- NW Snowsports Instructor
- Tech Zone
- Who We Are
Telemark Tip by Greg Dixon
When it comes to snowsports, telemark skiers don’t have a lot of advantages. We only have half a binding, our boots bend where they shouldn’t, and we are forced to do lunges all the way down the hill so we won’t faceplant. There is however one advantage telemark skiers do have; that is our range of motion.
Due to our flimsy gear we are able to utilize all of our joints right down to our toes. This is a huge advantage when the terrain gets bumpy and we’re looking for a line through a mogul field. The telemarkers range of motion allows them to swallow up bumps and make for a smooth direct path. The ability to bend our boots above our toes gives us one extra joint with which to absorb terrain. It also allows the knee and hip joints a little extra range of motion while still maintaining an effective stance.
To fully take advantage of this benefit the mogul field should be approached with the mind set that the legs are going to be actively shortening and lengthening to match the terrain. As you approach a mogul the upward slope is going to want to push your skis up towards your body. At this point you should be actively flexing your joints, from the toes up through the spine, in order to allow your skis to absorb this upward force. The legs should move up towards the body, rather than the body dropping down to meet the legs. Be aware to flex just enough so that the skis maintain contact with the snow, but still allow you to float over it without interrupting your forward movement.
As you continue to flow over the mogul, the terrain is going to drop away as you roll over the downward slope. At this point lengthen your legs in order to maintain contact and a consistent pressure between your skis and the snow. Maintaining contact with the snow aids in speed control as well as enhancing the progressive nature of your pressure control movements. Keep in mind that as you are extending the legs out, the center of mass needs to move forward rather than back away from this extension, as to avoid excessive braking movements. Finishing with the legs in an extended position you are lined up to absorb the next mogul with enough flexion to continue your smooth ride.
Choosing to take this approach, when telemarking in the moguls, you will find that is easier to take a more direct line down the slope. The train of thought is less resistance or braking and more glide and continuous motion. Use the freeheel to your advantage and learn to utilize the full range of motion that it offers.[connections_list id=59 template_name=”div_staff_bio”]
Snowboard Tip by Steve Frink
When we are out there making the magic happen the trick up our sleeve is using Progressions to build the skills needed to reach a goal. Their buddy can tell them to go for it; students are coming to the pros for a little more. Many of these progressions involve making turns.
A first-timer needs to stop, then figure out how to turn the other way, then link them up, leading eventually to carving, dynamic riding, etc. Turn progressions are what we will deal with here. We will look at the similarities all turning progressions have and show how to use those similarities as a template when building other turning progressions.
Whenever you are teaching a new turn, variations of the same drills will create a nice three step progression. Start with a static exercise to familiarize students with the new move, then a directional sideslip and/or a garland to try the new skill in motion, and then the edge change for the completion/initiation phase. Each new turn a student learns can follow that same 3 step progression.
So first determine what a student needs. Let’s assume they are skidding and want to carve so they need to ride the edge.
Fill in our 3 step progression template: Static, Garland, Edge Change.
First Turns Need: Confidence working the brakes (completion of the turn), Change direction (control phase), Switch edges (initiation phase). Progression:
Carving Turns Need: Less Skidding, More carving, Better edge control. Progression:
Dynamic Turns Need: Retraction. Progression:
A Senior Moment by Ed Kane
Building on my last article, let’s explore some on snow drills that will enhance balancing skills in senior skiers. These drills are best practiced on easy terrain we typically just schuss across. The goal is to do these drills often enough on gentle terrain so that each time they are practiced the skier is not fearful or encumbered by the terrain. As the skier becomes more comfortable with the drills a “poised” mental and physical state indicates improvement in the balancing movements.
Since age is typically related to stamina, efficient movements will increase the senior skier’s ability to maintain performance levels throughout the day. Recovering from being out of balance consumes large amounts of energy and requires muscle strength to do so. A well balanced skier with an effective stance will experience much less fatigue in the thighs if they maintain balance over the whole foot and apply pressure to the boot tongues, which improves skeletal alignment opposed to leaning against the backs of the boots and using the thigh muscles to remain upright.
Several exercises (below) can be used to enhance balancing movements and skills at any level of ability, and are especially effective for beginners or for senior skiers who are trying to climb to the next level. These should be introduced on relatively flat, groomed terrain. As the skier begins to master the ability to stay balanced over the whole foot, move to gradually steeper terrain and in more difficult conditions. Awareness of shin and boot cuff contact is paramount. Best learning takes place in conditions that slightly challenge confidence rather than overwhelm.