EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Is racing the ultimate/best form of skiing? I'm not so sure...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Is racing the ultimate/best form of skiing? I'm not so sure... - Page 2

post #31 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffda View Post

 

You never see Hermann or Bode skiing off-piste, but if you put them in a helicopter and dropped them on top of a big Alaska face, they would kill it. 

 

I've seen Bode skiing off piste, out of a Heli, in Alaska.

post #32 of 56


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowfan View Post

 

 

 

I've seen Bode skiing off piste, out of a Heli, in Alaska.

...and what was the outcome?
 

JF

post #33 of 56

Maybe....

If it's a Chinese downhill on an unprepared course winth "mobile gates" ;) or just racing yourself down the hill going as fast as you can on your speed skis out in the natural environement with fractions of a second to react to conditions as you become aware of them.

 

Then again maybe not, maybe it's making the perfect arc down a (relatively) steep powder face.

 

Or making the perfect series of really hard high-g arcs down a groomed run

 

Or making beautiful high speed SG turns on a run covered by an inch of hard ice

 

Maybe it's just about flying through the snow on a blue bird day.

 

 

In truth, skiing is diamond with too many facets to call any one of the ultimate.

post #34 of 56
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys for adding a bit more to the discussion.

 

I doubt I'll be going to a race camp for a few years for physical reasons, and perhaps my other "problem" that isn;t understood by some is that I'm not interested in competing (although I'm sure some will tell you that is what all losers say!)

I am interested in making as many pain-free turns as possible without overdosing on drugs.

post #35 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat View Post

 

Thanks guys for adding a bit more to the discussion.

 

I doubt I'll be going to a race camp for a few years for physical reasons, and perhaps my other "problem" that isn;t understood by some is that I'm not interested in competing (although I'm sure some will tell you that is what all losers say!)

I am interested in making as many pain-free turns as possible without overdosing on drugs.

 

Is this still the knee?

 

WTFH, I'm with you in terms of wanting to ski all types of terrain without the pressure of competition, and skiing for the joy of being out on the snow.  But let me play a little devil's advocate.  Part of how I learn is watching others ski, and especially if I have someone with me who has the credibility to critique the skiing (for example, when watching video of my group during Epic Ski Academy).  I wonder if the analysis would be more valuable if I was watching video of people making the "exact" same turns that I was filmed making, i.e. around gates (nothing too demanding or technical).  I wonder if the critique would make even more sense when I can imagine what that turn actually felt like.

 

This is not to say that I want to attend a race camp.  How about an afternoon "elective" during a coaching experience so that one can take the fundamentals from the groomed (where you can turn when you want) to the gates (where you are being "told"where to turn -- not unlike a steep pitch with unpredictable hazards).

post #36 of 56

Racing does the best job of working the ski on the snow.  Racers are the best at interacting with their skis to make them perform best on the snow.  There is much, much more to winning races, but a winning racer must be among the best at using their body movements to get the most from their skis reacting with the snow.

 

I don't care about gates.  I do care about getting the best interaction of my skis on the snow and winning racing movements are the guides to that.

post #37 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat View Post

 

Thanks guys for adding a bit more to the discussion.

 

I doubt I'll be going to a race camp for a few years for physical reasons, and perhaps my other "problem" that isn;t understood by some is that I'm not interested in competing (although I'm sure some will tell you that is what all losers say!)

I am interested in making as many pain-free turns as possible without overdosing on drugs.

Sorry to hear about the physical problem Fox hope it gets better. 

 

The other problem is not really a problem.  You really don't have to be interested in competing to do race clinics. A lot of them aren't even timed it's just about technique and tactics and running gates. Do you want to do competitive mogul skiing just because you ski moguls? It's more about getting better and learning - which you do anyway so I'm not accepting your "other" reasons! All it takes is to nail one turn and you'll want to do it again.

post #38 of 56

To answer the original question: Is racing the ultimate/best form of skiing?

 

Yes, it is.

 

Learning how to run a race course -- and practicing it -- is a fantastic way of challenging yourself and your technique in a safe environment.  This has nothing at all to do with the willingness to compete.  If you ARE competing you are competing against the clock.  If you think you are competing against others, you are wrong. Your times are scored against others, but the competition is entirely between you and the course.

 

IMO, the race course is the safest place to ski on the entire mountain.  The course is on a closed trail and free of other skiers, so you don't have to worry about getting hit. When you are on course, it is all yours. The course itself is maintained and managed, so there are no piles of crud/chop to auger into. There are no trees to hit, no tree wells to get swallowed up into, no crevasses, no barely submerged rocks or stumps. It's clear of all dangerous obstructions.

 

As for the skills it takes to run a course, they are the same skills used everywhere else.... except that you need to have precise command over those skills -- sliding off the race line means your time will be slower.  Maintaining the race line is a difficult and challenging task. Moreso than crusing a field of powder, thats for sure!

 

 

post #39 of 56

Hi guys,

 

I raced in college and currently coach J3s.

 

Race techinque essentially is solid, efficient and well balanced skiing. This allows racer to turn where they need to inspite of things like ruts, ice, bumps ect; and helps them to generally ski much better than non racers in off-piste conditions.

 

My personal believe is that racing techinque is not neccessarily a standard that non racing skiiers should emulate, but rather without race training there is no way for skiiers to develop the skills that make someone really good. Skiing full speed down a course with flat light, ice, and ruts includes many of the more subtle skills that can't be picked up cruising around on groomers or even skiing harder double blacks.

 

Bottom line is this, almost every pro level free skiier comes from a racing background. Those who do not generally don't arc their skiis. Ski racing fundementals set a solid foundation for any terrain one will encounter and skiing 125 days a year also does not hurt. So while racing techinque is not the end all and be all of the ski world I would say that anyone who has raced alot will "shock" any "non racer/rec skiing god" with their skills. Frankly very few non racers have the confidence and skill to bomb down double blacks making stylish turns, and no one that picks their way down really rips! 

post #40 of 56
Quote:
 Is racing the ultimate/best form of skiing?

 

 

"Ultimate" and "best" are surely in the eye of the beholder, or the mind of the individual skier.

 

But I would argue that racing is the most difficult form of skiing. Making precise, high-speed, high-G turns around gates on bomb-proof water-injected icy courses, and trying to do it better than anyone else, requires an extraordinary amount of skill, discipline, athleticism, fitness, finesse, training, awareness, focus, and more (ownership and mastery of all 4 resources in Weems's Sports Diamond: Power, Purpose, Touch, and Will). And there's no more objective measure--or better coach--than a clock.

 

By contrast, skiing powder is possibly the easiest thing you can do on skis, once you get used to it. Especially on today's fat powder boards, it requires no particular technique--anything works, from hucking 'em around to slicing carved-like arcs. But the disciplined, efficient movements of racers, and their expertise at keeping their feet moving the direction they're pointed, works great in powder. I've never seen anyone who could make race-like carved turns who chose to huck skis sideways (as a rule) in powder--even though hucking does work fine.

 

Powder is pure fun. It's a real treat. I absolutely love skiing powder. But frankly, if every day was a perfect powder day, I'd get tired of it. There's so little challenge, so little sense of accomplishment, in just skiing powder. Yes, it's fun. But to me, so is skiing rock hard ice on a fine, well-tuned race ski--and that's a lot more challenging. For most skiers, that's not fun at all!

 

Bumps, too, are much easier than skiing on smooth ice. And bumps also lend themselves to "hucking" defensive techniques--they actually help. It's very easy to twist your skis sideways when "unweighted" over the top of a bump. And (unlike many conditions), it's a sure bet that they'll stop skidding and "hold" when they slam into the next bump. With just a little athleticism and will, and a little familiarity, most hacks can learn to survive a bump run without much trouble. But the techniques and tactics of racing--again the ability to keep the feet going the direction they're pointing, control line precisely, and use line (tactics), instead of braking, for speed control, make bump skiing much more effiicient and versatile. Skiers who can control line like racers have far more options in bumps. The easiest possible line in bumps (not necessarily the least physically and athletically demanding, of course) is the straight-downhill "zipper line." Racers can ski the zipper line easily--but they usually don't. Why not? Because they don't have to, and the zipper line--if that's all you can do--is boring. It's worth noting that Patrick Deneen, the recently crowned Moguls World Champion, was an alpine racer until his teens. He once won a downhill race and a moguls competition back-to-back.

 

So racing is not, in my opinion, what skiing is about. It's a lot of fun on its own, and many racers do, indeed, spend all their time in gates because they love it. But even part of race training, as others have pointed out above, involves getting out of the gates and just skiing--everything, every condition, everywhere, in every weather. The best racers tend to love the entirety of skiing--and one reason is that they are so good at it. Compared with running gates--and because of it--everything else is a walk in the park.

 

Personal preferences are what they are, and there's no accounting for taste. There is no "best" form of skiing. But if you want to get better at all forms of skiing--whether you want to be a racer or not--get in some good, focused gate training!

 

Best regards,

Bob

post #41 of 56

I remember a number of years ago, someone apparently decided to try settle the debate once and for all. So they held an unusual race. It was a giant slalom race, with gates, set on the steep, gnarly bumps of Vail's Look Ma. Competitors included both pro mogulers and pro alpine racers. For the most part, the alpine racers left most of the bumpers in the dust, and I believe it was the great Norwegian alpiner Jarle Halsnes who took the crown.

 

Probably didn't settle anything, of course! Today, the best mogul skiers, as I noted above, usually come from some sort of an alpine/race background. But it certainly silenced those who liked to say that racers can't ski anything besides race courses. For a little while....

 

 

Best regards,

Bob

post #42 of 56

Racing or skiing powder

Which is better??

Results from this weeks research

 

Last Tuesday skied Untracked Powder on Long Steep Faces --> Sustained floating sensation + Laughing  and uncontrolled giggling

 

Today Master super G race --> Monster Adreneline Buzz, Repeated muttering of "that was so cool, that was so cool..."

post #43 of 56

As a new member to the race arena, I'll echo what most have already stated.

 

Most racing isn't about competing against other racers. WC and when there is money on the table - yes, but probably >90% aren't in this category.

 

Racing isn't really about competing against the clock.  The clock is only a monitor to tell you your time.  Kind of like the Oracle in "The Matrix" - it tells you what you need to hear.  "You went faster"  "You're slowing down" etc.

 

This weekend I brought a timid skier (11 y/o/ boy) out to run gates in NASTAR.  He's been in a wedge for about 2-3 years, only skies 5-6 times a year in the after school program.  In one day with minimal coaching from me, he took 8 seconds off his time (39xx to 31.xx).  My daughter, his friend is the same age and has been skiing just as long.  She did the course in 22.xx (silver run).  I bring that up only as a point of reference for how long/difficult the course is.

 

The point is that at the end of the day he 1) had fun, 2) was exited about skiing 3) was skiing better.   He still gets in a wedge during the turn but for the first time had his skis straight when he was going straight.

 

For myself, racing has improved my skiing so much that folks are surprised it's me under that helmet.  Even the instructor that taught how to get on my edges and "start" to learn to carve was amazed at my times.  Not at how fast I can go but at how much I've improved because the only way to ski a course fast is to ski well.  You can't skid, wish yourself, buy (for the most part) or compensate in any other way to go faster. 

 

Yes the right gear will help you go faster but you still need to know how to use it properly.  If I switched gear with my platinum racing friend I would end up going slower.  If he put on my gear he would still get a platinum. 

 

Racing is 90% skier skill.  The other 10% is there so everyone racing has something to blame for their slower time

 

Masters Racing on the other hand is about skier skill and having real big ones.  I went down a trail that they do the masters course on and had a hard time skiing it and there weren't even any gates on it  The people that ski that are incredible skiers.  Going through gates on NH porcelain requires rock hard skill.

 

 

 

post #44 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePenguin View Post

 

Hi guys,

 

I raced in college and currently coach J3s.

 

Race techinque essentially is solid, efficient and well balanced skiing. This allows racer to turn where they need to inspite of things like ruts, ice, bumps ect; and helps them to generally ski much better than non racers in off-piste conditions.

 

My personal believe is that racing techinque is not neccessarily a standard that non racing skiiers should emulate, but rather without race training there is no way for skiiers to develop the skills that make someone really good. Skiing full speed down a course with flat light, ice, and ruts includes many of the more subtle skills that can't be picked up cruising around on groomers or even skiing harder double blacks.

 

Bottom line is this, almost every pro level free skiier comes from a racing background. Those who do not generally don't arc their skiis. Ski racing fundementals set a solid foundation for any terrain one will encounter and skiing 125 days a year also does not hurt. So while racing techinque is not the end all and be all of the ski world I would say that anyone who has raced alot will "shock" any "non racer/rec skiing god" with their skills. Frankly very few non racers have the confidence and skill to bomb down double blacks making stylish turns, and no one that picks their way down really rips! 

 

I beg to differ.

 

Full speed skiing down a steep icy run in flat light with rocks and later where it gets snowy, stumps and trees, and later where it's groomed mobile gates can develop a lot of skiing skills.  Actually, come to think of it, so does skiing full speed on marked trails.  It's a combination of speed, being forced to turn without much time to react and speed.

 

I will agree that prolonged coaching is a definite advantage, as far as getting better is concerned. 

 

 

post #45 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post

 

To answer the original question: Is racing the ultimate/best form of skiing?

 

Yes, it is.

 

Learning how to run a race course -- and practicing it -- is a fantastic way of challenging yourself and your technique in a safe environment.  This has nothing at all to do with the willingness to compete.  If you ARE competing you are competing against the clock.  If you think you are competing against others, you are wrong. Your times are scored against others, but the competition is entirely between you and the course.

 

IMO, the race course is the safest place to ski on the entire mountain.  The course is on a closed trail and free of other skiers, so you don't have to worry about getting hit. When you are on course, it is all yours. The course itself is maintained and managed, so there are no piles of crud/chop to auger into. There are no trees to hit, no tree wells to get swallowed up into, no crevasses, no barely submerged rocks or stumps. It's clear of all dangerous obstructions.

 

As for the skills it takes to run a course, they are the same skills used everywhere else.... except that you need to have precise command over those skills -- sliding off the race line means your time will be slower.  Maintaining the race line is a difficult and challenging task. Moreso than crusing a field of powder, thats for sure!

 

 

Very true.   Organized racing gives you maybe 90 of the benefit of just blasting all terrain, and 10% as dangerous.  

 

The thing is "racing" is the key.  I could "cruise" a race course with little benefit, or I could simple "race" down the mountain.   Thing is most people don't race down the mountain and don't cruise in the course.

 

post #46 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat View Post

 

But it still begs the question, if racing is supposed to be the best, then why do people want to ski powder at all, because if one thing is the best, then everything else must be inferior, so, skiing powder must be inferior to running gates.

And if it is, I want to be inferior!

Here is my $.02. Its not "the best" skiing is the best foundation. Like adding and subtracting are to real would math skills.

 

 

I'll add that I was never a ski racer, I could not stand in a line up waiting for my run w/ 2 feet of fresh snow to be had. But my 10 y/o has been in the race program for 5 years she stared as a j6 and she can almost at this point ski anywhere I take her. That's the reason I put her in the program to start with, I knew that I would be bumming if my child could not ski where I liked to ski and it has worked. Her 2nd year as a j6 she and most of the kids in the program could get their skis up on edge and sink a hip to the snow, and that's the foundation that makes a great all mountain skier.

post #47 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

 

 

"Ultimate" and "best" are surely in the eye of the beholder, or the mind of the individual skier.

 

But I would argue that racing is the most difficult form of skiing. Making precise, high-speed, high-G turns around gates on bomb-proof water-injected icy courses, and trying to do it better than anyone else, requires an extraordinary amount of skill, discipline, athleticism, fitness, finesse, training, awareness, focus, and more (ownership and mastery of all 4 resources in Weems's Sports Diamond: Power, Purpose, Touch, and Will). And there's no more objective measure--or better coach--than a clock.

 

By contrast, skiing powder is possibly the easiest thing you can do on skis, once you get used to it. Especially on today's fat powder boards, it requires no particular technique--anything works, from hucking 'em around to slicing carved-like arcs. But the disciplined, efficient movements of racers, and their expertise at keeping their feet moving the direction they're pointed, works great in powder. I've never seen anyone who could make race-like carved turns who chose to huck skis sideways (as a rule) in powder--even though hucking does work fine.

 

Powder is pure fun. It's a real treat. I absolutely love skiing powder. But frankly, if every day was a perfect powder day, I'd get tired of it. There's so little challenge, so little sense of accomplishment, in just skiing powder. Yes, it's fun. But to me, so is skiing rock hard ice on a fine, well-tuned race ski--and that's a lot more challenging. For most skiers, that's not fun at all!

 

Bumps, too, are much easier than skiing on smooth ice. And bumps also lend themselves to "hucking" defensive techniques--they actually help. It's very easy to twist your skis sideways when "unweighted" over the top of a bump. And (unlike many conditions), it's a sure bet that they'll stop skidding and "hold" when they slam into the next bump. With just a little athleticism and will, and a little familiarity, most hacks can learn to survive a bump run without much trouble. But the techniques and tactics of racing--again the ability to keep the feet going the direction they're pointing, control line precisely, and use line (tactics), instead of braking, for speed control, make bump skiing much more effiicient and versatile. Skiers who can control line like racers have far more options in bumps. The easiest possible line in bumps (not necessarily the least physically and athletically demanding, of course) is the straight-downhill "zipper line." Racers can ski the zipper line easily--but they usually don't. Why not? Because they don't have to, and the zipper line--if that's all you can do--is boring. It's worth noting that Patrick Deneen, the recently crowned Moguls World Champion, was an alpine racer until his teens. He once won a downhill race and a moguls competition back-to-back.

 

So racing is not, in my opinion, what skiing is about. It's a lot of fun on its own, and many racers do, indeed, spend all their time in gates because they love it. But even part of race training, as others have pointed out above, involves getting out of the gates and just skiing--everything, every condition, everywhere, in every weather. The best racers tend to love the entirety of skiing--and one reason is that they are so good at it. Compared with running gates--and because of it--everything else is a walk in the park.

 

Personal preferences are what they are, and there's no accounting for taste. There is no "best" form of skiing. But if you want to get better at all forms of skiing--whether you want to be a racer or not--get in some good, focused gate training!

 

Best regards,

Bob

 

Since no one else has acknowledged it... Bob's post is extremely insightful.

post #48 of 56

well thanks for that Bob, I always wonder why Pat skied a much cleaner rounded line than anyone else, now I know why.

post #49 of 56

To circle back to a general point I've emphasized here for years, great skiing habits are offensive, not defensive. By my definition, great turns are always made to control direction, not speed, while speed is controlled through tactics--through line. This is true of racers as well as recreational skiers of all skill levels. All experts--and all who are on the path to expertise--ski offensively, and improve the techniques of offensive skiing.

 

But at least 99% of recreational skiers ski defensively--again, at all skill levels. They "turn to control speed." (Ask your chairlift partner why he or she turns, if you don't believe me. Ask yourself!) They may or may not like to go "fast," but they still tend to think of turns as brakes, as a technique primarily meant to slow them down. Most skiers do not even think of turning until that "little voice" whispers or shouts, "OK, that's fast enough...now turn!" 

 

It is possible for recreational skiers to develop the offensive "go that way" intent of all great skiers, and good instructors recognize that creating this intent is paramount. "Intent dictates technique," I always say, and you simply cannot successfully teach offensive techniques to defensive skiers. There are many focuses, drills, and situations that can help develop offensive intent. (And terrain, by the way, is rarely one of them. Just skiing flatter, less intimidating terrain may encourage skiers to ski faster, but if the trigger for turning remains "that's fast enough," they are still thinking of turns as defense--"stop going this way," rather than "GO that way.") Yes, it's possible. But, as simple observation on our slopes--green, blue, black, or unrated--reveals, it doesn't happen very often.

 

On the other hand, nothing--absolutely nothing!--puts a skier into the offensive mode and develops offensive habits like gates. Slowing down may still become a need, but making it around the next gate remains the priority. Braking and turning naturally separate as two distinct intents and techniques in the skier's mind. "Go that way"--get around that gate--that's the prime directive, the first and foremost reason for making the turn. Whereas in recreational skiing, simply slowing down may satisfy the urge that stimulated the "turn," in gates, if it causes you to skid off your line, it will feel wrong, and you'll know it. And the skier will try to correct it, the best he can, modifying his technique to get around that gate somehow.

 

This offensive intent that gates inevitably create is probably the main reason why so many skiers realize incredible breakthroughs in their skiing when they venture into gates. They "force" us to blend our skills in ways that are rarely needed without gates. Gates are often the first experience many skiers have with offensive, expert-like skiing. It's not only intoxicating, but the sensations, newfound control, and awakened awareness of tactics--the "paradigm shift" to thinking offensively like an expert--will transfer to all other skiing, in every condition, everywhere.

 

This natural offensive intent, combined with the skills to enable it, honed by the gates and the clock, is the primary reason why racers are such good skiers all over the mountain. You don't have to race to accomplish it, but it's one of the best ways I know to become a better skier.

 

Best regards,

Bob

post #50 of 56

Thanks, Heluva!

 

Yes, BWPA, I believe that Patrick Deneen skis with a fundamentally different--or at least, rare--technique in bumps, compared with most of his competitors. His race background, combined with intentionally employing and refining it under the excellent coaching of his father, Pat, who was also an alpine competitor and instructor, shows clearly in his bump skiing. And it's obviously serving him well!

 

Best regards,

Bob

post #51 of 56

The main reason skiers with racing experience are so refined has to do with the fact that they are extremely aware of every body movement they are making. They have participated in very focused and extensive training for years and paid more attention to the actual results in their skiing than to the "fun factor".  Most recreational skiers want to get better sure and will take some classes, but not at the expense of their fun, which is why their progress is somewhat limited in most cases.

 

Bob, great post.  

 

There is no ultimate form of skiing.  Any racer that thinks ski racing is the ultimate form of skiing are living with dillusions of grandeur.  There is no ultimate form.  This question is really forked into two separate things.  One is whether or not a particular form of skiing is more ultimate than another.  I say no.  

 

But another question is about the skiers themselves...who are the best skiers?  I say, more often than not you will find that the best skiers out there had some race training of some kind.  But I don't think this has anything to do with the racing format being superior.  It has more to do with the motivation behind the training in the student, the quality of coaches that were available, the amount of time spent training, focused on every detail of technique.  Race training does churn out, in general, the best skiers.

 

post #52 of 56

Interesting topic. I think this ties into the whole culture that sprang up around the ski world before there were as many different disciplines and competitive options. Racing and racers have always been competitive so they naturally think their discipline is best and their top performers are the best. Yes racers are more offensive within the context of seeking speed but they also know when to pull back and be more conservative when they encounter a particular situation that requires less speed. The point is they brake when they need to although most skiers don't recognize that when they see it. A comment written in another thread compared this to racing cars and the erroneous suggestion that you never use the brakes during a race. In a perfect world line alone would suffice for speed control but as we all know a perfect world is just an idealized concept. We need to know how to brake and do so when it's needed.

As far as comparing racers in general to recreational skiers, we also need to consider a couple things before we give them all a gold star for attendance and participation. Most racers quit long before they even get to the ability class level. Which isn't a ringing endorsement of the process by any means. Secondly it isn't a fair comparison to use a typical recreational participant in any sport and compare them to a committed competitive athlete in the same sport. Tiger and Lance would be a fair comparison (if you could compare golf to bike racing) but to compare either to weekend enthusiasts and we have too big a big talent and purpose gap for any meaningful comparisons.

 

Fun and recreational pursuits have less to do with being competitive and more to do with FUN. Our industry is built on providing a great vacation experience and IMO that means showing the guests an experience second to none. If that means snowball fights, shopping and skidded ski turns to them, guess what? That would be their definition of "best". Sure we could suggest how they can improve enough to enjoy the whole mountain but if that isn't their thing why not live and let live. I've said it before the ultimate ski experience is the one I'm having at the time. The next experience may not ever happen and the last one is just a memory. IMO it is irrelevant what discipline I'm doing at the time. As Bob can confirm when I'm not teaching classes, or training our staff, I am always out race training, bump training, cert maneuver training and recently I've even been spotted playing in the park. To me calling one discipline, or one skier "best" misses the point that it's all good and "best" or the "ultimate form of skiing" is just a subjective opinion about one option. The skiing world is so much wider when you take off your blinders and see all the options as equal.


Edited by justanotherskipro - 3/25/2009 at 05:56 pm


Edited by justanotherskipro - 3/25/2009 at 05:57 pm


Edited by justanotherskipro - 3/25/2009 at 11:35 pm
post #53 of 56

I think it boils down to one very simple thing:

 

Inasmuch as ski technique is about making better turns, race training refines those turns like nothing else, and the best skiers are, therefore, the best racers. The racer who wins the race is (usually) the one who makes the best turns.

 

But that statement begs a legitimate question--is ski technique necessarily about making better turns?

 

As JASP and others note, there are lots of things besides turning that we do, that are fun, and that are sometimes necessary--even in a race course. Many of the options today do not really rely on turns. Terrain parks are aptly known as "flat ski zones," where acrobatic aerials and balance on rails and such trump turning ability, and the only thing you really need a turn for is to get to the next feature--and it hardly needs to be a "good" turn. Big-mountain "extreme skiing" is as much about attitude and will, along with skill in judging "safe" lines, as about making great turns. While many of the best big mountain competitors do make technically great turns--and most of those have a fair amount of gate experience under their belts--many others really do not. Many rely more on athletic braking movements, and their technique would barely get them through a race course, if they were to ever enter one. Some "Big Mountain" venues and conditions do reward the technically excellent skiers more than others, of course, and all else being equal, I'd still put my money on the technically brilliant skiers with race backgrounds any day.

 

Then there are a few unique skills and tactics that pure racers may well not develop--and that may well contradict classic ideas of "good" technique. I am still amazed at some of the things that Dan Egan does, and why he does them, in extreme terrain--things that technique snobs might turn their noses up at. He spends a lot of time in the air. Why (besides the fun factor)? It enables him to avoid obstacles that might damage his skis at least, or trip him in a no-fall zone where life and death are on the line. I'll never forget his run in the First Notch at Arapahoe Basin last season, through a section so peppered with rocks that most skiers side-stepped carefully through it. Dan just skipped through it, placing his skis on a white patch wherever he found it, and popping back into the air to look for the next patch. He usually landed and spent much time on his uphill (inside) ski. Racers and many instructors might call that a technical error, but Dan explained that it allowed him to lift that ski quickly and shift to the downhill ski whenever it encountered a rock or other obstacle, and it gave him an added margin of safety when that ski caught an edge on an unseen obstacle. Catching an edge on the downhill ski could mean a deadly fall.

 

Dan definitely does things that many instructors might think are technically uncouth--but that are, in fact, ideally suited to the demands and intents of the situations he regularly finds himself in. Is that not what technique is all about? Intent dictates Technique. What is right in one situation is wrong in another. I'd certainly rather adapt my technique to the situation, than die making "perfect turns"!

 

On the other hand, Dan is no stranger to gates himself. He knows how to use his edges, and I'm sure he'd agree that his experience in gates is invaluable as well. But he surely demonstrates, too, that there is more, that even "perfect turns" are not enough, and that there are important techniques and tactics that great skiers will likely develop only outside the race course.

 

What is best? Take a side anywhere, limit your exposure to anything--and you'll be wrong. Everything we do makes us better skiers. Everything we learn outside the gates makes us better racers. And everything we learn in the gates makes us better everywhere.

 

Best regards,

Bob


Edited by Bob Barnes - 3/26/2009 at 07:10 pm
post #54 of 56

This season I've tried to limit my exposure to pneumonia. ... Am I wrong?

 

.ma

post #55 of 56

Of all the conditions to expose yourself to...

Why not choose one more fun to catch?  

post #56 of 56

Perhaps some exploration is in order?

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Is racing the ultimate/best form of skiing? I'm not so sure...