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SL technique discussion: the need for speed

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Got slayed by the king of the hill (KotH) in SL today with 2 sec a run. I came 8th but got beat by my target man by only 0.02sec! Anyway, KotH had brand new Atomic race stock skis and after the race we skied together. I follow him down the hill and off he whent. What stood out to me is that he cept a much faster tempo and he skied more in the fall line. Short turns and very quick edge changes. He also did not seem to struggle any while I was having problems with my leggs, not quick enough. At the top when speed was not that fast I had no problems following him but as we gained speed and the slope dropped off I became late, got caught in the back seat, jacknifed with my upper body, skidded my tails and simply lost the controll completely. When he followed me arround he did not comment much but told me my skis seemed to hold well on the firm snow. He also was not sure what kind of rhythm I was skiing so I made the following conclusions:
- I need to work on my for/aft balance, blade skiing for instance
- I need to practise more fall line skiing where I focus on speed
- I need to practise staying in a certain rhythm
- I need to end my turns earlier so that I can move into transition quicker
- I need to practise turning with much shorter pressure

Any familiar issues listed above?
post #2 of 2
Slalom has and is still labelled as a discipline for skiers with fast feet. While it is still very true, the story doesn't only lie with the feet. As you mentionned a quick transition is the key, that and applying the pressure BEFORE reaching the fall-line. Any pressure applied after crossing the fal-line will SLOW you down. But there's a paradox here: in order to apply pressure early in the fall-line, you have to be patient with your inclination and not involve too much the upper-body (too early counterrotation and the edge lock that results are slow because the ski tracks and guides you instead of the other way around).

So I would focus on two things, while skiing GS, not slalom:
1) Realease the pressure at the fall-line and focus on guiding the ski while you transition from one edge to another.
2) Round turns

This can seem counterintuitive, but if you can manage to GAIN speed while still skiing a tight line (and not just wiggling your way down the hill), you'll have no problem with realeasing the pressure at the right time in the race course. Practicing this in GS (or even Super-G) makes it a lot easier than in SL since everything goes more slowly and you can really concentrate on gliding.

PS: These tips are once you can get over the other more pressing technical issues (tails washing, back seat, etc.) If you are technicaly sound and you are still slow, the answer must lie in the tactics.
PPS: Many people, me included, have developped a dreadful habit in slalom because of huge offset courses: skiing too round a line. Remember to go as straight as possible to the gate while still having good direction.
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