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Slalom "float" outdated?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
I was just looking at the Ron LaMaster site and noticed that about 50% of the slalom pictures don't show a noticeable "float" phase. An Al Hobart tape (Carving Quick Turns Made Easy, 1999)I have states that this portion of the turn is required to change direction fast enough (through rotary while unweighted) to be able to carve the turn through the next gate.

Is the float phase uneccesary with the shorter, more radically sidecut slalom skis, or is it still a valid tool to develop?
post #2 of 38
The sting is at the top of the turn. On 155-160cm slalom skis you float through the carved part of the turn.
post #3 of 38
Explain that please, Nordie. I think I see what Mike is seeing: the days of the float/redirection may be gone. Maybe you still float through some of the edge change as you develop your rebound, but I don't see the redirect.

I noticed this season at the World Cup slalom that the carve really seems to go from end to end--even on super steep. I was blown away. I saw it last year on J3's (juniors) on steep slalom hills!

I tried it on short slaloms, and then did a second run, and then I was pretty much done for the day. But man, those were two good runs.

[ April 23, 2002, 08:06 PM: Message edited by: weems ]
post #4 of 38
I looked at Ron's pictures, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I think he mislabeled the one called "Rebound crossover".

It sure looks like a cross-UNDER to me...

post #5 of 38
After spending four days at the Lutsen Spring Series watching a number of Olympians and national team members of various countries go past in close proximity to me, I still believe that technique has not changed. The human body is the same and the skis still have sidecut that allows you to bend them. What has changed is the range of input necessary to get the desired result. Also the number of options available to the athlete to solve a particular problem has increased.
It's easy to look at one turn and see one thing. In the whole picture there are lots of things going on, depending on the situation. These athletes have a huge "bag of tricks" and don't hesitate to use any one of them.
post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 
I thought the "sting" was when you set your edges after the "float" at the top/bottom of your turn. My understanding is that the "float" was the momentary unweighting of the skis as they crossed under your body that allowed you to use rotary to redirect them.

Do I have this whole float-sting thing backwards?
post #7 of 38
I agree with you Ott--I am sure they are mislabled.

Alaska Mike--I think you've answered your own questions! On one hand, the new skis have certainly given us more options, including linked arc-to-arc carved turns in some situations, eliminating the "float" and the redirection of the skis between turns--as in "50% of the slalom pictures" you saw.

But what's happening in the other 50%?

New options do not necessarily make "old" options obsolete!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #8 of 38
Slatz, I agree with the bag of tricks. It's too easy to isolate one instance and say "Hey, told you so!" instead of looking at a whole range of instances and trying to identify a trend.
post #9 of 38
Thread Starter 
I've found that when there is a major change in ski technology, people take a while to absorb it into practice. So, I was wondering if ingrained habits were more the cause of the floating in the pictures than actual necessity. Id imagine that it's hard to overcome 20 years of training, even for a world-class skier.

However, the point of my post (as unclear as it was) was whether or not the "float" should be a primary goal when training for modern slalom, or a neat trick for the odd times when it's required. It seems a bit excessive on todays shorter slalom skis- where balance is easily lost and a harsher edgeset would seem counterproductive.

Perhaps a better question would be what are the "primary movements" of modern slalom. Is skating between gates still taught, or is keeping the skis in contact with the snow and carving the goal?
post #10 of 38
Alaska- I believe arc to arc is the goal now in sl just as gs. The old tricks are still there and always will be. With todays ski sl is almost become a compressed gs course more across the hill and arc to arc. I think it is fun to watch again. I did not care for the straight run blocking it had become.
post #11 of 38
In a rare instance, I disagree with Ott and Bob on the crossover shot. Partially because I have always thought the whole discusssion of crossover/crossunder was a little specious. I understand the distinctions made, but it's not one I make. I am never aware of the attempt to get the skis to the outside of my center, but I'm always aware of the need to get my center to the inside of the turn so I can line up on my skis. Even in the so-called "reaching turn". Sometimes I will do it when absorbing pressure, (crossunder?) and sometimes while applying pressure (crossover?).

I believe a racer would even look at it more simply and just say he's trying to get on the edge.
post #12 of 38
As for whether tech is changing or not. The answer is both.

A man does not show his greatness by being at one extremity, but rather
by touching both at once. -Blaise Pascal, philosopher and mathematician

The body is the same, the goal is the same, but now the goals are more achievable. In that process, slightly different stuff begins to emerge in different dosages.

Look, for example, at the up motion to upweight and pivot. Sure I still have it in my bag, but I sure as hell don't use it much anymore. Remember the preturn?

I think that Alaska Mike is right on. He looked at Hobart's material on slalom a few years back, and just doesn't see that float/pivot happening much anymore. Because it doesn't. It's not necessary. Not that a racer won't do it, when it is necessary, but it's not the daily diet fundamental anymore.

I think it's beautiful that they don't have to do that very much anymore. It's amazing to see those skis drive straight into the edge without dumping all that speed.

I also think that this is one of the primary reasons they went so short. Or perhaps the short skis constitutes the primary reason for the end of the pivot. (Crossunder? Crossover? [img]smile.gif[/img] )
post #13 of 38
Todo. Here,here.
post #14 of 38
Crossover/crossunder I would have to side with Weems. I have never liked this debate. My feeling is my Cm is always going to crossover just as I my skis are going to crossunder. How we move our legs and were in the turn things may happen change but 1 is always going over as 1 is always going under so I don't like to draw the distinction. I will speak of a retraction or flex turn to discribe a "crossunder move" and speak more of an extension for a "crossover move" but in the end I want a blend of lengthing and extending my outside leg as I flex and ski my inside leg thru my turn.

So my term is I try to ski a "Cross Thru turn"!
post #15 of 38
At Lutsen, as the race chair put it," we had some very expensive legs to look after". From about 15th in the second run the courses were to be "buffed" so the "big guns" could go all out.
What I saw in the snow were two parallel tracks that began just before the fall line above the gate and ended abruptly about two meters after. The gate pole made a mark in the snow in the direction of the next gate.
Any time you're turning downhill(with gravity) there is a certain amount of "float". As there is a stack-up of force as you "fight" gravity and directional momentum to come across the hill.(sting?)
Olle Larson told me years ago "the fastest skier spends less time on edge to get the turn done". I believe that's still true.
post #16 of 38
Slatz, I agree. But my point is there is not so much redirection going on there. Not so much pivoting--because it's no longer necessary.

Am I representing your point AlaskaMike?
post #17 of 38
Well, weems and Todo, if you don't make any distinction between cross over/under then there certainly is no arguing, is there [img]smile.gif[/img]

To me, cross-over is when the skis don't move sideways, they are just in a position on the snow across the hill more or less, and the body flows over the skis downhill, the edges change and the next turn comences.

Cross-under, especially the crossing under with rebound as in Ron's pictures, the rebound lightens the body long enough to swing the tails of the skis from side to side on the snow with the upper body and the center of mass not affected. There is no attempt to move the body inside of the turn, rather just the effort of swinging the skis underneath the body to the outside.

On the other hand, if those pictures represent the skier not rebounding, but rather allowing his body to flow downhill over his set edges, it would indeed be a cross-over.

So the mislabeling is either the word "rebound" or the word "cross-over", since you don't need rebound to cross over. But who really cares, I apologize for nitpicking.

post #18 of 38
I don't think you're nitpicking. I just don't work with that concept in reality very much.

Originally posted by Ott Gangl:

There is no attempt to move the body inside of the turn, rather just the effort of swinging the skis underneath the body to the outside.

On the other hand, if those pictures represent the skier not rebounding, but rather allowing his body to flow downhill over his set edges, it would indeed be a cross-over.

This is how I understand crossunder(your description above) as well.

I agree. I think that there is no rebound here.

[ April 24, 2002, 08:16 AM: Message edited by: weems ]
post #19 of 38
There certainly isn't as much redirection, but it still happens. I like to think of it in the "options" catagory. It's the athlete who decides the most efficient tool for the situation.
My point is that the basic elements have not changed, only the "options" made available by the changes in dimensions of the equipment and the amplitude of the movements necessary.
I hope you don't think I'm arguing with you. I consider it a dialogue.(Dave Merriman says discussion is like percussion, pounding on each other)
I've read your articles for years and hold you in the utmost regard.. [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ April 24, 2002, 08:28 AM: Message edited by: SLATZ ]
post #20 of 38
Just trying to follow the discussion here:

Crossunder would be what happens when weddlen while crossover would be what you see in "regular" skiing?
post #21 of 38
I visualize cross-under when doing short radius turns that develope little force in the fall line.

I feel cross-over when my continuous movement down the fall line flows smoothly over the skis that have been momentarily diverted across the fall line.

A description of the sensation.

post #22 of 38
Slatz. I don't have any problem about what you're saying. Nor would I have any problem if we were arguing. I've long ago gotten used to being wrong a lot, and don't have any concern about disagreements, nuances, fine lines, or other people's opinions. I often disgree with people I respect. And in turn they say, "Weems, you are such a jerk." Oops, sorry, that was my ex motherinlaw speaking.

Dialogue is cool, and I think your points are well made. And that's why I like this forum.

If you really look at those articles, I'm sure you will see a whole bunch of it has been proved wrong, or at least is way outdated. I saw some the other day that were downright embarrassing!
post #23 of 38
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys.
Obviously in any turn there will be points where there is less pressure on the skis. I guess the point is that there isn't a real need to MAKE the float/redirect happen now, so training efforts can be focused elsewhere.
post #24 of 38
Weems & AK mike
My phraseology, "Sting the top of the turn"
is a reversal of float and sting paradigm of the old school slalom turn.
The hard part of the turn is in the lateral extension/ski flexion at the beginning of the turn. So Sting it. Get the ski bent before the fall line. You don't really float through the bottom of the turn, but you should already be extended. In a old school turn the extension was at the end of the turn at the same time as the G forces maxed out. That WAS the Sting. Slatz is right the edging forces are higher at the end of the turn. However the highest muscular force should be at the beginning of the turn. The end of the turn should be on extended legs moving to retraction. It's a eccentric (loaded) contraction so it still is muscular work.

The classic slalom float died with the deep (12M) sidecut skis. The turn shape more closely approximated the round line needed to smoothly carve through a slalom course. The old slalom skis skis carved, the turn shape just didn't match the shape of the course. Thus float/rotate re-direct.

The classic sting doesn't work any more either. If you sting (extend hard) at the end of the turn, you overload the shorties and its chatter city. You're slow, you're late and you're not gonna make the next gate. (Slalom haiku)

Cross over, Cross under, who cares, move your body down the hill and crush some gates.

Link to my post on re-direction. It still lives. (the coaching of this "technique" lives, my post appears quite dead). Some coaches think they are seeing too much roundness in their racers lines. So they are teaching re-direction as a technique. Duh. I teach straighter line with shorter, tighter turns. My racers learn re-direction but I don't teach re-direction.


[ April 27, 2002, 01:39 AM: Message edited by: NordtheBarbarian ]
post #25 of 38
Nord, I think you're coaching what I think I'm seeing. I agree. (I think I think, therefore I think I am?)

I don't know enough about line to know how round they should or shouldn't go.

I really agree about loading the top of the turn, and I think Bodie is very soft through the belly of it.

However, I still have questions about the highest edging angles being at the end of the turn. If I'm loading up high in the turn, aren't I loading against the highest angle? If I'm softening at the end, I'm doing it because I don't need the pressure--and I really want to dump some so the ski doesn't bog down (again, this is the part of Bodie's work that is amazing to me). Therefore, don't I let go of some of that angle so I can "sneak" across the snow with less edge grind and therefore be faster?

(These aren't rhetorical questions. I don't pretend to be an expert in this.)

[ April 27, 2002, 05:33 AM: Message edited by: weems ]
post #26 of 38
I "get it". The pole hits in the direction of the next gate so more turning is done by then and pressure is softened and shifted aft as the skis run to the next turning point.
I agree about "tighter turns", that's the way I'm seeing it too. Re-direction is a correction option, not a "technique".
Thanks for the clarification.
post #27 of 38
The clock is the ultimate judge. Too round/too smooth is too slow. Too straight/late is too slow. It can be real tricky to tell without a stopwatch.

Loading the top of the turn is what we were all trying to do 15 years ago. The swiss shape turn. The D shaped turn. Now we can all do it because of the ski design.

If you are loading the ski high in the turn, then you are developing edge angles more quickly. The body still sinks into the turn, this doesn't occur instantly. (Increasing the edge angle decreases the radius of the turn and thus increases the G forces. and vice versa).
The highest edge angles could be at the belly or the end of the turn. The highest forces occur when the ski is resisting the G forces and the skiers downward momemtum near the end of the turn. Earlier in the turn (closer to the fall line) the ski was only resisting the g forces.

When done properly the end of one turn is the begining of another. There is no real dividing line between turns or turn "phases". Good skiing is a continuum. So if you're softing at the end of the turn aren't you really starting the next turn. The end of a turn is simultaneous with the beginning of a turn.
post #28 of 38
I agree it's a continuum and it's hard to tell where the end is, but I still feel that the de-edging and softening come earlier than it used to. You get more turn out of those g's in the middle so you can let up on the end quicker. That's a good thing, too, precisely so that you don't have to resist so much g's AND momentum.

But, I concede. I don't really ski that turn that well, so I'm just guessing.

Here's an interesting piece. Phil McNichol, head gates coach for the Ski Team wrote an article on slalom in the winter edition of our psia mag (The Professional Skier). He lists "six major technical changes that slalom skiers currently practice. He says that the athletes:
1. use a wider stance
2. favor more inclination
3. stay centered on the skis, using les fore-aft movement
4. use less steering and more arcing,
5. maintain better snow contact with both skis, and
6. take a longer path and apply a rounder turn shape with the outside ski.

This last speaks to your point, but you are exactly right--the happy medium is really hard to find.

The pictures are amazing.
post #29 of 38
Thread Starter 
I'm still having a little trouble understanding the concept of loading the skis at the top of the turn. Can somebody explain it a little better so my feeble mind can grasp the concept?
post #30 of 38
Think of the tun as somewhat "comma" shaped. Tighter at the top with less turn and more acceleration at the finish.
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