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stopping at the end of a race

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm relatively new to racing. This upcoming season will be my second, and I will be racing in two recreational leagues at two different mountains.

Question: How does one efficiently stop at the end of the course, without running into the plastic fence dividing the "finish corral" from the regular skiers trudging towards the lift lines below?

At the end of last season during the last race I successfully sped up so much that I could hardly stop within the allotted space.

What's the best technique for putting the brakes on?
post #2 of 18
Practice hockey stops, try and make them more efficient each time you do one. Also it helps to not have a favorite side (ie always go to the right with your stop) as the course and layout may change. Also remember that right after you go through the wand, you can start to decelerate immediately.
post #3 of 18
A key skill in speed skiing is how to stop, which has two steps:
1. Stand up.
2. Throw skis sideways in a hockey stop, inclining to resist the force.

You can't do it from your tuck, and it's worth practicing, and it's especially worth practicing while tired, since that's how you'll be at the end of a race.

(My wife has seen me ski race only once, and that day I crashed after crossing the finish line on BOTH runs, sliding under the fence at the end ignominously the second time. Kind of a race after the race, except this time with random items of my own equipment, not the other competitors.)

Biff Kneesprocket's other example of how NOT to do it (actual resemblance to real racer cruelly unfortunate): While doing timed runs against brother, miss the last gate because, due to a mental error, you stop skiing one gate early and go for the wand in a tuck, then realize your mistake, and while whizzing along, turn uphill toward missed gate and bang side of helmet with hand in universal gesture for "I am SUCH a moron!" only to then turn and instantly become a meta-moron (a moron of a moron as it were) as you're about to go through the side AND end fence of the stop area. Then the incline against the hockey stop practice suddenly comes in handy, because you can just skip the hockey stop entirely and launch a flying karate kick with both feet (to save the rest of the body), going through the bamboo poles the side fabric is strung on feet first to avoid injury. SNAP! SNAP! SNAP!

Five stitches for the puncture wound in my shin. On the plus side, (1) I now have medical charts in every clinic in Park City, (2) when my son later got a nasty cut on his calf by falling into a heater grate I could give him a completely accurate description of what they'd do in the ER when we got there, and (3) I now know how startlingly white the shin bone looks, which should motivate me to brush my much less bright teeth more frequently.

If you want to ski in the worst way, ski the Biff Kneesprocket(tm) way. Otherwise, Biff's done the lab work so you don't have to....
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
I'm relatively new to racing. This upcoming season will be my second, and I will be racing in two recreational leagues at two different mountains.

Question: How does one efficiently stop at the end of the course, without running into the plastic fence dividing the "finish corral" from the regular skiers trudging towards the lift lines below?

At the end of last season during the last race I successfully sped up so much that I could hardly stop within the allotted space.

What's the best technique for putting the brakes on?
I'll just add that if you're doing a dual-racing format (which most NASTAR races are), DON'T turn left to stop after the finish light if you're on the right-hand course. And vice-versa.

You might turn directly into the person you're racing against. :

As as already been said, it's basically a process of throwing your skis sideways after the finish and then applying increasing pressure to the uphill edges so that you're slowing down but not turning in either direction. Just a glorified (and slightly more progressive) hockey stop.

It's easy to practice this on any groomed slope. It's actually pretty fun when you get the hang of it.

Go fast!
post #5 of 18
I'm just glad someone believes in teaching peeps how to stop.

It's a bit like angulation, get as far over those edges to dig them in hard, but not so far that you go over the handlebars should they catch on a bump.
post #6 of 18
If you want to ski in the worst way, ski the Biff Kneesprocket(tm) way. Otherwise, Biff's done the lab work so you don't have to....

Great post, Dean.

Do a big 360ยบ body carve after you cross the finish like Ted Ligety does.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Further clarification:

Is there any value in switching sides while stopping? For instance, is it ever ok to do the hockey stop facing right, then switch to facing left before coming to a final stop? For some reason I've been doing this, but don't really know why, and I wonder if maybe I've been increasing the time it takes me to stop in the process.
post #8 of 18
I do that too. I think it's because one leg gets tired, or maybe I just want to look the other way. Yeah, it takes a little longer to stop, but if you have the space it doesn't matter.
post #9 of 18
One last thing to consider. Do you spend a few minutes checking out the line you will be taking through the last few gates and the angle at which you will break the beam?

It's not too uncommon for the last line not to be right down the middle, so you may be a bit on the left or right to have the straightest/fastest final line. That will also put you off a bit regarding "the fence".

I've never popped into a change of direction during a stop ... sounds too risky.

It doesn't hurt to take a look at the finish area for junk that shouldn't be there .... like a spare roll of netting or gates or .... a snowmobile.
post #10 of 18
If the finish area is big enough, I victory lap it, meaning I use my inertia to arc a turn along the fence.

Other than that, I'm a fan of skidding out bike-style.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by altaskier11 View Post
If the finish area is big enough, I victory lap it, meaning I use my inertia to arc a turn along the fence.

Other than that, I'm a fan of skidding out bike-style.
Fine for you, but when you come in next to last on the local hill it'd be like the guy coming in 114th in a bike race and throwing his arms up.
Come to think of it, I didn't DNF so that is some type of victory.

Ken
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by KenE View Post
Fine for you, but when you come in next to last on the local hill it'd be like the guy coming in 114th in a bike race and throwing his arms up...
Haha, I've done that. Once, finished hours after the leaders to generous applause I asked the clappers "Did I win?"

Another time I was second to last and still won a prize. I held the prize (a Powerbar) up over my head with both hands as if it was the cobblestone trophy from Paris-Roubaix.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
It doesn't hurt to take a look at the finish area for junk that shouldn't be there .... like a spare roll of netting or gates or .... a snowmobile.
YUKI,
Sounds like there's a story here.
post #14 of 18
Here's a technique that Biff can practice.

1) Don't inspect the course because you got out of work late. Go directly to the start. (Heck, after so many years of racing at the same area, one can practically ski the course blindfolded.)
2) Be sure that the course setter put up a fairly straight course due to icy conditions. Then, go for a PR.
3) Racer to your right finishes about the same time you do. (After all, you let him go first so you can chase since you do better that way.) Try to stop while going over the snowmaking whale. (Huh! When did they put a snowmaking gun there? And they made snow last night? Wah. I did not know that.)
4) Get airborne off the whale. Land in the finish netting.
5) Enjoy a jug handle meniscus tear. For the rest of the season, learn all about the timing shack while trying (in vain) to get sympathy from the race staff.

For others, remember that inspection ends where you exit the runout area. Yes, you can't cross the finish line, but you CAN still look at the finish before the race to get a mental picture of where you are stopping.
post #15 of 18

Racing Stops

Liquidfeet.

1. Always inspect the entire course. That includes the finish line and stopping area. Is it big enough is one direction slightly up hill (ie. making it easier and faster to stop going uphill). Are there any hazards in the finish area? Like: netting, poles, other skiers, a too close parking lot, concrete, skis etc.-I have seen all of these in races.

2. How professional a staff is running this race. A forerunner is for inspecting the courses layout and safety. Too Too often a forerunner is a local hot shot who just wants to have a fast time and could care less about anything else.

3. As stated if it is a Dual course, have your stop preplanned so you don't turn into your competitor - really bad head on crashes due to DUH factor.

4.. As previously stated, skidded hockey stop is best. DON'T try to stop in one sudden movement/hockey stop. Seen dislocated shoulders and blown knees.

5. Since you're a racer now don't assume anything, always inspect the course. You are not just looking for line and keys gates, tactics and technique to use. You are also looking at the snow, the finish, safety and possible problems etc.

6. You are responsible for yourself is the best attitude. Most races are done properly and professionally but sometimes/once in awhile they aren't so know what to look for. Dangeroous stopping areas should be avoided. If you see this in your inspection - tell somebody.

Good luck this year!
post #16 of 18
Real quick ... a USSA J race at Blue (Phil's home away from home ) ...

Found my kid with a chunk out of his ski between runs "I hit a snow mobile" .... so I started to chew him out a bit. His buddy stopped me to tell me it was parked in the run out area!

Checked it out and sure enough ... still there so I had them move it.

Next year, same race .. I checked and guess what .... : they did it again!

Final year before the race, I took the TD aside and told him that if I got there and there was any obstruction there was going to be a detailed letter to USSA. He took off quick as a bunny .... the area was clear before I got there ... but I had a strange feeling he knew he had to get there before I did.
post #17 of 18
Be happy not to be a snowboarder doing parallel events. I did notice quite a few just misses when two boarders back to back (one goofy, one regular) both wanted to stop on their backside assuming to have been in advance or retard to the other racer.
Most importantly watch out for other racers still standing in the finish are before tucking for the finish line.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Lots of good advice here, as always. Thanks.
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