LEARNING TO SKIRACE IN SNOWWORLD-“IF YOU ARE IN CONTROL YOU ARE NOT GOING FAST ENOUGH”
With COVID-19 putting severe restrictions on traveling to ski areas across the world, for many skiers, the mountains are simply too far away now. As we have already been looking at several opportunities of skiing close to home (see treadmill ski article), we would also point out another opportunity for which many people do not have to travel far; indoor ski racing.
For all people with decent skiing skills (e.g. being able to ski controlled carved turns on a red slope), there is the possibility to further work on technique and developing skills, with a racing angle, without having to be in the mountains. At first sight, many people might probably be thinking, well racing is only for the pros, and I am not good enough to participate. However, ski racing is for everyone, whether just a beginner in the gates or having already a ton of experience, there is always room to learn, and above all, to enjoy especially in these times when possibilities are more limited.
Over the past months, we have been participating in race training with a group of enthusiasts of all levels in the different indoor SnowWorld locations in the Netherlands (Zoetermeer, Amsterdam, Landgraaf). Under the lead of Geertje Derksen (G-Force) and other trainers working with her, many of the participants had the possibility to gain their first experience in training Slalom, Giant Slalom, or Profi Slalom beyond the regular technique training. Whether youngster or Master (anywhere between 30 and the coffin), experienced racer or beginner, the slopes in SnowWorld provide the possibility to train within the gates while benefiting from experienced coaching.
The advantage of SnowWorld is that the slopes are relatively flat compared to the mountains. This provides a huge advantage for inexperienced racers to get acquainted with skiing gates, training to take the right lines, and obtaining confidence. For the more experienced racers, challenges can be found in difficult course set-ups or in competing with time against the other athletes.
Probably, especially for non-racers, you are still wondering why racing in SnowWorld could bring you further as a skier. First of all, and that is the starting point of any sport, it is fun. You meet with other passionate skiers, and you learn new skills. Ski racing forces you to do things differently than what most people would normally do when just freeskiing. It requires more agility (you need to be on time for the next gate), it teaches more edging skills (you slip away on icy spots next to the gates if you do not edge sufficiently), it improves balance and timing and above all its makes you get used to responding quickly at higher speeds. And last but definitely not least, it will bring you out of your comfort zone. And we all know, you only get better out of your comfort zone.
During the training, given also the slopes are relatively short, there is always the possibility for direct feedback that can be immediately processed and practiced in the next run. The coach can easily observe the entire slope and there is time for many runs. Video analyses can be easily done in between some of the runs. Some skills can be practiced even in the lanes without the gates, in the end getting better in the gates also means a lot of training skiing out of the gates. Several times a year there is also the possibility to bring the learned indoor skills into practice in the Alps or to even participate in official Ski racing competitions. If you still have doubts about whether you like racing, just give it a go. Life gets boring when you stay within the (speed) limits of what you already know and in the worst case you end-up eating an Apfelstrudel.