Wednesday, December 3, 2014

West Yellowstone Clinic Re-Cap

The West Yellowstone Ski Festival was a huge success.  For those of us who attended the one day clinic, we found we have lots of room for improvement.  I can only imagine how much improvement would come from a multi-day clinic! Here's a synopsis from our one-day "Improve Your Skate Ski Clinic" taught in the morning by a former Cross-Country Ski/Biathlon Olympian Erich Wilbrecht, with the afternoon taught by another amazingly successful skier, Greg Rhodes.

We'll be happy to explain these throughout the season.

Efficiency was the catch phrase:                                                                                
Shorter/Quicker (more efficient) pole strokes, and skate steps with glide
Pole plant at your toes, elbows always bent, stroke to hips, don’t let the poles fly out the back, and loosely hang on to the poles

  • Shorter poles can help - about lip level, (height times .91)
  • Arms at 90 degree angles
  • Progression:
    • Crunch
    • Swing
    • Release
  • Arms swing parallel to body, don’t flail arms, keep elbows out instead of tight, efficiency no wasted movement out the back
  • Keep the shoulders and hips square and facing down the track
  • Think of flex at ANKLES instead of knees (this will keep knees bent too)
    • Slide onto each ski, (move onto a sliding ski don’t stomp down) 
    • Generate power from the ankles -  skis will feel like they squirt at the end of glide
    • No heel click (keep feet shoulder width) - feet will come closer the faster you go
    • Still upper body, propulsion comes from the ground up (i.e. ankles)
    • Vertical upper body, hips over the foot (poop in the boot)
  • Stay in your Happy box (shift weight side to side)
    • About pole width
    • A few feet deep
    • Don’t step forward - doing so will turn the hips
  • Commit and balance to each ski for efficient glide
    • Keep body facing down the track
    • Don't twist or bob the upper body
  • Keep a quick cadence
  • Pace so Heart Rate stays the same on hills
  • Glide as you stride up hills - light on feet, 
    • Don’t let the ski stall out (from bending foreword at the waist)
  • Ski like a cowboy - bow legged (opposite of knock-kneed)
  • No pole skating (can hold poles mid-shaft)
    • Arms at 90 degrees using an efficient arm swing
    • Brush to the hips and back, don’t reach out in front.
  • One pole
    • Swing both pole and non-pole arms, don’t cross over center line of body
    • Speed skating w/arm swing, down not across centerline of body going down the track
  • Double pole progression
    • Crunch (keep arms static as you stand and slightly crunch your torso) (4 min)
    • Swing w/arms at 90 degrees (3 min)
    • Release arms to straighten as they brush past your hips (2 min)
    • All together (5min)
  • Happy box - Mark a "box" with your poles about a foot in front of you and a foot behind; stay in that box as you hop back & forth balancing on each foot
STRETCHING EXERCISES For Cross-Country Skiing:

These stretches are explained here.
  • One knee on the ground and other leg 90 degrees, press forward and back
  • On your side and one hand on your hip and the other on the ground, lift up your hips
  • On your back put one foot on the opposite knee, pull the opposite knee towards you
  • On your back elevate your hips to stretch your lower back.

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