Rick, I'd like to thank you for looking at the clip in detail, but I don't think you are reading it quite right, and neither is Greg. Skidude72 is.
Originally Posted by Rick
The post is for the sole benefit of those looking at Highway as a case study. Highway, I'm pretty sure you're not interested in critique or advice, as you seem to be satisfied with your skiing already, so I'm won't be addressing my comments directly to you. No rudeness is intended by that, and if I'm wrong in my interpretation of your mind-set, by all means let me know and feel free to use to your benefit the info I'm about to present.
While Heluva's bed side manner may be somewhat lacking in his post, the technical points he addresses are pretty dang accurate. I'll speak to the video of Highway carving on the groomer, for as Heluva says, this is where the foundation technical deficiencies really make themselves known.
If you closely observe the video you will see some pretty consistent technical flaws, and they originate from a couple key elements. The first is a tendency to excessively scissor his skis through the body of the turn, and to get too much lateral separation in his stance. This gets his inside foot well ahead of him as he comes out of the falline, and causes him to fall onto his inside ski as the hill falls away at the end of the turn.
If Highway were not as athletic as he is, this end of the turn fall to the inside would leave him in the precarious position of trying to go into the coming turn far on the tail of his forward scissored inside ski, and with his unweighted outside ski tracking away from him. But that doesn't happen to Highway because he's learned how to compensate for his technical flaw.
What Highway does to keep from going into the new turn sitting deep in the toilet is to make an aggressive up and forward extension at the last moment before losing his outside ski. This recovery move is the origin of the pogo stick transition you see him make after each turn. The move serves to launch him up into the air and forward, getting him back over his skis for the start of the new turn.
But it's during that forward recovery launch that the second flaw appears. While he's light he lets his tails drift out and redirects his skis toward the falline before finally applying a harsh edge engagement. This is made clearly evident, even to the untrained eye, by the first sign of snow spray coming off the skis not appearing until he's almost into the falline.
This is a pivot entry transition. No arc to arc skiing occurs. And once edge engagement does finally take place, the ensuing carve is inconsistent and occasionally steery. Then, while in the turn body, he again scissors his skis, gets too much stance separation, and the entire technically flawed cycle repeats.
The repair would be to narrow up the stance and square up the feet through the body of the turn, which would keep him balanced on his outside ski all the way through the arc, put him balanced position when he transfers pressure to the old inside ski, and thus eliminate the need for the recovery up move through the transition. Then, with the up move discarded, he could start to focus on subtly rolling the skis onto a clean edge, with no preliminary pivot, and experience for the first time a true arc to arc turn.
Highway described Heluva's skiing as "boring". In comparison to his own it certainly is. Highway's skiing is a conglomeration of athletic, energy intensive, movement excessive, linked recovery skiing,,,, where Heluva's is balanced, efficient, energy and movement conservative skiing.
I'm looking at the high-rez DV capture, and can go frame by frame, back and forth, to see eaxctly what I'm doing. Let's focus on some of the better turns, since some are better than others, such as the last few right turns.
You say I'm falling onto the inside ski as I'm completing the turn, because it is signifigantly ahead of me. It may appear that way to you, but that is not the case. I am not weighting that ski more than 10-20% as I finish the turn, or anywhere else for that matter.
Look at the vidcap I posted (where I say greg is blind)......the inside ski is not bent, and there is little spray coming off it - any spray there is coming from it skidding along the snow. Look at where my pelvis is in relation to my outside foot....basicly right over the toe, and I am intentionally lining up most of my body mass of that point - head/upright torso/pelvis/slightly straight leg. Is this lazy? Sure! But it seems to work well as a way to put a high load and edge angle on that outside ski, without expending too much energy, or needing to be able to squat 500 lbs.
My inside ski is forward intentionally, so I can keep it out of the way and get a high angle on my outside leg. Biomechanicly, where do you suggest I put that leg?.....because I don't see it fitting next to my outside leg and the snow....there isn't room!!! Look at how close my outside knee is to my inside boot! No, I'm not going to stop skiing a high edge angle on my outside ski, that's how I want to ski! I want MORE!What I am doing, as skidude72 has said, is slightly loading the front of the outside ski just as I finish the turn, coming across the fall line, and that's how I get shot upright in the transition.
I do "launch forward" as you say, but it's not caused by a "forward extension". It's caused by me generating an uphill
force from the ski as it comes across the fall line that works against, but under my center of mass and momentum, creating a moment (rotational force), that brings me upright. Again, yes, this is lazy, and does look abrupt, like I'm poping up out of the turn because it happens so fast........I go from a 30-40 degree edge angle to upright in a split second. If you watch my arm movements, you'll also see that my outside arm comes up and over simultaniously with this "launch", compounding the force slightly, and bringing me upright faster. (though, overall my arm movements are excessive)
So then why am I doing this? I don't really know. But from what I see in the video, once I am upright, I have a split second of low weight where I roll the ski up on an initial, fairly high edge angle around the 30 to 40 degree range, before I start laying into the center of the ski.
I'm obviously not pressuring the tip. If I'm traveling 45 degrees from the fall line between turns, it looks like this happens in about 10-15 degrees, leaving about 30 degrees to where I'm traveling down the fall line mid turn. I am not pivoting
(unless I do it intentionally, like before the last turn as I cross the camera). When I look at my tracks, almost all the time my turn initiation with the outside ski is basicly parallel to the exit of the last turn. It's just that there's not much weighting going on during this period, and thus no snow spray.....I'm quickly rolling the ski over before I weight it.
Is it a prefered technique? No, of course not. What is all this doing for me? I'm not quite sure....certainly some bad things, but some good things too. I'm not getting accellerated out of the turn, but I'm not sure I want that....I'm not racing, and I'm already skiing fast. I can hit a slightly a higher edge angle sooner, get lower mid turn, Keep my torso more upright, and bend a ski easier, but it's not much of an improvement over good gs technique to justify the drawbacks.I think the main things I'll take way from this is the tip/tail loading, and how it effects my turn initiation and exit. Ditto for the balance and hand motion.
I'll probably stick with the heavy outside ski weighting, and high edge angle with the scissoring, but perhaps try to angle my inside ski more agressively, and keep it slightly more back, so it doesn't look as excessive. I'll try not to come out of the turn off the front as discussed, and use the tail to harness the energy of the turn into forward motion as opposed to using the front to generate upward motion. I'll also incorporate more tip loading in the initiation, but probably try to retain the early/quick roll to the high edge angle. But I am still going to ski big skis, too fast, and do highly unorthidox things whenever I damn well feel like it....that's the fun of skiing......to me, it's NOT fun to ski like a Racer Robot
like my buddy Greg.I'd also like to note that I'm a quite versitile and adaptable skier, but highly variable. I've never said I'm technically good and correct all the time....no way! I try all sorts of things all the time, but sometimes I ski well, and sometimes I don't. These videos only show fraction of the ways that I ski. I'll often ski 3 different techniques in a run. Yes, am overly fast and agressive, but know where to fight my battles, and thus don't crash very often. I'm constantly looking for harder terrain, tricky snow, and trying to ski it with a creative line. I also ski many different skis, and they require nuances of technique. I can change and adapt quite quickly, and now that I know what I'm looking for I should be able to incorporate those things pretty well. Thanks!!!