I have been skiing for many years but last year after getting regular access to a course I made my first ever pass at 28 mph. By the end of the season I had run 32mph on a couple of occasions in practice. So far this year I have yet to run 32 but I have been very close (4 @ 32mph several times). I feel like my onside is very good but my offside is killing me and I'm not sure quite what I need to do to progress. Ideally I would like to get into 36mph, and by next years tournament season I would like to be shortening the line.
I am currently skiing on a 69" Sixam SS with the front binding mounted forward one hole and the back mounted one hole back (there is no "center" hole as there are 4 mounting holes on the plates.) I do not have a wing mounted currently and I am not sure what my fin measurements are at the moment. I am 6'0 250 or so. Here are some videos from earlier this week, any help or advice would be appreciated.
32 MPH #1
32 MPH #2
I'm there with you: working to get up to division speed. Right now I'm working on 32mph and the funny thing is that I'll either squeak by 3 or I'll run the pass, there is nothing in between.
Your doing a lot of things well: it's hard to run a pass at any speed or line length if you aren't.
You look balanced on the ski. You are controlling the rope and handle well. You aren't getting severe tip-rise in the turns. Your skiing looks really good. It's hard to take those compliments some times (I get mine from a Big Dawg), but you have to realize that good for you has little bearing on good for someone else at-38' or even -22' at that.
The most obvious thing is to relax your arms and let them out and down. Particularly on you offside, you have a tendency to pull the handle in. It's a comfort deal and I fight doing it every time out. Pulling the handle in makes it difficult to have a balanced stance on the ski. If you relax your arms, your shoulders should open to the boat a bit more and you will not come off the wakes with the sensation that you are about to kiss the ski.
Practice and do not get discouraged. This is my fourth year involved in course skiing. It is my second year of getting consistent time on the water, and my first year on equipment that I am completely comfortable on. I significantly overestimated how long it would take to learn these opening passes. My personal best in practice is a full pass -15' @ 32mph.
On the bright side you site look absolutely beautiful, where are you skiing?
I have skied a couple times now since I first posted. Last night I ended up skiing 4.5 @ 32. I think I got so excited to actually be fairly early and wide at 5 ball that I just overturned it when I definitely had the pass run.
I was really trying to let my arms down and out on my offside pull. Last night I had probably my best gates of the year and I've been fairly consistent at achieving this on my pull through the gate which is getting me a great one ball. However, once I go around 2 or 4 ball I have trouble achieving this position again like I did going through the gates. I hit the wake, break at the waist, and sometimes feel like I'm going out the front. I don't have my camera so not vids or pics to show. I feel like I am so close it is just a bit frustrating.
I ski at Lake Lottawatta in Hamilton, Ohio. It is a great lake to ski with good water and it is well protected so the conditions are almost always good. The setups are a little short and things can get interesting in the turn arounds but you get used to it quickly and I love it.
So last night was a very odd night of skiing. I hadn't skied in almost a week due to boat issues. First pass I get up and while pulling out for the gates I fall. Next pass I make my pull out but this time as I turn in for the gates I feel like I'm sinking and I fall.
Finally on my third pass I get it figured out and run 28, then I run 30 and finally get 4 @32. I give 32 a few more tries but I can't get more than 2 or 3 buoys. Someone said they thought that I was just pulling too long in my onside pull (going to 2,4,6) which is making me fast and narrow at 2,4,6 which is where all my problems start. I always thought my onside pull was fine, so now I will try and change edges earlier, more behind the boat so I can get a better turn at 2,4,6.
From your video, your turns look great, but your wake crossing looks a bit broken at the waist and forward. It might helps you to keep your hips up a little more, keep your shoulders facing toward the boat through your pulls, and do all of your pulling by the 2nd wake. After the 2nd wake all of your work should be done and it should be all pre-turn from there. I hope anybody else will correct me if I'm wrong about this but it has helped me and might be worth trying. You might also try the one handed gate. You can see more on this on tips from Marcus Brown and others on the pro tour. It'll help you start early from square one. I love it.
I know that when I've been off the water for a while, if I'm not careful, I'll try to swing for the fences on my first pass. This will generally lead to a botched gate of some kind: usually about half the rope will hang in the water.
Fall on you pullout: adoration, don't worry.
Fall on your turn in: something to look at.
In a pullout wide, glide, then turn gate, it is important that you do not sit down when you turn it. Tip rise, ski stall, bad news. Think stand tall. Think stand on your front foot. Think push your hips forward. Try one, stay with what works. You may also want to look at working on a shorter setup gate. I say short setup because you do not have to go to a full blown one hand gate. I'll let our generous host explain:
http://proskicoach.com/articles/keys_to … _gates.pdf
and for good measure
http://proskicoach.com/articles/skiing_ … e_line.pdf
My skiing has tapered off recently, and have not been able to spend a ton of time at 32 mph. Getting pulled narrow, more often than not, starts at the previous turn. Here are some things to look at.
1. Make sure that your do not edge-change and release the handle at the same time. Once you let go you will loose a lot of your outbound direction. This was visible in your 32mph pass. You have good direction coming off the wakes but loose much of it because you change edges and let go at about the same time. I think part of this is being unfamiliar with the speed: everything feels like, and to some extent does happen much quicker. The more you ski, the more it's going to slow down.
2. Shoulders: I find this a little hard to explain in text, but here's a shot. As you approach the next buoy, advance your inside shoulder. Marcus will generally talk hips, I've found shoulders to be a little more accessible to start out with (and hips tend to follow anyway). This is the counter rotation that everyone talks about. Here is a picture of Will Asher that shows what I think I'm trying to get at:
This will help the ski to keep going outbound when you release the handle. It will help you to ski a wider arc. It will help you to better handle more speed into the turn. And as a bonus, once the ski has come around, you will already be in a strong position to utilize the power of the boat.
3. Vision. When you approach the next buoy, around the time when you release the handle, look down the buoy line (coming into 1 look down to 3 and 5. coming into 2 look down to 4 and 6). This will help with the shoulders but more important it will keep you from staring down the buoy and skiing right to it. Also, as you are skiing back to the handle, visually pick up the next buoy. This one is hit or miss so be careful if you try it. The last thing you want to happen here is to reach back to the handle and turn your shoulders too much: you'll kill your speed and start a fight with the boat that you cannot win. But if this is helpful to you, it will help you to finish the turn cleanly and in many cases turn the ski further without slamming the turn.
Hope something in this cluster helps.
Last edited by HO 410 (Thu, Aug 28, 2008 4:25 PM)
Well I skied again last night and I had no problems with gates this time. HO410 I think I did the same thing, just went out on the pullout too hard. After that embarrassment I think I was a little gun shy on my next attempt which caused me to be back a little on the ski instead of forward like I normally am. I also think the warm temperatures raised the lake temperature a couple degrees after a few weeks of cooling down which also didn't help much.
Thanks for your advice, I think it is all spot on. I just need to concentrate on some of these things as I practice. Here are some comments on your three points.
1. Make sure that your do not edge-change and release the handle at the same time.
This is one I have been trying to work on and I think you hit the nail on the head. I am trying to change edges earlier so I'm not pulling so long but I am starting my reach at the same time which is causing me to ski straight at the buoy. I have been working on this but haven't had much success.
I have also been working on this and usually if I keep my outside hand down by my side or thigh during the turn I ski better. Sometimes though when I really start trying to exagerate it I start feeling unstable. I just need to keep working on this as it is a new sensation.
The first time I ever ran 32mph the tip I recieved just before the pass was to find the next buoy out in front of the boat. So as I was skiing back to the handle I was looking at the buoy in front of the boat rather than waiting until I had crossed the wakes and tried to pick up the buoy as it came out behind the boat. I haven't been doing this very well, thanks for the reminder I need to start thinking about this again.
your definitely have alot of things going right so jst relax and keep at it!
i know you've been given alot to think about but heres my 2 cents worth (and that may be ALL its worth):
1.) Great on-side lean! on the offside you are somewhat reluctant to fully commit to a lower lean and pulling with your arms which , as Chris/Wade have emphasized, pull you up off edge, thus losing angle and getting pulled down course. the result is you tend to hit the wake flat and get bounced/pulled forward. This is uncomfortable and sometimes downright hazardous. but its a hard habit to break (i've been doing it for many years).
so i would suggest doing some free skiing (those bouys tend to distract me when i am working on changing technique) and work on relaxing those arms after the hookup and allowing yourself to 'relax' into a nice deep lean away from the boat where your arms are straight and relaxed. PS one of the key elements to getting good angle and allowing a relaxed lean is to let the ski finish the turn..don't rush the turn and dont rush to grab the handle. let your ski come all the way around to the handle. Again its all part of relaxing and letting the ski do its job
2.) as already mentioned: think about opeing up your shoulders to the boat more, especially on your offside lean. BUT only do this after you are settling down into that relaxed lean. By doing this you will further increase your cross course momentum as well as minimize getting pulled forward/out-the-front at the wakes.
3.) you're a big guy and 32 is a slow-ish speed for the normal tournament level ski. thus your ski probably tends to drag a bit which tends to pull your hips back behind your shoulders sometimes. if you feel this is the case; ask Chris/Wade/ forum what you can do to get better glide out of your existing ski or possibley recommend a different ski with more surface area. the idea to find a ski or setup that allows your ski to glide with less resistance at 32 mph which will help you keep your body in proper positon without expending as much energy.
One other idea would be to just go free ski at 34 mph and work on things then go back to the course and see if you can then run the 32 mph pass. the faster speed free skiing will allow your ski to perfrom better and let you concentrate on technicque. As you get used to the 34mph speed, going back to 32 in the course may seem alot easier than before and allow you to rapidly advance to 34 and ultimately 36.
Don't underestimate the benefits of free skiing..its alot esier to test new ideas when you can do 10,20, 30 turns or more without having to stop and do another deep water start.
Hey royc thanks for the info. Everything you say makes a lot of sense. I wish I could do free skiing but there really is no place for me to do it. Our site is basically just big enough for the slalom course and I can't go the opposite direction of the buoys becuase of the jump.
On another note I skied in a tournament this weekend and set a new tournament pb of 4@32mph. I am starting to ski better trying to utilize the tips everyone has given me. I am going to keep practicing these and try to make them habits.