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Ski racing help for 2nd year racer...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm new to this forum...Anyway I was wondering if anybody could give me some advice on how to improve my race skiing. I just completed my second season of ski racing in the Mid Atlantic Area..are races consists og GS and SL course, though most of them are GS or modified GS courses like NASTAR. I've been skiing seriously for 5 years..I feel I ski alot faster free skiing then in the gates, I have improved my NASTAR handicap from about a 55 to 53 but am looking for bigger improvements, I have never had a ski lesson, would that help? If so what should I look for in a ski instructor? Long post I know but would like some feedback..
post #2 of 11
PSIA instruction is very different from race coaching. If i were you i would look for a race coach. PSIA teaches excellent turns but often are focuzed more on maintaining a constant speed rather than going as fast as possible... I have never raced a lot of nastar so i dont know exactly how it works but maybe you should look into racing with a masters program at a local resort where you can get coaching a run races every weekend...
post #3 of 11
What I can tell you is that I've been racing for around 16 years and the lesson is the best way to go. Plus I'm still learning how to get faster. Where I get my biggest bang for the buck in the Masters training. At least out here in Colorado the coaches are all first rate. The biggest thing to remember is that you need to run and run and run gates. That is the only way to improve, and also leave your pride behind. Falling, and embarrasing yourself is just part of the game. I remember last year training at Winter Park with some of the ex Austrian Team members during a Masters Training day. To say the least I was very humbeled, which was a good thing. Check at some of your local areas for some of the training schedules. You won't be disapointed.

Bill in Denver, CO
post #4 of 11
Free skiing and perfecting tecnique in free skiing is also very important. Running gates is fine and that needs to be done. When you run a race all the movements and actions in your skiing should come instinctively. You shouldn't have to worry about carving your turns the only thing you should be thinking of is line and how can I go faster.
But to much gate training can be detramental too. One can become burned out on racing and training really fast if there isn't enough free skiing mixed in.

One of my biggest things when I'm coaching or instructing is balance. There are plenty of drills you can do to improve balance. Many PSIA instuctors will know them. Also skiing bumps and getting air/hitting jumps increase your range of balance.
Also really learn how to carve your skis. If you want to go fast a skid ain't gonna do it.

post #5 of 11
Watch as many experiance racers as you can (at the hill or on TV) and get a mental impression of what you want to look like (angulation, initiation...) This will never replace a coach or a single lesson, but it can help, even if you can't look like them. The most important thing is to be able to recognize what you are doing wrong.
post #6 of 11
You might check with the area ski school where you race Nastar, MikeS. Many ski schools that conduct Nastar races also offer a race clinic that includes a racing lesson, your registration fee and some runs.
post #7 of 11
As both a coach, and an instructor, who has worked with hunderds of recreational and more serious racers of all levels over the years, I would steer you to an instructor first (with coaching or racing experience as a plus). Ski racing is based on quality skiing skills. At your level, based on your 53 handicap, your immediate need is to learn to carve turns and shape them to produce gliding vs braking results. This is a necessary foundation to give you the option of improving your racing line, and your time. The quality of turn you can make determines the race line you can take, with a minimum of braking. An instructor, even one with just some Nastar experience of their own, will do far more for you at your level to improve your balance and carving skills, and your times, than most race coaches (unless they also have background training as an instructor).

Racing is great skiing, not some mystic art.
post #8 of 11
I agree with you, Arc! Skiing skills are the essential foundation for becoming a better racer. Time in gates is important too, but without the ability to make a good turn, there is an absolute wall you will hit--like the self-taught golfer who reaches a frustrating plateau.

I have seen skiers with seriously deficient skills become REASONABLY fast in NASTAR-type courses, though, just by spending countless hours there. But again, they always plateau well beneath their potential, until they focus effectively and spend some time on the fundamentals of good technique.

Good ski instructors--even those who spend little time in gates--understand, demonstrate, and teach the very same fundamental movements that make skiers fast in a race course. As I've often said, "good skiing" is "skiing a slow enough line as fast as you can." The "slow enough line" part is a tactical choice that allows you focus on gliding, "offensive" movements without needing to use your skis as brakes. The "fast as you can" part is what allows you to ski ANY line faster!

Good instructors, of course, are capable of teaching all kinds of movements suitable for all kinds of intents and tactical situations. But that includes--especially--the gliding, precise, efficient line-control movements of racers!

Because race gates don't hurt as much as aspen trees or snowboarders when you hit them, the exact line you might take through a race course is a LITTLE different than the line you might take while free-skiing through obstacles. There are some "race-specific" tactics that can only be learned in a race course. So both time out of the course, developing better technique, and time IN the course, developing better tactics--both under the watchful eye of a good coach/instructor--are important if you really want to reach your potential as a racer.

Have fun!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #9 of 11
Count me in with Arcmiester. I teach skills at all levels in my program. It's amazing some of the things pretty good racers can't do. Especially in slalom when it comes to (ski)pole work.
I don't feel you can improve skills much with only gate training.
post #10 of 11
I agree with Arc, but any USSA certified coach "should" have the ability to get you to carve your ski correctly or any other skiing tecnique that is needed to improve your skiing. Most coaches spend just as much time working on the mechanics of skiing as they do working in a coarse. If your racer cannot ski well outside a race course, how is he/she going to excel in a race coarse; they can't. That's why i see a lot of coaches, including myself, that work on the free skiing capabilities.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help. I ended up taking a private lesson at Timberline, while i was there for a race. The instructor also was a racer. Worked on my turns, more carving then skidded. You guys were right! Also some advice on starts and skis. Raced NASTAR for the first time since the lesson last weekend, ended up with my best handicap yet a 42! [img]smile.gif[/img]
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