Saturday, November 11, 2017

When Shiffrin doesn't or can't ski like Shiffrin.

Having had some history with the Shiffrin boot set up, I didn't know what to expect in the first slalom race. My sense and expectations weren't good based on the Soelden race in GS. Of course this happened last season in GS as well. What I saw immediately was the amount of spray off Shiffrin's right ski compared to her left. Now that can be due to the course set or the slope's side hill angle, however, this is constant with the photos here, as well as, the whole way down the course. The spray of snow off her ski was predominantly downhill, which is a sure sign the ski is being pushed to an edge rather than rolled onto an edge, big difference. Usually this results in late to poor edge hold in the turn.

In the turn below which actually is a double or triple turn, because the pressure is built and released and then recreated, at least 2 times. The release to the next turn, is also very late compared to what she can do,  when her boots are set up more appropriately. Again I repeat, this was consistent throughout the whole run in the off-set turns, and also showed in the first run, which Shiffrin narrowly won. 

In this first photo she is leaning away from the ski, this is evident because the ski is not bent and her leg is straight without weight on the ski. This is the end of the first  lose of a pressure phase. 

 This second photo shows her trying to get the ski to hold, or bite,  by driving the knee. She had to make her stance wide to get this, which causes her balance to move inside, losing precious edge hold. Her usual ability to slice the snow with a clean carve is not there. This is also an attempt to make the second pressure loading movement. She actually had to push her leg straight first, which only serves to put the brakes on and causes a skid. Understanding this, tells you it's adaptive movements she is making to overcome the unnatural edge angle, the boots are forcing on her skiing. This is not "Shiffrin" skiing.

In this last photo, she is well past the gate. Here she is still working hard for edge hold, while standing on 2 feet, with very little ski bend. Without a single carving arc turn, which she is capable of, and is her usual approach with a loaded ski, this is a  2 or three load turn. This results in much slower and much more physically taxing skiing, because it feels like you can't stance solid on the edge and you can't get out of the arc.

Two seasons ago Shiffrin had a bad start in the early slaloms. It was boot related. Here is a skier that is usually winning slalom races by 1/2 to a hull second. Sure some of her competitors are catching up to her and skiing stronger, however that's why it's even more important the boots be completely set up right, and done perfectly. They aren't there yet.

Compare this to the above positions and alignment!


D.STYLE said...

Two seasons ago she won first two slaloms by record margins.

Unknown said...

Hi Harald, how do assess Petra Vhlova's skiing? It looks like she has improved a lot.

Unknown said...

Since you have experience with the Shiffrin boots, would you happen to know what flex she ski's in gs and sl?

Unknown said...

Since you have experience with Shiffrin her boots, would you happen to know what flex she ski's in SL and GS?

And what flex do most WC ladies ski?

Thanks in advance!

Harald Harb said...

Hi Daniel,

Petra, has huge upside potential. Her set up is not ideal. Look at the "A" frame extreme, the slides the top of most arcs. A few years ago, with Schild, Zettle and Hosp, Reich, she Ould not be winning.

Harald Harb said...


The flex on her slalom boots is 150. The GS boot I'm not sure.