New to course skiing

JetsetrJetsetr Posts: 496 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
edited July 2018 in Technique & Theory
Good morning and thank you in advance for any help...

I’m a pretty strong free skier and moving into grassroots coarse skiing...

I KNOW one issue I’m going to have with course skiing is not cutting the turns tight enough and ending up too far down course to make the next ball. So I’ve been working on pre turn technique but it seems I’m not rolling on edge soon enough nor holding edge thru the wake. I am trying to keep elbows in and at hips after the turn as well as keeping stacked... if I get a decent pull I’m still not getting free of the boat on the next turn, and sometimes getting pulled forward prior to the next turn, or at the turn. I have video of my skiing and it confirms the lack of edge and more of a sweeping turn.

Hopefully will get some good course instruction this week, but I like to go in with out looking too silly. I FULLY expect to be seriously humbled by the course...and I’m ok with that. I want to take my skiing to the next level and think this is a great way to do it...

I ski a 2018 Senate Alloy 69 6ft tall, 195 pounds. 55 years old...

Any suggestions for rope length and speed for non course training? 28 seems a bit slow, the ski seems happy at 30-32- but the water is super warm now too. Started skiing this year (April 1st) with water temp of 43 (drysuit) and guessing now temps is 80+. I can definitely tell the difference in water temp by the way the ski behaves...

I think I’ve built up enough strength (can free ski very hard for 7-10 minutes) but I know brute strength isn’t the key and good technique and form will actually make it much less work...

Live in SE WI have my own boat if anyone is in the neighborhood to help coach a bit...

Thanks again in advance...



  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,982 Mega Baller
    edited July 2018
    Btw, your skiing might seem a bit "coarse" at this stage of your development, but I think you mean "course." :smile: (Ironically, I used the wrong "you're" the first time I wrote that...)
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • JetsetrJetsetr Posts: 496 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited July 2018
    At this point it’s ALL coarse (fixed it)!!! Ya think autocorrect would catch that-but....
    Only on the 1st cup off coffee when posted...

    Totally agree-ending up down course will be the challenge to overcome...would think pre-turn, turn and after turn pull/angle are all important to avoid going long into the next ball...

    Know I have a lot to work on...
  • Justin_CJustin_C Posts: 274 Solid Baller
    @ScarletArrow posted this on YouTube a while back. I found it when I searched for Jodi Fisher after being in Florida and skiing with him. This is pretty well the exact same advice he gave me. Some of it may help with you position crossing the wake, I know it did for me! On a side note, Jodi had a program he was trying to start a while back that included video coaching if you can't make it to his site or one of his travelling clinics. Could be worth looking into, he's a great guy!

  • foxriveratfoxriverat Posts: 612 Crazy Baller
    Start as slow as you can without sinking. That 69 senate should not sink on you at 28 mph that's where I started.
    2000 Malibu Response LX 2019 65 HO Syndicate Omni Vapor Bindings
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    @Than_Bogan isnright the turns aren’t going to be the problem it is going to be the angle and getting cross course fast enough.

    28 mph is plenty fast and at your weight that 69” Senate will provide plenty of support.

    @Bruce_Butterfield told someone this in another thread pretend the buoy is 20 feet earlier and 20 feet wider and try to get to that buoy when pulling. Beginning course skiers frequently are focused on the next buoy instead of getting across the course as fast as they can. I rolled that tip out with one of our regular ski partners and he ran the best 34/15s he has ever run.

    Welcome to the insanity and have fun.
    Mark Shaffer
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,821 Mega Baller
    Where in SE WI? On the Neosho pond or are you one of the graced few who get onto Stillwaters? I'll be up there in a few weeks skiing mostly in Oconomowoc.

    It's good that you're trying to think about all this and focus on fundamentals, but I promise you you'll forget all that stuff when those balls start coming at you. Your hips will be back, your arms will be straight, your eyes will be looking down at the buoys... :) That's part of the fun though!

    Sounds like you have the right ideas. Video would help if you can share some. Lots of really smart folks on this site who will spot stuff you probably wouldn't consider.
    boats are like girlfriends you love them however there is another one around the corner - bananaron, July 21, 2020
  • Fam-manFam-man Posts: 215 Solid Baller
    @Jetsetr you probably won’t believe how different the course is from free skiing. When I started in the course 3 seasons ago I had no idea. Entirely new level of intensity required.
    Either forget about gates and pull right to one ball to start or go early for gates with purpose. Aim for an early one ball to set yourself up early for the rest of the course.
    Don’t worry about turns and focus on getting your best stack behind the boat. If you’re not sure about stack do some searching on this site and compare videos or pictures of yourself to what you see.
    For their first passes the goal is to understand the timing of the course by using the balls as reference points for your turns. Don’t try to make it around the balls unless it’s naturally going to happen, keep a rythm with the course and go for 6 good cuts in time with the balls.

    28 mph and 15 off is a good place to start.
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 921 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I'm 5'11" and was about 185 early this year when I skied some passes at 28 mph on my 67" senate (also 2018) and it was keeping me up no problem at all. So slow down to at least 28 mph. Honestly, on a 69" ski you should even throw some real tries at 26 mph.

    Stop worrying about the turns, start worrying about stack.

    Here is the email I sent my buddy after a couple times in the course. I think it's fairly universal for folks after about their 3rd time trying.
  • emwheatonemwheaton Posts: 26 Baller
    edited July 2018
    Where in SE WI? I live in the Oconomowoc/ Hartland area if you are ever looking for anyone to ski with. Our boat travels with me back and forth between here and our cabin in Northern WI during the summer. I just got into course skiing the last couple years after 20+ years of free skiing, so I am by no means a pro, but can echo what everyone else has said thus far. Focus on maintaining a stacked body position first and foremost and developing a rhythm/getting a feel for the timing. Use the buoys as reference points for your turns and don't worry about going outside them at first unless it happens naturally/ without additional effort. It is really easy to lose focus on the fundamentals once you start chasing buoys.

    What speed do you typically free ski at? I also ski a 69 Senate - I may have the wrong thought process here, but I like to free ski faster than what I ski the course at. My goal is to progress though the course at 34 mph, so I'll free ski at 34 and then slow it down to 32 or slower when I'm in the course. I also like the wake behind our boat better at 34 vs 32. 32/34 is definitely too fast to start though.

  • JetsetrJetsetr Posts: 496 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited July 2018
    Thanks for all the good replies...

    Live in Twin Lakes east of Lake Geneva (there’s a Twin Lakes in northern Wisconsin too).
    I ski a smaller lake near my home but it usually has little or no boat traffic. Skied almost all day yesterday and we were the only ones on the lake with flat water. Might work on getting approval for a course for this lake.

    Going to start course skiing at Stillwaters...

    My 69 has plenty of lift at 28, just seems mushy. But I do agree that a slower speed is better for getting form and technique down. I will try 26 to work on edge and angle of attack for wake crossing (like using aviation terms since that’s one of my real jobs, and if you think about it, it really is angle of attack and creating space in the course).

    I’m EXPECTING to be totally humbled by the coarse. But knowing that will reduce my frustration (somewhat) and hopefully I will pick up some good tips. Also expect everything I worked on to go out the window on the first tug (so I’ve got that going for me!!)

    Forgetting the gates at my level seems like a very good idea.

    Watched a lot of videos, including Jodie’s and Seth’s...working on being stacked will help me a great deal, and a bit slower boat speed will slow everything down a bit, thus allowing a bit more time to work on form.

    I travel to Orlando a lot for work and looked into getting coaching at a few different schools in that area. Looked into skiing with Matt Rini, but couldn’t connect due to my schedule. Not sure he would want to work with a novice at his level...

    I free ski between 30-34 all the time... comfortable @ 36 as well.

    Not sure how to put a video up here...suggestions?

    Thanks again!!

  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    Definitely start without the gates. Pull out wide for one ball the try to get across the wakes as soon as you can if you get around 2 ball go for 3. That is the way most people start.
    Mark Shaffer
  • JetsetrJetsetr Posts: 496 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Agree on the gates...if ya mess the gate up, everything goes out the window...
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    I am not that far ahead of you, getting back into course skiing last year. I am also 55. I started without the gates, and even pulling out to starboard wide of 1 ball to start, at the advice of my coach. That is my big advice, find a good coach locally, or plan a trip to a good site for some coaching. Money well, well spent. At our advanced middle age, we want to learn to do this efficiently and safely.

    The other advice, based on my path, is to find a way to get regular course time. I believe free-skiing is good to work out technique stuff without thinking about balls. AND I feel I still need course time to develop more familiarity, comfort, and less "OMG!! Look at those balls coming at me!!". ;)
  • JetsetrJetsetr Posts: 496 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited July 2018
    Thanks- totally agree on all your points!
    Would like to ski during our northern clime off season as well...planning on stashing my gear in the baggage compartment when we head south (usually at least once a month) to ski with a coach to keep improving...
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,259 Mega Baller
    edited July 2018
    @Jetsetr , one other suggestion. Sign up for Train with Terry Winter and make use of all the great info there in his coaching videos, and Q&A discussion. He has lots and lots of good tips for those of us in our shoes. Well worth the modest fee.
  • JetsetrJetsetr Posts: 496 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Will look into that! Thanks!!
  • epnaultepnault Posts: 365 Crazy Baller
    edited July 2018
    Don't do it. It has consumed all my thoughts, money, and free time ;)
  • ScarletArrowScarletArrow Posts: 835 Crazy Baller
    That video is so old @SkiKolb is at 15off!
    Anthony Warren
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,640 Crazy Baller
    I advocate starting outside the 1 buoy. Get out early and wide and turn in just past the1. Then just shadow 2,3,4,5 and try to go around 6 and out the gate. As you gain confidence and skil, add 5 then 4 etc. don't just go out and fall a bunch at 2 or 3. Get more turns and wake crossings in by shadowing.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • JetsetrJetsetr Posts: 496 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Was humbled to say the least @ Still Water yesterday...
    However, I was FULLY EXPECTING that...

    A bit of my back story...
    I had a double compound fracture of the left Tib/Fib in 2008. Fib came out just below the knee, Tib just above the ankle. I’m sporting a 14 inch titanium rod, 2 plates and 8 screws. I literally had to learn how to walk again and was off work for 6 months recovering...had therapy 3X per week. Had 0 range of motion in my ankle when I started therapy.

    I started skiing last August after 12+ years off the water...I skied to late October, picked it up again April 1st of this year...the course skiing bug bit early this year so I was working on getting to be a stronger skier and working on technique.

    So yesterday was the first attempt at course skiing...

    Think I had 6/7 consecutive pulls thru the coarse, so I was getting a bit tired by the end.
    As planned, I initially skipped the entrance gate at first.
    I skied 15 off @ 26
    Was suggested I ski the half course initially to get the timing down(excellent idea). Even with skiing the 1/2, the balls come up unbelievably quick...and that’s at 26- can’t comprehend what it’s like @ 36...

    On the second pull made all 6 on the 1/2 (with the entrance gate skip)

    Tried the full width course on the 3rd pull resulting in a epic over the front wake crossing yard sale @ 2 1/2...driver and observer said it was loud...(bonus 1/2 ball for that??)

    It kinda went downhill from there, with missed balls and losing count resulting in missed balls. I skied full width on my strong side and 1/2 course on offside (another good suggestion by Brian). Took a few more

    Overall it was humbling but VERY positive...
    Forgot everything I was working on once on the course...(as expected and mentioned in the 1st post replies...)
    I fully understand now the concept of making space on the course...just have to learn/work on how to do it.
    I know what I need to work on for next time
    Course time is paramount for moving forward

    Thanks to Brian and all the suggestions/tips from the other skiers @ Still Water...

    Anyone have a pre owned course for sale??


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