Right on, bro...
Originally Posted by Rick
Absolutely, WC ski racing should be looked to as technical models for recreational skiing and teaching. These guys and gals represent the top of the food chain in our sport. They use and display a vast array of technical skills at levels of proficiency that can't be seen anywhere else. A good portions of those skills have direct situational application in recreational skiing.
Want to see what a well balanced and executed arc to arc turn looks like, look to the World Cup. Want to see the most efficient way to initiate a pivot entry turn? Want to view a flawless post pivot feather to carve, as a model to aspire to? Again, watch the WC. Strong and long outside legs? Outside ski dominance? Well balanced and aligned stances? How to load the front of the ski at the top of the turn? How to work the entire ski, tip to tail? Retraction transitions? ILE's? Squeaky clean turn initiations? Two footed carving? Inside ski guiding? How to move the CM inside the feet? Quiet upper bodies and hands? Effective counter and angulation? All that, and more, is there crystal clear on the WC to be studied and used as a technical target to aim for.
And WC racers continuously innovate new technical approaches that take performance efficiency to new levels. Those innovations filter down to benefit the masses. We all love our shape skis now. Thank Bode for finding a pair that was collecting dust and introducing them to us in a manner that expedited their explosion of recognition and popularity around the world. And thank the race community for then quickly creating models for how best to milk the extraordinary benefits the skis had to offer. Arc to arc? Now where do you think that concept came from? It was a virtually unknown concept on recreational slopes before racers coined the term as a means of describing a time shaving technical approach the shape ski later made highly usable effective. Now it's a widely adopted recreational skiing option that for many has added an entire new dimension of fun to the sport.
And what of the spontaneous creations of skiing wonder that defy technical classification these highly trained athletes frequently display? What can a recreational skier possibly learn from that? How about the importance of building a large quiver of foundation skills? It's through the building of such skill quivers these athletes have come to the point of being able to execute these seemingly impossible spontaneous feats. This is so important for the recreational skier to understand. The abilities these athletes demonstrate are not only testimony to the levels of their innate athletic gifts, but the countless hours over many years they've devoted to developing and honing their broad foundation of skills. These athletes are shining examples of the virtue of the skill development formula pros try to share with their students.
...there's this largely untrue concept floating around that a racer is strictly a one-trick pony, and doesn't have much to offer the world of skiing at large. Yeah, there are
racers who aren't much outside of a course...as in, a distressing number of juniors whose parents insist that they train only gates. But the very top racers were always skiers first who decided to channel their skills into racing. Tommy Moe grew up hucking big air off cliffs in Alaska. The Mahres could ski the steep and gnarly at White Pass like it was nothing. Ingemar Stenmark, by all accounts, was and still is a phenomenal free skier.
Yeah, maybe you can't get the full effect from looking at photo sequences (although you might
want to take a peek at Ron LeMaster's The Skier's Edge
...) or even video, but if you want to get your eyes opened up wide, go ski with a top racer. Broc Thompson is one of my teammates and coaches at the Eldora (CO) Masters Program. After pretty much winning every RMM tech event two seasons ago, last year he decided to challenge himself further, and got seriously into the FIS circuit. He is now down to about 60 FIS points in slalom...at the age of 40. He is also an incredible free skier, which isn't surprising because he's an amazing, cat-quick athlete (In 1988, he was an alternate on the US Olympic track bike team). The dude can do anything
on skis, so whenever we get a major dump and the "6 Inches or More Rule" is in effect (too much snow...no gates today...go make some tracks on the backside), I always hook up with him for some tree skiing. I learn something every time, and have a blast doing it...