V2 vs V2 Alternate
Q: I have some questions regarding the V2 compared to the V2 alternate. What is the appropriate terrain to use each of these techniques? Is one faster than the other? If you are skiing a ski marathon which one would you use as your primary method of propulsion? As you are flying down the trail how do you decide which one to use and why?
A: The use of a specific ski technique is determined by many factors which include; your skill level, ability to produce power, balance and agility, coordination of movements and, of course, the terrain and speed of the snow. I believe the goal should be to develop a well-rounded skill set across all of the skating techniques so come race day the techniques you use at various speeds and terrains will be optimal for your level of fitness.
I have read many articles that suggest there is a speed continuum of skating technique that ranges from V1 used in steep uphill's, V2 used on flatter and gradual uphill terrain and the V2 Alternate used on the flats and gradual downhill's when the speeds are highest. I believe this concept is an over simplification because the V2 Alternate, while effective at high speed, can also be used by stronger skiers in uphill terrain. Likewise, the V2 can be used on flats at high speed as well as on uphill's by stronger skiers.
While watching many videos over the years I have seen most of the top skiers in the world using the V2 technique at the highest speeds when sprinting at the end of the race. It appears to me that the top skiers tend to use more V2 on the easier terrain and V1 in the steep hills as the primary techniques. V2 Alternate appears to be used as a transitional technique, through corners, and perhaps to change it up a bit and get a moment to accelerate or get a bitof recovery.
For most Masters skiers competing in marathon races, the technique used will be determined by the individual physiological economy of the technique, the skills of the skier, the terrain and the snow speed. I suspect that V2 Alternate is used by many skiers because their balance on a gliding ski and weight shift is not as effective using the V2 at higher speed. I would suggest that Masters skiers focus their training and technique development to use the V2 and V2 alternate as much as possible using the V2 on flats and gradual uphill's, and the V2 Alternate on the gradual downhill's and transitional terrain.
However, each skier should experiment in training, using a heart rate monitor and learn which technique is most efficient and economical for them. Also, in training you should spend some time forcing technique in a wider range of terrain and speed.For example, forcing V2 at high speed in gradual downhill's, and gradual uphill's. This will develop your technique and power, and help you learn which technique is best for you as the speed and terrain changes.
By: Jim Galanes
Galanes Sports Lab