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Modern SL Technique

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
it seems the hottest SL technique changes weekly; wide stance vs. narrow stance, chest towards skiing direction vs. twist, center of gravity back vs. centre of gravity front... is there a site somewhere that puts it all in a nutshell?

my main problem is too much back weight at the end of the turn (a relic of the old accelerator) and too straight lines. this usually leads to superhigh speeds, but seldom helps me through the entire course.
post #2 of 6
SL technique varies widely between skiers. Ligety v. Raich for instance. Backseat as in late 60's French style is still employed though it is dangerous. Backseat is too strong a word though, I think; one can't go back as far as was once possible. The for/aft range has been reduced. Pressure is moved back underfoot and maybe a bit further back but there's not much tails to be riding on.

If you haven't checked out Ron LeMaster's website, take a look, plenty of montages and some good technical articles.

post #3 of 6
post #4 of 6
Thanks Slider for including us in your list of references We don't have any slalom specific articles up yet as most of our current content is geared towards the recreational racer (Sprint or NASTAR) but I am working on one. That is not to say we don't have several valuable articles to read for any discipline.

This thread has some pretty well developed discussions on the current slalom technical scene


As for the issue of getting back, straight and late then blowing out this suggest and issue from the release through the transition. Getting "Upside down" (more or less depending on the pitch but the concept remains constant) right after the release keeping the COM/COG close to the new outside ski is critical to getting the early load/edge pressure required in slalom.

To take this a bit further. In slalom our speeds are bit lower than GS and certainly speed events. We must find the proper movements and stance(s) to get the new outside ski to hook up above the fall line (usually just past each gate). Most citizen racers tend to get their skis artificially away from their direction of travel (DOT)(usually with a Pivot) and their COM making it impossible to load the ski prior to exiting the fall line.

As you pass from the release into your transition it is important to keep a "Stance based" platform for the very initial phase of the turn (top 1/4 or so of your arc). This will allow you to physically load the ski and have it start your direction change above the fall line. If this has been accomplished you can then move to a "Force based Platform" as you enter the "Power Phase" of the turn (the fall line). A forced based platform is where your center of mass resides well inside your physical platform (stance based) and your balance is maintained by the edge of your skis resisting the constant force pulling your mass to the outside of your arc (resultant force vector).

The more efficient you are at loading your skis high the more power you will find in your skis as you exit the fall line (apex) and the greater direction change you will achieve before the bottom 1/4 of your turn. The more direction change you can achieve before exiting the fall line the softer your exit of that turn.

Understanding this concepts can lead to altering your line, approach and technique to achieve early edge pressure. It can lead to more level transitions (no or little up motion between turns) and better ski/snow contact throughout the turn.

Here's a little drill that can lead to the right movement sequences to obtain early and high edge pressure in slalom turns.

On moderate terrain (terrain you can easily ski linked arc-to-arc turns) locate a spot on the front inside of your inside leg boot cuff (about half way up the boot cuff). Make some turns and make sure you can feel this spot all the way through each transition. You will find that you must stay on the front of both of you boots from the beginning to the end of each turn to find this spot and stay aware of it.

Next work on getting a bit more pressure on this spot right before you release your old turn into your new turn. Actively move this spot over and maintain pressure on this spot as you old inside boot becomes your new outside boot (In Gait Mechanics as discussed in ArcTech by Bolter this would be your swing leg turning into your stance leg).

If you cannot maintain pressure on this spot from right before you release all the way to finding the spot on the new swing leg then that suggests you are "blocking" your natural hip movement in some way. Usually the blocking is not allowing your inside hip to move naturally forward through the transition (Bolter's inside half lead "IHL"). Allowing IHL to develop naturally is critical for proper stance, movement and being able to flex the inside ankle (and inside knee outward or inward towards the center of your new arc) and creating the angles necessary for the modern slalom turn.

Since I'm giving away a fair amount of a new article I'm working on I'm going to stop here, this is enough grist for the mill and should be an interesting experiment for any slalom racer, from formative Master level up to elite level racers.

Have fun with it
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Excellent Gary!

Originally Posted by Gary Dranow View Post
The more efficient you are at loading your skis high the more power you will find in your skis as you exit the fall line (apex) and the greater direction change you will achieve before the bottom 1/4 of your turn. The more direction change you can achieve before exiting the fall line the softer your exit of that turn.
I think this is my main problem. I'm not putting enough power on the ski early, which results in too straight a line as the ski doesn't build direction change. I thought this was a faster way to ski, but at the same time I have lost control. I'm looking forward to reading your future article. Until then, I'll test the drill you suggested. Thanks again!
post #6 of 6
Nice post, Gary. An excellent mental cue for developing early engagement.

I might add some supplemental clarity by saying that the change from the inside cuff point of the prior turn, to the inside cuff point of the new turn, is the move that initiates the start of the transition. It sets the tipping of the skis and movement of the CM across the feet into motion.
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