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TOPIC: Where do you look while skiing?

Where do you look while skiing? 7 months, 2 weeks ago #9655

  • BudDavis
  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Where do you look while skiing?

We have all probably heard to not look at the buoys as we go around them because it throws our body out of position. So, what do you, or should you look at when you are at the turn buoy. It seems I remember reading in an article about looking down course. I have heard people talk about looking at the next gate set and even the next turn ball. I have also heard people talk about looking at the pylon.

I used to try and look at a space ahead of (before) the next turn buoy and that seemed to help me. In doing so, I notice the boat is prior to that. In other words, if I am at #2 and look across ahead of #3, the boat is to the right of where I am looking. I would be looking ahead of the boat.

I recently started experimenting with looking more directly across course. While doing this, the boat was ahead of my line of sight. It felt good and I liked it. I am going to continue experimenting with it and see what happens.

Thy some of these and let us know what works for you. I would guess some of you will have to wait for warmer weather.

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 7 months, 2 weeks ago #9656

Bud, you brought up and interesting and important subject.

I would start by saying the one thing I never EVER look at, is the boat. There can be way to many distractions, from people or objects moving around.

My world starts by focusing on the green 55's. I pullout 2 feet before them, and cast out for a one handed gate. Kind of like a 2 ball turn. There focus shifts to the Right hand gate ball. After cast out at the Gates it shifts to 1 ball. 20 years a go,I learned from Wade Cox, that if I did not want to overturn at the ball, to look down course, and when making the turn, never look past the line of the rope till you hooked up with the handle. In other words, skied back to the handle.

What I found out with ZO, a bad habit I had when hooking up off the ball, was looking at the next ball.ie: 2 coming of 1 etc. This some what goes a long with what Bud is saying. Except for the Gates, I found I ski my best when I don't concentrate at looking at anything, but concentrate on what I am physically doing at the time. The buoys are not to be stared at, but put in my peripheral vision.

While Bud talked about looking cross course, I can relate to that. Especially since it prevents one from staring at the next buoy. While I don't actually focus on looking cross course, I focus more on getting my lead shoulder down and front knee bent more, building forward COM pressure. ie; Nate Smith style. My peripheral vision is cross course, since I am trying to BUILD pressure to centerline, so as to release ski pressure and NOT handle pressure at centerline, and gain swing speed. If my bad habit from the past causes me to look at the next buoy when coming off the last one, then on my offside pull, I tend to load and hold.... I want to "build pressure" to centerline, to get a more explosive transition.

Load and hold will not accomplish this and is my worse offside bad habit, and seems to be triggered by looking early at the next buoy. So Bud has a good point in focusing more cross course than at the next buoy, and these are my reasons why.

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 7 months, 2 weeks ago #9657

  • BudDavis
  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Good info Ed. Thank you.

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 7 months ago #9658

"Then focus shifts to the Right hand gate ball"? What if you're going to be "early" into the gates, do you adjust to be to the left of the right hand gate, or do you chalked it up to your next pass into the gates? At just skiing 32MPH at 15 off focusing on the entrance gates and then with 1 ball coming up so fast, I'd like to focus on just one of these??

I always thought that I pulled through "both" wakes on edge, but when looking at my video's I wasn't even close and hit the "first wake" almost on a flat ski! Free skiing has surely taken it's toll over the past 50 years!!

I am going down to Florida the first week in April for 5 days of lessons and hope to come back skiing 22off and testing 28's, Do you think I have a chance??

Thanks for any opinions:)

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 7 months ago #9659

  • BudDavis
  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Hi Heppie, Thanks for the questions. I think a lot of people wonder the same things.

1 - In practice, do not adjust to avoid a missed gate. Wait until the next pass and change just one thing at a time to get a better gate.

2 - We need to be happy to just be able to ski. If we can take a ski vacation to FL and get some help, that is even better. Technique often is rewarded with buoys. Personally, I would rather ski slower speeds and longer lines smoothly that consistently fight my way through a more difficult pass. I suggest to go have fun and take a log book to record your lessons and progress.

Also, if you feel, "1 ball coming up so fast", try some of these. (One at a time.)
Get wider before you move in for the gates.
Wait later before you move in for the gates.
Drive the ski more aggressively into the gates.
Possibly wait later before moving out for the gates.

No matter what you do moving into the center-line, make sure after center-line you head out bound and NOT to the buoys. Your goal is to create cross course speed. You want to build that speed into the center-line then get tall on your front foot as you head out bound. If you do this well, you will find yourself relaxed as you wait on the buoys.

If you are weighting your back foot and pulling against the boat, it will be difficult to build cross course speed/direction.
If you are allowing the handle to get high it can pull you off of your edge and stop you from getting cross course speed/direction.

Feel free to post a video for help with your skiing.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Heppie

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 7 months ago #9660

Trent Finlayson post on Instagram reminded me of you this thread.

The most important thing is to have fun.

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 7 months ago #9661

I have an attachment video(IMG_) of my 32MPH at 15 Off, but can't seem to get it in.

Starting at "square one" and after the good pull out, I usually start my one handed pull to the gates after the back of the boat goes through the entrance gates. I know this is all second nature to most of you, but I have never fully mastered getting that perfect gate. I know it's all about timing, trial and error at each speed. I rarely am late at the entrance gates, but am early quite a bit of the time.

The question Bud still comes up, should I focus on the right hand gate initially, or with practice this will become second nature and I should be more focused on getting maximum speed at the centerline and keeping wide and outbound going into one ball?

I took a couple of lessons with Jodi Fisher and he recommended that I should keep my hips and shoulders more pointed in the direction I wanted to go and to not look at the buoys but pick an imaginary buoy well ahead of the real ones. That's where your "heading outbound" comes in.

I've skied on my back foot for years and am just recently trying to ski in that ultimately "stacked position" to get more speed and angle.

I am a RFF skier and have been working on trying to keep my knees closer together throughout the course and pushing my bent left ankle into my front foot.

Thanks for all of your help.

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 7 months ago #9662

  • BudDavis
  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Heppie, Try to upload your video to Youtube and paste the url here on SkiAll6.

I think you should be only aware of the gate more than focused on the gate.

Read the below.


Chris, can you talk through how you setup your gates at the various line lengths, 32-41?
Do you get to the same width on the 2 4 6 line each time? Do you "go" when left gate lines up with 1 ball? If not, what is your aim? Does the edge change get more extreme or the same for each? Does the resistance go up to hold it?
Or any other cherries you would like to share.
There is some confusion about a Perfect Pass gate vs ZO gate. I have found that on PP, I used to really load it right at the second wake, which meant I was getting off of it midway out, when I do this on ZO, it seems like the boat wants to take the handle away midway though my one ball. I have moved everything back about 20 feet and it is working much better. Is this luck, or science?


AB, I hope to not disappoint, but my gates are very basic. I start my edge out at the same place for each line length. My main focus is to try to leave the handle where it is when starting the edge out for my gates and let my body fall into a lean with my right hip up. I try to focus on leaving my left arm straight while in the lean and while transitioning to my turning edge. I then ride two hands for a few moments before releasing my left one. In this zone is where I make sure I am in the place that I want to be for my turn in. Meaning, this is the zone that I can hold on a bit longer if I ended up getting out too early or release a bit early if I'm running late. Once I release my hand, I am focused on skiing away from the handle to apex. The handle is then left where it is at apex and I focus on skiing my left hip and free hand back to the handle without moving the handle. If I am too slow in water speed, you will see my left hand reach for the handle before my left hip gets to it. Once I connect, it is always the same regardless of line length. Leave the handle where it is and allow my body to fall away from it. This is what allows my hip to remain connected up to the handle. I do not go harder for any line length. We all have a tendency to try to go harder at our shortest passes and this is the main reason we have issues at buoy one. If you can focus on the sequence or progression of your gate from starting position prior to edge out through the center line of the gates and forget what line length you are at, you will ski better. I do not have a turn in point. That is determined on the point when I edge out. Lately, I have been opting for an earlier edge out with riding the handle with two hands longer before releasing. The only issue I come across is losing a bit too much speed. Another tid bit is that I miss my gates in practice on a regular basis. I am least concerned with that point. If I'm consistently missing the right hand gate buoy by 1 foot, then I should adjust my edge out to be one foot later.

As far as zero off vs perfect pass, I think the main thing is that Perfect pass stayed more constant with the rpm's. You could get away with "loading" the line and not have the boat react so abruptly. Zero Off gets pulled down more before reacting (just listen to the motor). Thus it is more important for us to focus on skiing more technically right than trying to hammer down the line. The worst thing we all do is try to load the rope (AKA pull the boat backwards) to try to make up time when we feel down course. This is a faulty thought. If you lose, do not try to make up. Just ski well from that place. If I end up 5 feet down course out of buoy one, then I plan to stay there the rest of the pass. If I am 15 feet downcourse out of two, then I need to realize that I will be 15 feet downcourse the rest of the way. We need to get used to being put in compromised situations, learn to remain calm and get back to trusting our keys for success. Panic and pulling are not the answer. Be smarter than your skiing. Wait did I just say that....I'm as guilty as any on this topic! We all can do better.

Ab, I think we can ski with the philosophy that we were skiing PP with but with one exception, we need to decrease the amount of load we are creating so that we are more invisible to Zero Off. Focus more on the leaning aspect without applying any pressure to our feet. This will put way less load on the line and allow our feet to be more dynamic (feel much less stuck or stagnant). The general idea is that you leave the handle where it is and hang away from it in a stacked position. I think most skiers leverage on the handle, meaning that they are actually trying to pull the handle in a direction opposite of the direction the boat is traveling. The more extreme this gets, the more zero off reacts to the added force and adds gas. Hanging in a stacked position will give you all you need to get to the next buoy. It also increases balance as there is less force to give back at the edge change. Just a thought.

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 6 months, 4 weeks ago #9663

Don't know if this video of me at 15 Off and 32MPH went through, but if it did, be "gentle" on me:)

Thanks for all of the feedback!!

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 6 months, 4 weeks ago #9664

  • BudDavis
  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Number one: It looks like you are having fun. That is what is most important.

And yes, I see what you are talking about. You are weighting your back foot and pulling against the boat. That is causing you to basically pull from buoy to buoy.

My suggestion would be to not beat yourself up with perfecting your gates at this time. Fully focus on getting stacked on your front foot and move with the boat instead of pulling against it. If you progress with this, I believe you will be amazed how other things will almost automatically fall into place.

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 6 months, 4 weeks ago #9665

Thanks Bud.

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 6 months, 4 weeks ago #9666

  • BudDavis
  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
I worked on a split video for you. See if this helps. I don't ski very well and I don't practice 15off, so it may not help a lot.

Keep in mind the camera POV is different, so it will throw off some comparisons.

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 6 months, 4 weeks ago #9667


It was amazing that you would do this split video for me, A whole bunch of things popped out at me. It was obvious that as you started you continued to get "ahead of me" because you were getting much more cross course speed across the wakes on every turn. You also were not "pulling/yanking" the handle at the buoys like I was, but was just getting into your lean away from the boat after your turn and skiing back to the handle and your front hip.

The biggest thing I noticed was how your "angle" across the wakes and to the buoys was so much more than mine compared to me just going at the buoy and turning at them and also creating more slack in the process.

I know it must have been very "difficult" for you to ski at this slow speed and long line length as it was obvious that you had so much time gliding to each buoy on your approach. Because of the slow speed I did notice that you also bounced on somewhat of a "flat ski" on the second wake, most likely because you were in unchartered territory skiing in this novice course length

Thanks for all your help and will have more questions for you later on today.


Re: Where do you look while skiing? 6 months, 3 weeks ago #9668

Other things that I noticed I'm doing after watching my video in "slow motion" is:

1 .After making my turns at the buoys and grabbing the handle, arms were straight as I pulled for a split second(not holding any lean position), but then immediately let up to a flat ski as I came up in a more conventional "stacked postion", BUT, then on hitting the first wake jumped all the way over the second wake and in some cases almost over the white water!!

2. Leverage position was only evident after the buoy turn and hooking up to the handle.

3. Counter rotation was almost non-existent on 1,3,5 balls but pretty good on 2,4,6.(I am a RFF.)

4. Arms remained pretty straight throughout the pass but way too high. Tried to keep the handle close going into the preturn.

5. After bobbling across to 6 ball and around it saw a tremendous amount of slack as I pulled out the exit gates as I literally could have one a Jump Competition as I went from the first wake and landed by seeing my fin narrowly landing on the right gate!!:)00

Whatever I am missing please pass it on to me.



Re: Where do you look while skiing? 6 months, 3 weeks ago #9669

  • BudDavis
  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
You are welcome.

Next time try to video from the top of the pylon. It helps with comparison a lot.


Re: Where do you look while skiing? 6 months, 3 weeks ago #9670


What are some good drills to do in my free skiing to get more into that leverage position?

Are you a fan of Than Bogan's "Leverage Position" article??

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 6 months, 3 weeks ago #9671

  • BudDavis
  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
I am not familiar with the article you mentioned.

I will try to put something together and post it.

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 6 months, 3 weeks ago #9672

  • BudDavis
  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Here is a link to something I wrote that has something to practice dry land.


Re: Where do you look while skiing? 6 months, 2 weeks ago #9681

Mapple told me to look across course for the next bouy as soon as I know I am going to clear the current bouy. Works great on my offside not so good on my onside. Logic was when you ride a bike you look through the turn and your body goes where your eyes are looking. Makes sense only if I can remember to do it consistently.
The most important thing is to have fun.

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 5 months, 2 weeks ago #9683

Hi Ed and Bud,

I would really like to continue this conversation about "where to look", but overall just getting a 66 year old with a PB of 15Off at 32MPH! I will be taking a vacation in early April to Orlando and hope to get in a couple of lessons.

Ed, I liked your comments about more or less "staying in the moment" from pull out, to gates, to the buoy turns, and wake crossings and not necessarily being concerned about whats going to be coming up.. My leveraged positiion and thus much better angle across the wakes is going to get me to 22 and hopefully this summer testing the waters at 28Off.

I would like a little more direction on my posture down in the basement with the rope against the support beam. I will be working "forever" from now on to get into that perfect stacked position. I think I am ok going straight, but when I turn parallel to the"pylon" and positioning right and left I still don't know what I'm doing! I have put on my vest and gloves but find it very difficult to get the handle to my hips no matter how hard I try. I bend that back left ankle(RFF) as much as I can but when I think I'm almost there my best tredded sneakers starts to slip out from under me:)

Any thoughts on what I should be asking the pro's to work on at my lessons, or should I just let them do their thing.

Re: Where do you look while skiing? 5 months, 1 week ago #9684

  • BudDavis
  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
I would think they would watch you and tell you what they think you need to do.
If they ask then answer, but if you are paying for their time and opinion, I would let them do the talking and record all of it if possible.
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