Fun With Gunnar

Got to ski with one of my favorite students, Gunnar, yesterday. As far as his technique goes we’re working on getting him to use his legs more to initiate and steer his turns. He has a tendency to swing his shoulders to get his skis to start turning and so he ends up using primarily the backs of his skis resulting in z-shaped turns skidded on the backs of the skis. Using his legs more would allow him to more effectively manage the edging, pressure, and steering of the whole skis. Having rounder more arching controlled turns.

The primary movement that our exercises/tasks/games/play intended to instill was to use the inside leg to both start the turns and to continue to actively shape the turns. That means to start a turn we try to rotate our femur in our hip socket and continue to steer the knee and foot of that same leg to shape the turn (right to go right, left to go left). That also means we need to flex and extend that leg to be able to make that movement pattern.

Of course I didn’t get too technical with Gunnar. But some of the stuff I was saying were things like “closest to the snow is first to go” (referring to the use of body parts), roll your knee into the hill to shape the turn, flex the ankle to start the turn . . . .

He said something that I thought was great. He said he felt like he was going faster in the turns. I took that opportunity to explain that, that was exactly what he should be feeling, the ability to stay under control even while going faster. Talked about ski racers and how we try to emulate their techniques. There are basically two attitudes about turning on skis. One is that we turn to slow down. The other is that we turn to change directions. The former is a defensive mindset and tends to hinder development. The other is an offensive (or non-defensive) mindset that tends to allow the person to be in control of their own destiny (the Zen of skiing).

During the last hour of our lesson there were a couple of cute girls Gunnar knew that strangely sort of kept being on the same runs as us. I think it “enhanced” the whole experience for Gunnar on multiple levels. ;)

Here are a couple of links to PSIA videos that have some relevance to Gunnar and where I’m taking him.

  1. Balance Not Bracing
  2. Flexing for an Easier Ride

One thought on “Fun With Gunnar”

  1. Hey Rick – thanks for the wisdom, I watched the videos and it was helpful to get into the mindset of just standing on my skiis and letting them do what they’re supposed to. Sometimes I find myself straining, then I catch myself and get myself back into relaxing.

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