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Very Jongish Questions

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I just started participating in my local hill's Nastar nights, being completley self taught I thought this would be a good way to improve my technique and something fun to do.

I come from a more park/big mountain backround so I have some very stupid questions.

1. How important is a good tune ?

The first night the snow was soft and I could hold a good line (though I am just figuring out what that is) last night everything was much firmer and I skidding like crazy. The more agressive I got in terms of angulation the worse it got.

My head says it is mostly a edge sharpness issue (I had my pretty beat park skis) but I was a good three seconds behind where I wanted to be so maybe it was all technigue.

2. Simple physics tells me that the smaller I get the faster I should go but alot of guys skied in a much more upright stance than I would have thought. Clearly I am missing something basic in the "style" or skiing approach to racing that is pretty well known by more experianced racers.


Thanks in advance and sorry for the dumb questions.
post #2 of 14
It's both technique and tune.

You "held" the line in the soft snow, because as you overpressured/overpowered the snow, it gave way just enough, while the sharpness did not matter.

As it got harder, the snow refused to give way to how you were pressuring it, and you could not cut into it. Skiing hard snow with dull skis makes it feel like you are skiing on ice all the time. You need to control how much pressure gets applied to the edge.

Generally, you don't have to think at all about softer conditions. But in harder conditions, your range of movement must increase to accomodate.
post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanish Armada View Post
1. How important is a good tune ?
As you implicitly recognize, it depends on the conditions. In soft snow: tune (edge tune anyway) isn't that important. In hard snow it is. On the other hand, softer snow may make waxing more of an issue, though it's an issue in any snow (short of rock-solid ice, on which everything slides pretty freely in every direction, including those you don't want to go in).

Quote:
so maybe it was all technigue.
Could be both.

Quote:
2. Simple physics tells me that the smaller I get the faster I should go but alot of guys skied in a much more upright stance than I would have thought.
Going sideways on your skis slows you down much more than air resistance. Particularly at Nastar-ish GS speeds. A bad turn will trump a good tuck in almost all situations.
post #4 of 14
If you are on beat park skis and even if you sharpen (2 to 3 degree) side bevel .... and you have an icy night, those beaters will chatter and dance and do everything wrong.

Look for a good compromise ski ... something like a used Stockli SC .. great hold and has almost made for NASTAR characteristics.

Any other "better" race stock skis (straight sidewall) ... SL may be the way to start ... look at used stuff.

As you strive for speed ... it will come ... start to strip! Get rid of the jacket and run in a sweater or fleece with a tight windstopper vest to make the aerodynamics a bit better.

Carefully watch the line of the last three gates and where to tuck ... and look at the shortest point between the line of the last gate and where you will break the beam ..... the answer is usually not down the center, but to one side or the other. Often the difference between bronze and silver.
post #5 of 14
Just to try to add weight to what the others have said, their advice is spot on with everything I have also come across.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
A metric ton of thanks, I brought some tuned boards this time (Mint B1s) and dropped my time by about 4 seconds. The skis definitely helped and the reminder to focus on body movement when edging made a huge difference. I don't know why I wasn't doing this but it litterally fixed 90% of the problems I was having and allowed me to move arc to arc.

I missed my goal for this year by 7 hundreths of a second (a silver.....I think this a more reasonable goal) so I still got some work to do.

I can see how racing can become very addicting, even on my best run alot of stuff wasn't right.

Hmmm I may have to pick up a pair of more nastar oriented skis, I'm sure my gf will understand that I need ten pairs of skis.
post #7 of 14
We have discussed the tuning topic to death with my local masters group. The general consensus is that EVERYTHING you do in ski racing makes a difference. Edge tuning maybe a tenth or hundredth, wax may be the same, strong starts in the tenths, etc etc. There obviously isn't one key thing that will make you competitive, it's the sum of the parts.
Just keep having fun and don't get caught up in having 10 pairs of skis and hundreds of dollars in fancy waxes unless you choose to!!!
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJB View Post
We have discussed the tuning topic to death with my local masters group. The general consensus is that EVERYTHING you do in ski racing makes a difference. Edge tuning maybe a tenth or hundredth, wax may be the same, strong starts in the tenths, etc etc. There obviously isn't one key thing that will make you competitive, it's the sum of the parts.
Just keep having fun and don't get caught up in having 10 pairs of skis and hundreds of dollars in fancy waxes unless you choose to!!!
You are right, and this applies to ANY racing. A race car will not win with a strong engine alone, you need a good crew, tires, suspension, aerodynamics, driver, etc.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJB View Post
Just keep having fun and don't get caught up in having 10 pairs of skis and hundreds of dollars in fancy waxes unless you choose to!!!
I already have nine so I think I can swing one more Fancy wax....I'm just happy with a ski that has been waxed since the Carter administration.
post #10 of 14

No you didn't just say that...

"Fancy wax....I'm just happy with a ski that has been waxed since the Carter administration."

:

Skis are like women's er... moustaches. They should be waxed regularly with loving care.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanish Armada View Post
1. How important is a good tune ?
Reasonably important. I don't like giving time away or skiing on bad gear, so I sharpen my edges at least every other time I ski, and have them set up with one degree base bevel, three degrees side, so the edge is sharper than a 90-degree corner. I ski a tortionally rigid Atomic SX-11 18 meter sidecut skiercross ski (colloquially known as a "cheater," because it's more turny than an FIS- or USSA-legal GS racing ski) so it carves nicely on hardpack (colloquially known as ice.)

In general, at the higher levels technique saves you many, many seconds; finding the front boot cuff, a few seconds; a racing suit, a second; a good tune, some tenths--but it's much more important on ice; wax, a few tenths; exactly the right wax for the conditions, a few hundredths, except in long speed events or on really wet snow, where high fluoro overlay makes your skis feel essentially frictionless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanish Armada View Post

2. Simple physics tells me that the smaller I get the faster I should go but alot of guys skied in a much more upright stance than I would have thought. Clearly I am missing something basic in the "style" or skiing approach to racing that is pretty well known by more experianced racers.
Can't do this topic justice in a short paragraph, but quickly (1) aerodynamics aren't that important at lower speeds, and good technique is more important to get you to the higher speeds; (2) lots of bad things can happen to much more important parts of your skiing when you try to get low, including (i) drop the inside hand and shoulder, and you fail to maintain pressure on your outside ski, fall in and skid, losing lots of time; (ii) fail to commit forward to bend the shovel of the ski and you don't use reverse camber (bend) to tighten the arc of your pure carved turn; (iii) drop your posterior back, you end up on your heels; (iv) bend your knees deeply in mid turn, and you actually release pressure on your outside ski, the tail breaks loose and you skid; (v) getting in and out of that "low" position and also having an effective transition, for you, probably means a complicated up and down move, and you'd probably do better with more minimalist skiing.

Some really fast guys do get low in the gates and even have a low inside hand. But they need to be going REALLY fast to begin with, to be able to do that while maintaining edge pressure on their outside ski through the turn, and to do that, they have to do a lot of other things right, first. So for now, concentrate on learning those other things--the payoff for getting low isn't really there at the speed your skiing, but the penalties are.

Go to a NASTAR course and play with alternating runs, between the hunchback of Notre small vs. balanced, upright skiing concentrating instead on being forward early in the turn, pressuring the front boot cuff, and contrast your times. If you can do the latter, it should be a LOT faster, at your level.

Good luck, and let us know how that goes.

SfDean
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer256 View Post
"Fancy wax....I'm just happy with a ski that has been waxed since the Carter administration."

:

Skis are like women's er... moustaches. They should be waxed regularly with loving care.
OMG Racer,
I just spit my coffee out all over the floor!
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfdean View Post

Good luck, and let us know how that goes.

SfDean
Tuesday's session I hit my goal of moving up to silver and stayed there on Wednsday even though the rain we had late tuesday night had frozen and created true blue PA bulletproof. (Even the platnum guys had some skidding)

Since I started a month ago I droped 9 seconds and I started in the bronze range. My new goal is to get up into the gold range by the end of this year but that may be more than I can chew as that is about 4 seconds to cut.

Everyone's advice has been super helpful, I now wax and sharpen my skis after every race. My body movement and ability to keep presure on the cuff's has vastly improved. I still have alot of work to do when it comes to edging on ice and aerodynamics but I am pleased with were I am. For some reason I can't remember to put all the pieces together, for instance one run I will stay light on the edges but drop a hand or have really good pressure on the cuffs but drift off the line. With time and practice I think this will work itself out.

My sister works for a retail chain and has acess to really good discounts on alot of gear, therefore I was thinking of picking up a dedicated racing ski. My thought was to pick a more GS ski than slalom as I only intend to use them for Nastar. I don't think a differnt ski would really change the results as of now but the ski I'm on now has a pretty big turning radius and is old so it is starting to show some serious wear. I was thinking RC4 WC GS, its overkill for sure but I can pick it up for like 200 and that is tough to beat.

Let me know what you think and thanks again you guys are great.
post #14 of 14
For me its not so much a good tune but, the right tune for the conditions.

One guys great tune, may suck for someone else.

Saying that also makes me think of some racers I've known. One guy in particular was very, very good and had tunes to the sharpness of butter knives.

So, technique is also important.

If you are just starting out I'd stick with stock tuning if you can. As you progress then experiment with different tunes.
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