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Is optimum technique for heavy snow on steeps with ~90-100mm skis diff. from that with ~60mm skis?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I’m an ex-racer, and since 2000 had been using 160 cm Atomic Beta Race 9.16 SLs (62 mm, soft slalom) as my all-mountain boards and found  they work great in deep, heavy snow on steep, technical terrain (I’m on them in my profile pic).  However, using them in these conditions requires some athleticism and thus some work:  pressure the ski at the end of the turn, then use the resulting pop, combined with some retraction, to bring the skis up on top of the snow, then guide them into the next turn, driving them through the snow into a nice bend.  Rinse and repeat. This is fun, but I thought it would be nice to ski the same conditions more effortlessly, so recently I tried fat (or at least fat to me) skis for the first time (170 cm Volkl Kendo [89 mm] and 172 cm Line Prophet [98 mm]).   Conditions were heavy cut-up “resort powder”/windblown/windcrust at Mammoth, ~2’ deep, on Climax and off the traverse on Ricochet.  What I expected from these fatter skis was to be able to use much less effort – just playfully pivot/carve/slarve them through (or on) the heavy snow with incredible ease (what some call “point and shoot”).  To my surprise, quick fall-line turns on the steeps seemed to require the same technique (let’s call it a form of retraction/extension), and thus the same amount of work, as my SL skis.  In fact, for high-consequence turns, I’m probably more comfortably on my SLs.  The only instance in which these were clearly easier than my SLs was when the slope flattened out and I wanted to open it up and make some fast GS turns through the crud – then it was fun to just tilt them up on their edges and let them run.

 

With these all-mountain skis, is it necessary to use my current technique to make quick turns in heavy snow on steep terrain, or should I be using an easier alternative? Either:

  1. there’s some updating I need to make to my technique with these skis; or
  2. it requires truly specialized (maybe heavily rockered) off-piste skis (which these aren’t) before one can get effortless point-and-shoot ease in heavy, variable snow; or
  3. even the heavily rockered skis (which I've not yet tried) don’t slarve well when the snow is very heavy/grabby, and thus also require retraction/extension for quick turns (I guess it comes down to whether the ski allows you to slarve on top of the snow, rather than through it).

Edited by chemist - 3/20/13 at 6:10pm
post #2 of 23

No.

 

 

Good skiing is good skiing, and the basics dont change.  Having said that, fatter skis do make it easier and more effortless...however you need to get some.  From your SL to your new skis, you increased the surface area by what? 20%?  That wont make a huge difference. 

 

I have no idea how big you are....but assuming you are an average male 5'10, 180lbs....dont expect to really feel the benefits until you hit somthing around 105mm underfoot, at least 180cm long and with some early rise.....withi something like that (and you will likley want wider and longer, consider those minimums)....skiing powder is just like ripping GS on the groomed....but with face shots! 

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks, skidude. I'm 5'7", typically 148# when in form, but currently 160#.

 

Doing a simple "back of the envelope" calculation, we have: (98mm/62mm)*168cm/160cm = 1.66 => 66% => about a 2/3 increase in surface area with the Prophets over my Atomics; note I gave the Prophets an "effective length" 4 cm shorter because of their slight early tip rise and turned-up tail; even if more is subtracted, it's still in the 2/3 range.

 

Nevertheless, you may be right I'd need to go even wider, and with more rise, before I feel a striking difference in

performance in heavy snow.

 

But regarding the technique issue, I'm afraid I'm a bit confused -- isn't the slarve/pivot technique (that I've read is favored by those using big mountain skis) fundamentally different from the retract/extend/carve/rebound approach I'm using?

 

BTW, I have enjoyed face shots with skinny skis, if the snow is light and the terrain is steep enough to allow me to get moving in it.smile.gif


Edited by chemist - 3/20/13 at 8:50pm
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by chemist View Post

Thanks, skidude. I'm 5'7", typically 148# when in form, but currently 160#.

 

Doing a simple "back of the envelope" calculation, we have: (98mm/62mm)*168cm/160cm = 1.66 => 66% => about a 2/3 increase in surface area with the Prophets over my Atomics; note I gave the Prophets an "effective length" 4 cm shorter because of their slight early tip rise and turned-up tail; even if more is subtracted, it's still in the 2/3 range.

 

 

Width...remember its 132,98,123 vs 110, 65, 95....so while its roughly 50% more in the middle, its only 20% more at tip and tail...length is 5% more.....so overall, Ok, my 20% was low...but....maybe 35-40% more?  Considering, you are coming from the narrowest ski money can buy....

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chemist View Post


Nevertheless, you may be right I'd need to go even wider, and with more rise, before I feel a striking difference in

performance in heavy snow.

 

 

And longer...the length really helps smooth out the ride in conditions like crud.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chemist View Post


But regarding the technique issue, I'm afraid I'm a bit confused -- isn't the slarve/pivot technique (that I've read is favored by those using big mountain skis) fundamentally different from the retract/extend/carve/rebound approach I'm using?

 

BTW, I have enjoyed face shots with skinny skis, if the snow is light and the terrain is steep enough to allow me to get moving in it.smile.gif

 

No...its still skiing.  Retract/extend/carve/rebound is no more of a "technique" then "pivot/slarve" is.  Fat skis just make skiing powder, more like skiing groomed...could you have done a race style stivot on old skis in powder?  Not likely.  Now you can....of course they call that a "slarve" now.....watch good powder skiers...they defnatley are still retracting/extending...the snow consistency determines if the outcome is closer to a "carve or a slarve"...but its still powder, you wont get the same carving edge hold that you experience on groomed...and of course rebound is still there...but it wont feel like groomed since the skis arent coming around as quick.

 

Just ski...technique changes (provided you ski groomed properly - most dont) required for fat skis in soft snow is minimal.  To me the biggest change is tactical...while back in the day we always did short or shorter turns at least in powder...we now favour GS size turns or even bigger....

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

Width...remember its 132,98,123 vs 110, 65, 95....so while its roughly 50% more in the middle, its only 20% more at tip and tail...length is 5% more.....so overall, Ok, my 20% was low...but....maybe 35-40% more?  Considering, you are coming from the narrowest ski money can buy....

 

 

Hmm, that's odd: length-for-length, Line lists the Prophet98 as having a smaller turning radius than my Atomics, so I expected the Prophets to be proportionately wider at the tips and tails, which is why I didn't bother including those latter measurements in my initial simplified calculation (I thought I was being conservative).  Instead, as you pointed out, the opposite is the case -- the Prophet has much less sidecut.  So how is it that a ski with proportions (tip:waist:tail) of 1.35:1:1.26 is 15.4m@165cm (Prophet98), while one with 1.69:1:1.52 is 16m@160cm (Atomic 9.16)?  Either their geometries are bizzarely different, or there is no consistency in how mfrs. calculate turning radius (I suspect the latter).  Perhaps I'll start a separate thread about that.  Anyways, incorporating the tip and tail widths, we have: (132 + 98 + 123)/(105 + 62 + 94)*168/160 = 1.42  => 42%.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

...technique changes (provided you ski groomed properly - most dont) required for fat skis in soft snow is minimal.  To me the biggest change is tactical...while back in the day we always did short or shorter turns at least in powder...we now favour GS size turns or even bigger....

 

I wasn't sure if the all-mountain skis I tried were different enough from my SLs to require a technique change (hence my question), but I'm surprised to hear you say that, even for the full-on fat, rockered big-mountain skis, the optimum (most efficient) technique for off-piste skiing has not changed (except minimally).  The reason I'm surprised is that, historically, optimum ski technique has always evolved in response to substantial changes in ski design (sure, you can always still use older technique, but the interesting question is whether the most efficient way to use the ski has changed).  As you know, the last big change in ski design prior to fat/rockered skis was shape skis, whose shorter turning radii certainly did effect a change in optimum (most efficient) technique.  This could be seen strikingly in the changes in WC GS racing, from step/pivot/carve, aka step/slide/edgeset (as is evident in this video of Stenmark: http://www.skis.com/FIS-Regulations-on-GS-Skis/blog-fis-regulations-on-gs-skis,default,pg.html), to much more of a direct simultaneous edge change.   [See also http://www.skiinghistory.org/index.php/2011/09/back-to-the-future-for-gs-skis/].   And no, this is not merely a change in tactics -- it's a true change in technique, because it's a change in how to most efficiently use the ski to make the turn.  Given this, I'm surprised by your strong statement that (unlike the case with previous changes in ski technology), there is no significant change in optimal technique (i.e., in how to make the ski turn, in this case in off-piste conditions) corresponding to the substantial changes we're seeing now to width and camber.  Can you please explain why this latest change is somehow an exception to -- i.e., qualitatively different from -- what we've experienced earlier?  Thanks.


Edited by chemist - 3/24/13 at 2:21pm
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by chemist View Post

 

I wasn't sure if the all-mountain skis I tried were different enough from my SLs to require a technique change (hence my question), but I'm surprised to hear you say that, even for the full-on fat, rockered big-mountain skis, the optimum (most efficient) technique for off-piste skiing has not changed (except minimally).  The reason I'm surprised is that, historically, optimum ski technique has always evolved in response to substantial changes in ski design (sure, you can always still use older technique, but the interesting question is whether the most efficient way to use the ski has changed).  As you know, the last big change in ski design prior to fat/rockered skis was shape skis, whose shorter turning radii certainly did effect a change in optimum (most efficient) technique.  This could be seen strikingly in the changes in WC GS racing, from step/pivot/carve, aka step/slide/edgeset (as is evident in this video of Stenmark: http://www.skis.com/FIS-Regulations-on-GS-Skis/blog-fis-regulations-on-gs-skis,default,pg.html), to much more of a direct simultaneous edge change.   [See also http://www.skiinghistory.org/index.php/2011/09/back-to-the-future-for-gs-skis/].   And no, this is not merely a change in tactics -- it's a true change in technique, because it's a change in how to most efficiently use the ski to make the turn.  Given this, I'm surprised by your strong statement that (unlike the case with previous changes in ski technology), there is no significant change in optimal technique (i.e., in how to make the ski turn, in this case in off-piste conditions) corresponding to the substantial changes we're seeing now to width and camber.  Can you please explain why this latest change is somehow an exception to -- i.e., qualitatively different from -- what we've experienced earlier?  Thanks.

 

This is not true.  You are looking at "outcomes" not "inputs".  Ski technque is "inputs"....ie "what we do".  Better newer gear meant we got more "out" from putting the same "in"...but we are still putting the same "in"....more or less. 

 

Now you many wonder about the "more or less".  Well because we are getting more "out" some changes where required to handle the greater performance (for eample - greater G-forces) being generated.  Being "stacked" became alot more important for example...but that is not to say, it wasnt dont before...just not to the same extent.

 

Here's some video of Stenmark...the GS segments are particularily amazing.

 

 

Watch the video and notice the following:

 

  • Pivoting is achieved via ILS - same then, same today, same on fat skis
  • Edging is achieved via a combination of Inclination and Angulation - same today...although we do angulate less, because we have more speed today due to greater performance of the skis
  • Pressure Control - is via flexion extension of ankle/knee/hips - same then, same today, same on fat skis
  • Fore/Aft Balance - is fore to start the turn, middle of middle of turn, and back to end turn.....same then, same today, same on fat skis (*caveat here - you can ski more centered today, and some will argue you should ski fatties centered....but you never drove the tips on straight skis in powder either....on groomed or harder off piste thou, you drive the fat tips like shape or straight tips to get max performance...as always" - also note F/A Balance is manipulated the same throught ankle/knee/hip extension/flexion.
  • Lateral Balalnce - weight predominatley on outside ski - this has never changed....with newer skis the transition from 1 ski to the other is smoothed (no step)...but this is more tactical...racers still step today if their line requires it.
  • Pronation of the foot in boot - same then, same on shapes, same on fatties
  • Pole plants - same

 

 

 

Since biomechanically we havent changed as people, and physics hasnet changed, and the snow hasnt changed.....it makes sense that little will change in terms of technqiue.  Better gear results in better performance....but the inputs havent changed much.  The biggest technique changes actually came with rigid ski boots...as that actually did in effect change our biomechanics by in effect making our ankles much stronger.

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

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 step-slide I mentioned in my last post, which I illustrated with the video I posted of Stenmark, and which you did not address.   Plus there's also the distinctive lifting of the inside ski, at initiation, that can be seen throughout the video you posted of Stenmark.  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 smile.gif)?  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?   Or to put it another way, if we were to poll said group, what proportion would agree that optimum technique is not significantly different for modern GS skis vs. those of the '80s? 


Edited by chemist - 3/24/13 at 5:53pm
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by chemist View Post

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 smile.gif)?  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.

 

 

 

Other Points:

 

 

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.

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by chemist View Post

 

Given this, I'm surprised by your strong statement that (unlike the case with previous changes in ski technology), there is no significant change in optimal technique (i.e., in how to make the ski turn, in this case in off-piste conditions) corresponding to the substantial changes we're seeing now to width and camber.  Can you please explain why this latest change is somehow an exception to -- i.e., qualitatively different from -- what we've experienced earlier?  Thanks.

 

Sorry got lost abit in the forrest...

 

 

To this:  Modern fat skis enable us to employ modern GS race style technique in off-piste conditions.  We couldnt really before.  Shape skis were too unstable at those speeds, the fact they needed to bent into reverse camber meant they needed a certain degree of firm base to push on....new skis the reverse camber is already there, the width provides stablity at speed and float, so things like a stivot are now possible. 

 

Having said that...if its deep, you still ski more "centered" and "two footed" then GS on groomed...but you did that before too....so the changes?  None really.

post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by chemist View Post

 

But regarding the technique issue, I'm afraid I'm a bit confused -- isn't the slarve/pivot technique (that I've read is favored by those using big mountain skis) fundamentally different from the retract/extend/carve/rebound approach I'm using?

 

 

 Slarves are a bit analogues to a stivot.. used to adjust one's line or speed by controlled skid. It can happen in any phase of the turn depending on need. In balance, you can access the skill, etc... etc... PSIA talk... etc..... You'll also see the technically most sound big mountain men and women using a lot of extension/retraction, etc.... why? Because very likely they have a race background like yourself. Good skiing is good skiing. It shares most of the same mechanics across ski sub cultures....

 

 

...oops, Skidude has it covered already. 

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

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.

 

 

... and what I thought was so interesting about the Killy '68 Olympic video on another thread... very 'modern' in the 'two footed' realm of things.

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

 

 

... and what I thought was so interesting about the Killy '68 Olympic video on another thread... very 'modern' in the 'two footed' realm of things.


I agree...lots of video of Stenmark "carving" clean and looking very much like today.  Newer gear, just allows that to happen alot more often now...so the "trademark look" of top end skiing has shifted....but the basics havent really.

post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 

skidude, thanks again for the detailed reply.  markojp, thanks for chiming in

 

skidude, I'm going to take a crack at parsing your message -- please let me know close I came...:

 

To start, I hope you won't mind if I disagree with your statement that "Since biomechanically we havent changed as people, and physics hasnet changed, and the snow hasnt changed.....it makes sense that little will change in terms of technqiue."  In my view, all skill sports are constantly evolving in technique as elite athletes and coaches discover better ways to do things.  Consider the evolution of swimming technique, which has happened without changes in water, physics, or the basics of human biomechanics (OK, slight changes in pools with reduced turbulence, and reduced-resistance suits, but these are incidental).  And I think you've been willing to acknowledge this as well, when you wrote "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."

 

So I take this to be the essence of your view:  There have indeed been changes to ski technique, but this was principally elite athletes discovering better ways to do things, rather than changes necessitated or allowed by new ski technology per se.  I.e., if you took modern elite skiers and put them on 40m skis and gave them a chance to get used to them, they would not go back to step and slide, or to lifting the inside foot, or to the characteristic high degree of counter of older technique.  [And if Ligety is on 40m skis in that video you posted, that would certainly support this.]

 

To zeroth order, I'd like to think the above makes us both happy -- it acknowledges the real changes in technique that I've been arguing for, while also supporting your view that optimum technique hasn't changed -- the best technique now is the same as  the best technique for 80s gear, but in the 80s people simply hadn't yet fully discovered it (if they had, they'd consistently look like skiers today on 40m skis).  Waddya think?  

 

[Indeed, if one accepts this, then one has to accept the likelihood that ski racers of today are likewise not using optimum technique -- there's probably an even better way to use skis that remains to be discovered.]


Edited by chemist - 3/24/13 at 10:30pm
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by chemist View Post

skidude, thanks again for the detailed reply.  markojp, thanks for chiming in

 

skidude, I'm going to take a crack at parsing your message -- please let me know close I came...:

 

To start, I hope you won't mind if I disagree with your statement that "Since biomechanically we havent changed as people, and physics hasnet changed, and the snow hasnt changed.....it makes sense that little will change in terms of technqiue."  In my view, all skill sports are constantly evolving in technique as elite athletes and coaches discover better ways to do things.  Consider the evolution of swimming technique, or the famous Fosbury flop.  And I think you've been willing to acknowledge this as well, when you wrote "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."

 

So I take this to be the essence of your view:  There have indeed been changes to ski technique, but this was principally elite athletes discovering better ways to do things, rather than changes necessitated by new ski technology per se.  I.e., if you took modern elite skiers and put them on 40m skis and gave them a chance to get used to them, they would not go back to step and slide, or to lifting the inside foot, or to the characteristic high degree of counter of older technique.  [And if Ligety is on 40m skis in that video you posted, that would certainly support this.]

 

I'd like to think the above makes us both happy -- it acknowledges the real changes in technique that I've been arguing for, while also supporting your view that optimum technique hasn't changed -- the best technique now is the same as  the best technique for 80s gear, but in the 80s people simply hadn't yet fully discovered it (if they had, they'd look like skiers today on 40m skis).  Waddya think?  

 

[Indeed, if one accepts this, then one has to accept the likelihood that ski racers of today are likewise not using optimum technique -- there's probably an even better way to use skis that remains to be discovered.]


Well...interesting.  I havent actually thought about what would happen if Ligety went back to full 80s gear (skis, boots, bindings and course set)...but I doubt that he would look much different then the top skiers of that era to be honest.  The gear had limitations, and the skier had to ski accordingly.

 

For example, the edge hold in them days meant a skier could only incline say 50degrees...they can now get to 70...is that a different technqiue?  Or is it a case of better gear allowing them to do more?

 

Fat skis in the powder allow you to make bigger turns, and go faster....but that doesnt make it a different technique.

 

 

FWIW: that video I posted of Ligety is him on the new 35m GS skis.

 

FWIW: the new 35m skis are way better then the skis of the same radius from yesteryear.

 

 

 

For clarity thou...the move from the 1-2 step to two footed transitions is likley a techique change....but shaped to powder skis in powder?  Cant think of any, other then the tactical difference I already stated.


Edited by Skidude72 - 3/24/13 at 11:14pm
post #15 of 23

I agree with Skidude and Marcojp, the fundamentals of good skiing are the same, regardless of conditions. Here's me in some powder with GS style angles.

 

 

 

I don't think stivots and slarves are the same, they're similar in that both are a rotational move, but a stivot is early in the turn and the skis go back into the fall line afterwards, whilst a slarve is later, it's basically just skidding. It's also not as clearly defined, I was watching the FWT finals the other day and the commentators talked about Fabio Studer 'slarving' one steep section, he actually just sideslipped it. I think they're similar as well in that they are techniques used only when necessary, Ligety stivots, but only on steep sections where he can't carve the line he needs, same with slarving, freeride pros will slarve every now and again because it looks cool or slows them down, but it's not how they make every turn.

post #16 of 23

I agree with Marko and Skidude. 

Skiing is skiing.  Good skiing technique has not changed.  Optimum technique has not changed.  What has changed is the ease with which certain techniques can be employed in deep snow (any deep snow powder or heavy wet snow).  One such technique has been called slarving, basically skiing with a large steering angle (between direction of travel and direction skis are pointing) while adjusting tipping and steering angle to control speed and direction.  It used to be dam hard to do in deep snow with long skinny skis.  It has gotten easier to use that technique when you have to use it.  It has also gotten so easy to use that technique (compared to pre-fat pre-rockered skis) that many skiers are using it even when they don't have to use it, because it's easier to slarve than to learn other techniques and it's more accessible to most skiers than other techniques (porpoising requires rhythm and timing, hop turns require a lot of work, super-g-ing requires lots of testosterone, etc.)

 

Sorry, no photograph of me in high edge-angle turn on SGs; ghosts aren't photogenic.tongue.gif

post #17 of 23
I agree to the fact that the basic skills are the same like always, but when we talk about  technique  and racing:
 
- the speed has increased a lot,  because
- the timing has changed a lot...
 
....which leads me to the conclusion that  the modern  technique is more about what you  do with the skills (and when..)....  this is the main diference between then and now.  
If  the modern  technique  is a completly new technique or not, who cares,... fact is that a lot of great racers had problems to adapt to the carve skis, and some were forced to take the ski from the basic skills again. Remember of Giorgio Rocca,...

Edited by Douz - 6/25/13 at 5:04am
post #18 of 23

Douz, did you also look at the course prep/conditions in the Killy vid? Night and day compared with current practice, eh?

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

Sorry, no photograph of me in high edge-angle turn on SGs; ghosts aren't photogenic.tongue.gif

Almost ended up with Corn Flakes in my nose laughing over this one.
post #20 of 23
Chemist, once you go to a100 mm ski, you will be able to keep your skis in the snow when you pivot them in the top of the turn (verry short radius).
With narrow skis, you had to get them out of the snow.
So yes, the technique has changed a bit.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Douz, did you also look at the course prep/conditions in the Killy vid? Night and day compared with current practice, eh?

 

Yea, yea, I'm well aware of that! in fact i've seen worse!   Take a look at this stuff filmed by Arnold Fanck,, it's year 1931 btw, you can see a lot of familiar things,... even an early  twin-tip ,...  but if you look again at their bindings and boots.... roflmao.gif

 

 

Coming back to Killy, even this genius is losing speed in the second half of the turn, where people like bode miller gain acceleration...
The progress of the last 2 decades, which we'll better call evolution, has something to do not with the skills but with the way they prepare the skiers and the races, IMO. They study, stady, stady and at the and of the day Bode Miller, Svindal and Didier Défago are on the same trace!!!! 
post #22 of 23

Just for fun.  From the video just posted.

 

post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

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.

 

 

 

Other Points:

 

 

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.

In race circles it is known as redirection. Stivot seems to be an Epic thing! 

 

And there is no step because there is a lot more to it than simply turn radius. The ability to control flex pattern and torsional stiffness with new materials and techniques is a huge improvement,

 

But the new skis even at 35 & 40 M are substantially shaped differently than the old skis. , For example, wider tip and much wider waist (waist is much wider than just a couple of years back) dimensions. The tip of the old skis was pencil narrow and considerably more turned up. The newer shapes draw you into the turn more. And then you have boot technology may have improved even more than skis!

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