|Originally posted by D(C):
I had my first weekned of trainign last weekend, and ther gave me the low down on the new techniques. Firstly, stance is narrower than shoulder-width Also, this year, you want to stay on a flat ski for longer than before, and then kick it into gear... The idea is to use this technique to take a straighter line in the course, and be lighter on the edges, ... producing faster times...
Has anyone else heard of this? What is the reasoning behind the narrower stance?
As far as narrower stance goes, you have to ask "narrower than what?" Hip width has been a pretty standard starting point for a long time now, and that is narrower than shoulder width, so I don't think anything has changed here. A functional stance is whatever works best: a little narrower in bumps is more secure, hip width in the race course allows better edging.
As for "stay on a flat ski.. " and "be lighter on the edges...," that's also good advice. Race coaches are not nearly as concerned width perfectly clean carving as ski instructors. A ski that is on a higher edge is slower than a ski that is on the lowest edge angle required to hold it's arc. A flat ski is faster than an edged ski, provided that no turning force is required. Higher edge angles create a more secure turn, with more control and sometimes a cleaner carve, but they are not faster. That's the reason racers frequently look like they are skiing on the edge of loss of control. (They are.) That's also the reason why ski instructors are slow: they are excessively concerned with clean carving and control. (That's good for showing the public good technique, but it's still slow in the race course.)
As far as "no angulation," that's a result of the new skis. Angulation is required to to create a higher edge angle than the angle between the ground and the skier's center of gravity. The new skis make shorter radius turns at any edge angle, so less angulation is required. However, if you ski with your torso upright (as I interpret what you descibed), you will create some angulation when you extend your legs to the side.
As for a straighter line at the gates, that's also a result of the new skis. Every time ski technology changes the optimum line changes with it, and usually course setters respond to create the most competive courses for the new technology.
Sounds to me that you are getting good advice from knowledgible coaches. Good luck with your racing.