COLUMN: Remember to get those hips forward

The last column was focused on the sensation of skiing and this week we will focus on getting hips up at the transition.

The last column was focused on the sensation of skiing and this week we will focus on getting hips up at the transition.

The New Year is a time of reflection and an opportunity to scrap last year’s worn-out versions of ourselves and replace them with new healthier, happier, hotter, and higher performance versions. I don’t know how this is going for you so far but I might be able to help you meet your high performance goals.

What is your skiing goal this season? Is there a run that you would like to ski that you haven’t or a run that you would like to ski better? Achieving these goals is one of the most rewarding aspects of skiing and the learning process can be really fun. I suggest that if you are serious about improving your skiing experience and your abilities then you should reach out to the great resources that we have with the Whitewater Ski Resort’s snow school pros at snowschool@skiwhitewater.com, and the Whitewater Ski Team coaching staff atwhitewaterskiteam.ca.

As I coach this season there is one common issue that seems to be universal. Get your hips forward! Forward pressure is the most important factor in ski performance and it is our hips that carry the heavy load. I am not talking about the weight that you have put on through the holidays, but simply that the hips have the whole upper body sitting on top of them, so where they go is where the body mass goes.

The ski technology today is fantastic and is designed to function with some forward shin pressure in the boot at all times. Gone are the days when we needed to lean back when skiing powder or to get our skis to release in the transition. So it is time to get out of the back seat and into the driver’s seat! Thanks to Steven Fry and Helmut Spiegel for this drill.

Here is how:

1. Go to an easy wide run and point your skis straight down the fall line and roll your skis up on to edge for your first turn.

2. As you finish your turn, transfer your weight from the old outside leg to the new outside leg and as you do lift your hips up as high as you can on this leg.

3. Start your turn with this fully extended outside leg and try to maintain this extension through the whole turn.

4. Now that you are back at the transition between turns, step on to your new outside leg and again lift your hips up to full extension and repeat.

Instructors and coaches will tell you to get tall when you pole plant and to throw your weight forward at the switch etc., but I find that this drill is really good for getting you to focus on both the weight transfer from your old outside leg to the new outside leg while putting the extension right where it is needed at the precise time that it is needed most.

Have fun with this and you never know, maybe it will make you healthier, happier and hotter, too?

Happy New Year.

Dylan Henderson is the head coach for the Whitewater ski team. He’s a certified development level coach with the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation and a Level 1 ski instructor with the Canadian Ski Instructors Association. His goal is to give you something to keep your skiing fresh every week even if the snow is not.

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