We got in contact with SkiA recently and they were kind enough to loan us a couple of their Sweetspot ski trainers so that we could try them out. We asked some of our friends on facebook to help us out and let us know what they thought of the Sweetspot ski trainer.
The SkiA Sweetspot ski trainer is the work of UK doctor and keen skier Dr Martin Breach who worked closely with Hugh Monney to develop the trainer. Hugh is the founder of the British Alpine Ski School and was a trainer and examiner of instructors for the British Association of Snowsports Instructors for 22 years. The trainer is proving to be very popular with ski schools around the world and the company’s website is full of testimonials from directors of ski schools and racing teams.
The Sweetspot ski trainer is classed as a ‘dry land’ ski training gadget that facilitates the user in finding the sweetspot of their skis through a series of balancing and mobility exercises on a series of blocks that get progressively more difficult. If you’re like us and thought that the sweetspot was under the toes or ball of the foot then you would be wrong, as SkiA explain.
“A modern ski is a compound spring, like an archer’s bow. The sweetspot is at the centre of effort of this spring, and is marked by an index mark. The portion of the ski in front of the sweetspot is longer and more flexible than the portion behind it, and is more easily twisted. Modern skis and boots are designed to work around the sweetspot, with the two parts of the ski balancing each other to give an efficient and consistent performance.”
The trainer was tested by two friends of Esprit Ski with different backgrounds; 1 is an ex seasonnaire with lots of slope time under his belt and the other is a mother who goes on yearly trips at an intermediate level.
Both of our testers decided to test the device in their living rooms on the carpet but the instruction manual advises that it can be used on any firm surface that isn’t wet or slippy. “If you set aside a large enough space for a family Wii session on Christmas Day then that should suffice, but overall it is compact and easy to use at home”. Another good piece of advice was “if you don’t have a partner to tell you that you have got it wrong, use a mirror on the floor to check your balancing correctly”.
Both seemed to struggle with the initial fitting of the trainer to their ski boots but once on they both agreed that they felt a difference in their balance. The ski blocks that attach to the bottom of the device for balance are graded the same as the pistes, green to black, which one of our testers thought was “a nice touch”. The trainer is incredibly light so it would be possible to take it with you on your ski trips so that you can warm up in the mornings or have a little session in the evening (could be interesting after Apres ski though!).
The trainers come with a manual that tells you what to do but the best information was to be found on the website where there is a ‘how to use’ video by Hugh that gives a demonstration of the exercises that you should perform. One of our testers has suggested that maybe a DVD would be useful as you could ‘ski’ along with the videos on your TV at home. SkiA have taken this onboard and will be adding to the videos already on their website with lesson type footage.
Both testers felt a definite improvement in their balance after just a few sessions on the trainer,” as the session went on the easier I found it to balance on the ‘Sweetspot.’ I’m sure with a regimented training programme improvements in the balance would take place”. ” On the first ‘go’ with the green blocks I had great difficulty balancing, Day 2 and the balance is a lot better – time to progress”
If you are serious about improving your skiing technique then this trainer would be of use to you as it allows you to train all year round and in the comfort of your own home. Whilst not replacing ski lessons from actual instructors, it should help to keep your lesson costs down as it will help you get the fundamentals correct at your own pace.
For a family, or couple, of skiers living in one home this is a low cost way of improving skiing technique due to its flexible set up options allowing for multiple users. At the cost of less than 1 ski lesson with an instructor this really is good value for those who want to make the most of their ski holidays every year.
Competition and discount code
SkiA have given us a discount code for all our lovely Esprit Ski fans that will give them 15% off the purchase of a Sweetspot ski trainer. Order your trainer here and when prompted enter the discount code ESPRIT2013 to get your discount.
SkiA have also been kind enough to give us a brand new Sweetspot trainer to offer as a prize for 1 lucky winner of our competition.
All you have to do is complete the comments form on this news post with the answer to the question below:
How many training balance blocks does the SkiA Sweetspot trainer come with and in what colour?
1. The closing date for all entries is 3pm on the 31st January 2013. Only entries submitted via our website will be entered into the draw.
2. The 3 winning entries will be drawn at random from all valid entries by the 8th February 2013.
3. The winners will be notified via the email address given at entry that they have won and will need to respond with their address for postage by the 15th February 2013.
4. Only 1 entry per email address.
5. Competitions are open to UK residents only unless otherwise stated
6. Prizes can only be sent to a valid UK address unless otherwise stated.
7. The Judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entered in to.
8. Automated entries, bulk entries or third party entries will be disqualified!
9. Esprit Ski is compliant with the data protection act. Our policy is such that we will not pass on your details to any third party without your prior consent.
10. All email addresses submitted as part of the entry process will not be used for any other purpose than to contact the winners.