L3 Railroad Track Garlands

Activity Description:

The skier performs railroad tracks on a path approximately 45-degrees to the fall line. To do this, the skier tips the skis onto their downhill edges with no skidding, and arcs the skis down the hill. Next, without crossing the fall line, the skier tips the skis onto the uphill edges, carving a short uphill arc. There should be a smooth transition linking round, pure-carved arcs at moderate speed. Uphill and downhill arcs are similar in size.

Why This Activity Will Be Useful:

This activity develops edge control and pressure control skills. Railroad Track Garlands allow the skier to focus specifically on the movements through carved turn transitions simplifying the learning process. This activity also helps develop the ability to manage the Center of Mass’ path when terrain presents off fall line skiing.

What The Skis Do (EFFECT):

• Tails follow tips to create carved ski performance
• Tracks are linked in both directions
• Skis tip at similar rate and time
• Skis remain parallel and stance width is consistent
• Edge angles of skis are progressively increased and decreased

How The Body Moves (CAUSE):

• Tipping/edging movements originate in the feet and ankles
• Flexion/extension movements and upper body angulation direct pressure toward the outside ski.
• Flexion/extension movements of the legs facilitate edge change
• Flexion and extension movements of the ankles, knees, and hips adjust to maintain COM over base of support fore aft and laterally

Where: Groomed blue or green terrain.

Teaching/Learning Cues:

Practice other developmental railroad track and garland activities to develop fundamental skills prior to this activity. Identify movements and skills to develop based on movement analysis.
• The downhill release and engagement of the skis’ edges is a challenging aspect of this task.
• Fore/aft pressure control is vital to success in this task. Hint: have pressure far enough forward that the shovel of the ski can engage, but not so far forward that the tails try to wash out. (Cue: remember three points of contact in boot: shin to cuff, some pressure on heel, more pressure on ball of boot.)
• Throughout entire task, and as speed builds, continue to move COM forward with base of support.
• Use subtle upper-body angulation in response to tipping activity of lower body and maintain lateral balance of COM to base of support. This helps manage lateral pressure and directs pressure to the outside ski.
• Redistribute pressure from old outside ski to new outside ski through flexion and extension of the leg(s). This can begin to draw the center of mass out of the old turn, and allow the skier to begin to use tipping movements from the feet/ankles/legs to release and engage the new edges through finish and turn initiation.
• If the skis are not tipping at the same time, consider focusing on triggering edge release and engagement movements with the old outside ski (think left to go left, right to go right). As ability increases, increase functional tension to tip both legs at the same time.

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