I was fresh and ready to start teaching. After a very good summer and autumn of trading, I was ready. On my first weekend back I was greeted with very cold -10* temps. Fortunately the snow is very good right now.
On Saturday 5 of us skied and braved the chilly temps. Mark B., Craig H, Fred G., Ben, and instructor Brian Keith. Since it was very early in the season we chose a prudent lesson plan. Keep our head above our feet for most of the day.
One of the key concepts we played with on both Saturday and Sunday was LIGHT SHIN CONTACT. We create this not from driving the knee forward, but rather from Dorsiflexion (lifting the toes upward). Then we lifted the big toe of the new inside foot up as we moved through the transition of the turn. This put us into the best position to start our new turn.
On Sunday we focused on a triangle on the bottom of our foot. The focal points being Ball of the foot on the small toe side, ball of the foot on the big toe side, and the front side of the heel. We can then move smoothly across the triangle from side to side. We do not want to move from one side of the triangle to the other too rapidly, as that can through us out of balance. A better option is to move gradually across the foot, as we move through the turn. At transition (flat ski) we will be near the middle of the foot, and as we move into the turn we move toward the side of the foot. At the apex of the turn we are generally at the highest edge angle in our carved turn. The amateur tends to be near the highest edge angle near the bottom of the turn. We are not amateurs.
We worked on changing our turnshape focus from a C-shaped turn where the endpoints were on the gravity line (fall line), and rather created an Apex to Apex (widest outside points) focus. This focus can change the skier from a breaking move at transition to a skier who glides through a transition. As Marty E. (Sunday student) so appropriately stated, “This makes the transition part of the process” rather than the outcome of the turn. Well put.
On Sunday the temps were much nicer. Thank goodness. I always enjoy having a student come back, and on Sunday Fred G, and Craig H made it back. It is even better when a student invites a friend, so great to have you Craig A. Joining us was Marty E and John M. We had 3 engineers in the group, and I had to remind myself about the concept: Conservation of Angular Momentum.
We chose laying down some twin arcs on the hill. We started off slowly with the Triangle concept, then moved to creating arcs with just the outside ski.
The most difficult part while learning this move is patience. It is so easy to want to twist (rotate) to start the turn, or get it finished. This twist without having the ski tracking in the snow causes the ski to skid, thereby screwing up our clean arc. We then traversed the slope increasing, then decreasing the edge angle by “Turning the Stripes” and using Circumduction – The circular (or, more precisely, conical) movement of a body part, such as a ball-and-socket joint or the eye. It consists of a combination of flexion, extension, adduction, and abduction. “Windmilling” the arms or rotating the hand from the wrist are examples of circumductive movement.
I prefer this movement rather than just tipping the legs to the side to gain edge. This circumduction provides directional control as well as edging manipulation.
Do I use these words on hill, very rarely on the hill. But since we had a few engineers who were busting my chops 😉 I thought I would give you a little technical info to chew on until next week.
Yes, it was that cold on Saturday
We then did a few garlands to tip the skis up on edge, and then gradually off the edge, and then back onto edge. Having total control of these movements are essential to versatile skiing.
Remember, the 3 skills we can use are Tipping (Edging), Turning (Rotation), and Pressure Control (Flexing, extending, and some other PC strategies).
On a few Peak 7 runs we added a pedaling movement to manage edge angle and rolls in the hill.
We played, talked and had fun this weekend. I am always thankful for what I do, and who I get to do it with. Thanks to my skiers this weekend. I look forward to watching you make huge (and subtle) strides in your skiing this year.