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Thread: Masters National Downhill Championship-Ski Cooper March 11th

  1. #1
    Found an apartment Snowfan's Avatar
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    Masters National Downhill Championship-Ski Cooper March 11th

    The Masters National Downhill Championship race is one week from tomorrow, March 11th at Ski Cooper.

    I need all the tips I can get. My bases and edges are prepped plenty, its the turns I need help with. I sometimes skid and pivot to control speed and make the turn when I ought to stay in my carve and increase edging angle to make the turn.

    I'm wondering, whats keeping me from staying in my carve? Inexperience? Fear? I'm stumped.

    How do I stay in my tuck, high or low, start to finish?

    There is training and a race on the 10th so I will get in some good practice before the champ race. Part of the problem is my lack of time on these skis, but I know I can turn them tightly having done so freeskiing.
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    Found an apartment Snowfan's Avatar
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    And...Whats up with visualizing? I try to remember certain turns and lines during inspection, you racers don't actually remember EVERY turn...do you?
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    My horse knows his own way home Little Tiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowfan View Post
    And...Whats up with visualizing? I try to remember certain turns and lines during inspection, you racers don't actually remember EVERY turn...do you?

    I'm no racer - but from discussions I'd say yeah they do... They seem to have very good visuals of what is set where...

    Don't ask me how - I struggle with buildings and streets - unless I have a map - I'm good at remembering what a map looked like! Go figure... wish they would draw maps of race courses!

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    I have my own seat in the pub Skier Village Coach Coach Rick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowfan View Post
    The Masters National Downhill Championship race is one week from tomorrow, March 11th at Ski Cooper.

    I need all the tips I can get. My bases and edges are prepped plenty, its the turns I need help with. I sometimes skid and pivot to control speed and make the turn when I ought to stay in my carve and increase edging angle to make the turn.

    I'm wondering, whats keeping me from staying in my carve? Inexperience? Fear? I'm stumped.

    How do I stay in my tuck, high or low, start to finish?

    There is training and a race on the 10th so I will get in some good practice before the champ race. Part of the problem is my lack of time on these skis, but I know I can turn them tightly having done so freeskiing.
    It's generally just intimidation born of inexperience. You feel like you're really hauling butt, coming into what looks like a significant turn, and just don't trust that simply rolling on edge and riding a cleanly carved turn will be enough to save you from getting ejected out of the course, and possibly a quick trip into the fences or trees. The mind auto reacts by desperately throwing the skis into a pivot/skid at the start of the turn.

    What I like to do with my racer students at speed events is ease them into the speed. First run fully clothed, and high tucking. This makes a significant reduction in speed of travel, and lets them get comfortable with the the speed, the lay of the course, and staying clean all the way down. Next run shed the jacket, leave warmups on, and stay in a high tuck, still working on staying clean on the edge at the now slightly higher speed. Next run, stripped down to suit, and tighten the tuck, staying clean still at now close to max speed. In subsequent runs, if you have them, you simply work on line, repairing where needed, tightening it up where you can, and going even faster.

    It's the system I used myself a few years ago when I ran the Cooper course, my first time back in on Downhill course in about 30 years. MastersRacer was there and may remember my tactics. I dropped my time on the course by about 10 seconds over the course of my training runs, ending up on race day about a second and change off his winning time. It's a comfortable way to get comfortable with the speed. Works very well.

    Last thing: a tip on how to stay clean. Remember when you, Rudi and I were skiing at Breck, working on tuck turns, and I suggested you try rolling on edge a little gentler? That advice was given with the speed events I knew you had coming up in mind. It's super important to try to slow the edge roll and engagement process down when in a downhill course. The gates and turns feel like they're coming up so fast, you feel the need to roll up on edge fast and hit it hard. That's just the opposite of what you need to do. It's slower that slow. As you're approaching that turn, consciously think about rolling on edge slooooooooowwwwly. Imagine doing the roll on edge process in slow motion, as though starting from flat you can individually feel each degree of edge angle you add. That's how you initiate the turn clean. It takes great discipline to do that when going 60 plus MPH, heading into a strong turn, but you have to make yourself do it. Start the process a little earlier than you normally would, so you have plenty of time to do the slow-mo edge roll. As you get more skilled with it you'll become able to speed up the rolling on edge process somewhat, and still stay clean.
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    Found an apartment Snowfan's Avatar
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    Thanks Rick,

    That first paragraph really sums it up. MR advised wearing warmups for my first training run to help with speed control and I will do that again this time.

    I may only get in one training run so I plan to spend some time working on my turns at speed on Friday, focusing on low and high tuck turns smoooooothly, genttttttly engaging and releasing. Start earlier....gotchya. There's alot in that last paragraph, I will be reading that several more times.
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    Moderator Snow Sport InstructorSkier Village Coach LiquidFeet's Avatar
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    Snowfan, be sure to let us know how you do.

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    My horse knows his own way home Little Tiger's Avatar
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    Good Luck for next weekend Snowfan

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    Home Sweet Home Skier Village Coach mastersracer's Avatar
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    SF,

    What Rick says! Plus...

    The initiation is everything. With longer skis and longer radii, you can't just point at a spot then hit the edges. Early transitions and a gentle edging to get the skis thinking about the turn, then letting the centripital forces build to bend the skis for you is what you have to do. While you might feel like you are pressing into your skis during the turns, what you are really doing for the most part is resisting the centripital forces.


    Watch the tips of the skis in the video to see point at which I switch edges. Well above the gates, but I'm not going 'outside in', I'm just getting the skis gently working in the right direction very early on.


    Skip the second run in this video; it was on 1977 223 cm DHs. But in the first and third video, note the timing of the turn initiation and how the skis follow a long smooth arc all the way. No skidding. It requires patience and faith in the skis turning ability, which requires practice. Also not how my upper body is not bouncing up and down but my legs are working up and down on the snow. I am feeling the snow and using my legs actively to maintain a constant pressure, sometimes 'juicing' or pressing off the backs of bumps which adds speed. FWIW, my stance is fairly narrow. It puts me on a flat ski and works well. YMMV.

    It's too bad you can't make the camp on Thursday and Friday. The camp is perfect for getting up to speed (pun intended). We do sections on the first run of the day and you can progress to just a speed suit through out the day to regulate speed. Hopefully next year we'll be able to have the Christmas camp and you can make it.

    Visualization is essential, particularly with a course like Cooper's. A single mistake in line will lose the race. Take mental notes and if that isn't sufficient, draw the track down. Visualization works.

    Staying in a tuck is essential at Cooper as well. Holding the tuck through all the rolls and ruts is very hard. It takes concentration at first, then it becomes intuitive. If you can feel the wind on your face, your hands are too low. If you need to extend your legs, you must make sure to still keep your upper body aero by keeping your hands up and forward.

    The start at Cooper is a very nice one, heated start room aside. It has a good ramp before the flats. Practice your skating start with your speed skis. Practice uphill to get strength. Practice downhill to get the timing right. I showed a strong Class 10 (I think) how to improve his starts and he took off over a second. Faster starts make for faster initial speeds which create higher speeds throughout.

    See you soon,

    MR
    Last edited by mastersracer; March 5th, 2012 at 10:49 AM.

  9. #9
    Found an apartment Snowfan's Avatar
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    Thank you Liquidfeet and Little Tiger, I'll post my results.


    I think I have plenty to go with now. Thanks MR. Early transition, gentle edging, check. I have watched those videos for a year, several times and never focused on the edge angle ahead of the gate til now. Excellent. I'm hoping to get that long smooth arc with no skidding and will have more patience and faith in the ski to turn.

    I will try to make the training for Thursday and Friday, no doubt that would help immensely and I'll work on visualization. Memory is not my strong suit so I might take notes also.

    Hold the tuck and absorb with the legs. I have been watching WC starts closely...if I improve my starts and stay in my tuck I will be totally stoked. Downhill skate for timing, uphill skate for strength. Got it.

    See you there,

    Eric
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    My horse knows his own way home Snow Sport Instructor SMJ's Avatar
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    Good luck! Go fast and take chances.
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