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What do you look at as you pull out for the gate?

Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
edited October 2012 in Technique & Theory
What do you look at when you pull out for the gates? I have tried almost everything. I used to look at the 2/4/6 line and pull out until I was comfortably wide of them at longer passes, about at width at 35, 38 and shorter. I had consistent width, but wasn't always at width at the right time or place, thus an inconsistent gate.

For a while I looked back at the wake as I pulled out. Seemed to be very efficient, as the ski would jsut run out almost effortlessly. However, I'd get out fast and then have too much glide time for my two-handed gate. By the time I turned in I was slow and loaded.

When I changed my gate four weeks ago I changed what I look at. I now look at the gate and one ball (sort of a wide view) the entire time I am pulling out. By doing this I feel like I can see my turn in point well before it arrives, allowing me to stay on the outside edge the right amount of time, then roll in nice and gradual. Using this approach has been a step-change in my consistency and efficiency. The trade off is that I have no idea how wide I am when I turn in. It feels like I'm not as wide as I used to be, but I am wider and earlier at one.

What do you look at when you pull out?
Jim Ross


  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 5,723 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    I look at the boat/pylon to see where I am at. I move my focus to the nose of the boat in relation to the gate balls and move through.
    For many skiers, their swing through the gates is their most aggressive cut, but really, the gate shot should be the easiest cut of the entire pass. At this point in the pass you are skiing with the least amount of speed needed. Cutting hard will only result in increased line tension and an unnecessary loss of cross-course direction during your edge change. Instead, focus on making a smooth turn-in from a point as wide as the 2, 4, 6 buoy line and maintain the path you set.
    Shut up and ski
  • fu_manfu_man Posts: 453 Crazy Baller
    @razorskier1 I sat in the boat with Lucky while he was coaching my buddy on gates. Lucky recommends looking at the pylon. That way you never look away from the boat as it goes though the gates and you'll never lose site of whatever it is you use as your reference point for starting to turn in. As far as getting wide enough, he said to use the angle rope against the engine box to know how wide to pullout. So as a practice pull out to your desired width and then look at the rope angle with the box and go from there. i was the camera man here.....he starts to refer to this at about the 3 minute mark.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 29,432 Administrator
    When I get to the green balls I keep looking back at the wakes and go left. I do not think I recommend this method but it works for me.

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  • bishop8950bishop8950 Posts: 1,188 Open or Level 9 Skier
    First move I look right up the rope at the pylon as I cut left. As I edge change and move out to the apex I am looking up the 2/4/6 buoy line. At max width I look right at the gates as I time the turn in
  • MrBrownstoneMrBrownstone Posts: 81 Baller
    Here are a few pullout points that will add more consistency to you skiing,...that I learned from Schnitz!

    Pullout points........

    1) stand just outside the whitewash/foam

    2) pullout when the nose of the boat is touching the right hand gate buoy (slightly before or later)

    quit pulling out when the 3 ball crosses over the right hand gate (or slightly later)

    4) check the 2,4,6 buoy line for width (slightly wider, inline, or narrower)

    5) intiate your turn in when the 1 ball is just before crossing over the left gate buoy (slightly earlier or later)

  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    I attached some gate shots below from skiing2heaven. You have Todd R at 39 off, Chad at 38 off, Regina at 38 off, Chris Rossi (not sure of rope length), and Dave Miller (courtesy of Schnitz). Check out how far the boat is from the gates when they are starting to turn in.
    Jim Ross
  • MrBrownstoneMrBrownstone Posts: 81 Baller
    Thanks for posting the pics @razorskier1.

    In these pics, most of these skiers already have their skis turning in slightly for their gates, there turn in intitiation points were well before when these photos were taken.

    If you notice were the water is first being diplaced outward away from the boat is a clue to where they started their initiation for their turn in for their gates.
  • GAJ0004GAJ0004 Posts: 1,095 Baller
    My practice course does not have the green gate balls, so I never rely on them. I watch where the boat is and I keep my eyes on the entrance gates, and I pull out to the 2,4,6 buoy line as late as possible to get my best angle of attack. I use the entrance gate balls of visualize my angle of attack.
    Gary Janzig Streetsboro Ohio, skis at Lake Latonka, Mercer Pennsylvania slalom,trick,kneeboard,barefoot
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,589 Mega Baller
    I'm not a high level skier so take this as you want. I never look at the 2 4 6 bouy line. I look at the boat / rope angle. Before I had corrective eye surgery I could n't see the bouys very well so just use the boat to judge my width. I've tried look at 246 line now but find looking at boat rope relationship more reliable.
  • MrBrownstoneMrBrownstone Posts: 81 Baller
    @gregy Honestly,...I have never have looked at the 2,4,6, buoy line either. I have pullout point for my 2 hand gate which is always consistant (right 55 at the nose of the boat) and my pullout point for the 1 hand gate (left 55 is near the engine cover). I then have my turn in point (1 ball is just past the left gate buoy approx.).
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,182 Mega Baller
    edited October 2012
    Boats relations to the pregates pullout determined by conditions. Then in glide the looking at 2,4,6 line for my width depending on the line length. It is the most reliable place to look, they are always in the exact same spot. I turn in off feel rather than looking at 1. When I look towards 1 I start to drift in.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,414 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I have always turned in on feel, but now want to dial in consistency at 38 and shorter. The progression this year was first a light gate, then a soft turn in with a light gate and keep the handle lighter for longer. Now I want to add a consistent turn in point with a soft turn in, light gate, keep the handle lighter for longer. Never had as many good 1 balls at 38 as this year, and thus never ran as many 38's as this year.
    I also want to translate this to practice at all lengths...I really only concentrated on this at my 38 gate this year. I want to change how I ski the longer lines, too, so that I'm practicing short-line at all lines.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,117
    I'm like @MattP . I have no idea where we are in relation to 1 or 3 until I'm turning in. I gauge everything on where I am in relation to 2/4/6 and where the boat is in relation to the 55s and gates. I start letting the ski tip relax and start its turn back to the boat when the boat is 1/2 to 3/4 a length away from the gates. Depends on line length and wind. Chad S had me get way up on my front foot with my shoulders square to the course, let the ski start to turn a big progressive turn in, and then get on it once the skis between me and the boat.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    Funny thing for me is the idea of "getting on it" is totally out the window for me. I don't need that much load or speed at -38. I literally have to tell myself not to pick up anymore speed as I am nearing the first wake, whereas previously I would have been giving it something right at that same spot. Given my physical characteristics, I'm not sure that when we all talk about "getting on it" that it means the same thing. If I do that, it is seriously game on. Think about a game of tug of war. When someone says to get on it, I'm going to pull them into the mud pit. That doesn't help my skiing.
    Jim Ross
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,039 Mega Baller
    I look at the boat and the angle of the rope from the pylon to judge my angle. I judge my pullout timing and turn in based on the boats position relative to the 55s and entrance gates.
    Mark Shaffer
  • bogboybogboy Posts: 699 Solid Baller
    I watch the boat going through the 55's, and then make my pull out, and then I hope that I am lucky enough to get the right line. I am not real consistent yet, which I am working on.
  • MarcoMarco Posts: 1,430 Crazy Baller
    @Chef23- I judge my pullout based on the boat relative to the 55's also, but keep in mind that at different lengths, if you pull out when the boat is at the same place, you are in a different place as you shorten. For me, at my opener (28), I'll pull out when the boat is at the 55's. At 38, I'll pull out when the boat is 1/2 boat length before the 35's. That keeps me in the same place in the course.
  • dave_ndave_n Posts: 66 Baller
    @Marco - Do I understand you correctly, you pull out earlier as the line gets shorter ? I pull out a little later for every shortening. I do a one handed gate, maybe that makes a difference ?
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,414 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @marco, I also pull out later at 38 because I get up on the boat quicker as dave_n describes.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • MrBrownstoneMrBrownstone Posts: 81 Baller
    There are some major problems with the skier turning in for the gates when the nose of the boat is entering the gates and the skier is pulling out to the same width at every line length!

    Sure at every turn in,...the boat is in the EXACT SAME PLACE,...the skier is not!!!!

    If a skier is starting at 22off that means he is skiing with a 53 foot rope!

    Then the line is cut to 28off, that means he is skiing with a 47 foot rope! (and he is 6 ft closer to the boat than at 22off and further upcourse at turn in )

    Then the line is cut to 32off, that means he is skiing with a 43 foot rope! (and he is 10feet closer to the boat than at 22off and further upcourse at turn in)

    Then the line is cut to 35off, that means he is skiing with a 40 foot rope! (and he is 13 feet closer to the boat than at 22off and further upcourse at turn in)

    Then the line is cut to 38off, that means he is skiing with a 37 foot rope! (and he is 16 feet closer to the boat than at 22off, and further upcourse at turn in)

    So even though the boat is in the EXACT SAME PLACE the skier IS NOT! At every line shortening the skier is turning in later and later and later,.....into more and more and more angle!!!!

    This is main problem with using the boat at the 55's as your turn in point!!! This is what @razorskier1 was doing!!!! INSANE!!!!

    Hope this helps!
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,414 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @skiing2heaven knows what he is talking about!
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,846 Mega Baller
    We need someone with one of those GoPro helmet cams to video their gate pullout and harvest some frames showing the skier's perspective of these sight lines...
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,846 Mega Baller
    edited October 2012
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • Steven_HainesSteven_Haines Posts: 1,064 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I need to ski with someone or post video (I guess) after reading @skiing2heaven (why didn't that turn blue?) latest post. This year I skied very few sets (maybe 30 with probably less in the past 2 seasons) and I've skied at a very high level for me. In the past 5 years I started running -35's and my PB (in practice) is 4.5 @ 38. The last time I skied I ran b2b 35's (1.5 months ago, didn't try 38) The reason I mention this is that my gate is what skiing2heaven is saying is insane! (maybe not exactly)
    I pull out as the 55's pass by the tail end of the boat, I use the same intensity, I square up and look at the pylon as I make my pull out and then turn in when the rope/boat dictates. I do a 1 hand gate. The only thing I do different is I back off my intensity at 35. I've, for a while, messed around with intensity at all line lengths but this year I tried to reduce intensity at all lengths.
    Am I missing ONE key ingredient? Am i starting wrong? My view window seems real similar no matter the line length. Is this right, wrong? I hear Than saying that he's pointing the tip of his ski toward the buoy. Am i trying to take too much angle? My problem right now is that I probably won't get to ski again until Christmas due to work obligations so won't be able to post video or try any of your suggestions until then. I DO believe that visualization is probably one of the most important aspect of my skiing strategies! So away!
  • jipster43jipster43 Posts: 1,436 Crazy Baller
    I just started using @Razorsier 's gate two sets ago. The first set felt great and my 22' off pass was easier than ever. I only tried my 28' off pass once, but I was so early and wide to 2 ball that I freaked out and screwed up. The second set using this technique got me to 28' off easy and relaxed and I ran 28 easy and relaxed - only my second ever 28. My first ever attempt at 32' off landed me just shy of 3 ball. This gate has had an immediate impact on my bouy count!
  • MrBrownstoneMrBrownstone Posts: 81 Baller
    CORRECTION to my previous post........

    I meant to say "downcourse" instead of "upcourse" in the following statements like this one......

    Then the line is cut to 28off, that means he is skiing with a 47 foot rope! (and he is 6 ft closer to the boat than at 22off and further upcourse at turn in )

    Sorry for any confusion!

    Here's the video of Regina's [email protected] world record. Freeze frame right when she initiates her turn in. This can be identified by the outward spray from her ski!

    Here's Rossi at Okee a few years back.

    Here's Todd Ristocelli

    Here's Chad from a few years back

    Here's Dave Miller at 39off in the Big Dawg National Finals.

    I've been using this gate since 2005. I brought this gate shot up on the different forums over 2 1/2 years ago, but almost everyone at that time had the feeling that "later was better" in an attempt to achieve more angle/width at the gates as the line shortens. This gate works at all line legnths and is very low load and efficient!

  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    The reason this gate works is simple. By turning in late (which I used to do), I would feel like I had all this angle going into the first wake and would generate fairly significant loads. In fact, if I was in the lean and felt like I wasn't going to be close enough to the right gate ball, I'd just give it the oats to get there, thinking that by being close to the right gate ball, it would make me early to one. This can work at multiple longer lines, but for me it doesn't work at shorter lines. Why? Because tons of angle early is not something you can maintain after the second wake. Instead, the boat is advancing, and the handle is following a pendulum that will pull up up quickly and toward the one ball. Now, if I ski that way I have found that I can avoid that fate with a very early and very fast edge change right at the second wake. Now I am going up and out on the inside edge with the boat, but I don't have the same level of line support.

    So, with the earlier, lighter gate I maintain my angle and outside edge position far longer off of the second wake, allowing me to get wider and earlier with less effort and less overall speed. Applying my old gate it was pretty much turn in, hammer it to the first wake, swing early, slow down, turn, hammer it again.

    Using my new gate, I turn in light, don't ever pull (just resist with my core and keep the handle tight), ride outbound with complete handle control, then let the ski turn when I get to the "end of the rope". I'd say overall I am using 50% of the energy that I used skiing a later gate.

    @Steven Haines --- there would be some differences on your pull out point using a one-handed gate, but your turn in should be at a similar point. I believe this is evident in the Chris Rossi video and pictures above.
    Jim Ross
  • MarcoMarco Posts: 1,430 Crazy Baller
    @dave_n and @6ball- I am doing what @Skiing2Heaven is describing, although in a little different manner. I am trying to be in the same spot relative to the course when I pull out, regardless of where the boat is relative to the 55"s. At -38, I pull out when the boat is 10 feet further (earlier) from the 55's than I do at -28, so I am essentially at the same place on the lake every time.

    I am doing a gate with a glide, if that makes a difference.
  • KlundellKlundell Posts: 432 Open or Level 9 Skier
    I pull out as the left 55 hits the bow of the boat. I then look for the 3ball. When the three ball. The three ball will pass through the gates and when it touches the left gate I stop pulling out. I find this gets me in the same position every time. It also gives me good reference points to make wind adjustments. Head Wind I let the 55 travel down the boat a little farther. Crosswind to the left I will stand up as the three ball is in the middle of the gates. Crosswind to the right I stand up as the 3 passes the left gate.
  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    In the end I think what we all need (speaking for myself) is consistent visual references that can put us in the right place, at the right time, at the right speed. Without that consistent approach to the course, we can't expect to produce consistent performance in the course. What @skiing2heaven has done for me is to create an approach that is consistent and that works. I've always said that we all have different styles, and the key is finding someone who approaches this in the way that helps you the most. I think I've found it for me.
    Jim Ross
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