Originally Posted by crgildart
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...