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More Weight = More Speed downhill? - Page 2

post #31 of 56
This argument over weight is a bit of a strawman one in terms of ski racing.

Sure, in terms of plain 'ol physics, the surface area:weight ratio is better on a heavier skier.  But bulk for the sake of bulk isn't worth it.

Look at the twice-mentioned Daron Rahlves.  He not only won on technically challenging courses (e.g. the Hahnenkamm), but also courses that, by all basic definitions, favor the "heavier gliders" (e.g. the Lauberhorn).  How did he do it?  He worked on his entire skiing skillset: the turns, the gliding, the "feel" aspect.  He knew how to seek and hold speed and never thought of his small stature as a handicap.

Same thing for Marc Girardelli, who was a threat in everything: DH, SG, GS and SL, he knew how to milk speed and make things work.  On the Lauberhorn, he stood where a lot of other racers tucked, concentrating on carving the cleanest turn to generate and preserve speed, annd won by a substantial margin.

Another DH racer who wasn't big and hulking was Kristian Ghedina of Italy.  He stood 5'7" or so, yet was capable of winning on both technical and gliding courses.  Like Rahlves, he worked on his entire game and simply brought it to the others - and with consistent success.

This talk of weight belts and such seems to be going after the wrong approach.  Don't fight what you have (or, in this case, don't have in terms of bulk/mass) and learn to work it to your advantage!  Work on gliding, work on carving clean turns, work on finding the right balance of strength and finesse.  It's a lot to work on, but it pays off.

I speak from personal experience.  I was tall in high school (6'1" to 6'3"), but very lean and light for my size.  I was strong, for sure, but never bulky.  But DH and SG were my strong events, largely because I worked on gliding and carving.  It was tough, but it paid off (even "trickling down" to GS and, eventually, SL).

Make lemonade with your lemons!

GOOD LUCK!
post #32 of 56
Get thee to the gym....not only will you be a better, faster, more powerful racer......it does wonders for your social life with the ladies, and fending off the bullies.  Its win win win all across the board.
post #33 of 56
+1
Quote:
Originally Posted by songfta View Post

This argument over weight is a bit of a strawman one in terms of ski racing.

Sure, in terms of plain 'ol physics, the surface area:weight ratio is better on a heavier skier.  But bulk for the sake of bulk isn't worth it.

Look at the twice-mentioned Daron Rahlves.  He not only won on technically challenging courses (e.g. the Hahnenkamm), but also courses that, by all basic definitions, favor the "heavier gliders" (e.g. the Lauberhorn).  How did he do it?  He worked on his entire skiing skillset: the turns, the gliding, the "feel" aspect.  He knew how to seek and hold speed and never thought of his small stature as a handicap.

Same thing for Marc Girardelli, who was a threat in everything: DH, SG, GS and SL, he knew how to milk speed and make things work.  On the Lauberhorn, he stood where a lot of other racers tucked, concentrating on carving the cleanest turn to generate and preserve speed, annd won by a substantial margin.

Another DH racer who wasn't big and hulking was Kristian Ghedina of Italy.  He stood 5'7" or so, yet was capable of winning on both technical and gliding courses.  Like Rahlves, he worked on his entire game and simply brought it to the others - and with consistent success.

This talk of weight belts and such seems to be going after the wrong approach.  Don't fight what you have (or, in this case, don't have in terms of bulk/mass) and learn to work it to your advantage!  Work on gliding, work on carving clean turns, work on finding the right balance of strength and finesse.  It's a lot to work on, but it pays off.

I speak from personal experience.  I was tall in high school (6'1" to 6'3"), but very lean and light for my size.  I was strong, for sure, but never bulky.  But DH and SG were my strong events, largely because I worked on gliding and carving.  It was tough, but it paid off (even "trickling down" to GS and, eventually, SL).

Make lemonade with your lemons!

GOOD LUCK!
 
post #34 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

Have you tried the weight vest yet? 

Inquiring minds want to know. Really.
Sorry for the wait, i have been using the vest once or twice a week for 5 to 6 weeks.

My run times were a few tenths faster with the vest. But I could only do about 4 runs with it until my legs were jello. Next practice he had the finish timer before the hill went flat, my times were still faster. It seems with that extra weight i pick up speed in places i haven't ever before.

Now that out of the way, I use the vest for the last hour of practice ever week on wednesdays now. (not timed) This weigh vest is amazingly helpful. I have so much more core and ab power, skating is a breeze, my legs can push so much harder. Its and insane advantage. I also use it in slalom practices. YOU ARE DEAD at the end of the run, but boy when you take that sucker off, even the hardest slalom courses are a breeze


Overall thought on Weight Vest: My HS Ski Coach stole three of them from Track and Field Teams, and has us run gates in them for endurance/ strength training. its insane how much stronger i am now.
post #35 of 56
Impressive, what brand or store did you get it from?  I need to try this.
post #36 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by IMT00FIERCE View Post

 I'm in the midwest, and I race for my local high school, and I'm also on a ski racing club.

The Club ( Parks ) Is a super competitive enviroment. This is my 6th Year racing it. Throughout my ski racing career, my times have gotten more and more competive, and now i regularly place top 5 in Slalom and top 10 in GS. I've started to notice a few things. First off I weigh like 140, so I'm not flying down the hill.. (Normally my GS runs are 19 - 22 seconds depending on the course.) Everyone that is getting ahead of me in GS is a lot bigger then me, the all look 20 - 40 lbs heavier. 

But on the other hand, on my High School Ski Team, I get First or Second, Slalom or GS because everyone on the Other High School teams aren't very good.

My coaches all tell me at the bottom of GS runs, you did everything right, no missteps, its just you need that extra weight to be a winner.

So i present you with this question - You guys no any good ways for a 16 year old who has a crazy fast metabolism, never lifted a day in his life -- to gain some weight? 
 

I'm 49yrs, and still weigh only about 130lbs. wet and dressed.  Some people just have a harder time to gain weight.  I could never compete as well because of that.  I wonder why skiing isn't like boxing etc., by weight classes.  Now that would be cool!
Sorry I don't have a answer for you, but remember, the more you weigh, the harder it is on your knees, and you only get two for life!
post #37 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

Wind resistance is a greater percentage of the net force on a lighter skier.  Weight does matter, more so in speed events.  However, since the course designers are busy designing courses too tight for the specified equipment, it shouldn't matter that much.
 

That's the truth.  When I wear my race suit vs. my "fart-bag" I see a huge difference in my speed.  My Columbia suit is like a parachute!
post #38 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richr View Post

If air resistance is similar between the heavier and lighter skier, then weight will definitely be an advantage in a straight line. Here is a java application that simulates a skier accelerating toward terminal velocity

http://www.phy.ntnu.edu.tw/ntnujava/index.php?topic=1090.msg4137#msg4137

When I tried it, I found that on a 20% slope, a skier who weighs 90 kg reaches a terminal velocity that is about 20% higher than one who is 60 kg. Acceleration at all speeds is faster too.

However, having to turn all that mass from right to left is a definite disadvantage. I know that from experience.

 

I couldn't understand any of that!  But I don't need to. I know that weight is a advantage when skiing fast.  
Thanks for posting some proof from some study.  
Line is fine, but weight is great!
post #39 of 56
Two words sum up the argument for weight and speed traveling downhill.. Pinewood Derby  A mediocre 5 ounce car will always crush an otherwise perfect 4 ounce car.
post #40 of 56
Thread Starter 
 I think gaining muscle mass and trying to put on 10 pounds of muscle before ski season will benefit the most.
post #41 of 56
Quote: (moved from another post where I mentioned the vest)
Hey the 40lb weigh vest is a legit strength trainer.  

It wasn't a strength trainer when you first proposed it. Its purpose has evolved.

The problem with training with it on is that your balance is distorted between when you have it and when you don't. If you find balance with it, you have to change your body position to find balance without it.

You and your coach seem to think its a great idea. Who am I to say wearing a 40 lb. vest (28% of your body weight) while you train GS is a bad idea? 
post #42 of 56
Probably a question of what is the limiting factor right now.  Maybe balance adjustments are good enough at this point that strength other technique issues prevent the balance not being perfect from being a factor. 
post #43 of 56
I'm all for strength training and on snow race training. I just don't think the two ought to be combined. What happens when the balance is bad, the athlete attempts to recover and the extra weight is too much for the body to handle? Hopefully a painless crash, but the possibility of a strain or rupture from having to deal with more weight than is natural exists.
post #44 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

I'm all for strength training and on snow race training. I just don't think the two ought to be combined. What happens when the balance is bad, the athlete attempts to recover and the extra weight is too much for the body to handle? Hopefully a painless crash, but the possibility of a strain or rupture from having to deal with more weight than is natural exists.
 

I see your thoughts. Good idea. The weight vest I have been using for On - Snow strength training isn't 40lbs i took some off so its only 25ish, I'm not sure what the other ones are.


I only take 6 runs a week with the vest on. first practice of the week. The biggest thought i have for the vest is i can feel places that have never felt sore before, the kind of worked muscles you didn't know you have.
post #45 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post



It wasn't a strength trainer when you first proposed it. Its purpose has evolved.

The problem with training with it on is that your balance is distorted between when you have it and when you don't. If you find balance with it, you have to change your body position to find balance without it.

You and your coach seem to think its a great idea. Who am I to say wearing a 40 lb. vest (28% of your body weight) while you train GS is a bad idea? 

I'm a power skier, I don't glide through my turns, I DRIVE through them as hard as i can, throw my weight to my other ski and repeat. A@# In the snow angulation all their. The 6 Runs a week i have been doing with this jacket were just strength training runs, not anything serious. Not enough to really throw my balenc off.
post #46 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

I'm all for strength training and on snow race training. I just don't think the two ought to be combined. What happens when the balance is bad, the athlete attempts to recover and the extra weight is too much for the body to handle? Hopefully a painless crash, but the possibility of a strain or rupture from having to deal with more weight than is natural exists.
 

Good point.  It sounds almost as bad as running over slippery cobbles and bolders in creek beds as a training exercise (but not quite as bad as portaging heavy canoes in same ;)  )  I think I would take your advice and separate the weight training from the skiing.   
And just buy long skis with three layers of heavy steel in them to go faster.
post #47 of 56

Sorry, Too Fierce, but the vest does not sound like a good idea to me, either. You don't seem to want to hear that. I hate to dump on anybody who's willing to coach at any level, but don't you think that if this was a good idea, a ski coach or strength/conditioning coach with one of the world's better development programs or academies might be using it? And if it worked, perhaps they would all be on it?

These are men who have spent years, 24X7 working on developing the fastest and best in the sport, often with almost unlimited money and staff. Forget the academies in the US, think about the national sports academies in Austria, Switzerland, France, Norway, etc. 

There's a reason why training at the highest levels is highly focused and designed to replicate race conditions. I am quite certain that if you ran this idea by any doc, PT, etc involved in the sport, they would tell you to stop at once. But aside from that, my advice {other than drills} is to try to train as you race. You're not going to race with the vest. I would encourage the earlier advice to separate the strength and fitness training from the on snow training. Again, a high level coach would never have you training with that vest.

 

If you need to get stronger, as you continue to grow, get on a good year round program to increase strength. Also do the same with quickness, agility, and overall fitness. In this sport you want a very strong core, and you don't need beach muscles. A nutritionist might have some hints, too. I know a number of guys who are about your size who have tried very hard to get a little bigger, and it's been tough. Much depends on your physiology. Those guys, though, ski at the NCAA level, at the NorAm level, and have done just fine at less that 150 lbs. So I wouldn't obsess over it. I think you can make big gains without being bigger. As long as you maximize your strength and fitness. And at your age, you will continue to full out a bit, I assume.

 

Your actual skiing, combined with your tactics, will make you faster over time as both get better. Better skiing, and a bit more strength will allow you to do things tactically that make a big difference. You'll be able to take a few more risks, etc. You be able to naturally generate more edge angle, and effect quicker transitions and switches.

 

As far as being a "power skier", that may be some of the issue as well. I was surprised at your comments in another thread about "skiing through" a pair of skis, which I assume means overpowering them. What you may find will yield better results is trying to develop the best touch and feel for the snow that you can. Generally speaking, my observation is that even at the WC level, the fastest guys know when and where to pressure the ski and just how much. Then they know how and where to release it. They spend as much time as possible in the fall line, taking it down the hill. When you take that the J1-2 ranks, you'll often see guys who feel that this power is fast, and they are literally digging in, skiing round, and losing time in every turn. I'm not suggesting straight and late, either. I'm suggesting that the right touch and pressure is key. Just a thought. I spend a lot of time around Eastern FIS races. The fastest guys have great touch, as well as strength.

When Bode was in his prime as a GS skier {where he still has most of his WC wins}, the reason that he was so blisteringly fast was because he had what most coaches felt was an uncanny ability to put himself in the fall line, quickly, and stay there longer. I know a couple of guys who have coached him, and the general comment is that his body could have been all over the place at times, but knees down he was generally perfect and doing things that nobody else could. If you're skiing with "power" as you describe, it's hard to get that touch.

It's also easy to get overamped, and get more tight than you realize. I've seen a lot of this, at your age. I'm not being critical, as you obviously care about this and want to do well and have fun. Just saying that if you feel that you're small and need to go out and just kill it with power and aggression to get even, it may not be the fastest strategy. Sometimes when you concentrate on just trying to ski really clean arcs, with enough pressure, and a light touch, you'll find that it's real fast.

Good luck and have fun. And please re-think the vest. I'd hate to see you do some serious damage. By the way, all things being exactly equal, the bigger guy is faster. In my experience with the sport all things are never exactly equal. The best young downhiller, where size matters, in the US is Andrew Weibrecht who is 5'6". Scoring on the World Cup. Marcel Hirscher is maybe a better example. 155 lbs. Winning on the WC. Work with whatever physiology you have.

Sorry to be so long winded. Hope you think about it.

post #48 of 56
Muleski nails it:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post

Sorry, Too Fierce, but the vest does not sound like a good idea to me, either. You don't seem to want to hear that. I hate to dump on anybody who's willing to coach at any level, but don't you think that if this was a good idea, a ski coach or strength/conditioning coach with one of the world's better development programs or academies might be using it? And if it worked, perhaps they would all be on it?

These are men who have spent years, 24X7 working on developing the fastest and best in the sport, often with almost unlimited money and staff. Forget the academies in the US, think about the national sports academies in Austria, Switzerland, France, Norway, etc. 
 


John Kucera is another example of a somewhat smaller racer whose size hasn't held him back from the podium.
post #49 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post
 

As far as being a "power skier", that may be some of the issue as well. I was surprised at your comments in another thread about "skiing through" a pair of skis, which I assume means overpowering them. What you may find will yield better results is trying to develop the best touch and feel for the snow that you can. Generally speaking, my observation is that even at the WC level, the fastest guys know when and where to pressure the ski and just how much. Then they know how and where to release it. They spend as much time as possible in the fall line, taking it down the hill. When you take that the J1-2 ranks, you'll often see guys who feel that this power is fast, and they are literally digging in, skiing round, and losing time in every turn. I'm not suggesting straight and late, either. I'm suggesting that the right touch and pressure is key. Just a thought. I spend a lot of time around Eastern FIS races. The fastest guys have great touch, as well as strength.
 

On the money as usual Muleski.  I would echo this, it usually means that when you are trying to "power" the ski you end up killing the pop out of the turn.  Also often symptomatic of skiing a ski that is too stiff, particularly in the tip.  While it may feel good(and faster because it is popping your fillings!}  the reality is when you go against  the clock it can be slower than a slightly softer ski. (Of course it may just be that i am too much of a wimp to overpower an LT11  ) Took me a long time to find that out!  Interestingly I also had a good parallel from when i used to rbuild and race forest rally cars.  A lot of the guys used to run front springs at 190 rate.  Made the thing an SOB to turn in so you had to be brutal to get it moving.I found that by softening down to 170 or 145 the turn in was much more progressive so you could get the car much better balanced and thus get the power on quicker.  This is in the old days of 2WD rally cars where you used a "scandanavian flick" to set the car up for the corner.  Principle is exactly the same as skiing, finesse and touch is smoother and quicker than just brute power - and of course as we older guys know, cunning and experience can always be leveraged to beat youth and enthusiasm
post #50 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post

Sorry, Too Fierce, but the vest does not sound like a good idea to me, either. You don't seem to want to hear that. I hate to dump on anybody who's willing to coach at any level, but don't you think that if this was a good idea, a ski coach or strength/conditioning coach with one of the world's better development programs or academies might be using it? And if it worked, perhaps they would all be on it?

These are men who have spent years, 24X7 working on developing the fastest and best in the sport, often with almost unlimited money and staff. Forget the academies in the US, think about the national sports academies in Austria, Switzerland, France, Norway, etc. 


Bingo!  Even at the top-level academies here in the States (many of which have coaches and directors who come from European roots) don't use the weight vest as a training tool: it doesn't present anything close to a true racing simulation (e.g. moving center-of-gravity too high), and it can be a great detriment to a developing racer due to many factors - not the least of which is that, until a person reaches their late-teens, the muscular-skeletal system isn't fully developed and is more susceptible to injury.  While getting in time in the weight room or in dryland training is one thing, adding a variable to an environment full of them (i.e. the ski hill, let alone a race course) is, to my eyes (and to many great coaches' eyes) a recipe for disaster.

Quote (emphasis mine):
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post

As far as being a "power skier", that may be some of the issue as well. I was surprised at your comments in another thread about "skiing through" a pair of skis, which I assume means overpowering them. What you may find will yield better results is trying to develop the best touch and feel for the snow that you can. Generally speaking, my observation is that even at the WC level, the fastest guys know when and where to pressure the ski and just how much. Then they know how and where to release it. They spend as much time as possible in the fall line, taking it down the hill. When you take that the J1-2 ranks, you'll often see guys who feel that this power is fast, and they are literally digging in, skiing round, and losing time in every turn. I'm not suggesting straight and late, either. I'm suggesting that the right touch and pressure is key. Just a thought. I spend a lot of time around Eastern FIS races. The fastest guys have great touch, as well as strength. 

I'm going to quote one of my ski racing mentors, Olle Larsson, on the importance of having great touch, or "feel," for the snow.  He often said to me, "treat the snow as if it was your girlfriend's face."  In other words: be gentle, don't overpower the snow, and you'll generate more speed.  

And yes, he preached this approach in every kind of snow, from soft western packed-powder to blue-tinged eastern boilerplate.  Still does, to this day.

Being a pure "power skier" is the antithesis of this, IMT00FIERCE.  It might be tough to notice skiing on smaller hills with rock-hard snow in the USSA Central division, but if you ever race on the bigger hills, more varied snow conditions and more varied pitches in the other USSA divisions, you'll find that power, alone, won't bring about anything other than frustration.  On the steep, icy pitches of New England, pure power skiing often results in skidding out at inopportune times.  In the softer snow of the Rockies, Sierras or Cascades, pure power skiing will cause you to be very, very slow as your edges dig in far too much than is necessary.  

And as you move into the J2 and J1/A ranks (especially at the FIS level), you'll see that the racers who best balance strength and finesse are the ones atop the podium week in and out.  That's how guys like Bode, Ligety, Weibrecht, Kucera, Cuche, Svindal, both Kostelic siblings, Vonn and Riesch can uncork top results in multiple disciplines in different terrain.

As I said earlier in this thread: make lemonade with your lemons!  Work on feel for the snow, finesse, gliding, learning how to make the snow and slopes your ally - that is the way to fast skiing in the gates.  All of the "small guys" on the World Cup - guys like Hirscher and Weibrecht now, or Rahlves a few years back - excel by harnessing all of the aforementioned traits into a complete package.

Good luck!
post #51 of 56
Thread Starter 
I raced J3 JO's in CO.

I've gone to the bigger mountains, all i can say for going over steeps is getting forward and not skidding.
post #52 of 56
Thread Starter 
 Ok guys, I am no longer training with the weight jacket. I give up, u guys did show me. I like My ACLs, Am keeping it and running with it. Durring dryland our coach set up a gs course on the parking lot and we just ran threw it and practiced visualizing out lines and he had us get low going into the turn and hig coming out, i'll just stick to doing that.
post #53 of 56
Thread Starter 
 
post #54 of 56
Ok, this is a really interesting post...and one that I'm paying attention to, as a 120# woman trying to keep up with her 200# husband...
I don't know physics, etc, but one thing to consider: Katherin Zettel is 5'7 and weighs 130#s.  Granted, she hasn't won against Vonn--but she is known for her precision and technique, and has won races against the best at times, and is one of the strongest Austrian women skiers around right now.  Given the huge difference in weight between her and many other skiers, I would have to agree with those who say technique is more important than weight (or that weight makes so little difference, ultimately).

I would like to think so, considering that I am NOT interested in gaining 80 pounds...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post

Los Angeles Times ... January 12, 2010 

The Austrian coaches have apologized to Lindsey Vonn for making comments that her being overweight would give her and advantage in three days of speed skiing.

Now what could the Austrian coaches know that ....
post #55 of 56

Unfortunately weight is a significant advantage in alpine ski racing.  Look up an cycle racing site, weight is an advantage going on downhills.  What people don't realize is that in World cup most of the courses are set so that the weight advantage disappears.  THIS IS NOT THE CASE IN AMATEUR RACING, where the racers don't have the technique to handle skilled sets.  The more time there is for "free gliding" in the course, the more weight becomes an advantage.  This is even true in SL sets, were there is a lot of space between gates, and a narrow corridor.  Once you are racing at a certain level, you will be experiencing sets that require advanced turning skills in GS and SL.  The weight advantage between you and the other guys will disappear.  In the meantime, put on some muscle mass and do some strength training, and work on improving your line. Forgot about the fact that the heavier guys are the ones beating you, you can't compare yourself to them.  It is similar to woman comparing themselves to men, different weight/strength class so it isn't an equal comparison.

post #56 of 56

As far as gaining lean mass, see my advice to AttitudeXX in this thread:

http://www.epicski.com/t/110623/gs-skis

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