THE BELOW ARTICLE IS TAKEN FROM MY WEEKLY DIARY WITH THE DENVER POST AND JOHN MEYER ABOUT MY WORLD CUP EXPERIENCE AFTER THE RAINY GS AND SLALOM RACES IN KRANJSKA GORA, SLOVENIA.
Giant slalom for me this season has been incredible, culminating Saturday when I clinched the season title with a week left in the season. It’s my fourth World Cup season title in GS, but it was definitely the best season of my career in GS. I won races by huge margins.
The rule changes reducing the legal amount of sidecut on our skis were an advantage for me, and that was a big reason I was so outspoken in criticizing them before they took effect. A rule change that determines winners and losers is a bad rule change. That was a big part of my opposition, in addition to my conviction that the FIS was wrong in its contention that reduced sidecuts would make the sport safer.
To have the season I had on the new skis, after I was such a vocal critic, was very important to me. I didn’t want it to seem like I was being critical because I thought it was going to threaten my stature in giant slalom. I was outspoken because the rule change lacked virtue. I worked hard on the new skis from the time the rule changes became official so I would have a head start over the other guys in adjusting to the new equipment.
I think the new skis worked better with my technique than with most of the other guys because I start the turn earlier and finish the turn later. I have a swooping, longer arc than Marcel Hirscher of Austria, who will finish second in the GS standings. Hirscher kind of chops off a little of the top of the turn and gets a lot of rebound (and acceleration) out of the ski. That was really easy to do on the old skis; you could really accelerate out of a turn. On the new skis, you don’t get as much acceleration.
I also lay the ski over on edge a little farther, which helps me arc on the reduced turn radius more cleanly.
I suspected that early in the process, after I skied on them for the first time, and also because I understood the scientific difference between a ski with a 35-meter turn radius (the new rule) and one with a 27-meter radius (the old rule). In order to pull a turn with the same radius, you need to have a higher edge angle. You can pull the same radius on a 35-meter ski versus a 27-meter radius ski if you have like 7 degrees more edge angle. My style lends itself to having a higher edge angle, and that gives me an advantage on the new skis.
Part of the team that helped me get there….
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