Originally Posted by chemist
Thanks for taking the time to write -- this is an interesting discussion. I think your reply misses the mark, by focusing on the things that haven't changed, of which I agree there are many. The issue at hand, however, is the things that have changed, in particular the pivot-slide I mentioned in my last post, which I illustrated with the video I posted of Stenmark, and which you did not address. I.e., logically, the fact that many key things remain the same is not proof that there aren't also some significant differences. Here's a quote from a letter by Ted Ligety to Ski Racing magazine: "I write this article now because today I finally had the chance to try a prototype of the 40m GS skis. And quite frankly, they suck. I felt like Phil Mahre circa ’84. Try as I might, I could not get the skis to come around without a huge slide and step." [http://www.skiracing.com/?q=node/10364] I'm afraid I don't understand how needing to use "a huge slide and step" doesn't constitute an important difference in technique.
Also, what's ILS?
I don't mean to be contentious, but may I ask if you are being a bit of an iconoclast here (nothing wrong with that, I'm one myself )? I.e., is what you are articulating more your personal philosophy of how we should interpret the changes wrought by new ski equipment, as opposed to one reflecting current consensus opinion among elite skiers and coaches?
Pivot slide....is now commonly referred to as a "stivot" in ski racing circles.. Its still a huge part of ski racing....fat skis make it possible to get this happening in powder now.....often referred to as a "slarve". Technique/skills wise its the same.
Slide and step...is walking the skis around...it wasnt good technqiue then...and it isnt now. But was used until the racer built up enough speed to get the skis to bend...first few gates typically...they didnt do this down the whole course. Part of a good set, is recognising this fact, and the first few gates are set straighter to allow the skier to carve the first few gates cleanly.....although this isnt always true.
I know lots of athletes complained about the 35m skis....and I have read the articles and saw the videos too...but look at it after the athelets had a chance to get used to it....no slide and step that I can see. The "stem christie" references in that article were rubbish, and just fear mongering. Now the fact that a guy like Ligety couldnt just do this on his first run on the new skis....meant for him they are "totally different"...and I can see why he would describe it like that....but if that was true, we would expect to see new faces on the WC as everyone was starting from scratch...obviioulsy this didnt happen..because the new skis require the same skills as before...just amplihied...not different.
Am I being an Iconclast? Funny. I am anything but. My views are very much inline with current (and old thinking btw) of the top coaches and athletes. But I am "interpreting" for the masses. Its important to understand, that when your world is measured in 1/100 of a second, you might describe minor differences as "major changes"...but this isnt reality. Guys who rocked last year, still rock this year. Sure places change, people move up and down...but...its not like there were these dramatic changes that turned the ski racing world on its head, and top athletes like Ligety cant even race WC level, and some kid from nowhere is now dominating the WC with his new fangled technque. The good skiers are still good skiers, and the great skiers, are still great skiers.
I think it would amaze most people how much time at the WC level is still just spent on the basics of stance and balance, edging and pressure. There is no "magic move".
Having said that - I can see that I am really talking about the "Princples of good skiing" and the "Core Skills of Good Skiing" havent changed. It is true, that we do change the blend of these skills to get different outcomes or to suit different gear or different conditions. But does a different blend constitute a different technqiue? (Not rhetorical question btw). To me it doesnt (and I appreciate some high level coaches might not agree with me here)...because we coach and develop skills...and yes we also coach and develop the athletes ability to blend the skills as required to suit their needs....but really its 1 technqiue. If we viewed each change in blend as a new technique then on average a racer in a 50 gate course would employ 50 different technqiues to get to the bottom! Just thinking about that does my head in. I dont see how this view is productive...or in reality accuarate.
Good technqiue employs 5 basic skills...these skills are blended along a spectrum as required to achieve the desired result.
This hasnt changed for as long as I have been around. The blend might change...the importance or prevelance of one tactical outcome might change...but the core inputs...the bits we develop, the bits we train for....is largley the same.
ILS = Independent Leg Steering (ie rotating the femurs in the hips sockets) it is easy to see via "upper body/lower body separation".
Stenmark Step - I could have sworn that I wrote this earlier...but....transitions where a big technque change from straight to shapped skis..."more two footed" instead of a 1 -2 step. But this was really brought in by Tomba...which was actually before shaped skis really hit.