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Free ski at 34 or 36

jercranejercrane Posts: 321 Crazy Baller
OK I am 44 year old, never really made it, wannabe slalom skier. I generally free ski at 36 and 28 off. I just love the way this feels. In the course I generally have to slow way down. On a good day 34 feels reasonably manageable to me but its so different. Ideally would like to start skiing some tournaments again next year where I'll be at max speed 34 right? So my question is ... am I actually hurting myself by freeskiing at 36. Should I just hold at 34 and get really comfortable with the way the ski feels at 34? Maybe even set my ski up for 34mph (fin, wing)? or is there actually benefits to freeskiing at 36 and then slowing down in the course? Given how weird things feel I doubt thats the case but I thought I check with some of you that actually know a thing or two.

All in at 34 or keep hanging with the kids at 36?


  • bigskieridahobigskieridaho Posts: 939 Crazy Baller
    Whatever is comfortable, but -28 at 34 would be the best for you IMO
  • marknmarkn Posts: 285 Crazy Baller
    As you have found, 34 mph feels very different from 36 mph when you free ski or get into the course. As you are 44, yes, your max speed is 34 mph. To get into ski shape, free skiing at 28 off @ 36 mph is great. When it comes time to begin "training" or preparing for tournament situations, stick with 34 mph or what ever speed you are comfortable with in the course.
    If you "have to slow way down" for the course, suggest you train at a speed where you make 3 consecutive passes in the course; either speeding up, or shortening the rope if at your max speed.
    I remember skiing 35 off at 36 mph free skiing and then I went to ski school....took me 3 days of trying to run 15 off at 30 mph one time!!

  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,781 Mega Baller
    @jercrane, how do you do at 36 mph in the course? Can you run some passes?

    I actually ski both speeds in tournaments and I will turn 53 soon. So, if you like 36 and want to ski it (even in tournaments), go ahead. Just be aware that you will only receive the commensurate scoring at class C tournaments. If you have any plans to ski at Regionals or Nationals, you will be essentially penalized for skiing 36 mph when your divisional max is 34 mph. That is, you would be scored as though your passes were 34 mph when, in fact, you skied 36 mph.

    I also prefer the feel of 36 mph. There are days that 34 mph feels like molasses. And, there are also days when 34 feels lightning quick, but very few of those.

    I do have a problem ratcheting back down to 34 from 36 in the same tournament (or even the same practice set), so I usually reserve it for the end of the season and tournaments after my chance at qualifying for Nationals has, again, vaporized.

    Note: if you want to ski 36 in your age division, the score will post there. If you decide to ski International Men's (IM), your score and ranking will appear in Open Men. One year, Nate Smith was number 1 and I was number 44. That was interesting.

    Whatever you do, welcome to tournament skiing. Have fun and just be there to challenge yourself.

    By the way, I also train with some high level tournament skiers (both run -38). They begin their seasons some time with 36 mph free skiing and 36 mph course skiing and then slow down to 34. They say the faster training helps them at the beginning.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • KillerKiller Posts: 401 ★★★★Quad Panda Award Recipient ★★★★
    edited August 2018
    Not knowing much imo go 35.

    Although... Do you run speedo, PP, stargazer or ZO?

    Depending on what type of speed control you're using each speed will feel different.

    I typically only free ski new stargazer and there is a significant difference from GPS all buoy timed pull and simple slalom GPS pull.

    Don't go too fast that you're skiing narrow
  • BrennanKMNBrennanKMN Posts: 517 Crazy Baller
    If you don't have any course time at 36 I wouldn't waste your time trying to run 36 in the course and just focus on 34. If you have some good course time at 36 then I'd play around and do what feels the most comfterable to you.

    I almost never free ski, but I do a mix of 34 and 36 in the course. I run up the line at 36 (M2 skier) and then when I miss a ball I go to 34 to work on that line length. I have always run a new line at 34 before I run it at 36.
  • BdeckerBdecker Posts: 289 Solid Baller
    @jercrane - My concern with training faster is you might not getting the width and angle that you’ll need in the course. I’d try to be really conscious of finishing each of my turns and generating angle. It is really hard to maintain that discipline without the buoys, and the extra speed will compound that problem.
  • MillerTime38MillerTime38 Posts: 373 Crazy Baller
    I just went from M2 to M3 and I still open water ski at 36 a lot when course is blown out. As long as your in the right position behind the boat width shouldn’t be an issue, focus on body position behind the boat and when you get back in the course at 34 it will feel like old man speed again

  • jercranejercrane Posts: 321 Crazy Baller
    Cool thanks folks. Quick answers to some of the questions sprinkled throughout.
    ZO speed control
    I skied 36 in college in a few tournaments but never got past 15 off. Well I got 2 at 22 but meh

    Agree with you @bdecker I think I need to lock things down wrt form, width, timing and it’s just not worth fighting everything at 36

    As much as I like the feel of 36 I do notice those small mistakes have a much greater likelihood to result in disastrous outcomes at 36 vs 34. Probably just need to accept who I am.

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