- 3,212 Posts. Joined 10/2012
- Location: Hamilton MT
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Zen, I guess we need to revisit the idea that there are more than a few circumstances where active leg and hip flexing /extending movements would be needed. That means you need to play with them to develop the proper DIRT. Of course you have already discovered that if you have been experimenting with these moves. I would go one step further and suggest when you were doing those experiments some timing and intensity errors probably happened. That's the biggest problem when we start changing the body's natural path, or speed. Slow it down and you need to speed it back up, over accelerate it and you have to slow it down. It's one of the conceptual ideas we've seen for a very long time. I'm going to quote an old book here because the words are as true today as they were back when they were written.
(from the book World Cup Ski Technique, Chapter 2 The Mechanics of Skiing, by James Major & Olle Larsson)
"There is an importance difference between the experienced and beginning skier's balancing mechanisms. The beginner keeps himself upright by supporting himself against the boots, the tips and tails of the skis, the right and left ski and even the ski poles. If the beginner starts to fall backwards, he can push against the back of the boots and the tails of the skis, and when losing balance forward, he uses the support of the tongue of the boot. Should he fall to the left, he steps on the left ski, etc. A good skier does this also (albeit more subtly), but, more importantly, he catches his balance by pushing against himself, using other parts of the body for support in much the same way that a cat, dropped on it back, will be able to turn in the air, always landing on its feet."
It's in this difference that we see transitions evolve into what I mentioned and Bob so aptly described. It also explains what we see in the montage posted earlier, the movements in the air are especially relevant to the idea of cat like balance while in the air. Marcel moves his body parts to land on his feet and in a stance that allows him to begin the strong shaping phase of the turn. If he added a strong thrusting move he would disrupt that delicate balance and it would require him to establish a better stance before strongly shaping that turn. Although it also needs to be understood that racers don't always correct things in one turn. They often take several turns to get back on line, back into a better stance, etc. That's because they know through experience that big corrections almost always create even more problems than they solve and they have done the same experiments you are doing and learned how to turn while in a less than ideal stance. Something that happens frequently since they are skiing so fast and dynamically.
A second quote from that same book (and chapter) speaks specifically about the CM and how it moves.
"Every movement of the body moves the center of mass, which then requires to body to react to regain balance with the CM in it's new position. Therefore, every unnecessary movement is ultimately bad for stability and balance of the skier. The CM of the poor skier moves suddenly and jerkily because of the extra, unnecessary movements that, then, create great balance problems. One of the reasons for the exceptional stability of a good skier or racer is that his CoM moves much more smoothly in and around his body and down the slope. The way the best World Cup skiers calmly and quietly ski is noticed by all spectators. Therein lies one of their secrets of smooth, safe and efficient skiing."
That chapter continues and offers a lot of insight into why ski turns at the World Cup level look like they do. In my opinion, even though the equipment has changed the photo montages are strikingly similar to what Ron LeMaster captures now days. More air time perhaps but read the book and view the montages and I'm sure you will see what I mean. BTW, Ron talked about this in his Georges Jolbert tribute lecture a few years ago. It's ironic that even with all the innovations we've seen over the last forty years, the basic fundamentals of great skiing have always remained the same and Jolbert's work has stood up to the test of time very well.