Tell me…what are you trying to accomplish?

Over in the “Towline Tension” thread @ski6jones added this really insightful post:

I had a coach ask me a question about what I wanted to be doing at some point in the course. I fumbled and bumbled my words and couldn't formulate a cogent answer. His comment to me was you should be able to tell me what you're trying to accomplish at every point in the course. Until he said that it never even occurred to me to try. So I went and tried to write it all down. Was that ever enlightening! I had pieces and parts but nothing continuous. I even found some contradictory ideas.

He went on about how that comment was super helpful in furthering his understanding of his skiing.

In thinking about this idea, I thought about all the skiing posts, tutorials, and podcasts I've listened to. They're almost always some great skier writing/talking about what they think or do at one specific part of the course. What we usually miss though is the larger context - what did they think/do in the previous part of the course, and what happens to them at the next part of the course. As we all know, they're all connected.

Additionally, differences in nomenclature or just unintuitive descriptions (like "leading shoulder") can easily confuse an inexperienced skier. But if you're able to follow a skier's description from beginning to end, I think they'd be more likely to grasp what's being described.

So the question is, do you guys agree? Would it be helpful for less experienced skiers (perhaps even for more experienced skiers too?) if we had a number of start-to-finish written descriptions of what an accomplished skier thinks/does at each and every point in the course?

And if you do think this is a good idea - would you take the time and think through what you do at every step, and write it all out to share with everyone?

If there's interest in this idea…then we can work on defining the different parts of the course (for consistency), and maybe even some common nomenclature to make it easy to follow.


  • aupatkingaupatking Posts: 1,821 Mega Baller
    edited February 2021
    It’s probably a very good idea for all of us, accomplished and.... not so accomplished. If everyone truly tries to think through their pass, pre-gate to end gate AND WRITE IT DOWN, it should help them. Even if it’s wrong. Then, when they have thought it, written it, and reread it, they could explain what they are trying to do to a coach.
    The best coaches figure out your language. If even an average coach can be given your “Google Translate” version of what you think you’re doing, I would think it’s very likely you could get on the same page quickly.
    I haven’t been able to ski since January, so my thoughts might be rusty but, I’m writing it down tonight.
  • WishWish Posts: 8,590 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited February 2021
    This is interesting but I think far reaching to define the different parts of the course (for consistency), and maybe even some common nomenclature beyond what is already out there. For me, 5 yrs ago I’d have a well thought out list of what I do in each aspect of the course as well as define what that aspect is. Then, I met the Adams. ALL that basically went out the window. Now it’s all GUT. That to me was a huge eye opener and a whole new set of terms and theory to apply. I hear a lot of what I feel now is “old school” still being bantered about. I’m not sure you’ll ever get agreement on mostly standard terms or theory. Would be nice but out of the box thinking has propelled the understanding of the sport forward. GUT is a great example of that. I love learning and wonder if having a ridged set of standards to define aspects of course skiing would be a help or a hindrance. 🤔. Not sure actually but food for thought.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • MichaelWiebeMichaelWiebe Posts: 201 Solid Baller
    As mentioned above, the Grand Unified Theory of Slalom (GUT) documentation is great insight for the whole process of course skiing. Enjoy.
  • OscawanaSkierOscawanaSkier Posts: 101 Baller
    @Wish - Generally I agree with you on nomenclature. Different words or ways of describing something will “click” with different people. A good coach knows that and can say the same thing three different ways until the skier gets it. I just think there are a few terms that are used often that are difficult for new skiers to grasp.

    Regarding GUT - I first read through it all about two years ago after stopping in at Trophy to ski a few sets and sitting down with Adam to chat. Blown away by his understanding of the physics. It’s a required resource for all skiers. But it’s a lot! And we (or at least I) need to boil all that theory down to simple goals to accomplish at each and every point in the course. And back to the point about nomenclature, I bet that if the two Adams did this exercise separately, they would describe it in different ways. Maybe the way @AdamCord describes it “clicks” with me?? That’s one of the benefits I see in doing this.

    @MichaelWiebe - thanks for posting the GUT link. As said, any newbie skier should start there. I’m going to reread all of it today with this frame. Looking forward to it!
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 6,843 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    I always ask a skier what went wrong initially that caused the pass to start falling apart? Lots of times they can’t answer. Trying to pinpoint the initial mistakes and knowing what to do to correct it on the next pass is critical. I try to work on the things that are preventing me from doing what I do well.
  • jayskijayski Posts: 1,184 Mega Baller
    Hit the shore line with my spray #chicksdigbigspray
  • OscawanaSkierOscawanaSkier Posts: 101 Baller
    Just re-read all of the GUT chapters, including @AdamCord's Gate step-by-step summary and video. While Gut 101-104 establishes for us a critical overall objective (“Move the handle as high on the boat as possible, as fast as possible”), and provides an invaluable foundation on why/how to get there - all rooted in physics - it hasn't yet translated this theory into a description that a new skier can use as a starting point towards this ideal. Except for GUT Gate - THAT'S what I'm trying to get to, but for each part of the course. Now I assume the Adams haven't added more chapters like the GUT Gate because - well - they have a lot on their plates right now (c85 anyone??).

    Now, I was originally thinking of getting this type of description from multiple skiers - and we all take from those descriptions what seems to make sense to each of us. This approach might still be valid and helpful.

    But I can also see a different approach, where we together work to translate the GUT theory into a step-by-step guide for the entire course. Essentially a crowd-sourced guide that's similar to GUT Gate. Would that be as good as if the Adams had infinite time on their hands to sit and write this all out for us, maybe not. But as we all know, they have given us a LOT of their time and wisdom on a daily basis through their insightful posts here on BoS. The problem is all that wisdom is spread out over hundreds of posts. I bet the community could do a lot of the heavy-lifting of pulling this guide together, and then the Adams could help us tweak where needed.

    Is this a crazy idea? Maybe. But I have to say, if I had a step-by-step guide like the Gut Gate when I started skiing the course, I'd be a LOT further along today.
  • RGilmoreRGilmore Posts: 226 Baller
    I haven't had a chance to speak with Chet Raley recently - since a while before the scamdemic started actually - but it's my understanding from others who've been training with him that his current coaching revolves around approaching the entire course as if it was simply six "gates" in a row.
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 6,843 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    I would think there is enough travel budget $$ to fit that in.
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