Nice job folks, you read my mind.
Slatz, you hit the nail dead nuts with your reference to course sets.
Straight skis required much carving supplimentation via steering, pivots, steps, etc. Such tactics made racing appear a crude athletic scramble; not something the general public looked to emulate.
Then came shape skis, and all of a sudden most turns could be done with clean arc to arc carves. Racing transformed into a beautiful thing to witness; clean, precise, elegant and fast. The public now had a technical model in racing that was very appropriate to aspire to in their own skiing.
But that technical purity was short lived. The racing world quickly decided such skiing was too easy, and rectified it by adding more offset in the couse sets. The result was a return to a need for carve supplimentation. Pervasive pivoting reappeared on the race course, and the trend to add offset continued to intensify until we now see see slalom turns that consistently require pivots to do a majority of the direction change. It has slowed the race speeds way down, required aggressive tail tosses and harsh edge sets, and resulted in runs that are, in comparison to the old sets, just plain ugly to witness.
To make things worse, racers have now discovered that skiing straight at the gate, then tossing the tails and horsing onto the edge is actually faster than rounding the line and skiing a cleaner arc to arc turn. This is now the common tactic in GS. God help us. Fast, sure, but ugly as sin, and very inappropriate as a predominant technique for recreational skiing.
Checkracer and Newfydog, I agree totally with your pointing out the more aestheticly pleasing skiing on womens side, and on flatter sections. The offset is not as great on the flatter sections, jamming an edge has more severe consequences, and the women have yet to asapt the more aggressive straight-pivot-jam tactics of the men.
No kidding Pierre!! These new tactics are not what a coach wants his young developing racers to be watching and trying to mimic.