Alex Day 4

Alex made descent progress today gaining consistency with keeping forward, using the full range of the legs and taking a tighter line. One hairpin configuration on the crest of a gradient change constantly threw him off – presenting a puzzle. In this analysis it’s all I’m going to focus on.

The video clip compares Alex and probably the best slalom skier in the world – Mikaela Shiffrin
Entering the “closed” gate Alex has his downhill ski breaking away. Shiffrin does exactly the same thing on exiting the closed gate – but doesn’t get into any trouble.

The only apparent major difference between the two skiers is that Alex tries to be quick by actively moving his knees across the skis (much more so in other video clips!). Shiffrin in contrast is able to prioritise moving her centre of mass and then knees follow later.

It’s not a perfect comparison but another interesting observation is that Shiffrin allows the hairpin to be taken almost straight and then relies on making the turn more or less after the poles. She uses the eventual “bite” of the breakaway ski that’s now fully across the slope to move her centre of mass over it – pulling the skis onto their edges for a clean entry into the next turn.

The similarities are striking. Probably the main difference altogether is that Shiffrin is more focused on directing her centre of mass – whereas Alex is mentally stuck on a plastic slope trying to be quick with his knees instead!

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