Ceramic Use

The following article is something that coach Richard Breese posted a few years ago about the use of ceramics for the dry slope races. A few bold statements but hopefully gives people a bit more background to the use of ceramics and the over reliance on it rather than focusing on good technique, hopefully useful for parents as well as racers.

Dear Racers & Parents 

Following the first race of the season on the dry slope at Norwich, where we obviously had some good results, it was really disapointing to find out that a few of our racers were using a ceramic stone to 
tamper their side edges and also others were using the device on other racers skis, obviously encouraging the use of the tool. 

To be quite honest I personally feel this is really worrying and I hold no respect for any race position achieved by any racers using this device. 

Could I just take this chance to educate the racers & parents using ceramic on their edges. 

1. Using this tool is nothing new, it was discovered a long time ago, way before anybody who is presently racing. The racers using it all those years ago soon found out how bad the ceramiced tampered edge 
eventually wrecked their skiing technique. It's discovery very quickly got pushed to the side and forgotten about for a number of years. Unfortunately a group of very poor technical racers started using it 
again recently so that they could be competitive with those who had put the time and work into producing good technique and it now seems to have become a trend. 

2. A ski racer with poor technique uses this device to gain edge grip while turning, which they would not usually be able to achieve. Unfortunately with the regular use of it muscle receptors lose their 
sensitivity so controlled edge pressures are lost. Also, due to the nature of a ceramiced edge, the ski will grip even when the skis are placed across the fall line with wrong timing and this would not be 
the case on a normal sharp edge. Timing is then lost which in turn affects the racers line. The more this combination of errors are carried out but disguised by the tampered edge the more the bad habit sinks in. 

3. A good skier / racer can maintain good posture over the ski i.e. alignment of their core centre of mass is central to the centre of the ski with all upper body weight transfering through the core down through the hips and down to the boots / ski's. Skiers regularly using ceramic on their edges gradually start to lose their centre alignment or in the case of younger racers they never actually achieve the position, thus creating a lot of unwanting pressures & stretching on the knee joint and Anterior Crucial Ligament. Eventually these skiers have a accident causing their ACL to tear, ending up in major reconstruction. 

4. Please, please take a look at the racers gaining podiums at the moment. They are certainly not good skiers and certainly not future champions.  Do your home work and look back over the years and you 
will find out the great racers we have had and presently have never used ceramic on their edges. They put the hard work and time in, learned properly and gained correct fundamentals. That is why they are the best and kept their knees in one piece. 

5. A number of the bad crashes the last 2 years have come from racers using ceramic on their edges, forcing them into situations they would usually either be able to avoid or get out of. Let's face it good ski 
racing is a mixture of good skiing and good recoveries not a crash following the first little mistake. 

6. I have personally coached racers who can put so much angle on their ski's to make them turn when needed they have virtually had their inside hip on the matting but still maintained perfect edge grip. Edge grip can be achieved when the edges have been prepared properly. 

7. I would happily give my time to help parents / racers understand and teach them how to get a ski edge properly sharp so that as they learn good technique they will maintain good edge grip no matter what turns they are trying to perform. 

8. The actual manufactured use of a ceramic stone is to create a hardened,highly polished finish on razor sharp ski's. This is carried out with precision to achieve a longer lasting sharp edge for when skiing on rock hard ice. NOT TO CURL THE SHARP EDGE OVER!! 

Regards, 

Richard Breese

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