Free Skiing

thagerthager Posts: 5,538 Mega Baller
edited April 2009 in Technique & Theory
Nice warm 67 degree day but kind of windy with 8-9" chop in the course right in front of the house. Water temp 51 degrees. I just had to ski so I decided to just find a calm spot and work on some technique. Wife drove and the first trip down the lake wasn't very good. Found myself trying to push the tail around while standing the ski up with my arms out. RS-1 just wouldn't turn. Felt very awkward so I dropped at the end of the lake and collected my thoughts. Decided to work specifically on counter rotatation and being patient with the turn. Man, what a difference!!! Ski stayed down, generated a lot of speed and my arms stayed in with the elbows tight naturally. Could not believe how just the counter-rotation kept the ski moving but everything else somehow felt slower.  I plan on doing more freesking a regular basis. Seems like sometimes we get so wrapped up in bouy count that technique goes out the window literally. The course just isn't the place to be working on technique. Any of you BOS freeski at all? Thoughts?
Stir vigorously then leave!

Comments

  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,836 Mega Baller
    <p>
    After years of not understanding how to use it, I now love to free ski. I used to pull way too long and hard creating a load of slack and a no fun ride. I took and early spring set a few years ago with Trent Finlayson who helped me out a bit. He had me narrow up and chill a bit and I naturally found a rhythm.
    </p>
    <p>
    I find free skiing to be great in helping me work on staying open and in the middle of the ski. It is so much easier to stay in the middle of the ski and keep it moving through the turn when you don't have that buoy passing by screaming "GO HARD NOW!" 
    </p>
    <p>
    sj
    </p>
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 4,008 Infinite Pandas
    <p>
    Skiing is not free!
    </p>
    <p>
    It's OK to not go around bouys - if you're on a trick ski.
    </p>
    <p>
    As an old guy, my pass count limited by an arthritic body. That red ball is necessary to motivate me and give me tangible feedback. Shadowing the balls is as close as I get to free skiing.
    </p>
    <p>
    "Feel" is overrated.
    </p>
    <p>
    Of course, I suck at slalom. The only thing that keeps me in the game is the awesome ski design of the skis I ride (especially the finish texture).
    </p>
    <p>
    Eric
    </p>
  • east tx skiereast tx skier Posts: 598 Solid Baller
    <p>
    For me, taking seven turns before I have to  drop is not nearly enough to work on anything or get used to something new.  Sure, I've got five more passess, but continuous time to really think about what I'm doing is invaluable.  I don't live on a lake or get out on the course with enough regularity for sure.  But when I am, I tend to be more concerned about getting around buoys than how I'm getting around the buoys (or not getting around them as is more often the case).  
    </p>
    <p>
     We are spoiled, and have access to miles and miles of typically glassy water at our somewhat nearby ski spot (no, not <em>that</em> spot; ours has aligators and stumps).  And though I enjoy taking turns in the course and think about it when I'm not doing it, free skiing is my classroom.  When I free ski, I'm definitely skiing around imaginary balls (I always ski perfect sets this way).  You can watch video of it and see that I'm resting after seven turns.  But getting out on that seemingly neverending invisible course can't be beat for when I really need to commit something new I may have learned to muscle memory or really get a good idea of how I feel on a ski.
    </p>
    <p>
     Of course, my timing in the course suffers as a result.  And so I'm trying to divide my time better to remedy that.  
    </p>
    Perpetual Longline Baller and curvy ski boat owner.
    My real name is in my profile.

  • Old MS AccoutOld MS Accout Posts: 2,114 Baller
    I miss being able to open my season on Lake Waconia's 5 mile long south shore. Put it at 28 off and ski for 5 miles stright without turning the boat. I think it is much better then diving right into the bouys and getting bad habits.   
  • RichardDoaneRichardDoane Posts: 4,827 Mega Baller
    <p>
    My slalom ski needs a slalom course. 
    </p>
    BallOfSpray Pacific Northwest Vice President of Event Management, aka "Zappy"
  • boarditupboarditup Posts: 585 Crazy Baller
    I have a lake and course that needs skiers to live on it.
    Karl DeLooff - Powered by the wind
  • WadeWilliamsWadeWilliams Posts: 19
    edited April 2009
    <p>
    Free skiing isn't a prerequisite to run the course, but it should be!
    </p>
    <p>
    The free skier understands rhythm with the boat. The free skier has open vision. If you're turning orange balls all the time, chances are that's all you'll see. Opening up your vision and seeing the lake, the boat, and the whole entire course is the easiest way to make huge improvements in your slalom. 
    </p>
    <p>
    Without excellent "feel" you will always be tricked by your eyes into thinking you are later than you really are.
    </p>
    <p>
    If you think you're late, you're going to be skiing differently than if you were early and ripping it. 
    </p>
    <p>
    Free skiing is the best way to get the feel of the boat so you know how early you can really ski out of every single turn.
    </p>
    <p>
    There's a great article by Seth Stisher in the latest waterski magazine about running a free ski rhythm in the course. I am a huge proponent of this. If you can turn every buoy 30 feet early, and be outside of them all, you know you just ran the course. If you turn 30 feet infront of 1, but you go around 6, you lost 30 feet of time and this would have made the whole pass a lot harder on your body. If you had been turning buoys you would have taken more slack hits from the boat and in effect practiced poor technique.
    </p>
    <p>
    Chet Raley has beeen quoted for saying "Practice Makes Permanent" -- only Perfect Practice makes Perfect.
    </p>
    <p>
    If you chase the pass, you will pull harder in the wrong places and add even more downcourse-speed to an already downcourse rhythm. This is why you feel like you get later and later.
    </p>
    <p>
    The answer is in the timing of the pull and learning to allow the boat to feed you speed, rather than trying to take the speed from the boat. This is much easier to learn when you're not trying to quiver-slam a turn to "Make up Time" (?) at the buoy.
    </p>
    <p>
    If all you're doing is turning orange balls, you'll have a hard time feeling how easy slalom skiing really is. That's not to say you can't do it. I skied in the course only for the first 5 or 6 years that I skied. Then I free skied for 25 or 30 sets and learned a TON.
    </p>
    <p>
    <a href="http://www.proskicoach.com/slalom_articles/official_slalom_course_diagram">www.proskicoach.com/slalom_articles/official_slalom_course_diagram
    </a>
    </p>
    <p>
    <a href="http://www.proskicoach.com/slalom_articles/official_slalom_course_diagram"><img src="http://www.proskicoach.com/slalom_articles/official_slalom_course_diagram/img/slalomcourse.jpg" border="0" alt="Slalom Water Ski Race Course Diagram - To Scale" width="862" height="99" align="middle" /></a>
    </p>
  • miskimiski Posts: 52 Baller
    <p>
    I vouch for what Wade says - he made me do this for a bunch of sets over the winter, and I have a totally different feel/perception of how I should be skiing as a result of it. I also learned to ski in hardshells this way, which I'm not sure I would have ever figured out hacking through the course.
    </p>
    <p>
    It was tough to not get sucked into the buoys at first, but it worked well enough that I am commited to not turning balls this spring until I feel really good about my free skiing rhythm & line loading.
    </p>
    <p>
     
    </p>
    <p>
     
    </p>
  • GAJ0004GAJ0004 Posts: 1,095 Solid Baller
    I always free ski in the early spring, especially in the cold. I think it is a necessity to build up your endurance for getting back in the course. The ski area on the lake(Pennsylvania) I ski on is almost 2 miles long. I free ski like it is one giant slalom course. Now that I am over 35 I ski the course at 34, but I free ski at 36 to condition. If you jump in the course too soon you will pick up bad habits. I see it as the process of restoring muscle memory after six months off the water. I free ski for 2 weeks before entering the course again. Then after that 2 more weeks at my max boat speed at 15 off to smooth out the rought spots before shortening the rope again. April this year was cold windy and rainy. I am hoping to have my lakes slalom course put back in by the end of April. Later start than usual. Work and weather got in the way....
    Gary Janzig Streetsboro Ohio, skis at Lake Latonka, Mercer Pennsylvania slalom,trick,kneeboard,barefoot
  • hackerhacker Posts: 73 Baller
    edited April 2009
    GAJ0004; where in Pennsylvania are you? I (free) ski in a lake right on the northern border about 70 miles west of Binghamton NY.
    .
    Jim Ecker - Founder and President of the Hacker's club
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    What line length do you free ski at?  I run into 32 off at 34 mph and when I free ski I always do it at 15 off.  Generally I am building some fitness and thinking about body position behind the boat.   This year in those early sets I am also going to work on handle control and being patient in the turn.  I am wondering if I need to shorten the line for that.  I don't have any issues running the course at 15 off but at 28 and 32 I tend to not be patient enough in the turns.  Maybe some free skiing at shorter line lengths would help with that.
    Mark Shaffer
  • scokescoke Posts: 783 Crazy Baller
    <p>
     
    </p>
    <p>
    Free skiing???
    </p>
    <p>
     
    </p>
    <p>
    Where the heck do you do that, I am into this sport for $xx,xxx+++!!! FREE? sign me up!
    </p>
    <p>
     
    </p>
  • hackerhacker Posts: 73 Baller
    Chef 23, I once had a coach tell me to "open water" ski at 1 line length shorter than what you can run in the course. Not sure if that works but it's fun.
    .
    Jim Ecker - Founder and President of the Hacker's club
  • jedgelljedgell Posts: 388 Solid Baller
    <p>
    Same here, free ski at one length shorter than I can consistently run.  I also slow the boat down to 34 when I free ski.  Not sure why, but 36 feels a lot faster on the cold clean water lakes.  Last year I was forced to free ski quite a bit because of a weed problem at our site and my tournament scores improved by 3 bouys.  It definately helped me, takes a little while to figure out the timing and rythm, but when you do it's a lot of fun.
    </p>
    Justin Edgell - Bozeman, MT
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