...specifically, skiing goals. I'm not trying to define goals for all of us, they're most likely going to be different. I just thought I'd give us all the opportunity to compare notes on skiing goals and methods of achieving same. Note that there's a wide range of goals, including but not limited to "Ya know? I had a blast skiing last winter, but I only went 5 times, for Pete's sake. Next year, I'm gonna get a pass and go every weekend, and then some." Not a bad goal, right? Given the fact that the worst day you ever had skiing was probably better than the best day you ever had at work.
So to give you an idea of where I'm headed, let me talk about my goals. The object of this exercise is not to get you to care about my goals, just to get you thinking along the lines of your goals and what kinds of things you're doing to make them happen. Note that my number one goal is always to do lots of skiing 'cause it's a blast. But racing is a really big blast for me, so the tip of the iceberg is my Master racing goals.
I had a decent race season in some respects, and it was kind of a carryover from the previous season where I finished 11th in my class at the 2011 Masters Nationals. My slalom got even better this year because I was better balanced, my line was generally better, and I got quicker so I could carry more speed and make all the gates, more often than not. That was the case in training, my race results in SL were pretty punk-o, and my GS results were really pathetic.
So, I believe I'm better than that, and I'm out to prove it next season. So what am I doing to make it happen? Well, the following:
- Prepare better. I have a pair of boots and 3 pairs of skis coming in August, which'll round out my hardgoods stash. I have enough suits, gloves, jackets, pads, and so forth to take me into the next millenium. What I need to do is get lighter and stronger, which I'm doing even as we speak. 20 miles on the bike this afternoon and tomorrow, tennis for the next three days after that.
- Clean up my tactics. My technique is okay. There's a few niggling little things I need to work on, such as following my skis every once in a while, especially in SL, But overall, I just need to get on skis next fall and ensure that I get back to the same tech level as soon as possible.
But my tactics, especially on race day, need a lot of help. I'm waaay too round, and waaay too conservative. I didn't realize what a difference "too round" made until I watched Lindsey Vonn's first run in the final GS of the season at Schladming. She was clearly skiing for the overall points record, and skied to finish clean...which she did, something like 2.5 seconds behind the first run leader. To see somebody that skilled finish that far out because she was too round was a huge revelation.
I can't just tighten the line by going straight at the gates...everyone knows where that leads. So the key, I think, is to let my upper body go to the inside of the gate while my feet get waaay out there on the legal side of the gate. I want the feeling to be less like making elegant arcs, and much more like bouncing from side to side in a pin ball machine. Get the ski out there, make it bend, let the snap take the ski back to the other side, keep the body taking it down the hill.
I also need to race the hill, not just ski it, on race day. I'm world famous for making all the gates, and while you always have to fight to stay in, you need to let it hang out if you're going to be a winner. Marcel Hirscher took some incredible risks this year, and skied out in about half the slaloms. But you know what? He won the overall WC and the GS globe by taking it to the limit, every time. That my new goal, ski to the limit, every time, in training and in the races.
To an extent, you can strip ski racing to its essence and say it's about going fast. That sounds like a truism, but I've obviously forgotten how to not just let the skis run, but look for speed, too. I didn't spend enough time on my Super G and DH skis this year; that'll change next year, including some early season speed camps.
So those are my goals and what I'm doing to achieve them...what's your story?