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Copper PSIA/Nordica Race Camp SL Day 1

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Today was the first day of the PSIA/Nordica Race Camp at Copper Mountain. The primary coaches for the event are PSIA Demo Team members Michael Rogan and Deb Armstrong, with JP Chevalie of Copper and Matt Schiller of Nordica also providing coaching. Mike_M also attended today, and will on Monday, as well.

Today was SL day (tomorrow is GS and Monday is practice of both), and after the normal preliminaries, we headed up to the Excellerator where we spent the morning (7-11) skiing primarily on Ptarmigan with full courses set up on CDL.

The drills started just below the top of the lift, with a brush course set in a straight line. The brushes started fairly wide (for SL) and narrowed during the course. The focus is to use only tipping to arc the skis around the brushes, and to have our feet moving fast enough at the end that we could complete the course. Many didn't.

The technique recommendations that came out of this included Deb's advice to maintain a lower ceiling; that is, to flex our bodies in such a way that we are coiled. As a result, we can move faster and more deliberately. Later during video review of this drill she had us stand in street shoes and compare the speed that we could move our feet when we were fully extended versus in an effective skiing flex. Try it. You may be surprised.

The second drill, set up at the mail entrance to Ptarmigan, was a corridor drill set with stubbies. The corridor was about 2-3 meters wide, and the object was to develop round rythmic turns. For me, it also gave me my first taste of using the shin guards on-loan from SkiRacer55 (thank you, again!!!).

Below this, the third drill used two brushes per turn set so that you turn around them both, one at the top of the apex, the other at the bottom (an "apex drill"). Again, this encourages turn shape. One of the things that Deb and Mike discussed with us about this was to see where we were applying pressure. As in her thread here, Deb mentioned "start late, end early" and discussed how the ruts that developed belied a tendency to "start early, end late". :

Next, they set an hourglass drill with stubbies, allowing us to begin to feel the impact of rythm and turn-shape changes in-course. While I didn't get it until later, one major aspect of this drill (that I back-ported to the others!) was to keep my focus far enough ahead. More on this later.

The last drill in the run was a series of three flushes set with brushes and offset. In other words, a flush of three brushes on the right, then three on the left, then four on the right. So short-short-long, short-short-long, short-short-short-short. Again, the change-up.

There was a second corridor course set with long poles, but I did not attempt it (first time in-course in more than 25 years).

After a break, they re-set the corridor with 3 stubbies, 4 long poles set at 45 degrees to give us the feeling of shinning and blocking them, and 3 stubbies. This was a really good drill for me, giving me the feeling of the discontinuity of shinning the gates. But, more importantly, on the last run through the gates the old command to look ahead finally took on life with Mike's exhortation: you can trust where your feet are. You know where you're skis are. Look to where they will be. Viola! That was what it took for me. That run I was looking farther ahead than I ever have (a couple gates, at least), and not reeling it back.

After these drills, the coaches set two other long courses. I ran these a few times, but do not have the sense for blocking, so ran them very round. I'm not sure, but I don't think I actually finished the lower (longer) one, skiing out near the bottom both times I attempted it.

For me there were a number of reinforcements of earlier learning, plus the insight that skiing gates will really help me tune my skiing. I need to work on the trusting my feet/skis part, I need to allow my feet to get farther out in the apex, and allow them to have more vertical separation ("pedaling").

Deb talked a lot about getting onto the new edges by the activity on the inside half, especially the inside leg. She wants me getting that up and out of the way so that I get greater angles as a result. I'll be working on this more tomorrow.

I'll write up a full review shortly, but thanks to Nordica I was able to get on a pair of Doberman SLRs for a few runs. Thanks to the improvement in my skiing these past two years, they did not kick my butt like the Pro SCs had a couple years ago.

It was a great day! My thanks to Deb and Mike for their insights, Mike_m for the company, and Nordica for sponsoring the event.

...more tomorrow...
post #2 of 8
Thanks for the write up, Steve. I wish I could be there.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks, TS, me, too! A little more for you: Ski review from today.
post #4 of 8
Nice report. You painted a vivid picture. I can almost feel the snow. Please include as many word cues as you remember, like you did on this one . It is helpful
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks, GarryZ...

One other thing that Deb discussed with me had to do with upper body alignment at the turn apex. Inside after skiing, we chatted about getting the feet out and the high angles at the apex. She then walked me over to a table, faced me about 2 or so feet from the table, and said, "Do this."

What she did was to drop her body towards the table without moving her feet, catching herself on the edge of it to produce a very similar alignment to a turn apex. When I did it, she started to talk about where the upper-body alignment was made. Instead of the waist (the famous "pinch"), she wanted to see it in the upper torso. One side stretching and the other compressing in order to "tip" it. You can do this by standing and effectively shrugging one shoulder up and the other down. Have the compression and extension be below your armpit but above your waist.

I'll be playing with that tomorrow.
post #6 of 8
Those of us with webbed feet in the NH and MA floods (Children, can you say 40 days and 40 nights?: ) are jealous and will have our revenge on you Steve. :

Sounds like you are having a blast. Keep smiling. (As if you aren't.)
post #7 of 8
Thanks for this report.
I wish I could be there to learn some more about stretching . :
Anyway I saw another tread about stretching routines you might be interested to check.
post #8 of 8
What about the other days, or was it just 1 day? : Thanks for sharing, I can't do it anymore but like to know how others are feeling about gates. Thanks, Dan
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