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Now this is why skiing can't compete vs. the other extreme sports


Rich
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@Rich. Mine too. If I had to pick one thing to do for the rest of my life it would be a toss up between surfing and snow skiing. I love waterskiing, but it's an event, like track and field. Always the same parameters. I do love it though.

 

You know, I figured out that the crowds are only awful at the crowded spots. Are you just surfing town spots like the Hook, Pleasure Point, the Lane, etc? Go north, go south. Plenty of lonely (and spooky) ocean. I'm a lot further from it than you. My closest spot is Dillon Beach and that's 2.5 hrs.

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@jimbrake. Curious as to why you chose snow skiing over waterskiing. The reason I ask is this: I have been snow skiing my entire life--started when I was 5---and isn't it the epitome of "always the same parameter?" You go up a lift and coming down, you have several options, bumps, trail, trees, or if God is willing, powder? The only measurable thing about the run is how it felt and how fun it was. Waterskiing gives me the same things, namely, how it feels and how much fun it is, but it also gives me a report card and a way to measure how I stack up compared to the last time I skied.

 

If I were to relate Waterskiing to a sport, I would equate it to golf. The same course and a potentially better score. In golf, if you get a bogey, you can make up for it with a birdie. In skiing, if you get behind, you can catch up on the next ball.

 

Finally, one of the main reasons I love the balls so much is that it is so much like golf with the timing and the calculation, but there is a brute force element with it. It is calculating, yet completely an adrenaline rush.

 

Long description, but curious as to your thoughts.

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@Steven Haines. What are my limits in Alpine? I have no way to measure how hard I am pushing myself. I have skied the steepest terrain in all of Utah. I have skied powder up to my waist. I have skied every run there is to ski in Utah--numerous times. I have hot-dogged, have skied in the trees. I have even hiked up to the top to ski the chutes. I have helicopter skied. And, I HAVE loved it in the past. I guess to me it is like going to the golf range with buddies and beer. After a while, it just doesn't have the same effect on me and doesn't give me the same rush it used to. It is very similar to free skiing in the lake. Awesome, but with no measuring tape.

 

Short-line skiing is different. Outside of a tournament, I don't care if I can't compete with anyone else on the lake, I am only competing with myself; striving for my own personal best, striving to beat only me. The other thing I love is that you can never achieve perfection on the water...ever! No matter how short you pull, there is ALWAYS one more ball out there for you to strive. And it is a lifetime pursuit. I am reminded of seeing Dr. Jack ski the balls--no matter your age, you are still chasing balls!

 

I guess that is my explanation. I would never begrudge anyone alpine skiing, I just don't understand the love more than Slalom Skiing.

 

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@Brady - I've been water skiing for 50 years and snow skiing for 46, so I've been at it a while, too. Snow skiing (for me) is performed on changing snow surfaces, on changing pitch, changing terrain, with infinite lines to choose from, changing weather, you choose your speed, your type of skiing - racing, big mountain lines, bumps, heck, even the park (which I don't spend much time in). Not sure where or how you ski, but maybe your local hill is a bunch of low-angle, tree-cut groomers (?). It helps that I do most of my skiing at Squaw Valley in that it is pretty unlimited in terms of all the above and on any given day you can find something that is awesome. As far as snow skiing being "measurable", outside of the race course where it's very measurable, I am constantly evaluating my skiing turn by turn.

 

Water skiing isn't like the game of golf, it's like the golf swing and hitting balls on the range. Slalom water skiing is a single event sport where you try to dial in skill and strength within the same parameters. It's more like pole vault or discus. And I love it, I can't get enough of it, and i have no plans of ever stopping (unless I retire to the beach in which case I will chuck it all for surf).

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@jimbrake. great points. although I would disagree with you about the pole vaulting! :) You make some great points about skiing. Just as an FYI, I live in the heart of the best snow on Earth--Utah. Ten minutes from Snowbird and Alta. With the amount of snow skiing I have done, the only part that thrills me anymore is back-country skiing, or extreme skiing, and I am not interested in dying to feed my adrenaline rush...maybe that is part of the problem. To me this thread is about Adrenaline. The reason most of these guys do the crazy sports is for that rush. I need that rush too, and short-line skiing is giving me that fix.
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@Brady I can see @jimbrake's point about snow skiing. The think I like about snow skiing is that it is an all day event. I can spend all day at the lake and ski 4 sets and that is only an hour on the water. Skiing all day at Squaw is an awesome thing and it can be from 8:30-4 of activity instead of 4 15 minute sets. If I could only do one I might go for snow skiing also at the right mountain. Fortunately I don't have to make that choice.
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Maybe not, but as a participant, you're likely to last longer. One of my previous sports was skydiving:

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4056/4624496308_5c1cc02084_o.jpg

During that time (1973 to 1980), I made 1000 jumps, but lost 5 friends to the sport. Since I quit, I have lost another 20 plus people that I knew to skydiving.

 

I've now been competing in waterskiing for more than 20 years (first tournament in 1989). I've lost no friends to the sport though I had met one of the guys who was killed when his head got through the handle in a fall.

 

Jeb, the wing suited base jumper in the video above, won't be with us long IMO. He has already struck the ground and barely survived once and you don't get too many do overs in that sport.

 

I'll stick with this sport. It keeps me fit, has a competative element, and most of all has a great social group (that will probably be around for a while).

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@Skoot1123 - I miss that helmet. It was a SK120 which is no longer made.

 

Before someone asks, why wear a helmet when you're hurtling toward the ground at 120+, I wore it for aircraft exit (door strikes), mid air encounters with other jumpers (not everyone up there is as good as they think they are), and landing (in case it's not a standup landing or you find yourself being dragged into who knows what on a windy day).

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Brady,

I understand what you're saying. Things can become monotonous. I've skied water and snow for 41 years and still get the same rush from both! Where do you typically ski? I spent a couple years patrolling at Solitude back in the 80's. I get the most exileration from steep open faces at eye watering speeds! It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. I don't think that feeling will ever die! Slalom IS a good measuring device but I don't know if I'll e er find that same "in the moment " rush and feeling of accomplishment as taking down that steep face with authority!

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@Brady - Yep, that's the one. He keeps trying for targets that are inches from hard ground and that time he miscalculated by about 6 inches and nearly died. There are other video's of him talking about continuing doing the same types of jumps, that's why I don't think he'll be with us long. Hope I'm wrong...
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@Brady, why not race or run gates, thats measured. I know when I free ski on water I can turn at "39 perfect turn after turn, it becomes somewhat boring, but put me in a slalom course and I have to turn, it changes the game. I have run gates a few times and its big fun, I just don't have the time to train for snowsking, do it 4-6 times per week ect... I choose water sking because its always good, easy to get to, ect... I can compete with the best in an age group and even open it up to ski with the 55K masters and be competitive at 55 yrs old. That is what makes water sking so great. You really can keep getting better as you get older.
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I do a telemark race series which emphasizes different disciplines each week. One week we boot pack straight up an off piste apron and run a giant slalom course on the way down and another week we'll do a combination of skating (on telemark gear) and gates. Other times we simply race gates. There are age categories but for the past couple of years the overall has been won by a wiley 40-something. Beating the 20-year-old extreme skiers and racers. And he skies on big fat LibTech NAS's! I had to get a shameless plug in for my favorite corporation in the world - I wish they made waterskis.

 

I hear what @Brady is saying though. The slopes kept getting gnarlier and gnarlier until I came to a similar conclusion. I had to redirect my emphasis. Now it's all about the hike and getting a wide open glade to carve big fast sweepers.

 

Extreme backcountry is totally out of the question anymore.

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@Brady - have you ever raced? I think you'd get hooked on the training and the racing. It's super addicting like slalom water skiing. So, you've pole vaulted? What's your PR? Slalom is very much like PV. Focus on a very defined set of skills, each one requiring great execution for the next one to succeed, speed, strength, thrill, repeat. Same runway, same pole, same bar, instant feedback, you made it or you didn't. Try again. Incremental improvement. Sound familiar?

 

Best snow on earth. Yeah, so I hear. I've been to Utah three times and experienced old snow at Alta, rain at Park City, and old snow at Snowbird. Still had fun, but no powder. I like racing the tram at sickbird.

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@jimbrake. LMAO!! Dude, I thought you were messing with me on the pole vaulting thing. I can guarantee you that there is not a product that exists on this earth that would handle the flex without snapping with my fat ass putting that much tension on it!. I do however appreciate the education on pole vaulting. I always assumed it was similar to badminton or discus or something, and that shows my ignorance, so please accept my apologies. I do however remember watching pole vaulting recently--there was an incredibly hot brunette practicing her wares and I was very into that!!!

 

Never got into ski racing. We raced with our buddies and I like racing through the powder in the thick woods. The Holy Grail of skiing--when you have done it as much as most skiers here in Utah--is finding untouched powder. That I love! But I am not addicted and to find the best untouched powder in the back country you are literally putting your life in jeopardy EVERY run. Not worth it to me.

 

As far as your experience, that sucks. Come out next time between Jan 15 and Feb 15 and I promise you I will find you powder as crisp and fluffy as you could imagine then you can come down to the house and rest your weary bones in the hot tub. The last couple of winters have really sucked, but hopefully this one is good and then done so I can get back to my skiing.

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@Steven Haines. I ski primarily at Alta. I agree with you--there is almost nothing like looking down the face of High Rustler or Greeley's Bowl, or even the steep side off the tram at Snowbird and just going for it. The rush is awesome. BUT to me, looking down the 55's getting ready to pull out and then staring down 2,4, and 6 as i get ready to come through the gates beats that for me. Don't know why, but it does.
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@Brady - I'm with you on the water skiing over snow skiing. I've lived in Telluride for 33 years, and done a lot of amazing skiing here in Colorado, in Utah, the Sierras, etc but after so many years I've kind of gotton bored with it. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing like untracked powder, or the steeps for adrenaline, but I find chasing buoys much more challanging. I haven't been doing it nearly as long, and am still improving, and I just love hot summer days on the water with friends and family. If I had to choose, I would take water skiing, but thankfully I can do both (as long as we get some decent snow this winter).
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If you are into extreme surfing or just great footage about it you'll love a movie I first saw on PBS then actually bought the DVD called "condition Black". Tremendous movie about a group of surfers that brave some of the biggest waves in Hawaii with IMAX cameras rolling.

 

I must say though, I've done many extreme sports, ski racing, parasailing, parachuting, open wheel racing and if I compare the rush and tremendous feeling of doing well in a great sport, I believe slalom is the most challenging and most satisfying when done well. I get such a rush from a good pass, you know the one, when it all comes together and feels easy, that I tell everyone that slalom is one of the toughest sports to do well at.

 

So my brothers and sisters we have nothing to apologize for and everything to be proud of because slalom is incredible and let's continue to tell everyone how great it really is!

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@Rich @Skoot1123 I 've competed in alpine racing in my younger years and I totally agree it is much more likely you will improve at older age in waterski slalom over alpine slalom.

In fact I can't think of any other "fast " sport where you can still improve into your 50s (if we exclude motor sports)

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