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How To Improve The Gate Launch

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hey, I was just looking to find some advice on how to improve my starting gate launch (in alpine skiing of course). I've seen the pros go and they lift themselves up so that they align with the slope and they then push with all their might. Pointers on how to do this technique are much appreciated. Also, tips for racing the gs and regular slalom. Thanks in advance, JacksonVilla.
post #2 of 17
I can't help you much with the starts...I've never been good at those...

As a general comment for GS and slalom, too many people forget that skiing is a sport. It requires energy and athleticism. To be able to really attack a course, you need to get out of your turns as early as possible so that you can float accross the fall line into the next turn. In order to release from turns, a strong, early pole plant is required. Getting this pole plant requires a fight, so fight for it. It doesn't come on its own.

This tip applies to people at any level.
post #3 of 17
A hundred quality pushups a day is a good place to start. Throw in a couple hundred sit-ups too,,, don't discount the importance of core strength in this.

The CM lifting component of the kick shouldn't be extreme, as it can result in a hard landing that detracts from forward drive. Watch Bode start; very little up motion, it's all forward power generated with the arms. Make sure you're not using poles that are too short, it's really kills your potential leverage.

The more important aspect of the start is the power you can immediately generate by skating. As soon as you get out of the gate you should be skating for all you're worth. Also learn how to execute a strong skate turn, as you'll generally need to employ it in the first gate or two.
post #4 of 17
in many smooth GSes, you really want to avoid any (aforementioned) manic, choppy style and, rather, stay smooth. try to meld your turns as much as possible. most people have trouble actually finishing the turns fully in order to transmit explosive power to their next turn.
every course dictates different tactics.
in general, be smooth and strong. each day before you ski, unbuckle your boots, throw your boards over you shoulders, and do at least 50 (but preferably 100) nice, smooth, slow squats on a flat surface. do these squats in your unbuckled boots, that way, you're unconsciously conditioning your balance point to stay strong over your own boots' ramp angles.

you will feel a dramatic difference in your balance point, immediately.
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by vlad
in many smooth GSes, you really want to avoid any (aforementioned) manic, choppy style and, rather, stay smooth. try to meld your turns as much as possible. most people have trouble actually finishing the turns fully in order to transmit explosive power to their next turn.
every course dictates different tactics.
in general, be smooth and strong. each day before you ski, unbuckle your boots, throw your boards over you shoulders, and do at least 50 (but preferably 100) nice, smooth, slow squats on a flat surface. do these squats in your unbuckled boots, that way, you're unconsciously conditioning your balance point to stay strong over your own boots' ramp angles.

you will feel a dramatic difference in your balance point, immediately.
I'm not saying to ski choppily. I'm just saying to ski with energy and get out of those turns and fight for a high line. Yes, course set and terrain will dictate how much you need to fight, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Most of it is realizing that one is capable of getting early. It's a mental thing.

You can do that smoothly...this is a tactical thing and not a technical thing...
post #6 of 17

Starts

I think it's a bit easier to kick back slightly with one leg first closely followed by the more dominent leg. The weight of your body shifts forward and is supported by your poles (arms and upper trunk). The poles are not upright but the handles are downhill more than the baskets. Your arms are not fully extended but slightly bent at the elbow. As you pull you legs forward it is not so much with the arms but with your abs and by bringing those shouldblades back together. Its is a smooth powerful action. By contracting your core and pulling through with your shoulders--I was taught that you better keep your balance.

Mike
post #7 of 17
Dominent leg? The foot that stays behind is the foot that you make your first stride on... isn't it?
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJL48
I think it's a bit easier to kick back slightly with one leg first closely followed by the more dominent leg. The weight of your body shifts forward and is supported by your poles (arms and upper trunk). The poles are not upright but the handles are downhill more than the baskets. Your arms are not fully extended but slightly bent at the elbow. As you pull you legs forward it is not so much with the arms but with your abs and by bringing those shouldblades back together. Its is a smooth powerful action. By contracting your core and pulling through with your shoulders--I was taught that you better keep your balance.

Mike
onthenose.mike
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJL48
I think it's a bit easier to kick back slightly with one leg first closely followed by the more dominent leg.
....and whatever you do, make sure that you are kicking back, and not kicking forward into the timing wand. A botched kick-start can actually cost you time if you kick open the wand before your CM has started moving.

Otherwise, a good description.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
A hundred quality pushups a day is a good place to start. Throw in a couple hundred sit-ups too,,, don't discount the importance of core strength in this.
And don't forget to use the dip station.
post #11 of 17
The general intent (in case it's not brutally obvious) is to get your CM moving as fast as possible before you trip the wand. I really don't know if I'm any good at starts or not, but I like to have the poles in the ground as far back towards the wand as possible, and my CM as far back (behind the wand) as possible. You want to get your hands in front of the baskets so that you can be pushing as hard as possible, giving your CM as much time as possible to accelerate before your feet hit the wand.

By lifting the tails of the skis and getting the tips pointed down the hill, what is happening is that you are getting in a position where your hands and CM are moving forward so that you can push hard with the poles, but you are rocking forward at about your toes, so you aren't tripping the wand yet.

I could be all wrong, but that's what I go for. I'm generally not a racer, but when I do race, I do okay.
post #12 of 17
in parallel events, do your best to fake out the other guy by yelling 'aarrrrrgghhh!" and jumping back, without actually hitting the wand, so as to force his barge...
if that's not your gig, try to triple-glance at his bindings and murmur "oh, sh*t....you're not gonna run on THAT, are you?" right before "GO"
hey-when moneys on the line...wel...never trust a sicilian....
post #13 of 17
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by vlad
in parallel events, do your best to fake out the other guy by yelling 'aarrrrrgghhh!" and jumping back, without actually hitting the wand, so as to force his barge...
if that's not your gig, try to triple-glance at his bindings and murmur "oh, sh*t....you're not gonna run on THAT, are you?" right before "GO"
hey-when moneys on the line...wel...never trust a sicilian....
You bounder They should start using that in the Y-courses (ah, they probably do on the new guys, ONCE). I know we did that back in the early '80's on the "local qualifiers", got rid of them in the round of 32
post #15 of 17
If there's someone else you train with, have them hold a pole slightly above eye level and about a foot or two in front of you. Make it a goal to hit the pole with your helmet. This will help you to launch OUT of the gate rather than straight UP, which is a common mistake of racers getting to the point in their abilities where their start makes a real difference. After that, three or four strong skating strides is about the limit for fast vs. aerodynamically efficient at the top of a GS course.

Always humorous to see the weekend warrior in a stretched-to-the-limit GS suit on race stock skis give a loud roar, catapult himself straight up, and then land still in the start and slide slowly through the wand.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takecontrol618
If there's someone else you train with, have them hold a pole slightly above eye level and about a foot or two in front of you. Make it a goal to hit the pole with your helmet. This will help you to launch OUT of the gate rather than straight UP, which is a common mistake of racers getting to the point in their abilities where their start makes a real difference. After that, three or four strong skating strides is about the limit for fast vs. aerodynamically efficient at the top of a GS course.

Always humorous to see the weekend warrior in a stretched-to-the-limit GS suit on race stock skis give a loud roar, catapult himself straight up, and then land still in the start and slide slowly through the wand.

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takecontrol618
Always humorous to see the weekend warrior in a stretched-to-the-limit GS suit on race stock skis give a loud roar, catapult himself straight up, and then land still in the start and slide slowly through the wand.
So, you've seen me race.

My "start" is the weakest part of my style. I tend to look more like Bode coming out of the start, with a mild lift and push out into a few skates. I know I lose time here, but I usually make it up in the first few gates because I'm set up earlier than most people with aggressive starts. It really all depends on the set of the course and the pitch of the start hill as to how aggressively I start, but I usually go for smoothness over raw aggression.

What I would suggest is finding places on the hill that mimic the start at your local race course and practicing a variety of starts until you find the one that feels the most efficient for you.
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