Saturday, January 16, 2021

Without Hirscher, why are Austrian Slalom skiers so consistent this season?

                       Autrian Slalom Sucess 2020-21

 Someone really smart in the Austrian organization picked new coaches. It has been stated that the slalom team has Hirscher's former coach. I would not doubt this given the improvement is dramatic. The consistency of runs and better technique is also obvious. Let's look at some of the changes and improvements anyone can benefit from doing this in their skiing.

In addition to Manny Feller and Marco Schwartz, Matt, Gstrein, and Pertl have knocked on the door of the top 10. 

      


Manny Feller has just won his first race and has been consistently on the podium.



Marco Schwartz has been consistently in the top 3 and won a race.

                       

The red arrows demonstrate Manny's strong use of Counteracting, which blocks his outside shoulder and hip rotation. This is giving him stronger edge hold, better rebound energy, and a higher entry point to the next gate.

Manny often used to dive into the turn (leaning) with his upper body and head first. Here this season, notice his head has reclaimed a position over the outside ski, indicated by the yellow arrow. His torso and chest, therefore, are more verticle and counterbalanced shown by the blue arrows.


                                   
In this photo I am counterbalanced, notice even we mere mortals can keep our head over the outside ski indicated by my helmet being to the right side of my jacket hood.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

One of the 5 "Essentials of Skiing" Counteracting!

If "Carving" is one of the things you want to achieve in your skiing, then "Counteracting is a big contributor to that skill. In this post, I define some of the key ways to learn how to achieve and develop CA.




 The Yellow line curve is the arc of the turn. The two blue arcs are movements you make while in the arc, starting at the top of the arc and moving the arm and hand forward toward the tip of the ski until the end of the turn. 


Notice the ski pole tip is also moving downhill and in a circle as much or in advance of the skis coming through the arc. 


When you begin to learn how to use counteracting it may not work its way down to your hips where you see the red arrows, at first. (photo above)




This is difficult for many skiers to create hip CA due to either lack of awareness or flexibility. With practice, you can increase your hip support for your turns.


The forces in a carved turn want to rotate your torso, which decreases ski angles and edge hold. This is the reason to develop CA movements. Just trying to hold a countered hip isn't enough. Counteracting, or CA is a movement, not a position. 


Begin by using the pole tip, arm, and hand on the inside of the arc, to develop your CA movements through turns. Slow down, and pick a relatively flat slope to practice this. Make the movements from the top of the arc all the way to the end. This requires effort and patience, it won't happen immediately but it will pay off with great skiing if you stick with it.