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Assignment,,, You up to it? - Page 2

post #31 of 52

The divergence that I see in Ligety's picture is a result of an early transition to what will soon become the new outside ski for the next turn.  (Similar but less pronounced example with Jansrud.  Bode is showing something different, so this description doesn't apply to him.)


There is now more weight on the inside ski, so it keeps tracking the arc, and the outside ski is less weighted and runs straight, which means it is diverging relative to the inside ski.


Is it intentional?  I guess it doesn't really matter  for Ted if he won the race.


However, I do see this regularly with people that I coach, and based on observed outcomes (the clock being the final arbiter), I don't encourage this as part of good technique.  The more typical outcome is an inadequately weighted inside ski that skids and dumps speed.  The skidding puts the racer below the desired race line, and from there he is in recovery mode to get back on to the fast line for the next gate.


The photo-montage for Ligety shows a different outcome, and the divergence isn't so evident through the whole sequence.  To me, this brings up another possibility for Ligety:  the divergence was a technical error that he quickly recovered from.


post #32 of 52

"NO RULES"....I like it.  cool.gif.  Mind you, a few suggestions now and then might be helpful to newcomers to the sport.

post #33 of 52

I'm going to approach this from a completely different perspective... some of you may agree, some of you may not... But biomechanics are at play here which none of you have taken into account!


The human body, when neutral and at rest, generally has the legs and feet slightly splayed outward. To make one's feet "parallel" requires an active rotation of one or both feet/legs. (A small percentage of people are 'pigeon toed', where the feet point inward naturally.)


In the case of skiing, the amount of counter in the pelvis often provides the aforementioned rotation necessary for the inside leg to become parallel. The more counter, the more parallel. The more square the pelvis is with the outside ski, the greater the likely amount of divergence. Basic body types and muscle development also play a role in this equation. But if you allow that Bode, Ted, and Kjetil all have similar physiques, you can remove those factors and focus on intent or technique. . Basic body types and muscle development also play roles in this equation. But if you allow that Bode, Ted, and Kjetil all have similar .nnnn


It is quite obvious in the first three pics Rick put up here that the degree of pelvic counter decreases in each pic, resulting in a greater degree of divergence. Bode obviously stacks at a greater degree of counter than Ted or Kjetil (stacking= the point where the muscles and skeleton are in the most powerful and productive position), resulting in a more parallel ski attitude. Progressively, Ted and Kjetil stack with less counter, resulting in a greater divergence of the inside ski as I described earlier.


Given that the example Rick provided in these pics, we are dealing with maybe 1/1000 of a second. I do not dispute that it appears that all of these guys are trying to shorten or cut off the turn in order to gain hill position or speed and that a slight divergence can help accomplish that goal. So I do not believe there is anything unintentional or mistaken about this move at this particular point in time. Was it conscious? That's another question entirely! These guys ski by instinct, where conscious thought is far to slow. Their only thought was " how can I go faster?". Not, "I think I'll make a diverging turn here.." They then call upon their experience and instincts to provide them with the solution to "how can I go faster?". The result is what you see in these pics... Kjetil

Edited by vail snopro - 3/24/11 at 3:04pm
post #34 of 52

Sorry about the typos in the preceding post- for some reason my computer is screwing up and not showing much of what had typed. As I added, deleted and rearranged my thoughts, they became a bit scrambled in the final result....

post #35 of 52

So what can we learn from these masters? Plenty, but that needs to be seen through the filter of observing four men execute their unique version of a turn that includes divergence. Was Ligety's interpretation superior? I think it would be a stretch to draw that conclusion based on the fact that he won the race. It's rare that one turn makes that much difference.

post #36 of 52

VSP, I'd like to hear more. I have always thought tilting the top of the pelvis aft would do what you say but I'm not seeing that in the photos.

post #37 of 52

Anyway, here is the correct answer. It is certainly not a mistake, nor it is some purposeful movement. It is a natural position of the skis in the initiation phase of the turn, defined by the course configuration and the design of the skis. 


At the moment photographs are taken, the outside ski is in the process of being loaded, with the pressure being transmitted trough the ball of the foot. As a result of this pressure (as well as increasing edge angle due to inclination), the outside ski will bend and will come back into parallel alignment with the inside ski just before racers will clear the gate. 


If they would try to artificially place the skis into the parallel alignment at the moment photographs was taken, two separate things would have happen (depending on which ski would be matched to which).


1. If the inside ski would match the direction of the outside one, when outside ski would inevitably bend, it would converge with the inside one and, in order not to get "jacked", racer would have to retract inside ski more, creating even more pressure on the outside at the worst possible moment: i.e. below the gate.


2. If the outside ski would match the direction of the inside one, it would cause the skidding of the outside ski's tail, bleeding speed. This is actually happens quite a lot in modern GS, but on much steeper portions. It looks like the photos were taken in "Russi's Ride" section of Beaver Creek's course, which is relatively flat. In this section racers try to be very careful with the edges, in order to carry speed trough the flats.


It is no surprise that all these guys looks similar here. All top 30 would look very much the same in this flat section, where wax is probably more important than all these superficial differences many people here are distracted by. The important sections in Beaver Creek are steep portions at Golden Eagle Jump and Harrier Jump, where skills of the top racers separate them from the rest of the field. Transition from flats into the Golden Eagle is especially important, race is won or lost in a couple of turns there, and that's where most of the inspection is done. Ligety did good in this section in both runs, that's why he won, not because of some superficial "divergence" thing. 

post #38 of 52

While I agree with most of what you wrote Rush, it does seem a bit arrogant to claim "correctness". Yes the gate placement defines the line and yes ski design influences technique but that is hardly new news, or the whole story. Rick's point was clearly that what some may consider a technical error (because the skis diverge) is in reality a positive outcome of the movements these skiers are using to negotiate this one gate. So it really isn't just a naturally occuring outcome of line and ski design, all of these men did something more to produce the divergence.


Why? That should be obvious, it's their chosen way to best negotiate the current turn and set themselves up well for the next few turns. The differences in their technique (mechanics) amounts to personal style (and IMO joint usage biases) but tactically (their overall objectives) they show more similarities than differences. Again this is a point Rick made a while ago and something you seem to echo in your comments about the similarities we see in the photos.


I would like to thank Rick for his efforts to open this mythbusting dialog. IMO what this thread demonstrates best is that functional skiing and the example we see through this one gate involved divergence and the dogma of alway parallel skis is clearly not appropriate for the situation. Again, thank you for echoing that idea.


Exactly how and why that divergence occurs has been debated from a variety of perspectives but I want to point out that with one exception that dialog hasn't included any claims to being most correct. IMO, there are elements of truth in everyone's opinions and while some may ultimately prove to be more correct than others, the sharing of our ideas is far more important than who can claim to be most correct.

Edited by justanotherskipro - 2/27/11 at 4:00pm
post #39 of 52
Originally Posted by GarryZ View Post

They have moved pressure to the inside ski to shorten the path past the gate to achieve a tighter line which can lead to a faster time.

In the first Bode is altering the course of his inside ski while staying nearly completely on his outside ski. He is steering  the inside ski.

In the second Ted is in the middle of altering his pressure on his skis to track more onto his inside ski creating a divergence with weight moving to create the a frame as the pressure is taken by the inside ski from the outside some.
In the third Kjetal is farther along with his manipulation than Ted finishing with his inside ski much more pressured .

In the fourth we have inclination which may or may not alter the pressure depending on the intentions of the skier

post #40 of 52

Rick, here's my thought without reading any responses, just from looking at your original post.


I think the divergence means they are moving into a newer, tighter line, closer to the gate.  It's an integral part of the transition in their dynamic line.  It's intentional.  Their turn is finished above the gate, they're moving into the line for the next turn.



post #41 of 52


Hey Rick !
I think your "divergence test"
was a sneaky way to get folks
to compare these skiers. I bet
in the same race, lots of guys
had parallel skis, etc. at that
point; so to me, the divergenge
is a deviance from "ideal form,"
a.k.a. a mistake. I bet you could
pull photos from that race of
guys with their inside hand
on the snow, or taking a late line,
or any other mistake.
Because this reallly emphasizes
Ligety (he's the only one who
got the full montage), let's focus
on what he's doing:
Frame 1:  Both skis have
reverse camber. That means
he's carving both skis. It appears
the downhill ski has more flex;
I'd say his weight is biased there.
Frame 2: Ted's doing a wheelie
with both skis. The downhill ski
flexes the most at a hingepoint
under his heel. Bias is to the
downhill ski (I don't believe a
person can "pressure" a ski...)
Uphilll ski appears to be off snow.
I bet his skis are convergent in this frame.
Frame 3: This is the critical frame
of the montage. It's impornant to
recognize the change in body
position from frame 2 to frame 3.
While racers like Bode are
setting up for the turn by dropping
the inside hip and countering,
Ligety has turned his torso and
shoulders TOWARD the gate.
Bias is still on the downhill ski,
which is being steered (important--
look at the DH ski across frames
2, 3, and 4. Spivot !).
Frame 4: Rick says his Ligety
comparison photo is from between
frame 4 and frame 5. So clearly,
Ted must be divergent in frame 4.
Bias is to the inside ski; hips are
squared, but upper torso is twisted
out (countered) to prepare for the
impact of the gate.
4/5 Photo: Keeping in mind that
Ligety is biased to the inside ski,
look at the distance between this
ski and the gate. This is one of
the big reasons why Ted won.
He can make a shorter radius
turn; Bode biases to the outside
ski; look how far away it is from
the gate.
Frame 5: The divergence from
the 4/5 photo has nearly been
eliminated. How did he do that
in such a short space ?
(Rick ?) Parallel tibias, 
parallel skis, outside ski might
have just a touch more edge angle.
Frame 6: Parallel tibias,  parallel skis,
parallel edge angles. Between the
apex and the finish of the turn, the
bias has changed to the new downhill ski.
Frame 7: Again, I bet Ligety's skis
are convergent in this frame. 
post #42 of 52
Thread Starter 

Tommy, my old buddy, thanks for chiming in on this one.  


Well done, pointing out the "stivot" of Ted's downhill ski that happens between frames 2 and 4.  You're dead right that in frame 2 his ski are converging, and then because of what you call the "stivot", and I call "redirecting" of the downhill ski he does, they quickly become diverging for the start of the new turn.  


Well done too, mentioning how the ski skis begin divergent, but then loose that as the turn progresses, until at the end of the turn they're convergent.  In essense, the inside ski has carved the same, or bigger radius turn than the outside ski, and from your notice of the slightly higher edge angle of the outside ski, it's safe to say the inside ski's turn radius was larger.  


Obviously, for both skis to carve, and go through the whole turn with a parallel relationship, the inside ski would need to carve a shorter radius turn.  


Carving a shorter radius turn with the inside ski would be impractical for two reasons.

1) At those edge angles it's damn tough to do.  

2) It will not by itself create the larger amount of foot separation needed at max edge angle at the apex.  The inside foot would need to be dragged laterally out of the carve track anyway.  


The stivot you see happen creates the divergence that allows the inside ski to carve on a bigger radius line, while simultaneously carving into the extra foot separation needed at the apex.  It lets the inside ski track clean all the way through the turn.  The larger radius line the inside ski is following causes the divergence to disappear by the apex, then results in the convergence you pointed out through the bottom half of the turn, automatically narrowing up foot separation separation for the transition, exactly what the racer wants.   The whole strategy works pretty slick.


Tommy, you also mention that other skiers might not use the divergence tactic Ted did here, but rather the'll just go through the turn with constantly parallel (generally) skis.  Spot on again, my friend.  It's very possible to do.  But,,,, to do it we run into that tricky smaller radius path of the inside ski requirement again.  To accomplish that, we know tipping to a higher edge angle is very tough.  The easier method is using the a tool I call "rotational tension of the inside leg".   If the outside leg/ski is defining the turn and carving clean, the inside leg is kept rotationally stiff, so it ends up auto steering the inside ski to remain compliant with the turning desires of the outside ski.  In this manner, the skier simply allows the turning outside ski and leg to drive the needed steering supplementation to the inside ski.


In the parallel option above, we also have the problem of creating more foot separation needed at the apex not being auto taken care of as it is when using divergence.   All the skier can do is drag it laterally, away from the clean carving outside ski.  


Divergence simply allows the inside to carve more cleanly, from turn start to turn finish.  


Here are the photos again, for reference:












post #43 of 52


Originally Posted by rush614 View Post

It appears that it is the latest trend on the World Cup. Here is a video of Benjamin Raich in the very same section, also using similar technique, entering the turn on the inside ski. 




Note, however, that Raich also utilizes "vertical divergence", i.e. during the turn he lifts the outside ski, then shifts the weight on the tails to accelerate into a new turn.

biggrin.gif Having used that "technique" on the Zielschuss a few times, I wouldn't recommend it...


post #44 of 52

Hi Rick. 2005 all over again. Or was it 1995 ? Time flies.




What I see (among other things) is independent ski action throughout the sequence. What jumps out at me is the inside ski bias of the skiers (I only watched Raich and Ligety) with Ligety clearly outdoing Raich (though I doubt he won that section). But it seems to indicate that that is what he is leaning towards, inside ski bias and if you ask me, waist steering. Divergence can happen if one loads the inside ski tip at the beginning of he turn but in my opinion is mostly caused by the tele lense.(I am partially kidding).


Good to argue with you again



post #45 of 52

For those who haven't seen it, more intentional ("instinctive"?) use of convergence/divergence, this time by Svindal:

post #46 of 52
Originally Posted by TommyK View Post


4/5 Photo: Keeping in mind that
Ligety is biased to the inside ski,
look at the distance between this
ski and the gate. This is one of
the big reasons why Ted won.
He can make a shorter radius
turn; Bode biases to the outside
ski; look how far away it is from
the gate.
Frame 5: The divergence from
the 4/5 photo has nearly been
eliminated. How did he do that
in such a short space ?
Tommy, given the speed and turn radius the G-force in this turn is probably around 3g. I doubt very much that the bias is on the inside leg. The divergence disappears because the outside ski is pressured and edged more, and thus it carves a tighter turn.
post #47 of 52

Hey Jamt,


Biowolf agrees that inside ski bias

is the way many of the big boys

do it. This is like graduate study

for ski racing.


When the downhill ski is biased,

counter-rotation stretches the

iliotibial band of the downhill

leg, which strongly connects

the tibia to the femur, the pelvis,

and the lower vertebrae--

creating a "kinetic link."


When the uphill ski is biased,

it's the same thing. Squaring

the hips to the skis (or in Ligety's

case, turning the waist toward

the direction of the turn) stretches

the IT Band of the uphill leg, in fact,

creating a stance that is significantly

stronger than the one you surmise

when bias is on the downhill ski.


The major reason why inside ski

bias creates a stronger stance is

the rotary forces on the knee. The

IT Band and the strong ligaments

wrap across the lateral (outside) of the

knee. When the knee is twisted

out, the IT Band becomes optimally

stretched, and stance becomes extremely



Rotation and torque are seldom

discussed in ski racing. This is

mostly due to a lack of understanding.

Think of a big, gnarly pickup truck,

like a Ford F350 with a Powerstroke

turbo diesel. How much torque does

it produce ? 560 foot-pounds in the

new version.


How much torque can a human produce ?

In this video:

Master Chen is measured producing

over 8000 (eight thousand) foot-pounds

of torque. Sounds crazy, huh ?

post #48 of 52

Tommy K,

Are you trying to post a photo next to your text?

The format of the posts just puts a barrier to reading what your saying. These discussions are complicated


I think the last thing Raich wanted to do was what happened in this video of "riding the 3rd edge". I'd bet even his heart rate jumped way up there.


Originally Posted by rush614 View Post

It appears that it is the latest trend on the World Cup. Here is a video of Benjamin Raich in the very same section, also using similar technique, entering the turn on the inside ski. 




Note, however, that Raich also utilizes "vertical divergence", i.e. during the turn he lifts the outside ski, then shifts the weight on the tails to accelerate into a new turn.




biggrin.gif  Having used that "technique" on the Zielschuss a few times, I wouldn't recommend it...  -Martin Bell


Back to the divergence in the original question:




How about this for a simplified explanation. The whole reason for the divergence is to get both skis carving at the edge angles and  position of frame 6 just below the gate. In order to do that, he has to go way inside early. This move happens between frames 3 and 4. The skis at that point are not heavily pressured. Moving inside at that point causes the skis to diverge because of at that moment a light outside ski, and the geometry of the body in that position.


To simplify even further, they diverge because he moves inside so quickly. This is done in order to reach the directional changing carving position of frame 6. Everything is done to carve just below the gate.

There's no way that just tipping with roughly parallel shins at the begining of the turn could have gotten him to frame 6 in that small amount of time and space.

post #49 of 52

Tommy I agree that the inner ski gets a lot of attention among racers these days, but its mostly after the apex, as you go into the transition. In frame 5 you can see that the outside ski is bent and the inside is almost straight. To me that means a lot more pressure on the outside ski. The inside leg is bent more than 90 degrees, which means you are not very strong

post #50 of 52

If skis are farther apart @ apex of turn the weight of the leg & ski can be used to counter act the increase in G force @ the apex. ( less weight on inside ski & farther apart counter acts more G force i.e., countering forces so you dont flip over side of outside ski) Feet closer togeather & more weight on inside ski less counter balancing of G force. When skis are not on edge feet can be closer togeather because they are not needed to counter act G force from being on edge

post #51 of 52



When the skis come farther apart  even if one ski has no weight on it rotatiional stability  will increase i.e., think of a 180 spread 180 off a jump. When the spread eagle is in the widest position it looks like the rotation almost stops (wieght further away from center of rotation). A narrower  stance less force is needed to pivot skis. (not sure if rotational stability is correct wording)


If the tip of the inside ski is pointed to inside of the turn it would most likely also increase stability because the front of the ski is longer then the back plus since the front of the ski is longer & most likely weighs more it would most likely help fine tune the force needed for counter balance if needed by simply turning foot out as the G forces increases.







post #52 of 52

After further thought I might have failed in my thinkng in above post because I forgot to take into account if the skier was taking the same size, shape of turn with his feet closer togeather producing the same G force. His body angles would be different & his body weight @ those differnt angles might produce the same rotational stability.

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