Dynastar has been a major player in the race world with many Olympic and World Championship medals as well as World Cup titles in their long history. This racing pedigree really shows in the Dynastar Speed Course TI. The Course TI wears race graphics, carries a racing binding plate, and shares the wood/metal construction characteristics of the World Cup skis. Despite this, it is in fact a pretty different animal than a pure race ski. A wider waist width and rounded tail are the first visual clues that this is not just another race ski. The Course TI has a tight 15m turn radius in the 171 size and it is available in sizes as short as a 159 and as long as 183. This is a very good dual event race ski for non-FIS level competitors and also makes a great “cheater” GS ski for Masters racers. The Speed Course TI is even more than this though. This is a very good ski for someone that doesn’t race at all and is looking for a hard snow biased ski for everyday use.
The first runs I took on the Dynastar Course TI was at Winter Park during the annual SIA intro. The main test run there is an FIS homologated GS trail and has very hard snow most of the time. The upper part of the run is relatively narrow and has a moderate pitch. I used this part of the trail to vary turn shapes between short medium and long radius and then back again. The tapered tail released much more easily than the grippy, squared off tails that you find on real race skis these days. Through this exercise the Course felt amazingly comfortable and compliant through changing turn shapes and the turn release was energetic but manageable. As the trail got steeper it also gets wider and in this section of the trail, I opened up the turn radius and picked up the speeds. While the Course TI is easy enough at slower speeds, it really stands out when skied aggressively. The grip was like a razor even on the spots that were scraped off and shiny and the dampening was on par with a World Cup GS ski. The tighter turn radius kept the ski from running out at the turn finish the way a GS race ski would and when I took it out to the edges of the trail it managed the soft crud very well. For the skier or instructor/coach looking for a hard snow specialty ski, it doesn’t get much better or more versatile than the Speed Course Ti.
Dry skies have stamped a slow start to the 2011-2012 season. But with a lot of help from the lakes of Mammoth, cold temps blasted a base strong enough to hold eight slalom sets at Mammoth Mountain for the season opener. Steep pitches, fast flats, quick combos, and a slick surface made for an exciting opening series.
The weekend was packed with great results from many of our Far West athletes- and even some athletes from the East Coast, as Killington Mountain School joined in on Day One. Morganne Murphy took back-to-back wins, with Sierra Nevada College skiers and first year J2s, Julia Cashell and Dianna Abbott, fast on her tails. On the men’s side, Sierra Nevada dominated the podium, setting a great example for all our athletes and inspiring thrilling skiing out of some young guns, like Garrett Driller, Pieter Weemaes, and Jordan Cashman. For the youngest athletes on the hill, it was a weekend of hard fought battles on a steep, slick hill, competing against skiers twice their size. Strong results from Luke Rodarte and Oscar Halliwell on the boy’s side; and on the girl’s side, Amanda Pretti and Annika Hansen took the top spots two days in a row, with stirring top-ten results out of second year J3s Francesca English, Stephanie Lebby, and Maia Bickert.
As older Far West athletes hop on a plane bound for a twenty-below Alaska, the younger athletes will continue their season preparations at home. Fingers are crossed for more snow and more terrain, but for now, it was a great start to the season at Mammoth Mountain.
Thanks to the Mammoth Mountain Race Department and all the volunteers for hosting a wonderful opening weekend.
Here is a link to pictures from the weekend:
Parents often wonder what their role becomes when preparation for the race season is over and the competition season begins. New research published in the Journal of Applied Sports Psychology, investigates the athletes perspective on their parents behavior during competition. Competitive youth (age 12-15) tennis players were studied and although different from ski racing, the information has validity due to the ever present parent/athlete relationship in all youth sports. The findings are described below in order to guide parents to better understand what they can do help their child during the competition season.
- Parents should focus on supporting the athlete’s involvement in the sport rather than the outcome of the competition. You want to give them support not put pressure on them . By focusing on the outcome(aka winning) the athlete may become nervous and their performance may decrease. In turn, this could make it even harder for them to focus on their next run or race.
- Athletes don’t value technical or tactical tips from their parents if the parents have limited knowledge of the sport. Your athlete knows you are truing to help them but sometimes it just confuses the, causing lack of confidence in their own ability.
- Athletes prefer feedback regarding effort and attitude. Athletes are aware when they don’t have their best race don’t need to be reminded by their parents that it was not their best.
- Athletes notice when the tone of a parent’s voice does not match the comments made, or the body language. This may make the athlete feel under pressure and become distracted. By staying relaxed and showing support to your athlete they will relax and most likely their performance will improve.
- Athletes expressed the need, and like when their parents provide practical support. Parents can help “prepare and recover” for their next race.
The relations between athlete and parent is always complex and the above findings are only a few suggestions to help athletes reach their potential. The most productive way to understand your athlete’s likes and dislikes during the race season is to simply talk about it. Ask your athlete about what helps them have the most confidence and have fun. By Helping them to achieve these two things the will be on their way to finding their potential!
Knight, C. J., Boden, C. M., & Holt, N.L. (2009) Junior Tennis Player’s Preferences for Parental Behaviors. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 22, 377-391.
It is important to maintain a centered stance over your skis to work the skis effectively. While standing on your skis on flat terrain, try moving your body forward and backward over the skis by using the ankle joint as hinge. This is how we want to re-center our center of mass over the skis. The goal is to maintain a perpendicular relationship of body to the skis. When approaching steep pitches it is natural to move your weight back because you are hesitant and maybe a little nervous. Unfortunately when this happens, you lose the ability to direct and work the ski effectively. You may find that you are suddenly going faster than you want and may be heading out of control. When skiing steeper pitches, concentrate on keeping your body perpendicular to the hill by hinging the body forward through the ankle joint, especially at the start of the turn. This will help to apply pressure on the front of your boots with your shins. The pressure on the front of your boots is conveyed to the tips or your skis and will allow you to control your skis with more precision. Skis are designed to perform best when strong forward pressure is applied to start the turn. It is amazingly easy to adjust the radius of your turns if your weight is centered over the skis. Don’t hesitate when you hit the steeps – be assertive, move your body down the hill and have fun.
Staying centered over your skis at all times should be a key focus for
all skiers. This starts by having an open stance over your skis while
balancing your weight between your feet. Make sure that you keep some
contact with your shins against the tongue of both boots. This pressure will
increase while flexing your ankles and bending your knees into a turn and
somewhat decrease while extending and preparing to start your next turn.
This contact focus will help you keep centered over your feet through out
the turn shape giving you more precise edging movements and pressure
control. Keeping a centered, open stance allows for smoother shifting of
pressure between the feet and cleaner use of the four edges of your skis.
Staying balanced in the center of your skis and over your feet also allows
you to respond to changing snow and terrain conditions more effectively.
A centered stance allows for better independent leg and foot action,
which is key to sound skiing. The outside ski in the turn needs to be the dominant ski while the inside ski is actively guided through the turn with
less pressure while complementing the desired turn shape. Skiing powder
and difficult snow conditions require a solid, centered stance over the
middle of the skis to evenly distribute your weight on both skis allowing
them to bend evenly and float through the snow as a unit. Skiing bumps
requires constant centering over the skis so that the skier can remain in
balance and not get pitched all over the mountain.
World Cup racers use both skis at the same time by changing their
edges and turning both feet equally while balancing over both feet. They
keep moving their hands, upper body and hips forward and downhill to
help them stay centered over their skis at all times. A centered and balanced
stance is of primary importance for all skiers. It allows you to steer and
edge your skis more effectively while controlling the pressure on your
skis as they are guided across the snow no matter what type of turn we are
making on any slope or snow condition.
Join us for a clinic at NASTC or Sugar Bowl and get some great exercises to help you become completely centered on your skis!
By Mike Iman, NASTC Trainer and Sugar Bowl Mountain Sports Learning Center Director