Wow what an incredible performance in terrible conditions. The conditions did make many of the athletes look very bad, but in Tessa’s case she wore the bumps and skied it like it was meant to be skied. Congratulations!
This was a very interesting race because I was eager to see who performed best on the second run in the later stages as the course deteriorated. That is where I think it separated the best skiers. When the going gets tough the best skiers shine and Tessa definitely did.
This is why I did an analysis on her second run. This is what stood out to me as some very talented skiing, in nearly the worst conditions you can have, and had some interesting things to point out.
She was able to maintain a higher line compared to everyone else, when nearly everyone else got low and chattered through the ruts. But how did she do it?
This is where the touch and timing come into play. What is touch?
Touch is something that everyone always talks about but why? What is it? Everyone touches the snow with their skis so everyone should have touch right? Well, not exactly.
Balance, movement and fluidity come into play here and giving that visual look of great touch is a very internal cue from person to person. Some people call it having intelligent feet. An important thing to note is the varying internal cues that people have for when they are in the zone and skiing at their best.
Can it be trained then? Of course it can be trained but everyone’s process to learn it will differ, but it doesn’t mean you will ever learn it. The personal analysis that Tessa gave of herself on how she performs best was very interesting and gave some good insights of her internal cues she uses to ski with “touch” and at her best.
“Relaxed and not so hard on my skis”… This is pretty important and can seem like a contradictory statement giving she is racing and trying to give it 110%. One would think pushing pushing, pushing, hard, hard, hard is the way to win races, but there is an element of knowing when to push (or I should say balance directly against the edge with great strength), and then be relaxed and try not to be hard on the edges. “Float like a butterfly and sting like a Bee” as Muhammad Ali used to say. This was particularly evident on the replay on that one turn where both skis were bouncing on and off the snow like car pistons, then she immediately locks on to her edge and gets the direction change in an instant. Floating and stinging.
This is also where her experience and self awareness came into play, she knew where she could do it… This turn was definitely a little on the low side of the line but she also in a split second decided where it was possible for her to make the cleanest turn she could given the conditions. This was definitely not something she cognitively thought about, it came back her training and miles under her belt to feel out and internally judge the situation, snow, line, speed etc etc. At that speed it is reflexes and the miles of training.
Of course there were many other great things that happened but I thought this was a really interesting point in her run.
What did you guys find interesting in the race?
Also what did you guys think of this new analysis format? Many people wanted shorter videos so I thought I would break it up into two pieces. More in depth here and a lighter version on Youtube?
If you are interested in more ski related content browse my site and also keep up to date on my social medias for regular ski content. Youtube Reilly McGlashan and Instagram @reilly_mcglashan.