Originally Posted by IDMT BC024
Racing at a high level doesn't test the basics, it tests a specific skill set. The basics are required to develop the high level skills, but the basics are not what decides the couple 100ths of a second that separates first from second, that comes from racing specific moves and tactics such as line choice within the course, the ability to ride very high edge angles (only achievable on groomers), picking up any possible speed while riding your bases in a tuck (when was the last time you saw a big mountain skier tuck?) wax and tune job, etc. Big mountain guys also develop the basics and then develop their specific skill set on top of that. I think that you're majorly underestimating the difficulty of what the big mountain guys are doing- its redicious to claim that running gates will somehow also teach you high level line selection, sluff management, air awareness, and speed control skills required to ski big mountain lines fluidly and well.
You know, as absolutely stupid as I think PDX's thoughts are on the topic, the above is also in danger of displaying a complete lack of knowledge of what it takes to become a top level racer.
I don't think there's a pro skier in any discipline that would accuse high level racers aren't tested on the basics. Good lord, if you had ANY idea how much time is spent on doing balance, edging, etc... drills, or tried them yourself, you'd know just how silly what's written above appears. Free skiers don't tuck because they aren't timed. If they were, they'd tuck. Air awareness... not for tricks, but any WC speed event skier has a very very developed sense of 'air awareness'. The difference is that racers are trying to minimize it because it's slow, but unless you've tried to maintain a tuck airborne at 100kph over an off cambered roll on a rock hard race course with a compression immediately after landing, you just have no idea.
Again, what the hell is the matter with everyone? I LOVED that Mikaela Shiffren won the women's WC slalom globe. Powder named her #2 on the 'under 18 most talented skiers'... POWDER MAG... We also watch parts of a jr. free ride comp today at Crystal Mountain WA... Loved seeing the youngsters ripped it up on our hill, and some of them were very sound technical skiers. I LOVE watching vids of HOJI. Sabastien Michel's tech skiing is amazing. I just don't get the whole lack of regard for the fans of one camp for the other. And I emphasize FANS because most people posting the most ademantly here have clearly NEVER competed for anything on skis. If you've raced and/or skied big lines, you'd know that both require great skill sets.. Some cross over very well between racing and free riding... other's not so much. Personally, I'm thankful for having had a race background. What it did more than anything else was teach me to LEARN HOW TO LEARN and who to learn from. In that group, I have my inspirational favorites in racing, free riding, and ski mountaineering. What they all share in common are HUGE levels of athleticism, a work ethic, and very technically sound, inspiring skiing.
This really could be the most depressing, ridiculous thread on any ski website I've ever looked at... In the meantime today, I saw a group of young racers in their slalom gear and SL skis skiing in a foot of powder off piste in challenging terrain. I saw the freeride kids ripping it up. Saw Arne and Ingrid Backstrom's dad hiking for turns. Saw a friend teaching level 3-4 skiers and knew they were getting a great lesson from a great instructor. Heard and spoke with patrollers who worked their asses off bombing and trying to get things open... Just a very very cool day on the mountain. And a good friend celebrated their birthday with freshies... I was very happy to be part of it all.