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.

Notice how when she has drawn her feet together she also tipped the new inside ski toward its little toe edge side of the foot. Once the old outside ski is close and tight to the new stance ski, tipping the new outside ski equally is almost automatic, matching in ski angles in this early phase of the arc. Most skiers at this point are so focused on pressure and grip they fail to create angles. Creating the angles to achieve pressure at the right time is genius, and requires patience and correct understanding and movements. This is where the term early pressure can give the wrong impression for developing racers.  


Breezer said...


Erik said...

Great post, as usual. Love your analysis!

Unknown said...

Hi Harald, I've been enjoying your posts that provide a fresh view on ski technique. In this blog post, there are, however, some expressions that remain unclear to me. Would you be so kind as to explain what you mean by "too cuff strong position toward the lower leg" when talking about Rossi boots?
Second, I'd like you to specify whether you are referring to lateral or forward angle of cuff here: "That cuff angle is what accentuates the "A-frame or knockkneed look".
And last, what do you mean by "less cuff toward the shin" in "There have been some improvements in her boot set up, possibly less cuff toward the shin."?

As to this
"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."
According to my experience, to keep the inside foot more under the body and to prevent it from advancing too much in the turn, so as to be able to use the 'free foot' actively in the turn, all you need to do is to actively flex the ankle of the inside foot at the start and during the turn and to tilt it onto its pinky toe side while letting the knee go up and tilt towards the inside. So what I'm suggesting is that you do not really need to pull the foot back, just let it flex, provided that the feet cross directly under you body at turn transition as they optimally should do.

Harald Harb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harald Harb said...

Hey Unknown, I don't post to unknowns, post with a name. Second, all my books explain the questions you are asking. So does much of the other material on my Web page and free Youtube videos. I'm not going to redo everything I've already written and published here. I post more free correct information about skiing than anyone. Try catching up and learning. You have to figure it out and work on it, figure it out, learn. Getting fed the magic pill never worked for anyone.
Thank you for posting a name.