Tinderbox ski school director Chris Fecher let’s us take a sneaky peak into the foundations of ski technique.
Skiing has gone through a vast revolution in recent years, this is evident in the advances in equipment design and manufacture. Importantly also in the evolution of modern skiing technique, to meet the demands of a new breed of skiers. Modern ski boots are all about lateral stiff-ness, modern skis and technique work in harmony with this design concept. In its elemental form, rolling both skis onto an edge simultaneously by a sequential movement of the joints and the body over your base of support, results in two clean arcs in the snow.
A dynamic and centred stance with feet hip width apart is the most effective way to stand on our skis. The ability to balance over the centre of the ski can be measured by how quickly you can return to this point from being out of balance. Try to improve this fundamental skill on all four plans. Up-down, rotary, lateral and fore-aft. Balance boards, mountain biking or anything fun that develops your balance.
Exploring the limits of each steering element and how they can be blended together is key to skilful skiing. Play around and push the limits of how much, how quickly and when you should, put the ski on its edge, rotate the skis or press the ski into the snow. Develop a range of turns to match the terrain, some skiddy, grippy or carved.
We need to manage the amount of pressure created under the skis, by using the joints in our legs as shock absorbers and movements. This helps to improve our speed control by keeping the skis and edges in contact with the snow, smoothing out that ride. Developing the flexibility to adjust the amount of pressure from moment to moment as you travel down the mountain is a fundamental skill and key for skilful skiing.
The path towards becoming a more rounded and skilfull skier starts with a strong foundation of basic movements. We are then able to build on this foundation by exploring the full range of movements and developing a feel for the tactics appropriate to each given situation. Freedom and expression are what freeskiing is all about, make your mark on the mountain.
TIPS FOR GOING LATERAL by Olly Rose
Go lateral to get more performance, gain greater control and safety on steeper terrain. The idea is for your body to move laterally towards the inside of the turn. The skeleton should remain aligned is a strong stacked position. This eliminates excessive torsion on the knee and hip joints. A skier can then flex and extend naturally over varying terrain.
- Always think ‘feet first’.
- Roll ankles to feel the edges bite and skis engage.
- Allow your centre of mass to move laterally towards the inside of the turn, away from the support base of the skis.
- Trust your skis.
Pressure should be applied forward and laterally on the inside edge of the boot. Using your body mass– knees, hips and torso is the best way to do this, by moving your mass forward.
- Distribute force over the whole length of the ski.
- Set-up the skis tilt angle, allowing them to pass through their arc trajectory,
- Be sensitive to the pressure change on the instep of the outside foot (ball to heel).
- (Symmetry) Match your feet and the edge angle of the inside ski to outside ski.
- The upper body should follow the skis through the turn (the shoulders and feet should be in line).
- To initiate the new turn roll the ankles to flatten the skis.
- Release the pressure from the old outside ski.
Feel for the point where both ski are flat on the snow, this will aid a smooth transition and pressure change as your centre of mass passes laterally over your skis and base of support.
- Move laterally forward and across - do not waste time going up.
- Press early on the new outside ski well before the fall-line and extend the new outside leg gradually to apply pressure through the new arc.