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Progression from Combo Skiing to Dropping a Ski to Slalom Skiing

Good afternoon ballers!

I apologize if something like this thread has been created already, however I could not find one like it.

As I make more and more ski acquaintances along with members joining our club, the more newbies that I meet. As the eager skiers get up on combos to show us what they have, I am wondering what the baller's perspective is on the progression from combo skiing. How confident and capable should a skier be before attempting slalom? I am a big advocate on consistency and fundamentals, so what type of keys do you look for that say a skier is ready? And do you go straight to deep water starts on slalom or have them kick a ski off to get the feel of riding on one?

Thanks guys!
slay buoys. do chicks. make big spray


  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,056 Mega Baller
    I have two kids and they followed different paths. Both were solid on two skis but my daughter was stronger and could control the skis in the water without the bar. She learned to get up on two then drop to get to 1. My son was smaller and couldn't control the floaty skis alone in the water (he could do a dock start with a bar on the skis). Once his sister could ski on one he had to also but he couldn't get up without the bar. He asked me if he could try to get up on one and after a half a dozen tries he got up and skied away.

    I guess this is a long winded way to say there are multiple paths to the same point. I do think it is good for them to be stable on two skis before trying to go to one. If the skier is comfortable crossing the wakes they are ready to get to one ski.
    Mark Shaffer
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,037 Mega Baller
    In addition to crossing the wake on two skis, I look for body position on two skis. Hips up, arms straight, shoulders back, vision level and looking down the lake. If they are crossing the wake bent at the waist, trailing hips, pulling in on the rope, looking down, shoulders rolled forward, then they are not ready.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,314 Mega Baller
    I recommend going straight to the slalom ski. Last month I started two people in their twenties, neither of whom had ever skied before, combos, slalom or otherwise. We used a deep bridle to keep the ski straight, 22 off rope length so the rope isn't bungeeing and flopping around, and a ski with double boots. We talked about what to do and what to expect, then both the guy and the girl got up on their first try and the next three starts after that. My wife also started on a slalom ski with no combo experience. Combos present their own set of awkward problems. I say deep water start on a slalom ski right from the start, even if you need to use a boom at first. ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • MarcoMarco Posts: 1,430 Crazy Baller
    edited June 2013
    @Skijay That is how I learned as well. I was in my 20's and got up on my 3rd attempt on 1 ski. I think that concept works well for athletic types, but might be too much for some people, and really small kids.

    With smaller kids, we get them skiing on combos, and when they are able to lift one foot and keep their balance for some distance, we would then have them drop a ski a few times, then go right to deepwater starts.
  • aswinter05aswinter05 Posts: 363 Baller
    I agree with @SkiJay. Especially if their ultimate goal is to carve it up in a course one day.

    If they want to start on combos... cool, but I would transition to deepwater starts on one ski shortly after they feel comfortable with two.

    My wife is a great example of this. Last year, she skied on combos for about 3 runs or less. She wen't straight to deepwater starts and one ski after that. View my most recent video of her and you can see that she's been quite successful after only 11 months on the water.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,808 Mega Baller
    Learn something new every day. I didn't realize anyone advocated starting out on one. Honestly sounds insane, but then again every new idea does at first!
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • XR6HurricaneXR6Hurricane Posts: 328 Baller
    I learned to ski at 19 and have almost no inherent athletic ability or balance. I learned in August and was on two skis the rest of that year and the year after. The following year I made the transition. I'm one of the oddballs who just simply could not master dropping one because I always did a faceplant before my rear foot could find the strap. I finally realized the only way I was going to get on slalom was to take one ski to the lake with me. Got up in about 5 tries and was on my way. So I'd say it's a matter of the individual and personal preference.

    If learning deepwater slalom starts, I'm also an advocate of using minimal power. Drag 'em a bit and make 'em suffer until they have what works and what doesn't drilled into their head. Having too much power at their disposal allows bad habits to form. Simulate the power of a 50 hp Johnson so they learn the goods and bads and they'll have it for the rest of their lives and be able to get up behind any towboat with any driver.
  • bajabaja Posts: 249 Baller
    I teach them to wakeboard first. I teach them good body position on their toe-side pull out which is very similar to good slalom position. Then straight to a slalom. Usually 2 wakeboard sessions on Saturday, one more board session Sunday morning and then a succesful slalom session Sunday afternoon. Mix in 5 minutes of dry land and 5 minutes of in the boat instruction at each stage. Used an HO Burner 67" for people from 100 -180 pounds and pull them up just like on the wakeboard.
  • PUNKEEPUNKEE Posts: 24 Baller
    I got of those combo skis as quick as I could, we skied maybe only 4 single times on the combo skis then moved to the single ski. My brother in-law started us off on the barefoot boom on the single ski, then high pole deep water start, then deep water start normal pole. The hardest part was the deep water start, but bending those knees up high, staying strong in your legs and keeping the knees together as you come out of the hole made it much easier. On the deep water start we also utilised a long v rope to help stabilise the front of the ski. If and when my time comes to teach others I would follow this philosophy again.
  • PBDPBD Posts: 190 Baller
    As long as the victim is strong enough to hold on to a deep water start on a single skip the combos. I think there is enough difference between a single and doubles that you really don't gain much by starting with 2 skis. The only time this might not be a factor is if the new skier needs an early success so they don't have multiple failures attempting to get up on a single and then throw in the towel out of frustration. But that is more of a mental issue than a physical one.
  • davemacdavemac Posts: 455 Baller
    +1 for the benefits of a deep bridle/ "training" handle. Retrieving a dropped ski is a PITA.
    A boom is also a huge help.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,808 Mega Baller
    Wondering if you guys are dealing with a completely different class of athlete than I am?
    Most of my pupils take 10-20 attempts (often over two different days) to get up on TWO skis. It's hard to imagine any of them could have the patience to ever get anywhere if they started on one.

    The other option is that I seriously suck as an instructor, with is 100% possible.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,287 Mega Baller
    Once they have basic balance and wake cut, I wouldn't screw around with combos much longer, as slalom is a different "balance" and it is a lot more fun carving around.

    The key for us is when they drop, I tell them to NOT try to put their foot in the ski right away. They hold it out almost as if it was in a combo ski and then move it to the slalom ski and if they feel shakey, I tell them to put their foot back out to the side. I have seen numerous falls avoided with this simple move. They gain confidence, learn more about their balance, and are skiing fairly well pretty quickly. The deepwater start is always sketchy, but the key is to have a wide ride ski so they pop right up before trying a conventional ski.. My combos are pretty wide and pop up quickly.
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