All Mountain Tips: Sharpening those carves
It’s early in the season. There is little snow. What to do? Carving drills! Here is something fun to try that I learned from the Japanese Demonstration Team at Interski (an international ski instructor event) in Crans Montana, Switzerland. This carving drill involves one normal-sized carving ski (175 cm) on one foot and a short snowblade-type ski (80-cm) on the other foot. I have to admit I was skeptical at first, but after a few runs I became intrigued with the contrast and similarities I could feel from ski to ski. The longer ski gave me a feeling of stability and suspension while the quicker-turning snowblade sliced precise deep-trenched arcs, although ingrained muscle memory sometimes caused foot-wobble due to the lighter swing weight of the short ski. After several runs, an amazing thing happened: I forgot which ski was on which foot. I had adjusted to the point of feeling that both skis were reacting the same. The longer ski carved efficiently and exactly, and the shorter ski felt like it was loading, bending and reacting to the pressure changes. It was incredible how each ski had seemingly taken on the characteristics of the other. The sensitivity imparted by this simple drill was astounding. The precision of the carved lines left in the snow were crafted etchings instead of smeared washouts. Once I switched skis I was back to the bottom of the learning curve again. But in no time I was looking down to see which ski was on which foot. The final test came when I went back to my regular skis. Sure enough, the transference of precision carving movement had happened! If you are looking for a great way to wake up your feet early in the season and improve your carving, then try this long ski/short ski exercise. It works! Chris Fellows and his wife Jenny are the directors of Truckee’s North American Ski Training Center (NASTC) and Chris is a member of the PSIA National Demonstration Team. Chris will be writing a weekly column all winter. He can be reached at ski@skiNASTC.com or 582-4772.
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