Originally Posted by Racer256
1. Hit the weights. I would but I am pretty buff already tho for a washed up shmoe. Not Richie Rich buff but not bad. Just shrimpy. 5'8" 175. I will work on it but let's not get crazy, kids.
4. I DO need some coaching.
I don't know your race course, but with a 10.1 handicap, you're fast already. But like most of us, you probably have a couple of bad habits that if you ditched, you'd be faster still. (Some of us lug around large piles of bad habits to the ski hill, like the old balloonists carried balast. It's always useful to have something clunky to toss out, to improve perfomance immensely.) That stuff is ideosyncratic, but do definitely get some coaching, preferably with video analysis.
Some typical problems (playing even now, at a video shack near you) are dropping inside shoulder, feet too close together, occasionally leaning in, tails breaking loose late in the turn because of overpressuring or trying to juice the ski, excessive inside tip lead, late turn initiation through a pivot rather than earlier rolling onto the edge, later than optimal line, occasionally getting left in the backseat, especially at the end of turns, less than ideal hand/arm position (at the extremes, "Frankenstein arms" or "waving arm syndrome.")
If you can find someone with the Dartfish software to go with the video, it's totally cool, because they can superimpose exactly where you lose time compared with your slightly faster competitor. PM me and I can send you a link to info on a couple of upcoming clinics (way out Intermountain Division way) where they do have that stuff. But I'm sure there's got to be some Masters drop in training closer to where you are.
On the weights/conditioning thing, my free advice, worth everything you pay for it, is (1) I'm not talking about general strength training, but rather movement specific explosiveness training, specifically for the muscles you use to pole and skate out of the start--especially in a short, not-crazy-steep course, a powerful start is huge, and every bit of extra speed you have by gate 2, you carry and add to for the whole rest of the course--if nothing else, just practice skating powerfully while free skiing; (2) current thinking about weight training, etc. for ski racing is around more than just heavy squats (or male-pattern ego lifts, the bench press and useless arm curl) but rather plyometrics and complex lifts and movements where there is a balance or agility component. This year, for the first time ever (after years of distain) I started working with a trainer, and I'm in much better shape and without knee pain.
Typically there's one tactical element in most courses that's a big skill/time differentiator (dealing with the steep to flat compression, setting up an early line two gates ahead of the fallaway gate or before the kick out gate) so analyzing that element in inspection, and skiing it right on race day is typically big.
Finally, find the front boot cuff--especially at turn initiation and especially at the breakover or when it gets hairy: That's when it's most important to get the hips out ahead of the feet (but the easier way to think about it is pressuring the front boot cuff) but the reptile brain wants to send you back on your heels out of a (misguided and exactly wrong-headed in application) self-preservation instinct. That's the place where the fast guys blow past us hacks.