SKI TIPS: The magic of level hips

Whitewater ski coach Dylan Henderson shows you how to put pressure on your outside ski when turning.

Coda Punchard is shown pressing on the outside ski from his hip while letting the inside foot come up just like the helium filled yoga ball that is pushing his hand up while he pushes the outside ball down.

Coda Punchard is shown pressing on the outside ski from his hip while letting the inside foot come up just like the helium filled yoga ball that is pushing his hand up while he pushes the outside ball down.

The last column we focused on steering with your waist and this week we will focus on pressuring the outside ski.

At this point in the season we are skiing our best and it should be as easy as riding a bike. In fact, skiing should actually feel like riding a bike!

While skiing, you transfer your weight to your outside ski and remove weight from your inside ski by extending and flexing your legs in the same way as you do when you are pedalling your bicycle.

This pedalling ensures that the pressure to the snow is focused on the outside ski where the power is created.

If you remember skiing in the 1980s we actually lifted the inside ski in this same pedalling movement when we really wanted to get the ski to perform. Save that move for retro day in your one piece ski suit as we now aim for an 80-20 ratio of outside to inside ski pressure.

The hips need to level in order to get full pressure on the outside ski, while creating hip angulation adding to your knee and ankle angulation.

Hip angulation allows you to bring your body mass further toward the centre of the turn while maintaining the pressure on the outside ski.

Moving the centre of mass toward the inside of the turn allows you to turn faster and with a tighter radius creating more centrifugal force, without throwing you off of the merry-go-round.

Now, let’s get to it!

Leave your poles at the bottom of the hill and head to an easy groomer. While making rhythmical turns, imagine that you have a yoga ball that is filled with helium under each hand and you are pushing the ball down with your outside hand and letting the ball rise under your inside hand.

At the same time, mimic this same motion with your feet, pressing down on the outside and pulling up with the inside.

The push should come from your outside hip joint and travel through your extended leg and the centre of your foot to your ski. The more you push or level your hips the better.

A bonus is that levelling hips will magically level your shoulders too!

Dylan Henderson is the head coach of the Whitewater Ski Team. He is a certified Development Level coach with the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation and a Level 1 ski instructor with the Canadian Ski Instructors Association.

Nelson Star

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