MEMBER AREA – As I am working on a new edition of the BTP video, first published in German this time, I decided to release another short ski medley with some of the ski footage that I will add to the new edition.
A 20 minute clip with my commentary to my own turns and some analysis of what is going on in ski racing can be found in the member area.
After another record Sofa Ski Camp season in New Zealand, where I did 500 ten minute ski analysis clips on TV in 7 weeks and get to ski and coach less myself, I am extremely excited this year to get back on skis again tomorrow. 🙂
I would like to use the opportunity pre-season to show you a little bit what I am personally looking for in my turns, what the elements are that I focus on and how this relates to my daily job of helping others to become better skiers.
The runs shown in the clips are all runs on slightly steeper terrain with the goal to get the most out of each turn while trying to stay aggressive and active top to bottom.
It is not my goal to do a ski instructor demo or ski especially controlled but I am trying to get the maximum action, angles and rebound. This means trying to hit each turn as well as possible so I can take maximum speed with me through the turn. Hitting a turn for me means getting the timing right, being in the right place at the right time and to carve the turns as clean as possible without sliding or stemming.
Getting high edge angles and getting low to the ground is something that many skiers aim for but often the more skiers try to get low the less it works.
To be able to incline more we need to have better grip on our outside ski. Same as when riding a bike, we can only “lean in” if we trust the grip of the tires and if we have enough speed so the force allows us to do that.
If I just try to get to the inside without being clean enough on my outside I will fall on my inside ski and the turn won’t work.
We can make it easier by being on a ski with a smaller radius which will allow us to incline also at smaller speeds and will let us get away with a less perfect position over our outside ski, but those turns will then be limited to easier slopes and won’t work anymore once the forces get bigger.
Often we see staged hip on the ground photographs online that look spectacular but don’t represent the most functional way of getting the most performance also on steeper slopes and at higher speeds.
The image I want to have in mind is what the ski racers do when they try to ski a given line in especially challenging conditions as fast as possible. And also there we see different qualities of execution. For a reason Hirscher and Shiffrin dominate, as they are doing some key things cleaner and more consistently than others when it gets more difficult.
One of the elements that I focus on and that you can see in perfection with Marcel and Mikalea is to get long at the top of the key turns. Especially before the turns with bigger offset, transitions into steep sections or turns with a negative chamber you can see them come up and forward, get especially neutral and long to then progressively build up position and hit the crucial turn as clean as possible.
A ski race is most of the time a series of recovery moves. The racers have a lot of techniques available to make it around the corner, but they know which turns are the crucial ones, which turns they want to do as clean as possible, as those turns are often the ones that decide a race.
For our customers it is the same thing only on a different level with a different objective. Their crucial turn is the steep section of a run where they would have panicked in the past but now win over the devil on their shoulder, not fall back to the bad habit, but stick to the 1 2 3 that we have learnt and practiced. It is the same basics of not rushing it, investing enough into getting forward and neutral and then showing a lot of commitment and feeling to find the outside ski early and look for a clean pull or a controlled slide where we can keep the upper body separated and let the skis ski a smooth and round turn.
Trying to reduce movements to an absolute minimum is what many ski instructor systems are teaching. The feedback to stay low, “imagine that there is a glass wall over your head”, has its place when I try to work on quick edge changes, or retraction extension turns but is not a general goal at all and probably the most common bad advice that gets taught in way too many lessons all over the world. It is the extension and the length that allows the racer to come forward, find the outside ski early and manage the pressure (watch Hirscher or see frame 1 / frame 1-2 in the images above) and that helps the recreational skier to find the outside ski cleaner as against to staying low and rushing right away to the inside of the turn, losing outside ski performance and falling more and more to the back and inside. […]
The full article and the 20 minute Video with commentary and analysis can be found in the Member Area.
Have a great winter!
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