Need some Winter advice, I don't want to look/ski like this Summer.


I need some help. I pour through all the skiing videos/this website etc. I can't translate the foundation to my skiing, I think mostly from being out of shape.

I got to ski on Wednesday. I realize my stack and lean through the second wake are HORRIBLE if not missing altogether!! This is exacerbated by being badly out of shape, which also leads to me ski rather than do "drills" when I do get out on the water.

I am 6"4', 260lbs, 51 yrs old, NOT in shape. I have trouble at 30-32 MPH @ 15 off. I get to ski 30 days/year, 10-15 days with a course. I just started the diet/exercise. Early X-mas present (and more motivation) was the 71" Lithium Senate.

My plan is to drop weight, get stronger and get Coaching by May. If I didn't love skiing so much, being out on the boat with family/friends, I'd quit after watching this video. Or worse, go to wakeboarding.

Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks in advance. Video may be tough to watch if eating or drinking.



  • jRoejRoe Posts: 34 Baller
    Tom, you must go harder..... Meaning the slalom coarse requires a lot of energy and power on your pulling edge. Don't worry about your turns so much right now. Good luck
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,590 Mega Baller
    edited December 2015
    That really doesn't look that bad. I was expecting worse. You're on the right track.
  • Bill22Bill22 Posts: 1,766 Mega Baller
    I agree with @gregy. Tom you are too hard on yourself. It took me 5 years to get from -15/28 mph to run -15/34 and I was getting good coaching every year but not much time in the course.

    There are some guys here that will give you some good tips. Work on your form and stay with it.
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 1,170 Mega Baller
    If you are looking to really make a difference physically then don't screw around- sign up for a local boot camp or Crossfit and get after it this winter. Functional, full body exercises in my experience are the only thing that can prepare you for skiing physically.
  • TustinTomTustinTom Posts: 106 Baller
    @jRoe, I feel that I am going as hard as I can, which is truly not the case.

    Thanks All- losing weight and gaining strength is a priority.

  • Bill22Bill22 Posts: 1,766 Mega Baller
    Take this with a grain of salt, because I am normally not advanced enough to give advice. But I see something that I was doing when I first tried the course.

    Pause the video at 0:20. You were looking good and now before the first wake your ski is going flat. Then you have soft knees crossing the wakes. Stay in your cut/stacked position through the wakes, trust that the ski will cut through the wakes and not send you flying like a ramp.

    When your ski goes flat and you let your knees act like shock absorbers, you loose all the momentum that you built up. You need this momentum to get you wide/early of the next ball. I think this will make a huge difference.

    I spent years skiing behind I/O with monster wakes and it took me a while to get over the fear of going full force into and through the wakes.

    @ToddL has helped me and other beginner/intermediate guys. ToddL - any tips for Tom? Did I get him going on the right track?
  • TustinTomTustinTom Posts: 106 Baller
    @Bill22 - pour it on. Funny you mention soft knees. I have been working on trying to not keep the locked (per the readings at BOS, look at TW etc). I thought I was doing myself a favor. Thanks !
  • Bill22Bill22 Posts: 1,766 Mega Baller
    If that was advice for short line guys it may not help you. Look for an old video from fifteenoff on YouTube of Seth Stisher skiing at -15/34mph! I think @jhughes still has it online.

    That tip about the knees came from Corey Vaughn, pro skier/coach.
  • Dacon62Dacon62 Posts: 858 Crazy Baller
    edited December 2015
    Core and functional movement excercises along with weight loss will pay huge. Start NOW and you will reap the rewards when ski season starts. I used to just do the weights, gym thing nothing wrong with that but the core and functional movement excercises really help with balance and strength...your body works as a team. My first ski of the season I felt like I had not even been away from it for 6 months.
    Best wishes to you!
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 6,764 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    Consistent water time is the key. 2-3 times each week will help you start to get consistent quality practice. If I take a week off, it takes a few sets to get back to normal. Like @Dacon62 said, start now in the gym or what ever you do to get ready to roll in the spring.
    Shut up and ski
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,951 Mega Baller
    Thanks for the tag, @Bill22.

    Tom, you are doing a lot really well! So, please keep in mind that on a scale of horrible to world record skier, you're doing great in the middle. That just means you are on your way and there is a lot of opportunity for excellence ahead.

    It is difficult to apply what we see in the pros at their top level passes to our own skiing levels. Sometimes our eyes are drawn to the wrong things. Plus, skiing at -15 is a different timing than the short lines.

    I'd like to address your first motion and your general timing once you are crossing the wakes.

    When you are ready to pull out to get ready for the first wake crossing, you make a clear motion to lean away from the boat (lean back). You can see this in the video. You paid good money for that ski and we want to keep a little bit more of it in the water working for you. Thus, think more about driving the left edge of the ski into the water so as to "edge" the ski, getting it on edge. It will drive outbound with more efficiency and you will stay more stacked in the process. There are a couple different approaches to make this happen. One is to start tall and with more weight on your front foot, then rotate the hips to the left (10 o-clock) while leaning them (not so much your shoulders) in the direction you want to go. In other words, your right hip move forward so as to drive your left hip to the left and edge the ski outbound. Another (somewhat conflicting) method is to refocus your "lean back" habit. When you are ready to move, look to the right at the wake, shoulders face the wake a little, too, and lean back away from the wake. This one is hard to put into words, but the concept is to redirect your "lean back" such that "back" becomes back from the wake vs. back from the boat. Thus, you still keep more ski edge in the water and you drive that left ski edge into the water.

    Try both and see which "clicks" for you. You will know it is working when the ski moves out wider, faster, and higher up on the boat with seemingly less effort from you.

    Second, I'd like to offer a different approach on the timing of your actions from turn to turn.
    The key point is to lean until it is time to turn. You have a clear stop to your lean, then a pause until you turn. So, you kind of have two edge changes: from lean to none and from none to turning edge. For 15 off, you should move the end of your lean and the start of your turn closer together, so that their is no waiting between. Now, by start of your turn, I don't mean a full-on, cranked, immediate reached, etc. turn. Just that you are moving confidently into a turning stance fluidly right out of the lean. At 15 off, this should put your actual edge change somewhere just past the second wake.

    As far as your hardest lean, the time for that is white water through the first wake. Thus, you build from the completion of the turn into white water and reach the top effort just before the first wake. From this point you maintain to the center-line. At the center-line is when you start to soften the ankles and let the ski start to move toward the edge change (which eventually happens after the second wake). With this approach you will find the power and speed in the right direction which will give you even more width out to the buoys.

    If I didn't mention "stack", I'd fail at giving you advice. I think you know what stack is. I think you have pretty good stack. You probably think so, too. But just as I mentioned before, there is a wide continuum from amateur to pro, and we all have opportunity for improvement. Just never become satisfied with your stack. There is always room for improvement. Keep working on it. Keep assessing it. Locate when it starts to get soft and make a determined effort to retain it at that point. For example, I sometimes (OK, often) lose some of my stack as I rise up from my pull out before the gates. Thankfully, I can fix it during the glide before I make the turn. When, I get a little lazy, that's typically where I forget to validate that my stack is still where it should be. Anyway, find your opportunities for improvement and keep working on them.

    Wow, that was a lot... Let me summarize. Keep working on your stack. Try the new pull-out methods. Lean until it is time to edge change for the turn.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • TustinTomTustinTom Posts: 106 Baller
    Thank you. Definitely makes some sense and adds a perspective I can relate to. I will try to incorporate your thoughts the next time out. It has been so damn difficult to translate what I know/see/view/read in to action. Clearly the strength to weight ratio is way off ( I did not answer the recent pull-up poll, which would be 1/2), but the technique on the water is way off too (which is disappointing being a "student of the sport" for 40+ years)
    Thanks again. Yours/everyone's words are a true inspiration and are openly appreciated.
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Thanks @ToddL , just bookmarked this thread. Thanks @TustinTom for starting it.
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • epnaultepnault Posts: 367 Crazy Baller
    edited December 2015

    I think you are on the right track. I am a newbie too as of a couple years ago and I know the struggles of being 200+lb guy and learning at the slower speeds. The fact is the skis were never designed for our body type. My normal skiing weight the past few seasons has been around 215-220 and I work my ass off in cross-fitness and eating properly to maintain that.

    My amateur advice is the skiing will come with training and coaching but to excel at this game you got to be in the best shape you can too. Dropping weight will make a huge difference and get into a regular exercise program that is full body training (balance, body weight exercises, cardio, etc). I set some pretty tough goals this year and that is to get to under 200lbs and I am doing this by managing my calories using an app called myfitnesspal and exercising in some way 6 days a week. My goal in the course is to make a 34mph at 32 off pass. Game on!

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