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Slalom rope-release discussion thread

Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,043 Mega Baller
edited June 2012 in Technique & Theory
In a few different places scattered around the forum folks have dropped mention of a slalom rope-release mechanism.

Thought I'd try to unify that discussion.

My first question is: Ignoring the mechanics of how it would work, how could it be operated? I'm having trouble believing the observer could react fast enough to reliably save the skier from serious injury in the event of something getting stuck in the handle.

I guess I could see it if the policy is just to release the rope pre-emptively in any "ridiculous amounts of slack" scenario, but then some crazy guy is gonna get mad that somebody released a rope he wanted to try to hold onto.

My ski partner and I often easy off the throttle for huge slack hits in practice, but I can't really see how to translate that concept to a tournament.

Obviously, feel free to take this discussion in any direction -- the above is just a seed.
Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
SDNAH2OSKIER
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Comments

  • DekeDeke Posts: 364 Baller
    @ThanBogan the thing that first comes to my mind about easing off the throttle is more slack and a greater chance to get tangled. As far as the release mechanism goes, maybe something with two phases that operate independently of each other. A breakaway device with a soft release out wide and a hard or no release right behind the boat? Sounds complicated.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 25,687 Administrator
    Great idea. Can not see how possible or practical

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  • crashmancrashman Posts: 722 Crazy Baller
    anyone have any sense what the line load is during an entanglement event vs normal skiing?
    slalom addiction triggering irrational behavior
  • SDNAH2OSKIERSDNAH2OSKIER Posts: 290 Baller
    The line load could be a fraction of the max line load during a pull and still cause a lot of injury. This is an interesting nut to crack and worth talking about.
    Doug Roberts San Diego, CA ski rating: 2 balls
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,043 Mega Baller
    @crashman My slightly-educated guess is that it's quite a lot more at the peak of normal skiing than it is during an entanglement. Directly behind the boat, the skier is pushing against the ski. When entanglement occurs, the skier is just being dragged.

    So I think a force-based automated release would be doomed.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • ScaredOfCorbetsScaredOfCorbets Posts: 87 Baller
    I'd imagine the muscular boys skiing 68 and 69 inch skis would put a 500-600 lb load range on occasion behind the boat. At entanglement, it'd be far less. So, that eliminates load releasing type mechanism. It is definitely a tough nut to crack. We definitely have to think outside of the box for this one.

    Also, many skiers do not have observer. And even if you do, when do you pull, and are you fast enough?
  • crashmancrashman Posts: 722 Crazy Baller
    @ThanBogan makes sense
    maybe a video tracking device that can detect deviation from the ski's normal path- not sure how it would work but if my Xbox can tell me my wife if her zoomba moves are correct there should be a way to do this
    slalom addiction triggering irrational behavior
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 2,426 Mega Baller
    I am going to give the long answer on this one "Hell No!"

    However please feel free to post videos of your experimentation !
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.


    MattP
  • HortonHorton Posts: 25,687 Administrator
    I will have Richelle get right on it

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  • footloose42footloose42 Posts: 84 Baller
    @crashman, can you your wife confirm if Zoomba helps improve ski form?
  • rodltg2rodltg2 Posts: 1,051 Crazy Baller
    Good luck enginnering this, but what about some sensors on handle mid way thru the bridle. If it senses anything breaking the barrier the rope releases.
  • boarditupboarditup Posts: 583 Crazy Baller
    Being one of the show skiing types - I have a release on my boat all of the time. I have slalomed on the release and had a couple pre-planned "surprise" releases to test out the concept. I have been released once in an OTF fall. If you have a diligent observer, you can be released from the boat at the starting stages of a fall. Of course, you may have been able to pull it out and ski away from the trouble, but once the rope is released from the boat, you are done. If you have a full load, you may have some recoil from the load being released. The bitter end of the rope has not reached the skier in my few scenarios and experiments. So, is it safer every time? No. Are you less likely to suffer severe head, arm, or other contact trauma with the rope/handle? Yes. Could you strike your own face with the handle in certain circumstances? Plausible, but I have not seen this, yet.

    So, there is no perfect solution. I tend to use the release whenever possible with beginners as they sometimes forget to let go and to have body parts in weird combinations with the handle. On the tower, 100% of the time as handle passes are problematic with handle injuries - especially for beginners and those learning a 540 or more.

    Karl
    Karl DeLooff - Powered by the wind
  • SDNAH2OSKIERSDNAH2OSKIER Posts: 290 Baller
    I am working on a tractor beam.
    Doug Roberts San Diego, CA ski rating: 2 balls
  • WishWish Posts: 7,319 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Time machine would be the ticket and about as plausible.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
    MattP
  • danbirchdanbirch Posts: 301 Baller
    edited June 2012
    Having used one, I agree with Karl. They work. An attentive and educated (i.e. familiar with skiers habits/style) observer will (in MOST cases) release the skier prior to the line going tight (likely saving him from an injury). I'm sure that there are some instances that he could not save the skier. I would rather have 80% success rate, than 100% loss rate without the mechanism.

    Also, it is imperative that the slack rope in the boat be properly organized, so it doesn't grab anything/anyone in the event of a release. Otherwise, it could be dangerous.

    As mentioned before, #1 priority is to work on your balance and skiing with a TIGHT line at ALL times. Next, consider ANY safety measures that you believe in. Ski safe!
  • crashmancrashman Posts: 722 Crazy Baller
    @footloose42 I'm told with good authority that it can help with hip movement through the gate but may result in tensor fasciae latae strain
    slalom addiction triggering irrational behavior
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,228 Mega Baller
    A human operated release - A ticket to disaster. First, now you have to have two ski buddies to go skiing. Second, the way one of my buddies drives the boat, there's no way I want him on a hair trigger. Third, we can go for months, even years, without seeing anyone get close to sticking their head or arm through the handle, so how can we expect the trigger-man to recognize pending disaster in a split second freak fall. Finally, a false pull can also be deadly. Drew Ross had a career ending injury due to a surprise rope "release."

    An engineered mechanical release - The manufacturer better have deep pockets and a great team of lawyers. If it doesn't release, sue the manufacturer. If it releases unexpectedly, sue the manufacturer. It's a sad reality, that almost assures us that this device may never arrive.
    www.FinWhispering.com ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • MattPMattP Posts: 5,973 Mega Baller
    It's an extreme sport that has risks...
  • footloose42footloose42 Posts: 84 Baller
    @SkiJay that's about what I was thinking. Liability will forever keep any company from producing one.
  • A_BA_B Posts: 3,994 Mega Baller
    I don't think using a release for slalom would be like for a toehold trick pass where you pull on every possible scenario.

    An electronic trigger vs manual pull would be nice.

    I would think most of the injuries we have seen posted would still happen, but maybe not be as severe, as it takes a while for the boat to settle vs instant release.

    Most of my skiing is Observerless, so that wouldn't address that.

    Nascar is an inherenty dangerous sport, but I havent seen anyone driving in a t shirt and no helmet.
    A reasonable effort could be made to help prevent some injuries or the severity of them.

    Maybe the driver background check will help?
  • BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 5,898
    Tell me you're kidding about the driver background check.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,624 MM Trick Skier / Eccentric Person
    I tried making an electric trick release. It was too hard to time.

    The Saf T Pop trick release was the most unuseable device ever marketed. Automatic tension based releases do not work for skiing.

    Accept the risks of doing things or stay on the couch watching TV and get fat and have a heart attack.

    Eric
  • h20yah20ya Posts: 7
    What if u have a computer record the normal rope tension patterns during slalom course skiing. If u get a large enough data set I am pretty sure it could identify an abnormal event ie arm in bridle. This information could then be incorporated into a release device which could do automatic as well as manual release. Expensive but considering the amount of money we spend not inconceivable.
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,108 Mega Baller
    Ever have a rope or handle break while you're skiing? I have...you test it...please attach my rope using the loops to the pylon.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Vice President
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,043 Mega Baller
    edited June 2012
    @h20ya I would doubt that a very dangerous pattern is reliably differentiable from the full envelope of "normal" patterns -- i.e. all the ones that could mean the skier doesn't want the handle released.

    In fact, the fatal event (head directly through handle on an OTF), might not exhibit any tension pattern difference from a fully successful run until it's too late.

    Note: The easy part of engineering is telling you what ISN'T going to work. I am in no way claiming I have a better idea. Indeed my lack of a good idea is why I started this thread.

    I'm intrigued that those who have tried the manual release found it pretty helpful. I wasn't expecting that.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • h20yah20ya Posts: 7
    I think it is easier for an observer to release during slalom than during trick skiing (think how fast a trick skier falls when he catches an edge). The experience of the release person is key in both cases but with the right observer doable.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 25,687 Administrator
    If sensors could tell when both hands are off the handle I could see it. Otherwise i just want to see the video of folks getting released at the wakes.

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  • GAJ0004GAJ0004 Posts: 1,053 Baller
    It would have to be the size of a barefoot boom clamp to take all the torque. I wonder what has changed that so many people are getting body parts stuck in handles. When I brought it up in the other thread I was thinking if they could have released the rope if it could have reduced the severity of his injuries. It is going to take at least 3 or more seconds to stop the boat and take the tension out of the rope. Theoretically it would be possible to release the rope in 2 seconds or less. I never heard about people getting their heads stuck in the handles until the last few years. I wonder what has changed that seems to be making that happen more.
    Gary Janzig Streetsboro Ohio, skis at Lake Latonka, Mercer Pennsylvania slalom,trick,kneeboard,barefoot
  • A_BA_B Posts: 3,994 Mega Baller
    @ShaneH - yes. ;). I have a delaminated sense of humor if you haven't caught on.

    I have broke my share, (and then some), of ropes and handles, and every one of them behind the boat, but, have walked away from all of them. Bruised and one time bloody, but I bet anyone of the guys messed up by handle incidents would trade up.
    Texas6
  • danbirchdanbirch Posts: 301 Baller
    edited June 2012
    @h20ya You are correct. They will work as you mentioned. They also will not pre-release, unless someone pulls the cord. They are very strong, yet, release the instant that it's triggered.

    The real problems, however, aren't if they work. They are having the right person as a 3rd, that will pay attention. The 3rd can't just be a guy on vacation, obviously. The 2nd problem, is you probably won't be getting any video to train with...
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