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One-Footed Railroad Track

Activity Description:

This activity involves skiing railroad track turns with only one ski on the snow (done on each ski). In this activity, the skis’ tail follows the tip to create a carved ski performance with tracks linked in both directions. These railroad tracks are done in a fall line oriented corridor one groomer track wide.

Why This Activity Will Be Useful:

Many skiers crave the exhilaration of a carved turn. Performance carving requires the ability to carve both skis in all phases of the turn. One footed railroad tracks give the skier practice in fine- tuning ankle/foot movements of each foot to edge the ski through all phases of the turn.

What the Skis Do (Effect):

• Ski leaves a carved track from edge-to-edge. No skidding.
• Ski changes edge without a pivot or rotation
• Ski’s edge angle changes smoothly and continuously
• Ski path remains near fall line

How the Body Moves (CAUSE):

• Tipping movements come from ankle/foot under stable upper body
• Muscles of the core are active to create stability and balance, and allow ankle/foot to manage edging separate from the upper body
• Lifted ski remains fairly quiet, and is held parallel to the slope and other ski
• Tipping/rolling of ankle/foot of the lifted ski matches that of stance foot.
• Flexion and extension movements compliment edging movements
• Edging movements are continuous so as to create a rhythm and flow connecting arcs
• Forward movement throughout these turns maintain COM over base of support

Where:  Choose a safe low traffic area for this activity. Green terrain (flat enough to ski near fall line without excess speed)

Teaching/Learning Cues

Other tasks to practice: railroad tracks and railroad track garlands.

• 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 continue to move CoM forward with base of support.
• Use subtle upper-body angulation to counter balance the tipping activity of lower body and maintain lateral balance of CoM to base of support (either the big toe or little toe edge of the ski on the snow).
• Practice skiing linked RRT on green terrain with 90% of weight on the same foot during entire task regardless of direction of travel. Practice on both legs. Minimize pole drag on the snow. As skill builds, move to 100% weight on one foot.
• Edging movements from ankle/foot under stable upper body (not by banking).
• Hints for success: start with a two-footed RRT. Stabilize muscles of the lower core (those that stabilize the pelvis), then in shaping phase of one RRT turn, pick up one foot using flexion of the leg joints.
• Allow the lifted foot to mimic tipping movements as if it were in the snow (parallel legs, both ankles/feet tipping/rolling, etc.).