If you haven't done so already just cruise through the article about anticipation and angulation before reading this one, in case you are unfamiliar with the terms.Whenever I mention a pole plant with the end of your ski poles in these articles about ski technique the rule is that you should try to make it vertically unless stated otherwise. This means that it can go into the snow anywhere on the downhill side in a quadrant radius of about 2 feet from your lower boot. The further away from you it goes into the snow, the more you will need to angulate.
In my reckoning the pole plant is nearly the most important thing for a skier to concentrate on when learning new technique. Everything follows from it. So let's run through the process once again. Remember this is just theory; the practical exercises will come in later articles:.
You must anticipate a turn by going down to put the pole into the snow vertically. Most of your weight will be over the middle of your lower foot. Angulation will get the skis on to their edge, and by so doing, will give you more precise control in the turn.
You will then be in a position to set up for the next one if necessary. The speed at which you do all this depends on the type of turn you are making.How you use your eyes and the soles of your feet is also a part of anticipation. You need to know what you are skiing on, and what you are about to ski on, so that you can react accordingly. You therefore need to be looking far enough ahead for the speed you are going, so that you can make the right decision.The feel for the snow you are skiing on comes through the soles of your feet, and tends to come with mileage and experience.
It is quite an interesting exercise though to close your eyes for some seconds every now and again (preferably on a wide open, slow and empty piste) just to feel through your feet.Another exercise is to find a snowball sized lump of iced snow. Shut your eyes, and standing still run the ski over it, maybe with an edge or even the sole. You should be able to tell roughly what size it is and how hard it is through all those layers of sock, plastic, wood and metal, just by using your ski as a feeler.
To my my this puts the soles of your feet right up there with the pole plant and your eyes as the crucially important gizmos needed for anticipation. This is discussed in more detail in a later article on snowcraft..Simon Dewhurst has taught downhill skiing in North America, Scandinavia and the European Alps for 35 years. He currently runs a ski chalet agency in the French Alps. His book "Secrets of Better Skiing" can be found at http://www.
ski-jungle.com. If you have any comments about the above article, he will be happy to answer them.
By: Simon Dewhurst