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Need some input on hitting GS gates

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I started racing last season (beer leagues and Nastar), and I've definitely got bitten by the racing bug. I've progressively been getting better each week that I'm out. I never took any lessons or clinics for racing, but I am definitely interested in doing that for the upcoming season. I do ask a ton of questions to my fellow veteran racers, and they have helped me out a lot. I also read a lot of post in the forums and try to soak up all the info I an get. I am not a gate crasher yet, but I'm debating trying it out this season. I know opinions are different for many skiers about this, but I am seeking some input. I don't own a GS suit yet (possibly debating getting one this season), and I know they will help me with the padding inside them. I've watched a bunch of videos of people and pros skiing GS, and I know everybody skis them differently. I've heard "if you don't hit them now, don't start", but I've also heard about just skiing my line, and if you hit them, you hit them. Do any of you racers use padded gloves or forearm guards for hitting gates? I would appreciate any feedback anyone could give me. Thanks for your time.

 

John

 

FYI: This is just for giant slalom. I did try slalom a few times, but I just want to work on GS for now.

post #2 of 25

Bashing gates a hot topic and I hope people chime in.  For beginners, esp kids, we try de-emphasize contact and concentrate on skiing a CLEAN line.  For a grown man, yes there is a benefit to making some contact but yes really it is all about line. 

 

As far as pads go.  A suit makes a huge difference.  For a competent racer on our home course (about 30 seconds), a suit will make a full second's difference.  So in addition to pads, the time benefit can be significant.

 

As for gloves / pads etc.  A padded suit is your best bet.  A true GS suit will have pads on the hips, back, shoulders, knees upper arms and forearms.  In my opinion, RACE GLOVES ARE A MUST (pole guards ok).  Once you catch a gate right on the knuckle, you will understand this.   In lieu of a full suit, a Spyder stealth top is a good piece of kit - especially if you can get one at a swap.  If you DO plan on a suit, Training shorts are nice luxury.  If you want to go cheap, a pair of kids soccer shin guards slipped under a compression top forearm sleeve is an "off the shelf" fix. 

 

A nasty WHAP will undue weeks of good training and erode confidence.  Never mind the fact that I assume you have to get up and go to work the next day.  Why get beat up?  Wear pads.  

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

Pat, that's absolutely the feedback I was looking for. Thanks so much for your input. I appreciate people like you helping a new racer like myself out. :)

post #4 of 25


OK, following up on Pat's comments on hitting gates.  Focus on  a clean line and tightening up as you improve.  The biggest issue with hitting gates, particularly a s a newbie, is that you start reaching across for the gate and losing pressure in the process (yes, it always feels good at first as you think you are improving but you are actually losing time).  And if you are hitting the gate with your knuckles you definitely need to reconsider your line......  If you are really on it you will be brushing with your forearm or hip as you go past it.  You are not coming across it like you would a slalom gate.  And pole guards....bad idea... particularly if it goes along with the aforementioned reaching for the gate.  You really don't want to get tangled up in a gate at GS speeds.  Padded/armoured gloves, yes, a must. 

 

Yes a padded suit or stealth top is a good idea (I took a super G gate on my shoulder/back of my arm on one occasion with a non-padded speed suit, left me bruised for weeks - I have always worn a stealth under a non-padded one since!) .  Fore-arm guards can be done cheaply with soccer shin guards but at this stage of your development, probably overkill and unnecessary.  

 

Oh and if you are looking for a stealth top, I have a new in plastic Spyder stealth top, size large, and also the matching spider stealth bottoms. also large.  At a lot less than retail !  PM me if you want details.  The advantage of these is that you can wear under your normal ski gear


Edited by ScotsSkier - 10/9/14 at 2:17pm
post #5 of 25

In GS, the ideal situation is skiing the fastest line without ever touching a gate. Gate bashing will just slow you down, and knock you off balance. I know that is hard to do in reality. Currently, Ligety is the best at that. He has the ability to initiate his turns so far up the hill, he is completely outside the gate with his body as he goes by. Often, if anything bumps the gate, it is the tip of his ski pole (watch in slow motion to see what I mean). Don't start gate bashing in GS just for the sake of thinking you are skiing the fastest line, because more than likely you are not.

post #6 of 25

At least two of the earlier posters are more accomplished racers than I am, and my comment here is certainly not meant to contradict either of them. I would just say, as someone who is perhaps a bit closer to standing in your moccasins, that if you NEVER hit a gate you are probably losing a bit of time by taking a wider line than you need to. So take Scots Skier's advice to tighten up gradually. As for Kirk's ideal of never touching a gate, I suspect this is fine if you are backing off from having been hitting them too much, but starting out with that as a goal smells to me like a recipe for being too conservative if you're a newbie. The times when I find myself hitting the most gates are when the course is rutted and I am trying to find a line inside the ruts. Basically, if you have a rockin' turn going and it's going to take your body (but not your tips!) into the gate, hold on and go for it, rather than adjusting your line mid-turn to stay wide. It can be a good feeling. 

 

And for sure, don't reach. If you're doing it right, you will often be clipping the pole almost after you've gone by it, with something on the dorsal half of your body, such as your glute or scapula. This is because you will be coming at it as much from the side as from above. Think of it as gate-grazing rather than gate-bashing.

post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post
 

At least two of the earlier posters are more accomplished racers than I am, and my comment here is certainly not meant to contradict either of them. I would just say, as someone who is perhaps a bit closer to standing in your moccasins, that if you NEVER hit a gate you are probably losing a bit of time by taking a wider line than you need to. So take Scots Skier's advice to tighten up gradually. As for Kirk's ideal of never touching a gate, I suspect this is fine if you are backing off from having been hitting them too much, but starting out with that as a goal smells to me like a recipe for being too conservative if you're a newbie. The times when I find myself hitting the most gates are when the course is rutted and I am trying to find a line inside the ruts. Basically, if you have a rockin' turn going and it's going to take your body (but not your tips!) into the gate, hold on and go for it, rather than adjusting your line mid-turn to stay wide. It can be a good feeling. 

 

And for sure, don't reach. If you're doing it right, you will often be clipping the pole almost after you've gone by it, with something on the dorsal half of your body, such as your glute or scapula. This is because you will be coming at it as much from the side as from above. Think of it as gate-grazing rather than gate-bashing.

The goal in GS is to have the fastest line, not run over the gate. The goal in SL is to have the fastest line, but that generally involves running over the gate. The point I was making, and this is coming from talking to current World Cup GS skiers, is don't think you have to go gate wacking to have a fast time in GS. The fastest line in GS is often not the line most recreational racers think they have to take. You have to think line, not gates. I do understand what you are saying about ruts, because in most recreational, and even masters courses, the ruts are in all the wrong places, from all the people taking the wrong line. The fastest times in GS for me came from working the proper line, which often resulted in minimal body contact with the gate. If anything hit the gate, it was my pole tip. I remember getting to the finish thinking I should have been tighter, and more aggressive to the gates. Until I heard my time, and thinking Wow, I actually did that right. Like I said, easy to say, but hard to do on a consistent basis.

 

 


Edited by CaptainKirk - 10/9/14 at 7:21pm
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 

Everybody, I seriously appreciate all of the feedback. I LOVE reading about anything racing. Like I said, I gather a lot of my info from reading posts, talking to veterans, and watching videos. I absolutely sucked when I started out last season, and I have no problem admitting it. I considered myself a decent skier, but as a racer, I needed help. I had high hopes, but I raced my first beer league with guys and gals that have been racing since they were kids (I started last year at age 39). From my first run of the year (I was awful), till the last run, I picked up 13 seconds on the beer league course, which I worked very hard for. Once I got the fear out of my system, it was a lot easier. I'm focusing just on practicing GS a LOT this upcoming season. I know I am showing improvement, but seriously, I need a lot of practice just running gates, and I plan on doing it often. I might do a league, but I'm definitely focusing on Nastar.It's an absolute blast, and it's getting more fun with the more experience I have. I just wanted to share my story with you all. I qualified for Nastar Nationals last season, and my goal is to qualify again. I will most likely be in a higher division, so I'm working on getting better at GS. Thanks again for the feedback everyone. It's going to be a fun ride this year!!

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloomjdr View Post
 

Everybody, I seriously appreciate all of the feedback. I LOVE reading about anything racing. Like I said, I gather a lot of my info from reading posts, talking to veterans, and watching videos. I absolutely sucked when I started out last season, and I have no problem admitting it. I considered myself a decent skier, but as a racer, I needed help. I had high hopes, but I raced my first beer league with guys and gals that have been racing since they were kids (I started last year at age 39). From my first run of the year (I was awful), till the last run, I picked up 13 seconds on the beer league course, which I worked very hard for. Once I got the fear out of my system, it was a lot easier. I'm focusing just on practicing GS a LOT this upcoming season. I know I am showing improvement, but seriously, I need a lot of practice just running gates, and I plan on doing it often. I might do a league, but I'm definitely focusing on Nastar.It's an absolute blast, and it's getting more fun with the more experience I have. I just wanted to share my story with you all. I qualified for Nastar Nationals last season, and my goal is to qualify again. I will most likely be in a higher division, so I'm working on getting better at GS. Thanks again for the feedback everyone. It's going to be a fun ride this year!!

Practice is the key. Actually perfect practice is the key. If you get to practice GS gates, you would be better off having 4 or 5 race quality runs through the gates per day, then spend the rest of the time outside the gates working on skills, rather than running gates all day at 90%. If you practice all day at 80% - 90%, then you will learn only to race at 80%-90%. I tell this to my kids all the time, if they think lay low at practice then suddenly turn it up at a race. Ski racing doesn't work that way - most sports don't. USSA has a lot of great skill set videos to practice outside the gates.

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloomjdr View Post
 

Everybody, I seriously appreciate all of the feedback. I LOVE reading about anything racing. Like I said, I gather a lot of my info from reading posts, talking to veterans, and watching videos. I absolutely sucked when I started out last season, and I have no problem admitting it. I considered myself a decent skier, but as a racer, I needed help. I had high hopes, but I raced my first beer league with guys and gals that have been racing since they were kids (I started last year at age 39). From my first run of the year (I was awful), till the last run, I picked up 13 seconds on the beer league course, which I worked very hard for. Once I got the fear out of my system, it was a lot easier. I'm focusing just on practicing GS a LOT this upcoming season. I know I am showing improvement, but seriously, I need a lot of practice just running gates, and I plan on doing it often. I might do a league, but I'm definitely focusing on Nastar.It's an absolute blast, and it's getting more fun with the more experience I have. I just wanted to share my story with you all. I qualified for Nastar Nationals last season, and my goal is to qualify again. I will most likely be in a higher division, so I'm working on getting better at GS. Thanks again for the feedback everyone. It's going to be a fun ride this year!!


You can always get there!.  I was 50 before I started racing Masters and the first few years were pretty sobering in terms of results but I have now progressed to where i have won my class in the Far Wast Masters championship iin 2 out of the last 3 seasons.  (I was out with injury for much of the season i didn't win)   I did of course have the advantage of skiing on gear supplied and tuned by ScotsSkier ;) - so watch for what is coming available this season!  :D 

 

Seriously though, if you really want to improve and race seriously, look for a masters training program in your area.  Nastar is great as a taster but it is just a 15-20 second course and the tactics and techniques necessary are NOT the same as you would use in a real GS course.  Masters is going to  give you something much more related to real GS - proper sets and longer courses  (now wait  for the flaming to start.... :popcorn)  Good luck!

post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotsSkier View Post
 


You can always get there!.  I was 50 before I started racing Masters and the first few years were pretty sobering in terms of results but I have now progressed to where i have won my class in the Far Wast Masters championship iin 2 out of the last 3 seasons.  (I was out with injury for much of the season i didn't win)   I did of course have the advantage of skiing on gear supplied and tuned by ScotsSkier ;) - so watch for what is coming available this season!  :D 

 

Seriously though, if you really want to improve and race seriously, look for a masters training program in your area.  Nastar is great as a taster but it is just a 15-20 second course and the tactics and techniques necessary are NOT the same as you would use in a real GS course.  Masters is going to  give you something much more related to real GS - proper sets and longer courses  (now wait  for the flaming to start.... :popcorn)  Good luck!

LOL. Don't get me started on NASTAR...

post #12 of 25

Oh Capt, don't be too hard on NASTAR.  It is in most cases the only ski racing most people will ever do.  Sure there are some inconsistencies in handicapping / courses / pace setting etc, but it really the ONLY outlet for rec racers, and I suspect it is where 99% of adults get bit by the race bug.  Youth racing is awesome for sure, but ultimately grownups buy the tickets and the beer which is what pays the bills.

 

Night leagues and adult training programs are the BEST,but again, not everyone has access to a mt on a weekly or daily basis.   

 

Masters racing is another breed of cat all together in terms of course difficulty, time commitment, and expense.  Additionally, MOST rec skiers do not have equipment or skills appropriate for a 1+ minute GS, never mind a punishing masters SL.  There are a lot my beer league pals who are pretty decent, and they would most likely have a blast on a masters course right up until the point where they achieve temporary low earth orbit.  :)  

 

Finally, I could watch Ligety all day (though I prefer Mancuso).  Problem is, us mere mortals usually race on heavily rutted courses with a groove worn in by the low and late.  So if you tried to take Ted's line (on an injected and meticulously slipped course with a line set by world class pros) on a beer league course,  you would likely be skiing through either a pile of sugar or slush that will not hold you.  The "good" (wikked hahd) snow is often CLOSE to the gate and you gotta take a line with a surface that you can carve.  This often means running the damn gate over or swatting it out of the way with your up hill hand :)  PS - even the pros cannot always put together 50 perfect turns.  Messing up and getting late sometimes means crushing a gate to get back on line.  

 

So - line line line ......unless it is on snow that will not hold.  Sometimes this means running the course early or late.  In our league there is no start order.  First come first serve.  If the snow is nice and hard, running early can have an advantage because a poor line has not been worn in.  If the snow is soft, running late can have an advantage because the "soft (slow)" snow has been brushed off the firm, fast, frozen base layer.  So - slow low line - but fast firm snow.  AAAAAaaaghhhgg!!!  It is pickle.  

 

Ski racing is more chess than checkers with more layers than an ogre.  That said, in response to the OPs question - pad up -  esp your hands and butt.  The outside of my hip takes the biggest consistent beating.  Suit or shorts.  :)  Last year I nailed my funny bone on my elbow and it was not right for months - never mind that injury was constantly in my head.  Bought a cheapo elbow pad at Dicks.  

 

Last thing.  When it comes to ski equipment and racing...IF you THINK it makes you better - It usually makes you better.  As Yogi Berra said, "90% of the game is half mental." 

post #13 of 25

In NASTAR you're rarely, if ever, carrying enough speed where gate bashing saves you time.  It will more likely slow you down some instead of skiing clean and just barely grazing the gate cleanly around it.  

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 

In NASTAR you're rarely, if ever, carrying enough speed where gate bashing saves you time.  It will more likely slow you down some instead of skiing clean and just barely grazing the gate cleanly around it.  


I think that depends CRG.  For an experienced racer I suspect the quickest approach could be much straighter than a normal GS line, more throwing it aggressively down the fall line,  and would involve a lot more gate crashing.  Not too much different from a dual slalom approach

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotsSkier View Post
 


I think that depends CRG.  For an experienced racer I suspect the quickest approach could be much straighter than a normal GS line, more throwing it aggressively down the fall line,  and would involve a lot more gate crashing.  Not too much different from a dual slalom approach

True, it depends on the pitch of the run.  Most of what I've run around here is pretty flat where clean carves and skating shaves time.  Hitting a gate cuts more speed and time than going around it does.  On a steeper pitch going over them a little more doesn't cost you nearly as much as the pitch gives it right back when heading more down the fall line.

 

There is sometimes one right at the crest of a roller or snow whale you can blast through and quickly regain your momentum on the backside steeper section.

post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 

In NASTAR you're rarely, if ever, carrying enough speed where gate bashing saves you time.  It will more likely slow you down some instead of skiing clean and just barely grazing the gate cleanly around it.  

Pretty much always the case. Take a look at some WC GS; Ted Ligety's line is so good and so well thought out that he'll usually just brush the gates with his inside hip...maybe forearm, maybe lats, which is why a GS suit and maybe forearm guards are a good idea. Going straight through a gate in GS generally disturbs your momentum, balance, and line more than it's worth. To go one step or two further, SG and DH racers occasionally target a gate pole on purpose, but usually not, for all the reasons you can imagine.

 

All of which is not to say that sometimes you cut off the line too much and do the koko butt thing with the gate...again, lots of padding is never a bad thing when things don't go exactly as planned on the race course...

post #17 of 25
I've started thinking of it with a "Matrix" sort of mind; "There is no gate". Ski the line that is fastest for YOU. If a gate happens to be in the way, so be it. The line past the current gate to be set up for the next gate is the priority and not the gate itself. If you look at Ted's line, he consistently goes uphill so he can get a better line around the current gate so he is set up for the next gate.

I would like to be able to say that is how I ski but I tend to avoid the gates like the plague due to what was stated in a previous post about getting hurt and being gun shy. I did the low altitude orbit from one gate through another and finally stoping on top of yet another and was never more than 3 feet off the ground. Cost me an ACL, MCL, and LCL. Yes I'm gun shy. That was in 2011 and I just started grazing them again last season, however, SL doesn't bother me. Yes, it is all in my head.

Ken
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post

I've started thinking of it with a "Matrix" sort of mind; "There is no gate". Ski the line that is fastest for YOU. If a gate happens to be in the way, so be it. The line past the current gate to be set up for the next gate is the priority and not the gate itself. If you look at Ted's line, he consistently goes uphill so he can get a better line around the current gate so he is set up for the next gate.

I would like to be able to say that is how I ski but I tend to avoid the gates like the plague due to what was stated in a previous post about getting hurt and being gun shy. I did the low altitude orbit from one gate through another and finally stoping on top of yet another and was never more than 3 feet off the ground. Cost me an ACL, MCL, and LCL. Yes I'm gun shy. That was in 2011 and I just started grazing them again last season, however, SL doesn't bother me. Yes, it is all in my head.

Ken


Same deal for me, as in the total knee bustathon, but that was in DH, and I didn't hit a gate...just a fence doing about 70. Every Masters racer I know has been busted up, to some degree, and we keep having to remind ourselves that even if we win big (e. g., Masters Nationals), there's no money involved, and we're not likely to get named to the USST. So if just grazing them works for you, ski that line and be happy.

 

Just on the subject of line, two concepts:

 

- One of the Masters coaches at Loveland once said "The racer who spends the most time in the fall line is the fastest."

 

- A similar way of looking at same is what John Loeffler says about looking at and skiing a course, which is that in a sequence of open gates, there are two corridors: one for the left footed turns, another for the right footed turns. Try to spend as much time turning in the corridors as possible, and as little time turning from one corridor to the next.

 

All of which takes us back to another truism, which is that your tactics are only as good as your technique and vice versa. Before you start obsessing with line, can you consistently carve turns, no slipping, in the fall line from start to finish?

post #19 of 25

It's worth it to take a slightly more uphill line to get to a bigger more fall line downhill on a steeper section.  Give a little to get a lot..

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 

It's worth it to take a slightly more uphill line to get to a bigger more fall line downhill on a steeper section.  Give a little to get a lot..


Right, and there's a major difference between "turn early" and getting altitude and keeping it. As my coach says, the problem most Masters racers have in GS (and other disciplines as well) is that they turn too early. Regardless of where you're aiming (higher on the rise line is more conservative, lower on the rise line is usually riskier but faster), after you exit the previous gate, you need to go to neutral (flatten the skis, weight even on both) to stop turning and allow you to get to the new "upside down traverse" stance. All you're doing is getting the new outside edge established, you don't pressure to start the turn until the rise line.

 

It's pretty much like driving a car on the track. If you start the turn before the rise line, you'll end up inside the turning pole, so you have to back off, and start the turn over, and double turns are a no-no. If you start the arc after the rise line...well, you ain't gonna make the next gate, and you're probably off in the weeds as well. So the idea of starting the turn well up the rise line with the skis as close to the fall line as possible is how you get the most fall line out of each corridor.

 

So judging the line is one thing, and sticking to your line is another. For NASTAR, with few exceptions, it's pretty much cookie cutter left and right turns. So whatever you can do, in terms of your technique and athletic ability, to make the first turn as close to a vertical carve as possible while shortening the line as much as possible is what you ought to be doing on every subsequent gate.

 

In Masters or FIS courses, with open gates and combinations, it's a little different. There are times when you want to contact a gate fairly solidly, and whether you do it by brushing it or going straight through it is up to you. For example, in GS, you generally have one or more delays in a full lengths course, where a delay is two open gates in a row where you turn in the same direction through both. So a "delay right" is two right turns through two successive open gates. Only it isn't...pretty obviously, you want to make one long arc through both gates.

 

There are three ways you can ski a delay:

 

- On/on. On (brushing, hitting, whatever) the turning pole on both the first and second gate of the delay.

 

- On/off. On (brushing, hitting, whatever) the turning pole on the first gate, staying off (away from) the turning pole on the second gate.

 

- Off/on. Off the turning pole on the first gate, on the turning pole on the second gate.

 

So you're inspecting and you come to a delay, so what's your choice? Well, it depends on how the course leads into and out of the delay. Off/on, for example, is when you exit to the next gate that has a lot off horizontal offset...so you want to have good direction exiting the delay.

 

Your choice also depends on your ability, of course. If I'm inspecting with my coach, who won all three disciplines in his class at the 2013 Masters National Championships, he might go for "on/on" and I might go for "slightly off/on."

 

So there are times when you're going to more or less hammer a gate. Just know why and how...and make sure you have plenty of padding...

post #21 of 25

Pat, I really do understand what you are saying about the ruts and crap snow from all the wrong lines used in most league courses. If you look where Ted starts his turns, way up the hill from the gate, is exactly where the best snow is in a league couse precisely because almost nobody can start a turn there on a consistent basis. But we can keep trying :). Many, many bear leaguers take the wrong line, run straight and late, pushing the rut and crap snow below and outside the gate. The snow between the gate is usually firmer and packed down because most of the racers have their skis flat at this point!  I know what you mean, sometimes I just say screw this and take the bobsled run through the ruts. I don't know how long you have been in the league at Wachusett, but 20 -25 years ago there were guys like Doug Tucker, who were on really straight, really stiff old school GS skis who were posting times as fast (if not faster) as anybody now. That's exactly how we turned - you had no choice with that stuff if you wanted to carve a turn. Plus hitting bamboo GS gates hurt like hell, you really didn't want to be any where near those things! I think the introduction of the shaped GS skis has made us all - myself included - very lazy in our racing skills. What Ted is doing is not new, but it is new to the current crop of WC GS racers.

post #22 of 25
Lots of good stuff here with regard to line. One of the things I found as I started experimenting with the 188/30 gs skis last year was that they definitely forced me into a better higher line. I found myself coming across the hill moreand then getting a better line through the gate.. Didn't feel as quick but on the clock I found after a couple of runs on the new skis I was as quick as I was on my regular 182/25s. And of course my coach was very happy! Much more so than with my more normal tendency to straighten it out. Now also to put this in perspective, I am actually a half way decent GS skier to start with (never missed a podium in FW masters GS last year) but this definitely made me change tactics a bit. I didn't actually race on the new radius last season as it was half way through when I tried them and as I was in a pretty tight race for the championship (thanks to my poor slalom results) i stuck with what I knew worked. This season though I have gone all in on the 188/30 as I am now convinced it will be quicker.

BUT this is based on real GS courses. Line is equally important in Nastar and beer league but, depending on your ability and strength, the fastest line in a 15-20m set may be quite different from what would be a more text book GS line. While you are not actively trying to crash the gates your quick line may well take you through them
post #23 of 25

Some really good advice here.   My .02 worth.  Get some padded racing gloves and some forearm padding to start, always wear goggles not glasses, helmet and GO.  Early instead of late and watch at least one or two sets of gates ahead.  Also don't just race GS, get into slalom and you will learn faster mixing up the disciplines and then SG if you really want to have some fun.

post #24 of 25
Hi Bloomjdr-

Your story sounds almost exacly like mine last season, which was my first to race as well. Wow, were my times humbling at first. Additionally, I had an injury that set me back just as I was showing signs of finishing a race that required a timer not a calendar.

I'll have to check my record, but I think between NASTAR and beer league I had ~121 timed runs last season plus who knows how many untimed practice runs. I had a ridiculous number of runs mere hundredths of a second away from 'silver'' times. I had become an expert at skiing poorly, LOL. My fatal flaw was losing my edges, and believe it or not brushing (not bashing) the gates was a side effect of the corrective action.

Not saying it's for all, but I was coached to drive my hip to the gate much harder and earlier than I had been. I already chose good lines and initiated turns early but was doing a terrible job of carving and holding clean turns. With a little work late in the season, my skis were carving a bit wider line around the gates yet my forearms and/or lats were brushing gates. Previously I kept clear of the gates. I now jumped from perma-Bronze to within a hair of Gold times.

Mostly it was my lats that were going deep purple so I bought a POC armor top on sale and a close fitting jacket for weekend NASTAR and practicing. Energiapura makes the jacket- it fits almost like a suit and I'm pretty happy with it. I have a suit for beer league.

I attended Masters clinics and highly recommend them. You will make runs on a 'real' GS course for these. I'm also a Wachusett guy- my impression of our daily NASTAR sets is that they seem halfway between GS and SL. Night league seems a little closer to the Masters GS but about half the length and of couse less pitch.

YRMV, but I found that lots and lots of timed reps through the gates trumped practice outside the course. Free ski carving of course a necessary start, but as a beginner carving through the gates was another story. Good luck this season!
post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for all the helpful insight. I'm going to do the right thing and join a 6 week race clinic this season. I am getting a GS suit to help protect me for around the gates. Best of luck to everybody for the upcoming race season. It's going to be a fun year!!

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