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…

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