Friday, February 2, 2018

Boot and stance comparison and fore/aft movements of World Cup Skiers!

The photo selections for this article are not one off to prove a point. They are consistent with the skiing methods and stance of the racers shown.

I have written and shown many aspects of Marcel Hirscher's great skiing on this Blog.  He defies analyst belief's about skiing. Two year's ago I did an article about Hirscher's reentering ability. In a fore/aft sense, Hirscher dominates all other racers except possibly Micheal Matt. This involves numerous movements and techniques he employs. In this article I'll point some of them out.

(below) No one is better at keeping fore/aft balance to pressure the tip of the ski at precisely the right time and moment then Hirscher.

Notice in the above photo, not only is Hirscher's inside hip more forward which constitutes counter-acting., but his inside boot is back under his hips relative to almost all others at this point in the arc. 

(Below) Sebastian Foss Solevag, Conpare his shin angles to Hirscher. His inside boot is much farther forward and his hips are more square and further back. This isn't trivial it's a huge disadvantage.

Compare the next two photos below, Hirscher flexes rather than extending out of the arc. Solevag stands and loses ground to the next gate.

Hirscher keeps his feet more together in both lateral distance and in a fore/aft relationship. This ability and his movements that make it happen, give him a cleaner carve and a shorter radius.

Kristofferson (below) splits his feet to get more forward pressure on the front of the outside ski. This brings his balance toward the inside ski reducing pressure and creating a bigger arc.

Here we see Kristofferson at the gate (above photo) and after the gate (below photo). He has big separations front to back and side to side of his skis and boots. Hirscher holds a much narrower stance throughout. He does this with strong inside foot pullback,  inside leg flexing/bending and tipping.

Angle Comparisons
From the frames below we can see that the shin angles vary tremendously from skier to skier.  Because Hirscher gets more foot pullback in transitions he's able to drop his hips into the falline earlier and further. The amazing thing about Hirscher is he doesn't back off by allowing his inside foot to move forward. He keeps the pullback tension with his hamstring, on the that leg to keep the foot back. 
Looking at the Blue arrows (above) the biggest difference is the arrow comparing the inisde ski boot and shin angle. Since there is less weight on this ski and boot, it's much more difficult to hold it back and flex. If the boots are too upright or there is a gas peddle lift in the toe, this is often the result.  If the inide foot moves forward too much, as with this skier, it puts the skier more in the back seat and the skis are less capable from there to slice a clean carve and they end up doing more scrubbing.

In summary, what are the key observations and movements that create the amazingly quick transitions, recoveries and angles of a skier like Marcel Hirscher? He uses and creates most of his balancing activities with the inside foot. He has the handle on ultimate inside foot management.

He also stays more compact, with his inside foot moving first and creating angles so the outside foot can match, and his upper body and his outside hip stays closer and more over the outside ski, his hip angles are closer,  relative to his outside foot. He almost always has the ability to bring his inclination back to traditional angulation, always after the gate leading to transition and even before he comes under the gate. This can be achieved only if the inside ski stays close to the outside ski, without scissoring or spreading. Vertical separation due to slope is fine. Below photos, we see Hirscher coming back to classic angulation and counter acting to release.

All the below photo frames demonstrate how Hirscher comes back to Counter acting and Counter balance like no one else. This is very difficult if your feet are spread and the outside ski is running away from you. Very few can close the radius under the gate as Hirscher does it. He never stops increasing his flexing, tipping and CB, until the release. He rarely if ever has to step out of his arc.

This frame demonstrates his upper body coming back toward his outside ski, he never stops creating and increasing angles. If the ski is running in an arc, it's bending, therefore it's never slow.


Unknown said...

Fantastic breakdown, Harald....

Thanks so much for doing this -- all the time. Your technical analysis applies even to us mere mortals who can't do it to Hirscher's degree -- but should strive to do it to our best abilities. It's such a great reminder of why PMTS is the only way to go if one chooses to improve their skills.

I love watching Hirscher ski. Same with Shiffrin. They both seem to be at such higher levels than their competitors. They also seem much more "relaxed" and "fluid" through the gates.

Hope all is well and "best" to Diana.


george said...

I'm a big fan of your blog and its deconstruction of Hirscher's flawless technique. I have a couple of questions about how to keep hips counter-acted while flexing them.

During a retraction transition in which counter-action from the old turn is held into the new turn (exemplified, as usual, by Hirscher), the uphill hip is dramatically forward of the downhill hip, yet both are back behind the feet. In my own skiing, I try to use whatever seems to be the most powerful muscles, which my knowledge of human anatomy tells me are the "butt muscles," to create counter-action and resist the tendency of a strong inside foot pull-back to rotate the body inside the turn. Holding counter-action into the new turn can make it hard to get both hips back for retraction. Lately I've been using ab muscles to force the hips back but I'm still playing with it and would like to know what you do.

The next question is similar but concerning a phase of the turn where it's not so obvious what's going on from pictures. When you see Hirscher around the gate (first photo) his hips seem not only counter-acted but fairly forward. In some sense they are of course, as his feet are underneath him. But Hirscher's inside foot pull-back is so strong that it's hard to tell what the hips as such are doing (other than counter-acting). I notice that you speak of his ability to "drop his hips into the falline." I know you probably mean this as a generic term for creating early angles. But I wonder if you think the hips should actually be dropped (flexed) at this phase. Obviously, being on the tails of your skis at this phase would be a disaster, but presumably with a pulled back inside leg, a relatively extended outside leg, and counter-action you could stay centered.

Harald Harb said...

Thank you Art, and I know your own skiing has changed and progressed beautify with the applications of the PMTS movements.

Harald Harb said...

The act of pulling the inside foot back, (at the top of the arc) which I've been using in my skiing since 1974, when I discover how well this works, doesn't have a big rotational effect on the hips unless the movement is activated too high up in the body. As counter acting begins with the hip muscles, the inside foot pulling back, isn't a strong enough force to reduce, negate or slow down counter acting; if it is done from below the knee, using the hampstring muscles. If pull back is reducing C.A. it mean the bigger, higher up muscles of the hip are being used, that isn't he way it's done.
The act of Countering, through the bottom of the arc, allows easier release of the "Big toe edge hold", because it stabiles and power's up the uphill hip, and the (upper ski's) edge hold. This gives the skier a momentary strong stance for a transition. The releasing ski can then be free to tip and help transition the GG. As far as retraction, it creates a very light touch or floating of the skis, over the surface and therefore a powerful edge change and entry to the turn, as the feet and ankles change the ski angles for the next arc. Retractions causes, low hips, this doesn't mean you are out of control or in the back seat. What retraction does is create a strong edge change, a very quick edge change and the opportunity to pull the feet back so the hips recenter for the next arc.

Unknown said...

Mr. Barb,

I have been playing around with equal and opposite force in the legs.

If I want to turn left I pull my left foot back and push my right foot forward with equal force.

When I do this I can change direction whenever I want by switching the direction I'm pushing/pulling my feel.

My analogy is that of a tank. When one track is in reverse and the other is going forward the tank will spin, infinitely or until the direction of the forces are changed.

With this I can make quick snappy, long controlled and medium turns. All while carving or smearing.

The control I have is incredible. And my upper body counters naturally rather than forced.

The upper body is moving with equal and opposite forces to the legs. This has made my lower back not hurt any more.

After reading some of your blog and an glad to see that I am on to sonething here.


Shane J

Bodylift Surgery said...

After reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-mark and checking back often!

Bodylift Surgery said...

After reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-mark and checking back often!

Unknown said...

Hi Harald,

I am intrigued by two of the pictures of Marcel in SL that you have posted above. The two pictures look nearly identical, but after closer observation, I notice that Marcel´s inside ski/boot and leg have made a slight (but I suspect very important movement) between the first and the second picture. Could you Please provide your insight into the description and importance (if any) of that subtle move that produces a change in the paralelism of both skies , from one picture to the next?. I believe I have noted that recurrent move, not only by Marcel, and it usually happens right under the flag, kind of closing the turn, prior to initiating the transition (the release of the current stance ski)