Originally Posted by jc-ski
Originally Posted by jhcooley
Nonetheless, I do a few drills every morning, except powder days. The drills get me over my feet, get my muscles firing, and let my subconscious know I can still ski. Then I'll crank up the volume and actually start to ski.
Would be interested to know what the drills are if you'd care to share.
Sorry to take so long to respond to this. To respond well could be rather lengthy, and anything I say is likely to generate additional responses saying I'm doing it all wrong.
Nonetheless, here goes, and I'll keep it sort of short.
Assuming it's not a powder day and groomers are available, I often start with pivot slips. For those who detest pivot slips and will post suggestions that my skiing consists entirely of rotary moves, I'll elaborate a bit.
A correctly executed pivot slip requires a subtle blend of balance, rotary, edge control and pressure management. If any of the skills is deficient, the pivot slip gets more difficult (sometimes much more difficult) and can require a great deal of muscle. The skis must be kept parallel throughout, the movement from sideslip into rotation must be smooth and progressive with appropriate movement downhill of the COM and the ski tips, foot-to-foot pressure transfer must also be smooth and accurate so there is no hesitation in the pivot when the skis are pointed straight down the fall line, the pivot must be precisely controlled to stay in a corridor no more than 2 ski lengths in width and preferably narrower, the pivot must be accomplished by independent rotation of the feet and legs (the femur rotates in the hip socket) without upper body rotation, etc., etc. The idea that the pivot slip is accomplished primarily by muscling the skis through the pivot is incorrect. With an effective skill blend, it requires surprisingly little muscular twist, although it will require some.
I may do 50 or more pivot slips before I start to engage the edges a bit more to create a basic parallel christie turn. This may be slow, short and very "slippy" at first - still largely a flat ski exercise with progressive variation of the skill blend. I will then work through a series of increasingly edged turns with complete finishes and accurate movement into each new turn for easy initiation even though my skis are once again perpendicular to the fall line at the end of the previous turn. The pivot diminishes. Assuming there is sufficient room, I will end up skiing purely arc-to-arc, leaving railroad tracks but finishing each turn completely for speed control - "skiing the slow line fast." Skis are now working from fully engaged to fully released, but being guided more-or-less straight when not engaged.
The arcs are lazy at first, although no real traverse is allowed - just patience and continual, progressive movements through the release and into the new edge engagement.
The next step is to get more dynamic and turn up the volume. Increase edge angles further and start to shorten the turn radius again. Start adding more flex and extension. Increase intensity. Allow some slip with the high edge angles, add some rotary, develop a dynamic short radius turn. Shorten it more. See how many turns you can make between where you are and some arbitrary point down the hill. Make true, dynamic, round, very "carvy," very short turns with high edge angles, but maintain speed control within the width of a single groomer pass without putting on the brakes at the end of each turn, which means you have to really finish the turns while moving into each new turn early. Windshield wiper "turns" don't count.
If you make the turns short enough and you do enough of them, your leg muscles will literally warm up - you'll feel it.
This is by no means a complete set of drills, and the racing community, in particular, can chime in with drills both more sophisticated and more difficult. I do this sequence, sometimes spread out over more than one run, because I have to be moving accurately and be balanced accurately in order to do the tasks to anything like the standard that I want. I almost always think they could be done better. I finish with my muscles warmed up and my sense of where I should be relative to my feet and skis renewed from yesterday or last week. The movements I am practicing will be the same movements I'll use in bumps, trees, crud and powder. And, it's fun to see how many high-energy, high quality short turns I can do in a particular distance.
I believe it's a much more effective warm-up than the fast cruising that most people seem to favor when they "warm-up." While crusing can be fun, the wind chill and low energy requirements of such a run will often leave me colder than when I started.
And powder days? Take no prisoners!!!