All good stuff......I guess if I had to say, the full description of the two methods tells me that if they are not mutually exclusive, they are at opposite ends of the scale. Basically, the racer is trying to get the ski to turn him/her, while the other skier is basically using muscle power to turn the ski.
There's also a big difference between saying "I want to ski a really tight radius turn" and "I started a turn with x radius, and that ain't gonna cut it, because I'm going to fast, am going to hit something, or will miss the next gate...how do I tighten the radius of this runaway arc?"
Let's try, however, to think about the two "tight radius" goals simultaneously, because they're not necessarily opposed. Consider the low-edge angle/rotary person first, and what I think everybody's pretty much said is, correctly so, "feed in more rotary". I think we've also looked at what a racer can do. It varies all the way from "chuck 'em sideways, then when you've got better direction, start carving again" to "more edge angle more pressure on the ski to make it arc more."
You might think "chuck 'em sideways" is something a racer would never resort to, but in fact, it happens a bunch. In addition, there's what Ron LeMaster calls "the Super Stivot", which he got into in an article last year in Ski Racing and talked about last night in Boulder in his presentation "New Faces on the World Cup." He showed video sequences of both Bode and Svindal booking toward a GS gate at more speed than was healthy, chucking them sideways (just like a hockey stop) to dump some speed, then actually starting a carving turn. So, in other words, I'm between turns, going like a bat in a straight line, and I realize I'm carrying way too much speed for the next turn, so I scrub some speed, then go straight again, then start the turn. The idea is that if you stivot then turn from the stivot...you have to start the stivot at exactly the right spot, otherwise you'll dump too much speed or not enough speed, and you have to end the stivot/start the carve at exactly the right spot, otherwise your turn will be too early or too late. If I just go straight line to stivot to straight line to turn, then I just dumped speed and it won't mess up the turn itself.
And Bode and Svindal are also masters of starting a carve, seeing that it's not the ideal arc, and doing stuff like increasing angulation, flexing more, increasing edge angle, and so forth, to reshape the arc.
So how are they able to perform this wizardry? Well, one of the things that LeMaster talked about last night was how the top WC racers have evolved as athletes. Killy was less than 6 feet, strong and wiry. Bode and Svindal are both big boys...Both 6' 2" or bigger, and weight 210 or more. In addition, they're great athletes. I'll bet that Svindal would be a great decathalete, and Bode's already proven that he could be, too, with his win in the Superstars and his exploits in tennis. So what Ron also said was that with this kind of athleticism, today's top WC racers distance themselves from the pack because the top dogs are agile, flexible, and strong enough to handle terrain better than the others. The top skiers are consistently more precise than the others in their ability to administer and adjust edge angle and pressure, for example, they're better able to improvise when they cross the red line, and they can handle bumps, changing snow conditions, and steep terrain better than the others.
So how do any of us mere mortals Aim High, like the WC stars? Ron always has some nuggets that I use throughout the season, and here's the stuff I took away from last night in terms of not just what the advances are but how to make them happen:
- Seek the apex of the turn. He said that the "apex of the turn" is maybe not the right terminology, but essentially it means that point of the turn where you really put the wood to the edged ski. So I release from the previous turn, transition to the new edges, start applying pressure, enter the fall line, and right about there is when I really want the ski to load up, and some of that is me settling onto the ski, and some of that is me managing the forces I have available to me. Ron talked about the old mantra of looking ahead and how important it is, not just to racers...works for bumpers, powder skiers, you name it. You're looking for that "moment of truth" spot where the turn really lights up.
So seeking the apex takes looking ahead...if you were standing still, it might be obvious where "the" apex of the turn was, but you're moving, the terrain is changing, and so forth, so you have to judge where the best apex is out of many options. So looking ahead is important, as Ron points out, but so is timing. Now that I've decided where the apex is, I need to seek it out and pounce on it via timing my moves from where I am now to the apex itself.
- Start carving early in the turn. I think we all know what this means, Ron attributed the first codification of this to John Loeffler, who came up with the idea of the "upside down traverse." You transition to the new edges and start applying pressure to them to start carving before you enter the fall line. Remember, the answer to "How do you stop skidding?" is "Don't start."
- Cut off the line. See Ron's article about line evolution. But this is for racers only, right? Not necessarily. Skiing a tighter line generally means you spend more time in or near the fall line. And all things being equal, staying in or near the fall line is a good thing because now you have gravity and momentum working more or less together, instead of fighting each other with you, the unwilling third party, in the middle trying to sort out the mess....
Food for thought...