I am being lazy here and going to be combine 5 classes in one single post.
Most of the times, i get asked what i am learning in this class or what runs are we doing. When i tell people its mainly the basics and most of the times we are on blue runs doing drills, lot of times they give me surprised look.
Being an “advanced” class one would expect us to be on harder runs which we are slowly progressing towards but at the same time if our basics are not solid we are going to struggle on those runs.
The things we are working on,
Short Radius Turns:
Making short radius turns and making sure that we stay in the fall line. This mainly involves isolation of the upper and lower body which sounds easy but its not. Bringing the knees and the legs around at the end of turn without moving the upper body, keeping the shoulders straight and looking forward always is a real challenge.
One of the drills we did to help with this is that our instructor was at the bottom of hill, he would make a number and we had to say it loud as we were skiing. This was to make sure that we were looking downhill all the time while making our short radius turns.
Position of Hands and the Shoulders:
Personally this has been a bane but at the same time has helped improved my skiing a lot. I have a tendency to drop my uphill hand which tends to push me backwards specially in moguls and choppy conditions. It also results in closing of shoulders which makes it harder to lean into the new turn and control the skis.
Heisman drill is something we did to help us with this, i tried to find video of this drill online but surprisingly youtube had nothing on it. let me try to describe it as best as i can.
We left our poles and hopped on the bunny chair and we had to push out our uphill hand forward after initiating the turn. this would force our shoulders to open up during the turn and they would be facing the slope remaining perpendicular to the fall line. While skiing you look like the heisman trophy hence the name.
First it was hard to get the co-ordination right and i kept pushing out with the wrong hand but once i understood the objective of the drill it became lot easier.
I have gotten much better with my hands and shoulder position and on steeper slopes or moguls make a conscious effort to bring them forward, its a constant work in progress.
Flexion/Extension and Leaning Forward:
Right from the day 1 our instructor mentioned about leaning forward and submitting into the turn, feeling that pressure on the boot all the time.
The key about flexion and extension is the angle your hips make in relation to the boots, while extending the hips and the boots should be in a straight line since the ski boots are already at an angle forward this straight line will cause the hips to be forward and all the body weight in front of the ski and not back.
We did quite a few runs in the art park near canyon lodge so while going over series of small bumps we would lean forward and get to used to the feeling of submission. I have gotten into a habit of leaning forward while waiting in the ski lines or on flat terrain. It has helped to build that muscle memory.
Edging and Carving:
This is another area which can be worked on all the time, Skiing is all mainly about using the edges of ski and how much pressure needs to be applied and when. It also depends on the snow conditions.
I haven’t been leaning forward enough and engaging the edge of my skis to initiate a turn. most of the turns have been completed by bringing out the tails of my skis instead of using the front. I am also pushing too hard with my heels while turning and not giving the edges time to engage.
By leaning little bit more and using my ankles to start a turn has helped me to start using my edges. This weekend was the first time i felt that i was using the edges of my skis to carve out a turn. When it first happened, i was like oh wow this is how it feels when i use my skis how they are mean’t to be used.
I feel that overall my skiing has improved a hell lot and i was courageous enough to try out my first double black run, even though it was a small one at June Mountain it made me feel better than i can ski it in a much improved fashion as compared to last year. Its no where close to being perfect or looking good but its a start.