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opinions on new SL technique

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I just returned from a coaching clinic with my local development team coach (regoinal). We were looking at the new SL turn shape. He was telling me that new SL turn can be broken down into two phases. 1)The resistance phase, and 2) the transition phase. ok nothing new here. Then he was telling me to focus more on the transiton then on the resistance phase. He's convinced that too much time is spent in the resistance phase. Slowing down the racer.

What do you think. I wouldn't mind hearing some other points of view.
post #2 of 9
Hi MattW--

The old conventional wisdom for slalom turns was "quick on and off the edges." While some may think that "conventional" has very little to do with slalom racing these days, the advice still holds!

In classic slalom turns, the racer would turn the skis to virtually the direction they needed to point at the end of the turn, then VERY briefly set and release the edge of the downhill ski to accomplish the direction change. They spent as little time on their edges (what you are calling the "resistance phase")as possible. Skis had very little sidecut (hourglass shape) to enable this quick edgeset, so they did not turn much when the edges were engaged.

One common misconception about classic slalom technique is that "quick on and off the edges" must mean EARLY on the edges. It doesn't! If the edgeset is to be as brief as possible, it must also come as late in the turn as possible. So, quick as they were, slalom turns required a fair amount of patience to steer the skis while unweighted, then set the edge quickly, once the direction is attained.

Today's slalom skis are very different, of course. 155cm (for men, 150cm for women), with very deep sidecuts, allows the skis to actually carve the tight turns of slalom. In theory, at least, racers can engage the edges early in the turn and "ride" the skis around the arc, more like a giant slalom turn.

But watch Bode Miller, especially, although most of the men demonstrate the technique well. Bode spends VERY little time on his edges, usually. His technique is not that different from the classic slalom technique in this respect. While his skis do carve a tight arc when he engages the edges, that engagement is still very brief, and late in the turn.

The World Cup women do the same thing, but typically much less obviously and to less of an extreme. They often roll from edge to edge, riding their extreme sidecut skis from arc to arc. But the men illustrate your coach's advice quite clearly--as straight a line as possible, with as brief an edge engagement (and tight a turn) as they and their skis can handle.

On the other hand, overdoing this quick, late edgeset can cause a braking action, rather than a clean and fast direction change. Experiment and find out just what you are capable of!

It sounds to me like your coach is pretty enlightened.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #3 of 9
I think I can relate to what he is presenting in that I also id just two phases, transition and shaping. Here is my view of new SL based on my own current racing and coaching experience. The new skis allow a SL turn to be carved right from the top coming out of the transition. SL is now very much like mini-GS in that turns can be connected arc2arc, hence the importance of the transition. The top of the turn, into the falline, affords the both the greatest opportunity to maximize acceleration by carving it cleanly, and the most harmful braking because that acceleration opportunity is lost. I put premium on a clean edge change to allow carving downhill out of the transition by tipping my feet over agressivly to release and re-engage with effective tip pressure. I would say my max "resistance" is in the falline where my legs are most extended and I'm managing pressure (flexing to absorb excess) for max glide/min braking from there to the next transition point. I might streatch your coach's point to the extreme by suggesting the transition should be a smooth process from falline to falline.

If the line (or my lateness : ) dictates any need to redirect out of the transition I try to unload the skis and lightly sweep them around into a clean re-engagement as early in the arc as possible. I try to avoid the old "float top" , "sting bottom" method and equalize pressure & max glide throughout the arc as much as the line and terrain allows. I see many racers overload and trampoline out of the course by using the old float/sting pressure cycle timing.

I'm on a 13 meter radius K2 Mach Race SL and their capability to link tight round twin track "S" rails is a hoot. The stunning quickness of these turbos precludes any wasted or inefficient movements. Continous rolling of the feet led by an agressive release from tipping over the new inside foot and artful pressure control is necessary to arc them cleanly and smoothly.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 21, 2002 09:32 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Arcmeister ]</font>
post #4 of 9
Tipping the foot or the feet?

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 21, 2002 10:27 PM: Message edited 2 times, by NordtheBarbarian ]</font>
post #5 of 9
Hey Bob Barnes

Check this out:

Skiankook: Bode-
Congratulations on a fantastic season!
I have a couple of technical skiing questions...
1)when you are making a turn, do you just try to keep the force in the middle of the ski throughout the turn, or do you push your feet through from tip to tail every turn?
2) Do you try to exert as much pressure as possible or do you try to be as light as possible on your edges? Sometimes its hard to tell from watching as you look very relaxed but are obviously generating a lot of force.
Thank you
Bode: I push from tip to tail at the top and then recenter; I definitely push hard but unlike other skiers I do it at the top of the turn rather than at the bottom. It works for me!
post #6 of 9
The release is triggered by tipping over old outside/new inside foot as legs are retracted to release CM toward inside of next gate. Immediate follow thru is from tipping of both feet as legs extend to carve into falline. The gap between trigger and follow thru is nano-second, the rolling of both feet appears simoultaneous, but the trigger move is first.

Even as they dance together, Fred leads, and Ginger follows.
post #7 of 9
I agree completely. Tip or roll feet.

Funny how a lot of people are talking about rolling the foot. What are they doing with the other foot?
post #8 of 9
Matt, It's just like a GS turn. Ride your edges. While your riding your edges, extend both your legs. In the transition, bring your legs to you and then extend them hard onto the next set of edges. To make the new SL type turn, you simply need new SL type Skis. Ride them just like a P30 rs super.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Good comments from everyone. I have a pretty good grasp of new SL turns. I had just never heard anyone put more focus on the trasnsition then the resistance phase. I guess it does make sense in that we were talking fairly advanced athletes who already had a grasp on line and being clean.
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