Watched the x games last night. They had a segment called science of the sport where they analyzed various disciplines and athletes. Particularly interesting was their analysis of Shawn White. From the top of the half pipe they showed how he took more speed into the pipe and jumped up as he entered to start higher up, thus generating more speed. They said 1mph of speed could change his height on the other side by as much as 3 feet. They also talked about angle across the pipe. There is, as it turns out, an optimal amount of angle across the pipe to generate maximum upward movement on the other side, which I believe they said was about 85 degrees. Less angle and you travel too far down the pipe rather than up. Too much and you lose speed. In both cases, you lose height.
Now, this sounds to me a lot like slalom. For example, if you glide faster into your turn in from a wider point on the boat, you will carry more speed across course, generating more width on the other side. After you turn the one ball, you set angle and head the other direction. Similar to the snowboard example, setting the right amount of angle generates both maximum speed and width to the next buoy. Somebody needs to call ESPN and have them put this science to skiing.