Developing proper Counter Acting
First photo: Up-side down on the slope!
Watch the jacket, zipper line, relative to the ski direction and angle.
|Here, Hirscher shows the line across the front of his hips almost parallel with his skis.|
|My hips are facing my outside ski boot, not toward the tip of the skis. keep your outside pole tip behind you boots this will greatly help your development of counter acting.|
|My left hip is back my pole tip pointed straight downhill chest and shoulders are facing toward my outside ski boot.|
|Marcel's hips again show extraordinary counter acting.|
|Mikaela's hips face toward the right, her skis are pointed left. Her inside hand, pole tip and arm are forward ahead of teh inside hip.|
|Top swiss slalom skier. Counter acting and lifting the tip.|
|In this photo you see Harald Harb's old outside or stance ski being lifted at the tip, while the tail of the ski is still on the snow. 2013 video!|
|Marcel Hirscher best skier in the world for the last 6 years lifts the ski tip to release the stance ski.|
|Ozz National demo Team one of the best skiing teams in the world, releasing the old stance ski by retraction and tip lifting.|
|Stefano Gross, italian National Team, one of the best slalom skiers in the world ski tip lifted to enter the turn.|
|Gross balance transfer by retraction and tip lift.|
|Harald Harb tip lift to release in a 2013 video.|
The expert skier has a releasing process with three distinct steps: bending, flexing relaxing and or retracting the old stance or outside ski leg, is step one. This causes a weight or balance transfer to the uphill or little toe edged ski. With an expert skier this begins the crossing of the body toward angles for the new turn. With an intermediate skier, because they generate less forces due to smaller or lesser angles, tipping the newly released ski (toward its little toe edge) is an important additional movement. Even in world cup skiing the skiers are trying to tip the newly released ski onto it's little toe edge, before the outside ski comes to the edge. This is accompanied by pulling and tipping that ski in closer to the newly developed stance ski. This gives the skier a more focused concentrated body alignment over the outside ski as they develop the increasing drop into the arc with their body.
If you are watching world cup skiing on TV, it is very easy to see who will be fast, and it is not from more aggression like the commentators like to endlessly tell us. It's who is the best ski bender of the group. How do you become the best ski bender? Two ways, feet closer when developing the new angles above the gate and developing bigger angles faster. Faster angles are developed by faster retraction (flexing or bending) of the old stance leg. The faster the angles are developed the sooner the release out of the arc is accomplished. A real speed killer is pushing on the ski. Pushing on the ski either at the end of the arc or during the arc, stops the tipping movement that increase angles. This is where it gets to be all about timing the point of most pressure. If your pressure comes too early you have to release and set again. or commonly known as double edge set or late edge set.
This is why it's very frustrating to listen to the TV commentary, they have it backward, the skiers are "NOT" trying to get early pressure, they are trying to get early angles, so they can time when they get the most pressure to the exact right point in the arc.
|When everything is lined up perfectly skiing looks like this.|
|This is about as extreme as it gets for angles, yet with this previous set up, which was correct, he didn't have problems with the release or the engagement, everything was naturally aligned and his body had no unusual contortions, it has now.|
|Again alignment and skeletal alignment making the forces run beautifully through his body.|
|When Hirscher's boots were right, he had a slight knee angulation that transmitted grip and power to the ski.|
|Hirscher is all wound up with conflicting body movements, and these are necessary to adapt to the poor boot set up. He is also making many double turns on his left foot, causing huge time losses. He recovers fortunately with his right foot turn. The two are totally different turns, from on side to the other. This is the other clue that it's a boot problem.|
On the left foot turns, going right, when the courses are further off set, Hirscher is having to delay the ski angle until he can get his body in the right place to avoid an overly strong edge set and to avoid the ski from railing. This is costing him a few hundies on every turn, that adds up to many tenths in a 60 gate slalom.
|When you see this, it is not knocked kneed, boot bottom alignment, it is a cuff problem. It's a delayed release, caused from an extreme knee drive, the resistance from the over powered position of the cuff, causes and creates extreme knee drive and knee angulation, releasing from this situation causes this delay. Never used to see Hirscher having to contend with this before.|
|The boot cuff is too strong toward the inside of the leg which causes a late release, and this extreme releasing problem shown in the photo, can result. If you read my Blog, notice the similarity between his shin angle and that in the posts I put up about Mikaela's boot problems. Both are in Atomic boots.|
|Here is an example where Hirscher with his feel and genius is feathering the ski out away from his body to delay the angle and pressure. Because the wrong cuff angle, he can't bring up the angle early, which then causes late hits and harsh edge sets. He often now, on the really round turns can't slice the arc, he double edges on most of those turns.|
|With his older boots, say 3 years ago, you never saw these situations happening with Hirscher, he was the example of perfect skeletal alignment to the ski edges.|
|In this photos if you focus on the angles of her right leg you can still see she doesn't trust the boot and has to feather and skid it into place before she can trust the angles. A well trained eye can see see she is rotating her hips to help with the arc, (obvious when you watch the video in slow motion) once the ski is far enough away and the leg straight she is able to bring the ski to higher angles and come back to a hip counter action movement. As in the next photo.|
|A much better situation than the set up before Christmas.|
|The right turn on the left leg is far superior, of her two sides and they are totally different from each other. Here she can create better edge control and has better edge rolling/tipping ability, with increased hip counter acting.|
|She is doing her best to get the ski on edge and bring the knee somewhere under her body, but it's not working. She can't roll or tip the ski over due to the resistance.|
|Anna's set up lets her get her hips to move inside close to the snow, while adjusting her ankles and feet to tune the ski angles.|
|Little changes regardless of what part of the arc she is in, she is balanced and her skeleton is perfectly aligned to the forces. No adapting necessary.|
|The ski is flat at the most critical part of the arc?????|
The knee is outboard, hip leaning away, so the ski can slide.
|Sliding without commitment to angles?|
|Here Shiffrin gets the hip angulation the only kind available, but it's fleeting and often she doesn't have time to develop this. It's not ideal because it requires huge commitment and it very difficult at these speeds and on this surface to get in and out of this angle.|
|In this turn, she was able to drive the knee using her adductor muscles. "Explanation below!"|
|Another turn, she had to skid into, not putting the ski on edge progressively above the arc.|
|Again, here is a moment maybe 1/100 of a second where she was able to push the knee in to get some grip, but this is so fleeting she can't depend on it. And if she forces it at the wrong time, it's very dangerous. This is a highly vulnerable position for GS skiing.|