Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

12" White Stickers
BallOfSpray $5 Donation
BallOfSpray $10 Donation

Skiing course for 1st time tomorrow. Best tips for success?

gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
edited June 2015 in Technique & Theory
I'm going to ski school in less than 2 weeks. I was planning to ski a lot beforehand but have been land locked due to the massive amount of rain here. I was able to find a dedicated slalom lake in Hackett Arkansas (Cabo) about an hour from my house. I am going tomorrow night and will be taking a shot at the course. Any major thoughts besides have fun? Handle to hip, hips up etc. I'm not expecting too much but would at least like to get around 1 ball. I'll have the gf take video and will post for critique.

One more ?, she is skiing on two and is at the point of needing to cross the wake. I don't know how to tell her to do it, I just do it. Any thoughts on what to tell her to do except kind of lean a little to the side where she is wanting to go? Thanks in advance
2014 HO TX
1996 Malibu Echelon


  • TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 550 Crazy Baller
    I just got back into a course after a 20-year hiatus. You should start slow (I started at 28mph), but you will still likely find that you are not pulling nearly hard enough on your off-side cut. The course will encourage you right away to pull harder out of your turn because those balls come up a lot faster than you think.
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 843 Mega Baller
    edited June 2015
    Q1: Other posters will give some wise and thoughtful answers about things like skiing inside the balls to start, picking an appropriate boat speed, etc. I'll let them get into that with more detail.
    My comment is just an attitudinal one: don't get discouraged. For 95% of skiers, the first time in the course is an eye-opener on timing and width (for most, the balls are often a lot wider from the wake than where you've typically been turning when free-skiing, and they come up a lot faster). Don't get discouraged, stay focused and positive about your upcoming ski school trip.

    Q2: on dry land, have her practice bending her knees forward and slightly in the direction she wants to go. Beginners often struggle with the concept of 'lean' because they naturally want to keep their weight over their feet. [edit:] and +1 on what Mike said below: resist the temptation to pull in with the arms as she rides down the wake. Instead, focus on keeping some weight on the balls of her feet.
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 889 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Oh man, I remember hitting the course for the first time. Just like andjules said, I was sitting there thinking "I can't believe how far out there those balls are!!!" and also thinking "I can't believe how hard I have to cut and how quickly I have to get clear over to the other side. This is a totally different ball game than the way I'm used to skiing (that I was starting to get bored with)...I think I'm in love!!!"

    Looking back on it, the reason the balls seemed so far out there was in part just because I wasn't accustomed to the timing, rhythm, and distances of the course. I think my ski was probably going 5 feet outside of the ball just because I wasn't accustomed to where I was going.

    Don't be surprised if you have to slow down a lot just to make it through the course, and then at that point, if you slow down a ton, don't be surprised if you suddenly have to buy a new, bigger, less "expert level" ski just to keep the thing on top of the water as you are learning at these slow speeds.

    As far as the girlfriend goes - I would say just mind your own business and try to help her have fun. Don't worry one bit about her "progression." If she's skiing on two skis right now, chances are that her version of fun doesn't have very much to do with "progression" like it does for you and me. That's just a guess though, not knowing her. Something for you to consider as a possibility.
  • Mike GileMike Gile Posts: 385 Crazy Baller
    Slow down and try to get as wide as possible.

    Tell your girlfriend to bend her knees and keep her arms straight. EVERYONE pulls the handle in on the way down the wake and ends up on their back!
  • mwetskiermwetskier Posts: 1,337 Mega Baller
    the most common mistake for a beginner trying to go outside or back inside the wake on two skis is being overly tentative. they try to kind of travel*sideways* slowly and they end up straddling the first crest with one ski in the trough and the other ski near the center of the wake. next stop -splitsville and a nasty otf fall.

    she will need to be dynamic in her effort -turning both skis toward the wake with a definite purpose. that doesnt mean *fast* or *hard* . . . just smooth and dynamic with no pause in her momentum until both skis have crossed the first crest and she is fully just outside the wake. going out bound will be easier than coming in bound but the process is the same. dynamic with no pausing half way through.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,859 Mega Baller
    Timing, Body Position, Effort...
    Goal #1 - Timing - ability to make 6 turns where the apex of the turns are just before every buoy. By this I mean that you must first understand how to turn in sync with the occurrence of each turn buoy.
    Goal #2 - Body position improvements will make your wake crossings more effective and efficient. Listen to your coach and be prepared to be told to stand differently on your ski. Adopting new body position takes time, but it is the most worthwhile area of focus.
    Goal #3 - Effort - skiing the course is about generating speed after the turn is over and through the center-line of the boat's path. With appropriate body position, you will gain confidence to lean sufficiently aggressive into the and through the first wake.

    Goal 1 will get you started with proper timing. Improvements via Goals 2 & 3 will get you width without losing timing. That will get you buoys.

    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • melligmellig Posts: 50 Baller
    Just enjoy it, laugh at yourself in the process, and look at is a learning experience on timing, form, etc. that will ultimately be utilized to improve your skiing long term. Be patient around the balls when completing your turns as you will have a tendency to backside the ball or finish your turns quickly to give yourself more space, but in reality will result in poor form and less angle...
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited June 2015
    A while back, @Horton posted a video of an 80 plus year old woman skiing the course. I was surprised at how smooth her form was. I'm going to keep that in mind. She wasn't rushed at all. Hopefully with so much rope, I won't feel crazy rushed. It will be interesting just to get in the course, see the layout and then truly see what it takes to get the width etc that is needed to get it done.

    I will definitely laugh at myself. I don't expect to be good at all. It would be nice to turn one ball anyway! I'm just glad to have the chance to ski at least once before ski school. Video will be posted, good or not! I'm a little concerned I'll be tempted to muscle my way through it. I really don't want to get into anymore bad habits. I'm already having to break the ones that I developed from years of random freeskiing.
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,628 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    If you're going to a ski school in a couple weeks leave the coaching up to them. This time go out there and have fun, get a sense of where things are and how fast they come up. Get an idea of what it's like to ski on a "dedicated ski lake" - stopping on each end, turn island or how the boat gets back into the course, etc. The shores may seem close and things can happen fast. Not sure where you're going to ski school but getting some experience in a similar environment will help a ton when the real instruction starts. You'll be far less distracted with the surroundings.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,188 Mega Baller
    edited June 2015
    Ski on edge through the wakes, not flat.
    Arms straight when pulling through the wakes.
    Don't bend at the waist - keep your hips up and don't roll shoulders forward.

    Your timing for the pull out and turn in for the gates will be something you will need to experiment with and adjust.

    For 15 off, I'd probably start the pull out when the windshield of the boat is crossing though the green 55s. Pull out smooth and steady, not excessively. For the turn in to the gates, turn when the windshield of the boat is crossing through the gates.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @klindy , Cabo lake in Hackett Arkansas. There is a youtube video that shows Seth Stisher there I believe.

    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    I would say start at 26 or 28 mph depending on how heavy you are. For your first time don't worry about the gates. Start by pulling out wide for 1 ball and then pull for 2. Make sure not to look at the next buoy when pulling work as hard as you can from white water to white water then worry about the next ball. Once you can get around all 6 balls starting at 1 ball then worry about the gates.

    For your girlfriend tell her to keep her eyes up on the boat and a good athletic knee bend. If she wants to go over the left wake she should just tip her right knee a little toward her left leg. Have her practice going back and forth between the wakes until she is comfortable doing that. When she goes across the wake keep the head up and the arms straight her first impulse is going to be to pull her arms in.
    Mark Shaffer
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,859 Mega Baller
    Two more tips...
    Slalom course skiing is trying to get to the other side gracefully and early or prior to the next turn buoy. So, imagine a target point about 10 feet earlier than the upcoming buoy and cut across the wake for that spot.

    And, the turn starts before you get to the buoy and not afterwards. Commit to your turn before you are absolutely sure that you are going to get around that buoy. You will be surprised how much earlier you will exit that turn when you do this.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • gsm_petergsm_peter Posts: 810 Crazy Baller
    Many great advices given.
    Many more cents on just having fun and getting used to the lake and course.

    Fwiw I spent approx 60 runs before I managed the course the first time.
    And that was at 24 witout entrance gate ...
    Ok I started very old and are maybe a slow learner but it takes time.

    Rythm and position are way more important than boies.

    Enjoy and please keep us updated on your experiences!
    Life is too short not to enjoy every day!
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,628 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Nice video @gt2003 Looks like a great place. If you've only free skied before your first Disney ride around the island will be interesting. Just stay behind the boat and don't freak out. Likewise, the opposite end has a shoreline that will look like you'll run up on it for your pull out for the won't hit it. Just ask question, have fun and absorb what to can (except the
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 889 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Oh, yeah, I forgot to say that, but Amen to what Chef23 said about the entrance gates. Somebody gave me that advice back in the day and it helped tons. The entrance gates are the last thing you add. Get all 6 balls and then learn the timing and approach of the entrance gates to ball 1 section. Otherwise, you won't have that first part correct (the hardest part) so then you won't even be able to learn anything after it and your timing will be so far off that the whole rest of the run will just be all messed up.
  • Onside135Onside135 Posts: 443 Crazy Baller
    Tips…hmmm...maybe bring Steve a bottle of tequila. When I skied there earlier this year, I noticed all his bottles on the table were empty! Have fun, and enjoy it, Cabo is a very cool site and Steve is a great dude.
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Great tip. What kind does he drink?
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • JordanJordan Posts: 1,258 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Tip for you....pull harder than you think, and turn sooner than you think

    Tip for her....go hard at the wake, it is easier than easing over. When you go easy, you get caught half way.
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    On our way right now. This should be interesting to say the least!
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • raynrayn Posts: 410 Solid Baller
    Have fun. A tip for ski school. Don't wait to tape your hands. Do it from the first set.
    Ray Newmark -
  • GOODESkierGOODESkier Posts: 1,107 Crazy Baller
    My first time was a big crash at 1 ball at about 28 mph. I remember going face first into the ball. Think I had a ball shaped bruise on my face......

    My suggestion is take it easy, listen to the coaching (as long as they start by telling you to slow the boat way down and it sounds like they have a clue...). Also, lower expectations and just have FUN!
    2003 Nautique 196 LE Star Gazer & ZBox - GOODE NANO OneXT 66.75" - Powershell 5 (LFF) - Tournament PB: 2 Balls @ 39.5' OFF (34.2 MPH) on 7/18/2015 at BIG DAWG BROHO!
  • MarcoMarco Posts: 1,430 Crazy Baller
    Here's my tip- Start playing the lottery. Once you get around 1 ball the first time, you will be addicted, and addicts can spend thousands to millions to feed their addiction. Speaking from experience here.
  • DaveDDaveD Posts: 986 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    My tip, any knucklehead can run the course. It takes skill to crash like @MS.
  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 2,060 Mega Baller
    Another one or two hooked - thats awesome!
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Will post video hopefully tonight. Yes, HOOKED! A couple of runs I felt good around one and thought, oh, 2's easy...wait, where'd 2 go, oh, that's it behind me. When I'm watching the video on my phone, @Jordan 's advice of "turn before you think" really makes sense. I'm not wide at all. WOW, UGLY!

    You all make it look easy. I got to watch Steve run a 38 off last night and get a couple of balls at 39 1/2. Pretty salty! You all are pretty much Ski gods!
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    As bad as I am and as bad as these videos are, see what you can pick apart from them. The 2 main things I notice are that I have NO STACK/body position. I got pulled over the front a couple of times due to this. I also notice how late, late, late I am in turning. The videos are from and iPhone 4S and seem much poorer quality than what you all post. Any tips on videos?

    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 889 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I also have an iphone 4s and it takes much better video than that. I think you probably just have some kind of setting set up wrong in there. Go into your settings and make sure it is set to the highest quality video possible.

    Also, especially for waterskiing, this video applies.

    On the actual waterskiing, certainly I'm not qualified to coach you there, other than to think that your speed looks pretty fast for your first time ever going through. When I take first timers through the course, I usually am hoping they have a ski big enough to run them through at 26 mph, and if the ski is big enough, I would even prefer 24 if possible. How fast were you going in these videos?

    Good to see another person hooked on the course. I'll never forget going through for the first time and thinking "oh my goodness, I'm in love with waterskiing all over again in a way that I haven't been for at least 10 years." I can't wait to see how you are doing after your ski school.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,913 Mega Baller
    Yep, looks like a skier's first day in the course...

    As you appear to know, your top three priorities are now:
    1) Body position
    2) Body position
    3) Body position

    Takes a long time, but eventually changes everything.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
Sign In or Register to comment.