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Best book to learn optimal racing line

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I am a Dad in love with skiing. I have 2 Young girls who started racing 3 years ago.

 

It seems I just can't find a complete source on how to deal and find the optimal racing line. I keep on hearing to turn early, but I know that it is more complex than this,

 

Now, do not get me mistaken...I undertsand that at 9 year old, they might not be able to understand all this, but I am interested in finding the best book that will teach this and that I will able to keep as a reference for a while.

 

Thanks

post #2 of 15

Try a search this board and/or google for  RISE LINE or Rise line concept.


Edited by Atomicman - 2/4/16 at 10:38am
post #3 of 15

The fastest line is the straightest line the skier can manage. That line varies from course to course, slope to slope, skier to skier. If you watch a strong skier on a relatively low angle course with narrow set gates will not be turning early on the gates, but essentially be blowing through them to keep a straight line. As the course steepens, the gates get wider, and the skill/strength of the skier lessens, the ideal line has turn apexes that move uphill from the gate more and more as those factors become more pronounced. It's always about getting ready for the gate a few gates downhill. If you're worried about the gate you're at, you're late. 

 

In short. It doesn't come from a book. The fastest line is learned by experience and skill. That's why Ligety can't teach us to lead a WC field by more than a second after one GS run by writing an article about it. 

post #4 of 15

The concept of the fastest line really hasn't change much in a great many years, how to get on that line has and is constantly changing.  Look at GS racing in the last 5 years with Ligety being a good example of a great lead that has diminished as the others caught onto his technique.

 

The change comes from equipment and the technique used to maximize the performance of said equipment.  Understanding line must go hand in hand with understanding what the equipment does whether it be theory, experience or both.

post #5 of 15

I'm not aware of a good discussion of this topic in a book, though one may exist. All reference material I have on the topic is from a few coaches around the country. Occasionally, some good insight into WC-level lines pop up oh blogs from guys like Greg Needell or Harald Harb, and actually Ted Ligety has been pretty open about how his line differs from that of his competition—especially in the years where he was truly dominating GS. As A-man mentioned above, a Google search of rise-line will deliver some good results (some from Needell, I think).

 

That said, what you’re looking for is much more than a one-size fits all approach. As skill level increases, the line that can be taken varies significantly. The line you would recommend to a 9-year old racer is much different from the line you would work on with a 40-point racer who was trying to break into the 20-point range. Usually, as times improve we tend to see a more direct line—the winning line at an NCAA carnival race is often several meters lower than you’d find at your average U16-18 race where there aren’t a lot of points present—and both differ greatly from the typical winning run at a WC GS. For a young racer, early and higher is better in most cases, and can be adjusted as their skill level improves and they begin to see other, more aggressive lines possible.

 

One thing that has made people re-think the straighter is faster approach is when Ted came out and started putting multiple seconds on the field of WC GS racers—and was very open about skiing a round line—getting on the new ski as early as possible—to carve more of the turn (though the line Ted considers ‘round’ is still wildly straight by a mere mortal’s standard). The smoother, more round line, where the skis can carve more and carry more speed is faster… sometimes. Other times, the racer who takes the line deeper—timing coming inside until the rise-line or later pulls it off. Complicating the topic even further is watching the lines of Hirscher and Ligety in GS when both are at the top of their game… Very different lines from these two, who are often only separated only by a few tenths of a second.

 

What ties both approaches together, making them more similar than they are different, is early engagement of the new outside ski—the line is then determined by the timing of pressure—how quickly [or not] it builds and is released. The better your racer becomes at being able to establish early engagement at-will, the more line options will become available as they will have all the time they need to execute the line of their choosing. 

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 


Thanks freeski919 and oldschoolskier.

 

Now if we take some variable out, and we consider a young skier(9 yr), with moderate to good skill for that age, in a GS on a medium slope, I would say

 

- Turn high on the rise line to complete the turn at the gate.(probably lacking speed and technique to turn later)

 

- If at the bottom of the race, it is flatter, turn more at the gate.

 

- If there is a really steep part, you will need to turn even higher.

 

Does that make any sense?

 

I fully understand your points that when they grow older, may other variables will change the optimal line, but can we get to an answer by taking some variable out?

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks HeluvaSkier,

 

I will keep that line for now: "For a young racer, early and higher is better in most cases, and can be adjusted as their skill level improves and they begin to see other, more aggressive lines possible."

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by yig99 View Post
 


Thanks freeski919 and oldschoolskier.

 

Now if we take some variable out, and we consider a young skier(9 yr), with moderate to good skill for that age, in a GS on a medium slope, I would say

 

- Turn high on the rise line to complete the turn at the gate.(probably lacking speed and technique to turn later)

 

- If at the bottom of the race, it is flatter, turn more at the gate.

 

- If there is a really steep part, you will need to turn even higher.

 

Does that make any sense?

 

I fully understand your points that when they grow older, may other variables will change the optimal line, but can we get to an answer by taking some variable out?

 

Turn as early and as high as necessary at gate 1 to be in good position for gates 2, 3, and 4. Repeat process at every gate. 

post #9 of 15

Probably the best book on line would be something from Ron LeMaster where you can see in a single picture the entire line of a single turn. However, what it really comes down to is this:

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

 

Turn as early and as high as necessary at gate 1 to be in good position for gates 2, 3, and 4. Repeat process at every gate. 

 

Line is not really about a single turn, it is about thinking about what is happening a few turns down the hill and doing what will get you there the fastest, which may or may not be a straight line. I'm really not sure how to explain this in a forum post. In a recent race, it was clear that if you went what looked very wide coming off a pitch near the finish, the last three gates were nearly straight sending you through one corner of the finish. The athletes who didn't see this skied a lot more distance on the flats.

 

Rise line is an important concept, but not something I talk about very often. Our discussions tend to be more about entrance and exit angles, early or patient, and not pinching off the turn. What I see most in average 9 year olds is that they tend to go a little to straight at the gate, try to rush the turn, and then end up on a low line (not enough entrance angle). If instead, they were a bit more patient and extended the line more across the hill (tight exit angle) before dropping into the turn, they take a faster line because they are in the fall line more and skiing less distance.  The problem here, as freeski919 pointed out, is what the athlete's strength and technical ability can handle. A more skilled racer can get off the old turn quickly, glide briefly on the new outside edges to the rise line, drop into the turn, lather rinse repeat.

 

So where does the rubber meet reality? Learn to carve a clean turn. Learn to separate pressure from edging. Learn what a good line is. Learn to look down the hill (this is often the biggest issue). If the technique is there, and the general understanding of line is there, they will sort themselves out in time.

post #10 of 15

We once had a famous composer come to our workplace.  He talked about learning to playing notes, playing sections of piece, playing an entire composition.  Like reading, we start with letters then words then phrases etc.

 

As racers get better they are skiing the course, or several gate, not simply skiing for one gate.  Almost all the young racers (wanna be racers) come in tight to the gate, then skid/arc late.  They are only considering "that gate".   The better racers are considering several gates, not having tunnel vision on "the next gate"

 

So the line depends on the next gate(s) (as several people have noted).  It becomes a blend of skills (clean arcs, quick transitions) and tactics (choice of line, stivot vs arc etc)

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by docbrad66 View Post
 

As racers get better they are skiing the course, or several gate, not simply skiing for one gate.  Almost all the young racers (wanna be racers) come in tight to the gate, then skid/arc late.  They are only considering "that gate".   The better racers are considering several gates, not having tunnel vision on "the next gate"

                                                                      

 

   Course inspection skills :)

post #12 of 15
USSA had some dvds that can help. Barnes had a few artickes here on slow line fast. Tactics is the buzz word for line.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post

Try a search this board and/or google for  RISE LINE or Rise line concept.
A-man, on the money!
(Arc, apex, accept) ...I just made that up...
post #14 of 15
In other words, the ski has a radius stamped on it, Bending it with early pressure makes it bend more and sooner to a smaller arc. Stand on it at the rise-line and the ski will arc and depending on the pressure it may arc to soon from the rise-line. Most are late to gates vs. early. It's easier to release and go straight vs. try to turn later, so at the rise-line, stand on the new ski and then manage pressure so the arc and apex match the gate and then accept that arc and move down-hill.
Rip-it.
post #15 of 15
And now just use the CAP model, Kholberg's, Piaget's, a good teaching cycle that matches their learning prefèrence and motivations. Also, dont hurt any feelings giving feedback. Haha. It ain't easy, but standing on it no later than the rise-line will help.
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