I have seen a few comments making comparisons between snow and water skiing and thought I would start a thread. Why? I am a full cert snow ski instructor and coach. I have skied my whole life since 5, and water skied since 9. But I am a much better snow skier than I am a water skier. As I return to getting more focused about my waterskiing after several years of just skiing a couple/few times a year, I thought it might help to get my head on straight about what I know, and am interested in your thoughts. After watching some waterski vids online, and doing some thinking, here are some initial thoughts.
Bottom line, there is some crossover between snow and water skiing, but by no means is it perfect or direct. Depending on the experience of the skier, the comparison might help, or might confuse.
• Both snow and waterskiers want to be "stacked" over their feet and ski(s) in a functional position.
• in both sports, you want to complete the turn smoothly with no excess or corrective or recovery motions so that speed and momentum travel smoothly from turn to turn, and that functional, stacked, body position can be maintained with the "center of mass" being moved ahead.
But not all snow ski turns related to a waterski slalom turn. As a snow ski pro, we are taught to look at what the skis are doing on the snow. Turning a snow ski involves a combination of rotation (pure rotation = turning your feet left or right without tipping) and edging or tipping (pure edging or tipping = simply tipping the skis toward the left or right). Different turns use different amounts of combination. The difference depends somewhat on the direction of travel related to the "fall line" or line that a ball would follow down the hill unobstructed. I consider the fall line in waterskiing to be right down the wake.
A mogul ski turn, which is turning in a very short radius, but traveling straight down the hill over bumps, is full of rotation. Yes there is edging, but there is no true carve in the same sense of a larger radius turn where you can see evidence of the edging from turn to turn in the tracks left by the skis. The turn is initiated with a release of pressure from the edged skis at the end of the last turn, a forward extension, and a rotation and tipping of the skis into the new turn. (this is a bit oversimplified, but good enough for this purpose). The only turn in waterskiing that might be similar is a trick ski turn with tricks directly behind the boat, straight down the fall line. There are similarities in that the head and shoulders stay level and the body stays open to the fall line, but the lower body is doing anything really similar to a waterski slalom turn. Next time you are waterskiing, try turning your ski mostly by turning or rotating your feet back and forth. Not gonna happen!
Most beginner snow skiers use more rotation than tipping or carving in the beginning. Therefore, I think we need to be careful about how much we say waterskiing is similar to snow skiing. The experience of most people might confuse them.