Originally Posted by MrGolfAnalogy
Originally Posted by KingGrump
Expert skiing is a complex combination of technique, tactic, efficiency, athletic ability, fitness level, equipment, and definitely a big whopping psychological component. If the mix is right, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If not – no magic.
Of the stated components, technique, tactic, efficiency & equipment are the most predictable and reliable. The psyche is the most variable item depending on the skier – you are the master of your own head game. Athletic ability – more nature than nurture. Fitness – the higher the better.
I believe athletic ability and fitness are the two components that falls under your “natural ability” umbrella. Like qcanoe said, there is really not much new under the sun, so why reinvent the wheel. Unorthodox technique is most likely improper and/or inefficient technique with a healthy dose of athletic ability and fitness thrown in as compensation. Unorthodox technique generally has a very limited window of performance. Outside this limited performance window, it usually degrades to plain old poor technique. As you said before, “poor technique falls apart under difficult conditions”.
To me athletic ability and fitness level are consumable items. Exceeding the limits of athletic ability and/or fitness level often results in injuries.
I definitely do not agree with you that a skier have to “maintain balance”. With the execution of proper technique and tactic, a skier is always in balance. Being balance is a end result not a task one performs.
Just remember – making it down the hill is not the same as skiing it.
To be fair, the wheel is always being reinvented in sports. Technique is constantly changing and evolving, along with equipment and coaching. The last book on ski instruction has not been written yet. The very nature of sports coaching is also to believe that anything outside of the box will eventually fail you, but this is proven wrong again and again when someone with a new take changes the sport (Ted?) and how we view it. The type of skiing we are talking about in this thread seems to have no measure other than the subjective view. If you are not doing it the "right" way, then somehow you don't deserve respect and will (hopefully) eventually fail.
So, in this context. If a skier can get down a bump field with balance, precision, tactics, confidence and control, has he obtained the label of "advanced" regardless of his actual technique. Or, do you not only need to ski the terrain well, but ski it to the given technical standard? I am not trying to argue for or against any specific style, I just want to know if skiers can be rated purely and objectively by their results alone.
Sure, the wheel is being reinvented, but it's being reinvented mostly at the top echelons. Skiing is like any other art or craft - you need to have more or less nailed the current state of the art before you can do meaningful riffs on it. You can't make "oops I dropped the lemon tart" and have it really win your restaurant clientele over in the long term unless and until you can make an amazing tart to start with ... without dropping it.
So yes, the best skiing now is different from the best skiing in Stein's day. But Stein's day was a long time ago. It's actually a pretty slow change. A big change in hard-snow skiing started happening when "shaped" skis came on fully. (Which happened because advances in ski construction made it possible to build a ski with an hourglass shape that didn't deform torsionally, not because no one had ever thought of the design.) Another big change, for soft snow skiing, is probably happening, again due to fat rockered skis. But even those recent changes are the exception not the rule, and they are happening on a macro time scale compared with an individual's progress.
You seem to have this notion that we are all talking about some kind of form that does not directly follow necessary function, but which we are using to "rate" skiers. I don't think we are. This is not figure skating or classical ballet. The "given technical standard" that you're talking about is a functional standard, not a cardboard cutout like you see in the graphic below. There are no final forms that anyone is trying to imitate or looking for in others. There are just key similarities to the way virtually all really good skiers end up looking when skiing, but these are consequences of the fact that they've all landed at similar functional movements after years and decades of trial, error, and coaching.
If you doubt this notion of all technique variations converging on basically the same moves, try skiing with recent thread contributors Tog and King Grump for a day. Both of them know how to ski very efficiently and with a lot of enjoyment on most slopes you'd encounter at a resort. Let's say it's a mogul run (but it could just as well be a steep chute, trees, powder, or even a groomer that is challenging due to boiler plate or steep pitch or both). In real life they would stop and wait for you after every hundred meters or so and have a little tea party so you could catch your breath, but we'll do a thought experiment and say that they're just going to ski the run nonstop. By about 10:23 in the morning you are going to start asking them, "Hey. Guys. Um. Uh. Could you help me learn how to do that?" "Sure," they'd say. "Lets start with a C-major scale. Played very slowly." That's not a fixed position; it's a foundational skill. You have to be able to hit the notes, make each one round, make each one the same length, keep the tempo even, etc. After doing this for a while, you will be doing all of these things with more accuracy, but - counter-intuitively - less metronomically and with more life, more flow, more phrasing. Someone will say, "that sounds very musical." Yeah. This is the paradox: Musicality grows out of technique. Similar deal with skiing.
Edited by qcanoe - 5/7/15 at 8:57pm