Originally Posted by NE1
(1) I too have come to the conclusion that I can work on things more efficiently on my slalom skis. They do carve more easily, and for a while I considered that a disadvantage to learning, but it has turned out just the opposite for me. Lately I have found that my runs in GS and night league have benefited from warming up on my slaloms.
(2) Perhaps you need to warm up more than others before the first run. I know I need to get the heart rate right up there in comparison to others who just look at the course, then jump in the gate. When I try that I feel like I'm sleepwalking for @ 6-7 gates.
Thanks for the validation of the slalom training idea and the suggestions, NE1. In thinking about this:
1. I like ripping big, fast, super-G turns in free skiing, which really isn't great practice for the actual gates I mostly ski, and it means I avoid taking my slalom skis free skiing. The only time this year I did drop-in gate training on the slalom skis, I promptly took them off at the end of the morning of training and wore my GS skis the rest of the day.
(A. "Doh!" B. Remember--if you want to train in the worst way, do it the Biff Kneesprocket(tm) way. C. It's hard to believe, the dumb stuff I do--but at least I'm gradually figuring this stuff out, by trial and error.) Clearly I like skiing on my GS skis better, and it's a lot less work than all those tighter turns, and so I've just avoided skiing on my slalom skis even though that would do me more good.
(Have large bag full of excuses, which in the cold light of CRT screen seem to bear the rationalization label: I only want to bring one pair of skis to Colorado; now that we're done with the slalom race, I have to practice on GS skis for tomorrow's race; I have the slalom boards perfectly waxed for tomorrow's race and don't want to redo them tonight...)
2. I don't think the slower first run is a function of not being warmed up, since the first few gates of my first run that are generally the best (or only good) part of that run. I do know (A) I typically ski my second run much more aggressively, which is better; (B) I'm in better shape than the club racers in my class, which might make some small difference; and (C) where there's no course reset in GS, I do a little better the second time, which may partly be a function of suffering a smaller penalty for my bad habit of not looking ahead in the course as much as my competitors, and in having a lot of practice skiing moderately rutted GS courses. (I still get thrown off by big ruts in slalom--it messes with the tight line I prefer.)
In kicking it over, I suspect my doing better in the second run is primarily the more aggressive, less conservative attacking of the course in the second run, and if (i) I did even just a little more gate training in slalom, to get the confidence I'd likely finish the course, and (ii) I wasn't worried about blowing out in GS with the cranker after the breakover (like Sunday's GS course), I could almost certainly go for it a bit more on the first run too. I guess what stops me is that it's an awfully long drive for a short run, if you ski out on the fifth gate, and in training earlier this year, I had a lot of trouble staying in the steeper part of the practice course.
NE1, in warming up on slalom skis for GS, how do you deal with the "sluggish" feeling that GS skis seem to have after slalom boards? I feel it less so now with my 18m sidecut Atomic SX:11 skis for GS (I do club racing, where I don't have to be FIS legal) but last year when I skied on true 21m sidecut GS skis, they always felt slow to turn ("I must be doing something wrong") immediately after skiing on slalom boards.