Counter Balance????

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Re: Counter Balance????

Postby Spark » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:43 am

I have always looked for the best in ski technique. In the past I looked to racing for my ski technique because knew that trying to turn around a series of specific points in the snow required perfect balance and technique, and was a whole different animal from just turning where ever I could manage to do it. This is still true and I am looking forward to the day when I feel good enough to plant some brushes in the snow. When I worked in the resorts, I was I was acutely aware that the TTS instructors were always 2-3 years behind what was being taught by coaches. That is why I am learning PMTS, because it is years ahead of most coaching. Harald, please keep up the WC analysis. After skiing for 60 years I am skiing better than I ever have and approaching the ability to ski the way I have always dreamed I would, and it is all thanks to you.

All that being said, I will now stick my neck out.

I was in the finish area at Beaver Creek on Sunday watching the second run of the GS. Here are my impressions of what I saw from my novice perspective of PMTS MA. Bode Miller's run astounded me. My first reaction was that I could not believe that he was staying in the course. By half way through his run I was laughing with amazement while I compared his time on course and what I was seeing with my eyes. My first PMTS MA post race assessment was that it was the ugliest piece of skiing I have ever seen. That being said, he did get the job done. What amazes me the most was that it seemed to me that his skis were glued to the snow and rocketing ahead and his body was often fluttering out behind trying to catch up. I am happy to have read Harald's explanation about his long legs because that explains my assessment that he looked like he was in the back seat a lot (classic Bode). I will venture that Bode still likes to ride his tails, and I found myself contemplating what he has done with his ski design that allowed him to get away with it. Looking back from the present and what I have read from Harald, I would say that Bode was having trouble with his fore/aft balance but was generally able to find it in the center of the turn. He made a move at the top of Harrier that I am waiting to see again whenever Universal decides to air the race. From what I can remember it was an amazing effort to rewind his counteraction as he came off the lip rotated. All in all it was one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen Bode make, but if I were a coach and my kids were jumping up and down wanting to ski like him I would be pulling my hair out.

On the other hand, Marcel Hirscher was a study in balance and poise. Compact, controlled, in balance, quiet upper body and with amazing ability to maintain a consistent stance width. Very classic PMTS. Ted Ligety was to my mind somewhere in between the two. Timewise, compared to Bode he actually was slower in the top two thirds of the course, but he took a page from Aksel's book and completely nailed the faces of Harrier and Redtail, gaining 4 tenths of a second there. Harald is completely right about Pinteraux too. He completely took the entire field to school in technique. He is still making tactical mistakes which he will correct. Were it not for those, he would have podiumed in SG and maybe GS too. Not a lot on MA detail I know, but I still have a hard time picking out the details.

I will now stand back and prepare to be schooled in PMTS MA.
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Re: Counter Balance????

Postby Max_501 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:06 am

Spark, that is a great first post.

Check out this old post from Harald (Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:25 pm)

Harald wrote:On the subject of High C or up-side-down at the top of the turn, the more energy you bring from the last turn, in transition, especially on steep, icy snow, the less counter balancing you need.

Watch the WC skiers, they often delay counter balancing until they are into the pressure building phase. They can get away with it at times as they produce and use so much thrust from the last turn to float through transition. Some use more counter-B and are formal with it, they counter immediately. Rocca is one of the more solid counter balancers, that is why his skiing has become so consistent and that is why Bode is so inconsistent. Bode leaves counter acting movements to the last second in many turns. It is for this reason I say, don't copy Bode, he plays with balance, rather than assuring himself of balance. Darren is very solid in almost every turn.

If you have little energy from the last turn you need tremendous counter balancing moves. It is for this reason that when learning the High C, you have to focus on the counter balance and counter acting movements to compliment the foot tipping.

You have to have strong foot tipping first, because some of the foot tipping action will be reduced when you begin focusing on the upper body. We always say, "first you have to ski with your feet, then you can refine with the upper body." The foundation of a layer cake is the base, the top is the icing.

The same applies to the High C turn entry. Many skiers are hesitant to release quickly and transition, (releasing quickly: means a deliberate flexing or bending movement giving up pressure on the stance ski) even when they develop ski bend and energy.

This takes confidence and mileage. In our all mountain camps and introduction to race camps we cover the tendencies needed to be aggressive in the release. You will see a section in the new book on this subject.

Releasing quickly does not mean shorten the end of the turn or beginning your flexing before the falline. It does mean you have to release while the stance ski are still loaded, don't be fooled and be drawn into the traverse, where all the energy is lost

As a footnote: many skiers complain to me that they are having difficulty achieving the early engagement without skidding the top of the turn. If you don?t release with a softening, flexing of the old stance leg when the ski is loaded, the energy doesn't create a float between turns.

Even if this doesn't happen you can save the turn by counter balancing, but if neither happens the body begins to fall or lean downhill, which means a tumble. At this point the only way out of a tumble is to push the skis to the side. There are varying degrees of this push, but you can check the size of your own push by climbing back up the slope a few feet and reviewing your tracks.
Last edited by Max_501 on Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Counter Balance????

Postby h.harb » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:25 am

One of the things that I am proud of is the consistency at which my techniques have held up over the 35 years of coaching. I read the post that Max put up and I would not change a word given what I see today. When was that written, could be 5 to 8 years ago. Given how much we have seen in skiing since then, it's amazing that PMTS has little fundamental changes needed.

Spark, thanks for posting, very insightful. I am writing an article or more of an exposé of Ted Ligety's skiing in GS. There are so many things he's doing that are totally explainable but not not easy to produce. I can say that it's totally PMTS, at the most under lying levels of tipping and pressure sensitivity. Ted never pushes against the ground or creates his own pressure.

Thanks to all who posted about the PMTS understanding relative to World Cup skiing. I know it seems far away from what we are doing on snow. However it's the cleanest, most perfected movement compilation in the ski world. When you think of the speed and timing between turns and how much these skiers change their bodies from one turn to the next in milli seconds; it's astounding they can keep such beautiful technique happening. We can all do the same thing. We just don't need to do it on bullet proof ice, on 50 degree slopes, at 50mph. We can make the same movements at reasonable speeds and enjoy the perfection of great skiing at our levels, using their skiing as the model.
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Re: Counter Balance????

Postby Max_501 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:02 am

h.harb wrote:When was that written, could be 5 to 8 years ago.


I went back and pulled the date and edited my post. Nearly 8 years old! This forum is just loaded with incredible world class information.
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Re: Counter Balance????

Postby h.harb » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:37 pm

Thanks Bolter very inspiring post.
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Re: Counter Balance????

Postby Erik » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:37 pm

h.harb wrote:Thanks Bolter very inspiring post.


It is inspiring to go to Timberline WV and see such a high concentration of PMTS skiing. It's Bolter's race team kids all over the slopes, skiing with all of the Essentials! They not only stand out from the general skiing population, they clearly stand out from other race teams in their age groups.
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