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Spring is on its way! Straight for the bouys or free ski?

S_LS_L Posts: 5 Baller
With Spring on its way and most of us are waiting for the ice to go out its almost time to get on the water. What is the best way to get back into the ski season: put the course in and turn bouy at easy passes for a month or free ski for a month. The fear in free skiing is the bad habits are not as easily recognized with out bouys to remind you that you are doing a bad thing. Any thoughts or better methods to the madness?


  • ThePantsManCanThePantsManCan Posts: 453 Baller
    Here is a method! Ski Bouys AND FreeSki! WooHoooooooooooooo!
    60% of the time, it works.... All the time.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,327 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    ...a month? If my buoys were magically installed at ice out, I'd free ski a set or two and then be in the buoys. Most years I probably get 5-10 free ski sets in before buoys installed and skiing them. It's a busy time with putting in docks, lifts, buoys etc.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • BradyBrady Posts: 1,084 Mega Baller
    I am just looking forward to when i sink in the water instead of laying on top of the water...damn winter! Definitely will be free skiing for the first few weeks.
    I ski, therefore I am
  • skihardskihard Posts: 560 Crazy Baller
    As a Canadain I have to say straight for bouys as I'm hoping to spend a couple mornings getting some coaching from Trent next month when I'm down in Texas working.

    Ice won't even be close to melting off the lakes up here for another 2 months.
    Life's about working hard and then having fun on the water!
    I am - are you?
  • MurrskiMurrski Posts: 180 Baller
    edited February 2013
    My plan this year is to do back-to-backs at regular speed (34mph - M3) doing Seth's whips drill. Probably do that for at least a couple sets followed by easy & repeatable line lengths (in the course). No ski tweaks until muscles are tuned!
  • WBLskierWBLskier Posts: 469 Baller
    I free ski for 200 yards and then head for the buoys.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,137 Mega Baller
    That sounds like your lake is 600 feet from pick up to gates...
  • h2odawg79h2odawg79 Posts: 599 Baller
    I will Start @ -28 and just shadow until I am very smooth and graceful from Pull out to drop. Then I will cut to -32 and -35 doing the same drill until I feel ready Mentally and Physically to start the whole Buoy Chasing/Counting Rat Race!
  • RichRich Posts: 262 Solid Baller
    It really depends on your evolution as a skier. I was a big advocate of free sking. However now that I have 40 plus years sking buoys I don't free ski too often.. I also don't take much time off either. When I'm working on a pass I do ski in front of the balls and go around 5 & 6 great for learning a new line. If you are a 35 or less skier, by all means spend some time free sking. If you cruise 35 1st day out, you might not be asking this question.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    My ski lake had very low water at the end of the fall season. We got some rains (at just the right places) and the lake filled up quickly. All the buoys were a few feet under water. I got to take a January set with the local college ski team, and we just drove down the "trick course" path (kept the boat between 1-3-5 and the slalom boat guides) and just free skied. It had been years since I had free skied. Wow! What a joy!!! It was so nice to let each turn finish at it's natural conclusion. There was no need to rush anything. I could just concentrate on form, staying stacked, timing of edge change, timing of effort at the white water into the wake, etc. etc.

    My take-away from that set is, free skiing (on a private lake behind a tournament wake) lets the skier focus on form and build muscle memory of how things are supposed to feel. That muscle memory can then (hopefully) be maintained when the skier moves back to the buoys. The only significant change I'd expect on the buoys will be the intensity of the lean and angle at the white water. The edge changes, turns, hook-ups shouldn't change.

    I wish I could free ski more often!

    I have since thought about ways to make the skier buoys more easy to remove or hide... The most elaborate thought was a pulley system which could draw down the whole group of skier buoys until they were submerged via a remote controlled motorized wench system. The simplest solution was converting our skier buoys to a sub buoy setup with the ability to easily pull the surface buoys out.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,314 Mega Baller
    edited February 2013
    No need to submerge the buoys, just ski the course one boat-length early, a.k.a. shadowing the buoys. You are free-skiing, but with visual references. You can easily see if you were turning outside the buoy line and staying in rhythm. ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,314 Mega Baller
    edited February 2013
    90% of my skiing this winter was on a tournament lake, but free-skiing/shadowing the balls at -32 to -38. My total focus was on technique and I used video on every pass. Every time I skied the balls, my technique suffered, so I went back to shadowing. Over the past couple of weeks, I visited my two favorite coaches to get their help moving back into the course. BOTH of them said after my first pass, that it was by far the best they'd ever seen me ski (which I think translates into I don't suck nearly as much as before).

    My vote would be to do some video work on your technique while free-skiing before heading into the course this spring. ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    @OB - no subs. Lake's max depth all over the slalom course is 7' when full. No biggie to "dive" for an anchor-line when a buoy is knocked off a clip.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • h2odawg79h2odawg79 Posts: 599 Baller
    edited February 2013
    @SkiJay, @Rich, You both Rock!

    I have been a Proponent of the Shadowing (and shadow related drills) for yrs. and have caught so much un-due, un-founded Critique from the Forum Crowd. -never slowed me down! You can only change the Truth with a Lie! ;-)

    Glad to See others Steppin' out of the shadows and puttin' it out there too.

    P.S. I do like to get completely out of the Course and Free Ski on Open Water as well! I think I might also Love to get an H.O. FreeRide for a little Stressless FreeStylin'...
  • Pat MPat M Posts: 722 Crazy Baller
    Straight for the bouys at my opening pass for at least a couple of weeks to a month. Then the wheels come off.
  • gsm_petergsm_peter Posts: 785 Crazy Baller
    I plan to start free skiing. Our season is short and it is important for me to quickly build up the muscles.
    I assume we will put in the boat in early May when it is really cold water (type 25F)
    Also nobody in the club likes to dive an put back the bois when it is that cold.
    Life is too short not to enjoy every day!
  • WaternutWaternut Posts: 1,511 Crazy Baller
    edited March 2013
    I hope to free ski a couple passes before hitting the course but if the opportunity presents itself to ski the course first, I won't complain.

    I do think it's funny that all the northerners just want the lake to be liquid rather than solid and us southerners are waiting until it's warm enough to not have to wear a
  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    I like open water to start. Let's me work on skiing with good technique without worrying about line lengths and scores.
    Jim Ross
  • GAJ0004GAJ0004 Posts: 1,095 Baller
    edited March 2013
    I always ski in the open water. The lake I ski on is about 2 miles long and a half mile wide. I spin around at one end and drop at the other. I ski at 36 MPH 15 off and try to make non stop cuts back and forth the whole way up and down the lake. I go as long as I can until my whole body is absolutely screaming with fatique and soreness. When tired the next skier goes, repeat. Depending on how early we get out I do that for a week or two until conditions permit me to put the course back in. Then I run 15 off passes through the course until I have the endurance to ski 6-8 passes in a set, then start shortening the rope. I do that for about two weeks. If I get out in early April I am getting back into 28-32 off while still in my drysuit. The drysuit comes off when the water gets above 70 degrees.
    When free skiing I don't care how rough it is. It makes for better conditioning.
    Gary Janzig Streetsboro Ohio, skis at Lake Latonka, Mercer Pennsylvania slalom,trick,kneeboard,barefoot
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