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Copper PSIA/Nordica Race Camp GS Day 2

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Today was the second day of the PSIA/Nordica Race Camp at Copper Mountain. The primary coaches for the event are PSIA Demo Team members Michael Rogan and Deb Armstrong, with JP Chevalie of Copper and Matt Schiller of Nordica also providing coaching.

Today was GS day (yesterday was SL day, and tomorrow is practice for either; I'll be running SL), and after the normal preliminaries, we headed up to the Excellerator where we spent the morning (7-11) skiing on Ptarmigan, both drill sets and a full course.

The drills started just below the top of the lift, as they did yesterday, with a stubbie course set in a straight line this time, at GS width. From the beginning, the focus was on more patience in the turns, especially at the top of the turn. Here, again, though, the focus was on tipping the skis, bending them, and riding the resulting arc as the primary method for directing the skiers' path. For me, on a pair of Doberman GS Rs for the first time ever, this really helped show me where I was missing the boat with my technique. Specifically, the "bend the ski" part of that equation. I spent much of the day working on this.

From there, we moved over to the skiers' left branch of Ptarmigan, starting at the base of the Storm King poma. The coaches set a brush drill that outlined the turn shapes for us. There were about 8 or so brushes per turn, and we skied around the outside of them for each turn. The shapes of the turns were nice, roiund, and in such a way that one could arc them without going too fast. It gave a very pleasant sense of good turn shape, and Deb mentioned that she would really like to see most skiers taking that turn shape out onto the hill. At a couple of points in the drill, we were almost turning uphill (now, where have I read something about that before?).

The second drill was a stubbie drill set slightly offset. The focus was to use the sidecut of the ski to shape the turns. Part of that shaping required allowing the skis to move away from the body (or, another way of saying it, allowing the body to move to the inside of the turn in order to balance against the ski and really bend it). This was not a railroad track drill (oops, Steve, missed that gate, again!), but more a drill that emphasized body position and its impact on turnshape. At least, that's what I took away from it.

Below this, where Ptarmigan widens near the bottom, were two more drills. The first of these was an apex drill with a brushie above a panel. The point was to begin the turn above the brushies and be completing the turn past the panel. Later, Matt was admonishing us to get closer to the panel; to "cut the track" by getting between the forming rut and the panel. The resulting turns were obviously better.

The next drill was a railroad track drill on fairly flat terrain, obviously focused on riding the arc but with much less movement of the body into the turn.

After these drills, the coaches set a full GS course. I ran it only once due to time constraints, but felt that my turn shape and location were very good. During a free-run partway through the day, I really worked on flashing my inside foot's arch to the sky. Watching Deb arc a GS turn coming at me at one point reinforced this. Her legs were almost bowlegged, and I could see her work the inside leg/foot dramatically. So, I took it on, having now seen it clearly. What a difference! The skis hooked up so much more. I thought I had been doing this before, but it was a case of "more, still more!" Doing it really made a difference.

Deb also liked my stance width better today, and I felt that I was moving more inside the turn. She also mentioned that she saw more long leg/short leg during the turns; more independence of my two legs/feet.

At one point, during an on-hill conversation, Deb stepped out of her skis and demonstrated the difference between her "power foot" and her "agile foot". (As an aside, Deb is amazing in her ability to clearly articulate things by using very simple descriptions. A benefit for people like me! She also has a gift for physically demonstrating what she means, as I mentioned yesterday. Anyway...) She showed how, while standing on what is the outside foot in a turn, your inside foot has a lot of degrees of freedom to move around. To tip, to drive. She showed how she likes to drive her knee (and thus her core) into the turn towards the tips, primarily focused on the inside half. This also helped my initiation a bunch.

I'll write up a full review shortly, but thanks to Nordica I was able to get on a pair of Doberman GSRs for a few runs and then a pair of Mach3 Powers at the end of the day. I also tried on (but did not ski) a pair of the new Aggressor boot, a Doberman with the last set onto the lug at a 1.5 degree offset, with the pivot point being the heel. As a result, the forefoot is right over the inside edge of the ski. I was amazed at how well they fit out of the box! Hmmmm...

It was a great day! My thanks to Deb and Mike for their insights, and Nordica for sponsoring the event. PSIA members can expect this to be offered again next year, and may want to send their thoughts/comments in to PSIA-RM.

...more tomorrow...
post #2 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
It was a great day! My thanks to Deb and Mike for their insights, and Nordica for sponsoring the event. PSIA members can expect this to be offered again next year, and may want to send their thoughts/comments in to PSIA-RM.

...more tomorrow...
Thanks again. If they run it next year I will try to attend.
post #3 of 6
I'm trying to visualize the reference of "flashing my inside arch to the sky" and the Deb reference of her stance looking almost bowlegged and as a result how you could see her working her inside ski- boot in this manner.

I'm interpreting the inside arch to the sky as a key to create higher inside ski edge angles??

Kind of an endless season you have going on out there. That's great.
post #4 of 6

Another way to think of it...

...which is a drill we use in the fall to get back on skis...or anytime things aren't adding up...is to focus on starting the turn by driving the inside knee forward and to the inside of the turn. Your hips will come across, which is where they need to be to stand against the ski and bend it. Doesn't mean you end up on the inside ski, it's just how you start the turn, then you stand against the outside ski.

Old style is to think of driving the outside knee in...it bonks into the inside knee, you A-frame, end of decent edge angles, and so forth. Starting the turn by driving the inside knee in and forward creates "parallel shafts" and lets you max out the edge angle...

A way to get a feel for this without having to do it on 45 degree, World Cup ice, is to make turns in a tuck on the flats. Being in a tuck doesn't let your upper body do weird things; everything has to happen starting with the feet an moving up. You literally can't turn unless you have parallel shafts and you're edging and pressuring.

I was in a similar SL/GS clinic at Vail in February with Deb A. and Bill Gooch. Gooch has us doing this SL drill where he had us concentrate on just skiing by feeling the soles of our boots only. Deb talked about how when she was racing with Tamara McKinney, Deb was a better athlete, but Tamara was able to balance on the ski between the toepiece and heelpiece of the binding exclusively...that's how she won the World Cup. Try it...you can't do Ad Tech stuff like put the arch of your inside foot to the sky if you don't have a good feel for balancing on the ski just in the length of your boot sole...
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tief schnee View Post
Thanks again. If they run it next year I will try to attend.
Tief, they are. Sign-up available on the PSIA-RM site or by calling the office.
post #6 of 6
Sweet thanks for the heads up.
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