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World class racers and a lot of up-down?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Another thread pointed me to Al Hobart's web site (www.shapeski.com). You ought to look at it if you haven't.

In it he says:

5. Up/Down Gorilla Drill
As we saw in the Reiter montage on page eight, World Cup skiers often have substantial up/down movement between turns.
This allows them to get forward between turns more reliably, gives them the opportunity to pivot their skis while they are unweighted to prepare for a very tight turn, and helps them increase the pressure on the outside ski so that it will really bend and hold.

(see: http://www.shapeski.com/pages/1005updown.html)
In PSIA we harp on there being extension/retraction laterally not vertically.

Is Al wrong, or are we wrong? Or, are we both right?


[ May 13, 2002, 01:44 PM: Message edited by: WVSkier ]
post #2 of 23
I think it's important to "own" that movement pattern, but with due respect to Al Hobart, I don't think that this up/pivot/edge move is any longer the "bread & butter" move of the best skiers. I really think they're diving across.
post #3 of 23
Al Hobarts website hasn't been changed since the spring of 2000. Recently I went on there and checked "Coaches Corner". It's STILL "under construction". I emailed him in 2000 about when it would be finished. I never got a reply. If you check his schedule you'll find it still is for spring of 2000. Did the guy die? A lot has been going on since then.
Up and down is, and always has been, a move good skiers use. Like weems points out it's probably not the first choice these days. I've never been fond of that "Gorilla Turn" thing. Too much to "unlearn".
post #4 of 23
Hobart is so stuck in his paradigim he can't see beyond it. His totally tweaked manuveurs are static and bracy. I think he spent too much time studying still photos, manufacturing "positions" instead of working with the movements involved within the motion of skiing. In his handbook he is sooo locked into his premise, he even makes visual connections between his excercise and what Mario Reiter is doing that are laughable.

[ May 14, 2002, 08:02 AM: Message edited by: Robin ]
post #5 of 23
This is an excellent site in all regards, but more specifically, here's Ron's take on the issue:
post #6 of 23
Harb doesn't teach the up move. What he teaches is leg flexion.

For the longest time, I thought releasing was about the up move - it's really not.

To get the release, he teaches that you flex up and move the downhill ski onto its outside edge, all in one move.

But the up move works. Look at Lito, he teaches it.
post #7 of 23
Weems: "I don't think that this up/pivot/edge move is any longer the 'bread & butter' move of the best skiers. I really think they're diving across."

Yeah! That's what I see when I watch 'em. (But then again, what the heck do I know? If you ask my 14-year-old, it ain't much!)
post #8 of 23
Substantial up and down motion is still alive. See these photo sequences for some good up and down motion.



"In PSIA we harp on there being extension/retraction laterally not vertically."

The "new" up and down is the motion of the hips(CG) crossing the skis rather than the "old" up and down of the extension of the power (outside) leg at the end of the turn.
The lateral extension/retraction has always been the hard part. Getting your skis out from underneath your body has always been the hard part of skiing. Nothing new here. The pivoting is less, because more of the turn can be carved.
post #9 of 23
I was there when Ron gave that presentation. He could also take those pictures and play it through. His explainations were great too.
His book, The Skiers Edge, has stuff I haven't seen in print anywhere else.
There is no such thing as the "perfect" turn and each one is an adaptation by the athlete. Still ,raising and lowering the center of mass is interrupting the constant flow in the straightest line possible to the bottom of the hill.
Flexion and extention occurs more in the lateral plane these days. Notice that with the exception of a brief time during crossing that the yellow line is pretty flat. There are times(usually on the flats)where it would be completely flat. Conversly on the steeps you will see a lot of up motion as well as some pivoting.
Ron said that a skier only achieves "static" balance briefly during the carving phase of the turn. The rest of the time they are first falling down the hill then catching themselves and balancing briefly again. I remember reading that Phil Mahre said "the best tip he ever got was to sort of fall downhill to start a GS turn". It would seem to me that in order to "fall downhill" from an extremely angulated position on a steep hill that moving up would be necessary. Ron did point out that you fall over a lot faster if your feet are farther apart(usually a lower position)ala Mario Matt.
post #10 of 23
Phil M. in talking about falling downhill move at the start of a turn I think was first mentioned by Jeane Claude Killy. I remembered this from a PSIA level 2 class I took. We learned the flexation, retraction movement. Others may call it extention/compression. This is related to 'down-unweighting' also. Releated to, not identical. The extension part is going way forward and straitening the legs but not locking the knees. As you cross the fall line you flex from the midriff through the turn. This makes it feel like you are floating at the start of the turn. The flexing takes the pressure off the legs during the arc of the turn yet still holds your edge beautifully. This can be done for all turns from long carves to linked turns. For quicker linked turns you pick the arc of the turn ahead of you, point your mid riff just inside the arc and then flex your legs outward to follow the arc you chose. As you come out of the arc of the turn you flex again. Then the down unweighting comes into play in getting ready for hte next turn. Once it becomes second nature it's great! Me? I still have to think about it through the moves too much. So I need three things... practice, practice, and of course... practice.
post #11 of 23
We need to get Barnes to talk about the up move as it relates to modern skiing. We all know it works, just want to see his take on it.

I already nagged him. Somebody else nag him too.

post #12 of 23

Why don't you post one of those videos you had up last fall so we have a visual aid? I also would be interested in your comments.

I think Hobart's statement is incorrect, unless he means something different than I mean by "substantial up/down movements." There is no doubt that racing turns are highly dynamic and forceful. There will likely be great variation between the extreme of flexion and the extreme of extension in a racing turn. I hope he meant "there are substantial extremes of flexion and extension." I try to keep my head about the same distance from the snow at any point in the turn, but my legs are most extended roughly at 3 and 9 o'clock and most flexed at 6 and 12. My "dive" into the turn (if we might call it that) is actually my head and my feet stretching apart to get the most distance between them at about 3 and 9.

I fall apart. Then I come back together. Sort of like a slinky.
post #13 of 23
I love slinky women.

Hey SCSA, How do you "flex up"?
post #14 of 23
I think I do the same thing, Nolo. Except I am very conscious about the flexion of one leg during the extension of the other. I don't think you can edge without doing this.
post #15 of 23
Quite right you are, Weems. Thanks for stating that more clearly.
post #16 of 23
[quote]Originally posted by nolo:
"I try to keep my head about the same distance from the snow at any point in the turn..."

Try to do this, from a real GS turn with your inside hip a foot (or less) off the snow. Maybe if your shin is less than a foot long you can do it. As the ski flatten (the movement into the next turn), the body moves over the skis. As the body moves over the skis the CG moves upward. The upward movement is called the pole vault effect. Twenty years ago the pole was the entire leg, now its just the lower leg.
post #17 of 23
Nord has a good point, and there often can be some upward movement, but as you say, it's got more to do with the possible range of flexion than the old fashioned need to lift/pivot. I suspect that when it does happen, it's quite minimal. I have to go watch the tapes again!
post #18 of 23
By the way, Nord, Bode may be a huge exception to your rule.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Except I am very conscious about the flexion of one leg during the extension of the other. I don't think you can edge without doing this.
It's interesting with students to put their focus on the outside leg versus the inside leg. I've had lots of success having people think about their inside leg and "getting the upper leg (femur) as horizontal as possible." When doing this the natural inclination (no pun intended) is to get the feet as far away from the body as possible.

When coaching racers (I'm not a race coach, per se, but we do have a very active race program and, well, it is a small mountain) I usually try to tell them that with a lot of UP you have to wait for gravity to pull you down; whereas, with horizontal movements you can maintain pressure on the snow more evenly.

While watching the Olympics I tried to focus on the racer's up and down and it seemed, albeit anecodotedly, that the ones with less up and down had better times. It was especially obvious with the women.

post #20 of 23

I say I try. My inseam is 28". I try to make this a stealth move, but my objective is a smooth ride, not a winning run.
post #21 of 23
If your hips are below your knees during the transition from one turn to another, like Bode. Then you probably won't come up during the transition phase. Apparently, Bode disregards the Vermont Ski safety thing about hips below knees.
The other exception to the rule is the flatter turns at the bottom of a GS course and most tuck turns.

The lower leg moves only a few degrees with respect to the skis. The upper leg moves 90 degrees. So with a 28 inch inseam, your knee is about 18 inches off the snow. During the transition between turns your hips would be about the same height as your knees. So from the hypothetical hips 12 inchs off the snow your CG has moved up 6 inchs.
So if you don't achieve enough angulation to get your hips less than 18 inchs off the snow, then your CG can remain a constant height off the snow. So its easier for a instuctor to keep their head a constant height, than a ski racer.
post #22 of 23
As I said, it's a thought, not a fact. Surely you've heard the old saw about skiing like you are in a low-ceilinged room and don't want to hit your head. I've heard versions where the ceiling has nails sticking out and other interesting details.
post #23 of 23
Seems to me that if the hips aren't rising, measured as a distance from the snow, then the feet must cross in front of the body instead of under it. If this is true then I would suppose that while the racer could make it work most of the time it would occasionally lead to either spectacular crashes or incredible recoveries.

The above comment is in relation to a racer on a steeper, faster section of a GS course. On flatter, slower sections angles aren't as radical and there is room for flexion to allow the feet to pass under the body without the hips moving up.

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