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Pictures in "Ultimate Skiing" by Ron LeMaster and the Transition

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have found Ron LeMaster's book "Ultimate Skiing" invaluable in improving my skiing from the theoretical side and in terms of understanding what instructors are telling me.  I have been taking advanced instruction in an Adult Race program for the past four years.  On Tuesday I participated in a race clinic and afterwards showed the instructor the book.  As he thumbed through and looked at a number of the pictures he immediately looked to see when it was published.  Since it was published in 2010 he made the assumption that most of the pictures probably came between the years 2006 and 2008.  He commented that some of the pictures show techniques that have changed in the past 6 years.  Specifically he called out Figure 3.18 on page 48 showing Ted Ligety using a large initial steering angle to start a GS turn.  Since the time that photo montage was published Ligety has developed a new technique where he basically carves the entire turn with a very quick transition. (Described in the NYT video.)  He also talked about what Mikaela Shiffrin has done in terms of changing the best technique for slalom.

 

My friend also talked about the preferred means for executing the transition having changed from toppling across the skis and waiting for the skis to engage in the new turn, to rather moving the legs and skis from one side of the body to the other without raising the torso and the head up.  Basically moving the legs and skis under the body rather than extending and moving the body over the skis.

I was wondering if there any montages out there from Ron LeMaster, or anyone else, showing these new techniques that racers have developed in the last six years.  Any further insights on the transition or thoughts on the topic would be appreciated.

 

Thanks!  

post #2 of 7
post #3 of 7

My friend also talked about the preferred means for executing the transition having changed from toppling across the skis and waiting for the skis to engage in the new turn, to rather moving the legs and skis from one side of the body to the other without raising the torso and the head up.  Basically moving the legs and skis under the body rather than extending and moving the body over the skis.

 

That's pretty much what I have been doing for a number of years. It may have been from the clinic with Mike Rogan back in 2004. Keep a very quiet upper body, you use less energy and become very smooth.

post #4 of 7

It's been my experience that most people who read that book don't understand what they are looking at.

post #5 of 7

Speaking as someone who has also benefited from the book, I think Ron LeMaster's knowledge of skiing and the discussion in the book are both deep enough that it'd take a pretty massive shift in technique to render much of the book obsolete, if that's what your coach was implying. Not to say there isn't anything in there that couldn't be updated or that WC skiers haven't introduced new technique refinements. But a quick thumb-through scanning the images might be deceptive.

 

An example: I don't have my copy with me here, but my memory is that the discussion of up-unweighting and down-unweighting, along with flexion-extension turns and what LeMaster calls the "virtual bump," covers the point you mention about toppling into the turn versus keeping the shoulders quiet, retracting the legs, and shifting to the new edges while maintaining balance and pressure on the edges the whole time (except for the instant when the edge shift takes place). If I interpret him correctly, LeMaster describes what sounds like a topple turn as an intermediate-level technique that in advanced skiers is superseded by the flexion-extension turn.  

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 


I have read the book and reread the book each season for about five years now.  It is not easy to grasp everything within the book even though it is very clearly laid out.  The coach was not saying that much of the book is obsolete, just that in topics like "Estimating the Transition" that WC technique has changed some.  It does look to me like most of the montages are about 10 years old based on looking through them again.  And as LeMaster says on page 133 the same skills and movements required to ski well 30 years ago still apply today; it is more a matter of changing from a need for amplitude to a need for subtlety and finesse.

Specifically on pages 148 and 149 the dissuasion talks about WC skiers having to estimate the amount to topple because once they start they have little control until the skis engage the snow.  In Figure 9.15a Martina Ertl gets the transition about right but may be a little to far inside.  In Figure 9.15b Sarah Schleper over estimates how far to topple and ends up too far inside.

You are definitely right about the topics being covered in some detail and that the discussion around the virtual bump does talk about how to absorb it.  There are also some series showing athletes absorbing the bump without toppling, such as the paragraphs on page 152 discussing Flexing and the pictures in Figure 9.20 a and b.

The points that the coach was talking about are shown in the middle of the video analysis below:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIMnhkF94vU&feature=youtu.be

 

It would be very interesting even to see an article somewhere on a website addressing the latest advances since the book was published along with some series of photos.  Maybe even something that one could purchase as a digital companion for the book rather than en entirely new edition of the book addressing the latest developments. I wonder if Ron LeMaster would consider such an idea.

 

Thanks for your reply!

post #7 of 7
The coach was probably just repeating something he was told by someone else. Doubt he actually spends time studying footage of Ligety or Shiffrin.

There are plenty of videos of WC turns - NYT video in just a single case study. Watch a bunch of them and judge for yourself. If you can't see if it's there or not, then go back and think about the fundamentals again and watch more film until you can see what's there and what isn't.
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