We met Helmut Grassl in late April, 2012 in Sälen, Sweden where the annual Ski Funtastic, the Swedish Alpine Finals. (Ski Funtastic is perhaps the largest ski race in the country). Other celebrities included Anja Pärson and Ingemar Stenmark.This year’s winner was Andre Myhrer finished over a second ahead of the competition.
Helmut Grassl is a well-known Swedish Ski Academy Race Coach at Stjerneskolan, Torsby, Sweden. During his active years (1980’s), Helmut represented Sweden as a Racer on the National Team. Helmut is renowned for his result-oriented training methods and the success of his program seems to run in his family; Helmut’s daughter, Paulina Grassl, just won the Junior World Championship silver medal in Slalom in Italy last month.
Helmut knows what he is doing. As we talk to him, he makes a great comparison between timed turns in the slope to that of the golf swing. Helmut gets more detailed as he explains to us how his racers use Pole Position in the gates; the strap prevents racers from over-rotating the opposing arm, which in turn force the racers to concentrate on a more square position as they hit the gates. Helmut says: “…racers understand, intuitively, how to control their upper bodies in each turn.” Helmut explains how his slalom racers practice timing to maximize speed. In slalom, racers are faced with about 60 gates, or possibilities, as Helmut rather put it. Each gate is an opportunity to accelerate thru timing. In GS, Giant Slalom, this aspect is even more important to improve upon as the gates are fewer – hence fewer opportunities to make up ground. Helmut continues to explain the how´s and why´s to the group as he hands out Pole Position straps to his racing team. Thanks for your time Helmut!
Emma Hector practicing with Pole Position, April 2012
Evelina Eråker 16, gate training with Pole Position
Ingmar Stenmark and Anja Pärson