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Getting better at NASTAR

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm a former disabled ski racer. Been out of it for about 8 yrs. I hopped in the NASTAR course a couple days ago with my buddy. I got my arse handed to me. Badly.
He is an able-bodied skier, and a triathelete too. But, he'd never seen a race course in his life, but a solid skier. As I repeatedly hobbled to the lift with my tail between my legs, I was left wondering how he beat me so badly. The closest I ever got to him was 1 full second. Sometimes it was two or three. One thing I noticed is that his starts are awesome. I only ski with one pole where he has the advantage of two.
Being out of practice, I was late to every gate, but so was he. On the flat NASTAR course, he was able to tuck and go. I tried that as well, but he was two gates ahead by then.
I was used to steep icy courses when I was racing, where you had to think about your turns; I was never never good on flat ones.
But on such short, flat courses as NASTAR, what can I do to get faster? I'm extremely humbled and open to suggestions.

Background: I have limited mobility on my left side, thus ski with one pole, but two skis.
post #2 of 11
A solid skate and clean turns should dust your buddy on a NASTAR course. Good racing is just good skiing. Get the pressure off the edges as the skis come out of the fall line- don't fight gravity. You'll lose, especially on an icy course.

Watch Bode's start sometime- he just pushes out of the start and makes up for the rest in the gates. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but it works for him.
post #3 of 11
Age and your disability are part of NASTAR's handicap. Look about 2 gates ahead so you won't be late @ the gate. Run a few courses for practice and you'll knock some time off. Then ask for a rematch.
post #4 of 11
Man AK Mike that is some good simple advice. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys!
post #6 of 11
To run the risk of negating Pierre's praise, here's a couple more thoughts-

Practice railroad tracks a lot. Concentrate on shifting cleanly from edge to edge and riding both edges through the turn- don't skate. Keep the skis the same distance apart throughout the turn. Also, make the transition between edges as quick as possible. Especially on particularly flat runs. For this particular purpose steeper runs can hide the fact that you're not edging cleanly. When you're especially clean, you'll notice you're faster than most people that are skiing straight down the hill.

Did your buddy have skis with more sidecut? A ski with some sidecut (16-18M radius) is an advantage on a flat course like NASTAR courses usually are, where speeds are lower and it's harder to bend the ski to make them arc. Full on race-stock skis are usually a little much and actually a disadvantage. In the intramural league I run (similar format to NASTAR), guys who can ride clean edges on recreational equipment beat more experienced racers on race stock skis. Often the line they take is wide, but the arc-to-arc skiing keeps them in the points.

It's not the World Cup, but it sure is a lot of fun.
post #7 of 11
Hi BP,
Alaska_Mike's previous + Fischer WC SC :

[ February 01, 2004, 05:43 PM: Message edited by: HaveSkisWillClimb ]
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Did your buddy have skis with more sidecut?
Not sure about that one. He was on 174 Volkl P50's. Mine were a 170 Dynastar Skicross 66. I have a lot of trouble skiing two-footed due to my disability. Plus, I learned to rave with independant leg action. I guess I have some un learning to do. P>S., I always sucked at speed events.
post #9 of 11

On a flat course, a good start can be enough to win the race.
Even with one pole, you probably can shave some of that disadvantage by working on the starting rocking move to get out of the gate.

Another way to gain an advantage over your friend is tuned skis. Better waxing and sharper edges can make it easier for you tamke turns in addition to having faster straight line speed.

With Nastar's age and disability handicap to give you a percentage of the pace time handicap, it's possible to cross the finish line second and still win.
post #10 of 11
By two footed skiing we mean a more active role for the inside foot, not necessarily a 50/50 weight distribution. Both skis should be in contact with the snow and at a similar edge angle. A more open stance helps with this.

Some of my friends like this description, for what it's worth:
- Start from a hip-width/shoulder-width stance, whatever is comfortable and doesn't put the majority of your weight on the inside ski BUT still puts some space between the skis to allow for equal edging.
- Move the hips diagonally across the skis, standing on the outside leg and driving the inside knee forward and down. The skis should stay in contact with the snow. It's almost like you're doing a diagonal lunge.
- The shoulders should remain as level as possible with the horizon and inclined towards the fall line- not wrapped around to the outside in an artifical counter.
- Hips should be pretty square to the skis, and tip lead should be minimized. Concentrating on driving the knee forward and down or pulling the inside ski back helps keep things lined up.
- Avoid posing. Keep the body flowing from one turn to the next and remove pressure as the skis come out of the fall line. Keep your bellybutton in front of your boots and your hands moving down the hill.

Someone is probably going to disagree with that description, but it's the one that worked for me. It's easier to "get" on skis with a lot of sidecut, but it works for me on pretty much all of my skis. I don't know the extent of your disabilities, but hopefully it will work for you as well. At the very least, you have something to play with the next time you're at the hill.

[ February 02, 2004, 03:58 PM: Message edited by: Alaska Mike ]
post #11 of 11
If you are in Colorado then try contacting Graeme Morris at Aspen.

He is very involved in disabled skiing in Oz...

& after all - our disabled mens team just pulled a clean sweep in the WC! [img]smile.gif[/img]
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