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Cowabunga...

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
...for those of you who have never done a speed event...but want to...mark your calendars for next year's Rocky Mountain Masters speed week at Ski Cooper. We just finished this year's edition, and I'd be willing to bet next year's will be about the same format but twice the fun. For more info:

http://www.rmmskiracing.org/

It started off with two days of DH camp with the SwissAm coaches. I had had exactly two runs on each pair of my 205 Atomic SGs (which is what I use...you see lengths from 195 to 217 for the guys) before Thursday, so the camp is a good way to prevent sticker shock, even though I've trained and raced on this hill a bunch of times. You start off with an inspection with the coaches, then a section run, then 4 timed nonstops, with video review at lunch and after the last training run. Friday is the day your work on your line, ski and wax selection, and whatever stuff the coaches saw in the video (better tuck, more outside focus, and so forth). We got 5 full non-stop training runs with video and timing, and it was a stone groove.

Saturday for the required nonstops for the RMM race, the course changed a little but not much. This is where you try to get everything wired so Sunday is just a "follow the plan" day. Ski Cooper, SwissAm, the Cloud City Ski Club, and all the worker bees did an unbelievable job. It was one of the best, most fun race weeks I've ever had, and the weather was incredible...sunshine every day, temps in the high 20s, and perfect snow, all of which is a rarity in Leadville in January. I had two good races on Sunday (look for #167...) and my teammate Tim in the next oldest class (look for #123) had a great day, taking 1st and 2nd.

After the races, we celebrated our adventure with a typically over-the-top RMM post race party, replete with great food and drink, thanks to sponsor Hans Wolf, and some really classy swag...two pairs of in the wrapper Atomic speed event skis were raffled off, among other goodies. And my friend Jerry Sorenson, a great skier who recently turned 60, burned up the course in 7th overall and won the Wolf Cup (sportage), and got his named engraved on the beautiful permanent trophy donated by (of course) Hans Wolf.

Monday, Martin Luther King Day, was the FuxiTime Super Combi (SG and SL) sponsored by Franz Fuchsberger of FuxiRacing USA:

http://www.fuxiracingusa.com/

...and if you've never gone from a 201 SG in one run to a 165 SL in the next, you owe it to yourself, because BASE jumping has nothing on the Super Combi experience. I know SL is supposed to be a sprint, but the SL course was unusually long and flat (especially at 10,000 feet...read: Death March..), so that, for (ahem) The Author and Many Others, "I made all the gates" was better than winning the Lauberhorn...okay, better than watching the Lauberhorn. It was a fabulous event, and the eats and swag were equally more outrageous. The best part was, one of my teammates got 3rd and a beautiful medal in Division 1 and Tim got 1st and a stunning trophy in Divison 3...no, wait, that wasn't the best part. The best part was that we all had a blast, made some money to help support the Cloud City Ski Club, and got to see all the...as my friend Chip Ford would put it..."brain dead speed junkies" come out of the wood work one more time...
post #2 of 27
Sounds like a cloud 9 experience!
JF
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 

It was...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post
Sounds like a cloud 9 experience!
JF
..."slalom and GS are just events, downhill is a cult..."
post #4 of 27
I'll second SkiRacer55's endorsement of this race. A super fun race, with a super friendly group. I attended it too, and enjoyed the opportunity to again be skiing at speed after so many years away from it,,, coaching it, but not getting to do it myself. It's the same hoot it was way back when. As skiracer says, DH is a sport apart.

My only warning is to bring some skills with you. A downhill should not be your first race. People get hurt doing downhill. Things happen fast. Edges can catch with dramatic consequence. Small rolls become major air. Fore/aft mistakes become magnified and harder to recover from. And falls travel far and fast,and sometimes conclude in meetings with stationary objects.

In my coaching I had requirements for team members to enter a downhill. USSA points had to be lowered to a certain level in GS/SL before downhill participation was allowed. You need to have a concept of line, and be able to adjust it as needed. You have to have good edge feel, be able to ride an arc cleanly, and possess an ability to manage turn shape precisely while doing it.

That said, for those up to the task, the Cooper event is a great place to get your feet wet with downhill. The pitich is moderate, and the terrain is just rolly enough to keep your attention. Speeds max out between 60-70, and length is a bit under a minute. And with the 2 day camp prior to the race, there's plenty of time to ease into the speed, and learn the ropes of speed events before having to push the clock on race day.
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 

Amen, brother...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
I'll second SkiRacer55's endorsement of this race. A super fun race, with a super friendly group. I attended it too, and enjoyed the opportunity to again be skiing at speed after so many years away from it,,, coaching it, but not getting to do it myself. It's the same hoot it was way back when. As skiracer says, DH is a sport apart.

My only warning is to bring some skills with you. A downhill should not be your first race. People get hurt doing downhill. Things happen fast. Edges can catch with dramatic consequence. Small rolls become major air. Fore/aft mistakes become magnified and harder to recover from. And falls travel far and fast,and sometimes conclude in meetings with stationary objects.

In my coaching I had requirements for team members to enter a downhill. USSA points had to be lowered to a certain level in GS/SL before downhill participation was allowed. You need to have a concept of line, and be able to adjust it as needed. You have to have good edge feel, be able to ride an arc cleanly, and possess an ability to manage turn shape precisely while doing it.

That said, for those up to the task, the Cooper event is a great place to get your feet wet with downhill. The pitich is moderate, and the terrain is just rolly enough to keep your attention. Speeds max out between 60-70, and length is a bit under a minute. And with the 2 day camp prior to the race, there's plenty of time to ease into the speed, and learn the ropes of speed events before having to push the clock on race day.
...especially the "bring some skills and a respectful attitude" part...a couple of my good buddies...guys with a ton of experience...took diggers requiring medical attention on Friday and Saturday.

The other thing Rick and I both know that requires mentioning is, make sure you have the tools for the job. Don't try to fake Super G or DH on a 10 year old pair of long GSs with sketchy bindings. You need an honest to God speed event ski...flat tip, laminate construction, radius of no less than 33 meters...to be competitive and to be safe. You wouldn't race F1 in a mini-van with bald tires, would you? Would you? Bindings with the appropriate DIN, obviously. Separating from a ski at 65 mph is good...if that's what you wanted. If it wasn't...as one of my buddies found out on Friday...it's usually good for a trip to McDonald's.

You need a speed suit (a padded GS suit is okay) to be competitive, but also to be safe. At 65 mph, if you stick an arm out, the wind will spin you around in circles. Bent poles help prevent the dreaded "snagged by the wind" crash, and help you get into and stay in a tuck.

And, of course, there's The Juice. I don't use anything but low fluoro red or yellow in the Rockies, but that still costs money (even though I get Toko from a teammate at pro prices), and I was using Toko Nano overlay and Toko Helix Warm in the afternoon. After the first day, somebody said "Gee, the track seems to be getting faster." Answer: Yes, because (a) a bunch of people are packing out the groove and (b) there's now about $2000 of fluoro lining the track....

But anyways...it's still the most fun, IMHO, you can have with your clothes on. Wanna know more? Here, try this:

http://www.rmmskiracing.org/articles...1-Speed101.pdf

And Rick, I'm sorry we didn't hook up. I was supposed to have a sign that said "I'm skiracer55...and you're not", but it didn't happen. I'm sure we'll find each other sometime this season...maybe at the Vail Super G or the Leadville Town Downhill on March 21. Hey! There's your next opportunity for a fun and easy intro into speed events, everybody!
post #6 of 27
Yeah, I was looking for you, SkiRacer. Was looking for that helmet. Sorry we didn't connect. Bet we spoke at some point though, without even knowing it. Probably didn't help that I was listed under Joseph Schnellmann #388, instead of under Rick.

Good point on bringing the right skis. Anything under 33 meter's is dangerous. And the bigger danger is they don't seem to monitor it, so you're free to put yourself in danger with whatever radius ski you feel like sporting. They let those two young girls race on Cheater GS cut skis. Yikes, I was fretting for them.

Ah,, and about the wax? I went with straight red swix hydro from the early 90's. I considered going Fluoro, but I figured why waste my money. I had enough other issues going on in my skiing to worry much about the wax.
post #7 of 27
Cool little video highlighting the fun of the week.

http://eefproductions.com/tmp/fuxivideoforweb.mov
post #8 of 27
The people that got hurt...how many hit obstacles without nets in front of them?
post #9 of 27
I don't believe any did, Garrett. I did see one fella get shot off the course at any angle opposite to the fall zone fencing, and right off the trail, but he was not one of those who sustained serious injury. Not a fall that would normally be anticipated. The injurys happened within the limits of the trail, from hitting hard, and twisting/ripping/hammering old bones, ligs, and muscles.
post #10 of 27
Yeah I was wondering about that...given what you guys were saying about how many people were ripping themselves up the video looks a bit tame, but then video always looks tame compared to the real thing.
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 

None...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
The people that got hurt...how many hit obstacles without nets in front of them?
...there was a bump about 50 seconds into the course that you had to take right or bad things could happen...which they did in the case of the two races I know who crashed there. There were no safety issues with the course. It was well prepared, well protected, and well set. Things happen, sometimes the wrong things, at 65 mph, is the message...
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 

Exactly...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
Yeah I was wondering about that...given what you guys were saying about how many people were ripping themselves up the video looks a bit tame, but then video always looks tame compared to the real thing.

...when we went in to watch the video at lunch, it was like "Who is that fat old man? You call that ski racing?". A whole different story on the hill. I've raced tougher downhills, but they got everything out of pretty modest terrain for this one. It was the real thing, and as much excitment as I need with my clothes on for a while...
post #13 of 27
Nice. Sometime in life I need to make it to a season of RM masters..youse guys have fun.
post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 

Yes, we do...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
Nice. Sometime in life I need to make it to a season of RM masters..youse guys have fun.
...as in, today I got to forerun a high school championships GS on LaBelle, then I got to ski powder with my teammates, tomorrow we're going to do full length GS on Powderhorn...SL training on Sunday...repeat, as necessary, for the next 2 weekends, then we're off to Cooper for a GS, then Vail (I think), for SL, GS, and Super G...then there's two SL/GS weekends at Loveland, plus the Leadville Town Downhill at Ski Cooper...intermixed with lots of slicing and dicing and powder skiing...yeah, ya outta try it...pm me for details...
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post
Don't try to fake Super G or DH on a 10 year old pair of long GSs with sketchy bindings. You need an honest to God speed event ski.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
And the bigger danger is they don't seem to monitor it, so you're free to put yourself in danger with whatever radius ski you feel like sporting.
So, if for some strange reason I am able to go, will I need to replace those old 490 bindings on my old SGs or not?

BTW, I agree 60+ mph on SL or cheater GS radius skis is not a good plan.
post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 

You need to have the Right Stuff...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
So, if for some strange reason I am able to go, will I need to replace those old 490 bindings on my old SGs or not?

BTW, I agree 60+ mph on SL or cheater GS radius skis is not a good plan.
..I dunno about 490 bindings, but what I look at is: for skis, graphics don't matter, are they (I'm doing Atomic only), Aerospeed 3 (that matters...details avialabile on request...), have decent plates (2008 vintage or similar Gs/Dh plates), bindings (10.18s, recent vintage, all others Need Not Apply...).

The way I look at it is, if you're going to race tech events, there is the stuff that I would recommend, but use whatever you want, because regardless of what you choose, you probably won't get killed...if you're doing a speed event, don't mess around with the (ahem) Minimum Opening Requirements unless you (a) don't mind dying...or (b) don't care where you finish...my advice only, your mileage may vary....
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post
..I dunno about 490 bindings, but what I look at is: for skis, graphics don't matter, are they (I'm doing Atomic only), Aerospeed 3 (that matters...details avialabile on request...), have decent plates (2008 vintage or similar Gs/Dh plates), bindings (10.18s, recent vintage, all others Need Not Apply...).

The way I look at it is, if you're going to race tech events, there is the stuff that I would recommend, but use whatever you want, because regardless of what you choose, you probably won't get killed...if you're doing a speed event, don't mess around with the (ahem) Minimum Opening Requirements unless you (a) don't mind dying...or (b) don't care where you finish...my advice only, your mileage may vary....
It's just that I've racked up a lot of high speed milage on these old SGs ( 1st geneartion Kästle SGs 208 cm -no plates - antique bindings and skis but with a large turn radius).

Edit: I don't really care if I win; I'm just wondering what it's like to have a well-prepared course when you're speeding.
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post
(that matters...details avialabile on request...)
consider this a request...
Quote:
(10.18s, recent vintage, all others Need Not Apply...).
And now I remember why I haven't had any Atomic race skis since 2001. (hugs Axial2 150s)
post #19 of 27
Ghost, those 208's are probably fine. Make sure they're properly beveled though. The bindings were considered safe when they were new, so if you have them function tested, the decision is up to you. Too much sidecut or too short is generally where the greatest equipment danger rests in speed events. My buddy I went to the race with was on my 215 DH boards, and was feeling over skied, so he borrowed a pair of 201 SG's from Fuxi. Even with a well tuned 33m ski he felt they were way too squirrely. He missed the stability of his 215 45's.

You'll really notice a big difference between straight lining a rec trail fully clothed, being able to turn where ever you want,,, and tucking a glazed track in a suit, turning where you have to. My first couple runs of the camp I did with no warm-ups on my legs, and a jacket, just to feel out the course and the line. When I stripped the jacket I was 4 seconds faster on a 55 second course.
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post
..."slalom and GS are just events, downhill is a cult..."
x2. After last weeks happenings I am considering quitting SL and GS all-together, and just doing DH's and SG's.

Rick, what was your USSA point cutoff that was required for DH when you were coaching?
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rise To The Top View Post
Rick, what was your USSA point cutoff that was required for DH when you were coaching?
It varied according to how the points were getting scewed at any particualar time,,, but generally somewher around 200 points in either SL or GS. Just enough to show they had a basic ability to ride and edge through a set line with some skill. Then for first timers I had a very disciplined and gradual break-in system. And I'd pull them if they weren't looking safe, but with the criteria and methodology I used it seldom had to be done.

I generally think exposure to speed gets rushed. Build the skills first. There's plenty of time later to up the speed dial.
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Ghost, those 208's are probably fine. Make sure they're properly beveled though. The bindings were considered safe when they were new, so if you have them function tested, the decision is up to you. Too much sidecut or too short is generally where the greatest equipment danger rests in speed events. My buddy I went to the race with was on my 215 DH boards, and was feeling over skied, so he borrowed a pair of 201 SG's from Fuxi. Even with a well tuned 33m ski he felt they were way too squirrely. He missed the stability of his 215 45's.

You'll really notice a big difference between straight lining a rec trail fully clothed, being able to turn where ever you want,,, and tucking a glazed track in a suit, turning where you have to. My first couple runs of the camp I did with no warm-ups on my legs, and a jacket, just to feel out the course and the line. When I stripped the jacket I was 4 seconds faster on a 55 second course.
We did a highly unscientific study at Whiteface one time last year, how much faster does a suit make you in GS? The result was approximately 2 seconds on a 40 second course with 4 separate skiers registering the same result... so 5%. Just over 7% on a true speed event makes sense.

As for safety, I think you guys are on point. I don't have a pair of proper speed skis right now so I'm not skiing any speed events this year. Faking it even on 27m WC's doesn't sound safe to me.
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
It varied according to how the points were getting scewed at any particualar time,,, but generally somewher around 200 points in either SL or GS. Just enough to show they had a basic ability to ride and edge through a set line with some skill. Then for first timers I had a very disciplined and gradual break-in system. And I'd pull them if they weren't looking safe, but with the criteria and methodology I used it seldom had to be done.

I generally think exposure to speed gets rushed. Build the skills first. There's plenty of time later to up the speed dial.
Ah, so I assume a second year independent racer with 240s in SL/GS wouldn't make it... w/e, I did it and survived, and got competitive with it by the end of the week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by philcski View Post
We did a highly unscientific study at Whiteface one time last year, how much faster does a suit make you in GS? The result was approximately 2 seconds on a 40 second course with 4 separate skiers registering the same result... so 5%. Just over 7% on a true speed event makes sense.

As for safety, I think you guys are on point. I don't have a pair of proper speed skis right now so I'm not skiing any speed events this year. Faking it even on 27m WC's doesn't sound safe to me.
The time that you can cut with a suit can be far larger, esp when skiing at higher speeds. The wind resistance and drag will continuously act to slow down acceleration and can easily slow you down by 10% if the conditions are right.

As for 27m GS WC's for Super G, it really depends on the length. If they are high 180s or 190s of some sort you could easily get away with training. When I first got on my 202s I was surprised how similar they were to my Volkl Racetiger 187s at a 27m. I pulled some days training SG last year on them and didn't feel all that unstable.
post #24 of 27

RTTP, it sounds like your trying to prove yourself a little too much. What Rick is saying is that as a coach he didn't feel comfortable entering his athletes in speed events if they weren't ready. points is just a reference point. I didn't get under 200 FIS points untill my 2nd year FIS... Did it mean I wasn't able to ski at 115, no it just meant I couldnt make it down the hill twice succesively.

 

But from a racer to another (and trust me i'm familiar with your situation) I would stick to GS and SL for now. This is where you learn the real technique and develop skills that will make your ride down DH tracks that much smoother

 

Keep at it mate

post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMAS29 View Post

RTTP, it sounds like your trying to prove yourself a little too much. What Rick is saying is that as a coach he didn't feel comfortable entering his athletes in speed events if they weren't ready. points is just a reference point. I didn't get under 200 FIS points untill my 2nd year FIS... Did it mean I wasn't able to ski at 115, no it just meant I couldnt make it down the hill twice succesively.

 

But from a racer to another (and trust me i'm familiar with your situation) I would stick to GS and SL for now. This is where you learn the real technique and develop skills that will make your ride down DH tracks that much smoother

 

Keep at it mate

 

I know, but I feel like I can do alot better in speed events than technical. In my 2nd downhill I almost went into the woods twice and got horrifically late, and I was about 8 seconds out of the lead that run. I could have easily cut 4 or more off had I not screwed up.

post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post
(that matters...details avialabile on request...)
consider this a request...
Quote:
(10.18s, recent vintage, all others Need Not Apply...).
And now I remember why I haven't had any Atomic race skis since 2001. (hugs Axial2 150s)

Sorry, I never answered this.  The Aero 3 series skis have aero tops, like the dimples on a golf ball...supposedly breaks up the wind resistance or something.  The main thing, however, is that Atomic did a big redesign of its speed event skis at the Aero 3 design point.  I had a bunch of pairs of the 2001-2002 era Atomic speed event skis with the red metalflake tops.  Good skis, but I always felt like they needed a lot of juice to get the turn started. The Aero 3 skis have a different construction (dunno what it is exactly), but they are also generally wider than the earlier skis and have a bigger taper angle at the tip.  Result:  they're just as stable, but just think turn and they hook up like a GS ski...and, as usual, Atomic somehow figure out a way to make the bases even faster, and I think the new DH/GS plate gives you a smoother and solider ride...
 

 

post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rise To The Top View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
It varied according to how the points were getting scewed at any particualar time,,, but generally somewher around 200 points in either SL or GS. Just enough to show they had a basic ability to ride and edge through a set line with some skill. Then for first timers I had a very disciplined and gradual break-in system. And I'd pull them if they weren't looking safe, but with the criteria and methodology I used it seldom had to be done.

I generally think exposure to speed gets rushed. Build the skills first. There's plenty of time later to up the speed dial.
Ah, so I assume a second year independent racer with 240s in SL/GS wouldn't make it... w/e, I did it and survived, and got competitive with it by the end of the week.

 


 

As an independant I wouldn't have had any say in if you raced or not.  Only way you'd get denied is if you looked to be a danger to yourself at the event, then you could get pulled.  Glad you didn't, glad you were able to avoid the trees, and glad you had a good time.   Over my years of coaching I saw many kids in speed events with lacking skills who were scary to watch, and I saw many racers carted off with injuries.  After I imposed my speed qualification standards my kids injury rate was nil. 

 

Take TMAS29's advice.  Focus your efforts on improving your general skiing, and technical event skills.  Sounds like you enjoy speed.  The more you improve your base skills the safer you'll be in speed, and because you'll do better too you'll enjoy it all the more. 


Edited by Rick - Tue, 03 Feb 09 03:26:05 GMT
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