Short line - how critical is gate speed?

So_I_SkiSo_I_Ski Posts: 164 ★★★★Quad Panda Award Recipient ★★★★
I was looking at some old ski mags and came across an interesting observation by Wade Cox in a 2003 issue. He was taking a look at his gate speeds from 15 off at 49.8 mph thru 35 off at 49.7 mph and noticed that there was virtually no change despite a 20' variance in rope length. However, and here is the really interesting part, at 38 off he was travelling almost 4 mph faster at 53.5.

He postulated that perhaps that was why so many amateur skiers run 35, but rarely learn to master 38. Now I realize that most of us are skiing at 34 mph so we would probably scale his findings back at least a couple of miles per hour. But for those guys like @Horton who have mentioned that they lack consistency at 38 this might be their issue. What Cox is saying basically is that to finally master 38, the skier may have to learn how to ramp up the speed beyond what their comfort zone was in previous passes. Comments?


  • GloersenGloersen Posts: 1,301 Mega Baller
    edited February 2017
    Those were shoreline mounted speed gun acquisitions if I recall. I'd venture to say that less skilled skiers running -22/-28 can do so with lesser "speeds" than displayed by Wade Cox; that is he's skiing his longer lines in "prep" for shorter. At some point the critical path as the line shortens (-38) requires greater velocity. It'd be interesting to see speed gun data at -39/-41, as well as the location of max speed (center-line, off 2nd wake, etc.).

    One can snapshot "speed" and try to surmise differences at -38 and shorter, but speed is merely a scalar quantity and doesn't reflect the real challenge; adequate velocity or momentum (MV - conceptualize the vector quantity). IMO this topic is what GUT centers upon; getting "up on the boat", not just trying to ski "wide".

    Running -32 and sometimes -35 can be hacked through by "taking the handle where I want it to go", but with poor momentum and end up chasing the boat. If -38 ever drops it'll require re-training the mindset to ski by "following the only path the handle can go"; with improved momentum; carrying me "up on the boat".

    So it's not necessarily an apprehension of "speed" but rather, a lack of concept (or ability :neutral:), but it's remediable.

    There's a lot more to it of course but thinking about it on the ski is fruitless imo, just gotta do it.
  • taptap Posts: 109 Crazy Baller
    @So_I_Ski that's pretty cool. Does the article by chance say how the measurements were taken? Or if they were repeatable at the different line lengths?
  • So_I_SkiSo_I_Ski Posts: 164 ★★★★Quad Panda Award Recipient ★★★★
    @tap, the only mention of methodology is that the speeds were recorded with a "hand-held sports radar gun", with no mention of whether it was from the shore or the boat but that might not make any difference. The speed remained constant from 15 thru 35. Then at 38 it was the big jump to 53.5; at 39 it was 54.6 and at 41it was 55.2. One would expect the last two increases as the line continues to shorten but it is odd that although the line shortens dramatically from 15 to 35 there is no such incremental increase.

    I do agree with @Gloersen that he is skiing his longer lengths with speed in prep for shorter lines. And when Andy coached us, he said that he went hard regardless of the line length which also makes sense. I think a skier should only have one gate to develop and practice for the harder passes. But when looking at Cox's observation, I also think he was probably right about the lack of speed affecting guys going from 35 to 38.
  • WishWish Posts: 8,604 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Swing speed will increase as the line gets shorter as it has to to beat the boat to the ball (shortline you are next to the boat) and the highest speed recorded should be just off the second wake. With the how to of GUT, I've come to learn that very little of what I do needs to change other then being able to process the same movements/techniques at a much faster rate as things are happening much faster as the line gets shorter. This is why Nates 32 looks like his 39. He doesn't change him to increase his speed. The ones that try to change things at shorter lines are the ones we notice as being more aggressive as the line shortens and the ones we do not have to question "..if that was 32 or 39 off."'s obvious.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,945 Administrator
    @So_I_Ski I am inconsistent at 38 for the same reason @Fwinter is inconsistent at 47 off and for the same reason why everyone is inconsistent at their hard pass. Because it is your hardest pass.

    To your actual question: I think it is generally accepted that the the wider you are and faster your water speed is at turn in the better. The slower you are at turn in the more speed you have to generate on the way to centerline and the more load you will have.

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  • taptap Posts: 109 Crazy Baller
    @So_I_Ski Here's some more data for you to ponder. This is a 34 mph skier running -32, -35 and -38 (a skier that is very capable of running 39 off). The gate shot is nearly identical for all three passes in terms of angular position versus time. If your angular speed is held constant, but your rope length shortens, your "speed across land" actually gets slower do to the geometry. The gate speeds (speed across land) below are 44.5 mph @ 32 off, 42.2 mph @ 35 off, and 41.6 mph @ 38 off. The angular speed can be visualized on the graph by the slope of the angular position over time. I have no idea if this is a purposeful technique, or simply scatter, i.e. I wonder if the results would still be the same if I had measurements from 100 passes at the same line length and averaged them.

    Maybe at 34 mph you make the speed jump at -39..?..?.. Then again, maybe 15 off through 35 off were so easy for Wade that he really didn't have to get after it until he got to 38 off.

    What I find even more interesting is that if we assume all this data is even close to accurate then we may actually be looking at a snap shot of perfect pass vs. zero off technique... or possibly just the different style between two different skiers.

    I did a quick look at some additional data from another open level skier running 32 off and 39 off at 36 mph. Interestingly enough his gate speeds were 42.4 mph @ 32 off and 45.8 mph @ 39 off. Pretty crazy hugh! I will say that this individual is very purposeful in maintaining a consistent gate regardless of rope length.

    Personally, I'll hold my conclusions until we have a lot more data from a lot more skiers. But... it is fun to think about.
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