Great win for Stefan Luitz.
This was his first GS victory and a great confidence booster coming off an injury with surgery last winter and, to be honest, a great mix up from the normal winners. I think this is great for the GS division.
Stefan’s run was a great clean run with only really once mistake coming in on the steep section as it rolled over. Getting a little back he regained control again after two turns.
Stefan has always been on the brink of coming first with a few podium finishes, but never was able in the past to get that win.
So what did he do? Stefan’s technique is definitely unique and the Germans have a very distinct style that sets them apart. You can always spot the German GS/SL technique and Stefan has that look, but there are a few things that he consistently does that are uniquely his.
To me, there are three main things that stand out that are key ingredients in Stefan’s skiing and make him recognizable.
First his straighter outside leg that he holds longer towards the transition than most people, and it is definitely unusual. Having a long outside leg is something that is great for being able to deal with large forces, but a straighter leg takes away the suppleness in the ankle and knee laterally. Keeping a longer, straighter leg longer through the turn can build up extreme G’s and, through his release, you can see the “visually acceleration” across the hill creating a longer deeper upside down question mark turn.
The second part of his uniqueness is, as he keeps his outside leg long and straight late in the turn, he laterally bends/angulates much more with his torso, looking like he is driving his weight down and into the outside ski, often creating a toppling effect into the next turn. This increase in angulation moves the COM towards and over the outside ski.
The 3rd thing that ties into this whole movement pattern is the inside leg. As the outside leg stays long late into the turn the inside leg creeps very far forward and creates a huge tip lead. This type of tip lead is much greater than many other WC racers. Generally having your inside leg this far forward can open the ankle which makes it harder for pronation of the foot to happen and also as weight transfer starts the foot is also very far ahead of the COM. Not something I would personally coach because many people get caught behind and have to make a much larger re-centering move to get over the new outside leg, but, it seems to be working in his favor for this run.
These were the three most interesting points to me about his run.
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