or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

racing tips - Page 2

post #31 of 45
So I raced for the first time last week. Credible though slow in the GS but I was destroyed in the slalom. It got hard and icy and I could not hold a turn, yet a lot of the good skiers edged through the gates like it was nothing. I don't understand that edging technique. I can pactice for a thousand years and not be able to do that. How do you hold an edge on that hard, hard snow?? Suggestions? What should I start working on?
post #32 of 45
Sharp skis.

If your skis are truly sharp, it isn't hard at all to make them work on hard snow. If they are Colorado "sharp", good luck.

Find out what a sharp ski is, then make sure yours are just like that every time you put them on.
post #33 of 45
Originally Posted by TAMSki
So I raced for the first time last week. Credible though slow in the GS but I was destroyed in the slalom. It got hard and icy and I could not hold a turn, yet a lot of the good skiers edged through the gates like it was nothing. I don't understand that edging technique. I can pactice for a thousand years and not be able to do that. How do you hold an edge on that hard, hard snow?? Suggestions? What should I start working on?
I like hard/icy conditions, because (A) I assume they mess more with other people's minds (although see post on "indenial" above about exaggerated positive thinking) (B) since I have a tendency to commit a lot to the outside ski, it's a more "natural" condition for my standard method than soft stuff, and (C) I ski on Atomics with three degrees of side bevel and I sharpen the edges religiously* after every day of use, so my equipment is probably better prepared for ice than some of the club racers I run against.

Here, though, TAMSki, are my quick positive tips for hard pack on slalom skis (departing briefly from my role as interpreter of the Biff method):

1. Have sharp edges. Essentially, your edges should have burrs removed and be sharpened regularly. Competitive ski racers often touch up their edges after every day of skiing, and do major sharpening after every couple of days. Ron LeMaster, in his latest book listing skiing tips, says to sharpen your edges at least every two days if you're skiing on hardpack/ice. If you don't hand tune yourself, with proper beveling guides, then have a good ski shop sharpen the edges (not regrind the base.)

2. Side bevel of at least 3 degrees. You can find an explanation of side bevel on the Tognar toolworks Web site under tips and tricks. www.tognar.com. For slalom racing skis, on hard pack, you probably want a side bevel of at least 3 degrees. Some of the World Cup racers, running on surfaces with injected water that are even harder, sometimes have side bevels of 5 or 6. The result of a side bevel of at least 3 is that the ski edge is a sharper than 90 degree angle and more easily penetrates the hard pack. (Atomic racing skis typically come from the factory with a 1 degree base, 3 degree side bevel. For me, that feels right, but that's what I'm used to.)

3. Slightly greater commitment to the outside ski. In general, skiing on hard pack requires a slightly greater commitment to the outside carving ski than does powder, slush or other soft snow, which requires more two-footed skiing to avoid over-pressuring the outside ski. That having been said, successful slalom skiers on ice definitely carve with the inside ski's outside edge as well, which helps avoid sliding out, when your outside ski bounces a little instead of biting.

4. Stay forward. In ice, it's easy to get back, pushing with the heels out of fear, or balancing over the whole foot to get the slight balance advantage as the skis slide sideways. But it's even more critical to commit forward at turn initiation, since carving as tight a turn as possible for the conditions--by properly bending the shovel of the ski at turn initiation--is even more critical on ice, where a skidding ski skids more and a low line is harder to recover from. ("Low" being such a nice euphemism for "late," since it makes it sound almost like a tactical choice...)

5. Minimize skidding. Once a ski starts to skid, it has a tendency to continue to skid, especially on ice. Whatever bad habits you have that contribute to unnecessary skidding tend to get magnified on ice. And whatever bad habits you have also get magnified in slalom gates, which require all those darned turns with the sticks so close together. What I do when I hear that scraping sound is really try to create a large edge angle, with angulation to load up the outside ski, while keeping my weight forward. In GS gates, I also throw in a little counter to increase the edge angle further, but (A) I have been advised that I over-rely on counter, and (B) counter is way, way too s-l-o-w for slalom.

6. Ski a higher line if skidding is inevitable. As you watch other skiers of your same ability skid, keep that in mind as you plan your line--aim above where you'll end up. If you watch the five skiers in front of you skid low on the first gate, make your turn a little higher on that gate, to avoid the late line from turn one on.** When you're late, you have to skid even more just to make the next gate, and this gets repeated on and on down the course until either you ski out or you slow down so much that you can get back on an early line simply from lack of speed.

Good luck!


*Very religiously--I have even been known to make the sign of the cross with my ski tips shortly before a somersaulting free skiing double binding ejection.

**The author, as on-line apologist for the Biff Kneesprocket(tm) method, is, of course, something of an experienced hand on the late line from turn one on...
post #34 of 45
Icy courses are the great barometer for how your technique is shaping up.

Edge angle high in the turn, smooth pressure in the fall line, and release the turn as you come out of the fall line. Your weight should be more over the outside ski, and your body should be relaxed and balanced. Mentally you should have no hesitation and should always be thinking foward- don't blow three gates worrying about the one you screwed up.

Drills? For freeskiing try making very clean, short-radius turns in a tight cooridor (say a groomer width) while maintaining a consistent rhythm and speed top to bottom.
For gate technique, run stubbies or brush gates to demystify the basic slalom course, and slowly add in fullsized gates.

I'm working through the same issues this winter. Our snowfall has been less than stellar this season, and a warm trend earlier this year left a sheet of ice under the groomers on the lower mountain. You run from sugary manmade in the transitions to ice in the turns. It's.....interesting.
post #35 of 45
Gotta wonder if Supra282 ever checked backed in on this post?
post #36 of 45
A good general rule: the faster you exit the old turn after the gate, the faster your run will be.
post #37 of 45
Those were some good tips. I may have been getting back to far so that my tails were skidding out and maybe just wasn't angulating. This gives me a couple of things to think about. Thanks for your input gang!
post #38 of 45
Skiing technique has changed a lot since shaped skis came into the picture.

Knowing the rise line (where to begin the turn) helps a great deal and if you are skiing a lot of gates some places will set up rise markers to help you become familar with where to turn in the gates.

No more A-frame it's now a wider stance and more angulation. When you are at the gate your turn should be completed and you moving towards the other gate. Arms forward in order for you not to fall back. Do not rise between turns but rather let the ski and your legs and hips and ankles do the turn beneath you. Always look ahead. You need to feel confident on your equipment and trust your skis knowing they are designed to hold and carve.

It takes lots of practice and a good race coach is key. It also helps if you see yourself skiing through the gates (video) and a good coach to show you where you are making mistakes and how to correct them.
post #39 of 45

Links for online racing techniques advice

In August of 2003, in the throws of my annual technique-obsessing while months away from snow, I put together a short summary of contemporary on-line advice about racing turns/stance/basics. The following is the list of sources, modestly updated since, some of which may be dead links by now. In addition to some of the other advice here and on the Nastar forum threads mentioned above, there are some interesting materials available on line.

Modern Technique

Austrian Coaching

Inclination in GS

Kirsten Clark

Caroline LaLive

Sarah Schleper

Stu Campbell

Scott Shepard

Ron LeMaster, Alpine racing technique

Ron LeMaster "Bode's Secret"

Ron LeMaster, Biomechanics

USSCA Coaches clinic

Tracy, Super-G

McNichol, Slalom

Debra Armstrong,

Richard Malmros, Sharpening the Saw,

Richard Malmros, Speed 101

Olle Larsson, Modern Slalom Technique


Tommy Moe

Eric DesLauriers

Chris Anthony

Happy gate skiing,


(Who managed to win his club race this weekend, having avoided a few of the Biff Kneesprocket(tm) techniques, but didn't ski pretty--or really all that well--until those last gates you could tuck turn. It was nice that all my dryland balance training paid off when I hooked a gate with a bent inside arm, giving the guys in the start a brief glimpse of old school ballet. I'm off to Colorado next weekend to run some Nastar gates with my brother and my son. Maybe somewhere there they'll set a course where I can mostly stay in a tuck and finally match the ski movie that runs in my head. Or not. This year the Sierra League's Super-G conflicted with our league's races, but maybe next year...)
post #40 of 45
Originally Posted by sfdean
I think the Tichys still keep some contact with the Czech racing community, as I think they were coaching a young woman racer from there last year who had moved out to North America for the winter to race FIS NorAm. They certainly aren't exactly tight with the Canadian national team coaching. Kat Tichy and her husband are now coaching a junior racing program in Montana or somewhere similar. Like I said, really nice people, and they ran a great camp. (Milos Tichy is a master at motivation, finding something to say that's helpful rather than crushing even in watching the ugly video of a hack racer's worst run...)
Good luck in the gates,
Sorry, sfdean, I somehow forgot to check this thread and haven´t found this post of yours.
I know about the Nastar website and registered yesterday - no post so far.
I got two mails from Milos, the first an answer to my mail, today there a new one. I gave him contacts to the Zahrobsky family and sent him some articles on them I have written recently.
Which means the contact and communication are restored.
I´m really glad.
We were on really good terms when they were Czech racers. I can remmeber one Silvester day when I went to visit them in the house of Milos´mother and I came back home at 11 a.m. - just in time to open a bottle of champagne to greet the New Year - but my wife had slightly different plans for such a day.
That´s the way we were...

Be fast and technical in gates!
post #41 of 45
Two things that I haven't seen mentioned about ice.
1. Use a very "soft touch".
2. Timing of the turn in is everything. Too early and you're way late in the line below the gate. Witherall wrote about timing in How the Racers Ski, it's always been valid.
Your rememberance of Milos reminds me of the time I asked him to "pass the vino". He asked if I knew that "vino" was a Czech word for wine. "I thought it was Italian", I replied. "No, not Italian, Czech", he insisted. I don't speak either language, I don't know.
post #42 of 45

Czech slalom stars


Sarka Zahrobska/Zahrobsky had a pretty good February--3rd in the women's slalom at the world championships, then 1st in slalom and top 5 in GS at the junior world championships. (When you're a junior and faster than Resi Steigler, you're fast...) Go Czech Republic!

I really enjoyed the Tichys. When I did their racing camp last year at Copper Mountain over Thanksgiving (a U.S. holiday) they put together a great home cooked meal for us all, followed by lots of drinking of Jagermeister among the Masters racers until the wee hours. The other nights I couldn't sleep well because of the altitude, and I was fighting bronchitis and losing, but between the heavy meal and the Jagermeister (fairly indistinguishable from cough syrup) that was the one night I slept well.

And Milos was a great motivator, always finding something helpful to say even after watching a horrifying video (think epic Hindenberg crash footage transfixingly awful) of perhaps the world's ugliest slalom run, anywhere, ever, featuring yours truly. I still remember his comment after that long stretch of awful silence that followed the video, complete with vocal inflection. ("Vell yes--that was terrible. But look how COURAGEOUS!")

Martin finally retired from racing last year, but Mike is still racing, with top-10 slalom finishes in NorAm. It's a small world. Good luck in the gates, and take care.

post #43 of 45
Hi, guys,

It´s a small world indeed.
I have a friend who also left Czechoslovakia about at the same tine the Tichys did. He chose Australia, studied and raced there, then was on the pro tour mostly in Japan, was a coach in Thredbo, then came back about 10 years ago to try his coaching luck in here.
I always wondered how many people from the whole world he knows from Japan or from various other occasions.
It´s good to have people like them or Sarka.
Without them I would be just an exotic guy from some no-name ski land. I must confess I definitely feel better being connected with skiers like them.

Vino: it´s both Italian and Czech, based on old Latin vinum.

Let´s have a good second half of the season. We have more snow then anytime over the last 30 years. The spring should be absolutely perfect on hero snow.
post #44 of 45
I know Martin pretty well. He has done quite a bit of racing, training and coaching at our ski area. Like you said before, its a small world!

I noticed Martin and Michael gave up their homemade ski project. Did you know about that? Their dad bought an old ski press from a ski company and they were building their own race skis.. And Winning!
post #45 of 45
Originally Posted by U.P. Racer
I noticed Martin and Michael gave up their homemade ski project. Did you know about that? Their dad bought an old ski press from a ski company and they were building their own race skis.. And Winning!
I saw it on their website a few months ago but don´t know anything about it.
I will ask them. I´m collecting examples of such projects.

I was a part of such an attempt about 5 years ago. I had a friend of mine (the ex-Aussie I mentioned earlier today) meet a German who owns a small factory near the German/Czech border because I thought he could produce some high-quality race ski compatible with a new plate my friend was developing.
It succeeded but not 100%. The slalom ski was good: it was the first shaped SL ski the ex-Canadian Stanley Hayer used after he came back to racing with the Czech license. He won about 15 FIS races with them and finished the season as SL Nr. 60 (or so) in the world.
He went to Fischer then where he was Nr. 3 on the team.
Now he concentrates on ski cross and is among the first 10.

Otoh, the GS ski was excellent for free skiing but not good enough in gates on the international level.
The project had been running for about 3 years and then they gave it up: too costly, problems with R&D and testing...

Btw, if you want to know where Bogner Bambusski (and some other expensive skis) are produced, this might be the clue...

It´s not so complicated to build a few pairs of good skis but it´s not so easy to build a top race ski. A SL is relatively easy, GS more difficult, a SG/DH almost impossible.
IMO freeride skis are easier to build because glide, speed, rebound and partially grip are not paramount.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home