Willy Boyd reports on the Dutch on snow workshop at Interski 2015.

With so many on snow workshops and indoor lectures occurring each day during Interski at Ushuaia, our team tried to spread out and see as many different countries as we could.

I was fortunate enough to attend presentations by Canada, Switzerland, Croatia, Netherlands, Finland, Japan and Bulgaria while I was there.
And as we tend to naturally focus on what the bigger countries are up to, I thought it would be worthwhile to also highlight a workshop from one of the smaller ski nations.

The Netherlands is rather unique, as the country does not have any real mountains.
But the Dutch do have over 7.4 km of slopes, spread over 19 ski resorts.
These resorts are all dry ski slopes, indoor ski areas and rolling carpets.d1

Annually there are over 1 million Dutch skiers, who mostly spend their ski holidays in the nearby Alps.
And over 300,000 of them each year come to the artificial slopes for instruction.

So the instructors working in the Netherlands need to have a good set of exercises and methodology to make the most of the short artificial runs.

They call this the “Dutch Toolbox”, which they use for result driven lessons that motivate customers due to the TEA concept.

TEA stands for Try, Exercise and Apply

  • TRY
    • Getting conscious. In this part the student becomes aware of the deficit and the goal of the lesson.
    • Part and total methodical exercises in order to achieve the goal in a conscious state of mind.
    • Apply in different situations (vary in terrain, slope angle, speed, radius etc.), in order to achieve that what is learned, and can be applied instinctively.d2

The on snow workshop I attended was made up by a range of different participants, fellow demonstrators from various nations, to instructors of different levels from Argentina and Chile.

We were all split into 3 smaller groups, and each group paired with two Dutch demonstrators, for ½ sessions, before rotating to the next pair.
Each session had a different theme, “The Dutch Toolbox”, “Move your feet” and “Training tools: Ski Pole Position”.

Training tools: Ski Pole Position

The goal of this workshop was to cover “Creating awareness of core stability during skiing with different exercises with and without training tools.”

We started off by swopping our poles for an orange stretchy strap called “Pole Position”, a Swedish brand available at www.skipoleposition.com

While holding onto the each end of the strap in our gloves, we were taken through a progression to show how the strap can not only stabilize any excessive hand / arm movement, but also strengthen the core.

One of the exercises we worked on involved having the strap lose between the hands at the initiation to middle of the control phase, then start pulling the hands apart stretching the strap while we skied through the middle of the control to the completion.

This allowed you to feel what the Dutch presenter was after, which was a relaxed core as you entered the turn, then the core engage to handle the pressure building up under the skis as you passed the fall line to the completion.
After this we added in breathing to help the timing and engagement of the core again.

We continued with various other exercises, but did not have time to attach the strap to our poles, so that you can continue working with the strap, and poles at the same time.
But at the end of the workshop we each received one strap each to take home with us.
So if anyone is up at TC next winter and would like to try it, pop in and see me.

Move your feet

The next workshop “Move your feet”, had a goal to show how to increase client’s movement while skiing. With the idea that many skiers simply allow the skis to take them on a ride, when they should be influencing the skis, and not just be a passenger on top of them.

A flexible, supple ankle with a range of movement is important to the Dutch instructors, which is aimed at allowing their students to control dynamic turns on the slope, off piste and moguls.

To show this we worked through a series of exercises that showed extremes, with and without vertical movement, feet close together or wide apart etc.
Exercises to move the ankles, lifting tip/tail, Dolphin turns.
There were exercises to influence the skis with forward movement and steering, and exercises to avoid the skier inclining into the turn, such as double turns, pushing the knees forward etc.

Some of the exercises when attempted in “final form” were fun and tested our own agility and co-ordination.

The Dutch Toolbox

The final workshop covered the Dutch Toolbox, TEA and the importance of edging to help the skis grip and steer the skier.

To illustrate this we were shown a progression that focused on a bent relaxed inside leg with flexed knee and flexed ankle, while holding the outside leg long and strong with an open ankle, throughout the control to completion phase of the turn.
This was used to try and demonstrate an increased edge angle of the outside ski, and with this increased edge angle, pressure build on the outside leg.

With a combination of edge angle and pressure, the goal was to obtain increased grip to bend the ski, resulting in a shortening of the ski’s radius.

One of the progressions presented showed how a narrow snow plough on gentle terrain can be used to make deviations in direction by lengthening or shortening each leg, while flexing or opening the ankle.

The Dutch presented a very interesting and enjoyable set of workshops, and it definitely helped that they all spoke in perfect English. Combined, it made for a fun afternoon out on the slopes for all of us attending.