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Sneak Preview!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi Folks! My publisher has given me permission to post chapter excerpts form my upcoming book. Since we are getting close to ski season, I thought that this excerpt would be good information. While I don't describe specific exercises in this chapter, I present the criteria for putting together a ski fitness program. Enjoy!

Core stability and neuromuscular coordination and proprioception
are the most important requirements of alpine skiing and other
winter sports. Because of this, I have created the terms “core-dination
and “snowprioception.”
These concepts are fundamental to my winter sport fitness program,
which I call Snow Condition and to which we’ll be referring frequently
Consider the words of Saint Francis of Assisi: “Start by doing
what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are
doing the impossible.” Core-dination and snowprioception are the
bare necessities that eventually allow you to do the seemingly
impossible in winter sports.
Many people think of themselves as being uncoordinated. Coordination
can be defined as the “harmonious functioning of muscles or
groups of muscles in the execution of movements.” Interestingly,
being uncoordinated is defined as “lacking planning, method and
organization.” To create harmonious movement, the muscles of the
body must act in an organized manner. If you were to put the brass
section at the front of the orchestra, where the violinists usually sit,
you may get a sound that is distorted, that lacks harmony. The same
thing happens with the body. If the large muscles take center stage,
they will play louder and harder than the muscles that give finesse,
grace and harmony to one’s movement style.
Contrary to popular belief, being uncoordinated is not a terminal
condition! A planned, methodical reorganization of how the body
recruits specific muscle groups may eventually teach the body to
perform athletic skills in synchronicity and harmony.
If we continue with the musical analogy, proprioception is the
ability to know where you are within the score. On the snow, it
relates to your awareness of where your body is in space. Thus, I call the ability sense awareness
on the snow “snowprioception.”
Snowprioception is essential for anyone who wishes to ski or ride
in powder. In her book Deep Powder Snow, Dolores Lachapelle has
this to say:
“Some people can never learn to ski powder snow without exerting
tremendous effort and strength because they allow their rational,
left-brain hemisphere to control the entire situation.” She continues
to say that there is no longer me and snow and mountain, but a continuous
flowing interaction. I cannot tell where my actions end and the
snow takes over.
There’s no better definition of snowprioception.
Snowprioception is closely related to balance, also a fundamental
aspect of core-dination. For this reason, Warren Witherell’s The Athletic
Skier was one of the books that most influenced my philosophy
of winter fitness. Witherell believes that there are ten crucial qualities
that would qualify a skier to be described as athletic. Although
he writes about skiers, these qualities can be attributed to all athletic
snow sliders.
First and foremost is balance.Witherell believes that the other nine
qualities cannot be obtained without “perfect balance.”
Let’s look at the other nine qualities:
Linked ski turns should be “continuous, integrated and active.”
The Snow Condition program incorporates full range movement
patterns, while training the transitional balance between movements.
Skiing requires dynamic use of the feet and ankles. Witherell
believes that skiers with poor balance use reactionary balance adjustments,
such as thrusting the hands forward. Athletic skiers use anticipatory
balance movements, such as edging the skis. The Snow
Condition program integrates foot and ankle movements with traditional
strength training exercises. As such, it enhances proprioception,
which in turn makes anticipatory balance instinctual.
Athletic skiers are able to execute turns with their feet way over to
one side of their body. Have you ever watched Bodie Miller? It sometimes
looks as if his ear is in the snow! Lateral movement, often
absent in traditional exercise programs, is an important feature of the
Snow Condition program. Training lateral movement skills also
helps enhance your righting and tilting reflexes. Your righting
reflexes help bring your head into the correct position when you are
balancing on a non-moving surface, such as standing in a lift line.
Tilting or equilibrium reactions generally involve the entire body,
and are engaged when you are on a moving surface. For example, if
you ride the trolleys in Boston, make sure that you hold on to the
pole when the trolley takes off to develop your tilting reflexes.
When integrated with balance conditioning, functional, dynamic
strength training enhances athleticism in skiers. The Snow Condition
program focuses on strengthening the muscles that are specific to
snow sports, while maintaining the correct strength ratios between
muscle groups.
These two qualities distinguish an exciting snow slider from a
boring one. Balance and postural alignment, though, are a prerequisite
for practicing agility drills.
According to Witherell, “Muscles that are busy doing one task are
less efficient at doing others.” Correcting muscular imbalance promotes
movement efficiency.
Witherell tells us that an upright alignment or “a proud position,
contributes significantly to relaxation-allowing muscles to rest and
bones to carry weight.”
He stresses spontaneity as opposed to “correct positions.” Because
of the dynamic nature of winter sports, holding “postures” is ineffective
for any type of winter fitness training.
Witherell urges us to “be delicate one moment and powerful the
next” and to “laugh often.” Throughout this book, I may sound very
serious when I start talking about the benefits of some of the exercises.
The element of play, however, should always be present
throughout your workout.
Now that you are gaining an understanding of the fundamental
requirements for snow-sliding proficiency, you probably realize that
a traditional gym workout may not be functional in terms of helping you
develop these skills.
post #2 of 4
Thanks, LM! This is great!

I'm working on getting the EpicSki links set up for purchase, as well...
post #3 of 4
Looks like great stuff, very interested in reading more on your take on proprioception in particular!
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks CT! Proprioception, or "SnowPrioception," as I call it, is discussed throughout the book. If you have more questions, be sure to post them in the podcast thread!
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