Friday, November 27, 2020

Petra Vlhova and World Cup Skiing Analysis 2020

              Welcome to the introduction page for "2020 World Cup Skiing" analysis. 

Of course, the natural thing to do is pick the latest winner and start there. Yet my blog has been building an understanding of World Cup Skiing for skiers for at least a decade. in that vein let's start with the two-time winner at Levi.

                              Getting better or getting it "Right"!

Overall picture:

All of the "Rossi" women (Rossignol boot and ski brand) have a ski boot set up on the softer side. Meaning the alignment is less aggressive which allows the legs to move further to one side or the other. 

Every boot setup has pros and cons. The Rossie set up of late shows more fluid skiing with angles that make the skis work more progressively to develop pressure.  In my view, this is a more forgiving feeling. Although at times they also show a too cuff strong position toward the lower leg. 

That cuff angle is what accentuates the "A-frame or knockkneed look. Petra has always had a big "A-frame" (way worst 2 years ago) but, she always made the great move of pulling her old stance foot/boot/ski closer, after she releases it, moving it immediately toward the new outside ski boot, high in the arc. (Photos inserted below demonstrate this) 

Not one of the other women does this as well. Not even Shiffrin. In my analysis, Liensberg has the cleanest technique of the 3 top women.  For Petra, the free foot movements help her with foot pull back and establishes a great new platform, and angle high in the arc higher on the hill to the next gate. This is important as it allows you to stay in the falline longer without having to fight against it at the bottom of the arc. . . This has saved her from getting into over knock-kneed situations, which can result in lack of edge hold, and even slipping at times. 

In addition, she uses and has a strong counteracting of the hips,  knocked-kneed or "A-Frame legs become a liability as the hip rotates with the turn, or comes or moves more square as the squaring up hip releases angles, and the tails of the skis, She has totally tamed this, so far, and she even looks stronger this season. She shows almost parallel shins to the very end of the turn.

There have been some improvements in her boot set up, possibly less cuff toward the shin. Without measuring her shin and leg curves, it's hard to tell for sure how much her leg curve is influencing her "A-frame" now. The lower leg curve can have a huge influence on her stance which is obviously noticeable. Yet she holds well, gets great rebound, and changes edges quickly. If you watch Gisin you see a more pronounced "A-Frame and she loses edge hold often, again it's a Rossi setup, which tends to be on the softer side than other boot companies. It seems to work on Levi snow.

If you look at equipment, besides Mikaela Shiffrin there is only one other skier in the top 10 (and only the first day) in two days of racing at Levi on Atomic. To me, it suggests there are some setup problems with Atomic at the moment.  They have plenty of skiers on the product. It is also an indication to me why Shiffrin is not in total form. Fisher and Head seem to have some things figured out better. 

Petra at mid-turn blocks the gate, and shows inside leg well-bent, her weight and pressure are on the middle to the tail of the ski. The equally tipped angles of the skis and long outside leg assure that she has great control of her A-frame. 

This next frame shows the key moment and movement that creates a transition. Petra rides the inside ski on it's tipped little toe edge. This is how she controls her timing for the next turn. No rush to redirect the new outside ski. The only movement is to gather her skis together by retracting and pulling the old stance ski, outside ski, closer to the new outside ski. Most juniors and especially "A-Framed skiers don't have this skill.

In mid-transition, she is still pulling the old stance ski closer and continues this movement which helps flatten the old inside ski and prepares it for the new turn. The old outside ski will next narrow up even further to begin creating angles for the new turn.