To: Ski Racing Community
From: John Peters, Alpine Indoor Ski and Snowboard Training Centre
Re: Indoor Ski Training
Fellow skiers and snowboarders,
Our first winter at Alpine Indoor has just successfully concluded. On a regular basis, I’m asked the following questions: Why did I choose to own and operate Canada’s only indoor ski slope and is indoor ski training an effective tool for skill development and fitness?
The answers to the above questions became clear once my research uncovered the fact that high level Swiss racers were using indoor skiing as part of their training program. I was able to locate and contact the Swiss Coach that was given the responsibility of evaluating, procuring and implementing the Swiss Indoor program. Over a number of emails, the Swiss Coach (Didier Plaschy) shared his insights and experiences about indoor skiing. I’ve taken Didier’s advice very seriously given the fact that he’s a World Cup coach and former World Cup Racer: in 1999, he won two World Cup slalom races.
Below are a number of emails from Didier about the potential for indoor skiing in Canada. Please note that Didier speaks several languages, he was kind enough to communicate with me in English.
EMAIL CORRESPONDANCE FROM PLASCHY DIDIER
Email # 1 – response to my general questions about Didier’s experience with the Maxxtracks Indoor Ski Slope
Dear Mr. Peters,
you contacted Swiss-Ski for further information about the Maxxtracks Carpet.
Yes, l use it regularly and with several ideas behind.
Starting ideas (l went to Holland to discover the carpet and l did several trainings in Holland before www.inventra.ch bought one)
- First idea was to give those athletes with a lot of in-leaning in the beginning of the turn feedback to use other mechanism to. So what is happening. Those athletes tend to fall on the carpet. So they got aware of this mechanism and we go in the discussion how to improve it.
- Second idea is the fact that the snow on the glacier isn’t so effective any more than 20 years ago. The 0 degrees Celsius during nights are some days about 4000-4500m at sea level. So you got perhaps 2 hours of effective skiing for 150Sfr. With a lot of travelling, a lot of energy consumption on the body. So 1 hour of skiing on the carpet in rotation with 4 people (always 2 on the carpet) costs 30 SFr. Per person. So mathematically you can ski up to 5 hours on the carpet!!! Theoretically!!! (we ski about 2 hours on the carpet)
- Third idea was the therapy issue after torn ligament or other accident with recovery. We do physiotherapy on the carpet and we are improving the protocol for the use with injured people every day (see this video) now what remained about the ideas, well l discovered one more point (the main point for me)
- l use it a single leg training as soon as possible, why? Already in Holland the instructors told me that skiing on the carpet isolated the work by bending and rotating the valgus for the purpose of turning. After a while the athletes are doing not the desired movements, they get stuck in simple technique, right technique but not efficient for racing purpose. With this input from the instructors and the simultaneous invention from my kickboardl discovered the importance for one leg skiing. Maxxtracks is for me now the one leg skiing instructor and if somebody can ski on the carpet like he is doing it then NO MORE CARPET NECESSARY. (and still he has some potential on his left turn!!!).
The carpet is the perfect one leg training partner. So try to get him on one leg as soon as possible, avoiding to much discussion on both legs. Starting with short skis and increasing ski ovemen. That’s it.
Favourite athletes: tall athletes for the ovementzation of all their muscles and athletes with insufficient knee work.
You can contact me any time you want also on my cellular phone listed below.
Email # 2 – Didier’s response to my questions about using the Maxxtracks system for young athletes as an enhancement to their formal on snow programs
Dear Mr. Peters,
I think the idea is perfect and yes I do train World Cup and Olympic Athletes and the sooner they get in contact with the Maxxtracks system the more potential in technique training they establish.
We try actually to get young ski racers during summer time on the carpet before they start ski training on the glaciers. The feedback from athletes and coaches are excellent. Technique training for World Cup racers on the carpet is at an early stage and we continue steadily to improve the protocol what the athletes have to perform and we are still inventing new exercises.
Maybe it’s better that we talk on the phone so l can express myself better.
Email # 3 – Didier’s analysis of a video of a strong U16 racer training at Alpine Indoor
I see two problems, too much pushing away from the outside ski (stem aval in oveme, Talstemme in German) and too much hip angulation. You should put a elastic bungee around his boot (not too straight in the beginning and then tightening with progression) to feel that in- and outside ski (ankle, knees) do the same together and you need SHORTER SKIS (65 cm for the beginning, Snow Blades then with perfection just increasing length). The results are less stem aval and better knee work (and then of course less hip movement). Every hip movement in ski racing is completely unnecessary because it’s main effect is braking, unless you need reducing your speed for turning course settings or steep parts (neither nor is present on the carpet with normal inclination).
Single ski training holding the bar can always be a little part in the beginning taking over to be the leading part. Meanwhile you should really try to make understand the important technical aspects in ski racing.
Testimonial # 1
To: Alpine Indoor Ski and Snowboard Training Centre
As another ski season concludes I would like to thank you for training my two young racers. We found your facility to be very good for sport specific training and conditioning.
Both of my racers made strong improvements this season in terms of skill development and race results. Your program was extremely beneficial as an addition to our weekend race program at Alpine Ski Club. My racers were able to transition between Alpine Indoor and real snow with no difficulty.
Race Parent / Alpine Ski Club
Testimonial # 2
To: Alpine Indoor Ski and Snowboard Training Centre
Just wanted to let you know that my 8 and 10 year old ski racers enjoyed training at your facility. Your program is a great compliment to our structured race program at Beaver Valley. Training at your facility has proven to be the next best thing to on snow training. I really appreciate the fact that my kids are able to get a little extra training and skill development on weekdays throughout the season and during the off season. It’s amazing how quickly and easily my kids can change gears from your indoor slope to real snow.
The formula of training with you on weekdays and Beaver Valley on weekends has proven very effective and time efficient. Both kids have developed extremely well this season. They’re club championship’s results were very impressive (both on podium). More importantly, they’re developing strong basic skiing skills and they’re enjoyment of the sport continues to grow.
Race Parent / Beaver Valley
Testimonial # 3
I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful experience today. So many different drills, burning legs and one extremely happy kid at the end. See you soon and thanks once again!
KEY TAKE AWAY POINTS
- Indoor skiing is new to Canada and not fully understood.
- Indoor skiing uses the same skills and muscles as outdoor skiing.
- When outdoor skiing is not available: indoor skiing is a valid alternative.
- There are similarities and differences between indoor and outdoor skiing.
- There are no negative technical consequences related to indoor skiing.
- Transitioning between indoor and outdoor skiing is very easy.
- Advice from a World Cup Coach / former World Cup Racer & winner of multiple World Cup Races is worthy of serious consideration.
- Almost forgot………indoor skiing is FUN!
CSO / Chief Ski Officer
Alpine Indoor Ski and Snowboard Training Centre