Improve your skiing with the SkiA Sweetspot trainer
I, like many people, used to think that your centre of balance when skiing should be on the balls of your feet. Not so, say all the experts; it should be near the centre of the arch of your foot so that you are centred and balanced over your skis.
SkiA’s Sweetspot Ski Trainer is designed to help you feel where your centre of balance should be, so that you can replicate the feeling when on the snow. I first tried it at the UK industry ski test in Kuhtai, Austria and now have it at home to use when I can. It has certainly made a difference to my skiing.
The trainer comes with blocks that you fix under the centre of your ski boots. You then try to balance on them on a hard surface while making various movements such as bending, stretching and tilting your legs as if edging. It is surprisingly difficult at first, but when you are in balance you can certainly feel the sweet spot. There are four pairs of blocks; you start with the widest and move on to progressively narrower ones. The trainer comes with special exercises designed by Hugh Monney, founder of the British Alpine Ski School, which now has branches in 12 Alpine resorts.
In fact it was invented by a UK doctor, Martin Breach, who went on a ‘Ski Performance Breakthrough’ clinic with Hugh Monney in 2009 which changed the way he thought about skiing, especially where your centre of balance should be. He worked with Hugh in developing the trainer, which was eventually launched in 2012 and has met with acclaim from many other leading instructors, race coaches and competitors too.
Martin Bell, Britain’s best ever Olympic downhiller, who I’ve worked closely with over the last 20 years and who is Equipment Editor of the Telegraph Ski and Snowboard magazine, says ‘it’s a very specific balance exercise tool and very useful and good for training fore-aft balance on. For skiers, it is the best and easiest way. My daughter and I use them in the summer when we are not skiing, to maintain the feel of balancing in the boots.’ (Ed: Martin’s daughter Reece is a top junior racer in the US, where Martin now lives, and hopes to race for Great Britain one day).
Others to endorse the trainer include current UK skicross racers Emily Sarsfield and Ed Drake, the British Association of Snowsports Instructors magazine, the Canadian Ski Instructors Association, German Ski Instructors Association and numerous ski school bosses in Europe and North America.
It costs £45 and if you are not satisfied, there’s a 60-day no-quibble full refund; see skia.com for more details.