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Obtaining snow-resistance?

Regular readers of my blogs or books, or visitors to my Youtube channel will know that skiing is only possible because of resistance from the snow. No resistance = no control.

By doing things with our big toes, or soles of our feet, and positioning the parts of our bodies into differing shapes, we can not only obtain snow resistance, we then use it to steer our skis and ourselves where we want to go.

There are two ways to obtain that resistance

One way, at low speeds and for example when we are learning, is to “sink down” at the right times, by flexing a little more our ankles, knees, and hips. [There's a HUGE amount more on this on my Youtube Channel] By doing this we albeit briefly increase the amount of pressure between the ski's tip and the snow, and thereby increase the response (the resistance) from the snow.

Done effectively with some tilt of the ski in the longitudinal (fore & aft) plane this results in the snow deflecting the ski from its former pathway. Back in the 70s John Shedden and his coaching team referred to this as the “weight” method, because it utilises the skier's weight to obtain the effect. It is highly appropriate for slower-speed skiing. It requires flexing our legs – from straighter to more flexed – and of course back again ready for next time.

Using the “weight” method becomes both inappropriate and unnecessary once sufficient (and often not that much) momentum is achieved. Once we have sufficient momentum, that in itself does the work of facilitating the obtaining of snow resistance without our needing to “sink down”. Shedden et al chose to define this as the strength method. It requires straightening our legs – from slightly more flexed, to slightly straighter.

It is sufficient for us to just tilt the ski, while always maintaining a positive pressure under the ski tip ( under our big toe where my friend Alexander Beetle resides – if you're confused about this go visit my Youtube channel or read my books.

Traveling faster towards the snowflake

We might do this sometimes with some accompanying pivoting, but not necessarily – and because we are traveling faster towards the snowflake we have chosen, on which we wish to change direction, our snowflake resists us without our having to “sink” onto it. In essence, we're already sort of bashing into it. It's really no different from why a 70-ton airliner can fly - enough oomph, gets enough air resistance: until it's got enough oomph is just runs along the runway.

In skiing the ultimate example of this is downhill racers, their momentum is so great and as a result, the snow resistance is so great in return that flexing their legs would lead to disaster: they would fold up! They need to partially straighten and strongly stiffen their legs – especially the outside leg of the arc to keep it strong enough. The key point for you to consider is they are using their momentum to "apply the pressure" and obtain the resistance; they're not "sinking down" or "pressing down". So will you once you get up even a little bit of speed.

Good luck, and as ever if you want to email me directly, feel entirely free to do so; I will welcome it.

Bob Trueman

PS A word of advice though, practice first using the "beetles" and "grapes" that you'll find in the videos and books, so you enhance your understanding and give it, and you, a sound foundation.

you may also like to check out some of my free training videos or check your ski level before you go on your skiing holiday.

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