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Is there any question that buoys are necessary to improve your skiing?

MDB1056MDB1056 Posts: 290 Baller
To me this is common sense but wanted to get input from the baller crowd. Free skiing is great, but ONLY freeskiing will greatly limit a skiers ability to improve, and eventually likely cause ingrained bad habits. Buoys are necessary to improve ones skiing as it requires you to learn timing, position, and all the list of items that are discussed daily here. Those who spend time in a course by default become much better free skiers, but those who only free ski are immediately humbled on entering a course, no matter how good they thought they were, as they've not been able to learn to do it right. Those little orange guys are essential.


  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 5,270 Mega Baller
    No question
    Shut up and ski
  • WishWish Posts: 7,857 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Wasn't there a Big Dawg skier that rarely trained on a course but was a top level skier? Skied on a river??
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • igkyaigkya Posts: 664 Crazy Baller
    Free ski the course, as in simply start ~10-20' before you would if you were skiing the course. You can tell if your'e wise enough, establish the rhythm needed to run the course and if you finish 10-20' up course of 6, you have run a virtual course... kind of.
  • Mastercraft81SnSMastercraft81SnS Posts: 116 Baller
    I think the best way to improve is to video tape. My bad habit of pulling after the second wake that I learned from asking on here. I thought getting on the course would have help me fix that. I was wrong it just made it harder to ski on the course. If I wouldn't have asked I would be very frustrated and not wanting to get back out there and keep trying.
  • thagerthager Posts: 4,591 Mega Baller
    edited August 8
    @Wish That was Tom Brantley. He is a rated Pro skier. The river thing is pretty much PR BS. Tom spends summers at DFW ski school training with Alan Hendricks and instructing. Lives in a house on the property there for the summer. May still be doing it. According to DFW's website he has been there 17 years.
    Stir vigorously then leave!
  • BrennanKMNBrennanKMN Posts: 487 Crazy Baller
    I have yet to see a free skier try and run the course and get more than a few balls their first set. I have yet to see a course skier not be able to free ski. Coincidence?
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,866 Administrator
    I guess it somewhat depends on what your definition is of "improving your skiing"

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  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,866 Administrator
    Some amount of free skiing is probably very good for working on Advanced skills. @AdamCord has talked to me in the past about how much it helped him

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  • eyepeelereyepeeler Posts: 170 Baller
    edited August 8
    mdb1056 Actually the exact opposite of your original post.
    Matt Dillon
  • Orlando76Orlando76 Posts: 1,073 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I know when I free ski I feel and look like a monkey doing the funky with a football. In the course, meh, little less horrible.

    In the course i can turn (well the Ski turns at apex) and I can cross the wake on edge and make it to the next buoy. Repeat.

    Free skiing I can’t tell how wide I am, or if the ski reached the apex of the arc, then it doesn’t turn so I fall back on the tail to pivot turn. Then I come to the wakes, don’t know what to do. I stop, stiffen my legs, fall off edge. Come off second wake forward by this time the the football really is giving it to the monkey and OTF I go.
  • skibrainskibrain Posts: 92 Baller
    Captain obvious here, but “skiers ability to improve” needs to be qualified.

    Ability to improve skiing the course? Of course. Ability to hot dog on a waterski? Ask Tony Klarich I suppose. Is it possible to improve as an alpine snow skier without skiing gates?

    At age 35 I saw the course for the first time and ran long line, -15 and -22 the first day at 34 mph. Behind a SN with a rampy wake. It was an agile but ugly and scrappy turn-quick and pull-like-crazy effort with great cheering from the boat crew. I think I upgraded my 1979 ski and decided to buy some gloves about that time. (Gloves? Are those a thing?).

    Skiing with skiers better than me was key. Gave me the desire. Buoys were secondary.
  • h2onhkh2onhk Posts: 280 Solid Baller
    Free skiing is good for me. Especially when I started mixing up line lengths and not just running 15 off all the time. I usually free ski at the beginning of the season when the river conditions don't allow for the course. Buoys definitely keep you honest.
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 949 Mega Baller
    Two totally separate sports/activities with the same equipment. That’s what causes so much confusion.
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 720 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I'm going to mostly disagree - especially with the subject title, a little less with your exact description in the text.

    Obviously the highest level of skiing is done in a course by the highest level of skiers. Nevertheless, I've seen quite a few folks who can get to a pretty darn high level even with "just freeskiing".

    So certainly it seems borderline silly to say the buoys are "necessary to improve your skiing" as an overall general rule.
  • RednucleusRednucleus Posts: 276 Solid Baller
    I love skiing the course; wish my 61 yr old body would let me do it every day. Free skiing just doesn't do it for me any more - to the level that I would prefer to stay home and do chores if I am not seeing the course. "Hi everyone, my name is Dave, and I am a course addicted skier".
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 586 Solid Baller
    edited August 8
    Long distanse free skiing on open water - rivers or big lakes or sea is pretty demanding exercise. Good for building endurance and lot of fun in good company ))
  • pregompregom Posts: 152 Baller
    I like free skiing to build endurance. I do that on a very busy public lake. Unfortunately often times that means crappy water. When that happens, it is impossible to work on the cuts and turns needed for the course. Occasionally (mostly early mornings) water is flat and then free skiing is really fun - I can pretend there is a 50 buoy course!
  • ShellShell Posts: 215 Crazy Baller
    I free ski doing drills only, I feel like I don't know what to do without the buoys :D
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,303 Mega Baller
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Vice President
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • swc5150swc5150 Posts: 2,263 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I know a few people I'd consider excellent slalom skiers who don't have access and/or the will to set up a course. I agree that "improve" would need to be defined. If it's more balls and less rope, then absolutely.
    Scott Calderwood
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 1,899 Mega Baller
    That’s why they make vanilla chocolate and strawberry. Love them both. Many opportunities for improved technique, fitness and fun free skiing. Nothing like a 3 mile rip through the glass on our local public pond. The course is awesome too - timing, width, technique and a good way to measure achievement. Probably many more free skiers overall if your counting.
  • SethroSethro Posts: 273 Solid Baller
    I have found improvement in the course by free skiing at least a line length shorter than where I typically fall apart in the course. I do way more free skiing than course skiing simply because of availability. I was pleasantly surprised this morning finally getting back to a course, and skied right up to where I usually do having only free skied the last nearly 2 months.
  • MDB1056MDB1056 Posts: 290 Baller
    @eyepeeler please elaborate.
  • hockeyref74hockeyref74 Posts: 22 Baller
    If you want to get better in the course then it’s time in the course Free skiing will only help so much
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 3,801 Mega Baller
    As someone with essentially infinite open water access and limited course time.

    Anyone telling you about the value of freeskiing is just being jealous.

    I will say there is a different type of fun on a super calm summer morning on big lakes but that's it's own thing.
  • MDB1056MDB1056 Posts: 290 Baller
    @BraceMaker - I couldn’t agree more. I live on the most amazing lake I’ve ever seen for skiing . Very little traffic, calm, and most amazing sunrise skiing I’ve ever experienced. I love free skiing at those times. It’s a very different experience indeed. I’m so blessed.
  • brodybrody Posts: 304 Baller
    I free ski at the start of the year to get all the bugs worked out. I also use free skiing to fix the stupid things I do in a course
  • sixballsixball Posts: 256 Baller
    Started course very late in life then lost our course so never was much good. Still skiing open water. I know I ski better but I don't think it would help me ski the course much. For me the timing is nearly everything. Without a dough I ski better today and would bet I could run the course much better after a month on a course. I know I understand and have much better technique. Looking good on a ski is one thing but making those balls is another thing!
  • DanoDano Posts: 117 Baller
    edited August 12
    I like to get out of the course and do some free skiing. I try to work on specific areas of my skiing while doing so. No buoys means you can concentrate on one thing and have as much time as you want to complete your task. I would say that when free skiing I am not attempting to duplicate course skiing. I'm looking to try different things in area's that I wish to improve. I'm not just linking multiple turns together pretending the course is there. Take what you think you learned back to the course. Good or bad it was still time on the water and lots of fun.
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