extended report here:

Friday, March 30, 2018

Alex–Ben Slalom


Alex today was just getting back into skiing after a month in London and Ben was applying his reconfigured skiing to slalom in anger for the first time.

Alex did well in tricky conditions on the steep and should be very satisfied with his most successful return to slalom ever – by a huge margin!

Alex retained even his apex to apex motion across the hill – which is seen clearly in the first video clip. Still needing to use the fronts of the skis a bit more but it looks like that isn’t so much a technical issue but an age issue. Ben’s longer legs allow him to angulate and pressure the ski fronts more easily because he doesn’t have to reach for the poles. Alex loses angulation when he reaches but if he does go close enough he tends to be tripped up by collecting the poles at his ankles.


Ben is on video here working his pelvis correctly for improved hip angulation to help stay on the fronts of his skis and avoid getting kicked into the back seat – good run here – but the slowest skis on this particular planet due to waxing !!!

Remember – pulling the outside hip backwards actually pulls the opposite knee inwards. Pulling the outside shoulder backwards does the opposite.

Guess who…


The rest of the report is password protected:

Thursday, March 29, 2018



Ben was very unsure of being able to retain his hard won changes from the previous days. We took a few runs where Ben asked questions and we revised the relevant points and then Ben went into the gates for the first time to see what happened – focusing intensely in preparation. The outcome was that everything was there that we had worked on – the dynamics (including inclination), the “reverse banana”, hip angulation and control of the inside leg. That’s quite an achievement for only 5 days. Ben get’s a “9” for inclination here – ( 10 being the ultimate and 0 being totally upright.) We all have an unfortunate habit of flipping this scale around so it was either a 9 or a 1 – but we all know what we mean.

After the slalom we worked for a while on using pivoting to develop correct hip angulation (with good posture) with the aim of learning to use the angulation to pressure the fronts of the skis hard but safely through the end of the turn. Ben then tested this in the off piste and felt the strong but safe directional effect of the ski fronts in deep snow. The same applies in racing when a turn has to be closed off hard to get across the hill – usually on the steeps and after a rollover when there is a hidden banane put there by some psychopathic course setter.

Ben initially used no pressure on his poles – which weakens the motion of the centre of mass moving over the front of the downhill ski into the new turn – but this was quickly corrected and in the video clip he has strong pole use (only appropriate for pivoted/braking turns – used here for developing awareness). Ben correctly recognised that it’s not the whole body weight on the pole – it’s like you “rest” your weight on the pole. (Ben’s description)

If the fronts are used effectively then dynamics and rebound are more effective. Ben’s Salomon slalom skis are stiff in the front and should be very effective with pressure there.


Although Ben was both physically and mentally tired from the intense focus he was concerned at how he could generate speed on the flats. Just a few days earlier Ben was unable to skate or understand how skating and turning are related – due to his excessive counter rotation. This time – since the step forwards yesterday – skating and blending with dynamics – hence turning – was no problem. Ben could sense the power and timing in the skating action and how it fits in with the dynamics – and how you literally skate face first down a slalom course. What I like in Ben’s demonstration (video clip) is that he also retains his overall motion across the slope from turn to turn (apex to apex in a race course).

Sam didn’t know this exercise or why it was being done (the others did know) so he was slightly lost and used multiple skates in each turn – a useful exercise itself – but different. Next time he’ll get a proper explanation.

Alex, tired from travelling since early morning (not much sleep) was using his long new GS skis and as the snow was slow he struggled to bend them. He tried to get more pressure on the fronts to help to bend them but the snow was literally sticky so not really ideal for this. Ben had struggled to develop this exercise also a few days earlier on GS skis and the slalom skis made a big difference for this.


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Ben and Sam–Reverse Banana Turns

First clip in the video is with unintended counter rotation – thereafter it is mostly eliminated…

There was a clear mission today to remove Ben’s dependence on “counter rotation”. Ben was determined and deeply frustrated with it but despite understanding the alternative movements was unable to make them happen. I was wracking my brains to hack a way through Ben’s impenetrable firewall but good two-way communication got us there in the end.

Rather than revisiting the entire process that we had already worked through I decided to try a genuine torture device that I’d developed many years ago – which even I hate doing – a complex form of “snowplough” for advanced skiers. The key is to get the weight and centre of mass over the inside ski – with it flattened and acting as a brake controlling the turn. Meanwhile the outside leg  is actually pulled almost straight to hold the ski in a pure carving mode. While the turn is generated the outside ski begins behind the body and ends the turn in front of the body – constant adjustments having to be made to prevent the body rotating all the time. This worked and was the first time that Ben did not systematically counter-rotate his body to the outside of the turn throughout the entire turn… here is a video of me accurately demonstrating the killer (literally) exercise.

Even after this exercise all it took was a hot chocolate break and Ben had it all muddled up again. Time to think outside of the box! The essence of his problem here was simply that he had been relentlessly drilled to “make a banana” towards the exterior of the turn and to essentially move his centre of mass the wrong way. It was obvious now that the solution was to make the banana towards the inside of the turn instead – coming over the front of the lower ski both out of the old turn and into the new turn – which could be done with a single movement when in the snowplough but was more obvious even when skiing parallel. From that moment onwards Ben had it. We then spent time consolidating it and working it on steeper terrain – where Ben could begin to feel the life this brings to the skis. Basically correct development of angulation could be described as a “Reverse Banana Turn”. Ben felt like he was deliberately rotating to counter his counter rotation – whatever – the result was correct. It’s just the the counter rotation is so much Ben’s default mode that to prevent it actually feels like a direct rotation instead.

Unfortunately Ben’s slalom skis were stolen at lunch at the top of the mountain – which reinforces the serious need for my personal practice of locking skis together which I was unfortunately beginning to neglect.

Meanwhile I showed Simon and Ben how to get their centre of mass further behind when on a slope without leaning back. If you bend the knees and ankles only while standing on flat ground you fall backwards – but this same low position when facing somewhat downhill puts you on the fronts of the ski boots! This is the “safe” stance for off piste and is very effective. Better still is deep angulation and using the fronts of the skis even in deep snow – but to do that you need to learn to pull back the hip and sink in deeply though the turn – which we started working at with Sam because his main weakness currently is lack of hip angulation through the end of the turn. Working alongside Ben, Sam managed to improve this significantly…

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Sam, Simon day 1

Ben needed a rest and recovery day today so Sam and Simon came out instead. The sky was clear so we went straight up the Grande Motte but not the cable car at the top because the queuing was too long. Instead we skied off piste over on the Leisse below the glacier, followed by another off piste run from the top of the Vanoise chair (Panoramics restaurant) down between the pistes (hidden area) to below the top of the Lanches chair. There was some surprising depth of fresh snow at points and this got everyone properly warmed up and enjoying the day already. Slightly tricky snow like that always gets people to notice areas of their skiing where they are not as in control as they would like to be so this opened the door to starting work of ski technique.

We worked on three areas – Dynamics, Pivoting and Angulation…


  1. Part 1 – start of the turn (Magic Wall)

  2. Part 2 – end of the turn (Coming over the lower ski into the perpendicular)

Sam’s mission for the day was to get over as close to the ground as possible. His photos below show a 6 and a possible 6.5 on the steeper slope (scale of 0 to 10 – 0 being upright). All the information needed to understand dynamics is presented here – or use the menu at the top of the page.

Meanwhile Simon managed a 5 and a possible 6 on the steeper slope. Simon however showed the more active rebound from his skis on turn completion – using dynamics to complete the turn.

The “End of Turn” dynamics is the single most important aspect of skiing safely in poor snow off piste – and in dealing with skiing fast over bumps and rough terrain or using racing timing where the maximum pressure (apex) of the turn is to the side and not directly across the fall line. Sometimes off piste a racing timing can also be used – and the pattern of dynamics remains the same.

Sam initially found that he was on the back of the skis with dynamics until he was shown how getting the body properly downhill before the skis come around places you automatically forwards – without trying to be forwards. This is a geometrical effect.

There is more to being “forwards” than this – much of it is linked to correct hip angulation – and we touched on that later on – but in the morning there was plenty of experimentation and fun to have just by playing with raw dynamics and getting used to the ease and flow that it brings.

During our static dynamics exercises (pushing against my shoulder etc) I asked Sam to demonstrate how to “weight” his downhill ski with angulation as he would hear in a normal ski school. Standing on his left (downhill) leg Sam leaned over to his left and recognised clearly and correctly that this is exactly the opposite direction from dynamics. It’s important to be very clearly aware of what is both right and wrong in such issues!


Both Sam and Simon very quickly grasped the principle and coordination of pivoting – with Sam becoming determined to do it properly on one ski in both directions. This fixed page has all the demonstrations and explanations…

When a ski is in soft snow the entire base loads up with pressure but the ski also pushes the snow away like in a sideslip – so pivoting plays a key role in rapid turning in off piste skiing – if the snow if reasonably good – otherwise dynamics is the tool of choice. I’d mentioned that those skills can be seen as the sliders on the mixing table of a sound engineer and that you blend them according to needs. The pure pivot being an isolated skill. One of the main aims here is actually to develop and promote a consistent coordination pattern of centre of mass use, feet and adductor muscles – always pulling inwards and never pushing away! (Never push the heels out etc.)

Skiing works with “centripetal – inwards” force – driving you away from a straight line and by pulling in towards the centre we assist the skis – pushing outwards we work against ourselves and the skis. (Remember “centrifugal- outwards” force does not exist!)

Sam got the idea of putting his weight on the pole for this braking type of turn – (braking  - Always on the uphill edges and effectively sideslipping) – but his arm carriage in general needs some work. The left arm has a lot of tension from holding the elbow too high. We worked for a moment on the “ready” or “goalkeeper” poise and when throwing a ski pole to each empty hand his hands moved naturally into the right place.


Hip angulation was covered rapidly in the middle of a raging storm. Sam was amazingly patient with it all as it was also late in the day by now. This part of the session was mostly aimed towards Simon to protect his hips and also for Sam to protect his back in the future. Load testing was done on each to allow them to experience the reflex of the lower abdomen kicking in when the pelvis/hip is used appropriately. There is a detailed explanation of this in Ben’s post from yesterday. There is a reasonable explanation of how to pull back the hip properly during the turn here… 

When pulling the hip backwards there is a tendency for the pelvis to be pulled/tilted down at the front so it’s important to actively tilt the pelvis upwards to counteract this.

All motion in the body should begin at the centre – close to the core muscles – because this accesses the big muscles first and aligns the main body parts and bone structure. The first thing I move during the moment of relaxation during a turn transition is the pelvis.

The fantastic angulation that the counter rotation of the hip/pelvis permits is actually the key to safely using pressure on the fronts of the skis – the issue that Sam mentioned he was struggling with at the very start of the day off- piste. The point is that all the sliders on the mixing table have to be there and used for this to be achieved.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Ben day 2

Day 1 was all about introducing dynamics – great fun and very illuminating!

Day 2 was about dealing with the practical realities and starting to manage the consequences of dynamics. It was no surprise that this is where Ben started to find things difficult but once again his attitude, enthusiasm and effort were all great – the persistence starting to bring results towards the end of the day. Most of the specific issues we are dealing with took me between 5 and 30 years each to fully appreciate and explain – so I’d be slightly disturbed if somebody could grasp it all in just minutes!

In the parallel slalom course (video) Ben is experimenting with inclination. The issue now was how to tame the dynamics and make them constructive. Ben’s usual way of crossing over his skis would need to change also and his way of generating angulation…

Feet (part 2)

While indoors in the morning we looked at how to use the balls of the feet for skiing. First of all Ben was shown how to activate the muscles in the feet – placing the foot on the ground on its outside edge and holding it like that then stretching the ball of the foot down to make contact on the ground – then standing on the whole foot with this tension being held. This activates the muscles in the feet and fully controls pronation. From there you can raise the heel about a centimeter off the floor and support yourself on the ball of the foot – keeping the foot that way through a range of movement – hence preventing the ankle collapsing in the same manner as standing on the front of the heel.

We didn’t actually get around to applying this in a practical manner in the skiing during the day – we are not at this stage yet – but at least Ben knows how to use any part of his foot now.

(Inside knee much better. Shoulder excessively counter rotated – subject of today’s coaching)


Ben’s current skiing involves a counter rotation of the upper body near the start of each turn – facing the shoulders outwards – with the intention of creating early angulation. This way allows him to get strongly into the new turn without using much dynamics and is effective up to a point but has serious limitations. The unnatural movement pattern is more clearly visible when free skiing and is often referred to as “park and ride”. This leads Ben to be forced to retract his legs at the end of a GS turn and transition with a movement over the backs of his skis as he counter rotates his upper body to start the next turn.

Trying to explain how angulation works to Ben was difficult because of the confusion his current movement pattern brought to the table when attempting to change it. Initially I thought that working directly on angulation would do the trick – then thought that skating would help communicate the issue but eventually discovered that his underlying trouble was with the part of dynamics that we had not yet looked at – how to finish a turn. We were later able to identify the “cause” of the blockage in this way – instead of wasting more time focusing on issues that were really just the effects of this underlying cause.

Meanwhile – we did work on angulation.

If you turn your shoulders to either face downhill or to the outside of the turn you twist your spine in a way that is destructive (Looking down from above – same direction as the shoulders.) Basically, as the ski comes around in front of the body the hip joint ends up in front of the rib cage and angulation is either limited or something weird happens – which in Ben’s case is his inside knee issue). The shoulders facing downhill also causes the postural muscles in the core to fail – for which I used a loading test – getting Ben to turn his shoulders and lift up against my hands/weight – it can be immediately felt in the lower back.

Correct angulation is achieved by pulling back the hip on the outside ski so the the pelvis faces more outwards or downhill than the shoulders. This twists the base of the spine in the opposite direction – preventing the hip being pulled around by the ski, letting the postural muscles (lower abdomen) work and allowing a far deeper flexion at the hip and so correct angulation. This is probably the most important thing that can be learned in skiing – protecting the lower back, facilitating excellent technique and also protecting the hip joints themselves.

In simple terms you pull back the outside hip from the start to the end of the turn – not the shoulder. You change hips during the turn transition.


Ben had trouble skating and connecting skating with skiing due to his persistent counter rotation. We tried several exercises but it wasn’t breaking through. Ben himself however discovered an important thing when borrowing my skis. When going along the flats he pushed both skis outwards simultaneously in a diverging skating action and with then carving allowed them to be pulled back in together – making two separate arcs. This is commonly done on skates and can be used for propulsion. If you just take one side of this – then that would be how the body and leg should work together – also explaining how angulation actually develops with a leg skating out to the side and then coming back in front of the body.

We used the static exercise seen in the video to show how the leg actively pushes the ski forwards and then pulls it inwards in front of the body– not just for a skating action but this is actually what controls turn radius – making the system far more active.

Dynamics (part 2)

Finally this nut was cracked by getting Ben to try to come over the front of his downhill ski at the end of the turn. It just seemed impossible for him to get over the ski and this was verified when using “hanger” turns – completing the turn transition and momentarily entering the next turn all still on the same downhill ski.

The point is that the angulation and skating can’t be successful until this second part of dynamics is mastered. You have to be able to let the lower ski lift you up out of the turn over the front of the ski and then fall over it into the next turn.

Just like a motorbike drops down into a turn then comes back up out of a turn the skier has to do this too – it’s the slope that seems to complicate the matter – but not if we realise that we need to be working in the perpendicular to the mountain – something to be developed…

Ben started to get this turn transition by the end of the session (final part of the video) and he started to look much more natural – about 75% of the way there – which is a huge step to make.

Some photos of Hirscher with dynamics – inclination…





Sunday, March 25, 2018

Ben day 1

Ben is a nice skier, has a great attitude and learns quickly. His Giant Slalom looks stronger than his free skiing because he strongly counter-rotates his upper body too early in the turn when free skiing – far less so in the gates. Ben’s main weapon in the GS is that he works with his long legs to push the skis through from one turn to another rapidly and this is a strong point. Once dynamics involving the Centre of Mass are added and made the primary importance then the current skills should make him a very effective racer.


Morning commenced with a look at how the feet can be made active and the ankles strong and supportive. In the video you can see how Ben was flexing his ankles in skiing. When the angle of bending of the ankle is far more than the 12 degree (approx) angle of a ski boot then the stiff ski boot takes over the role of supporting the body – instead of bone and muscle. This is one strong candidate for the cause of Ben’s sore shins.

Standing on the front of the heel – directly beneath the ankle joint – then flexing is completely different. The ankle locks up with the feet muscles activating and the anterior tibialis running up beside the shin all working to strengthen and stabilise the ankle at the necessary 12 degree limit – so the leg can interact correctly with the ski boot for transferring pressure to the ski and absorbing shocks normally (bending only the knee and hip). This muscle activation is reflex driven. If weight goes back over the whole foot then when flexing the ankle will once again collapse.

When standing on the heel the foot can be rocked onto its inside edge easily because the joint responsible for this rocking lies between the heel and the ankle – called the subtaler joint – it is important to be able to keep both feet rocked onto their inside edges at most times – and for this reason I’m generally anti-orthotics because the foot needs room to move and change shape.

By the end of this first day however I started to suspect that there is another reason (or additional) for Ben’s shin problem. The “bad” shin is his right one – and this is the knee he drops into the turn severely causing the ski to grab at the front – remove all the pressure from his outside ski and then to fall. It looks like this is happening frequently and violently impacting the right shin.


Ben was introduced to dynamics (The Magic Wall) exactly in the same way that I would introduce it to a complete beginner. He was equally thrown off by it as they would be – such an alien feeling initially. This is great to see because it confirms my observation that Ben was not aware of using dynamics actively. We did all the standard exercises explained above on my fixed “Dynamics” page… (link on the menu at the top of the blog)

Gradually Ben discovered the wonder of trying to extend his dynamic range – which on a scale of 0 to 10 had been 5 initially. Below if a healthy “3” which was his objective for the first day. (0 being flat on the ground)

Ben was given the “centrifugal force” explanation of why “balance” is inappropriate and misleading as a concept when working with dynamics. We use active disequilibrium (falling over) to make the skis work and what we feel in “stability” not balance – from organized accelerations. Our job as a skier is to fall over and the ski’s job is to bring us up. Without trying to fall then we never really work out what it’s all about. (Centrifugal Force is a “fictitious force” – used for calculation methods only)

Ben was able to begin experimenting with “inclination” instead of being limited to thinking about “angulation”. Use big inclinations for fast, longer turns and angulation when turns are tight and quickness is needed from turn to turn.

Dynamics are how a skier learns that skiing is all about the active motion of the Centre of Mass. The skis interact with the Centre of Mass (We looked at what the Centre of Mass is)


There was a brief forage into the world of “skating” but we dropped that without getting too far for the time being because another fall caused by the inside leg being used inappropriately made it imperative to give that issue priority.

Pivot – Inside Leg

The following two pictures are both a fraction of a second before falling…

Ben impressed me by going through a complete program of pivoting skills in about 10 minutes – which normally takes people several years. From this he was able to understand the separation of the edge of the foot from the edge of the ski. To simplify – this means always stand on the inside edges of both feet, engage the adductor muscles of both legs (pulling sideways inwards – pulling the legs together) There is a fixed page on the Pivot in the menu at the top of the page The idea was to use the pivot to fully experience the coordination and skills then apply exactly the same coordination to carving. The photograph below shows Ben achieving this – with the inside knee pulling towards the outside knee instead of aiming for the snow!

Great first day Ben – well done!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Luke and Leonie day 5

Today involved an off piste tour (Col Pers), working on developing technique for steeps and another black bumps descent.

Col Pers had a fairly rough traverse into it due to hardened melted snow, which can be found difficult. Access into the other side of the col was steep – as usual and this exposed certain difficulties and lack of technique for dealing with the steeps. Other steep sections deep snow also posed problems. The final descent into the Gorge de Malpaset was fine but with windpacked snow – which presented an interesting challenge. Leonie did well there – managing to work on combining angulation with pressure on the ski fronts to get them to work in the tricky snow.

Short Swings

Although we worked on new technique today it was constrained to only one subject – “steeps” and involved mainly short swings.

  1. Jumping – using the legs – (Leonie started out by bowing and yanking her torso upwards instead of squatting)
  2. Extending the legs in mid air and landing on straight legs then bending to absorb
  3. Using the pole and moving the body over the lower ski into the perpendicular prior to jumping (not a vertical jump)
  4. Pivot point under the tibia – not the front or back of the ski
  5. Maintain angulation, pull back outside hip and tilt the pelvis up
  6. Complete 180 turns with no speed collected
  7. Partial jumps to get the turn started
  8. Jump mainly from the downhill ski (instead of lifting it out of the way!!!)
  9. Jump as an extension of end of turn dynamics – or rebound – also at speed
  10. Windscreen wiper pivots – inside leg advance to have feet at same height on the mountain – helps prevent rotation on steeps – not appropriate in bumps – legs rotating independently in their hip sockets
  11. Pushing the advanced ski ahead to enter the next turn

Friday, March 23, 2018

Luke and Leonie day 4

Parallel slalom in the morning then off piste and bumps in the afternoon – all the main physical constraints that drive adaptation and improvement!!!


Luke improved by 1.7 seconds (30.28) and Leonie by 1.1 seconds (35.59) over yesterday. Although Luke was using proper parallel slalom skis – 18m turn radius and with raised racing plates – all especially designed for Ted Ligety – that wasn’t really his reason for improvement. Those skis will only really be a great help once he is able to carve his line. It was however an opportunity to feel the difference between ski types.

Today’s main goal was to increase dynamic range and both succeeded in that. The fastest times were posted when visualisation of a 3D banked track was used – while trying to place the apex of the turns at the side of the poles instead of directly below. Pivoted turns are braking turns and require the skis to come through the turn beneath the skier and then pole support for the CoM – effectively placing the apex of the turn in the fall line. Racing requires accelerations and minimum braking so the apex goes to the side of the pole/gate and there is enough turning from the ski to propel the skier across the hill without holding on to the turn so long.

Luke was working on taking a tighter line and trying to focus on correcting his pelvic tilt to deal with his right leg – quite a challenge to hold it all together.

Off Piste

Leonie managed to continue her work in extending her dynamic range when off piste and did a good job of dealing with heavy snow, crud and crust. Getting to the inside of the new turn is critical – especially if you are aiming to use the fronts of the skis. Only angulation will make pressure on the fronts of the skis possible when doing this off piste.

Luke meantime was battling with his right hip and pelvis relationship. My apologies for missing the spectacular cartwheel. Luke reluctantly agreed to a drinks break after the second hot off-piste descent and despite his declaration of not being hot he was literally steaming – and the proof is in the video…


Another black bumps run to finish the day – and finish everyone off. The “S” however is never groomed. Luke declared that it’s the first time he’s ever enjoyed bumps. Leonie was not far behind but felt a bit frustrated. The bumps were not pretty – being undercut by skiers traversing in the gully – but the pivoting drills and angulation/dynamics work was really starting to pay off here. The only thing added was to push the ski down into the hollow with the toes after the start of each pivot – and to get rapidly into the angulated posture to sideslip the lower face of each bump.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Luke and Leonie day 3

Technical day today.


We began today where we left off yesterday – working on coming over the lower ski while pivoting – using the pole for support. This took quite a bit of work due to the general reluctance to move the body weight properly over the downhill ski onto the pole. Leonie really caught on and started to link her turns – feeling the dynamics. Learning dynamics – moving out of the turn – is harder with the pivot than in carving or wider turns because of the reliance on the pole for support – but the tightness of the turns helps to develop angulation, feel for moving over the fronts of the skis and control of rotation.

Once the dynamics and coordination started to settle it was put to test in the slalom course – where it would give stability and security – but we were not yet looking for speed: Luke 31.97 secs and Leonie 36.69 secs.


Basic carving was revised (hadn’t done this for a long time) because you can’t get the support in slalom to incline if you don’t carve. Most people make the same error when initiating a carving turn as they do when initiating a pivot – they fail to actively move the centre of mass into the new turn far enough – because they unconsciously want the support before moving – but it is much more powerful with it comes after moving. There is a delay in the transition before the pressure is picked up but that must not cause a hesitation when driving the CoM into the new turn.

In racing today the turn initiation is often with a “stivot” which is like a huge pivot done while also dramatically inclining the body and then slamming down on the edge to grip into a carve. The stivot take place in the pre-pressure phase just mentioned.

The carve was done with the same feet/adductor use as used in the two ski pivot. All other body mechanics were the same as for the pivot – angulation – fronts of skis etc. There is no need for pole use because when carving there is no sideways braking motion of the skis and all the support necessary comes from the uplifting effect of the skis.

Pelvic Tilt

Reluctantly I voyaged into the murky depths of Luke’s postural issues – wanting to reconfigure his stance to fully take advantage of his recent progress. Through a process of deduction I worked out that the fundamental problem was lack of “neutral pelvis” and that he would need to tilt the pelvis up at the front. The act of pulling back the hip actually pulls the pelvis down at the front so even if normally the upwards pelvic tilt blocks the hips and lower back in some people in this case if just acts to neutralise the pelvic tilt – balancing the pulling back of the hip. The main weakness was on Luke’s right hip – same as for me – and we both felt a huge difference. Luke felt his legs taking less of the strain and easier ability to stay forward in the boots – plus a feeling of strength and connectedness going through the core right down to the feet. I felt that strength difference too – and the abdomen helping – none of which actually happens at all without the combined use of the Chi hip action! Several years ago I’d realised the need for everyone to use pelvic tilt when chirunning – but hadn’t understood the necessity of bringing this into my own skiing version until now.

Compression Turns

Taking the pivoting dynamics and pole support into bumps we worked a little on compression turns (on the flat)  – where the pole is used to support the CoM moving down while crossing over the front of the lower ski (instead of the usual coming up). In actual bumps skied in rhythm the legs are actually compressed whereas in this exercise the body is lowered (until the knees are flexed at 90 degrees angles).

In the bumps Leonie in particular had a tendency to extend over the bump instead of flex – and also the extension was made into the next turn – not even out of the end of a turn. (clearly a legacy from pre-MetaSki days!) – or a stray emotion.

Leg Retraction

When carving the turn can be completed with leg retraction to catapult the body over the skis (sometimes however referred to as a “cross under” with normal timing being called a “cross over” ie – body crossing over the skis – as opposed to skis crossing under the body) The cross under is followed with a powerful uphill/outside leg extension to force the CoM down into the centre of the following turn. Luke was able to follow me and observe this clearly.

The point of learning compression and retraction is that they are elements that integrate into all skiing – perhaps dialed down most of the time but essential skills to pull out of the hat when required.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Luke and Leonie day 2

Big off-piste day today – not much time for technical input but we managed some all the same.


Revision of how the outside hip in the turn has to be held back while the ski pulls the leg around the turn. Both were having trouble with hip rotation preventing effective angulation and safe pressure on the fronts of the skis later in the turn. The effect on the spine and the reflex activated postural muscles had to be revised also – with the load testing added. Basically – the pelvis has to “face downhill” not the shoulders (reversing the direction of the twist of the base of the spine).

Pulling back the hip combined with a strong sinking down action at the hip allows the leg to rotate more easily in the hip socket. The rotation is “passive” is that there is no twisting of the foot or leg.

Luke for a moment experienced “2nd Order Confusion” when despite having already been generally moving his hip the right way he thought for a moment that he had been doing the opposite and was now having a revelation.

Leonie just experienced ordinary confusion for a while but both were straightened out  fairly quickly.

Foot Forwards

While the hip is pulled backwards the foot/ski has to be pushed forwards – same leg.

Two Pivot Platform

The two ski pivot is properly explained on the fixed page accessed from the menu at the top of the page. Basically both needed to make a two footed platform for deep snow – to avoid the separation of the legs and instability that it can cause in those conditions. We looked at how the pivoting on each ski combined to pull the legs together and make a single platform. In deep snow the entire base of the ski loads up and so the mechanics of the pivot actually needs some forwards motion downhill – but the ski pushes the snow in a similar manner to sideslipping.

The angulation and chi-hips are used to develop  the pole support required for this pivot and to enable to pivoting from the ski fronts. Both Leonie and Luke need to be able to get further over the fronts of the skis with the use of pole support  - same when gripping on ice with the ski fronts on steep terrain.

I’m not going to waffle on any longer – there were loads of photos to sort out this evening and a long video to edit and upload…