THE SECRET TO PARALLEL
Today I want to share with you a very important focus to ensure that your skis stay parallel during the initiation of any turn. This is not just an article for beginners as I see very high level skiers and ski instructors stemming the beginning of most turns (without knowing). What I am about to share is also a focus of mine in short turns and carving.
While there are several movements required to ski parallel (including transfer of weight and turning of both skis), today I want to touch on the edge release. This is critical as the release of both skis’ edges from the previous turn is what allows both skis to turn equally and remain parallel. The difficulty is that most people only release the edge of what will become the outside ski during the transition (which at this point between the turns is the uphill ski). This results in the uphill ski (new outside ski) turning on its own and creating a snowplough position.
We all need to focus on the downhill (new inside) ski during the transition to ensure that it also releases its edge from the previous turn. The following is a short progression to assist with this focus.
Stand across the hill with skis parallel and place your pole on the downhill side of your downhill foot/leg. You want the pole touching your leg as we are going to use this to engage certain muscles that are required to release the ski’s edge.
The goal is now to bend the pole by pressing your downhill knee into the pole. This movement must start with a tipping or rolling of the foot onto the downhill, little toe edge. A good cue is to lift the arch of this foot which tips the foot outward. With this movement of the foot, the knee follows and the femur rotates outwards in the hip socket (downhill).
As you start to bend the pole with your knee you will start to feel some muscles engage to do this. If you hold your knee pressed against the pole for 5 or 10 seconds these muscle will start to fatigue. These are the muscles that are responsible for releasing the downhill ski during the transition.
Now try this in a slow moving turn. Spend a little more time going across the hill so that you don’t feel rushed to try this new focus. It is important that the movement starts with a tipping of the downhill foot which will allow you to then focus on the muscles we identified during the stationary exercise to continue moving the knee down the hill.
This all needs to happen before the skis start turning down the hill. A good tip to assist this process is first transferring your balance to the uphill ski (which will become the outside ski in the new turn). Once the balance is transferred you will find it much easier to release both skis’ edges to allow both skis to turn at the same time and remain parallel.
If you’re an advanced skier, see if you can try to do this as a warm up on extremely flat terrain and at a slow speed. This will be very challenging as the movements will need to be incredibly precise to remain parallel.
The above movement is not just specific to those learning to parallel for the first time. I focus on this edge release or edge change movement when carving. This ensures that both skis release simultaneously.
I hope this article has made sense and is something that will help your skiing. If this article has helped your edge release, then I encourage you to check out the Projected Productions ALL ACCESS VIDEO PASS. You will find hours of “how to” instructional videos on topics such as the above, presented by some of the best athletes, coaches and instructors in the world. If you would like to train with Paul Lorenz then join a Projected Camp (all info can be found here). I hope that you enjoyed this article and I look forward to seeing you out on the slopes.
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