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Icy GS Courses, slippin' and slidin....

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I did an interesting Nastar course at the local hill yesterday and figured out just how much I don't know what I'm doing still. My runs are almost
always silver, with a handicap of about 30ish. No golds yet, a few bronzes. (I'm 30 years old.)

About me:

I learned to race about 15 years ago on straight 200cm skis, lots of rotating and skidding. I've just started learning the new shaped ski techniques this year. I'm a pretty good carver off the course, beginning PMTS technique. I've got the counter-rotating, hip angulation, flexing and extending down, I can link arcs smoothly. People say I look like a swivel, on 'rails' etc...

Ski - Atomic Beta Race Carv 9.20 180cm, 1 base/3 edge bevel
Boot - Atomic RT TI 150

So back to yesterday, typical eastern course: complete boilerplate ice on the steep parts, even between the gates.

So, the course is flat on the top third, flat on the bottom third, with wall in the middle. The first turn from the start is about 45 degrees, so I carve around that with the speed I get from the start ramp. Hard-pack around these top gates, not a problem.

I skate on the flat to the top of the wall and set up for the first wall turn. That one goes okay, I started the turn early from the flat, crossunder.
Got an early edge, brushed the gate. Cool.

Second turn on the steep, crossover transition in an attempt to turn early.
I get on edge and the stance ski lets go! Rotates toward the inside (tail slip), puts me in the backseat, I recover, and it just starts skidding. Inside edge is now the only thing keeping me up and in the turn, legs are getting wider. Way late, almost missed the next gate, crappy time, etc...

So is there a trick to handling this type of boilerplate? I read some forums and something that sticks out at me is that a base edge bevel of .5
degree seems to work better than a 1 degree, but is there anything else I can adjust either in equipment or technique?

I'm pretty sure my technique is okay, that ice is just the great equalizer though!
post #2 of 22
A few tips:

- skis must be SHARP

- It's all about early, gradual pressure, meaning:

- Initiate way forward - feel like you're destroying the tongues of your boots (although with RT Ti 150s, you need to be pretty big and strong to feel that)
- Make sure you start your turns with small, lower joints (ankle roll then knees)
- Don't move your weight inside the arc too early - give the skis a chance to bite, then apply force

Once in your turn, make sure you're not following your skis. Following is instinctive for many people in steep, icy sections of a course, but it causes your tails to completely wash out.


BUT

It could be your equipment, REALLY stiff boots and dated skis. How old are your 9.20s? And those boots are rocks! Very few FIS-level athletes will ski on the 150s. Consider softening the boots or getting something softer that will allow you to get forward more easily.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:

It could be your equipment, REALLY stiff boots and dated skis. How old are your 9.20s?
The 9.20's are about two years old. They're from 2001 or 2002, but never
used until I got them two years ago. They are probably not as sharp as
they should be but they're not dull and rusty either.

I tune them myself with a deburring stone, basic base and edge file guide and polish with a medium diamond stone (in the guide). I don't always bevel the base edge to avoid excessive angles.

Quote:
And those boots are rocks! Very few FIS-level athletes will ski on the 150s. Consider softening the boots or getting something softer that will allow you to get forward more easily.
Yeah they're really solid, but I can actually flex them 'a little' and had no problems staying forward until the ski lost it's edge. I'm still getting used
to them, but the control and edge to edge quickness I have is awesome.

I got a pair of those same boots in the 100 flex (club sport) that I use off the course, so maybe I'll try those if it's icy and see if a more aggressive forward and flexible stance makes a difference.
post #4 of 22
honestly, you are going to need new skis. that is going to be your best best bet. the difference between your 9.20 and the new atomic race stock skis (within the last 2 years) is huge. pretty much all race stock skis these days are using similar technology. you can get a used pair from last year at a good price, not much technology has changed at all.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by energy177 View Post
honestly, you are going to need new skis. that is going to be your best best bet. the difference between your 9.20 and the new atomic race stock skis (within the last 2 years) is huge. pretty much all race stock skis these days are using similar technology. you can get a used pair from last year at a good price, not much technology has changed at all.
I actually have a pair of 2006 Atomic GS 11's that I recently bought ( FIS legal race stock, 21m ) from eBay for really cheap. I thought they would be overkill for our so called 'easy GS' courses so I left them at home, opting for the smaller radius 9.20 which I'm more used to.

The way they set it up, with a relatively tight straighter line than usual, I probably could have used the 11's. :
post #6 of 22
The skis will definitely help, but a 30 handicap isn't going to magically turn into a 10.
post #7 of 22
You don't even need a race stock. An 18 or so meter radius GS carver is probably more appropriate for your courses, but skis have come a long way since your 9.20s. You can find a race carver that grips as well as a race stock, like the new atomic GS:12 pb or Volkl Racetiger GS carver.
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by D(C) View Post
You don't even need a race stock. An 18 or so meter radius GS carver is probably more appropriate for your courses, but skis have come a long way since your 9.20s. You can find a race carver that grips as well as a race stock, like the new atomic GS:12 pb or Volkl Racetiger GS carver.
good advice...
post #9 of 22
[/quote]You can find a race carver that grips as well as a race stock, like the new atomic GS:12 pb or Volkl Racetiger GS carver.[/quote]

Are you recommending the Racetiger GS Titanium (19.1m @ 180cm) or the Racetiger RC (17.3m @ 178cm)?
post #10 of 22
Last year I was having a lot of trouble on Icy courses. Someone showed me what a sharp ski really is, so I hone and polish etc. now to get a truly sharp edge. It seems to have made a HUGE difference.

A question though for D(C), can you elaborate on what you mean about "following the ski"?
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richr View Post
Are you recommending the Racetiger GS Titanium (19.1m @ 180cm) or the Racetiger RC (17.3m @ 178cm)?
I was refering to the GS Titanium



Quote:
Originally Posted by TAMSki View Post
A question though for D(C), can you elaborate on what you mean about "following the ski"?
What I call following is rotation of the upper body in the same direction of the skis, for example, turning left, the upper body rotates left. The correct technique is to keep your upper body, starting with the pelvis, pointing down the fall line, separated from the lower body.

If you think about the movement of rotation, you pretty much lead to your tails spinning out in the direction of your rotation. By keeping the upper body facing down the hill, you allow your skis to maintain grip and carve.
post #12 of 22
It's funny you should say that D(C) as I have been grappling with this dilema for quite a while. I'm pretty sure you have seen the video's of Guay and Nyberg freesking on youcanski: http://www.youcanski.com/video/video_index_en.htm
You can clearly see their upper body's following their skis around; i.e. they are definately not facing down the hill throughout the entire turn. From my conversations and time spent skiing with Greg Gurshman (author of youcanski), increased inclination will allow you to maintain a square relationship with edge angle's high enough to maintain grip. The caveat (IMO) is that you need a greater degree of speed to properly incline. Recreational (NASTAR) courses can be set so tight that you can not reach the necessary speeds early in the run to incline effectively, therefore your advice to increase counter would make sense in these instances. I think it really depends on the hill, course set, and skier's speed when determining the proper technical approach.
post #13 of 22
Sounds like you had a fall-away gate at the top of "the wall".

Any chance that you might have leaned in a bit as you went round that fall-away turn? That would cause you unweight the outside ski a bit. Couple that with even a hint of rotation (remaining from your straight ski days..) and the outside ski would break loose, leaving you hanging on the inside ski.

The fix? Like the folks said above, keep your counter, keep your shoulders level around the turn, and ensure that your weight is forward. Also, you can lay off the inclination a bit on a fall-away. When the slope gets steeper the ski is automatically on a higher edge without you having to tip it as much.

Dunno if its accurate... just a hunch from your description.
post #14 of 22
I'm not sure what amazing new technology is present in current skis that isn't in the 9.20s. I've seen Masters racing on that exact ski, and doing pretty well. Depending on how big you are (i.e. if you're not real big) it's likely that you'd do worse on a brand new pair of race-stock GS skis than on the 9.20s, which have a bit of a "cheater" sidecut and aren't too stiff. Maybe you'd prefer a newer "race carver" (which, of coruse, is the same thing the 9.20 is), but the effect of a model change will be incremental.

The effect of having really sharp edges (if you don't now ... hard to say from reading a post if you do) would be more significant.

The effect of practice modest technique changes (hard -- for me, anyway, if not for others -- to say from reading a post what they might be) would be even more significant. Probably an order of magnitude more.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post
I'm not sure what amazing new technology is present in current skis that isn't in the 9.20s. I've seen Masters racing on that exact ski, and doing pretty well. Depending on how big you are (i.e. if you're not real big) it's likely that you'd do worse on a brand new pair of race-stock GS skis than on the 9.20s, which have a bit of a "cheater" sidecut and aren't too stiff. Maybe you'd prefer a newer "race carver" (which, of coruse, is the same thing the 9.20 is), but the effect of a model change will be incremental.

The effect of having really sharp edges (if you don't now ... hard to say from reading a post if you do) would be more significant.

The effect of practice modest technique changes (hard -- for me, anyway, if not for others -- to say from reading a post what they might be) would be even more significant. Probably an order of magnitude more.

the technology of today's skis are vastly superior than the 9.20. The one big difference is that the 9.20 has no metal at all, thus giving the ski poor edge grip. All of today's GS/SL skis have metal in them. atomics from 5 years ago are way outdated.
post #16 of 22
Uh ... okay, so metal in skis is "new technology"?

Howard Head, where are you now.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post
Uh ... okay, so metal in skis is "new technology"?

Howard Head, where are you now.
i guess you could call it "newer" technology. i was just trying to point out the main difference between the skis. but yes, 5 years ago race skis were not all made with metal. it todays world, all race skis use metal (and most other carving skis, i believe).

im not disagreeing with the fact that you can rip turns on 9.20's with the right technique. go ahead and put bode miller on a pair and he will surely rip, but of course he would get killed in any GS race by many seconds to all the rest of the competitors. all im trying to say is that equipment does matter, and having skied the 9.20 as a junior racer and also skied the newer atomic GS skis (im 22, so im no longer a J1) in the past couple years the difference is unbelievable.
post #18 of 22
My tow cents- First and foremost above the outdated 9or not) gear and ability- RELAX.

I'd bet $100 that you knew that the "wall" and boilerplate was coming, tensed up and that is where it went bad. Easily said- but harder to do. Work at it- ski the hill without gates and arc some turns on that same pitch on the ice. Get the ski loaded up and feel that it can and will work on the ice. Kind of like driving in snow and ice, if you tense up it's worse..
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJB View Post
My tow cents- First and foremost above the outdated 9or not) gear and ability- RELAX.

I'd bet $100 that you knew that the "wall" and boilerplate was coming, tensed up and that is where it went bad. Easily said- but harder to do. Work at it- ski the hill without gates and arc some turns on that same pitch on the ice. Get the ski loaded up and feel that it can and will work on the ice. Kind of like driving in snow and ice, if you tense up it's worse..
This is good advice, both about relaxing and trying the same run without gates. Relaxing and loosening up will help you apply more gradual pressure, which will help your skis not give way. Skiing the run without gates will help you zero in on the cause of the problem, be it technical, psychological or equipment.
post #20 of 22
I know many guys who are racing FIS or who have raced FIS in the pass and none of them are skiing the RT 150. This boots is probably way too stiff for your ability/weight thus putting you in the backseat when things go out of hand. It is a boot intended for very large men or for very low points racers, not for mere mortals like you and me.

Many people don't relaize that if you cannot flex the inside ankle because of a boot that is too stiff, a whole lot of problems arise in the race course:
a) A-frame
b) Mad tip lead and problems with the stance, wich leads to edge loss
c) Going in the backseat due to not enough pressure on the front of the boots
d) Hip/angulation problems (rotating the hips to get lower), wich in turn aggravate the other issues.

Try to get your hands on a softer raceish boot, sharpen your skis like crazy (and polish the edges) and have your bases checked. If they are convex, it means that it'll take that much more time for your edges to dig in, especially if you are going with 1 degree base bevel, wich could explain problems carving on the steeps.
post #21 of 22
the best thing you can do for yourself is get about 80% of your pressure on that downhill ski. Ice or no ice... you can grip it (assuming you have edges well tuned). if your pressuring the downhill ski correctly and getting decenty angulation... that ice will be no more a problem than hardpack.
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Okay, I have taken the advice of many on the forum and I got consistently better times with my GS 11, although I think I'm going to try next week with the 100 flex boots to see if it makes a difference.

My handicaps are now usually way under 30 instead of way over 30.

Check it out my improvement this season!

http://www.nastar.com/index.jsp?page...p&compid=97446
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