Thursday, September 29, 2011

The beauty and great climbing at the City of Rock, Idaho.

City of Rock climbing this week, September 25th, 2011.

Get serious

Reaching the top

Old Friends get together after 38 years!

Dick Dorworth, great coach, writer, skier, climber.
Haven't seen Dick in 38 years, it's like we never missed a beat.

Dick is one of those special people you might be fortunate to know or meet or pass, in life. I’m one of the lucky ones who met and got to know him. I’m also, one of the luckiest, late life climbers ever. I first met Dick in my ski racing years, back in 1970. He was a coach for the US Ski Team. He stood up for the athletes, he was never a US Ski Team coach for aggrandizement, which is in-itself an rare quality. 
What I didn’t know, until 1973, is that he was and became a pioneer rock climber. He is still today, at 72 years, an excellent climber. He’s climbed with the best climbers of his day, which happen to be some of the best climbers in the history of climbing. People like Lito Tejda-Flores, Royal Robbins, Warren Harding, Jim Bridwell, and John Backar just to name a few. 
I got to climb with Dick when I was 23, he took me climbing, but unfortunately, climbing didn’t grab me at that time. Now after, 40 years, it has and I’m able to re-connect with Dick, on the rock. A pleasure that I wish everyone could experience. Dick is walking history. He’s a gentleman and although competitive with himself; you would be hard pressed to notice any in his demeanor. Dick is also a successful coach, skier, instructor, writer, and author.
It is either luck or the connection to skiing that brought me in contact with great climbers. I’ve met, Peter Habaler Jim Bridwell, John Gill, and am friends with Lito, Dick and Hermann Gollner, all great climbers, and this all came about through skiing.
Call it luck or being in the right place at the right time, but what wonderful experiences knowing, meeting and talking with these climbers. 
It doesn’t stop here, the climbing community is small, like the skiing community. Although I have not met Lynn Hill, and many others who are the best in the world, they never-the-less inspire us all. She waved at me as I drove by her car at Rifle last summer, you never know, Lynn Hill or Chris Sharma, David Graham, may want to learn to ski some day and knock on the door.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Compare and contrast techniques, Hermann Maier

Here is one of the best ski racers ever, Hermann Maier, using a retraction, flexing release. And he lifted a ski, thought no body on the World Cup did that?

Here, Hans Knauss shows us that he had the technique of the future, back a few years. He uses a flexing release and transition without an up extension. This is what the top, present day GS skiers like to do. It won’t happen if the FIS stays with the 35m GS ski rule. GS skiing will not be as pretty as this, in the future.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Harald Harb Ski Reviews 2012, Skis we like, skis that work and skis that make you a better skier.

Demonstration of a large arc turn, with obvious up movement to create a transition.

Technical description of skiing in these frames.
We must remember everyone’s skiing to them is measured with  their understanding of the sport. If this skier were skiing PSIA taught technique he would be considered too edge dominant. In his world he is probably doing exactly what they expect of him. This leaves the skier based only on the photos we see here, vulnerable to critic or suggested alternatives. 
Let’s begin by defining the arc, it’s more of a GS size turn, so their is plenty of time between edge changes. And the skier is extending and raising his body and hips to make an edge change. This series of movements extends the time in transition.
Since the skier is tall in transition, he has no place to go but down again, or lower his hips to enter his arc. 
This puts his hips low and behind relative to his ski boots, very early in the arc. When ever you ski like this, you do use some uphill leg extension to initiate the body toward the inside of the next arc.
If we want to compare to how we teach this turn in PMTS, it’s different.  In PMTS we use the energy from the previous turn, by flexing the extended stance leg at the end of the arc. This movement combines to help the skis change edges with tipping, basically shortening the transition time.
With the PMTS method, it also reduces the disconnect from the snow, example is the 4th frame, where the skier is extended and waiting to cross his skis. We don’t have that frame in PMTS skiing.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

More on FIS Giant Slalom Skis!

When GS Skis were shaped!

Carving a ski is a beautiful skill. Watching a World Cup skier carve a giant slalom ski with his hip brushing the snow, from one turn to the next, is exhilarating and magical.
This kind of unmatched skill, entices all snow sport participants and fans to watch the best perform. 
This is what World Cup, Giant Slalom used to be about 4 years ago, until the FIS screwed up the sport. 
They mandated that GS skis should not have as much shape or curve from tip to tail. This changes the way skiers can arc around the gates. Rather than seeing clean round curves and tracks in the snow; you now see a skidding, sliding, bouncing, struggling ski racer. The FIS is putting the best skiers in the world, into situations where they at times, look like total beginners.  
Under the noble assumption that carving is bad for athletes, due to knee injury and bad accidents, the FIS in their infinite wisdom has assumed that if the skis don’t arc round turns; a ski racer is less likely to get out of control, run into barriers and is less likely to get injured.  No scientific study or record of events has been initiated or consulted by the FIS, to back up these assumptions.
In my opinion, after observing and competing and officiating in ski racing for 40 years, making the skis less curved or straighter, requires and trends toward GS courses that are straighter and set with more distance,  because it’s difficult to arc straight skis into tight turning gates. Therefore: the distance between the gates increases, and the off-set is reduced, so that the racers can make the next gate. 

This causes what we used to deal with in the 70ies, racers heading in straighter lines, throwing the skis sideways, into big holes or chatters in the snow, at or below the gates. Straight skis also, are much more difficult to make hold on bullet proof, injected snow and therefore harder to control on fast, steep, courses. 
Bring ski design and shape back to somewhere between 25 and 28 meters and  185cm to 190cm in length. Make the courses shorter and use wider slopes. Make course setting, rounder, in accord with the ability of the skier and the ski to perform carved high angle turns. This will slow GS speed (to a reasonable 35 to 40mph and give racers the chance to develop techniques that offer control and elegance.  Take out blind corners and long, steep, narrow passages. 
We already know what will happen if the new FIS rules are employed, it’s obvious, we had it before, we will go back to 1970ies skiing. Creating and letting new technologies thrive, like ski design, makes the sport better and more fun to watch. The FIS officials are not future thinkers, ski designers or engineers. They are old men, with old ideas. The ski manufacturers are the creators that will make skiing exciting, not at the peril of the athletes, but with the creativity of what the human body has to offer the sport. 
If the FIS wants to reduce terrible injuries and increase safety; they should address the jumps on some of the World Cup Downhill courses, that’s where the serious injuries and life threatening accidents have  occurred recently.

The governing body that orders World Cup ski racing rules, blows it again.

After a terrible rule change two years ago, that increased the Giant Slalom skis from approximately 22 meters to 28 meters, the FIS now wants to increase Giant Slalom skis to a 40 meter radius. 

 FIS officals continue to demonstrate that they are out of touch with the althetes, the fans, the spectators, the manufacturers, the ski resorts, the coaches and racer safety.

They are, or say they are, concerned about injuries and safely. These issues are not proven to be on the increase or that the ski radius increase is a solution. Many experts in the sport consider the new rules will make the situation worst; setting the sport back 20 years, rather than addressing the issues that should be addressed in the first place. This is a worst band-aid case scenario this former FIS competitor, coach, former FIS referee and World Championship race organizer, has yet seen.

The Sport of World Cup skiing has seen a shrinking audience, and the growth of competing winter sports.  This is directly related to the unpopular formate and inconceivable ugliness, in part of the Giant Slalom event. It's hard to watch even for hardened racing fans.

The courses are poorly set, partly due to the rules, and the racers look like they are struggling on skis, rather than performing brilliantly.

There are many solutions being offered, yet the FIS has not opened up to the field of experts that would easier find much better logical approaches to this growing problem.

(more to come)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Just in case you thought this BLOG, wasn't about skiing!

Lead with the inside arm to keep your "Counteracting" strong. The inside leg is bent to increase the "Hip to the Snow" angle. The spray, OH, that's because it's perfect snow.
Learn it and get it all right here: 
My web site

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What a great day for a climb. Feels like the Alps up there.

Diana leads to the top of the climb.

This is "RA"  a big stone face, a 30 minute hike from the highway up on Berthoud Pass. 
Click on Photos to enlarge
Top 2 pitches are "Nearer to Thee" on Mountain Project.

Great Day, tough climb,  Looking out from the top.