|A Basic Exercise For Learning How To Ski|
Monday 30 December 2019
Here is an exercise for a beginner skier that will make your first trip down a hill a success. It is a difficult at first but a little practice it becomes easier. It is important because includes one basic move and three main skills. It trains one leg at a time so that when you have to make your first stop you will be able to move your legs in the appropriate manor. It is a fundamental move in turning and stopping.
When I give a lesson, I use this exercise to determine a student’s skill level. As you progress you can use this exercise to test your own ski level. If you are following my lessons one or two circles should be sufficient for a start.
You form a large circle by pushing one ski out sideways, with the tip of the ski staying fixed, and the tail of the ski forming a circle. The picture shows 6 segments as it makes a good diagram, but the number of segments can be more or less depending on how the length of your skis and legs. The motion should be slow and smooth of the snow surface, like spreading soft butter on a piece of bread. No lifting the ski. It is easier if you use one ski on and one ski off. You push one ski as far as it is comfortable in each segment. Switch the ski to the other foot and rotate in the opposite direction. When you revisit this exercise, 2 skis on will be fine.
It is best to form smaller segments first and gradually enlarge them as you become more competent. At first, it is important to get the motion as smooth as possible ignoring your body position. As you improve it try to turn your body to face sideways across the rotating ski. This is a skill called pivoting or counter rotation. It is dominant at the end of a turn and the start of the next.
The other two skills are pressure control and edging control. For controlling the pressure, you must press more on your heel than your toe. For controlling the ski edge you must tilt your ski at just the right angle for it to move smoothly. Some of this won’t make sense until you try.
I'm an instructor for VISAS, Vancouver Island Adaptive Snow Sports. My last student was a 9 year old Asperger's Syndrome boy. I told him when in motion on skis it is best to lean forward. He asked my why. I told him it increased his rotational inertial, making him more stable and less likely to fall backwards. He replied " I don't know what rotational inertia is." I told him that is because you are not a mechanical engineer. That seemed to satisfy him. It is a mantra for all new skiers. Bend forward when in motion. Try to include bending forward in this exercise.