How tech changes in recent years...

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JeffOYB
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How tech changes in recent years...

Postby JeffOYB » Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:46 am

Yeah, I just can't quite let go of the season yet, it seems.

We got a surprise snowstorm a few days ago and it even iced a bit despite the thawed earth and we had a fun ski party on our yard trail, with bonfire, beers and plenty of laps. Conditions were good for a few hours! (My Chemical skis were dandy.)

So here's a thought: in looking at World-level ski race videos going back to the "so long ago" 1990's and even more recent, it's amazing how DIFFERENT the racers ski compared to today!

I just looked at a Bjorn vs Thomas clip and they look like Frankensteins. Was it because their poles were so long? So heavy? Their legs look really stiff, not much ankle flex. Arms often look quite lengthened. Straight arms, straight legs, basically.

Anyway, whenever I look at vids from past Worlds or Olys, even quite recent ones, the technique looks so different.
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Re: How tech changes in recent years...

Postby TooHeavy » Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:28 pm

I would say the technique has not changed, the race coarse has. They are more gradual in the climbs enabling the V1 and V2 to be used more often than back in the day enabling faster times. Back in the day with the steep climbs most of your skating was offset.These athletes today are not any better than the guys in the eightees and ninetees.

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Re: How tech changes in recent years...

Postby liège » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:04 pm

I would say the technique has not changed, the race coarse has. They are more gradual in the climbs enabling the V1 and V2 to be used more often than back in the day enabling faster times.


That's incorrect.

Lillehammer uses the same hills today in as they did in 1994.

Davos's course has not changed that much; they use a shorter course, usually, but the 2.5km addition to the 5km loop is flatter than the climb from the stadium to Cologne Stutz to the Lagers.

Toblach has always been gradual.

Val di Fiemme is tries to use as much of the trail as they can, but snow is often the deciding factor. They had everything open in for the 2013 World Champs, though, and the courses they used at the Tour de Ski these past years have just as much total climb.

Holmenkollen no longer uses the two lap 25km course for the men's 50km, but the 6 X 8.3km course maxes currently maxes out the homologation standard for total climb.

The Lahti courses from 1989 still largely make up the trails that have been used for World Cups the past few years, and will be used for the 2017 World Championships. Watch the relay from 1989 on YouTube and you'll find that there's way more flat sections in that race.

Falun's courses used at World Champs in 2015 (and for World Cups the last few years) are more compact -- no more 15km loops -- but feature more climbing than the old 1993 World Championship courses.

These athletes today are not any better than the guys in the eightees and ninetees


Skis and waxing allow for higher speeds, for sure. Stiffer poles allow better transfer of energy. Those three things would allow almost anyone to V2 more on a course than they could using 1991 RCS skis, non-fluorinated glide wax and first-generation Starlights. But if you put Bjørn Dæhlie, Vladimir Smirnov, Manuela Di Centa, Torgny Mogren, Gunde Svan, Lyubov Egorova, et al. in a race -- at their peak, on the same equipment as today's skiers -- I think you'd be shocked how much more speed the current racers have, with an increased focus on strength, evolution in technique and increased focus on year-round intensity.

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Re: How tech changes in recent years...

Postby TooHeavy » Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:16 pm

Sochi 50 km mens race finish time was 1:46:55. That just must have been a brutal coarse ?

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Re: How tech changes in recent years...

Postby Magnus Johansson » Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:25 am

JeffOYB wrote:So here's a thought: in looking at World-level ski race videos going back to the "so long ago" 1990's and even more recent, it's amazing how DIFFERENT the racers ski compared to today!

I interviewed Jan Ottosson about the early development of skate skiing: http://crosscountryskitechnique.com/the ... te-skiing/

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Re: How tech changes in recent years...

Postby Magnus Johansson » Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:28 am

liège wrote:But if you put Bjørn Dæhlie, Vladimir Smirnov, Manuela Di Centa, Torgny Mogren, Gunde Svan, Lyubov Egorova, et al. in a race -- at their peak, on the same equipment as today's skiers -- I think you'd be shocked how much more speed the current racers have, with an increased focus on strength, evolution in technique and increased focus on year-round intensity.

It sounds like you have actually performed that test.

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Re: How tech changes in recent years...

Postby liège » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:09 am

TooHeavy wrote:Sochi 50 km mens race finish time was 1:46:55. That just must have been a brutal coarse ?


Sochi seemed really short, I'll give you that. But that was also skating on man-made snow, which held up well, even in the heat of the day, and was super fast. And there was a downhill where people were hitting 80kph. Any time you can cover 1km in 45 seconds, the time of day is likely to get smaller.

If that doesn't convince you, though: http://medias1.fis-ski.com/pdf/2014/CC/3066/2014CC3066RL.pdf
1790m Total Climb for the Sochi 50km race. The 50km race in Falun in 2015 had a TC of 1755m - so slightly less - but was won in 2:26:02, because it was classic, and it was in wet, falling snow.

For comparison, the American Birkebeiner has 1398m on the skate course, and 1371m on the classic course - 22% less elevation gain than in Sochi.

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Re: How tech changes in recent years...

Postby liège » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:26 am

Magnus Johansson wrote:
It sounds like you have actually performed that test.


Ah, I wish. My time machine is in the shop.

If swimmers are swimming faster today than they did in the 1980s and 1990s, and runners are running faster, and weightlifters are picking up heavier things, and cyclists are riding farther in an hour in the velodrome (on bikes that UCI has controlled, so they should be comparable to those ridden Merckx), why would cross-country skiers be the one anomaly in sport that got slower?

Sundby's V2 is a new standard - super stable core, powerful, always starting the stroke from a high position (even on uphills) - that's simply something that most of the field hasn't evolved to yet.

That interview with Jan Ottosson is very good. Really cool stuff. Thanks for posting that.

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Re: How tech changes in recent years...

Postby Magnus Johansson » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:04 am

liège wrote:[...] why would cross-country skiers be the one anomaly in sport that got slower?

I didn't say it got slower, but it is very difficult to compare the capacity of different generations of athletes.

liège wrote:Sundby's V2 is a new standard - super stable core, powerful, always starting the stroke from a high position (even on uphills) - that's simply something that most of the field hasn't evolved to yet.

Yes, he is very skilled and efficient. Especially the skate skiing technique is still developing, greatly assisted by better equipment. Jan Ottosson, Thomas Wassberg, Gunde Svan and Torgny Mogren are all better skate skiers today than they were during their elite careers.

liège wrote:That interview with Jan Ottosson is very good. Really cool stuff. Thanks for posting that.

You're welcome, and thanks!

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Re: How tech changes in recent years...

Postby TooHeavy » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:48 am

I was looking at results for Nagano 50 k skate ind. start and Thunder Bay 50 K free. Results are there but no course specifications can you find them ?

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Re: How tech changes in recent years...

Postby liège » Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:29 pm

That's a good question. I can't find course information for those places either. There's a list of homologated courses in each country here:
http://www.fis-ski.com/mm/Document/documentlibrary/Cross-Country/04/26/84/COURSHOMNat_English.pdf

But Big Thunder isn't listed as a venue with homologated courses (and as I understand it, has been sitting sadly unused since the late 1990s or so). Hakuba in Nagano vaguely rings a bell as being the name of the Olympic venue there, but the longest courses they have homologated there are 5km. I'm not sure what they did in '98, but it seems like it was more common to run 3 X 16.7km for 50km than to run six or more laps like they tend to do now. Those Nagano courses did look insanely hard.

Soldier Hollow in Utah is the earliest Olympics/World Championships I can find that has the MC/HD/TC information on it. Apparently, 1987 is when they started to try to homologate courses (http://www.fis-ski.com/mm/Document/documentlibrary/Cross-Country/04/26/87/Homologationmanual2012_VersionJAA4inclcover_English.pdf) so my guess is that FIS just doesn't have results with that data in their records. Also, from looking at that manual, I'm really glad I don't have to homologate any courses - that looks complicated.

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Re: How tech changes in recent years...

Postby liège » Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:42 pm

As soon as I post that, of course, I find this: http://library.la84.org/6oic/OfficialReports/1998/Vol2_e.pdf
Page 198 has homologation info from Nagano, though I have no idea what the 97/03.11/50 course actually was.

I'm assuming it wasn't just 10 X Course B, but if it were, it would have been 2140m of climbing, with a max climb of 67m each lap. Ouch. Even on the "low" side, using just the "easy" Course C, it could have been 1800m TC. Either way, 2:05 for 50km, on snow that softened up that much, is moving fast.

Getting back to the original post, though: Dæhlie's technique is still not as good as Sundby's.

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Re: How tech changes in recent years...

Postby liège » Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:02 pm

Nagano 50km: HD 113m, MC 67m, TC 1749m

Page 60, http://library.la84.org/6oic/OfficialReports/1998/Vol3_e.pdf

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Re: How tech changes in recent years...

Postby TooHeavy » Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:34 pm

Enjoyed the Nagano posts. That 50k would have been a individual start, not the mass start freight train they got going on today with all the drafting etc. Same as a cycling race with the front skiers dragging the rest along then tucking in the group and resting up. Has been that way since Turin in 2006 for the fifty free.

Anyhow Snow Harp is just about dead. A guy in this area did a trip there last season and the area gets very little use. When he was there the groomer was broke down and the trails were not skiable. The resort is far away from large population, and adults don't do recreational sport there .Pictures and story.
http://www.footstops.com/d_weisk/blog/9438/

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Re: How tech changes in recent years...

Postby TooHeavy » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:11 am

Just viewed the Mens 10 K classic individual start from 95 Thunder Bay World Championships. Course was one loop of several different trails. Two main climb areas one was 65 meters. (1) Vladimir Smirnov 24:52 (2) Bjorn Daehlie 25:10 (3) Mika Myllyla 25:11


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