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If you want to be a good skier, take race coaching - Page 2

Poll Results: should race training be the foundation for the rest of your skiing?

 
  • 62% (28)
    yes
  • 37% (17)
    no
45 Total Votes  
post #31 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by axebiker View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by axebiker View Post

Whatta crock.  Some of the best skiers I know have never looked at a gate. 


I don't think anyone said it was mandatory to do race training to be a good skier. I think the point is race training can be quite helpful to a skier's development. 


It can be, but certainly not necessary. 

 

I know great skiers with race backgrounds too.  I don't enjoy skiing with them near as much as I do friends without the race background.  YMMV. 

 

All I'm doing is answering the original question, and it's my opinion.  I'm not looking for someone to convince me otherwise. 

 

Carry on.


and how exactly does this matter to anyone but you? it's not a very cleverly disguised smear, but it's clearly based on nothing at all. 

post #32 of 51

A good racer, who can handle speed, ice, and put the skis exactly where and how he wants, is going to be a better skier than someone who doesn't.  "training" is exactly that: it trains your body to perform at a high level, vs. just going out and skiing.  Big-mountain training (like the Squaw Freeride team) is similar: they may not be running gates, but I guarantee you they are doing technique skill building, learning how to flow and attack the mountain, and how and where to turn, not unlike racing.  Whether race training specifically is required: probably not, although it is no coincidence that most of the world's best skiers come from race backgrounds.  What is required is skill building and tactics, not unlike any other sport you might name.  It pretty much goes without saying that someone who races on the World Cup probably can handle most terrain out there, with ease.  Not that it is required to be a top level skier, but certainly would be helpful. Any high level skier will have spent thousands of hours perfecting their technique.  

 

Also, the term "good skiers" is relative. I know people who can survive terrain on the hill, but pretty much suck and can barely buy a turn.  Since they ski fast, they are considered by some to be "good skiers". The people I am talking about are good skiers: they can flow and be smooth on the scariest terrain, not just get down alive.  There are very few skiers like that around.  

 

On a side note: what is with the anti-racer mentality, anyway? Every one of the good ex-racers I know (who raced as juniors) are some of the very best skiers on the hill.  Are some of these people offended that they can't ski as well as a person who grew up racing as a kid?  I remember last year skiing with a bunch of bro-bra types at a Head demo, testing out the freeride line (I was on the 110mm model, they were all on something similar), and proceeded to get dropped in short order (in deep snow, nonetheless) buy an ex-junior racer buddy of mine, on his own Sollie Fury's.  He might not have had the most ideal skis for the day, but he rips, so it hardly mattered.  

post #33 of 51

I think the discussion is more a good skier vs not so good skier debate.  Racers (a general term with a wide range of skill levels) have to develop a discipline so they make the skis go where they want them to.  If they continue with this training long enough they get to be very good skiers.  But anyone with the desire and the work ethic to hone their skills in skiing will also be a good skier.  I have trained hard for certification exams and have attended more clinics, ESA's and trainings than I would like to admit but each helped develop my skills and technique.  Would I have been a better skier if I had a racing background?  I don't think so. I think I would be the same level of competence due to good instruction/coaching, tons of miles and a dedication to getting better. Good race programs with good coaches turn out good skiers, good instruction with good instructors will also turn out good skiers, especially if the time invested is the same.  Whether it is racing, free style, mogul, or extreme skiing, the people who are really good at it have put in the time and dedication to be at that level.

post #34 of 51
Thread Starter 

I'm disagreeing with the idea that a race background is good but similar to........(pick any)

It is a unique effort and discipline to have to make your skis turn in an absolutely specific spot, and see that spot ahead.

It becomes the piece later, that when skiing the mountain and required to hit a certain spot to make a line work in a narrow couloir, you have the skill from back in racing.

post #35 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

I'm disagreeing with the idea that a race background is good but similar to........(pick any)

It is a unique effort and discipline to have to make your skis turn in an absolutely specific spot, and see that spot ahead.

It becomes the piece later, that when skiing the mountain and required to hit a certain spot to make a line work in a narrow couloir, you have the skill from back in racing.


Doesn't Eric D. have a race background, or is he just a stud because his parents owned a small ski hill?

post #36 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

Doesn't Eric D. have a race background, or is he just a stud because his parents owned a small ski hill?



Yep, Eric and his brother both have a junior racing background according to their book.  It probably didn't hurt either that their parents owned Bolton Valley.

 

Harb's latest Performance Free-Skiing DVD includes a section in the beginning where he defines what he  feels expert skiing is.  The general gist is that expert skiing is the ability to maintain consistent turns and speed no matter what the terrain delivers.  So that obviously begs the question of whether there are "groomer only" experts.  I would say no - a true expert in my mind can handle anything the mountain throws at them and do it with style and grace.

post #37 of 51
Thread Starter 

the list of former racers is long and contains many of the leaders in the sport. that I can say with confidence. you notice a complete turn, started reeeeeeeal early or high, however you want to say it.

post #38 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

Are the kids on the race team  because they're  good skiers or are the kids good skiers because they are on the race team? 


More often the kids become good skiers after a few seasons on the race team.  Fewer cases in the other direction.

 

For an adult example of the value of race/coach training, have a look at CSIA Level 4 instructors.  Not a coincidence that almost all CSIA-4 instructors also have CSCF-2 certification.  The best CSIA-4 instructors I've worked with have CSCF-3 (and CSCF-4 for a few).

post #39 of 51
Thread Starter 

translation of the abbreviations?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mogulmuncher View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

Are the kids on the race team  because they're  good skiers or are the kids good skiers because they are on the race team? 


More often the kids become good skiers after a few seasons on the race team.  Fewer cases in the other direction.

 

For an adult example of the value of race/coach training, have a look at CSIA Level 4 instructors.  Not a coincidence that almost all CSIA-4 instructors also have CSCF-2 certification.  The best CSIA-4 instructors I've worked with have CSCF-3 (and CSCF-4 for a few).

post #40 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post

 

Dec 19. 2010

 

Hi Bears:

 

Many years ago, a racer friend of mine told me that are two types of people:  A Skier who Races to Ski better and a Racer who Skis to Race better.  With that said, I would categorize myself in the first category for two reasons.  I started out skiing much too late in life to become competent in racing and secondly, speed fazes me.  One season (maybe 15-18 seasons ago), I dedicated the whole season in trying to overcome this fear by tucking (whenever feasible and safely) down the steeper slopes of my home mountain.  At the zenith of my racing, I would be able to consistently achieve NASTAR gold (at that time there weren't any platinum) in age groups 10-15 years my junior. Now, I barely eke by with a gold and am many handicap points off of platinum in my own age group.  Many of the famous big mountain skiers (e.g. Scot Schmidt, Shane McConkey) started out as racers who later on branched out into extreme skiing.  The only caveat which I would like to offer is that I know some racer type skiers who dislike/avoid skiing bumps, crud and other types of unruly conditions.  IMHO, they have unnecessarily restricted themselves to one type of skiing conditions and are missing out on the larger spectrum of enjoyment which skiing offers.  

 

Think snow,

 

CP

 

ps: I was involved in a Master Racing Programs for about 10-12 years when my daughter was on the racing team.  Technically, she skis better and faster than I do, but when we get into steep bumpy terrain (such as FIS, Castlerock, Black Diamond, Stein's Run etc at Sugarbush),she still looks to me for advice and demonstrationicon14.gif.  I think that presently, I have better "tactical" skills than she and which should come to her as she matures in age and skiing.



Racing makes better skiers. Skiing makes better racers.

 

I'd suggest not starting race training too young unless the program is a balanced program with lots of attention on the kids, their abilities and what keeps them happy which usually means lots of free skiing. Too many gates will cause burn out. Kids that free ski until they can ski anything fearlessly will advance quickly in gates, where as a kid that is thrown into the gates with a fear of speed will go nowhere. Get the love of speed in kids before hitting them with gates.

post #41 of 51
Thread Starter 

I see many young (10 - 14) racers who clearly are not trying to go faster in a race. they don't push hard out of the start gate or try to get speed out of the skis in the turns, or skate for the finish line. that is a mismatch, and likely, as you say, they are lacking the love of speed which is best instilled at a younger age (5-7 maybe) or before any formal race coaching.

post #42 of 51

Speaking from personal experience, I can say that my race training as a junior (starting at age 12) helped immeasurably in building a top-notchbase technique that allows me to enjoy the whole mountain in any conditions.

 

Granted, I also had coaching that emphasized enjoyment of the sport above anything else.  Even when I was in an academy setting, we still free skied as a "drill," which developed a better relation with the mountain and its ever-changing environment.  My breakthrough in speed events came after a month of doing almost nothing other than powder, chute, tree and cliff skiing during a particularly snowy December.  My coaches brought us into the extreme stuff (as it was entirely impractical to set DH/SG training courses with the newly-fallen snow), both on GS skis (the powder boards of the day) and some more weather-worn DH boards, just to build our awareness of both the hill and our equipment.  The skills learned "on the fly" (sometimes quite literally flying off of cornices and cliffs) were perfect, and our team did well in the speed events that followed while many of our competing teams had trained almost exclusively in the gates.

 

And yes, we did our share of drills and gate running, but it was always balanced with free skiing or doing things that tested different boundaries (e.g. telemark, skate skiing, jumping).  It built a love for skiing that carries on to this day amongst all of my teammates (even those who went on to national and NCAA ski teams).

post #43 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

translation of the abbreviations?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mogulmuncher View Post


For an adult example of the value of race/coach training, have a look at CSIA Level 4 instructors.  Not a coincidence that almost all CSIA-4 instructors also have CSCF-2 certification.  The best CSIA-4 instructors I've worked with have CSCF-3 (and CSCF-4 for a few).

 

CSIA = Canadian Ski Instructor Alliance. Our governing body of ski instruction in Canada. Four certification levels. Level 1 is administered provincially. The other levels are administered nationally with standards established and maintained through regular calibration among regions/hills. 

 

CSCF = Canadian Ski Coaching Federation. Our governing body for ski coaching in Canada. Four-ish certification levels, with each certification level broken down into "trained", "certified", and "certified advanced". Usually instructors have a coaching cert one or more levels below their current CSIA level. 

 

I'd be curious to find out how many instructors are actually "certified" or "advanced certified" versus simply "trained". To become "trained", you need to pass a given course (3+ days). To be certified or advanced certified, you need significant experience (1+ years) in a coaching capacity.

post #44 of 51
Thread Starter 

thanks for the definitions. standards for teaching one official national technique started where? Austria? ....France?....Switzerland?

 

some of the old timers at Squaw have pins that indicate 10 or I think 20 years of certification.they wear them with distinction. 

 

I learned reverse shoulder, (Stein Erickson technique) in Austria in the early 60's. each turn had about 4 steps. had you talking to yourself. but know what.....it is still a solid position to use, very similar to facing your upper body down the fall line, crossovers, several names for it now days.

post #45 of 51
Interesting discussion, here is another perspective.

I learned to ski back in the early 70's (haven't missed a season!) as a gangly 17 year old. At the time I was a bit of a hippie (still am) and racing had no interest for me. I was emulating the new wave of freestyle skiers and wanted to ski bumps, huck cliffs and star in a Warren Miller Movie (still do!). Racing was only a curiosity that I would watch on tv. Fast forward 30 years or so and with out a race background I have become an accomplished skier comfortable skiing just about any terrain in any condition. I love skiing steeps, trees, chutes, bumps etc Most skiers would call me an expert skier as have the instructors I have had in recent clinics. I also had dozens of group lessons (mostly early in my career) along the way but racing was the furthest thing from my mind and I until recently I could count on both hands how many times I had skied through a race or Nastar course.

Imagine my surprise about 4 years ago when I moved to the Cleveland area and joined a local ski club to join them on a western trip. After seeing my ski skills, I was cornered by a couple of club racers in the hot tub one night and asked to join the race team. I initially told them I wasn't interested. Well they persisted and I agreed to go to a race and qualify. I qualified into the B Vet group on the strength of my all around ski skills. The next day I placed 3rd in the slalom and came home with a medal and I was hooked!

Some of the better racers took me under their wings and coached me. Two seasons later I won my class and got bumped to BB Vet where I still am racing against guys who have been racing much longer than me but don't have my all around skills. Hence I tend to do well when the race course is in crappy conditions, because I am used to skiing crappy conditions from my exploring off piste.

Since racing, I have noticed my tree skiing has improved as well as my carving skills. Racing has encouraged me to continue to learn and improve and I am now 56 and having a blast racing. Plus I get to buy race skis as well as my all mountain skis.

Never to old to start racing.

Rick G
post #46 of 51

Argument of race training making you better?  Maybe it will make you a better racer and better at general skiing technique, but I disagree that turning gates will MAKE you a better skier.

 

I say this because if your a whitewater kayaker you know that creekboating/playboating are extremely different in character, but crossover to compliment each other very well(but a good boof isn't going to te.  I still don't believe being a bomber playboater/creekboater means your going excel in the other.

 

I think the point missed by the OP is that it takes LOTS(100's of days) of time and practice to get good in a specific discipline.  A racer will make bomber turns all over the mountain, but in 5 years of training on a race course there are a lot of elements missing from being the great all around skier that you see every now and then.  Knowing some people that raced in their younger years, gives me the perspective on how much skiing these kids do when they are younger, time spent on the hill directly correlates with skill(not just "x" discipline is better than "y').

 

Luckily I grew up as an ice hockey player. IMO our knowledge of edge control and balance transfers to skiing better than learning those things on skis!!

post #47 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickg View Post

Interesting discussion, here is another perspective.

I learned to ski back in the early 70's (haven't missed a season!) as a gangly 17 year old. At the time I was a bit of a hippie (still am) and racing had no interest for me. I was emulating the new wave of freestyle skiers and wanted to ski bumps, huck cliffs and star in a Warren Miller Movie (still do!). Racing was only a curiosity that I would watch on tv. Fast forward 30 years or so and with out a race background I have become an accomplished skier comfortable skiing just about any terrain in any condition. I love skiing steeps, trees, chutes, bumps etc Most skiers would call me an expert skier as have the instructors I have had in recent clinics. I also had dozens of group lessons (mostly early in my career) along the way but racing was the furthest thing from my mind and I until recently I could count on both hands how many times I had skied through a race or Nastar course.

Imagine my surprise about 4 years ago when I moved to the Cleveland area and joined a local ski club to join them on a western trip. After seeing my ski skills, I was cornered by a couple of club racers in the hot tub one night and asked to join the race team. I initially told them I wasn't interested. Well they persisted and I agreed to go to a race and qualify. I qualified into the B Vet group on the strength of my all around ski skills. The next day I placed 3rd in the slalom and came home with a medal and I was hooked!

Some of the better racers took me under their wings and coached me. Two seasons later I won my class and got bumped to BB Vet where I still am racing against guys who have been racing much longer than me but don't have my all around skills. Hence I tend to do well when the race course is in crappy conditions, because I am used to skiing crappy conditions from my exploring off piste.

Since racing, I have noticed my tree skiing has improved as well as my carving skills. Racing has encouraged me to continue to learn and improve and I am now 56 and having a blast racing. Plus I get to buy race skis as well as my all mountain skis.

Never to old to start racing.

Rick G

 

 

eek.gif  I hope they were female....biggrin.gif
 

post #48 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwiski View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by skierhj View Post

Too many coaches take young racers and take the fun out of our sport.  Most every coach out there secretly hopes that he/she has the next Bode/Lindsey on their roster and push too many kids too hard.

 

This is so true. 

 

I have 2 perspectives on this.  First, as a former racer who's dad was the head coach of the team in the early 1980s I had the coaches that took the fun out of the sport.  When my dad quit coaching I took the opportunity to quit racing and only skied a day or two every season or two until 6 seasons ago when I moved to Colorado.  I nearly lost out on the wonderfulness that is our sport due to that attitude.  When I came back to it my powder skiing was miserable.  My bump skiing was novice at best.  I've spent 6 seasons working hard to improve those skills but I've often wished that it had been included in my early training.  I just finally got to the point this year that given the choice of bumps or no most of the time I'll choose the bumps.  

 

That winter I was asked to take on coaching for the youngest racers on a team.  It has been since that first day of my coaching career and will continue to be until the day I stop my number 1 mission to make sure my athletes are having fun.  We've trained 4 weeks so far and haven't touched a gate yet.  We do powder, bumps, trees, jumps etc.  On Sunday at the end of the day when we were all tired both physically and mentally (day after Christmas!) so I took them down to the magic carpet for a little one skiing where they got to witness their coach crashing (that got lots of laughter) and I heard lots of giggling as they experimented with the drill.  And every single one of them wanted to show off what they'd learned to their parents at the end of the day.  Every kid I've coached can tell you what my number one rule in ski racing is and it's "Have fun!"  We've had days when we're supposed to train gates but the powder dumps and the entire team bails and goes to ski freshies.  Honestly, the skills we learn outside the gates transfers into the gates much much more than the skills learned in the gates transferring out to bumps and powder.  

 

My hope is that even if they don't continue to race they will always love skiing and they will be able to take the skills they learn while race training out to the mountain for enjoyment.  
 

I've skied with a lot of former racers and a lot of people who've never had race training.  Sure, I can usually peg the former racers simply by their skiing style but honestly, they're not the ones I try to emulate.  Instead, those are people like Segbrown, Tsavo, DonDenver, Betsy, Bklyn and more.  So, do I think one is better than the other?  Nope, both have their benefits and really, it's what the person makes of the training they have that makes them a great or not so great skier.  

post #49 of 51
Thread Starter 

Tamara McKinney is one of the coaches at Squaw. She always sends her kids down the hill with a "have fun!" I love it.

 

and really, having a good run is super fun, always was, always will be.

 

at Squaw, I guess we have so many "snow days" that the program will always have balance, which I agree is excellent, and some of our coaches say our kids rule on a rough course because of their big mountain background.

 

Cogirl, I didn't follow. your father was the one who took the fun out of it for you? just checking.

post #50 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

 

 

Cogirl, I didn't follow. your father was the one who took the fun out of it for you? just checking.


Sort of.  It was him and the coaches under him that put on the pressure and forgot how much fun skiing and racing can be.  My dad was the head coach of the team and because I was the head coach's daughter I had a lot of pressure on me.  

post #51 of 51



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

 

CSIA = Canadian Ski Instructor Alliance. Our governing body of ski instruction in Canada. Four certification levels. Level 1 is administered provincially. The other levels are administered nationally with standards established and maintained through regular calibration among regions/hills. 

 

CSCF = Canadian Ski Coaching Federation. Our governing body for ski coaching in Canada. Four-ish certification levels, with each certification level broken down into "trained", "certified", and "certified advanced". Usually instructors have a coaching cert one or more levels below their current CSIA level. 

 

I'd be curious to find out how many instructors are actually "certified" or "advanced certified" versus simply "trained". To become "trained", you need to pass a given course (3+ days). To be certified or advanced certified, you need significant experience (1+ years) in a coaching capacity.


Metaphor, thanks for providing a timely response to davluri (I've been away from the computer for a while).
 

The CSCF progression of Trained to Certified to Certified Advanced was started about 7 or 8 years ago with the Entry Level (former L1), then the Development Level (former L2), and finally the Performance Level (former L3) was fully transitioned about three years ago.  CSCF Level 4 works a little differently.

 

Prior to this progression, successful completion of the course gave Certified status, so any CSIA Level 4 who completed the old CSCF L2 course is Certified, even if they didn't actually coach.  Of the CSIA Level 4 instructors that I've encountered, I think less than 20% have worked in coaching programs.

 

The old CSCF Level 2 course used to be a 7-day course.  It was shortened to 5 days around the mid-90's I think.

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