by John Lyner
Having been greeted by rain, we were glad it eased to drizzle and mist after the first half hour. It was the sort of night where you can just make out the other end of the slope - typical conditions for Rossendale .... and fast!
Eight members turned out for instruction (paid for by the Ski Club) from Bill McGann. At last, a bumps night! Some skiers like them, some loathe them and some just sort of tolerate them if they have to - I love them! The improved technique of everyone in the group was clear to see as the night went on, so maybe we'll all be a bit keener to search them out from now on. I'd been through much of the technique a couple of times with Bill over the last few years and my bumps skiing reached a new level after the first such session, which really taught me more than an afternoon's bumps clinic at Vail - hard to credit, but true.
Bill taught us the importance of weighting both skis about evenly, relaxing the ankles and standing over the boots instead of leaning forward - in this way, it's easy to side slip forwards and down. More than anything else, this helps to control the speed. Your natural instinct may be to edge your skis, but resist, edging and carving only increases your speed. Poles are to be planted next to the foot, then you can turn immediately instead of skiing further in a straight line and increasing speed. Holding arms a little wider than normal helps the balance. Keeping the upper body facing roughly downhill makes continuous turns easier - there's less of your body turning one way, only to turn the other and turn back again. A good way of starting each turn is to push your toes down as you reach the uphill face of the bump - this encourages your legs to compress to absorb it.
Obviously Bill explains it better than me and there's no substitute for lessons and practise, but here's a summary of the technique:
Weight both skis evenly
Relax ankles - DO NOT EDGE OR CARVE THE SKIS
Weight central on skis, not forward
Aim to do controlled side slips between turns
Plant poles next to feet
Hold arms a little wider to help balance
Belly-button faces downhill at all times
Next session at Rossendale is scheduled for 7pm Friday 15th February - please phone Trudy to book your place.