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Free ski vs course @ short line


bbirlew
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Along the lines of the other thread, but a dilemma of my own.

 

As a teenager I used to be a course junkie. These days however I only make it down to the course 3 or 4 times a year (for the last 15 years or more!). On a good day I'll ski a few balls @ -35 @ 34mph.

 

However I do get to free ski regularly (2 to 5 times a week for the 4 or so months of summer up here).

 

Anyone have any recommendations for line length to free ski? I usually work on the pass above my last course score (so usually -38). I'll drop it to -35 or -32 depending on water conditions, etc, but does that sound reasonable?

 

Any other tips for a short line skier who only sees the course a couple times a year? Any and all ideas welcome!

 

I'm definitely going to get some video soon, because I'd love you guys to give me some pointers... but that is the topic of another thread!

Thanks.

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You're a much better skier than myself, but the last time I got to free ski I spent a lot of time practicing my gate pullout and turn in - at my toughest line length as well as the next line length. At the end of the week, I went to a tournament and crushed my gates like never before and set two PB's. It was definitely valuable for me to be able to spend quality time at those line lengths skiing soundly due to the absence of the bouys.
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  • Baller
a few tips: Seth Stisher has a bunch of freeskiing drills if you can find them. OM skier Adam Caldwell used to freeski alot, he would say always make sure your free hand in the turn stays behind your thigh until it gets to the handle-don't reach for it. Another OM skier Tom Henderson once told me (when freeskiing) carve on edge off the wake all the way back to the wake-this was one of the most effective drills I used-really translates back to the corse. M3 skier Marc Deltergo always had me do "pendelums" go out wicked wide, lean like crazy thru the wakes and glide past the boat, wait for boat to catch up and repeat.
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  • Baller
Since you asked, one thing I make sure I do when free skiing, is ski hard. It is very easy to coast the pre turn to eliminate slack or be lazy behind the boat since there is no "target" to shoot for. Work it like you are in the course, but ski about 20 balls in a row. You will find at the end of your run you should be aerobically spent and out of breath. Ends up being a fabulous work out regime. Our free ski runs due to lake configuration, are about 140 turns in length separated by 7 direction changes (rest periods) and they take about 6 minutes for a set. Totally winded at the end of a full on effort and it is very easy to track endurance improvement over the course of a season. Many times I visually pretend there is a course. . .
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