Here in MN we usually get rid of the ice in April. After some open water skiing, I pull up the course by the end of the month. In May I just try to work technique and get in shape. Historically I haven't shortened beyond 32 off (my typical second tournament pass) through May. In June I usually start running 35s. By the end of the month or early July I'm making some of my 38s (my shortest complete pass).
This year I started running 35s in early May, but my schedule and the weather conspired against me, I lost my mojo for a couple weeks and I ended up dinking my back and almost not skiing for 2.5 weeks. Then on Saturday, June 30, I decided to just go down the line tournament style. 28, 32, 35, miss the 38. Go to the other end and run the 38. So, I posted my first 38 basically three months into the season.
Reflecting on it now, it seems like a long time to burn each season just getting back to where I was at the end of the last one. However, it also appears that when I push too fast, the back gets me.
How long before you run your toughest pass each season?