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Race Photo Question

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hello all... I'd really appreciate your input on the attached photo. In the way of background, I'm a class 2 racer (out of 7) and am looking to improve.

Thanks in advance for your feedback and advice.

post #2 of 16
Very hard to say much about your technique based on one picture, and there's quite a bit I like here, but perhaps you're trying too hard to bash the gates and are skiing too tight a line for the course. I have pictures of myself in a recent race doing the same thing. The best GS skiers I know brush the gate with their shoulders and it slaps down as a result of the speed of impact- not brute force.

Like I said, though, very hard to judge a whole lot from one photo. What I see may have been completely appropriate for the course and conditions.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks Mike,

I get what you're saying about line. I video taped a race at my home hill last week and the winner was skiing a line that was remarkably different from the other guys on the podium. He was riding his edge far beyond the rise line of the next gate and "swooping" under the gate. It seemed as though he was 90% done with his turn by the time he brushed the gate whereas the other fast guys were skiing more "through" the panels.

I really appreciate your eyes on this and will round out the line a bit.

Have a great rest of your season!
post #4 of 16
There are a couple of certified race coaches that participate in the forum. If you post your pic there ( under "techniques and tips", you'll get some more feedback.
post #5 of 16
I don´t quite understand why there are so few responses here.
Judging by the praise some other photos were getting this is very advanced racing & technique (I´m nor familiar with the classes mentioned).
It seems that it could be just this one turn for the photographer (you´re looking in his direction, not toward the gates in front of you, and probably concentrating on the gate contact to look good in the picture?)
I think the skier of your level and skills would normally (= in the race) choose a (better) line not so close to the gate.
You´re good and you know that.
Seeing your SX-11s I wonder if racing on such a level does not require the FIS-conform gear...
post #6 of 16
There were several issues that led me not to make more comments. Obviously there is a lot of loose snow on the course, it's a night race, not to mention the presence of the photographer. Look at the snow between this gate and the previous gate. Was there a bump involved in the transition? Very hard to judge much by one picture given the circumstances.

I do like the hand/shoulder position. The hips may be slightly back, but again this is one frame out of context. The legs are working well. A lot of the negatives I see can be attributed to the tight line.

Good luck on finding the line. Bashing the gates that directly slows you down. Not only the impact, but the flinch (you can see it in the picture) and resulting recovery also conspire against you. I started the season hammering the gates and ever since I have been working on finding the right balance between too round and too tight. I'm slower now with the wider line as I continue my search for balance, but eventually I'll find my groove. Usually this happens at the last race of the season. Sometimes you have to accept a slower result in the short term to make progress in the long term.
post #7 of 16
I fully agree with AM on the negative consequence of too aggressive gate bashing.
My experience:
in experimenting with more/less/(almost) no contact I could be faster when I decided "to ignore" the gates and just "carve around them" pretending there were none.
Not that it should be a recipe but it´s at least an interesting experience.

A WC example:
Martina Ertl has this problem all her racing career
There was a GS a few years ago where a racer (unfortunately I don´t remember the name but I remember the race) who had a minimal GS practice on WC went just around the gates, almost not touching them (let alone "bashing") and she was 3rd or so - a surprise - and much faster than most of the experienced GS racers who skied "aggressively".

IMHO no simple generalization for skiers of different levels etc. is possible but it´s good to be aware of it.
post #8 of 16
Hard to make evaluations on line from this shot, but not so hard to see that (as Mike and CR said) you need to get your feet further away from the gate. This is one of the hardest concepts to get across to aggressive lower level racers. They think by moving in on the pole they can shorten the line, but the reality is that doing so restricts their ability to drop the hip into a higher edge angle, which actually results in a longer radius turn, the very opposite of what they seek. The racer who maintains his distance from the gate can run a straighter line and then drop into a big edge angle to arc a powerful small radius turn around the gate. If you have the edge controll and balance skills to pull this off it's speed baby, speed.

As to the fast guy doing 90 percent of the turn above the pole; this is not the optimal line, the guy can be beat. Any line other than 50 percent of the turn above the gate and 50 below puts the apex of the turn further outside the gate than it needs to be, which adds travel distance, which adds time. The exception is a turn with a pivot entry.

By the way, was this a NAR race? Was the fast guys name Joel?
post #9 of 16
Only thing I know for sure is this picture wasn't shot at Holimont.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thansk to all for the responses!

I guess the photographer could have had an effect... but I assure you, a modeling career isn't in the works! I appreciate your comments and will "round things out" a bit more. This race was a 24 second sprint at night with lots of fresh snow around. I guess that could have had something to do with the line (staying out of the soft stuff). In the night leagues, I use my SX11s because the set is too tight for a FIS ski. I have my GS11s for "big" courses that are 35 to 38 seconds around here.

The race I spoke of was a NAR race at Holimont and, Yes, the guy who won it is named Joel.

You are correct sir! We have no lights at Holimont. We can get our night ski fix next door at the Valley.

I really REALLY appreciate all of you taking the time to comment!
post #11 of 16
Yes, I can imagine the situation of the course with some new snow when you have to take the line of the earlier racers and can´t choose your own.

Or if your category is among the last and there´s already the "track" you have to follow even if everything is too late, you know that and would like to initiate your turns earlier and higher
post #12 of 16
Holimonter - Like others said, can't really tell where you're going with this turn (or where you're supposed to go. One thing I will comment on is the fact that you're not looking where you're going. I know, I know, it's a late response to getting whacked in the head with the gate. But I think that the turned head is probably assisting in turning the shoulders too much counter. Probably! I only said probably. The body position kind of says that the next gate is almost directly down the fall line, but the body lean says it's across the fall line a bit. That's why I think the impact of the gate has caused a little over counter.

All in all you look like a solid skier on the race course.
post #13 of 16

It's easier to sideline coach than night race!

It's easeir to sideline coach from my computer than race on fresh snow at night!

You are lucky to be such a strong skier. Only comment would be, and it's always tough to tell from a still photo, what above arm-chair-coaches have said. Hips back a little. Another way to look at this, you are leaning back ever so slightly or, perhaps even a better way to see this, you are sticking your downhill ski forward to brace yourself for the force of this obviously fast turn. In a way, with this downhill leg, this "bracing" is similar to the posture used in the snowplow: foot forward with knee bent, butt or hip slightly sticking out.

Clearly, this works for you. But I wonder, if all that is going on, how easily and quickly you set up from turn to turn? Do you find yourself more and more rushed as you progress through a course?

I know some people might really protest at my suggestion, but your position naturally counter-rotates you. I'm not sure what it first here, the counter-rotation or the "bracing." Have you tried squaring your shoudlers to your boots and ski tips to keep yourself kinetically aligned, and not bent and twisted, as you go all the way through a turn?

Not that you look bad mind you. I wish I could ski the gates that well.

Hope this helps.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
The line was indeed dictated a bit by the previous runners (thanks for the lifeline of a plausible excuse). This night league is a 4 run, 60 guy scramble that finishes with a ton of beer. By the 4th run, we sometimes get something that resebmles a mogul course.

sir turnalot-
Thanks for the critique - much appreciated. I think the straighter line caused me to really bash this gate. The "flinch" from impact did throw me a bit. The next gate was across the fall line but since this was my second run on the course, I had a fairly good idea of where to go. I am gathering from all of the comments that poor line choice really amplifies small mistakes and the gate impact proves it.

I'd really like for you to elaborate on your "counter" comments. I was taught to always try and square up with the shoulders to the fall line. I have not tried to be completely aligned in a turn. I find that my turn-to-turn move is a bit of a cross-under with the skis and an attempt to throw my centre of mass down the fall line (feeble as it may sometimes be). I try to let my skis drift out from under me and "catch" the skis while my body falls straight(ish) down the fall line. I find that I am not overly rushed as I go through a course and can make mild line corrections. This is not to say that after an impact like that, I am high and round on the next gate.

It sounds to me that you are suggesting the I go at the gate with everything pointed that way...correct?

I'd love for all to chime in on this as it's really though provoking.

On another note... Are you going to the SG at Bristol tomorrow?? Should be a great race... wish I was going!

Cheers all!
post #15 of 16
I appreciate you time in considering my views on you skiing. Yes, I am a provocative fellow--sort of the gadfly on the rump of conventional wisdom.

Anyway, I'd go with how you feel. Hell, you are the guy out there cutting some very nice arcs! If it feels good, then go with it.

I would say, compare youself to the fellow in the photo:

His torso is not quite as far back as yours. Moreover, his arm carriage is more relaxed. You know, you can always tell a sprinter who's relaxed by watching the jaw. I think with skiers, it's not only the jaw, but the shoulder adn arm carriage.

Also, I can't tell from you photo, even though I magnified it, but are you using a lot of knee angulation and leg steering to cut this arc? At least more than Vonn is using.

Btw, you are lucky to have the strength you have. It is a real asset.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

WOW! A Thomas Vonn comparo! That's exceptional. I think Vonn is exceedingly gifted (duh! US a-team). I think that I am steering a bit and jamming the knees a bit. The Vonn sequence, however, runs a bit counter (pardon the pun) to the counter-rotation discussion. Vonn's shoulders do not seem to me to be any more than 15 degrees off of the fall line in any of the photos. The parallell shins are amazing and the dynamic balance is uncanny!

I can say only the following; at least I have a job. I do, however notice that his path is AROUND and not THROUGH the gate. I have some work to do. 990 point on the card, 990 pionts, beat Thomas Vonn, spread it around, 31.2 points on the card!

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