Sunday, 27 December 2015

Skiing on ice - top tips from Val d'Isere instructors

We've had some beautiful sunny days in Val d'Isere over the last few weeks.  The Val d'Isere commune have done a fantastic job in keeping the pistes in good condition, especially when you see pictures of other resorts around Europe looking very green!  We are extremely lucky. However, due to the unseasonably warm temperatures, the pistes are now starting to get icy.

When the pistes are hard packed and icy, they can be very unforgiving.  Your leg muscles work a lot harder and there is a high chance that you may aggravate any pre-existing injury. If your legs are felling particularly tired stick to easier pistes, take regular breaks and come and have a massage to help with recovery.

In terms of current injury patterns, we are seeing a lot less knee ligament injuries than we usually do at this time of year.  These type of injuries are particularly prevalent after a heavy snow fall, when the powder influences the mechanism of injury. Whilst this is good news, the hard icy pistes present their own pattern of injuries.  When its icy, we see more impact injuries that can affect the pelvis, back and shoulders.  We also see an exacerbation in knee problems, such as tendionpathy's and patella-femoral dysfunctions.  These are usually easily treatable and we can help help you understand and manage your injury or pain.

Skiing on icy snow can be scary.  It requires skill and precision.  We've asked some of Val d'Isere's fantastic ski instructors for their top tips on skiing on the ice?

Gavin Paley
Stay balanced over the middle of your feet, with a slightly wider stance than normal.  Look ahead and make the middle of your turn through the softer snow that has been scraped aside by other skiers. Turn your feet slowly and avoid harsh movements.

Elaine Bunyan
Don't panic and keep your speed to a minimum.  Stay over the downhill ski (don't lean into the hill) so your hips are down the hill.  Don't try to ski but rather slide over it until you find a piece of softer snow to break.  Turn on the softer snow, slide and survive! If its too icy avoid that piste and stay within your limits.  Drink lots of hot chocolate.

Wayne Watson
On ice use a controlled side slip with feet well apart. Over edging and fighting is a recipe for disaster. 

Caroline Barley
On an icy slope go with it, stay balanced, twist and slide.  Don't try to force the ski to grip because it won't - go with it.  Be on top of the ski.

Lara De Agostini
Use your body as a spring and bend the three main joints evenly (hips, ankles and knees).

Rich Murray
Relax and understand the limitations of your equipment. A lot of ski's will not grip on ice, so relax and go with it and be ready to grip when they will. Racers make their ski's much sharper, a tourist ski isn't designed to grip them same way.

Alan Okrafo-Smart
When skiing on hard packed, icy snow keep the turns small so you don't pick up too much speed. Try to blend the turning of the skis, the edging of the skis and the weight transfer as smoothly and progressively as possible form turn to turn.

Steve Ricketts
Stand centrally on your ski's to survive the ice.  Face downhill to keep your weight on the lower ski to travel with the ski.  If you are on your uphill ski you are more likely to have your feet swept from beneath you.

Liam Luke
Go with it, stay balanced and turn in the soft stuff.

Max Kratter
Move your body facing down the hill and keep your weight on the downhill ski.  Let it go!

Thank you to everyone that has let me pick their brains.  There are some very useful tips which will hopefully help to prevent injuries occurring.


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