Dec 15th – Verbier 5 day Junior Academy
- 5 Day Junior Academy
- Verbier, Switzerland
About the Course
For many years parents and juniors, have been asking us to develop a course which would cater specifically for 8 – 14 year olds and have the same focused, performance driven results that the Academy is famous for.
We are glad to say that the Warren Smith ‘Junior’ Ski Academy is now here!
The 5 day Junior Academy course, will break down the students technique through the use of specific drills, that will then be applied back into all areas skiing. Large focuses on Moguls, Freeride and Carving will keep the bar set high on what will be a super fun challenge for all who take part.
Balance based exercises will be used to create an awareness as to where our limits lie. It’s impossible to find our skiing sweet spot without first working to the extremes of our bodys natural range. One legged skiing, jump turns, and controlled ‘risk taking’ will all play a huge role in helping us find a strong balanced position that we can rely on to react to whatever the mountain throws at us.
Tactics play a very important role in our ability to shred a run well. We can use Tactics to help us read and assess the terrain properly and construct a run of different turns at different speeds that incorporate features to jump off, ski through or avoid! You’re pre run tactics can be the difference between a run that looks good or great! Tactics are as important for athletes at an international level in different disciplines right through to skiers who simply want to get down a run with more confidence.
We all know Carving is fun and gives us an awesome feeling of responsiveness from our skis. We however want your carving levels to go through the roof! We’ll make the angles bigger and the grip even more dependable. We’ll look at how we can use race bread techniques and apply them all over the mountain making us ski with more strength and efficiency than ever!
Learning the correct techniques for moguls will make them easier and more fun to ski. You will learn that skiing bumps correctly is actually impact free and not as bad for the knees as you might think! We will work on several specific on piste drills, which will translate straight into the bumps.
We here at the Academy have some of the best freestyle ski coaches in the UK to help perfect your skills in the park. You will learn to take off, land and slide rails properly, reducing the rick of injury and increase our style and confidence! Freestyle as well as being fun is good for your general ski technique helping with balance, co-ordination and agility.
The weeks drills and skills and training of different elements all lead to one thing. Your Freeride performance. This simply means using the mountain as your playground and putting a strong technical run together in the terrain that we all want to look good in. This means anything from, Powder, choppy off piste, tree runs or anything that gives us the opportunity to express ourselves to our maximum and get people on the chairlifts chatting!
We will be filming you on these runs on a daily basis and composing a library of footage for you to take away to see your continual improvement through the week.
One of the biggest areas of development on the courses is Ankle Flex development. Most skiers join us with a lack of ankle flex. Most skier flex at the knee more than the ankle and this puts the skiers weight back. Once it’s back it makes it hard to steer and almost impossible to ski steeps, moguls and freeride terrain. Your thighs end up being used to help you stand up rather than being used to help you steer the skis.
The reason that most skiers have a lack of ankle flex is that a lot of skiers learn to ski in boots that are too stiff for them to flex so the joint that compensates and does the majority of the flexing is the knee. A lot of skiers also suffer from having calf muscles that are too tight to be able to move and flex the ski boot.
With specific ankle flex development exercises you will learn to dominate your ski boots and flex them so as to allow you to be in balance and maintain leverage in the legs to have powder to steer. Once you have this flex you automatically have power and in turn confidence. The learning process increases dramatically with this and your skiing takes a major step change in its level.
All skiers that come on the Academy courses, whether in Group 1 or Group 6, have a problem maintaining symmetry whilst turning. Perfect symmetry is skiing from turn to turn with your hips, knees and feet the same distance apart allowing both ski edges to be at identical angles. It’s common for most skiers to ski with either their knees dropping closer together or their feet splitting wider apart. Both of these create the classic A-Frame stance.
The A-Frame stance makes it difficult to carve, ski powder, moguls, steeps and generally build on your ski technique as your ski edge angles will always be different. On the courses we address this issue and leave you with a strong, symmetrical stance that allows you to build good ski technique on.
Whilst developing your ski symmetry we will work on biomechanical aspects such as switching on certain muscle groups that help maintain the ideal stance, checking your ski boots to make sure they are set up correctly and integrating the 0-Frame stance into your skiing. Having skier symmetry is crucial in preventing knee injury, fatigue, accidents whilst skiing and allowing you to reach your true skiing potential.
Most skiers who attend the courses, even at Instructor level, steer their skis by foot steering. Steering the skis by foot steering is usually what you get taught in your first week of ski school tuition. Unfortunately it usually stays with you through your skiing life. Foot steering is weak and although it might get you through your first week of skiing it isn’t efficient for more advanced skiing. Foot steering can also put stress on the knee joint.
Thigh steering is a much more powerful way of steering your skis and allows you to steer with more confidence on steeper slopes, in moguls and in freeride terrain. It also allows you to carve more effectively and move onto skiing higher speeds without loosing control.
For thigh steering to switch on we develop specific exercises that provoke you to use the muscles in the legs that control this movement. Once you find the muscles (usually takes about 15 minutes to switch them on) you will immediately feel stronger in your skiing and more secure. Once we have you doing this, other aspects of skiing we show you during the week are easily absorbed and changes take place in your technique with ease.
Left + Right differences and physiology:
All skiers suffer from having a weaker turn direction. At the Academy we are fully aware of the importance for the skier to first feel the difference between left and right turns and then understand why there is a weakness with one side. With the sport of skiing you are only as good as your weakest turn. This is especially obvious in powder, slush, steeps and in moguls.
Skiers generally have a weaker turn due to left and right side differences with the brain, injuries to certain sides of the body, imbalances on the left and right side of the body and equipment that might not be set up correctly.
With the use of video analysis, exercises and biomechanical awareness we make you aware of your weaker direction, show you it on video and then build it up with specific exercises that benefit the weaker side of the body. Once you are balanced the sport of skiing will feel different to you and the foundation of you skiing will be strong and secure.
Nearly all skiers that join the Academy courses are never using their middle body strength to its full potential. Many skiers break at the waist when skiing moguls, powder or just carving at higher speeds. The more dynamic skiing becomes the more you need to activate your core whilst skiing to keep the middle body strong and avoid it collapsing. On the course you’ll learn how to activate your core whilst skiing with simple exercises that are easy to integrate into your normal skiing technique.
To assist your Moguls, Steeps, Variables and Freeride terrain skiing you’ll learn how to develop your pole plant timing and arm positioning. This gives your pole plant more overall strength and it will support your body effectively when initiating your turns in these terrains.
Every skier that joins a course has their own individual skiing style. An important part of the Academy course is to offer each skier feedback on their own technique specific to them. This takes places at various times during the week.
As well as the above topics various other aspects are also covered such as Short Radius Turns, Developing Leg Lean, Progressive Steering, Loading the Skis, Skidding and lots more. Many skiers attend several course during the year whether Winter in Verbier, Spring or Autumn in UK or summer in Cervinia.
Available Group Levels
Level 3-6 (Advanced Intermediate-Athlete)
Due to the nature of the course we only admit skiers at or above level 3 onto the course. The technical skills required to train and develop safely moguls are higher and hence the reason you have to be level 3 (advanced intermediate) before booking onto course. To easily identify the levels of skiers, and roughly assess which level you currently are, please click here.
Lots of the course will hone and develop the skills necessary to ski bumps on the piste so don’t feel like you need lots of experience skiing bumps but the willingness to embrace them and trust the drills and skills is essential!
As the course is focussed specifically on skiing moguls, amongst other things, this will entail quite a lot of speed work to improve the speed at which you can work your skis in the bumps. For this reason, please ensure you are as fit as you can be (cardio and muscular).
For impeccable service and regular low cost flights from the UK to Geneva or Zurich please visit our partners at SWISS. To get to Verbier book a return flight to Geneva Airport. Once you get to Geneva airport you can get to Verbier by Train (www.sbb.ch). For full details on travel plans to Verbier use the Verbier Tourism website and click on the ‘Access’ tab. Another excellent website for finding information on Verbier is www.verbinet.com. If you click on the ‘Travel/Transport’ tab you will find every solution.
Price: £469 (£439 for Academy Members) – (Course Only)
Private Coaching also available
Any member of the Ski Academy team can be hired out on a daily basis (subject to availability). Private tuition is better suited to people who require one to one coaching or who wish to bring a group out to the Alps. Private coaching is available in Verbier upon request from November – April. To check availability please contact us
Full day (5 hours) – £349
Half day (3 hours) – £229
*Maximum 7 extra persons. Extra people charges may apply. Other hrs available on request.
(course fees and private fees are exempt from VAT)
If you need to rent skis or boots or wish to pre-order your lift pass our partners at Ski Service Verbier are offering all Academy course participants a special discounts that you can use towards any type of rental this season and discounts on your lift pass too! To obtain this discount please click the following link:
This gives you a massive discount. Please note this discount has to be used online. Their team is also available to advise you on any queries you may have regarding skis and boots
With regard to which lift pass to get – for all the courses you’ll need a 4 Valley Liftpass to cover the entire area.