below is a video that I have just made for Marius Quast, a German YouTuber.
The video is a bit different to a typical analysis where I would try to give a more complete picture of where the skier is at and what the goals are that I recommend to set. We decided to produce a shorter 10 minute video that would be about the topic of “how to get the hips on the snow without losing performance”.
When I make a ski analysis for someone the main goal is to come up with the most important things that a skier should work on first. Usually there are a lot of things that you could point out. But as it is not about the coach and how much he sees and knows but about the student, we try to focus on the things we believe are most important and need to be changed first.
We also want to give a good visual so the skier can see the difference between the one and the other. Often times I compare the better with the weaker turn or use footage of the coaches or ski racers for the comparison.
In Marius case it was about his tendency to move away from the outside ski, especially on his left footers, which could have come from him avoiding this leg a bit or from him trying to get to the inside too much.
We decided to go with number two, as I think that this is a topic that a lot of skiers can relate to.
How to get the hips on the snow without losing performance?
In order to solve the hip on the snow problem we first need to understand how trying to copy the image, how moving closer to the snow, actually takes us further away from achieving the goal.
The tricky thing with looking at still images of skiers is that they say very little about the speed, the steepness or in general the forces at work. Even a video can be tricky in this regard.
Sometimes I am watching skiers from the chairlift and I know exactly which turn or image they are trying to copy. With our Sofa Ski Camp team in New Zealand we tried to film at least once a week. Once in a while I had to tell some guys off, that did some weird sitting down moves, of which I knew they were just doing them for the camera and had nothing to do with getting the most performance from the skis. A bit like the Instagram pouting when taking a selfie.
Many hip on the snow shots on Facebook or Instagram and even on many websites of ski manufacturers, ski clothing companies,… are far from functional and often all for the effect but not what you would do to ski the best turn.
I am guilty myself with this shot:
So while throwing yourself on the snow for a spectacular shot is one thing, but it becomes a problem if skiers get stuck in their skiing as they try to achieve something that only works on easy blue runs and does not help them progress.
Just because you can do a certain turn on a slalom ski, on a blue run does not mean that it is the most efficient way to ski, even if it looks good. For instructors the main goal should always be to teach and demonstrate a technique that is consistent from the beginner to the expert and represents the most efficient way to turn the skis.
What the formula 1 is for the car industry, the ski racers are for ski instructors. Nothing in ski racing happens for the looks it is all about the performance. And if instructors say that what happens in ski racing does not apply to them as they are not skiing in gates then they are missing something important.
As shown in my video the key to achieve the hip on the snow is to perfect your ability to balance over the outside ski, to adjust to changing situations and move with the skis.
The skiers first need to understand some key things so it is clear what we need to work on to achieve a certain result. There is no point in doing drills to then go back to trying to copy the image when we are at full speed. The skier needs to understand the connection between the outside ski skill and how it can help him with more training, coaching and patience to slowly get closer to reach the goal.
There is no shortcut if we are interested in sustainable improvement and building a technique that works in all terrain.
To get the hip on the snow quicker we could put our students on short skis with a small radius and practice on easy blue runs OR we could put in the hours and improve our fundamental skills to become a stronger skier in general.
I think the second is the more rewarding one. It will equip you with skills that you can use in all other areas and won’t leave you behind as the one trick pony that is limited to certain slopes.
Stay well, wear a mask and get ready for skiing!
Subscribe Klaus Mair on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MairKlaus?sub_confirmation=1
Marius Quast on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/MariusQuast_1/
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