Recovery Hop to Sprint Skate
PSIA Nordic Instructor Tip
I used to make cookies at my friends' house, using their electric mixer which had the coolest feature I've ever seen on a handheld. There were five speeds from 'Lo' to 'Hi' and another button with a little starburst caption bubble and the words: "Burst of Power." Maybe this taps the American fascination with extra umph, like having Turbo.
For the skier who ends up 'trapped in the middle,' and seems unable to master V2 pole timing due to their inability to balance over the gliding ski, this drill will not only give them a 'way out' when they tip too far to the outside, but also serve as an entrée into the sprint skate, a 'hop' version of the V2 used to hammer down, punch it, rock the turbo and accelerate past another, or get up to speed.
World Champion Jason Lamy-Chappuis (Salomon/Nordic Focus)
Here it goes, in steps; practice each about a dozen times before moving on:
1) Balance on one ski in a 'V,' flexing energetically up and down
2) Practice hopping your ski about 4-6 inches 'to the outside' (to the right if it's your right ski). Hopping 'up' is not required - or even desirable - as much as repositioning the ski under your core.
3) Hop from the outside (pinky toe) edge to the inside (big toe) edge while doing the above.
Developing this simple recovery move will let skiers comfortably 'overcommit.' The main reason skiers never get aligned and balanced riding a flat ski is fear of tipping too far to the outside, risking a fall, a shoulder injury, or worse. Practice deliberately overtipping, and re-balance with this recovery move, and you'll always have a way 'out,' and never have to fear riding a flat ski again. You can use this bailout to master balance over a flat ski.
Holly Brooks (Salomon/Nordic Focus)
Now for the fun stuff...and on to the sprint skate... Practice these drills to lead up to the sprint skate:
1) The Double-double: V2, with two complete double poles on each side. Sounds like 'skate, double pole, double pole, skate, double pole, double pole.' This stroke will help develop balance over a flat ski.
2) Hop Skate: A dynamic skate with a pushoff that provides a little 'air time' before landing on the other ski. A V1 works fairly well, as does diagonal V-skate.
3) High Hop: a one-footed takeoff and landing aided by an energetic armswing - skis off, then on, then gliding.
4) The Sprint Skate: a dynamic way to accelerate. Following a pole push, finish a high hop with a recovery hop, to a three-point landing. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Between the Recovery Hop and the Sprint Skate, you've got the recipe for a couple of tools to aid balance, help you ride a flat ski, develop speed and strength, and get you out of a pinch if you over commit. And you might just find that After-Burner button hidden under your dashboard.
Scott McGee PSIA Nordic Demo Team