The Mountaineers Program started yesterday. I’ve been assigned the advanced students. So far there are four youngsters in my class. All of them are back from last year. Two of them were with me before and the other two were with Brad. Parker, 13, and Jake, 12, were with me last year and Jack, 9, and Jessica, 10, were with Brad. It’s a cohesive group with the two older boys and the two younger kids. I’ve been doing some reciprocal learning with them, having them ski with each other looking to see if the other is making the movements we’re trying to do.
I find that with youngsters who have started skiing when they hardly have enough weight to flex their boots, they tend to compensate for their lack of ankle flexion by bending over at the waist and sitting back. They tend to bend more at the waist with their center of mass behind their feet. You also see a stiff outer leg. Since these four are a little bigger now, I was trying to get them to start flexing their ankles more. So most of the day we were looking at what happens in our skiing when we do flex our ankles. Through a little bit of explanation, lots of demonstration, and then practice, I hoped to show them how much easier it is to stay in balance if their flexion and extension movements begin in their ankles. The results I hoped for was a more centered stance, better edging capabilities, and easier steering because of their added abilty to flex and extend appropriately. By the end of the day I was seeing much less bending over at the waists and much less of those stiff outside legs. It looked to me like they were in better balance and not working so hard to get their skis to turn and control their speed.