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TOPIC: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"-

"50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8785

My story is a simple one. 50 years of free skiing on a small lake in New Hampshire. Three years ago, I had the opportunity to hook up with some great people that have a slalom course on a private pond about 25 minutes away. 50 years of Free Skiing and I thought I was pretty good at 60 years of age. 50 years of Free Skiing and "Fifty years of Bad habits!! I have gotten the slalom course "bug", but unfortunately I am still working and still free ski 90% of the time and am lucky to ski the course once a week for a couple of sets. My best on the course is at 32MPH is 15off and I hope the video that is attached goes through for your viewing and analysis.

Although I only ski the course once a week or so, I have the opportunity to free ski 4 or 5 times weekly on my lake. I am looking for your recommendations for some good practice material and drills that I can take to the course from my free skiing.

I have watched about every imaginable video on skiing the course, YouTube, etc.. and have read most of the articles available concerning slalom skiing and the course this past winter. Our ski season in New Hampshire doesn't usually start until mid April and ends around mid October, so we are very limited.

I think I can achieve much more than 15Off when I get back on the water, hopefully this month. Last week it was 70 degrees and today we have 5 inches of snow on the ground!! This is New England.

A little more history for you to go on-

I have taken (3) lessons from Jodi Fisher in Winter Garden in the last two years. My son lives in Orlando so this is very convenient. I actually took two of the lessons just last Monday and Tuesday with Jodi.

I have gotten Seth Stisher to do a Video Analysis of me in the past month.

From these two professionals I think they are pretty much on the same page with their analysis. Jodi concentrates a little more on the "Neutral Position" throughout the course and concentrating on better angle to the buoys and Seth looks to my "Turn" to be adjusted, with again being more stacked and balanced and bending the knees and being more forward and "waiting" for the apex instead of turning the ski before its time.

Miller, the gentleman that I ski with and has the boat is 72 years old and a very passionate skier. The five or six people that I ski the course with are all very similar in abilities on the course.

I've said enough for now. I hope the video is viewable.

Attachment IMG_3173.m4v not found

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8786

Here is the video


The following user(s) said Thank You: RickR90s

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8787

Welcome to the Club of Slalom Course Addiction
I also have watched all there is to watch online and read most everything, twice maybe ! My views are shaped by a lifetime of sport, a degree in Kines, 15 years coaching a variety of sports and raising two talented ski racers.
I can see your efforts to maintain your body connection and be patient in the turns, well done.
What i see in your skiing is similar to most intermediates ,,, too much back foot involvement.
If you have read and watched everything you know the limitations of this error,, but what can you do ?

My opinions :
1. Look at your binding set up. If your rear boot is too tight and limiting your movement it may be near impossible to get the correct amount of front foot involvement/pressure. Well over 80 % of the top men skiers are on rtp or a rear boot that is different that the front. ie, most run hard shell fronts but almost all are on a rubber rear or rtp. Fin Whispering states that 3)4 of an inch movement is needed with the rear heel to maximize ski performance.
2.Stack at 90 degrees vs the ski angle, not 90 degrees vs the boat. Allows for cross course acceleration.
3. Purchase Fin Whispering, the fin tuning book. It has been my biggest improvement in my understanding and my skiing early this year.

Good Luck
The following user(s) said Thank You: Heppie

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8788

  • BudDavis
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  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Nice to hear about you and your passion and thank you for participating here on SkiAll6.

I think your skiing looks great. The first thing that sort of jumped out at me was you let up a little to soon in your load as you approached the wake.

As I watch you come out of the turns, it seems like you start releasing load and angle almost as soon as you hook up.

I would like to see you hook up and then try to slightly increase your load and angle as you move toward the wake and then let off and switch edges closer to centerline. Then get tall over the center of the ski and head for an early target prior to the buoy. Or if free skiing, the imaginary buoy.

Keep up the great skiing and keep us posted.


I would like to read what others see and suggest.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Heppie

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8789

First off. Congratulations on skiing that well and enjoying it.

Next, I am also 60 this year but not going down in speed until next year.

Next question is when is your 60th birthday. (Do you ski at a top speed of 34 or 32? Men's 6 has a top speed of 32 MPH. So your next step may be shorter line already!!!!

Most of the guys on here are FAR better than I am, but being an ex-gymnastic instructor ( 40 years ago.) I look for the flaws that I did and some still do.

Looking for areas to improve on. Re watch the video and see if you see these points.

1. Turn in will be smoother with the weight on the front foot ( ie": don't lean back onto the back foot.)

2. Keep the out bound direction longer after the second wake. This allows you to cast the ski out from under you and make a smoother TIGHTER turn into a tight line for your next pull.

3. You have good pull position out of your on-side turn, but let up too early. This make you loose the out bound direction and you can't get a good cast out to make a better turn. This makes for turns that take way too much distance to complete.

It has taken me 10 years to learn and try to fix these exact problems too.

Again congratulation.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Heppie

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8790

Jodi Fisher had me concentrating on "bending my front knee" all of the time. My front leg is usually locked up, except across the wakes.

I ski on Radar Vector boots which are very flexible. At this point I think I will be OK trying to adjust my % on top of the ski with these bindings. I will be concentrating on bending my front knee and my back ankle as much as I can to get on the front of the ski more.

Should I be "notching" my back knee(left) into my front knee a bit?? I am a RFF skier.

Yes, I know I am skiing down the lake and not across the wakes:)

Thanks for the Fin Whispering tip.

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8791

Yes, you are exactly correct about my releasing load. Until I looked at my video's this past summer I thought I was Pulling too much, but then saw that my "leveraged position" was very weak and almost non existent coming into the wakes. As you can see I almost completely "flatten out" my ski before I hit the first wake. Jodi Fisher is big on targeting that "imaginary buoy" to get a much better angle.

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8792

With my past history of free skiing and I guess the 63 years old, Seth Stisher said that 32MPH was my top speed on the course. No more 34:) "Men's 6??" Chris, in total I've probably run fewer than 100 passes in my life up to this point:)

Yes, I'm looking to shorten the line this summer.

As far as your comments- 50 years of laying all my weight on that back foot and putting up that awesome spray for the locals to watch on my lake!!

I will be all about this summer getting that weight centered and if possible as much on that front foot.

Keep that pull/lean through the second wake and try and get a better angle on my glide to the apex, and "don't start the turn until its time".

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8793

  • BudDavis
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  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Chris,
If you are going to be skiing tournaments, you might want to shelf the idea of dropping your speed next year. Unless I am mistaken or the rule changes, speed does not drop until 65, Mens 7, and then drops again at 70, Mens 8.

See link below.
www.skiall6.com/basics-of-slalom-water-skiiing
The following user(s) said Thank You: Heppie

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8795

Bud is absolutely correct...Mens 6 is 34 mph, Mens 7 32 mph, and Mens 8 30 mph.

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8797

Bummer on the Speed change not until 65, but that also means I don't need a longer ski yet either

Heppie -- There are LOTS of ways to say the same thing. Getting your weight balanced feels like your on the front foot. When they started working with me. They said bend the knees, but what I did was squated which dropped my butt thus my weight to the back. Referred to as "butt dragging". Be careful not to do that. Have to push the hip forward while softening the knees.This will give you a MUCH stronger pulling position and MUCH faster across the wake!!!!

Knees together- when I am running late into my off-side, I bend lower, but if my knee separate from center, the front boot pushes the ski more off edge w/o a boot on the back to push it back down ( I ski Rear toe strap.) Locking them together also makes you stronger in your pull so it does sound like good idea if you can.

I skied as a kid and then did not until 10 years ago. Then got a chance to ski at a private lake about twice a week during the summer. Good people but they don't coach much. What we are sharing is what we have learned from years of trying. Trying to help you avoid all the mistakes that we have made until someone helped us.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Heppie

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8798

2 other things to think about.

1. BudDavis has plans to make a back brace and arm strap system to make skiing less tiring and to protect your back, arms and shoulders.

2. Moved to a mid-ride ski this year and kick myself over and over again for not doing it LONG ago. Mine is stabile, fast and improves cross course speed and cast out. All with least drag. Easier on an older body. Might or might not work for you, but may be worth a look.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Heppie

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8799

Bud and Chris, I appreciate the info. on the age and speed for skiing tournaments. AT 63 I think I'll concentrate on the 32MPH for the next two years and with all of your help I'll see you on the circuit!! Thanks.

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8800

Chris, this is what I am going to love about this site and the skiing analysis you and others are passing on to me. My frustration right now is that there is still snow on the ground and in the mid 20's:( The ice is off all of the lakes though.

From your comments, and I have so much going on in my head as I look to this ski season is to:

1. Work on bending the knees more and "notching" them somewhat together to see if this helps in my overall skiing.
2. Bend my back ankle in an attempt to push my back knee into the front and get a better neutral and leveraged position on my lean. I ski on Radar Vector boots(front and back)and I think I have the flexibility to get enough ankle bend in both the front and back.
3. I am all over trying "not to" butt drag and will try to push the hips forward while keeping the knees soft.
4. I will be working on keeping my hands perfectly straight in the leveraged position with my lean and try to get in that perfect position where the handle is close to the hips.

Thanks for the tips.

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8801

I currently ski on an HO XSL Superlite 67"(2013 bought and set up from Wileys) and am very happy with it. Before this I skied on an HO Monza with the same Radar Vector boots.

I am 6' tall and 175 pounds.

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8811

Bud,

What does "COM" mean in water ski terms??

Thanks.

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8812

  • BudDavis
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  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Heppie,
COM is short for Center Of Mass.

It seems that skiers used to lean away from the boat in somewhat of a tug-of-war fashion. That would slow down the boats where Perfect Pass speed control only cared about turning the engine a set number of RPMs. Then the boat would race away helping to prevent slack rope. This cycle of slow fast was repeated through the course and gave an average close to the set speed. Zero Off now stays pretty much at set speed and always wins the tug-of-war.

Some skiers figured out how to play a different game. Now we try to fall in the direction we want to go and let the boat assist us in getting there. When you hear people say move the COM in the direction of travel; it could also be said fall in the direction you want to go; or go with the boat and do not resist it. The term Light On The Line seems to fit also.

If you move your COM in the direction of travel (or any other term above) then you are probably not resisting the boat as much as you would if you did the opposite. If resisting is heavy, then not resisting could be light, or at least lighter than heavily resisting.


Anyone else please jump in with your descriptions.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Heppie

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8813

Heppie,

COM or Center of Mass is exactly as it sounds. It is where the most mass of your body is centered, ie: Butt, Stomach, Hips. It has been heavily prevalent in Snow Skiing forever
.
As Bud very well pointed out, learning to move COM in the direction of travel is a key component of acceleration, especially using ZO. It allows for a lower center of gravity while leaning and turning. I believe it is a much safer way of skiing and for me has done away with OTF's since you are no longer top heavy coming into the wakes.

Researching West Coast or New School Technique will further explain it.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Heppie

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8815

Bud,

I've got my 5 foot rope and handle down in my basement. COM going left and right sees me leaning backing as far as I can go to get that handle close to my hips. Should I be lifting my back ankle up to push my back knee into my front knee(bending both knees now and angling forward) for the better position or just hold the lean going back??

It is very difficult to get the handle that close to the opposite hip in the basement!!

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8816

You're killing me Ed!! So what does OTF's mean??

With me re-learning how to be more centered on my ski, should I be concerned about taking "header's/face plants"?? I plan on doing many, many drills with free skiing to avoid this.

Do you have any drills that may be "prioritized" for me to get better on this Neutral Stance and then taking it to the course??

Thanks for your help.

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8818

  • BudDavis
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  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Heppie, OTF = Out The Front

I believe that it is difficult to truly practice the exact position on dry land pulling on a rope. The reason being; my goal is to not pull against the boat. I want to stand tall centered front to back, and fall off to the side of the ski. (Toward the direction I want to go.)

Below is a video of 32off trying to go with the boat. Also screen captures where the rope is in the same position (angle) on the boat at 39.5off and 32off. Notice the body position is almost exactly the same at both line lengths. Imagine trying to stand in this position on dry ground. I think we would fall over.

And we do need to flex our front ankle and if our rear heel comes up, that should be fine in my opinion.




39off.PNG


32off.PNG
The following user(s) said Thank You: Heppie

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8819

  • BudDavis
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  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Heppie, If you look at the menu at the top of the page "Instruction Videos" and select Robert Marking, you should find some dry land training instructions that many people have commented it helping.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Heppie

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8820

  • BudDavis
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  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Heppie,
Adam Caldwell demonstrates the right position very well.
Here is a video of him and some screen captures. Keep in mind the camera POV (Point of View) is different, which makes the pictures look different as far as the rope position or rope angle. Also I added a stick figure of what I picture a stacked position is. Which is the position we might need to be in the whole time we ski and just lean left or right. (Keeping in mind there are many successful styles of skiing.)




Glide.PNG


A1.PNG


A2.PNG


A3.PNG


A4.PNG


Stickmanstacked.PNG
The following user(s) said Thank You: Heppie, CandaceWolcott

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8821

Bud,

I have looked at Robert Marking's video's and also Gordon Rathbun's.

We've still got about two weeks until I see the first boat going into the water. Where I ski the course, there is a 50/50 rule. Won't ski unless the water temp. and the air temp is above 50 degrees:)

I'm trying to get in the best shape that I can.

I know that the "Neutral Stance" and putting my weight more centered on the ski(not on the rear foot) will be a summer long project.

I don't think I will have any issue with "leaning back" through both wakes and keeping my knees soft going over the wakes.

So much to think about "before" I hit the water!

*Let my hips lead the way on the pull out and go as wide as at least the 2,4,6. It seems that everyone is in agreement that getting good speed, and an early and wide angle into one ball is the key to a successfull pass*

Keep those elbows against the hips and the handle to the hips as much as possible.

Don't turn until its time.

Concentrate on keeping the knees and ankles bent enough to stay in a more forward position.

Don't rush the turns.

Try and get into the most "leveredged" position that I can.

Keep my arms straight.

How am I doing??

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 8 months ago #8822

I continue to look at "my" video's and how straight my legs are coming into the turn and after the turn. I will be concentrating on much more bending/flexing of the knees and ankles like the stick picture shows. From my dry land drills it seems that when I lean away against the rope and then lift up my back ankle, this pushes my whole body forward and my back knee into the front knee which I think is a more neutral position.

I these video's Adam has so much speed and creates that great angle coming into the buoy's. I have noticed that skiers skiing on a shortline seem to "hesitate" for a second after the turn and then straighten out the arms to full extension causing tremendous speed just before the first wake.

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 7 months ago #8878

Bud,

Weather looking to "break" finally in New England. It's been rainy and raw all week:( Next Wednesday looks like the DAY I will get in the water for the first time this year and do some free skiing with my course buddies.

A question for you and others?? I've been leaning on the Back of my ski for over 50 years now. Should I look to move the bindings forward?? When I bought my HO Coefficient XSL with Radar Vector boots a couple of years ago from Wiley's, I mentioned then about having the boots moved up and they suggested against it and to leave them at the manufacturer's settings.

Any suggestions on this would be greatly appreciated:)

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 7 months ago #8879

Heppie,

Moving the bindings forward can actually have the opposite effect and cause you to be more on the back of the ski than before. What you are looking for is BALANCE over the ski, and you need to learn how to shift COM, Center of Mass forward at the appropriate time.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Heppie

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 7 months ago #8880

In our age group, you may be better almost keeping the elbow straight and concentrate on moving from your reach to skiing back to the rope at your hip instead of pulling in the excess slack which is actually what they are doing when they bend their arms and then straighten as the slack is pulled out. I ski with a Goode style power vest now and works great to never bend my arms. straight from full reach straight to the boat side hip as the ski comes around. Don't reach over to grab the rope out in front of you!!!! That stops the turn and you lose too much angle mainly out of your off side turn. I did not know I was doing that until saw it in pictures.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Heppie

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 7 months ago #8881

If the picture sent through This is an example of off side done wrong. Hooked 2 ball, let up too early on the pull, then gave up my angle off of the wake went straight to the ball. Granny turn then reached for the handle which shut down the turn and set up for another hood turn on 4 ball.

DSC_9778.JPG
The following user(s) said Thank You: Heppie

Re: "50 years of Free Skiing to the Course"- 1 year, 7 months ago #8882

Chris,

So if I'm not to bend my arms at all in the turn, are you saying to "wait" until the ski has totally come around and then keeping the arm straight to reach down to the handle with my free hand when it comes to the boat-side hip to connect??
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