mandag 7. april 2014

XC ski Season 2014. My Big Bad Take OPut for You All !

My main two learning points then for this season have been to practice in good conditions and drive further to get them. The next being more fundamental actually- get used to freeing up one leg and placing 100% weight on one leg.

The latter has really transformed my skiing this year, with more combined progress in eight weeks of skiing than in the last 8 years.

My final pointer is in terms of fitness and programming your brain to new things is that ideally you want to do sessions of two to three hours, beggining with light intensity tours with short breaks every half hour. Focusing on technique and a sustainable rythmn. This kind of goes hand in hand of course, however you need to gas off a bit and get into a kind of meditative feel, which is AKA zoning.

For classic technique bench-marking was difficult this year because there was a
a confusing variability in conditions and generally soft poling sides leading to the odd face plant when poling hard but luckily no splinters of carbon this year! However, obver time I could feel my technique getting better in terms of>

1) Glide - got better showing a more efficient thrust and weight transfer and correct waxing / clister or using waxless on poorer days.
2) Rythmn / this was a bit of an after thought because the conditions varied from day to day and underway on the same trail!  However I did see that I had too fast a rythmn often and was not using the glide enough, or rushing the kick off or not using the vertical bobbing or not throwing the hip in enough . Watching a few old foxes on skis I realised I was not skiing efficiently because I was rushing the rythmn and being broken on my own wheel.
3) Thrust. I prefer to say thrust or stride than kick now that I have learned more about it and the feel of it. I still have not mastered this, it is one part of the whole rythmnic thing, like a more complex version of cycling with double linked cranks, or trying to swim butterfly.
4) most of all getting weight over onto one leg and freeing the other one up while still having a high degree of control over it. This applies to down hill more than touring, in fact you can tour all your life with some weight on your trailing ski if you always go with a pack of more than 6kg.

This last point is the very reason that kids and adults alike should be taught both styles - classic and skating - from the start and possibly use short waxless skis to achieve this in the first good number of hours. I see the opportunity for new combi skis using skintec or other things like titanium tensioning such that new beginners can learn in this way without needing two sets of skis, while the compromise in equipment is outwieghed by the advantage in learning curve.

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