Stuff rattling around in my head this year

HortonHorton Posts: 27,168 Administrator
edited August 2014 in Technique & Theory
There are a lot of theories out there about the right way to ski. One of the things I have started thinking a lot about is “Make it look boring”. However you do it => when things feel less frantic I think you are on the right path. When you make 35 look like (feel like) 28 you are on the right path.

I was coaching my nephew when he got a new ski a month or so ago. When he did what I told him to do (whatever it was) he said “that is boring”. He had been enjoying his own radical “hair on fire” style. What he did not immediately grasp is that when he made 32 off boring 35 off was doable. I spend a lot of time trying to make 35 feel like the balls are narrow and the boat is going slow. Those skills will result in more 38s and shots at 39

The other thing I am trying to better understand is intensity. “Light on the line” was a big buzzword a few years ago. I never really understood. It seemed that if I skied easier I would ski ball to ball. I could run a few 35s with crazy light input but I always felt that I was skiing on egg shells and on the verge of falling at every other ball.

What I have found this year is that I can take all the angle I need by doing less (moving less with my upper body) at the ball and then just make an effort to not lean any harder than needed across the wakes. Everything else the same => just trying to not break the rope. I have heard this a million times before but this year it finally clicked. It is actually freaking hard to get myself to do it consistently.

Going harder to make more space sounds like the right idea but it leads me down a bad rabbit hole. I think this is the opposite of what Mapple teaches. Clearly Andy is the GOAT but I cannot get my head around his approach. If any of who have skied a lot with Andy want to chime in that would be awesome.

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  • skidawgskidawg Posts: 3,260 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    Watch Dirt...He is the master of making it look easy!!!
    Mr. Mom is Horton's favorite movie!
    ski6jones
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,546 Mega Baller
    edited August 2014
    I've skied my best when ski smooth and easy like your saying. The turn quick and get in a lean as soon as possible gets me out of rhythm, just can't do it. Glad to hear someone better than me say that. Seth helped me a lot. Brooks Wilson wish I could have spent more time with he seemed to keep things simple and focused.
  • skier2788skier2788 Posts: 725 Crazy Baller
    @Razoskier1 is dead on. I think Andy is misunderstood a lot. Have had the privilege of skiing with and 6 times over the last year and driven 40 some coaching lessons. His approach is maintaining the space you have at one. Not a slam dunk the turn yank out of the backside and try to be early for the next ball. It is all about a nice controlled turn back siding the ball with the ski coming in and accelerating out of the ball with the right angle and intensity. I don't care how boring a 35 feels if you are finishing the turn ten feet after the ball. You aren't skiing the optimal path. Watched Andy ski 32, skip 35 run 38 39 and then ski 26 MPh 15 off. They all looked the same. Point I believe he was trying to make was there is a optimal line to ski no matter what length or speed. He pulled the exact same at 39 and 26/15. Only difference was the width he skied and the amount of time before the ball. I can see what he does and understand what he is coaching. Can't get myself to do it regularly.
    Travis Torley
    Skoot1123cragginshred
  • ScarletArrowScarletArrow Posts: 798 Crazy Baller
    @skier2788‌
    They all looked the same. Point I believe he was trying to make was there is a optimal line to ski no matter what length or speed. He pulled the exact same at 39 and 26/15. Only difference was the width he skied and the amount of time before the ball.
    Can you explain this more? This seems contradictory to me. If there is an "optimal line", then wouldn't the "width" also be the same?
    Anthony Warren
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,168 Administrator
    edited August 2014
    @Razorskier1

    He (Andy) does it by generating lots of speed and load I am not 100% that is true. I think he is going so fast and is so efficient that by the center line there is not massive load. I think Andy reaches what I call "Escape Velocity" (I am aware that this is a terrible miss use of the English language). If you are going fast enough at the center line you are out running the pull of the boat even if you are behind it.

    What you said that makes my head hurt is finding the right tangent. I get that in theory. I get that for beer drinking conversion but when I turn I am getting what ever angle I get. I work to make it smooth and get more angle then less. I can not imagine trying to turn a tiny bit more or less. The geeks love to talk angles but I am just looking for the most angle I can control.

    No matter how much angle I take, how I control the load is most a separate issue.

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  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,168 Administrator
    @skier2788 As someone who struggles with skiing down coarse I can promise you that it is generally the result of other / earlier actions and making it look boring helps me get closer to back siding the ball. It is not something you can just force.

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    Than_Bogan
  • thagerthager Posts: 4,430 Mega Baller
    My skiing is never boring!! Or good either...
    Stir vigorously then leave!
    andjulesski6jones
  • skier2788skier2788 Posts: 725 Crazy Baller
    @ScarletArrow‌ by optimal line I mean angle out of the turn and to the other side. Not just the path of the ski from the second wake to the bouy like we normally think of. The angle he took the length of the pull. The only thing different was what he did from white water out. I believe that there is a maximum angle and load that can be taken out of the turn. It can be taken at all line length and speeds. We can ski longer shorter passes with less angle but we should not be practicing that as it builds bad habits. I think the confusion comes in when people think that back siding the ball and taking as much angle as possible is what Andy is talking about. In reality it is finding the optimal path or maximum angle/load you can ski. As razorskier1 points out if you take too much angle it dumps you at the finish or it pops you off the second wake and you loose handle control. Andy does this better than most because he can control the handle a lot better than most of us therefore his maximum angle and load can be higher than ours allowing him to ski shorter lengths. A practical example of this are my sets tonight. First set tournament style went out ran 28 32 35 and 3 at 38. 32 was ok 35 not pretty but six. Second set went out at 32 and took the same gate shot pull as I did at 38. Skied 6 in a row much wider and earlier. Why? To me it boiled down to taking my maximum angle that is sustainable for me and skiing it at 32 instead of waiting till 38. We ski lazy when we can. I feel Andy is trying to get us to always ski like it is our hardest pass. Don't ski lazy. Wide gate turn in be early for one ball and keep that space. How many of us watch someone start a pass well and by six are scraping because they got lazy? Hope that helps.
    Travis Torley
  • gator1gator1 Posts: 591 Crazy Baller
    Been thinking a lot about the light on the line jargon, especially after watching the big Ds go from 45th seed to 1st.

    There are TWO angles of attack of ski to water.

    The first and most obvious is caused by rear/ front foot weighting. Too much weight on rear, ski points to sky and no matter how hard you pull, you are just plowing water. All this COM nonsense is really just making sure you don't stand on the back foot too hard when you're leaning.

    The second angle of attack I never thought about until I saw Rogers ski in those floppy Wiley's. If you imagine the ski almost 90 degrees to the wake, and flat on top of the water this other angle is how far the ski is rolled away from the boat about its longitudinal axis. (Tipped on edge)
    If the ski is rolled too far on edge it loses lift and creates drag. Far enough and it starts to stall, and slides towards the boat more than it carves across the wake.

    So I think weight on the rope has a central meaning. Pull vs speed. We know Nate breaks handles. AM can bend them at will. Not light.

    And light means lots of speed for a given pull.

    And I think there is the gross light on the line cause--front/rear angle of attack.

    And the secondary light variable-- longitudinal roll vs speed.

    I think Jeff and AM and Nate ankle the ski flat to attenuate lean and speed to secondary angle of attack. It's significant that AM cuts his reflexes down to just tennis shoe height.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,036 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    No the tangent stuff makes sense and not just cuz he's my brother.

    Take too much angle, pull too hard and be separated from the rope arc sooner and flung up-course. Take the proper angle and hang with the rope longer, separate from it at the proper time (later) to gain the extra width necessary with tight line running outbound instead of the rope path now up-course at short-line. Early on you follow the rope arc and at anytime you could separate and come off at a straight line (tangent) to the arc. You want that tangent to separate from the arc at the optimal time...which is later than it happens for most of us. Controlling that energy and tangent after the wash, in my view, is everything at short-line.

    I do believe Andy can do this despite giving it the mellies behind the boat which is his unique skill. I have the power to give it hell but the more I give the more skill I need to handle it after the wash and simply put...I don't have that skill.

    This from a gimp who can't ski this year, and who is far from the best on this forum. Having said that the big bro is onto something this year and I like the theory. He's dropping 38's on a lake with water that is terribly difficult...can't explain it but it's tuff to ski at his home public site.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
    Than_BoganSkoot1123
  • skier2788skier2788 Posts: 725 Crazy Baller
    @horton I always thought that was Andy's point. Back siding the ball and making space before the next was all a result of what you do coming out of the previous ball and into the current. Never heard Andy say crank a turn as hard as you can just to be on the back side of the ball. His coaching has been how to be in the position to finish at the backside and accelerating to the next ball. I may be wrong but every time I ski with him I feel early lighter and set new pb's.
    Travis Torley
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,181 Crazy Baller
    @Horton to add to your "light on the line" comment, You know you are light on the line? you weigh 140 pounds like Nate. And spend a lot of time learning how to do it. I cant ski easy like that. If I dont feel like I am pulling hard theres no way im running even 28. No shot at running 32. I run the best 32's when I am agressive throughout the course.
  • skier2788skier2788 Posts: 725 Crazy Baller
    @Horton‌ I Guess I take boring to mean low or no effort by the skier. Which leads me to bad habits of turning down course and skiing narrow. What you mean is make it look boring to the spectators in the boat. Or am I way off?
    Travis Torley
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,168 Administrator
    @gator1‌

    When I say light I mean take all the angle I can eat but to not lean any harder on the rope than I have to. Clearly you have to be centered on the ski. Some do that better than others.

    And I have never heard that Nate breaks handles.

    @skier2788 I 100% do not mean lazy skiing. I 100% disagree with your approach for my own skiing but if it works for you I am not going to tell you that you are wrong. I want to ski all my passes as easy as I can. Not lazy but as wide and early as possible without extra input. To be fair I am guilty of way too much input.

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    6balls
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,168 Administrator
    @Ilivetoski when you are learning to run 28 and even 32 it is maybe a different deal. Most skiers at your level need to put all their effort into stack. Until you OWN your stack this idea might be wacky. FYI when you own you stack you will be crushing 32 and this may be important

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    Than_Bogan
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,168 Administrator
    @skier2788 maybe boring is the wrong term. I know I am skiing really good when I feel like the balls are narrow and I am not working very hard. That does not mean skiing ball to ball or narrow. it means not doing is with extra muscle.

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  • skier2788skier2788 Posts: 725 Crazy Baller
    @horton I think we are thinking the same just from a different view. You wrote...
    The other thing I am trying to better understand is intensity. “Light on the line” was a big buzzword a few years ago. I never really understood. It seemed that if I skied easier I would ski ball to ball. I could run a few 35s with crazy light input but I always felt that I was skiing on egg shells and on the verge of falling at every other ball.

    This is what I call skiing lazy or boring. Not aggressive. You still make six but I don't think skiing on egg shells is the ideal way to ski or practice. Giving it more energy like 38 or 39 allows you to ski earlier and wider.

    What I have found this year is that I can take all the angle I need by doing less (moving less with my upper body) at the ball and then just make an effort to not lean any harder than needed across the wakes. Everything else the same => just trying to not break the rope. I have heard this a million times before but this year it finally clicked. It is actually freaking hard to get myself to do it consistently.

    Skiing without breaking the rope to me means skiing with maximum angle and load that you can handle. Not over turning or loading. I see a lot of guys throw there shoulders into there pull. It feels like you are pulling really freaking hard. I try to focus like you on getting stacked and holding my position. No more no less.
    Travis Torley
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,168 Administrator
    @skier2788 yes yes lazy bad

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  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,781 Mega Baller
    I recall watching Jay Leach at big dawg. He looked like he barely leaned and was killing 39 off. However, he finished his turn with more angle and maintained that angle, thus creating space.

    I think the key is that mere mortals can either point the ski more aggressively across the boat's path and let the boat send them across or lean super hard out of the turn but not have any real cross course angle. The slalom gods, like Andy, are the ones who can do both.

    For us mortals, we need to move away from the mega lean and move toward a more aggressive trajectory. We need to realize that with aggressive trajectory, stack, and moderate lean all that is needed is to let the boat send us to the other side. When we achieve trajectory and then also add our mega lean, we either rebound off the second wake and lose connection or we generate too much speed and energy into the turn.

    It seems to me that aggressive trajectory with stack and letting the boat do the work results in this light on the line concept and more space into the buoy.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
    Than_Bogan
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,781 Mega Baller
    Oh and aggressive trajectory comes from letting the ski turn further before we load up. It is counter intuitive. The longer/further I let the ski turn, the better the trajectory and the earlier I will be for the next buoy. So, waiting longer to load makes me earlier - counter intuitive.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
    Than_Bogan
  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    @Horton -- we are approaching it similarly. The point is that too much angle can't be maintained. Skied just now. Optimal for me is to turn in a gate where I can see the space I need, and just follow that line. I don't need to "create space", just maintain the space that the geometry of the course allows. As I think both of us find, for us mere mortals, that is a line that has good speed without load, and allows us to stay connected to the handle and on top of the ski as we approach the ball.
    Jim Ross
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,168 Administrator
    @gator1‌ I was curious about your statement that Nate breaks handles so I checked with someone in Nate's inner circle. Below is the reply I received.

    I would guess if he's broken some handles it's because it was an old handle that needed to be replaced. There's no question that kid pulls his brains out, but he's not putting half the load on the rope CP is. He just can't

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  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,347 Mega Baller
    edited August 2014
    I've broken a handle. So we know it's not tightly correlated to pulling hard...
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,278 Mega Baller
    I've broken a s-ton of handles and ropes, but all back during my M2, M3 hand-driving and PP days. I turned too hard. Even now when I feel like I'm skiing easy, coaches/watchers ask me why I turn so hard. I think I told the story on here before about how I broke a rope while being coached by Sammy Duvall and it smacked him in the face. Embarrassing as hell.

    I'm trying hard to change my skiing. The key to me being lighter at the finish of the turn is simply having a tight line from the second wake out to the turn and being up over my front foot all the way back to the handle. Easier said.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • gator1gator1 Posts: 591 Crazy Baller
    @Horton‌ I stand corrected. Thanks for data.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,168 Administrator
    @jimbrake‌ you broke a fresh rope? I broke a lot of ropes in my ski school days but it was mostly because the ropes were junk.

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  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    My goal this year is to ski with space, not width. Width, quite honestly, is easy. I can get plenty wide all the way through 38, and even at 39. Skiing them requires maintaining space, which allows me to do other things right, like staying on top of my ski like Chet told me to! Anyway, I think there are multiple ways to do it, and for some of us it is easier one way vs. another. For me, it means less angle, not more, and being tall (head and shoulders up off the water) rather than loaded. Believe me, I can pull real hard, but that doesn't lead to a high buoy count. Being within spitting distance of the correct angle, and then maintaining space of the second wake while staying tall and connected, is what works for me. Executing that every pass is my goal. Like I said to my wife the other day, "this sport would be so much easier if all I had to do was pull real hard!"
    Jim Ross
    Than_BoganToddL
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,278 Mega Baller
    @Horton. Yeah! Broke Sammy's new rope.

    Back when we used to use "tournament-supplied handles" I broke two consecutively in one tournament set. The fun part was when I broke one and punched myself square in the face and another time in the ribs that almost put me out of regionals that year. I was using clincher-type gloves at the time. Had to give that up.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,168 Administrator
    @jimbrake‌ what year?

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