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never stop moving -- vision or body


Razorskier1
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A theory I started working on when I was trying to get lighter and progressive was the idea of never being stuck in a single position on the ski. What do I mean by that? When I started skiing the course each part of the process seemed discreet. I would pull, edge change, turn, hook up, pull, edge change, turn, hook up. Perhaps the easiest part to describe my point is the pull. When I started in the course 15 or 20 years ago I would lean hard and hold position all the way to the edge change. During that part of the process my position was essentially unchanged point to point. When I started getting coaching and getting lighter on the line I started to visualize the course as one big continuum rather than as discrete points.

 

For the lean, what this means is that I start in from an upright position, progress to my maximum lean by the first wash, then start progressing back up into the edge change/transition and begin forming the "back side" of my arc (pre-turn) which will then be one continuous movement all the way through to where I hook up again and repeat.

 

When executed correctly, this continuous movement creates some interesting effects. First off, speed seems more consistent throughout. I don't feel that I generate as much maximum speed as I used to, but I also don't feel like I slow down as much in the pre-turn. Oddly, I feel like with less maximum speed I am still earlier, wider and in better control at the ball. Second, because I keep the ski and my body/handle moving through the pre-turn, they move better coming out of the turn into the handle again. This is very interesting because I don't intentionally "turn" the ski at the end of the turn. By setting the turn up correctly, the ski finishes where I want it and is fast out of the ball. This is a very different feel than some of the old school techniques where you get maximum acceleration, get to the ball, crank it, stall, then go. I've done both, and still do both when needed to save my butt.

 

Originally I assumed that by turning quicker and hooking up I'd be earlier to the next ball. This proved wrong for me. I am actually earlier to the next ball with the "constant movement" theory. I believe this is due to the fact that I eliminate the stall associated with my old school technique. On balance I have found that my new and still evolving technique places me earlier in the course with less load on my body, both of which are important as I stare at 50 in just a couple of years!

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I've taken some lessons from Trent and Seth and even thought they didn't say it that way, that is what I've been thinking for the last year or so based on a lot of what they have said to me. I tend to want to get on the back foot and if I'm thinking about the constant movement I can get back over the ski.

 

 

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I've been trying to use Razor's idea there to keep from posing with one hand extended, waiting for the ball. Historically, when my pull was over I would just throw and edge change, stick out my arm and wait until time to crank a big turn followed by a big pull.

The evolution has been fun and beneficial for my skiing to work towards the constant motion theory as Razor describes above.

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I think this is definitely right, and I think it's part of why altheticism is quite important in slalom. While I can train myself to do one thing and then another thing, fluidity of motion is tied to athleticism.

 

Still, we can all do it better, and I think Razor's way of thinking about it quite useful.

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Schnitz explained this in detail years a go in an article he wrote called X-Factor. He recently wrote a more updated article called "Edge Change Like the Pro's," which also includes the X-factor article. The basic idea being the ski is always moving in relation to the handle and never stagnant. Works really well.
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I'd really like to see you two with a picture instead of the goofy stickman head icons. Since I know you both it would be more personal and funnier. Just saying! MS, Keep playing Hokey and you'll need a 69" Strada next year. Merry Christmas a little early guys! Keep the good stuff coming.
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Thager, I can't post a pic because it would ruin the facade...I'm a tiny dude behind a curtain just like the Wizard of Oz.

Actually...I don't consider myself a tech-doofus, but the one time I tried to load a pic it didn't work and I'm have not found the patience to try again.

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