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Slalom or GS

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I want to race recreationally near my home. I don't have time to try both the GS and Slalom nights. Any recommendations on which one I should try?

Just looking to have fun and improve my overall skiing technique.

Thanks.
post #2 of 26
Without a doubt GS
post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolter View Post
Without a doubt GS

I agree. Slalom requires a lot of specialized equipment ie. shin guards, pole guards, face guard... a bunch of armour, & slalom skis.

GS will be better for your overall technique. Although the speeds are higher, it's a little more forgiving.

Enjoy, it will be the best thing you've ever done for your ski technique!

JF
post #4 of 26

GS - The Sweet Science of Alpine Skiing

GS, its the "sweet science" of alpine skiing.

It is considered the most technical discipline though easier to acquire basic skills at lower levels. It is easier to go from free skiing to a GS course, especially a modified GS course than into slalom. In GS the phases of the turn are elongated (compared to slalom) which gives the skier more time to execute each turn. GS is more subtle, however, but will take you further in your overall skiing, ultimately, than the specialized Slalom turn. Look at GS as an all mountain day and slalom like a day in the bumps.

Sidebar; As I think this through, if you enjoy skiing bumps more than everything else - you may want to consider slalom. Just musing.

One suggestion, however. If you are just starting, which is how I read your post, you may want to start on an all mountain carving ski or recreational version of a GS ski rather than a full blown race ski. You will still be able to ski the line but the ski will be a bit more forgiving and give you even more time to acquire each movement/skill set in your foray into recreational racing.

Have fun and ski the slow line fast (to start) and don't forget to try NASTAR!
post #5 of 26
Personally I have the most fun skiing GS - mostly because I am [much] better at GS than I am at slalom, so it is slightly more fun for me. I also have a lot of fun playing with higher level skills and tactics in a GS course - things that I just am not at the skill level to do in a slalom course. On small hills though, if given the choice - I would choose to ski slalom. One reason is because I need the practice - and the only way to get better is to practice. The other reason is that slalom can take a tiny hill and make it become a lot of fun. Plus there is always the 'rush' of hitting gates.

I will have to disagree with the above statements about GS helping your free skiing more than slalom though. GS will make you use your free skiing turns in a course - dictating where you makes them and how fast you are making them. Slalom though, will teach you a whole new set of skills and get your entire body working together to get down the hill. Nothing in skiing compares to the ability to shin/cross block an entire slalom course while having each turn dialed in where it should be - all while on a sheet of ice. You can't get those skills anywhere else.

Later

GREG
post #6 of 26
Some other questions for you aside from the technical aspects of the disciplines of GS and SL.

About who you are and what will be available to you in your area and age bracket.

Not much in your profile to go on.
post #7 of 26
Try them both, it's only two nights, it's all personal preference.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post
Personally I have the most fun skiing GS - mostly because I am [much] better at GS than I am at slalom, so it is slightly more fun for me.
Are you serious? When did this happen? Didn't you used to think I was crazy cause I liked GS?
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by U.P. Racer View Post
Are you serious? When did this happen? Didn't you used to think I was crazy cause I liked GS?
No, I thought you were crazy because you liked Volkls

I have always been a GS fan. I keep pace with 100pt (or less) racers in GS but am struggling to keep up with the 130's in slalom. I train slalom a lot more because of that - and last season had a lot of significant breakthroughs that led to slightly better skiing in slalom - but not anywhere near my GS skiing.

Later

GREG

EDIT: Also, remember I didn't grow up skiing Kissing Bridge
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the comments.

sir_jman: It is 1.5 hours each way to the "local" hill and I can't take the kind of time away to race two days per week. My daughter is 5 and I want to take her as many times as I can this season as well.

Yuki: I added some basic info to my profile. 32 yrs old, been skiing since I was about 10. Until two years ago, never had any formal training. I have recently skied Hobacks, Alta chutes, and others at Jackson. Also, I hiked the Baldy Chutes at Alta last year and love skiing High Ruster (and many other "spots" in and around there at Alta). My techinque is not great, but adequate. I make up for technique with power and guts.
Anything else that would help? Oh, I love to ski off-piste. I like moguls (but my technique is fairly horrible!).
post #11 of 26
No, just wondering if it was "beer league" or masters. At point these guys are pretty good regarding gear selection .... guards and protection (gate bashing will leave nice black arms and shins).

If you are a puppy .... at 32 ... you may have been at a real disadvantage against some of the younger quicker reflexed folks in SL.

I'd cut a pact with the devil to be 32 again. :
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Yuki. This year I just want to try it and see how it goes. The younger quicker reflexed my have an advantage there, but I am probably in better physical shape than the majority of them!!

As for the pact with the devil, why not keep your current wisdom, but in an 18 year olds body. Even at 32 (and more fit than I was at 18), when I hurt something it justs takes that marginal extra amount of time to heal......
post #13 of 26
I, along with most people I talk with, found GS to be the more natural of the two disiplines when starting out. I, as do most SL beginners, find SL to be fast paced and technical to the nth degree while things seem to happen slower in GS. This isn't to say there is any part in any course where you should be cruising, the gates just don't come at you as fast in GS. I imagine with enough practice and looking ahead, anybody can get over the "The gate are coming at me so fast, what am I going to do?" feelings associated with SL.
post #14 of 26
Everybody prefers GS? I'd say that Slalom is more fun, cause the satisfaction of literaly tearing up a course is better than just whooshing by gates, but it does require lots of equipment, and GS is more compatable with non-racing high-end skis.
post #15 of 26
While I really don't race regularly at all, more just hopping in gates when I get the chance (should be doing it more regularly this season though ), I'd definitely put myself in the preferring SL over GS. I guess it's the super technical and very specific nature of it, as well as the fact that as a guy without much bulk to me, I benefit from the quickness and finesse requirements.
post #16 of 26
GS,- definitely
post #17 of 26
I seem to swap disciplines every year, depending on which one I suck less at currently. They both appeal to me for different reasons.

I would definitely suggest starting with GS.
post #18 of 26
Js137 -

Definately GS ... at least to get started. As most have already said, GS will be a more natural progression into skiing gates. SL can be quite intimidating at first, especially with the "armor".

BTW - Does your "local" hill happen to be in Indiana (PNS or Paoli)? I am not familiar with the program at Paoli, but have been in the PNS program for several years now. My 2 kids are on the race team and train 2 - 3 nights per week (both SL and GS). They also prefer GS, but are starting to feel more comfortable with SL as they are learning how to "block".

Best of luck ... and hope to see you out there.
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice. Since most agree and it requires less gear I will try GS.

NeedToSki - Yes, it will be PNS. I just moved to Lexington in June so I have never been there. I have just been looking at the website.

Next question (maybe a new thread?): I have been skiing approximately 15 years, but never raced. I am 5'11", 185 lbs. Any suggestions on GS skis?
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Js137 View Post
Next question (maybe a new thread?): I have been skiing approximately 15 years, but never raced. I am 5'11", 185 lbs. Any suggestions on GS skis?
I'm using this years Blizzard GS in a 181 with VIST Speedlok plate & binding. Am 200# but much older than you so perhaps your youth and vitality makes up for the weight difference Blizzard has created a name with their SLs but the GS is very sweet as well. Wouldn't go longer than 181 with today's technology - I use them for Masters GS which is a facsimile of FIS courses for the juniors. They would work fine for Nastar or Beer League racing as well. Good luck in your selection many good GS skis available! If you like Rossi definitely talk to coach Dranow in Park City.

- Fossil
post #21 of 26
I am on the Slalom side. The equipment is not overwhelming. all you need is a bar on your helmet, pole guards & shin gaurds, nothing more.

Gs is considered the most difficult discipline, because it combines the technical requirements of slalom but adds the speed element.

I am a scardy cat : when it comes to speed. I am a turner not a speeder!
post #22 of 26
I'll echo the previous comments and recommend GS. SL five or six years ago was a different beast than what it has become now: when sidecut arrived, GS and SL started to converge. Now the courses have been changed to offset (pun intended) the radical sidecut, wich means that it is now even more technical and requires a whole different set of tactics than GS. Crossblocking, if you've never raced, can be disastruous to your confidence, as is learning how to deal with the different patterns (flushes, pins, etc.).

On the other hand, GS can be scary as hell because of the faster speeds. I once had a pleasant conversation with a fellow racer who said about a particular GS setup: "Go faster than you are capable, then the fear of soiling your pants will compensate for the fear of speed." But still, GS is the cornerstone to safe and sound race skiing. Nowadays, GS has almost reached the cult status that slalom has: many athletes will specialize in it and only race on the WC in this discipline (Massi Blardone being the most famous of all). But if I had to start racing at an older age, I'd only race GS until I was confortable with the whole line, speed, turning, etc. and then incorporate slalom setups with baby-gates, only moving to full gates once I was confortable shinning the small gates.
post #23 of 26
Quote:
GS is the cornerstone to safe and sound race skiing.
And apparently to good Slalom Skiing

Quote:
Cochran, Rothrock and Ligety will begin giant slalom training Friday before moving into three days of slalom training on North Peak. Needell said the freeski-to-GS-to-slalom format is the best training formula with which to prepare for a World Cup slalom event.
“In general the guys get pretty beat up running too many days of slalom in a row,” Needell said. “You have to manipulate the volume with slalom. All three guys seem to ski a lot better slalom after they’ve skied GS. The balance comes in GS. The balance and recovery is so violent in slalom, it’s hard to go from never having to force a turn to having to force it at a maximum level in slalom. GS transitions well into slalom.” - Greg Needell
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Cochran, Rothrock and Ligety will begin giant slalom training Friday before moving into three days of slalom training on North Peak. Needell said the freeski-to-GS-to-slalom format is the best training formula with which to prepare for a World Cup slalom event.
“In general the guys get pretty beat up running too many days of slalom in a row,” Needell said. “You have to manipulate the volume with slalom. All three guys seem to ski a lot better slalom after they’ve skied GS. The balance comes in GS. The balance and recovery is so violent in slalom, it’s hard to go from never having to force a turn to having to force it at a maximum level in slalom. GS transitions well into slalom.” - Greg Needell
This is my belief and the belief of the FESC: in order to be able to turn them, you gotta be able to ski GS. Erik Guay has said many times that when he has trouble turning them in downhill, he goes back to the basics: running gates in GS. It has a good balance of tactics, speed, need to turn, etc. in order to be a very good "assistance exercise" to other disciplines.
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Dranow View Post
GS, its the "sweet science" of alpine skiing.

It is considered the most technical discipline though easier to acquire basic skills at lower levels. It is easier to go from free skiing to a GS course, especially a modified GS course than into slalom. In GS the phases of the turn are elongated (compared to slalom) which gives the skier more time to execute each turn. GS is more subtle, however, but will take you further in your overall skiing, ultimately, than the specialized Slalom turn. Look at GS as an all mountain day and slalom like a day in the bumps.
This is a very interesting comment by Gary.

I've been told that SL is the more technical of the two. Obviously Gary is a coach and he disagrees showing there are differing opinions on this. WC racers that specialize in SL are often referred to as technical skiers so go figure.

What caught my eye was Gary's suggestion that GS is the all mountain day turn and SL a day in the bumps. And this may very well be the case if you ski big mountains with lots of wide open terrain. But if you spend your time in tighter areas like narrow trails, chutes, trees, and bumps (which Gary mentioned) wouldn't working on SL do far more for your daily skiing?
post #26 of 26
1. GS is more like free skiing and the initial learning curve is not as steep, because (among other things) the gates are not as close together and you don't have to deal with flushes. (As in, oops, just flushed my chances for getting a good time on that gate combination...) There are some additional wrinkles to slalom (cross blocking, potentially fairly extreme fore-and-aft weight shifts, shorter skis that make fore-and-aft balance and recoveries more challenging) that also make it harder. And all those freakin' turns. I mean, really, why mess up a really fun, nice potential Super-G run by jamming that many poles into it? And slalom (like racquetball) has a tendency to magnify skill differences in timing results of skiers who would finish closer together in other disciplines. I find slalom less forgiving of some of my mistakes. And for those who haven't raced before, there can be a certain overwhelming quality to coming over a dropoff and seeing an absolute forest of slalom poles below. (By contrast, GS seems like a piece of cake: Left turn. Then right turn. Got it.)

2. GS turns are the foundation of high level racing in all the other disciplines--in downhill and Super-G (with the addition of a good tuck and the ability to deal with rollers and air time) and (more than in the old school days) now in slalom.

3. Still, it depends hugely on your preferences, what speaks to you, what your personal style is and how you like to ski. I like to go fast, I like longer radius turns, and a day on GS skis after a couple of days on slalom boards is like getting let out of a cage. (The only part of slalom that really speaks to me is getting to whack into things, and that's not even as enjoyable as properly brushing the GS gates.) You, on the other hand, may live for short swing turns and love the trees and bumps, so maybe slalom speaks to you. If so, someday you should tell me what it says...

(Yeah, I know, "Dean--stay early, get your weight forward at turn initiation, be outside ski dominant, and have fast feet..." But somehow that soundtrack never plays for the whole course. Must be an equipment problem, the helmet blocking out the sound of all that good advice.)

SfDean.
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