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Gonzo's Video for MA/Critique

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
Various portions of Chips' run at Snowbird.
Snow is Groomed packed powder.

Video Clip
post #2 of 39
c'mon folks, I need some critique!
post #3 of 39
Hey Gonz- I didn't realize you almost clipped the guy with the sled! :
post #4 of 39
yeah, the bum made a quick move just as I was about to clean his clock! dang him!
post #5 of 39
It's OK as long as you don't end up IN the sled!!!
post #6 of 39
My first thought was that the images can't be Gonzo, he's leaning to the right too much <<< >>>.

I see great action, but a bit too much, especially in the raising of the shoulders and arms as part of the initiatory movement. I'd like to see you smooth that out and let it last a little longer (make an extension to maybe a 1-2-3 count). The quickness of your extension results in a displacement of the ski tails at the start of the turns. A more patient turn entry would allow you to get onto the new edges with a more rounded carve earlier.

I've been searching the archives here unsuccessfully for a Bob Barnes comment on the illustrations in some article Lito wrote. Bob described how the pictures of Kim McDonald indicate a strong up with a positive movement of the upper body into the turn results in the tails skidding uphill before the carving begins. I couldn't find the article, but if you can, it would make good reading for you. If you can't find it, pm me a fax number and I can fax a copy to you. I printed it out because I wanted to use it to help a couple friends work on their Level III exam skiing and their movement analysis. One managed to get his pin a couple months later (second time out).

[ February 22, 2004, 07:58 PM: Message edited by: Kneale Brownson ]
post #7 of 39
yo gonz!

I feel bad about this as you don't get a chance to pick me apart

- Spread those legs. More

- Bit of up and down there in those turns.

- Leaning into turns a little.

So when you're gonna visit so you can video me so I can be analyzed?
post #8 of 39
Gonzo, we ski a lot alike... bet you didn't want to hear that. Kneale seems right on to me. I have that same up-motion and bank in my skiing right now. I can control the up-motion pretty easily, but I'm having a hell of a time banishing the bank lately.

I don't want to start another debate on stance, but I think his stance looks great. Wide enough that he can generate some good edge angles, but not wide for the sake of it. Watch the video clip on the post "another video from ESA02." Stance on that looks perfect to me. Gonzo's stance looks similar to me, he just isn't achieving the same angulation.
post #9 of 39
Gonz, I'm a level I cert, so I have no business providing you my thoughts. But, as you know, that rarely stops me, so...

You seem to have "straight-ski-itis" in your stance: Your hips tend to be behind your heels (look, for example, at the last frame), and your skis get right next to each other in the belly of the turn; there's no hip-width stance during the shaping part of the turn. That said, you seem pretty comfortable on your skis, and your dynamic balance is good. You make it harder on yourself with all of the excessive arm movement, especially that flying left elbow.

Your turn shape seems to be a rapid swiveled initiation followed by a ride of the middle of the turn. It seems to me that you give up on the turn before you complete it, thus leading to more braking movements than you would require if you completed the turn and used your line more strategically as part of your speed control.

From a tipping perspective, you seem to ride a pretty flat ski almost to the fall line, instead of going after an early edge. If you look at your stance right after you miss the sled, you'll see what I mean: feet close together, legs relaxed and touching, body banked instead of angulated. A stronger move with the CoM across the skis as has been discussed in the don't lean on the front thread would get you on an earlier edge and keep you from the skidded belly of the turn where you're looking for the carve (play the clip frame-by-frame forward from the sled near-miss and you'll see all the snow spraying from the skid).

Your up move, as Kneale mentioned, is not only a bit excessive, but also "up like the trees grow" instead of a move towards your next turn (move that extension in the direction of the apex/belly of the next turn). I also noticed that this up move actually pulls the old downhill ski off the snow before you begin the new turn on some of the turns.


1) Work on finishing a nice, round turn in a carve.
2) Slow down your transition; let the start of the turn develop. Patience!
3) Work on letting your skis ride at hip-width.
4) Work forward with your hips.

(OK, gang, feel free to critique the critique!)
post #10 of 39
I'll give it a shot Gonz.
I like your stance, your attitude and the path you're scribing in the snow. Stance width and short leg long leg look appropriate to terrain, speed, attitude.

I like your turns to the left much more than the turns to the right, especially the turn to the left where you're attacking the sled. On these turns, you seem to move into them smoother, and show a more disciplined upper body.

On your turns to the right, you seem a bit tight. For me it shows up in your tense left arm (the elbow tends to float like it's trying to wrastle the ski where it wants it. You also tend to lean a bit with the head and the upper body in this direction.

I'd play with upper body disipline drills a bit to even out the sides and get the upper and lower body to work seperately. I like dragging both pole tips and skiing toward a target. Just focusing on keepin your eyes, head and shoulders level could assist that as well. When free skiing, On the right turn, occasionally touch your left pole tip to the ground to check that your not leaning in on that side.

Anyway, the footwork and path of the ski are the most important things and I see lots of good stuff there. Keep up the good play and enjoy even more precision with practice on simplifing the upper body involvement.

Make it a great day...

post #11 of 39
Having skied with Gonzo, I'd say he may have had a bit of camera shyness in that video. He was definitely making rounder turns with more angulation in the rare cases when we found ourselves on groomers at Jackson.

Alternatively, he may not have been fully warmed up. Those turns were early in the morning, on the first run actually, if I remember well.

Ahem, that's not to say this is not very good skiing. Just to offer some backround. I'm not qualified to do MA so I won't make technical comments. (Gonz, how do you assess this compared to what you were expecting to see?)
post #12 of 39
good stuff so far, thanks everyone! Cedric's on the money about camera shyness and early-morning cold technique, but I still have my flaws that exist regardless. The flying left arm, the legs that tend to drift apart then together then apart, the lazy rearward hips, and the occasional head lean and banking.

Cedric, thanks for stating that I can and have done better!

I really would appreciate more comments, as incisive as anyone wants them to be. I've got rhino skin when it comes to my skiing, so pick away and have a field day!

I see lots in my movements to work on, but I love getting an encyclopedic view -- all comments are helpful and welcome.

Thanks! Keep 'em coming.
post #13 of 39
feel compelled to echo Cedric here. having skied with gonz (and Cedric) a little bit (well, they waited for me more than they skied with me), i must say that is some camera-induced stiffness. the video is not very reflective of the gonz i observed, who was much more fluid, elegant and dynamic.

honestly, gonz, had i seen this vid and been asked to identify the bear, i don't think i'd've gotten around to deciding it was you, other than the hand position.

[ February 23, 2004, 07:15 AM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #14 of 39
enough glad-handing, ryannosaurus... bust out the criticism! [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #15 of 39
well, the very deliberate weight shift - would this be an "up" movement? - stands out. strikes me as kind of "big" for the desired result.

[ February 23, 2004, 07:57 AM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #16 of 39
Gonzo, it makes my eyes bleed.
post #17 of 39
Just kidding.

I agree with a lot of the comments above.

Left turns are pretty strong. Right turns, you've got a left wing lift and a tip inside at the torso.

Very nice fluid connectedness between turns. That's the outstanding characteristic for me. A real sense of skiing instead of posing. A real sense of arc.

I agree with the idea of a bit wider stance, and as you know, push the hips forward so that you can drive the shovels. You can see here where the hips sort of get stuck behind the feet. Now remember here, one of the causes we discussed is the forward folding at the waist. When the shoulders face the snow, the hips go back. When the shoulders (thus the torso becomes more upright), then the hips have a chance of moving forward.

How'd your instructor test go?
post #18 of 39
Originally posted by ryan:
well, the very deliberate weight shift - would this be an "up" movement? - stands out. strikes me as kind of "big" for the desired result.

Well, so long as you asked, Gonzo, here are my comments. [ I had this typed out very nicely, but the EPIC server went off-line, and I lost the whole thing when I tried to add the reply. I don't mean to sound nasty or terse in the following, but please understand, it's the second time I'm typing this....]

You seem to have a bit of the "park and ride" going on. Not much change in body angle or edge angles throughout the turn -- it's pretty static.

I want to address both "up" and pivoting in the turn, while keeping the pivot. Pivoting is very useful. Please do correct me if I am wrong with my analysis/suggestion, of if you simply don't agree.

You can pivot without the "up". The drill of grinding out of a cigarette will highlight the muscles used to pivot the ski:

With ski off, push the ball of your foot into the snow as if grinding out a cigarette. Do with each leg. Then with both. Kind of like "doing the Twist", just don't raise the heels too high. As you see, the heel is moving, causing the pivot.

You can also do it while stopped in a lift line, but only with extreme forward pressure and extreme knee stress. Be careful -- don't hurt yourself. On the slopes, the amount of forward pressure needed to lighten the heel to pivot is lowered as speed increases. If you really need to unweight, pulling up on the ski's as you pivot them will do the job, as opposed to jumping.

You won't need much of a pivot to start the turn; a little goes a long way. While pivotting get the body to the inside of the turn and reach the skis for the snow (extend). This lengthening replaces the "up", and occurs AFTER or towards the end of the pivot...

During the turn, sink deeper into the turn as you engage more edge (flex). Remain supple and relaxed throughout the turn, flexing ankles. You have to stay forward to initiate the pivot, and stay low prior to extension.

Harumph! It was a much better description before!

Sorry. Anyway, I hope you see what I'm getting at.... and I do hope it helps.
post #19 of 39
Gonz - would breathing in as you extend & out as you flex help you to slow down the extension as Kneale wanted?
post #20 of 39

Lots of good advice, but it all narrows down to eliminating the strong up movement at the beginning of the turn and replacing it with a more patient tip and extend into the new turn. Many of us have to work on that. You should also focus on the advice from Holiday regarding a little more upper/lower body separation and having a more disciplined right turn.

Personally I like the stance and the fact that you are making an effort to round out your turns. I agree with BigE that you appear a little static in your turns, but this may also be a result of the large turns you are making. You may want to experiment with some absorbtion at the end of the turn in order to avoid bracing against the skis at a time when your body should flow into the next turn. This may also help avoid some of the up movement that you need to do with your upper body once you complete your turn.

I have to disagree with BigE regarding the "griding out the cigarette" comment. Doing that in deeper or heavier snow is soooo wrong. I would rather do an up movement or better yet a quick retraction and re-direction of the skis if a strong rotary is called for. But it is best to avoid a strong rotary and take Kneale's advice to be patient at the top of the turn (if the terrain and your confidence permits such luxury).

Bottom line: great skiing and great platform to build on. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #21 of 39
It is angry skiing. Settle down.
post #22 of 39
Thanks again, all. For background, and to answer Cedric's question, when I first saw this footage at ESAII, I was surprised at how fluid I looked and how subtle the little errors were compared to how I felt. On the day of filming, at the time of filming, I felt much more clumsy than I looked.

The rest of ESAII I worked on stance, dynamics, head stillness, hip position, and patience at the turn's start. I think I've worked through several of the commonly noted errors (rushed initiation, late edge, bit o' rotary when unintended, head drift, banking), but they linger in smaller amounts still.

Weems spotted many things in the vids when we watched them at ESA, and so I'd been aware already of his fine observations. I was curious to see how others observed my movements. And I'm glad to see there's consistency among the observations!

BigE and ssh have a good eye for the remnants of my old pencil-ski technique, with the aggressive up-unweight and pivot. Note I didn't say refined pencil-ski technique!

Matter, I'm not bugged that we ski alike. I'm sure we both can do better and will do better.

TomB, the next several days on steeps, Weems had us focus on absorption at the end of the turn, and it worked wonders for my line control and speed control.

Ryan, you're on the money with the "excess" nature of my movement. It really is unnecessary, and is a carry-over from the old days.

Wade, thanks for observing the right/left turn discrepancy that I do indeed feel while skiing. That helps me believe my own sensations.

Kneale, the balance of this season I'm focusing on patient and quiet turn initiation to get rid of that excess you referenced. Thanks!

Disski, Weems had us doing the breathing exercise and it does work for me. I like it especially when skiing steep powderfields with knee-deep or more snow.

And to Weems, coach extraordinaire, thanks again for teaching me how to learn and how to ski better!

Thanks to all of you. Great input, very valuable.
post #23 of 39
Originally posted by milesb:
It is angry skiing. Settle down.
I hear you, Zen Master. Arigato.
post #24 of 39
oh, and to my favorite Shore-riding lawyer-skier-mtb rider LeeL, thanks for the good comments, eh?

make a few turns in the BC for me, Lee!
post #25 of 39
Is that Weems Westfled in the red jacket and cream pants standing where you stopped? Also, was the video taken on Chip's Run?

I've never been had my skiing videod . I have had my golf swing videoed, and when you are cognizant you're being taped , any fluidity you have seems to be non existent as you "tighten" up for the camera.

I liked the comment regarding the relationship between up motion and hip position.I'm looking forward to practicing that next time out.

Your skiing is great. Like almost everybody else, there might be a couple of small adjustments you can make to be even better. Anybody remember Sybervision. I have a tape somewhere from Jans Husted skiing with another guy out at Snowbird , circa late 80's , KVC Comps , making perfect turns.
The concept of Sybervision was watching something and being able to duplicate the movement pattern based on muscle memory, I guess.

Anyway, when I watched your clip from Snowbird I thought of my old Sybervision tape.
post #26 of 39

I believe it was Chips run.

Check this thread to see Weems!
post #27 of 39

Lot of good comments. I remember that morning video session, and I sure wished the camera hadn't been rolling when I was skiing!

You sure smoothed a lot of those things out by Thursday when I skied with you, and I'm sure more by now! I'd say that vid needs filed as "the past".
post #28 of 39
The other guy on Sybervision was Chris Ryman--former demo team member, former Vail SSD, presently building ski areas for Booth Creek, I think.

Chris is great.

Gonzo, it is interesting and normal for you to see yourself as better than you felt. The reason is that you make many adjustments internally, as a good skier, to challenges from the snow. You feel them as challenges, but the camera doesn't pick them up. Often good skiers are surprised at how good they look compared to how bad they feel, while new skiers are often surprised at how bad they look relative to how good the feel.
post #29 of 39
Hey, how dare they (those patrollers..? ) bring that crash victim..? down, right across your line! [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] It's pretty tough tryin' to get a little peace and order on a trail these days....
post #30 of 39
Originally posted by gonzostrike:
Wade, thanks for observing the right/left turn discrepancy that I do indeed feel while skiing. That helps me believe my own sensations.
Any chance you have alignment challenges?
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