Let’s take a closer look at what is really happening in Max 501’s skiing.
First, I will say is that Max does have some skills. Advanced, yes… Expert, Not quite!
His fore/aft stance is reasonably solid, as good as I have seen in awhile! But he still occasionally still moves to far forward on the foot, resulting in a pivot, or wash out, of the tails.
His leg rotation is pretty nice in some of the turns, and in others, he just parks and arcs. But when the f/a stance gets forward, he loses the tails completely, as demonstrated in his pivot turns with a late edge set. In other turns, due to his desire to “pull the inside ski back”, he ends up with his pelvis too square to the skis, and ends up driving them around with his torso.
The edge that he affects comes from various sources, determined by the radius, and the speed he is moving at. Sometimes it comes from the lower leg, sometimes just from the hip. Due to his PMTS training, his stance is sometimes a bit narrower than the conditions might dictate, but that’s his choice.
By his own admission, he is doing drills, not free skiing. Therefore, this must be taken into consideration when doing any MA on this footage. But as it is focused, it provides insight into his fundamentals as well.
Overall, I think some of what he shows us in his video is decent skiing. I would really enjoy working with someone with his basics, and seeing how far he could develop into a more natural skier.
Starting with some of the comments about his poles- it is not the length of the pole which causes some of the issues, but rather, it is the timing and placement of his pole touch.
In Max’s shorter turns, he consistently touches the pole prior to any release of the edges from the previous turn, therefore causing a defensive or slightly blocking action to occur. If he were to touch the pole after the edge change, he would find a more gliding, offensive type of movement and feeling which would compliment his flexed release much more.
In Max’s longer turns, he makes a pole touch out in front of the body. At the speed and radius he is skiing at, even WC skiers do not reach out in front, but rather ‘bump’ the pole on the snow to provide the rhythm and timing they use the pole for.
In both of these cases, this timing/placement is causing a momentary glitch in the flow of his turns.
One critical thing I noticed in most of the action shown, is that Max is static. His legs do not flex/extend. In some turns they do a small amount, but generally, he is terminally flexed. Regardless of the turn radius, there needs to be some f/e which facilitates energizing of the ski, and management of the developing energy. In the longer turns, you can see him make an effort to flex excessively through the transition, and it comes as a short, sudden flex, rather than a longer, smoother flexing through that same transition. I am not implying this movement needs to be an “up” movement, but it could be smoother by drawing it out, or by being prepared for it earlier.
In Max’s first set of turns, he shapes the turn nicely, using an amount of edge which provides him with enough friction to develop a direction change. Many would try to over edge in this turn, but he has found a nice blend which makes them pretty smooth turns. If he did amp up the edge in these turns, he would generate considerably more energy and would be making a much more dynamic turn. There is still an ever so slight hesitation (pp related) between turns in the first part of this run, but as the speed/ energy increased, he went with it and linked the turns more effectively nearer the bottom. Other than the hesitation, nice skiing.
In Max’s second segment, also nice skiing. Other than issues noted above, the only additional item I’d mention about this is the foot to foot stepping which I understand is part of the PMTS training. In a few cases, when the footage is slowed way down, you can see the push off from one foot towards the other, resulting in a late disengagement of the old ski. I am not suggesting that he place any different weight distribution ski to ski, but moving both legs in unison would help make those transitions smoother.
In segment 3 (people sitting in snow behind Max), the first few turns are nicely shaped, but then he lets himself get way too far forward on his feet, resulting in a turning point well ahead of the center of the ski. This in turn encourages the feet to displace laterally, or heel pushing to a late edge set. That you can see the tail displacing much further than the tips is indicative of this situation.
In the next segment (first long turns), this is where the lack of f/e of the legs is causing real issues. Because the legs are already using a significant amount of its range of motion by being pre-flexed, it limits the amount available to make a smoother, more dynamic transition. If the legs were longer during the power phase of the turn, they would then have sufficient RoM remaining to not need to make such an abrupt flexing move during the transition. As mentioned previously, the pole placement is also an issue in these turns, on occasion. Given that you are making GS length turns on a SL length ski, you can get away with minimal guiding activity (ie- park and arc). If you were on a true GS length ski for these turns, you would have to demonstrate the added ability of guiding to make turns of this radius.
Second set of longer radius turns. Same comments as first set.
Segment 6- slow short turns, becoming fast, almost GS turns. At first, because of the rigid stance you are in, I expected to see some hip rotation to initiate the turns. But in fact, you are very subtly turning the legs before the torso begins to move. This is a GOOD thing! But it does prove that you are, in fact, turning your legs. I also find it interesting that as the speed increased at the end of this segment, you began using the ‘bump’ method of pole touch I had mentioned in your longer turns.
Segment7- the “bobblehead exercise”- It’s difficult to make any analysis of this segment, as you were obviously working on something very specific, and likely does not represent your skiing very closely. The few turns at the bottom seemed to be pretty lively, and it makes me wonder how you interpret the idea of ‘pulling the inside foot back’. I can appreciate that excessive inside ski lead is not a good thing. But nor is being too square to the skis. Where as the drill you were doing looks rather forced and artificial, the turns near the bottom showed a great deal of freedom. Were you also concerned about the inside foot during those turns? (just a thought…)
First powder/crud run- This run showed more f/e of the legs than any of your previous runs! It’s got a nice tempo, nice movement, but once again, the timing of the pp is causing the most major glitch in this run. You can see a few time where the arm is snapped back because of the impact /timing of the pole touch.
Second powder/crud run- Again, nice radius, fun skiing. Alter the pole timing and this would have been something special. A more fluid, reaching down the hill with your body, smooth elegant run!
Powder bumps- You started off this run strongly, but got into trouble when you got too closed (square) to the skis. This caused you to lose the energy which helped you link the turns together earlier in the run. The u/l body separation you showed in the top of this run was really nice!
Powder bumps#2- The same thing happened here… When the u/l body had separation, things were working, but when you lost that, it was a tough go. In both of these runs, the loss of that separation also contributed to the timing of your f/e movements, which became more and more out of synch with the bumps.
In the last segment (heavy snowfall) things were working pretty well, but this time I noticed what caused a few issues for you. Your left pole swing is consistent, but your right pole hesitates. Every time is does, you hesitate to commit to the next turn. This gives the body time to follow and square up with the skis, eliminating the energy link between the turns.
As I said at the beginning, you have some skills! There is still quite a bit of work to be done with those skills, but your fundamentals are pretty decent. Certainly as good as many of the ‘pros’ I have worked with over the years.
I have only tried to highlight some of the most obvious of the things I see in your skiing. Within each, there are the finer details which should mostly work themselves out as you make some of the more major changes.