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How a Masters Alpine Skiing Athlete Used Protern to Find the Best DH Race Line

Masters Alpine Skier training downhill

I skied fast, but Protern helped me ski a faster, near-perfect line.

At Protern.io, we love hearing stories of how athletes use our tech to elevate their training. 

The following is a note we received from Joe Minock, a self-coached Masters athlete who skis with the Rocky Mountain Masters in Colorado.

Joe was able to win his age category and come second overall, despite being lighter than many of his competitors on a relatively flat downhill course.

Joe’s approach is one example of how athletes can leverage the power of Protern’s data to make significant improvements from only a limited number of runs.

Masters Alpine Skier reviewing downhill ski data prior to training
Joe reviewing his previous run's data in order make changes for his upcoming run. Photo: Andrew Cohodes

How did he do it?

Using Protern, Joe took a systematic approach to finding the optimal line. His approach can be summarized into the following steps:

  1. Find and focus on the critical sections
  2. Measure the run; analyze the results; and, adjust for the next run
  3. Focus on execution on race day 

Focus on the critical sections

Joe used Protern to see exactly where on the course the he should focus his efforts. There will always be things to adjust, but by focusing on 2 or 3 sections, you can keep the changes manageable. 

Learn how to use the Compare Runs feature to find critical sections

Measure. Review. Adjust.

Using Protern, Joe was measuring each run and reviewing the data before starting the next run. This made his training far more efficient, as he had meter-by-meter data from the run he skied moments ago, and could see what the impact of his changes where. He adjusted his approach and skied his next run. 

He repeated these three steps for each run, further refining his line.


Easily said, hard to do. By being systematic in his approach, he had hard data on the impacts of his changes. This gave him the confidence to focus on skiing the optimal line on race day, rather than second guessing his approach.

You can read the PDF of his race notes below by clicking on the image.

Alpine Skiing Downhill Training run notes
Click to download the full run notes

The result?

By refining his approach after each run, he was able to adjust his line, shaving 1.1 seconds from day 1 training.

Read the full account in his own words below:

“This past weekend I was finally able to put my Protern to the absolute test.

We recently had a Masters DH Race at Ski Cooper in Colorado. We jokingly refer to the run as the ‘easiest really effing hard race hill’ in Colorado, and perhaps the whole USA. That’s because while it’s rated as a blue run, it’s known as one of the most low-angle (flat) race venues in Colorado. With that in mind, Ski Cooper is generally a great race hill for those learning to ski speed, or, at the higher levels, for those that are a bit larger in stature. But that’s not me—I am quite a bit lighter than my primary competitors.

So, I had some preparation to do. But I’m excited to report that, using my Protern, I was able to optimize my race line to the most efficient line possible.

On the first training day, I started by breaking the course into five large segments, each based on major features like turns. Through this process, I found that I was costing myself nearly a full second by skiing too directly in two critical sections.

On the second training day I set a segment at each gate to help me understand where I was gaining and losing speed. Using the ‘Max’ and ‘Average Acceleration’ metrics on my device and comparing them to my average segment speed, I honed in more deeply on my start strategy and pinpointed where I needed to clean up the line to maintain speed.

I then adjusted my line relative to what the data was telling me and shaved ~1.1 seconds off my day-one runtime.

Ski Cooper DH time data

Come race day, I knew exactly where I needed to be in order to ski my fastest run. It showed in the results: two runs where I placed second overall and first in age class!

The margin between first and second place was just 0.02 on the first race run and 0.13 on the second. We both had the rest of the field beat by a full second, and as much as four seconds to 10th place! 

My take away: I skied fast, but Protern helped me ski a faster, near-perfect line.

Keep up the great work gang!”

Visit the Protern online store to get your sensor so that you too can shave precious time off your runs today!

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