Sunday, December 20, 2015

Petra Vlhova wins a slalom on the world cup.

My contention is that women's slalom skiing is at the weakest point in decades. The skiing of  the winners is definitely not up to the standards shown by Shiffrin last year, or of late, before her injury. Shiffrin won the last slaloms she raced by 2 and 3 seconds. Even the skiers now retired from a  few years ago, like Schild, Zettel or Reich were still skiing at a higher level than the present field. . Now that Shiffrin, Maze and Schild are not in the mix,  the field is wide open.  
 The clean skiing we are used to seeing with Shiffrin and Schild are not present in this young skier. Here is an example: Petra Vlhova who won the last slalom, after Shiffrin was out. This isn't to say she won't learn and improve. Of course she has potential. But she also shows some serious technical errors.
 Most of her technical mistakes are due to her upper body rotation, outside leg, knee drive dominance. She skis with power and strength, not with finesse. She, as a result, over turns and is hard on the edges, over holding and gripping.

(below) What she does very well, is she pulls her outside ski back, to bring the skis together and that sets up the new turn with great inside ski tipping and pull back.

(below) In this photo her main issues are demonstrated. She powers her turns with upper body rotation, which is in conflict with her lower body trying to hold a countered hip.
 Vlhova often squares up her hips to her skis, too early in the turn, therefore loses the hold on her outside ski. This causes her skis to separate and forces her to make big moves to the next turn and also forces the rounder longer turn. This adds up to a turn release, with diminished rebound. Or less than a quick strong, crisp, rebound she could achieve with more counter and less rotation.
 (below) At times she shows her potential, here she is showing great counteracting, however this is one of the few turns in the whole course where she used counter acting and counter balance, to save a turn.
 Although not her fault, her boot set up is also a handicap. she shows this extreme position in a hairpin that almost put her out of the course.
She has potential yes, but there is work to do if she wants to make up the difference between her skiing and that of Mikaela Shiffrin, who is sure to be back even stronger than before her injury.