Exercises help to develop or refine movements, they can be physical task or a mental focus. They break a turn into smaller pieces or add tasks to create new awareness and sensations. The athletic stance exercise is done at the start of every lesson.
Top exercises for athletic stance are bouncing on toes with chest over toes, and flexing ankles forward and back. For turning it is a gliding wedge with speed and slight turns, point toes or pushing on one big toe then the other. Add bouncing on the outside ski and touching the outside hand to the knee.
Uphill christie is the main exercise to create great ski moves, progressively flexing the ankle and tipping to the outside of the turn.
Do the static exercises below at the start of every lesson, tell students to start in an athletic stance every time before they ski.
Statically have students stand with their hands in front like they are holding a lunch tray. Bounce on the balls of their feet with their chest over the balls of their feet (for most kids toes works better). Have them stop before the top. This is the athletic stance.
Demonstrate in front of students standing perpendicular to them so they can see the side view. Then watch them from the side and provide feedback.
Some people will struggle a great deal, they will not be able to coordinate the flexing of their ankles, knees, and waist. It is hard for them to become aware of how to move a joint. They may have too little flex at the ankles, too much flex at the knees, and too much or not enough flex at the waist.
Here are several things you can try: video
1- Bouncing until the skis come off the ground
2- Moving down and up touching the knees with the chest over the toes. Make sure the ankles are bending.
3- Loosen top buckle and power strap to get more ankle flex. Flex just the ankles as far forward as possible. Compare to flexing as far back as possible. Then just a little fore/aft. Then just middle to forward. Flex down and up bending the ankles first then knees.
4- Compare flexing each joint separately, ankles fore/aft, knees, waist
5- Have them bounce quickly from right foot to left foot. Compare chest over toes to: chest leaning back, then knees bent like sitting in a chair.
6- Physically position them, have them move up/down as you add weight on their shoulders
7- Relate it to another sport they play: soccer, tennis, volleyball
8- Put pole tips on top of ski tips and push down, try in motion
9- Stand on their ski tips and have them push you forward
10- When they are in motion use verbal commands like: stand up, on toes, hips over feet, chest over toes, more ankle less knee, hands forward, look ahead
11- Bouncing on toes in gliding wedge
12- Push them up if positioned like they are sitting in a chair
13- For beginners use a T-bar in front of their ankles to control speed and reduce fear, it is like having them do a very slow flat straight run even though they are on the wonder carpet hill.
14- Have them stand across the slope to reposition in their athletic stance
15- Use wedges between the back of their inner boot and shell
When skiing, it is common to see people flexing their knees too fast, too much, or too soon relative to their ankles which puts them back on the tails of their skis where most people ski. Some skiers will stand too low and have their feet wider than their hips; others will be tall with their feet together.
The skiing stance changes throughout the turn as skiers are moving in all 4 directions. Skiers move forward as the skis are edged and back when released.
Gliding wedge to turns
Ski moves start from the ground up and use momentum to flow into the new turn. Using a narrow wedge with speed make shallow turns to produce parallel turns. Turn toes or push on toes or both.
Skiers need to be in an athletic stance on a gentle slope. Bouncing on the outside ski, or touching the hand to the outside knee are basic exercises. Turn just enough to start slowing down, minimal tuning to let momentum move over the feet into the new turn.
This is the most basic exercise to develop ski moves. It is the second part of the turn where the body is trained to keep moving over the feet as they turn. This is done with progressive ankle flex and tipping to the outside of the turn (angulation). Timing is critical to keep the body moving downhill.
People will bank, rotate, move back rather than move over the forces of the turn pushing them away from the new turn. See all the tipping exercises below.
Do a move statically, then in a traverse, lower half of a turn(uphill christie,) whole turn, then link turns. A fan exercise is uphill christies from shallow to steeper traverses. Garlands are repeating a move in a traverse. Fans and garlands can be done in both directions, watch for traffic and do when not busy.
Compare extreme and opposite movements
Skiers can be very unaware of how they are moving; sometimes they will make the opposite move that you ask them to make. To increase their awareness and break old movement patterns, have them practice the opposite move, or an extreme version of the desired move so they can feel the difference.
Once the moves can be made on gentle slopes; gradually progress to steeper slopes, higher speeds, and different snow conditions. Make small then bigger turns. Each step will challenge the new movement, and old habits will often return.
There are four basic movements: fore/aft, up/down, lateral, and rotary. These moves affect the edging, pressuring, and rotation of the ski. Putting these four movements together with the right formula and timing will produce smooth offensive skiing.
Exercises can be organized around these four movements, or how what they work on for edging, pressuring, and rotation, or as below they can be organized to develop Ski Moves in order of how the moves are applied in a turn, SWIFT for a more specific approach. Only a few will be used in an hour lesson.
Uphill christies are the fundamental drill to develop Ski Moves. They allow instructors and coaches to work on progressive ankle flexing and tipping in a wide range of drills that can then be taken to linked turns. Touching the hand to the outside knee is the basic "flex and tip exercise", and there are many variations described below. Uphill christies are also a great way to evaluate skiers. They highlight the natural moves most skiers will make when doing them.
1. Statically step from the downhill ski to the uphill ski, then do it in a traverse.
2- With skis across the slope plant both poles downhill then transfer weight to the uphill ski and project body downhill to lean on the poles.
3- Link medium size turns on a gentle slope starting from a steep traverse(more downhill) transfer weight to the outside ski and make the top of the turn first. Don't turn very far across the hill.
4- Thousand Steps on a gentle hill and make incomplete turns.
5- For smaller turns, ski straight down a gentle slope with speed in a small wedge, then add quick weight transfers to automatically create parallel turns.
Also called: parallel position, strong inside half, counter, active anticipation
1- Do a progression (static, traverse, uphill christies, link turns) advancing the inside half: foot, knee, hip, shoulder hand video
2- Do uphill christies then link turns with:
- Poles horizontal and moving forward with the inside half video
- Poles on shoulders (cross style)
With no poles
-Hands on thighs
- Grab the outside thigh with the inside hand (face the force) video
- Hands on hips
- Arms crossed video
- Hands together behind the back
- Hands as if using poles
3- Compare turns with rotation to ones with inside lead
4- Compare a lot of quick early lead to progressive lead
1- Statically stand in an athletic stance and flex forward at the ankles. Be sure the athletic stance is maintained. No extra movement at the waist or knees. Check the boots to be sure they are not too stiff. Loosen the power strap and top buckles for the following exercises.
2- In a traverse:
- Repeatedly flex ankles way fore/aft (weight on downhill ski with inside lead)
- Flex ankles just a little forward/aft (no extra: knee, waist, or back)
- Flex ankles way forward and just back to center video
- Flex ankles just a little forward and back to center video
3- Do uphill chrisites in both directions with progressive ankle flexing and inside lead. This is where skiers add extra moves: watch for rotation, leaning in, backing up especially at the ankles or waist and back, dropping down quickly at the knees or with the ankles and knees. Have them do an excessive amount of the problem move and then compare it to proper amount.
- Mental focus on the bottom of feet; try moving weight from the arch to the ball of the feet
- Mental focus on the hips, move from above arches to behind heels, to in front of the balls of the feet
- Raise the toes to help produce the flex
4- Do a fan exercise, when you steepen the traverse the speed increases, watch for unwanted movements back, down, or inside, they will creep back in.
5- Link the turns with progressive ankle flex. Watch for problems as rhythm triggers old movement patterns
- Mental focus on making a move like pushing on a gas pedal to start a turn; then letting off to finish.
- Compare progressive flexing ankles: to turns with ankle flex that ends quick or starts late
- Compare turns flexing the ankles versus the just the knees. Flexing just the knees or flexing the knees too soon, too quick, or too much is a common problem.
- Link the ankle flex with other sensations to reinforce it. Connect the flexing with rounding the upper back
- Gradually buckle the boots and tighten the power strap to return their normal sensations. Watch for the ankle flex to disappear. They may also have been making their upper buckles and power strap/booster strap too tight, or the boots are too stiff
- Challenge the ankle flexing with more speed or steepness
6- Side slip down the hill while moving down and up in the middle of the skis, keep the path straight
7- Falling leaf from a side slip flex fore and aft at the ankles to create the image a leaf falling video
Hip angulation for GS turns. The uphill chrisitie is the most important exercise even for a high level racer. This focuses on the progressive nature of the angulation in a controlled manner and is very hard for most to do well without adding natural moves; back, inside, rotation. Then do fan exercises, and then link turns.
1- Statically stand in a skiing stance with inside lead. Practice flexing the ankles and tipping (flex and tip.) Use a ski pole or a wall for support. video
2- Do uphill christies and combine the progressive ankle flex with these moves:
-hand to knee video
- Put hands on knees and continuously increase pressure on top of outside knee video
- Slide downhill hand from the hip to the knee (combine with ankle flex for the “flex and tip” drill) linking christie
-Outside hand pushes the inside knee into the turn
- Put hand on hip and progressively push the hip inside the turn link christie - Mental focus on internal tasks such as touch the downhill rib to the hip, raise the inside hip, raise the inside shoulder, drop the downhill shoulder, or tip the head to the outside of the turn
- Hold poles horizontal; progressively tip the poles and shoulders to the outside
- Hold poles like pointers with arms horizontal; progressively angulate until the downhill pole touches the snow. Watch for angulation that is too soon or too quick video
- In normal pole position, progressively angulate until the tip of the downhill pole touches the snow, then increase pressure on the pole tip until the end of the edging video
- Cross- put poles on shoulders and gradually tip the poles
-Ski below the student pulling on the end of their poles to help them create angles
4- Link turns doing any of the above
5-Turn on the outside ski only, then the inside ski only, and then ski on just one ski.
6 - Finish edging later (more completed turns) beyond the fall line closer to the next crossover point.
Knee angulation- for small turns
1- Side slip edge sets with pole touches vary the tempo; focus on ankles, knees or toes.
2- Moon turns – lock the downhill edge and ski across the hill.
3- Edge lock – start in a wedge then lock one edge then the other. These can start from a wedge turn for wedge locks.
4- Crab walk – step from edge lock to edge lock in a wedge. video
5- Hop turns – hop from edge set to edge set with the skis parallel. video
6- Weeble wobble – roll from inside to outside edges in a straight run.
7- Hockey stops
8- Partner pull – lead skier pulls the follower using poles; rear skier makes small turns.
9- Railroad track turns.
10- Make hard pole touches. Uphill christie with a touch
11- Hold poles below the grips.
12- Tuck turns
13- Edge the inside ski first; compare to edging both simultaneously.
Rotary movements- active and passive
1- Statically lift one ski and turn it
2- Traverse steering both feet uphill
3- Do a fan exercise with steering movements
4- Link steered turns
5- Steer the start of a carved GS turn (Stivot)
6- Straight run then pivot to side slip straight downhill with weight centered
7- Linked pivot slips weight on downhill ski when release, keep straight path
8- Hold poles as a window frame vertical in each hand, focus on target below
Vertical Movements and release
1- Static move up and down while centered over the middle of the ski
2- Traverse with moving up and down while staying centered
3- Fan moving down and staying centered
4- Link turns with a lot of up and down staying centered
5- Pivot slips with a lot of down and up, maintain straight path to show centered video
6- Leapers and almost leapers
7- Compare extension to retraction to release the skis
8- Relax legs while still edging to maintain momentum
9- Retract new inside ski at cross over
10- Finish edging well after apex, use progressive knee flex to keep COM moving
Vertical movements- for small turns
1- Statically jump with hard verse soft landings.
2- Make small turns with a lot of smooth down and up, and then make a quick down with a hard stopping of the down motion to create rebound.
3- Hop turns with hard then soft landings.
4- Bounce through the turns.
5- Quick down motion with strong steering and hard edge sets
6-Traverse moguls and absorb each one
7- Ski moguls with quick extension on downhill sides, maintain flow when absorbing
Rhythm and symmetry- holistic tasks when linking turns
1- Change the rate or amount of pole swing
2- Make soft pole touches
3- Just the swing with no pole touch
4- Just touch one pole on the weak side to force awareness on weak side
5- Put both poles in the weak hand and make pole touches
6- Make two pole touches before turning
7- Synchronized skiing; then ski turning opposite to the leader, stay very close to the leader
8- Ski from large to small turns and back
9- Ski three small, then three medium turns, keep repeating the pattern.
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