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Slalom Racing technique

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Some Slalom racing technique links.
I was originally looking for use of the term "reaching turn" in a context of slalom racing. I didn't find any but here are some good slalom technique articles. Lycos listed 4 results for the search on "reaching turn" ski. All were from epic ski.

Most of these articles have been around for a while so please feel free to post slalom technique articles/links.

Olle Larson-How to Win Slalom .pdf download file

2002 Slalom article Phil McNichol

Ron LeMaster Slalom photos

Caroline Lalive Articles ski mag,00.html,00.html

Sarah Schleper article Ski mag,00.html

Bode Miller by Ron Lemaster ski mag,00.html
post #2 of 21
Thanks for those.
I didn't see the one from Ski Racing where, under pole plant, it said, "don't leave the lodge without one". I'll have to see if I can dig it up.

[ September 03, 2003, 07:21 AM: Message edited by: SLATZ ]
post #3 of 21
Good stuff, Nord.

Of all those articles, the Bode Miller article by Ron LeMaster (Bode's Big Secret) is my favorite. As Ron suggests, it shows the shape of things to come in slalom technique. While Kjetil Andre Aamodt's skiing is certainly modern--a far cry from the "float and sting" turns necessitated by the old very straight-sidecut slalom skis of only a few years ago--the subtle differences between Bode's movements and Kjetil Andre's movements represent the cutting edge, in my opinion. Bode takes the straightest, shortest line possible with his body, especially through the transition, and when he pulls it off, he usually wins!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #4 of 21
I will pose this question to those with a better eye than I have.

Is it safe to say that "modern" slalom technique is getting squarer? I can even see examples in Bode's montages of his shoulders seemingly "rotating" prior to his lower body. It is exceedingly athletic obviously and appears to be the ultimate in "go there" technique.

What strikes me is how much a skier looks like an NFL running back at times. Take away the implements on their feet and a ski turn looks like a "cut" on a playing field.


[ September 03, 2003, 08:32 AM: Message edited by: Rusty Guy ]
post #5 of 21
Good eye Rusty.
Aldo Radamus used pictures of both, several years ago when flex gates were just coming in, to show they type of move skiers were making at the gate.

[ September 03, 2003, 08:37 AM: Message edited by: SLATZ ]
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
It's just like the article says Bode is taking a more direct line down the hill with his body. Take at look at the differences in the pole plant. I would say he's starting the turn by moving down the hill across the skis.
post #7 of 21
I don't doubt or deny that. I was referring more to the relationship between his shoulders hips and femurs. It appears to me that he as well as others are more aligned in the direction they want to go as opposed to having much or any counter or counter rotation.

In addition, as I mentioned previously I think I see evidence of his shoulders rotating slightly prior to his skis turning. More of an Orientation towards the next gate.
post #8 of 21
I'm not sure if Bode's really rotating so much as naturally responding to how much his body gets stretched out at the outside of the turn. The second photo shows him fairly inclined downhill with his upper body, so that may be an isolated instance. I'll have to watch my WC videos to be sure.
post #9 of 21
It looks like Bodie jets his skis from underneath him in pic#4 and has a more erect upper body. Skis are wider in pic#8 and more pressure on the outside ski from my point of view. Last time I saw him race he looked like a machine going down the course. His time was 22.85 seconds. Mine was 23.30. Next year he's mine.
post #10 of 21
I think its interesting to compare the two in frame 5. Bodie has already noved way to the inside by that point. Aamodt, while his left ski is edged somewhat, still has his body more or less over the skis, at least from this point of view. I think Bodie is shooting his skis out in order to find his new edges and hook them up earlier. He is definitely earlier. Look at frame 4. I can still see Aamodt's bases, while Bodie's skis are already showing their tops.

Oddly enough Bodie's jetting his skis reminds me of Jean Claude Killy at Cannon Mtn NH in 1967 or 1968 (Bodie's home mtn., before he was born).
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
The movement into the next gate is what causes the body position. It's the movement patterns that matter, everything else is done to maintain balance or edge hold.
post #12 of 21
Originally posted by NordtheBarbarian:
The movement into the next gate is what causes the body position. It's the movement patterns that matter, everything else is done to maintain balance or edge hold.
Perhaps I haven't stated my query quite clearly enough.

During the course of teaching ski lessons and particularly in working on demos, ski instructors work very hard to tone down rotation of the shoulders in turn initiation.

What I see in the montages among these world class athletes is SOME evidence of upper body rotation at the start of a few of these turns.

I guess what I'm asking is whether anyone concurs and perhaps this is the difference between a purely functional highly athletic movement as opposed to a more contrived and theoretical turn done in demos and or attempted to be taught to skiers.

You bet it's the movement to the next gate. I'm asking about whether the movement pattern includes;

1. A fairly square orientation of the shoulders and hips as opposed to the somewhat countered positions seen ten years ago


2. Does Bodie have in his bad of somewhat idiosyncratic movements some upper body rotation at initiation?
post #13 of 21

Visually I think I see what you are pointing out. But I think it's anticipation rather than rotary force. Facing the torso in the intended direction o travel can be more of a directing move in that it's primary effect is not applying direct twisting force upon the skis, but to align the body to where it will be going. Something like that any way. Getting too wordy for my liking so I'll stop until I figure out something simpler.
post #14 of 21
It does seem to me that between frames 4 and 5 some redirection of the skis has occured. Since the skis are still fairly flat in frame 4, perhaps some leg rotation has been applied to the skis by frame 5, by which time the skis have been edged. It would be interesting to see a more minute breakdown of what occurs during this very brief moment when Bodie has thrust his feet forward. I try to imagine this moment when the skis are light, feeling with the feet, perhaps finding the right ski orientation, setting the edges, preparatory to the moment when the body has caught up to the skis. Even if he is not turning the skis with leg rotation, it seems likely that some kind of anticipatory torque has been created by the change of direction of the upper body that will find its way down to the skis as thay come around. In this case the torque would simply allow the skis to come around without the upper torso following, quite the opposite of rotation.
post #15 of 21

I too concur - The "rotational" move (reorienting of the upper body direction prior to fall line entry) is becoming more prevelant - watch video footage of Schlopy and you'll see it in GS too -

My take is it is anticipatory in function. Athletes have moved the apex of the turn higher up the fall line - with the radical edge angles the high 'g' load is not limited to just fall line exit -

I see it analogous to doing a weight lift "squat" - alignment is essential to good power lifting.

I will venture that a countered upper body at fall line entry would limit the athlete's ability to 'drive through' the load.

The dynamics of modern carving skis asks us to be very conscious of "body shaping through turn shape."
post #16 of 21 "counter" a thing of the past in slalom?

Again, these photos look like running backs.
post #17 of 21
Nope, I don't think "counter" is a thing of the past in SL - that will be dictated by course setting. As an example, watch the top athletes enter a flush (3-4 gate vertical combination) and you'll see them countered (shoulders outside the gate) in the first section of the combination.

I would imagine you'd see more counter if the horizontal spacing of two consecutive arcs is less "reaching" (had to use the term!) across the fall line, requiring a quicker development of the new arc....
post #18 of 21
I've been following the discussion with great interest. I thing Whygimf pretty much summed it up.

"Inclined downhill" seems to be what most of my coaches are looking for, and it really depends on how far the turn moves across the hill and how extended the body is.

As was touched on, rotating in quick turns can be wasted effort, if not completely counter-productive. Lot of mass to move around each time the skis change direction.

Excessive countering while moving across the hill is also wasted effort, and may not be as structurally sound. It seems to me that it takes weight off of the inside tip and requires extra effort to get the torso "up and over" the skis. I watch Bode and a lot of the US skiers and I see less "up and over" and more extension of the body to the outside of the turn and retraction in the transition.

Counter isn't dead, it's just less important than it once was. Instead of focusing on my shoulders in relation to the fall line in an artificial way, my coaches have moved to focusing my attention to various points on the course (look ahead). The body will align itself as required, or so it seems.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
post #20 of 21
Thanks Nord, that was one of the clearest pictures I've seen (amazing considering the source). I have to put that in my notebook.

...but... there's supposed to be a difference? I thought good skiing was good skiing...
post #21 of 21
Interestingly enough it was Ingamar who developed the technique that Bodie and the rest use today. He used an air pole that was basically a baloon(Aldo had some at Blackcomb one summer). He used it(the technique) to set the fastest time for the second run at Calgary.
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