In the August 21, 2015 edition of Ski Racing magazine, US Ski Team member, Steven Nyman, talks about how his frustrations with inconsistent performances led him to rethink and reboot his equipment (Season of the Switch by David Brennan – http://www.skiracing.com/feature/season-of-the-switch).
Like most racers, Nyman assumed that inconsistencies in performance stemmed from technical or fitness issues. But in the pre-season before the 2014-15 World Cup season, he began to suspect that his equipment might be the cause. After making some subtle changes, Nyman found the elusive consistency he had been missing as evidenced by his results in the 2014-15 racing season. Ski Racing talked to Nyman about the changes he made. But equally important, Ski Racing talked with his coach, Scotty Veenis. Said Nyman, “I always blamed my issues on my physical state, but in 2014 I was in such good shape, this wasn’t the issue. So I finally looked deeply into my equipment set-up”.
Nyman began the process by looking at his skis. Once he had his skis dialed in, he looked at his boots. In the order of things, I like to start with the most important piece of equipment, the skier. Fitness is but one consideration. Obviously, fitness and conditioning are important. But there are other factors that I will explore in future posts. For now, it is suffice to say that in the order of things in equipment setup, the human system comes first, followed by ski boots, followed by skis/zeppa-delta angle/binding stand height. What I agree completely with is Nyman’s statement to, “make small tweaks with what you have”. After making changes to smaller, softer boot shells, Nyman found that his GS and Super G performance was instantly raised. But the most significant improvement was to his balance.
Nyman also looked at binding placement ramp angle differences of 1.3 millimeters (See – CALCULATING RAMP ANGLE – https://skimoves.me/2014/03/30/calculating-ramp-angle/ and SKI BOOTS: WHAT’S YOUR ANGLE – https://skimoves.me/2014/03/29/ski-boots-whats-your-angle/. There are a number of things Nyman did that I don’t agree with. But the important issue is that he got the end result he was looking for.
Nyman offers words of wisdom to young racers do not change much in (race) season. Amen. Nyman’s coach, Scotty Veenis also offers up some of his own wisdom by stating that it is critical to test any equipment change in a controlled skiing environment, to which I agree 100%.
Too many racers today are looking in the wrong places for improvements in consistency and performance. If they were to look down, it would become apparent that they may be literally standing on the answer.