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Is a ski school vacation appropriate for an open water weekend warrior?

My lake buddies and I have always skied, but never in a course or on a private lake with any instruction. Its always been a Spring/Summer thing for us. Get a morning ski in and then do varying other lake things after the water gets either blown out or chopped up from boat wakes. I'm really intrigued in going on a ski vacation, but I'm also not exactly sure if we'd be out of place being around people who ski courses all the time. Or maybe that's exactly what we need? We're at varying open water ski levels, most of the websites of the ski schools say they teach beginner to pro. Is this true? What is the daily routine if you go to a school for a week? I'm thinking of going in March down in Florida, is it already too late to book a trip? What are your thoughts on this? Good or bad idea (we're all in our 40s)? are the ski schools even running with Covid going on? We're ready for our next adventure.


  • OldkierOldkier Posts: 44 Baller
    First time I went to ski school I was in my mid 40s and I would only be able to deep water start 1 out of 3 tries. I had a blast and learned a lot of good drills to work on in open water to get ready for the course.
    I highly recommend it. As LoopSki said you will be hooked!
  • brettmainerbrettmainer Posts: 344 Crazy Baller
  • KRoundyKRoundy Posts: 492 Crazy Baller
    Good idea. Not too late. You’ll learn a ton and have a great time.
  • H2OkieNCH2OkieNC Posts: 7 Baller
    Agree with @LoopSki that open water skiing will never be the same. I still free ski, but now whenever I'm free skiing, I'm thinking about working on something to help me run more buoys.

    Be prepared for the fact that, depending on your open water technique, running six buoys on a full course is a significant achievement that could seem dang near impossible at first. The mini course is great for helping you see your progress and giving you encouragement as you work towards the full course.

    I haven't been to a ski school since college, but they definitely work with all levels. I would probably contact several, tell them about your experience and what you are looking for, and go with whichever one you get the best feeling about from talking to them.
  • KeukaskierKeukaskier Posts: 13 Baller
    @eyepeeler I think my first goal would be to not think of work for one second and feel like I'm on vacation (I have no doubt I can do that). My second would be get instruction to improve my technique so I can free ski better but also maybe be able to make a few balls. I've always wanted to ski a course, I know I'll get addicted to it. I'm just not sure I can afford the addiction :D Thanks for all your thoughts and advice I do appreciate it!
  • chipkimballchipkimball Posts: 18 Baller
    Absolutely worth it. I've been to several ski schools and am an open water skier with average skills. I first went in my mid-40's and made friends that have been dear friends since (over 15 years now). Go and have a blast. The only challenge is that you will likely ski a lot and by mid week you'll probably be sore. Protect your hands and listen to your body - and HAVE A BLAST!!!
  • KeukaskierKeukaskier Posts: 13 Baller
    You're right @lpskier, I didn't think of it that way. Thanks for all the advice.
  • MichaelWiebeMichaelWiebe Posts: 97 Baller
    Here's another idea for choosing a ski school: Consider a trainer who uses the same ski brand as you have. That may provide the best synergies for optimal ski adjustments.
  • DWDW Posts: 2,296 Mega Baller
    @Keukaskier - great for you, maybe not so much for significant other if she likes you to actually work on the honey do projects ... addiction is an all consuming endeavor. Just like the white powdery stuff (come on, I am referring to that fluffy Utah snow) buoys are destructively addicting:-) You will learn a lot, have a great time, meet awesome people and book a return trip all within a week. Enjoy.
  • savaiusinisavaiusini Posts: 414 Water Ski Industry Professional
    Highly recommend Jack Travers/Sunset Lakes as well as Swiss. Regardless of your intentions to pursue the course, your freeskiing will only benefit.
    Sam Avaiusini - Operations Manager, HO Sports Company, Snoqualmie, WA
  • mfjaegersrmfjaegersr Posts: 221 Crazy Baller
    Reinforcing what was stated above about TALKING to a few coaches before you commit. Effective communication is the foundation of any productive relationship, especially that of coach/athlete. I’d prepare a list of questions/topics intended to give me a better sense of how well we connect, ie:
    1. Describe your coaching style.
    2. Name, in order, your top 3 skills/things a skier must improve/master...and YOUR key(s) to making each happen.
    3. Can you recall an example or two where you had a struggling or ‘stuck’ student, and how you broke them free to continue progressing?
    4. Here’s where my skiing is ‘at’ and ‘here’s’ where I want to go; what will you/we do that will help me get there?!

    If you can chat with a few former students, even better - to learn how their reality lived up to expectations...or didn’t!

    While you will get several ‘same’ answers from coaches and students alike, I expect you’ll here enough differences to help you assess compatibility and make a more educated choice.
  • wski1831wski1831 Posts: 152 Baller
    Some good advice already given. Back in three day our ski club went o ski actin Florida as a group. Great times! @lpskier has some good advice. Adding to that I would recommend two rides a day morning or afternoon, take Wednesday off. Go check out the area the other times. Enjoy
  • pregompregom Posts: 311 Baller
    The main difference between free skiing and course skiing in my opinion is timing. You can learn a ton just free skiing. This summer my ski buddies worked on my stance, beating into me the importance of being stacked. I improved a lot. And then you try the course and you realize that you are not there by miles! Those little suckers come at you in rapid fire and they spit you out before you can realize what’s going on. Go to a school and let the pros work on you. You’ll never look at skiing the same way after you do that. Have fun!
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,060 Mega Baller
    It will absolutely be a blast and you should do it. You may pick up an addiction to running the course but you will still have fun.
    Mark Shaffer
  • theboardingschooltheboardingschool Posts: 156 Water Ski Industry Professional
    We get a ton of skiers that come down that have never run the course before, and honestly it's one of the most fun and rewarding things for us. It's so fun to get people through the course for the first time.

    Lots of things booking for March, but definitely still some space. Please let me know if you have any questions, we'd love to have you.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,562 Mega Baller
    edited January 2
    While I'm no pro, I've coached newbies through the course for the first time, and also coached skiers to be better free skiers--would echo @theboardingschool comments. What's fun about newbies is the big progress and unbridled joy they have. Great skiers you can maybe coach an extra buoy into them. New skiers may pick up an entire pass! It's fun to pass on the love and enthusiasm to new skiers and "hook em" for life.
    Go do it!
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • skigirlskigirl Posts: 46 Baller
    I highly recommend it! I was a free skier that first went to ski school in my 40's. It was awesome. I too wondered about being a newbie. As already mentioned in this thread, everyone was very welcoming and I started meeting so many wonderful people in this water ski community. I too got addicted to skiing the course, but I still love my free skiing. I highly recommend @lpskier suggestions about physical preparation and pacing yourself.
    I recommend finding a place that has a fun, low key vibe, where you can ski and learn, but also has room for you and your lake buddies to hang out between sets. It is your first ski school, and I think it is best to go with an mindset of low pressure, wanting to learn and try something new, not set expectations on performance, and instead enjoy getting to spend a week doing something you love and hanging out with friends. Nothing is better than a day skiing and hanging out by the lake with skiing friends. You surely will have some good stories to share on the dock. One will likely be, "Wow those buoys come fast"
    I haven't been to many FL locations, but can recommend the @theboardingschool . I think they would be a great first ski school experience.
  • UCFskierUCFskier Posts: 90 Baller
    yes yes yes!!!!

    every level of skier will benefit from coaching at a ski school! from personal experience the schools I have attended and worked at welcomed all level of skiers! and just because you go to a school does not mean you have to ride in the course...

    get out there have fun... learn something new and enjoys the sites of the community you are skiing in! I love the orlando area for vacations... or check out east TEXAS like the austin area so much to see and do
  • ForestLakeForestLake Posts: 19 Baller
    We have a ski site in Michigan with onsite lodging- while we can offer coaching too- if you and your buddies want to "get your feet wet" on a private course and lake before committing to a full ski school feel free to look us up- even if it's just for a long weekend! We can offer huge ski set (boat and driver included) discounts when guests also stay overnight. password Ski2021
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 1,096 Mega Baller
    edited January 5
    My wife and I first went to Bennett's in 2003, I think we were probably 24 at the time. We were sharing our own HO Mach 1 with an adjustable front binding and RTP between my wife and I, we actually brought that with us to share as our "good ski". We had barely ever skied behind a "real" inboard boat. Had never run the course, and I'll never forget I blew my first deep water start in front of a dock full of college kids! Sully was coaching there at the time. I think UCLA and Illinois ski teams were there that year.

    By the way, how did we hear about ski school? Waterski magazine article about Sully hosting Todd R. down there and hitting the big easy and everything. Made us want to go, would never have known it existed otherwise.

    Since then we have been totally immersed in the sport and it's a major part of our family lifestyle. We ended up going back multiple times with no kids, pregnant, one kid, two kids, etc.

    Most of the time we're the only "grown ups" there and we fall right in line with the college teams and whoever else is there and it's an absolute BLAST every time. We meet people from around the world and come home with stories we tell for the rest of our lives. I believe I was even voted MVP partier by UWM and Marquette in '16, no joke. Won a bottle of Rumpleminz for that honor.

  • dvskierdvskier Posts: 695 Crazy Baller
    Rumpleminz “breakfast of champions”!
  • NikolGNikolG Posts: 106 Baller
    If you go to Pickos ski school you’ll never want to come home! 😍 Amazing site, best of the best coaching and the most gorgeous beaches in the world!
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