Sunday, January 23, 2022

British Skier makes history! David Ryding wins Hahnenkamm slalom.

 From a country with almost no snow, no mountains, and no winter, how does a man learn to ski with the best skiers from Austria, Switzerland Norway, and Italy? The answer is "plastics". Yes, as was the advice given to Benjamin in the movie "The Graduate", "the future is in plastics?" Ryding learned to ski on slopes with plastic bristles.

 Is this win a shock, not really. David Ryding is no flash in the pan, he has been on a world cup podium before, at Kitbeheul in 2017, in second place behind the greatest skier in decades, Marcel Hircher.

By winning, Ryding set two records, he becomes the first British skier to have ever won a skiing world cup race. He is also the oldest man to have won a world cup race.

Let us take a look at how it was done.  The Kitzbuhel slalom is a classic race that goes way back to the beginnings of downhill skiing. It is a tough hill under perfect conditions as it has sharp rolls and sidehills in it. However, in a snowstorm, that was almost a blizzard by the second run, things got very dicey as was evident by all the great skiers that skied out of the course, or hooked a gate.

Ryding skied beautifully and perfectly for that hill and for the conditions. He was fast, he was consistent and he was in total control. Every other racer had some mistakes or trouble trying to ski a fast line. Watching the race you would have thought everyone but Ryding was on a more difficult course with extra icy conditions. The best skiers in the world were flailing, with arms flying, skis going every which way, basically struggling on every turn.  The top 5 skiers had major mistakes in the second run. 

David Ryding, a beautiful classic technique with great foot discipline and outside ski balance.

Ryding skis with a narrow stance and great inside ski preparation and balancing movements.

In this photo above, David retracts his stance ski, keeps his feet close, and prepares for this edge change.

This is a skill that served Rdying well on this undulating course, the foot pull-back. In this photo he prepares the new turn by tipping the new inside ski first and pulling the foot back to assure his fore/aft balance will be where it needs it for every turn.

These two movements are just 2 of the 5 "Essentials" that made a huge difference in Ryding's great skiing and victory at the Hahenkamm slalom.. They are well explained and demonstrated in my book, "The Essentials fo Skiing." There are 5 Essentials, and Ryding had a direct link to all 5 in his amazing skiing that won him his first world cup race.