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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Traverse City, MI
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    2,408

    Default At what speed to you slalom? (and other ramblings about my technique...)

    I decided late in the season (like in the last 2 weeks) last year to give it a try after wakeboarding all summer, so I hopped on my dad's 65" EP from like 1980 and quite enjoyed it. So once the water warmed up this spring I decided that I want to actually hone the slalom skills. I've been out a hand full of times, and this is where I'm at - just looking for a little advice or direction I guess.

    The ski feels perfect for me, as I said its an older EP, single boot, although I think I'm going to go shopping for a double boot setup this weekend. I get up with my back foot stuffed into the strap as tight as possible, and I hate the loose feeling of no binding on the back foot.

    I have no trouble at getting up out of the water.

    I am starting to get pretty decent control over the ski; I can "steer" (if thats what its called?) in any direction I want to go, and cross over the wakes on both sides, but not really at any sort of speed.

    I am just starting to figure out how to cut when I go outside of the wakes - Is there anything I should be focusing on doing when I'm doing this? I feel like its mostly mind over matter?

    My biggest fear is coming back across the wakes quickly, I can't seem to really fly across without loosing all control.


    I must also say that as of right now my "comfort" speed is about 27, which I am hearing is the slowest slalom speed on the face of the earth. I'm 5'7" and weigh 125 pounds. I can stay up at 30+, but I just don't feel stable; is there something in my technique, or do I just need to get comfortable at the lower speeds and work myself up?

    The root of this question stems from (what I feel is) a setback I gave myself in wakeboarding, and that is that I am absolutely terrible at toeside w2w jumps, because when I was learning I only really drilled myself on heelside, so to this day I still struggle with them. I don't want to give myself a bad habbit on the ski that will always bother me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Pensacola, FL
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    1,544

    Default

    I found that reading a slalom instructional book (2 of them) really helped me understand what I should be doing. Try the local library; I found mine at a garage sale for $.25. My brain works based on applied principals instead of innate feeling. You should also have your boat driver/observer read the book so that they can point out what you are or are not doing according to the book. I am sure that there are DVDs that will help if you learn that way better.
    Before reading, I was much like you with no way of knowing what to do. I read the book and understood what I should be doing and attempted to do it (that was last year that I read the books). This year I took a class at a ski school. They gave me several small pointers that have really helped me "advance" this year so far. Definately only ski at a speed that you are comfortable with.
    Before knee surgery, I was an advid wakeboarder. I feel that none of my bad habits really transitioned over to skiing. I feel lost without 2 bindings, but many prefer RTP.
    1997 MasterCraft 205

    2008 Moomba Outback
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    1992 MasterCraft 205
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Traverse City, MI
    Posts
    2,408

    Default

    I'm pretty fortunate in that my ski partner is my dad, who has skiied for a long time. Another friend that frequent goes out with us (although not yet this year) is a really good slalom skier as well, so I've got 2 good 'coaches' in the boat. Just looking for more I'm defiantely going to look for some books; one thing I know about myself - when I do something I dive in head first and full on.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Tallahassee, FL
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    11,333

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    If you have your observer shoot some video so you can watch yourself and then go over it immediately after your runs you will remember the feeling during the runs and be able to pinpoint the issues a lot earlier. If you are skiing at real low speeds, ignore the temptation to slow up at the wake-- keep pulling and keep your weight back and try to slice through the first one. That's advice I got a long time ago that helped me. Of course with two bad knees I'm a horrible skier these days.
    My Mom said I'm not allowed to get wet!
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Traverse City, MI
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    Default

    What kind of stamina do you guys have? I can usually do a couple sets of 3 to 5 minutes before I'm ready to drop, completely different from wakeboarding/skating, where I feel like I can ride all day long.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Naperville, IL
    Posts
    315

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ian ashton View Post
    What kind of stamina do you guys have? I can usually do a couple sets of 3 to 5 minutes before I'm ready to drop, completely different from wakeboarding/skating, where I feel like I can ride all day long.
    Back in the '70's and 80's, I could make many passes before taking a break. It's all about conditioning. Skiing is very anerobic for me. These days I start sucking wind after about 12-15 turns and I'm only good for a couple sets of those. Working to get into shape to extend that, but that endurance is a very individual thing. My high school son who is in conditioning camps for football and playing lacrosse and stuff, can ski for a long time with many turns and he is starting to ski hard at 34 mph. It really takes some getting used to. It is good to hear you are working on it and have fun.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Minnesota and Wisconsin
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    1,138

    Default

    For sure skiing is way more exertion than wakeboarding.

    Speed is really a function of style and comfort. The range for Novice slalom is typically 28-34 mph. I skied at 30 mph for decades. 28 just feels too slow. But in reality - you control your own speed.

    If you are free-skiing I would suggest startig at 15 off at 30mph. I never pull anyone at long line. When I get a new rope the first thing I do is take of that first 15 foot section. That 15 off length is a little snappier, even at 30 mph, so you get a better feeling for speed, even at 30.

    If you want to try faster speeds just take the first couple turns a little less agressive to see how you like it.

    Never ski over 36 mph. The pros don't do it , and I think it is downright dangerous.

    For me - skiing is all about the speed. I love the feeling of the acceleration coming out of the turn. After decades at 30 mph, I finally ventured to higher speeds, and am now skiing 34 almost exclusively. I wish I had done that a long time ago.

    The one thing about speed - if you are not ready for it - it can screw with your form pretty bad. Like stand you right up after the turn. So if you go up in speed and it feels like you are getting tossed around all over the place, drop it back down.

    My 2 cts.
    Dave
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Calgary Alta Canada
    Posts
    887

    Smile

    34mph is usually all the speed you need /want unless running a course and you are trying to ski at a pro level.Sometimes the ski you are on will dictate how fast/slow you need or want to ski in the way they are designed.
    As for how far and how long thats a lot to do with conditioning and the level you are or are trying to ski at. A couple of passes of 15 to 20 turns skiing hard and i'm done ,untill a a little rest then do it again unlike wakeboarding where a 10 min run is not that hard to do ,barrring lots of falls mind you.
    Competition skiing speeds are usually dependant on the gender,males 36 max and female 34mph then its more about getting around the balls at given speeds with the rope shortening with each completed pass. Open skiing which most of us do is usually about having fun ,and pushing your limits as far and safely as possible and PRETENDING to be a PRO.

  9. #9
    Sled491 Guest

    Default

    I typically ski at 36, just feels better for my weight. I start the season at 34 to try to get my timing back and then step it up asap. Your very lite so 30 - 32 would be a good speed. Also being lite you don't sink into the turns as much which should make for longer runs. I ski a mile up and back 2 to 3 times and I'm puffing pretty hard. Unlike other water sports you require sooo much upper body strength to position yourself correclty it can really suck your juice fast.

    While you may like the EP, you'll find the stability and control of the new skiis night and day. Also as I've said before water skiis like snow skiis can break down and loose intergrity which gives the ski it's charactaristics. In other words it becomes a noodle and looses it's pop as it were.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Clarkston, MI
    Posts
    146

    Default

    I 2nd the 34mph at 15 off. Toss the rest of the rope. Start there and as you get better increase speed and rope length, which will make the wakes better. I ski at 32 off at 35mph and I feel no wake bump with my Outback.

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