Rossi Answers Chapter 1.1 (keep elbows/arms in & the Smear)

HortonHorton Posts: 32,395 Administrator
edited January 2014 in Technique & Theory

rossiI'd like to start by thanking both BOS and its members for the opportunity to contribute. The idea is to give BOS members the chance to ask me questions directly. The lucky winners will get a response from me on the BOS home page and will be sent some swag from my sponsors. For those questions that I do not choose as winners, I will do my best to answer in the forum under the category of "Ask Rossi". Here are the winners of the first go at "Ask Rossi":

@MISkier asks
What is the best drill, exercise, and/or visualization to keep elbows/arms in through the wake and after the whitewater? In other words, how do I improve my ability to keep the handle for myself (in close) through the edge change and into the release?

This is a very hot topic right now @MISkier. I believe this is one of those things you have to set up in order to do. Most skiers are not "stacked" in a proper position from a proper width to be able to accomplish this last step. The goal is to complete your turn and ski into your stacked position as close to the back side of the buoy as possible. This gives the skier the maximum time in the acceleration zone (back side of buoy to the centerline of the course). Most skiers I see do not get in their stacked position until half way back to the wakes (if at all) and thus do not generate enough speed to be able to release the ski at the centerline. Pulling past centerline (directly behind boat) causes the rope to rapidly overload and ends by yanking the skier up out of their cut and sets them on a path inside of the optimal trajectory. To be able to control the handle in a positive way, work on getting into your stacked position closer to the buoy, holding an aggressive lean to the centerline, releasing your ski edge at centerline, and once your ski passes under you, focus on holding onto the handle much like you would do on a rope swing once you have passed the bottom. The key reason to control the handle after edge change is to stay connected to the boats pull so that it can pull you forward on your ski. With the way skis are shaped (fat in the belly and narrow in the tail), as your weight moves forward onto the belly of the ski, the tail loses its hold and starts to release. The more your ski is smeared or rotated before you get to the buoy, the closer to the back side of the buoy you can get in your stacked position and utilize the acceleration zone mentioned above. The goal is to have your ski smeared so the tip and tail of your ski are parallel to the buoy line when you cross the buoy line and release the outside hand. This concept is probably new to a lot of you as most skiers pull too long and thus release the outside hand before ever smearing. While it is possible to be early for the buoy using this approach, the ski will not be smearing and will require excessive rotation at the finish of the turn, delaying or shortening the next acceleration zone.

I look forward to continuing the discussion in the forum. Thanks again for the opportunity to contribute and thanks to my sponsors for making all this possible:

Radar Skis, Tige Boats, Performance Ski & Surf, and Aseda Raw Honey

Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

Connelly ☆DBSkis ☆Denali ☆Goode ☆GiveGo ☆MasterCraft ☆ Masterline 

Performance Ski and Surf ☆ Reflex ☆ Radar ☆ Rodics OffCourse ☆ S Lines ☆ Stokes ☆

MISkierErik4cHortonA_BWishskialexSkoot1123Texas6CWiedmerBulldogJMLVMI
«13

Comments

  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,395 Administrator
    edited January 2014
    @chrisrossi I have to say I have never hear it framed like this before. That is pretty thought provoking.

    Would you say this is a "chicken and the egg" or "Vicious Circle" situation where even if the skier is mostly stacked off the ball if they have lost too much speed at one ball the overload is inevitable at the next ball. Overload leads to separation at second ball and then the third ball is an epic mess. (if you wanted to make a movie about this I am pretty sure I am a classic subject for this disfunction.)

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Connelly ☆DBSkis ☆Denali ☆Goode ☆GiveGo ☆MasterCraft ☆ Masterline 

    Performance Ski and Surf ☆ Reflex ☆ Radar ☆ Rodics OffCourse ☆ S Lines ☆ Stokes ☆

    CWiedmer
  • WishWish Posts: 8,540 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited January 2014
    2 part follow up question for @chrisrossi if that's ok with this format.

    Man, I am so trying to understand the smear concept. And I want to understand it. I think I have it but would hate to have it wrong in my head. Can you frame that concept a little more.

    Also, have recently been told to be more "urgent" (by a high end pro coach)- almost starting at the apex of the turn- to get into my "pull" "stacked" position. This "urgency" sounds similar to what you are saying but you have detailed it in a different way that connects a bit more with me. But my problem is that I have bad habits that show up when I try to do this. Off side if I "rush" "urgency" to get to that point I rotate my shoulders and reach for handle to much to soon causing all kinds of issues. I have to consciously think of keeping the hand at my side and letting my hip rotate up to the handle and then connecting so "not urgent" and much closer to the white water at connection. On side when I move to getting into that stack position sooner, I tend to push the tail of the ski around the ball and end up straight legged somewhat. This creates a stall in the ski and then it goes. But if I concentrate on keeping everything still with flexed ankles/knees (not a lot but not straight) it all seems to work so much better and again am closer to the white water when connecting. How am I going to accomplish ---The goal is to complete your turn and ski into your stacked position as close to the back side of the buoy as possible---. if moving that way quicker seems to cause more problems? I have a feeling I'm not alone with these habits.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
    Skoot1123
  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,395 Administrator
    @wish perfect use of this format

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Connelly ☆DBSkis ☆Denali ☆Goode ☆GiveGo ☆MasterCraft ☆ Masterline 

    Performance Ski and Surf ☆ Reflex ☆ Radar ☆ Rodics OffCourse ☆ S Lines ☆ Stokes ☆

  • Chris RossiChris Rossi Posts: 324 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @wish you are not getting your ski rotated in the preturn so you have no choice at the finish but to use upper body rotation to break the tail free. This invokes a massive skid at the end of your turn, causing a rapid loss of speed. I would guess you are staying on edge too long past centerline and getting pulled to the inside off the edge change. This makes the rope go slightly slack and you lose the ability to be pulled forward on your ski to start the smearing process.
    HortonSkoot1123Texas6MattP
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,439 Mega Baller
    @chrisrossi,

    Thanks for the very detailed answer and insight. One of the things I have been thinking about to get into a stacked position right away is to snap the turn a little at the finish (without overturning or creating slack). The goal is to get that ski around and headed across course so that I can get into position a bit faster. I seem to see some of the pros with a nice smooth preturn and then a little zip at the finish of the turn. I wondered if that provided the extra moment and angle needed to get into position more quickly. Does that little zip at the finish of the turn also equate to the smearing action of the ski? It seems like it would.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to help us here and share your knowledge.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • Chris RossiChris Rossi Posts: 324 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @Horton I think a lot of us are programmed to think that pulling longer will make us wider. If we get a bad ball one, it is a natural tendency to pull long to feel like we can make up for our mistake. The problem is this just makes it more impossible to do the above mentioned techniques. I work on gates every day so that I can come into buoy one on the best possible line and set myself up with the best chance to do what I wrote about. Even when things go wrong, we need to trust that our work window is only from connection point to centerline. This may require a more aggressive, shorter lean.
    HortonMattP
  • Chris RossiChris Rossi Posts: 324 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @MISkier you should have the ski fully rotated by finish of the turn so there would be no reason for the little zip. I think what I wrote to @Horton will help you to get to where you want to be.
    MISkier
  • WishWish Posts: 8,540 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Dang it... He's right. Especially with pulling past centerline. Ok still need a little more "smear" "skid" explanation. The only other confusing part is --you are not getting your ski rotated in the preturn-- Just need to know from what point to what point the "preturn" is since everyone has a slightly different idea of where that occurs. May help others know what you mean as well.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,314 Mega Baller
    Smear:
    image
    www.FinWhispering.com ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
    Texas6MISkierA_BBulldog
  • robhawaiirobhawaii Posts: 2 Baller
    What line lengths are we talking about? Are we talking about 15 off, when the wake is wide and big?. And should it change when the rope is longer or shorter? I don't understand this concept of not loading the rope and not pulling past the centerline . This is a great video, Watch "Chris Rossi 41off at 34mph Radar Strada" on YouTube


  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,372
    edited January 2014
    @MIskier I would say the answer to your question is no, that doesn't equate to the smearing that Rossi is talking about. What you're doing is using brute force to release the tail AFTER the buoy, which can result in loss of momentum. As opposed to what Chris is talking about, which is a release of the tail(via handle control that allows the boat/line to do the work) before you get to the buoy line. Or at least that's my interpretation.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

    MISkierrodecon
  • Chris RossiChris Rossi Posts: 324 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @SkiJay that is a great photo. In an ideal world, the ski would be smeared a little more by this point. @robhawaii I understand how this ca be confusing. I think the "not loading the rope" concept is more of an idea. If you put a strain gauge on the rope for any professional skier, there will be considerable load or strain put on the rope. I think the concept is to not hold the load in your body IE in your arms, chest, upper back, and to not be trying to pull the boat backwards. Its about lean in that concept. So yes, at all line lengths the ski should start to edge change at the center line. It becomes much more important as the rope gets shorter but it is the ideal location to edge change. This does not mean the body stands up out of the lean, just that the ski is transitioning from the cutting edge to the turning edge.
    scotchipman
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,439 Mega Baller
    @ShaneH,

    I think that helps. I realize now that such a move at the finish of the turn is compensating for not obtaining the optimum results from the handle control and early stack from the previous buoy. As with all slalom symptoms, the fix is much earlier in the pass than the problem. I'll work on this as soon as the 3 feet of ice goes away.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • JJVDMZNJJVDMZN Posts: 128 Baller
    @chrisrossi, would it be right to say that in the stacked position the ski will spay water towards the boat from the ball to the center of the wake and then with edge change after the wake center, the ski will spray water away from the boat increasing in intensity as you "smear" approaching the ball?
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,417 Mega Baller
    And as the ski changes edges and the skier isn't necessarily out of the lean, this starts the desired "reverse C" reaction. This with sucking the knees up is the marquee position that Chris and other pros hit every time.
    Great info Chris.
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,453 Mega Baller
    For me (and this is likely just me only), the term "smear" is a little perplexing because I don't think the way a ski is "smeared" in the slalom course is the same as the way wide snow skis are smeared in powder, which is where this term comes from (hey now we can mix terms from three sports and start referring to toe side and heel side smears - awesome).

    I get the idea of the action that is being sought that we are calling smear, but less sure of how to actually do it. Chris's explanation of staying on the handle so you get pulled forward on the ski taking some pressure off the tail so it can slip a bit allowing the ski to start pointing cross-course sooner makes some sense, but is there another force that we are to apply to further the smear? A pushing out of ze tail vis ze back foot? A tvist of ze hips? A counter-rotation of ze shouldahs? Seems to me there's got to be some other force applied, not just a shift forward on the ski.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
    cragginshred
  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,395 Administrator
    @chrisrossi
    Pretty interesting stuff. I can honestly say I have never heard it framed in this way. I screwed around with these idea last weekend. I am really trying to build this idea into my skiing.

    Do you subscribe to the idea that the more ski in the water off the second wake the less drag and more speed out the ball line? The thing about that idea that makes my head hurt is that I know the more ski in the water also means more bevel/rocker in the water and that should draw the tip of the ski back to pylon => kill outbound direction.

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Connelly ☆DBSkis ☆Denali ☆Goode ☆GiveGo ☆MasterCraft ☆ Masterline 

    Performance Ski and Surf ☆ Reflex ☆ Radar ☆ Rodics OffCourse ☆ S Lines ☆ Stokes ☆

  • Chris RossiChris Rossi Posts: 324 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @OB, centerline would be where the edge pressure needs to be released so the way you described it works. I'd say most coaches are not coaching this and I'd say most pro skiers are still edge changing too late. Your kids are great and I look forward to playing with them again soon.

    @JJVDMZN in a theoretical world yes. But as @OB explained above, the edge change is not immediate so the outside spray will happen when the ski lands after the second wake.

    @jimbrake that is a very good statement and question. The goal is to utilize the two hands on the handle to slide the rear foot outward in the pre turn. Do you have another term instead of 'smear" that will describe the skis motion?

    @Horton I've never heard of this concept. I believe engaging the front of the ski decreases speed BUT that it does allow for the tail to wash out and get the ski rotated WHICH will make it feel like the skier carries more speed thru the finish of the turn.

  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,453 Mega Baller
    @chrisrossi - na, I don't have another term as I didn't know or consider that this action was even happening in the preturn. It is very much like the "stivot" that I've previously described which is a "steered, pivot" of skis in alpine racing to set the skis in a position for an early finish to the turn by the gate in steep terrain in a tight course. I'm not advocating for that term though 'cause that'll throw the non-snow skier water skiers into a tizzy. I'm good with smear. I just want to know how to do it. When I'm back on the water I'll see if I can feel it. Sounds an awful lot like counter rotation to me, but with the emphasis on doing it via the lower body, not the upper. I mean if you are pushing the tail out with your back foot in the preturn, you certainly wouldn't want to be rotating in the direction of the turn with your hips and upper body at the same time, right?
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
    skibrain
  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 2,167 Mega Baller
    My biggest take away from this is - Handle control. In other words, maintaining that connection to the boat until the BOAT takes the handle from you. This is the epitomy of "letting the boat do the work!" It also leads to an efficient path. Changing edge at the centerline seems to me that it is more of a result of good lean/body position and an early path out of the buoy (ie - backsiding the buoy). Is this the right takeaway @chrisrossi?

    I am perhaps making it seem "simple" when in reality there is a WHOLE LOTTA "STUFF" going on to make this happen. That is why the pro's are pro's - they have figured out how to get it all done consistantly.
  • Chris RossiChris Rossi Posts: 324 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @jimbrake I would consider it to be anti-counter rotation with two hands on the handle.

    @Skoot1123 You've got the gist of it. I like to simplify things too.
  • mwetskiermwetskier Posts: 1,337 Mega Baller
    from the description smear sounds like its similar to rear wheel drift in a race car.
  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    @chrisrossi -- first off, thanks for all your time on this thread -- very helpful! Several things you said resonated with me. First, connecting sooner and releasing by the middle of the wake. Both Mapple and Chet were talking to me about that last season. Andy referred to it as being just a little quicker at the ball, and Chet talked about his "work zone" from buoy to wake. Second, loads. One of the keys for loading seems to be the ability to control the release. For example, if I pull too long, then loads increase past the midline. Result -- I get "unloaded" to a suboptimal path. Initating the edge change at the center fixes that problem. When I worked on this with AM in October, it felt really good! Third, while I don't know if I am executing it at all, the "smear" makes a ton of sense to me in terms of the impact on connection into and speed out of the buoy. Great stuff! Thanks!
    Jim Ross
  • Chris RossiChris Rossi Posts: 324 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @mwetskier that would be a good assessment of smear.

    @Razorskier1 Sounds like you are on the right path.
  • WishWish Posts: 8,540 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited January 2014
    Car drift ..... Ding! That's the easiest explication. Thanks @mwetskier. Question is how do I know if I'm doing it. Can you even tell from boat level video? Is there a fin setting that coensides or is it all rider driven?
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • mwetskiermwetskier Posts: 1,337 Mega Baller
    edited January 2014
    ive skied the course on a trick ski at 38 off and the way i did it was kind of side slide at the ball until the edge caught and i could then cut across to the other side -this is different than the speed killing s turn that ive seen others do. any way on a slalom ski at full speed ive occasionally turned a late offside ball -usually 5 ball -that felt exactly like the trick ski side slide turn. the ski just turned real flat as i kind of skidded around the ball and i made it to 6 ball and out when i felt like i probably shouldnt have. its kind of like smear to the max almost like a 4 wheel drift in a car but was surprisingly effective. its not a conscious move and i cant repeat it at will but im thinking its like accidentally finding the extreme edge of smear.
  • GloersenGloersen Posts: 1,241 Mega Baller
    @mwetskier - in lieu of your pandazation re names for Horton progeny; running a slalom course at 11.25 on a trick ski at any speed is well-earned reprieve!
  • dtmdtm Posts: 44 Baller
    I was watching some video the other day....happened to be of the 2013 Moomba Finals. I noticed a couple of the skiers doing something unique that looked really advantageous. The two skiers who stuck out were Nate Smith and Nick Adams (Nick Adams fell early, and Nate had his gates taken away). After reading this article, I think they were accomplishing what is being referred to as "Smearing". I believe to know that Nate runs a "shallow" and "long" fin. I'm wondering if this set up, allowing the tail of the ski to be "higher" in the water, enhances the ability to accomplish this move.
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 1,192 Mega Baller
    @chrisrossi when my ski partners and I ski there is a distinct "ripping" noise on our off-side turns and the on-side turns are pretty silent. As a driver I can always hear those off-side rips and it even helps me keep the boat in pace with the skier since I know right where they are at in the turn via audio. Should both turns "sound" the same or are we doing something wrong?
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,453 Mega Baller
    skip to 1:07

    @chrisrossi - how does two hands on control the smear? Yes, it helps pull you up on the front of the ski early, which may allow the tail to drift (I would agree with a shallow fin setting here), but I'm not getting the connection between that and what your back foot is doing on the ski. If "car drift" is all anyone needs to figure this out then good for them. I suppose I'm over-analyzing this, but I'm just trying to figure out the mechanics. I told KBishop last year that I'm over my over-analysis disease and that I'm never going to lose sight of staying square down course and staying on the handle with two hands. I'll just keep it simple and stay with that.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
Sign In or Register to comment.