Originally Posted by Carl R
Rick, do you have any conclusions to which is the better line in a flat to steep to flat section where the steep section is 2 gates? 3 gates? 4 gates?
Is it always the shorter line or does it have to do with the entering or exiting gate?
Having done the turning before coming onto the flat section, seems like the usual advice right? But does it always hold true, and is there other obvious good line choices?
So much depends on skier skill level. When you get on a pitch the off set of the gates generally gets wider, and straightening out a line generally requires a something NASTAR courses don't; a pivot. How quickly and well a skier can feather back into a carve after the pivot will determine how straight he/she can go on the steeps and not end up drifting low.
A higher line going into the top of the steep section, then holding that line all the way down that section, is the safe way to go. It keeps you ahead of the course and allows you to carry your speed onto the flats more easily. On the negative side, it also requires you to fight gravity more, by turning out of the falline more, and requires you to move your apex outside the rise line more and therefore travel further, so a sacrifice comes with the safety.
If you get late and dump speed going onto the flats, any savings derived from going straighter on the few gates on the pitch will be quickly lost. You have to learn your limitations through self experimentation to know how much you can push the line without getting in trouble. As your skiing and racing skills grow, your ability to push the line will grow too. The ability to successfully straighten a line, anywhere on the course, is a major factor in separating the podium racers from the "also-rans" on the World Cup.