Except for the hard-core ski tourers, most skiers spend a lot of the time on the pistes. To make the most of your time on the pistes you need equipment in first rate order. Then allow the skis to do what they are designed to do. With rockered skis, fat waists and twin tips, it is easy to forget that carving skis revolutionized skiing and piste skiing is where that happens best.
Can your tools handle the power?
Some of the best feelings in skiing are found on the pistes. The power of a carve turn can be incredible, and generates up to 4G in force. Any ski can carve a turn, but to maximise the experience you need a ski which can handle the power. Dynastar’s WC Master series have serious pedigree, coming from their race factory and the Speedzone series make the carve turn easier to achieve.
Are your skis sharp?
The key to carving is tilting the skis over and balancing against the forces generated by the turn. The more you can tilt (and stay in balance) the greater the forces will be. In order for the skis to grip when tilted over on firm pistes the skis need to be in good condition. Sharp edges and a smooth base is essential to build confidence in your ability to tilt over. Get your skis serviced before heading to the alps and at the minimum take a diamond edge tool to keep the skis in great condition whilst you are out there.
If you want to turn tighter in a carve, tilt over more and allow the skis to move further away from the body. Balance through the outside ski and tilt both skis the same amount. High speeds are the result of carve turns so only practice when and where it is safe to do so. You’ll definitely need goggles (not glasses) to stop your eyes from watering and a helmet completes the racer ready look.
As with everything in skiing, deliberate practice in a suitable environment will see you improve your performance, and carving is still one of the great unused techniques in skiing. For more help book yourself some lessons on your next trip.
Giles Lewis is an ambassador for Dynastar skis and Lange boots. He is a ski Instructor with the development centre, who operate in val d’isère Tignes and the Three Valleys, France. He is a trainer and examiner of Instructors for BASI and a member of the British Demo team.
Autumn arrives in the northern hemisphere and this means one thing: it’s nearly time to go sliding around on the snow! The anticipation is really exciting, but nothing beats those moments when you’re doing it, enjoying the mountains in the best way we know how. Here at the development centre we’ve been sharing our passion for skiing since 2002 and we’re pumped up for the coming season. These are some of the things that we’re looking forwards to the most –
Heading down a freshly groomed piste allows you to feel how smoothly and precisely you are skiing. Less interference from the snow, it’s about enjoying your best turns.
Feel of the carve
Make like a racer, feel the forces driving the turn and appreciate what modern skis can do on the piste. The deeper you go, the bigger the rush.
It’s not the size that counts.
Jumps of any size are exhilarating, whether in the park or in the backcountry, jumping is one of those things some people (us) never quite grow out of.
The Quiet of the Powder
Sometimes, after some deep powder turns,the only noise is your own breathing
We love skiing for ourselves , but we also love it when we can share our passion, knowledge and enthusiasm with others. We love making a real difference to people’s
The Development Centre run ski schools in Val d’Isere, Tignes and the Three Valleys. Our team of highly qualified, experienced and motivated instructors are there to help you to achieve your goals, whatever they might be.
When learning anything, it’s good to keep things simple. But if we make things too simple, then we can be wrong as often as we are right. Here are a few commonly held views on ski technique which are too simple to be right all the time.
ALWAYS FACE YOUR SHOULDERS DOWN THE HILL
This can be pretty uncomfortable, but some people strive to do this all the time. I find facing the same way as my skis more comfortable, and therefore make it my default position.
When to do it (face shoulders down-hill):
To help initiate turns, especially on steep terrain, but it’s not necessary to hold the position
When skiing linked short turns
When skiing really tight and steep couloirs
If skiing a straight/direct/inside line in the bumps
When you don’t need to:
Most of the time…
GOING UP AND DOWN
When you would do it:
On Piste: We all go up and down a little bit, it can help take us from one ski to another (see point 4 – ‘spreading the weight’), but critically, it facilitates lateral body movements inside the curve and across the skis. We don’t just do it for its own sake.
Powder snow: It often looks like short turns in the powder snow involve more up and down, but this effect is really just the re-bound of the skis (pushing the attached skier upwards) as the skis work in and out of the lovely bouncy fresh pow!
BEND THE KNEES
Yes, we need to flex our knees in order to ski, and can’t ski well with stiff, locked legs.
How much to do it:
A bit. We also need to bend at the ankle joint inside our boots and at the hip too – a bit.
Remember that skiing is not a static sport, so static positions and prescribed shapes are not terribly useful except as a base position to move from.
When to do it more:
When absorbing bumps
When creating big angles – flex the inside leg whilst keeping the outside leg strong enough to resist the forces.
MODERN SKIS REQUIRE WEIGHT TO BE SPREAD OVER BOTH FEET
Well, no. For recreational skiers the outside ski is the one to put more weight on, especially at the end of the turn when it is the downhill ski. We do need to steer the inside ski, but don’t stand on it too much.
When going straight
Standing still on the flat.
In soft snow, but only a bit. The outside ski is still dominant.
We work by linking any actions we make, to the results that we desire. This allows us to be adaptable and progressive. We do try to keep things simple, but not so simple that we are trapped by unhelpful and dogmatic “technique” for its own sake. In our coaching sessions; (as part of a group, or privately) we take beginners through to advanced skiers, both on or off piste, and justify our teachings with reason. We embrace some grey areas, and steer away from doctrine; that’s what makes being a ski instructor so interesting.
Remember though, technique is only part of it. We work hard with tactical and psychological subjects to improve overall skiing performance and enjoyment.
Coach Giles, is a ski teacher, a director of The Development Centre, and assessor of British ski instructors to the highest level. High amongst his most proud moments,is Fraser Hopewell passing his L4 technical exam [ed].
Established before time began, The Development Centre run the finest BASI prep courses in the Universe. If you are looking to develop your skiing towards qualification, then only the barking mad would overlook this intergalactic award winning program.
We use coaches who are chiseled from solid gold and each one must have won at least two Nobel prizes. The terrain in the Espace Killy is second to none, and on top of that we send our coaches up the mountain at night to hand craft each piste that we might use.
Occasionally our candidates explode with delight, but those that survive are sure to have had the most extraordinary and superlative week of their lives.
Come Ski on the Ski Club of Manchester Dec 2013 Trip
The Development Centre (www.tdcski.com) are pleased to announce that the Ski Club of Manchester are planning to return to the Espace Killy this December.
Last year was the first time that the Ski Club of Manchester had come to the alps for their “Early season Trip”. The club came to see TDC for a brush up on technique and performance.
The 2012 trip was a great success (see the rave reviews below) and the club are coming back again in December 2013.
The club has put together a fantastic package including accommodation, flights, transfers and the best bit… 5 half days of coaching with the development centre. The trip is unbeatable value with like minded, keen and friendly skiers.
There are spaces available for the 2013 trip.
The Ski Club of Manchester welcomes new members and you needn’t come from Manchester!
To enquire about the 2013 trip or to book, simply contact [email protected] for more details.
Read below for the Ski Club of Manchester’s own review of their 2012 trip:
December 2012 saw the Ski Club of Manchester take their early season training with the development centre (TDC) in Val d’Isere, France. Giles Lewis, who heads up TDC, and his team provided excellent coaching to the ski club members over five days. Lessons were in the mornings between 9am and 12 noon, giving everyone the opportunity to either free ski in the afternoon or rest aching muscles.
The instruction delivered by TDC was second to none. Group sizes were small (TDC have 6 maximum in group clinics). TDC coach you on your style as an individual allowing you to really make a breakthrough in confidence and performance. They certainly achieved this goal with ski club members receiving focused, personal feedback. Whilst at times the conditions were challenging the style of coaching we received allowed us to improve our skills in an enjoyable and relaxed environment. Each group took an approach suitable for the members needs within it and most groups spent some time enjoying the conditions off the piste (with all the safety equipment provided by the development centre for those who don’t have their own.
The adventure started in Manchester airport with Flybe seeming a little confused over which plane our skis would be on. However all skiers and skis arrived intact at Geneva airport and the three hour bus trip to Val D’Isere was comfortable and complimented by fantastic alpine views.
The Hotel Champs Avalin, situated in La Daille, offered comfortable accommodation in a typically French Hotel with a rustic alpine feel. The rooms were clean, warm and best of all had a bath, something not always available in the Alps. The food served in the pleasant hotel restaurant was excellent with a choice of three options for dinner, including vegetarian, and as much wine as you could drink. A hot option was offered with breakfast or alternatively continental style with plenty of choice.
The service offered by the staff in the Ski Total Hotel Champs Avalin was second to none. Great company, excellent food and free wine with dinner led to a joyous culinary week for all.
A fine evening out was enjoyed by all on the Wednesday at the excellent Le Barillon restaurant in La Daile with fine food, plenty full wine and vibrant conversation with many of the world’s problems being solved in a matter of hours as is usual.
Val d’Isere town is very picturesque especially at night with the trees lit up and the lights glittering in the snow. A relaxed and friendly resort with prices to match most pockets, including the fury collar addicts, but not so exclusive as to put off the more financially conside te of us.
The town is made up of three main areas being La Daille, Val d’Isere and Le Fornet all located along the same straight road. A free shuttle bus service is provided every 5 minutes through most of the day taking you the length of the town.
The food and drink is perhaps a little more expensive in Val d’Isere than some other resorts with a beer at around seven euros and a basic meal sixteen. There are several very friendly bars and restaurants with good food and live music.
We were fortunate in having the women’s World Cup downhill coinciding with our stay and some of our hotel rooms had amongst the best views of finish line. During the week we could see the amount of work that went into setting the course up. The media camp had located it’s self outside of our hotel together with the team accommodation. The race favourite, Lindsey Vonn, had a rare crash and instead the race was won by Swiss skier Lara Gut. Unfortunately the Super G, due to be held on the Saturday, was cancelled due to a white out, but this did not stop many of the club members who reported the best days skiing of the week no doubt fuelled by the skilful coaching received that week at the hands of the TDC team.
The staff training program continues to run through the whole fo the season with the development centre. This week we were looking for off piste routes accessible with clients. The snow is good on most aspects. We had a great time…
Just a few words to contradict completely some of the rubish that is being circulated in the UK about the lack of snow in the Alps.
I can only speak for the resorts of Val d’isere and Tignes, but there is good coverage on the pistes, the entire area is open and we have been enjoying some brilliant skiing the past few weeks in bright sunshine.
It is true that we have not had a lot of natural snow this season and a great deal of thanks must go to the STVI and their team responsible for making snow and preparing the pistes.
That said, the off piste is still there and it is skiable. Check out the link to bumps skiing in val d’isere only last week. There has not been a lot of fresh powder to be skied this season, but this is not a reason for lazy journalists to write off our resorts as being low on snow. Just not true.
Whilst the final touches are being made to the renovated chalets and Hotels in Val d’Isere and Tignes, the glacier is being put to good use. Not only are TDC coaches running pre-season BASI prep courses and slalom training, but national teams have been up on the hill making their final preparations for the World and Europa cups.
See how the slalom training is getting on at: http://www.youtube.com/thedevelopmentcentre
All our coaches regularly use video analysis as a tool for teaching and all you need to do is ask you coach. You may even feature on this site!
Thank you very much to the members of the Ski Club of Manchester and the Ski Club of Great Britain for their enthusiasm and good humour at the Chillfactor in Manchester over the past week.
We have run nine sessions together and they have been really well attended. Over the nine sessions there must have been a few thousand runs completed. We have covered topics like balance (a lot), rotation, edging, pole plants, relaxing, flowing, skidding, gripping, jumping, arcing, carve turns, short swings, short turns, punchy turns and more. Thank you for listening, talking and asking questions, the sessions have passed really quickly.
We all need to extend warm thanks to John Weatherell for organising everything, a great effort.
We are back next year so if you are around next September then put the dates in the diary. Unless i see you in the Alps, until next year.
See the videos on our youtube site http://www.youtube.com/thedevelopmentcentre
The Sale Sharks were improbably victorious against the reformed but unloved Harlequins at Edgely Park and the Ski Club of Manchester were enthusiastic and dashing at the Chillfactore indoor snowdome in Trafford Park.
The combination of these two events is becoming a much loved fixture in my diary and the dates for the SCM 2011 are already confirmed. The skiing was good and the Chillfactore was busy. More dates throughout the coming week. On snow dates for BASI prep and preformance training available on the website.