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Free skiing is good for stack

HortonHorton Posts: 30,602 Administrator
This year I started skiing with some of the kids on the UCLA water ski team. One of the girls is new to the slalom course but extremely strong and fit. The problem is that her fitness allows her to do some very bad things and still run balls. As with most skiers at 26 mph – 34 mph her stack is her prime issue.

The last time we skied together I told her there would be no balls. She was not happy but listened. My instructions to here were as follows.

1) Do not go around balls

2 )Find a tall and centered position on a flat ski and then keep that position as she leaned on the rope. It surprised her that the position I wanted her in was simple and basically “just stand up tall with feet flat on the ski.” There was not extra ankle bend or heel lift or weight on her toes or arch in her back or anything but stand tall on flat feet.

For the first few passes she worked too hard and it did not really work. Eventually I got her to lower her intensity and focus on the position. By the end of the second ride she was back running balls and she was technically skiing the best of her life.

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  • jayskijayski Posts: 1,022 Mega Baller
    "The last time we skied together I told her there would be no balls. She was not happy"

    @Horton words need to be chosen carefully now a days

    @skidawg @bigtex2011 what's your opinion on Horton's verbiage?
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 3,298 Mega Baller
    Say NO to dots! Dang things just get in my way!
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.

  • GarnGarn Posts: 570 Crazy Baller
    @jayski I wish my wife felt that way!
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,913 Mega Baller
    There's no doubt free skiing can be incredibly valuable. If I were somebody's formal coach, I'd make them do it regularly.

    But since I only ski for my own entertainment, I nearly always go around the buoys!
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • skidawgskidawg Posts: 3,420 Mega Baller
    One point to be made, if they like balls, don't take that away from them!!!!
    NWA....Heaven on earth!
  • bishop8950bishop8950 Posts: 1,221 Open or Level 9 Skier
    On of the downsides to skiing private lakes all the time is it’s “hard” to free ski. If we had open water immediately next to the course, I would free ski a lot. When at the private sites, I end up focused on missing the buoys and I can’t truly free ski.
  • So_I_SkiSo_I_Ski Posts: 143 Baller
    For my part I fully agree with John. The past two years I have had limited time in the course because the water level in our lake which is a hydro reservoir, has been kept at a level that we have never seen in the past 20 years. As a result, we get bounce back on all three of the courses which has virtually killed our course skiing.

    Anyway, I have been doing a lot of fee skiing which feels like, and according to my friends, has noticeably improved my body position. It probably won't hold up in the course but what the hell, it's been a lot of fun and I appear to be skiing the best in my life.

    As a Canadian where we have a lot of open water and very very few private ski lakes, it has always seemed to me that our ski cousins in the US where the opposite is true, don't have much opportunity to free ski such that one can make 30 or more turns in a row to get in a rhythm and just work on form.

    Maybe someone should start a skiers home swap site so we can go down there to just course ski for couple of weeks and you can come up here to free ski and course ski on open water. More likely that might work for US guys who also snow ski cause we've certainly got lots of great ski hills and some of would love a warm sunny break during the winter.
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,405 Mega Baller
    @bishop8950 - one of the best attributes of the old Sacramento Water Ski Club site on Lake Winchester is the huge length of open water beyond the slalom course. Lucky Lowe and Jennifer Leachman (pre-LaPoint) did a week-long clinic there in 1993. Lucky had us spend a huge amount of that time free skiing to develop.....wait for it......swing and rhythm and connection. Yeah, 1993. The slalom course at Winchester is one of the tougher places to ski because of persistent cross winds, but that looonnng stretch of open water is perfect for close-proximity free-skiing. And trick.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • T_CT_C Posts: 155 Baller
    @bishop8950 I total agree. It's next to impossible to free ski on a 2150' long lake.I haven't been out on a public lake in about 5 years and I feel blessed to be able to sky at a private site. It's hard to ski buoys when it's cold so I am planning on getting out on the public water as much as I can this winter.
  • jercranejercrane Posts: 379 Crazy Baller
    I have been told this is one of my biggest problems. I don't consider myself some incredible athlete but I'm consistently told after skiing by people that I consider experts they are shocked that I am able to run the passes I run with the form I have. I feel like you would tell me to quit if you actually saw me ski @Horton . :)

    Problem is as I get older it's starting to leave a mark. Low back etc. I have to fix this before skiing just isn't a thing for me anymore.

    I really do need to get more free skiing in to break these horrible habits and reform new habits.

    sigh ... many moons until the ski comes back out.
  • WishWish Posts: 8,269 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Had a chance to free ski my folks lake this summer maybe 10 times. Have not done that in decades. +1 for it not being easy to just free ski. First and foremost it was a blast. Second, found my eyes looking up and way way out ahead of me vs buoy to bouy. Third it was nothing but feeling the down and up swing and getting in sink with the boat. Fourth it was so nice to be able to work on me on top of the ski without worrying about buoys. Skid taller with better line control. Such an eye opener and far more then expected. Truly beneficial. Got back in the course and most of what I learned stayed with me but old habbits die hard. Need to do this more often.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,602 Administrator
    @jercrane I can not say this enough.... it is not only free skiing but it is free skiing with low intensity.

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  • igkyaigkya Posts: 744 Crazy Baller
    Skiing and low intensity... :D
  • RichardDoaneRichardDoane Posts: 4,592 Mega Baller
    to "free ski" on a private site you just have to ski "against the grain" where the buoys aren't and spin the islands for 4 passes in a row and then let the water settle
    BallOfSpray Pacific Northwest Vice President of Event Management, aka "Zappy"
  • david_quaildavid_quail Posts: 171 Baller
    I’m convinced that not scrambling chasing the next buoy is what is great about free skiing and it’s ability to allow you to focus on stack. You can also accomplish this in the course by practicing most of your passes at a comfortable line length that’s relatively easy, allowing you to really focus on form ... rather than survival.
    Borrowing heavily here from @twhisper whose convinced me.
  • igkyaigkya Posts: 744 Crazy Baller
    I’ll free ski our private pond a lot, just start skiing 10-20’ before the course starts.
  • bishop8950bishop8950 Posts: 1,221 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @RichardDoane i have tried many times. But eventually there is a boat guide or skier ball in the way. Instead of free skiing I run my early passes more. But when o do get to open water I really enjoy it.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,602 Administrator
    edited November 2019
    @david_quail all I can tell you is after months working with this one girl and getting nowhere, making her free ski led to dramatic improvement. TW and I are probably on very similar paths considering that I always push my lower level skiers to work at passes they can run easily.

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  • ReallyGottaSkiReallyGottaSki Posts: 234 Solid Baller
    Reminds me of what my sensei would remark, practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.

    One most exhilarating session was 114 consecutive cuts on morning glass with no pause or turns on a lake in maine for 3.5 miles straight , just cuz we could. vs usually 30 cuts at a time between turnarounds on our usual ski spot. It was a finale run, so having blown up was just an inconsequential but satisfying good burn driving home.
    Though elusive, long session uninterrupted freeskiing gives one plenty of time to fine tune all the elements, as well as experiment with biasing, intensity and angles , as well as breed connection with the water, ski, wind and experience. Not to mention endurance.
  • jercranejercrane Posts: 379 Crazy Baller
    @Horton totally ... I get it. I have this bad habit of freeskiing and getting way too aggressive. Need to learn how to flow more and stop fighting.
  • T_CT_C Posts: 155 Baller
    @Horton I spent quite a bit of time in March running passes at slow speed that TW recommended. To tell you the truth It took more time to figure out how to get the timing of the slow speed figured than I was willing to give it. It was way more beneficial to free ski at regular speed and really focus on fundamentals. It was also more fun.
  • dislanddisland Posts: 1,476 Mega Baller
    low intensity? what speed line length are you all thinking about?
    Dave Island- Princeton Lakes
  • cougfancougfan Posts: 343 Crazy Baller
    Every August my family takes a weeks vacation to Lake Entiat on the Colombia river. We rent a house right on the water with a dock. There are 46 miles of water between 2 dams. The water is usually like glass. We free ski and free ski and free ski some more for the entire week. This is a nice break from the coarse in the middle of the season. Gives you a chance to work on different things without having to worry about buoys. We come back home refreshed and ready to tackle the coarse. Best week of the year because the whole family is skiing together! 😁
    Also this time of year 2 of my ski buddies and I free ski Big lake. That’s what it’s all about, skiing for the shear fun of it and spending the day with your best friends! What a life😁
  • TELTEL Posts: 422 Crazy Baller
    I am a big advocate of free skiing when the water turns cooler I do not ski well in the course so I free ski and work on my many flaws one at a time. In the summer when I start making the same mistakes over and over I free ski a few sets. It really helps, most of my ski bud's say it throws their timing off, for me cleaning up my mistakes makes me early any timing issues are easy to handled.
  • david_quaildavid_quail Posts: 171 Baller
    @horton - In your opinion why just lower level skiers? I believe, if I am not mistaken, that Terry skis mostly at relatively comfortable passes. Can’t even elite level skiers benefit from this approach?
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