this should be fun..
During our resort trainers course in Mammoth early December, My clinician asked for volunteers to lead a "clinic" for practice and to start out the day.
I volunteered. I figured it would be good for my "on the spot thinking/clinic presentation skills" that I am trying to get more comfortable with. My primary weakness in the L3 teach, presentation.
Since it was supposed to be a "clinic" with upper level skiers and instructors, it gave me lots of latitude to approach it from several angles.
The topic, Inclination and angulation. (not specifically about edge angles but maybe a little)
Since we had just started skiing that day, (one easy warm up run prior) I decided to start out by just skiing a little with one task and focus. A short run from the top of Chair 1 to the the base at Chair 3 (short easy pitch)
Everyone was to ski a funnel and just pay attention to what was going on under their feet and how they were changing their edge angles.
Chairlift ride. Talk among themselves on the chair ride about what they were feeling and how they created edges. terrain, hip inside (angulation) and leaning into the hill (inclination) were the three that kept coming up.
Top of Chair 3 we had very short discussion (less than 30 seconds) about what is inclination and angulation. banking/inclination as one form and angulation (hip) and I also mentioned that we can also change our edge angles using our feet/ankles. Now off to ski.
I asked them to first try to ski the top back side of chair 3 and around the turn, using only inclination. only 8-10 turns. Then we did 8-10 turns using only ankle tipping. At this point one of our candidates asked if they could stop for a bathroom break. So I decided lets hop on the gondy. The remainder of the run to the gondy I told them to just use angulation (long leg/short leg) to create the hip move inside resisting the urge to bank or use their ankles.
On the gondy ride to the top, We told some bad kid jokes in between some of the discussion of what each of the tasks we did felt like.
Because it was also a clinic of instructors I decided to give them some MA/eye building skills as a bonus. I had each of the candidates pair up. One was to follow the other and just watch. The one skiing would make turns just using one and only one of the skills/movements at a time. The one observing was to just try to determine what the other was doing. Make about 20 turns (change the skill focus every few turns) Stop and see if the observer could see the difference/discuss. Then switch. I moved between the groups and listened to some of the conversation at their stops.
At this point we were at the top of Climax. Here I brought the clinic together with a very short conversation. I gave them my take on what and where we use each of the skills we played with.
Inclination or banking moves a large mass of weight (our upper body) very quickly inside. This is a powerful move but as they noticed does not create a whole lot of edge angle.. Enough to get moving the COM inside and down the hill. It will often create enough of an edge change to release the edges. It is also very powerful because we can "stack" all the forces over a skeletal structure.. The problem is getting that large mass moving the other direction as we begin to finish the turn means changing the direction of a lot of inertia/mass. And again we did not create very much edge angle.
Angulation allows us to get much higher edge angles very quickly without the move of that large mass above our waist. Great for balancing against that out side ski and really increasing edge angle quickly. problems here are you begin to lose a little bit of skeletal stacking and not everyone has the flexibility to bend that way. Also without "separation" and good steering in the hip/femur area, we can get too far inside with the hip (back seat) and create a new problem of getting all that mass moving across the skis as well.
The last, ankle articulation, which while it does not make a huge difference and is very hard to "observe" it allows us to fine tune the edges/control we have created through the tipping/angulation.
I suggested that most often we use slight banking at the top of the turn, (start the COM moving and edge change) then begin to add angulation (in a very dynamic turn this happens very early) to really get those edge angles high. And as we begin to build up those forces, we use ankle articulation to fine tune how much edge we have or want to let go of during the control/shaping phase of our turn. I also reminded them of their first funnel run, and how the changes in turn shape size really didn't change what they did in the inclination/angulation, it just changed the DIRT and amount of energy we had to deal with (as they did point out during their chair lift ride)
I then told them to just go ski climax. Have fun, no focus.. and we would regroup where the steep part of the slope ended. Watched them just ski and when they reached the bottom, I gave each person some feedback on their skiing focusing specifically on the edging movements they were using and where I felt they could improve. For some it was timing. For some it was how much or little angulation/leveling out of the shoulders. For some it was too much or not enough skiing in and out of counter. For some it was how some were static in the ankles so it was almost a park and ride rather than a fluid/constant adjustment in their edges.
Then we skied to where chair 3 backside met the bottom of climax and wrapped up the clinic with a little more feedback to each candidate on the changes I suggested and that they tried, and also a check for understanding of the overall clinic. Total clinic time, 25 minutes (I was given a little extra time for the bio break gondy ride)
They then got to critique my clinic.. but that's for another post.