Rodic's OFFCourse brought my 30,000 slalom course passes back to life in a day

swbcaswbca Posts: 796 Crazy Baller
edited July 9 in News & Other Stuff
After a 30 year break from skiing I installed a new slalom course on our lake 18 months ago. Do to community complications it will never see daylight. The DNR and Sherriff are happy but not everyone else.

I free-skied almost every day last summer and resumed this summer. Free-Skiing does nothing to bring short-line skiing skills back to life. I ran into 36 off at 36 mph in a tournament 50 years ago (before metric rules) and into 38off at 34 mph at nearly every tournament 30 years ago. I remember it all but have been unable to commit to the risks required to ski short-line without the performance demands of a course.

Then I setup OFFCourse last week. On the very first pass, the muscle memory of 30,000 slalom passes began to kick in. The sight of the virtual buoys had me actually skiing again !

It was @r_maniak 's idea to use the electronic levels to record the initial calibration and to make adjustments for a different crew without losing your original calibration.

For learning or training, you can "cheat" with OffCourse.
For the last year, 35 off was longest loop on my rope. I did that because there is no wake to aggravate knees that had surgery from being worn out from too much skiing in the past.

I had the driver set Offcourse to layout the slalom course at 1.25 spacing from ball to ball by pressing "B START" on the control panel. So instead of 134 feet spacing between boat guides it was 168 feet. With the 168 foot spacing I was able to ski all six markers at 35 off. I'll see what a happens with regulation spacing ("A Start") the next time out.

OffCourse for the Advanced skier
Expanding on observations found in @Horton review.
For an experienced short-line skier, OffCourse doesn't show you where to go. Instead, it confirms that your path from ball to ball was correct. In Horton's review he pointed out that the balls come up fast on short line. This means you can ski OffCourse at 35 or 38 off, but you may not see the ball until you have already set your width and setup for the turn. You may end up turning in advance of the ball, at the ball, or beyond the ball, or if you aren't wide enough, inside the ball. For training this isn't a problem. If you are skiing full width and run the entire course turning before or at the ball its a success. Not the same as a conventional course but 100 times better than no course on days when a conventional course isn't available or isn't skiable.

OffCourse can fill the gap for a competitive skier
If you have spent your weekends at tournaments for a long time you have seen that the best skiers have unlimited access to practice with skiable conditions and a slalom course.

For skiers that can't get to a real course every day, I am convinced a competitor could do better with OffCourse to practice on the off days. Maybe practice would be better in the long run if your usual slalom course frequently has poor water conditions.
For the short-line skier the fact that OffCourse provides a confirmation of your path rather than an early visual cue to the next ball is not a deal-breaker for practicing 35 off and shorter. You are still able to run the course but you may occasionally turn a few feet before the ball.

OffCourse for the first-time course skier.
Off course has advantages and disadvantages for the first-time course skier. On the plus-side length and width can be adjusted to match anyone's current ability. A long narrow course is a good place to start so the first time skier has no problem getting to next ball early. OffCourse can be adjusted so ANYBODY will make a perfect pass on the first day. That's a big difference between the hotshot free skier that can make no sense of a conventional slalom course on the first several attempts.

The only disadvantage is in the first few passes while the skier adjusts to only seeing the next mark since there are no gates other skier buoys for reference. It might be helpful to sketch out on paper the basic layout of the course before you begin with a first time course skier.

OffCourse for the advance skier that doesn't plan on competing
You can maintain your advanced skills and have fun skiing anywhere you find smooth water. If you decide to compete once a year, go practice the gates with a friend on his course.

See Horton's Review of OffCourse
Home of the world's first submersible slalom course.


  • BrennanKMNBrennanKMN Posts: 590 Crazy Baller
    Your first 3 sentences are what scare the crap out of me as I debate moving to waterfront property. To me, skiing in a course is major driving factor to moving to a waterfront home (maybe the only reason). It is scary to think how fragile the whole permitting/neighbor process is. I have run a course on public water for many years, but it would be easier to walk away knowing I don't live there. Once I move to the course, I am committed.

    It is nice to know that OffCourse offers an alternative to those situations. While it would be fantastic to have some backup from the regulating bodies, knowing that we have people in the skiing community developing solutions like this is truly amazing.

  • swbcaswbca Posts: 796 Crazy Baller
    edited July 9
    @BrennanKMN I never had any actual resistance from other property owners, and the Sherriff goes by DNR regulations, not neighborhood sentiment (in theory). If you follow state law and aren't doing something stupid, like building a course 50 feet off of someone's shoreline you should be good to go. My course was installed to be submersible so it would not be up between sunset and sunrise and generally wouldn't be an attractive nuisance because it would only be on the surface an hour per day when there was little traffic on the lake.

    Our sheriff interpreted that a submersible course that is not up at night as a temporary structure then needs no permit. Not all Sheriff's read it that way. A portable course would need no permit buy a submersible course would in those cases.

    There is a lot of precedent for skiers putting up portable courses for a day without complaint. One guy on our lake made the mistake of marking his portable course anchors with surface buoys that were always up. That drew complaints and he stopped doing that.

    My problem on this lake was feedback from friends on the lake that were giving me warnings about the sentiment against slalom courses on the "their" lake. I just wanted to avoid it.
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course.
  • swbcaswbca Posts: 796 Crazy Baller
    edited July 11
    This morning 35off 32mph with regulation lengthwise setting "A-Start" worked out OK. I need to confirm the width calibration to make sure it was legit.

    OffCourse equals "high-availability" to practice. We have had 8 outings with OffCourse in the last week, but because of wind, only 2 of those outings were on the shoreline where our submerged slalom course is installed.

    This reminded me of the typically windy Augusts in Minnesota. A month before a National tournament one year we moved our boat to a small lake in a farm my uncle owned. We setup a course and skied there everyday. Otherwise wind would have cut our practice down to 3 or 4 sessions per week. OffCourse could have saved a lot of screwing around if it had been available at the time.
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course.
  • SiouxcitysmittySiouxcitysmitty Posts: 51 Baller
    Loving my Offcourse. Fun trying to improve beyond my 32/15, but, also fun to change it up and when we were done today, had a contest skiing the course in "C" mode on the Hovercraft ski. Makes it fun for anyone in the boat who can get up on one and make a reasonable wake crossing. Best of all, it has my son hooked, and he's about to blow by me and my struggles at 32/15.
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