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Recently started racing, looking for beginner advice! (includes pics of my racing now)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello, everyone, and thank you in advance for any advice you can give me!

 

I'm a pretty strong general skier (I'm a patroller) who recently started racing.  When I left for college, the only way I could figure out to ski regularly was to join the racing team.  It's a pretty low key team, and there's a lot of people who hadn't raced before college.  I'm having a ton of fun and doing alright so far: on my team I'm the top girl who hadn't raced in high school, and generally place in the top third or so of the field, but I'd really like to work on my technique and improve my racing.

 

So, if you have any good generic beginner advice, I'd love to hear it!

 

Additionally, there were a couple people with cameras this weekend, so I have two pictures of me on the course, one from slalom and the other from GS.  I'm hoping that you might be able to give me some more specific advice and suggestions based on those.

 

 

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This is what I've come up with from looking at the pictures, let me know if I'm on base at all!

--Get lower into the hill, more angulation  (any suggestions for things to work on to get there?)

--Turn earlier

--Hands higher and more forward (also, what the heck do I do with my poles?!?)

--In the slalom especially, it looks like I'm probably sitting back too far

post #2 of 6

Overall looking pretty good. 

Lil A-frame on the GS turn.  Lead with your inside knee. Hands always DRIVE down the hill.  Snap BACK into an aerodynamic body position as soon as you can tho a good turn is better than a good tuck.

 

PRACTICE your tuck in front of a MIRROR.

GET VIDEO.  Take turns with a pal.  Put it on Sprongo and watch in slo mo and frame by frame.

WATCH world cupper videos.

When free skiing - open up - push out the hip - counter and make big angles.

Think about brushing (not crushing) the gate with your HIP.  If you're hitting the gates with your arm / helmet / shoulder, you're tipping.  If it is with your hip, you're RIPPING.

Ski on one foot.

Practice double pole plants.

Practice ultra quick edge to edge transitions.

FINISH your turns.

Race gloves or pole guards.

Suit.

 

Got a few questions:

 

How old are you?

What kind of skis are those?

How is your tune?

 

PS.  Trim your baskets.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much!

 

In-line replies:

 

 

 

Quote:

Overall looking pretty good. 

Lil A-frame on the GS turn.  Lead with your inside knee. Hands always DRIVE down the hill.  Snap BACK into an aerodynamic body position as soon as you can tho a good turn is better than a good tuck.  An A-frame means that my inside ski isn't on edge enough, so basically my body is too far outside the turn? 

 

PRACTICE your tuck in front of a MIRROR.  What exactly should I be looking for?  Low and forward?  I cross country ski raced in high school, and with that I do a really low elbows-resting-on-knees tuck: is that what I want?

GET VIDEO.  Take turns with a pal.  Put it on Sprongo and watch in slo mo and frame by frame.

WATCH world cupper videos. 

When free skiing - open up - push out the hip - counter and make big angles.

Think about brushing (not crushing) the gate with your HIP.  If you're hitting the gates with your arm / helmet / shoulder, you're tipping.  If it is with your hip, you're RIPPING.  This is for slalom and GS?  And that's my inside hip that should be brushing?

Ski on one foot.

Practice double pole plants.  Can you elaborate this?  Where should the poles be planting? And when during the turn do I plan them?

Practice ultra quick edge to edge transitions. Is a bit of a hop good or bad?

FINISH your turns.

Race gloves or pole guards. I'm a poor college student, so gear isn't likely to change much this season, at least, but I'll work on borrowing gear when friends aren't racing.

Suit.

 

Got a few questions:

 

How old are you? 19

What kind of skis are those? Definitely not race skis.  They're three year old Fischer Virons, but due to the poor college student thing, there's not a lot I can do about it at the moment.

How is your tune? Pretty bad.  They were waxed a month a go, and edges tuned... last year, I hope?  A teammate has tuning stuff though, and agreed to teach me how to use it, so hopefully it'll improve soon.

 

PS.  Trim your baskets. Oh, thats a great idea!  I hadn't thought of just trimming them!  Thanks!

 

Thank you again for the very helpful suggestions!

post #4 of 6

A-frame does not mean body to outside.  A-frame means your inside ski/leg is too passive.  You need to engage that ski and use it to help you initiate your turns.  Also, it could be that you're using it to support your body too much, so you're not trusting your outside ski and instead, balancing a lot on your inside ski.  In short, try to keep your shins parallel when you turn.

 

Don't worry about tuck right now....the only time you'll be tucking is probably at the bottom of the course for the last couple gates to the finish.  A tuck in between gates at this point could hurt you since it can get in the way of making proper movements and skiing a clean line.

 

I don't agree with the hip brushing the gate.  Don't think about the gate...your focus should be at the transition point after the gate where you'll be setting up the next turn.  If the gate gets in the way of your body, brush it out of the way.  Also, in general, you won't be hitting it with your hips.  If you watch slo-mo WC racers, the majority of gates are brushed aside using the forearm and shoulder.  Most of the time, your hip does not touch the gate.  If you try to hit the gate with your hip, what will happen is you'll likely over counter-rotate which can delay your turns and causes excessive upper body rotation.

 

double pole plants is basically pulling both your arms forward during your transition.  Think about the neutral state right in between turns.  After a turn, you will get thrown in the back seat by your skis and turning forces.  Use your arms to help drive your COM forward again.

 

Don't hop during your transition if you can avoid it.  Hopping = losing contact with the snow = less control.  Sometimes it's unavoidable..but it's not something you should look to do. 

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by bashfulbird View Post

 

So, if you have any good generic beginner advice, I'd love to hear it!

 

 

Though I am a bit older than you, I was in the same boat 6 years ago when I joined my ski club's race team.  Our league does the rounds of Western NY and the little bumps here in OH>

 

Anyway, like you I was a good free skier but lacked racer skills.  A couple of more experienced racers gave me some basic generic advice to help me get started. 

 

In no particular order:

Turn Early.

Keep your hands up and in front of you.

Turn Early.

Keep forward pressure on the tongue of your boots.

Look down the course several gates ahead which will help yoiu to TURN EARLY.

Don't worry about hitting gates.  Sometimes the fasted line doesn't hit the gate.

Don't try to work on too many things at the same time.

Finally, TURN EARLY.

 

Above all have fun with it.  I started racing at 52 and my free skiing has improved considerably since I started racing.  I am way more precise with where I put my skis and am more confident.  This after 35 years of hard core skiing.   You won't regret racing and it does become additctive.  Especially if you are good enough to win a few medals.  I have moved up 2 classes to an advanced class since starting in an intermediate one.  Now I have a drawer full of worthless medals but I do have priceless memories of the good times on race weekends.

 

Good luck and bring home the GOLD!!

 

Rick  G

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickg View Post

 

 

Though I am a bit older than you, I was in the same boat 6 years ago when I joined my ski club's race team.  Our league does the rounds of Western NY and the little bumps here in OH>

 

Anyway, like you I was a good free skier but lacked racer skills.  A couple of more experienced racers gave me some basic generic advice to help me get started. 

 

In no particular order:

Turn Early.

Keep your hands up and in front of you.

Turn Early.

Keep forward pressure on the tongue of your boots.

Look down the course several gates ahead which will help yoiu to TURN EARLY.

Don't worry about hitting gates.  Sometimes the fasted line doesn't hit the gate.

Don't try to work on too many things at the same time.

Finally, TURN EARLY.

 

Above all have fun with it.  I started racing at 52 and my free skiing has improved considerably since I started racing.  I am way more precise with where I put my skis and am more confident.  This after 35 years of hard core skiing.   You won't regret racing and it does become additctive.  Especially if you are good enough to win a few medals.  I have moved up 2 classes to an advanced class since starting in an intermediate one.  Now I have a drawer full of worthless medals but I do have priceless memories of the good times on race weekends.

 

Good luck and bring home the GOLD!!

 

Rick  G

There is some good advice here as a starting point.  (Not suggesting the advice from Pat and Major is not good but some of it is a bit further down the road from here) .  

 

One in particular from Pat I would emphasize

"When free skiing - open up - push out the hip - counter and make big angles."

 

is a key aspect if you are serious about racing as opposed to just skiing down the course.  Practice all the time to start developing the muscle memory of getting your legs out from under your (upright) upper body.  That is a key element of generating the pressure and body and edge angles you need to build more speed.  Of course this also means getting confidence in the ski and having a decent edge on it.  

 

A couple of other thoughts/clarifications.  Turning early (as above!)  is critical.  In slalom think about having >60% (and increasing) of the turn completed above the gate.  In GS much more.  Particularly for GS this means getting the proper line and turn shape - too often turning early is translated as going straight at the gate (which actually induces the opposite effect of becoming later and later) 

 

Forward pressure in the cuff/tongue of the boot also needs to be accompanied by driving the hips and CoM forward.   A drill that can be helpful for this is thinking about pressing forward against an imaginary belt buckle.  This helps bring the  CoM and pressure onto the front of the ski.

 

Now, you have been given lots of advice here (this is the intraweb after all!!).  Can quickly become confusing!!.  DONT try to focus on all at once!  Pick a couple of key thoughts at a time and focus on these during a session.  Then start incorporating additional ones as you progress.  Not all of these things will work for every athlete. (Ask my coaches who  keep beating me up about excessive arm movementt!!!)  At this initial stage try them and find the ones that work for you and give you most improvement in the short term..

 

There is also no substitute for a real live coach I'm afraid.  A few sessions with an experienced eye can greatly accelerate the process.  At a minimum try to get feedback, and preferably video from training sessions.  Still photos taken during a race can be VERY revealing if you look at the ones of other athletes taken during the race.  One of the simplest ways to get analysis is if there is a professional photographer taking pics of all the athletes at the same spot - it is easy to get an AHAH moment when you look at all the proofs together

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