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Dynamic Leapers

Advanced Zone/Level 3 Functional Versatility

Activity Description:

Medium or short radius dynamic leaping turns. The Skis turn primarily through edging and bending to produce a carved ski performance through the shaping phase of the turn. Skier changes edges while in the air. Upon landing the skier reengages the skis’ edges while managing fore/aft and lateral pressure control.

Why This Activity Will Be Useful:

Leaping drills can help a skier develop and refine fore/aft and lateral pressure, overall pressure control skills and movements to access a broader range of ski performance outcomes.

What the Skis Do (EFFECT):

• Skis remain parallel and are tipped at the same rate and time through all turn phases.
• Both skis leave the snow at a similar time.
• Edges are changed in the air; there is minimal rotation of the skis in the air.
• Skis are parallel to the snow and with each other while in the air.
• Both skis land on the snow at a similar time. Skis land on their new inside edges in the initiation phase of the turn. Ski edges engage and skis begin carving as soon as skis are on the snow.
• Skis turn primarily through edging and bending to produce a carved ski performance when on the snow.

How the Body Moves (CAUSE):

• Powerful extension movements of the legs promote unweighting
• Flexion movements of the legs facilitate pressure control during landing
• Upper body remains stable during takeoff and landing
• Body moves forward at initiation of the turn to keep up with the path of the skis
• Flexion and extension movements of the ankles, knees, and hips adjust to maintain COM over base of support fore aft and laterally
• Edging occurs by using lower legs and hip angulation.
• Legs turn in the hip sockets under a stable upper body.
• Hip angulation and angulation of the upper body direct pressure toward the outside ski

Where:  Groomed blue or black terrain

Learning/Teaching Cues:

• Static: On Flat terrain, practice edge change leapers in ski boots. Watch shadow, or have someone else watch you. Draw a line on the snow, stand with feet parallel to the line, keep your pant and jacket zipper over this line as much as possible. Leap boots of snow while move/tip both legs to the left or right, landing on new “boot edges.” Flex legs to absorb landing. As soon as you are balanced, leap laterally to the opposite direction. Legs should move side to side under stable upper body.
• Put on skis and repeat the static exercise.
• Practice Basic Parallel Leaper Turns, Railroad Track Turns, Railroad Track Garlands and Dynamic Medium Radius Turns prior to this task, as they emphasize the fundamental movements needed for this task.
• A commonly seen error is the use of a large, lateral movement of the pelvis and upper body to incline into the new turn and change the skis’ edges during the leaping phase of the exercise. This movement option tends to cause a “park and ride” outcome, which will not demonstrate the desired movement pattern of this activity. These movements may also cause the inside ski to have more pressure on it than is ideal.
• Develop foot-to-foot pressure control skills that promote early weight redistribution to the new outside ski.
• Continue the focus from the previous two exercises. On very gentle terrain, start in a straight run, add in leaping movement to create railroad track leapers. Try to minimize pivoting of the skis as much as possible while practicing this exercise. Again, edging movements originate from the lower leg under stable pelvis and upper body.
• If the skier is landing on the inside ski first, practice previous activity, but only land on outside ski. Use subtle upper body angulation to maintain lateral balance over the outside ski when landing.
• On green terrain, ski medium sized carved. Begin using small leaps up and forward from both skis at the end of the finish phase. While in air, change edges as in previous tasks (use legs). Land on both skis. Use upper body angulation to counter-balance the lower body tipping and maintain weight distribution toward the outside ski. Turn the skis as little as possible while in the air.
• The ski performance, and body movements, during the shaping phase of the turn are similar those of medium radius carved turns.
• As the skier is exiting the shaping phase of turn, begin to prepare for the next leaping phase and edge change in the air.
• Progression: slowly increase speed and pitch as proficiency increases. As speed increases, the skier will be able to incline the lower body more during the leaping and initiation phase of turn, thereby increasing the edge angle early in turn. Make sure to direct pressure and balance to the outside ski. (Balance check: should be able to lift inside ski off snow at any time during the shaping phase with minimal movement of the upper body to adjust balance)