Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier
I have heard that the Japanese Ski Team suffers from the strong technical focus that the instruction industry has in Japan... becoming a demonstrator and competing in their demo competitions takes a lot of focus away from racing. While their technique in many ways is excellent, I think many do not apply it to racing.
This is very true. Technical skiing is very prominent in Japan. Largely though, the ski racers are not exposed to coaching of this type of skiing very often. They see it as children and try to mimic it, but are quickly turned away from it by their coaches. Remember demo skiing is largely using the inside ski, dropping the shoulders, and a tight stance. Might these skills help? Yeah, it's another tool in the shed to use on the hill but they just really aren't exposed to it as much as you might think.
As I've been skiing here for 2 years and got back into racing, I can say the differences are huge between USA and Japan. Japan has a HUGE emphasis on GS from a young age. Virtually all of the non-SAJ (Ski Association of Japan) races are GS. The only time there are really slalom races are for the yearly prefectural races and national races. You'll occasionally get the night slalom races here and there but nowhere near the amount of GS races.
This is a real shame. Not many people do super-g at any age. Slalom is practiced but not as intensely as GS. GS just overshadows everything.
Lately though, the prominent coaches are doing more technical and speed events on their own. Setting up their own events and races among teams and inviting sponsors and renown athletes to the event. This is pretty interesting as the ski hills are not the ones in control as it used to be.
EDIT: I largely deal with juniors and college students. Only occasionally do I work with the national members.