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10 things to shorten the trip from Zero to 32 off


Horton
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1. Ski with someone who runs 6 balls more than you

2. Spend money on pro coaching before spending money on equipment

3. If your ski is more than 5 years old, it is time for a new one. If you can afford to ski, you can afford a new ski.

4. Video yourself skiing

5. Focus on basic technique. Work on one thing at a time for many rides at a time. If your boat crew comments on something different after each pass get ear plugs.

6. Most skiers who do not run 32 off do not have a good “stacked position”. “Stacked” is shoulders over hips and hips over feet. If you are not stacked almost anything else you work on is a waste of time and gas.

a. To be stacked is to have your back leg bent equal to or less than your front. The more you bend your back leg in relation to your front the weaker your position and the more weight is on your back foot. Some pro and elite skiers achieve this with a lot of forward knee bend with both legs. The bottom line is where your hips are in relation to your feet.

b. Personally I try to ski with relatively straight legs because I think it is the easiest way to move my hips over my bindings. 90% of all the coaching I give involves some version of “stand up”, “extend your legs” or “press both feet away from your body through the wakes”. There is nothing more important in skiing at this level than getting in and staying in a stacked position.

7. Set your ski to stock or very near stock settings. Assuming that you are starting at stock, most fin and binding adjustments are a distraction and may mask real issues. If you are not centered on your ski (stacked) then are you adjusting from an incorrect vantage point. Ski adjusting is a science that few skiers at any level really understand.

8. With new bindings you must always measure. The “middle hole” on your bindings may not be even close to the stock setting.

9. Moving your bindings forward will not solve anything for a skier who rides back into the ball. Many stock binding positions are already slightly forward.

10. Don’t over ski. If you ski when you are not strong you are practicing bad habits.

 

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Excellent @Horton. Please elaborate on number 8. I am not planning on tinkering, but I have to set my new strata bindings to my ski. The shop I bought everything from said they always put the bindings in the same place, regardless of the ski, the size, or the bindings. I asked the question on bos and received the answer about placement, but I don't understand the numbers given there with the exception of the distance between the back of the boot to the back of the ski. .765, 6.850, 2.500, and 29.25boots for instance.

 

But again, this was excellent stuff and I thank you for it. Why don't you go ahead and promote that one to the best of page, because that is about as good of advice as I have gotten since coming to this site.

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@Brady you need a new ski shop. There are different distance from tail (dft) measurements for different sizes of tithe same ski never mind different skis. The middle hole on Strada bindings didn't get the right DFT on my HO. the distance between front and rear is more of a preference thing and you don't see public measurements for that.

 

@horton great list. I need to find new regular ski partners or at least try to get out a few times a month with the guys on our lake that ski better than me.

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@horton - thanks for that!!! For kicks I went and looked at some old video of myself.....I had to laugh. Terrible! I looked at video from this past summer and it was better, BUT still lots of room for improvement. I can run 28 but not with GREAT consistentcy, so I worked on 22 the majority of my season trying to improve the stacked position. It's getting better, but needs work. Thankful I booked that trip to Coble's!!

 

One thing I noticed as I was reviewing video was that my hand was coming back to the handle before the ski came underneath it. While at 22 off is this a big deal? At the shorter line lengths you have more angle of the rope to the buoy, so maybe that is partly the contributor. Too bad its fall/winter. Now I can just dream about it...

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@skoot1123

You tell me... does bringing your free had back early impact your stack in any way? Think about this .... You may be surprised what you find if you walk through it.

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While at 22 off is this a big deal?

 

@Skoot1123 It's a HUGE deal. If you do it at 22, do you think you're magically going to stop doing it as the line gets shorter? No! In fact, it will get worse. Fix it at 22 and then you don't have to deal with it. Never NOT do something correctly at the longer lengths just because you can get away with it. Practice makes perfect only if you practice perfectly.

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@ShaneH

 

I am hoping that @Skoot1123 will find for himself why bringing his free had back to handle too early at end of offside will kill his stack. Don't tell him.

 

@Skoot1123 we are waiting for you to figure it out.

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after you OWN your stack I think handle control is next but stack stack stack first

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@Scoot1123 its a big deal. If you are practicing it when you are running longer lengths pretty easy and you get into trouble at shorter lengths your body will go into survival mode. This will result in your body doing what it is most used to and not what you can/want it to do.

 

Now think about @Horton's comment on how this will effect your stack. Hint put a handle on something and try it.

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@horton @MattP @ShaneH - I have been thinking about this - A LOT. I don't think I'm the only one with this question, and the more us lowly skier's know about it, the better. In my opinion the answer is that if you bring your hand to the handle without the ski under the rope (both on and offside), you end up closing your shoulders to the boat. This pulls you forward on the ski AT the WAIST (NOT GOOD), it also leaves your ski behind the path of the handle and will make it very difficult (if not impossible) to get into a stacked position, let alone trying to get speed across the wake, bad angle, which means you overload the rope and go SHOOTING STRAIGHT into the next buoy. But - I want to know the cause!

 

Possible causes can be a couple things: not trusting the ski, bad timing of handle release (ie too early), lack of speed carried through the turn. These are the ones I can think of at the moment. For me, I'm not sure which one is the culprit. Perhaps its a combination of all of them!

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@Skoot1123

 

This is not about angle. You get better angle this way but it is about your stack.

 

Ok stand up and do it again. No need for a rope. You will notice that if your toes turn before your shoulders it is easy to keep your hips under you but if your shoulders turn first your hips get stuck behind you.

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I don't think of those things as the cause. They are going to happen at times. The cause is that you haven't trained yourself to bring the outside hip back around ahead of the outside shoulder no matter what happens prior. In my opinion the hand coming back early is a byproduct of the skier trying to turn from the bellybutton up instead of from the ankles up. Watch a really, really good skier. Once they're at the apex, they flex their ankles, their knees start to point into the turn, then their outside hip rotates, and finally their shoulders come back around. It leaves em with their knees driving the direction they want to go. But it all starts low. Horton is actually pretty good at this sometimes. :)
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@Skoot1123, believe it or not, the only cause for getting your free hand back to the handle early is because you are bringing it back early... Not because you need to bring it early for some other reason.

 

To kind of demonstrate this point, how many times has the boat ripped the handle from your hand due to not bringing back the free hand fast enough?

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@Horton - shoulders turning first. One of my (among many) big problems!

 

@ShaneH - spot on. Knees pointing is a good way to think of it (for me). This will in turn keep your upper body quiet. Which really is the most efficient method of going across course as it will allow you to stay in that stacked position.

 

@ral - the boat hasn't ripped it out of my hands, but it sure feels like it would.

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@skoot1123,if shoulders turning firstwhen you are at n°1 ,keep your eyes on n°3 and take your handle when n°1 is in your back.

when you start you cross don't looking for the next buoy (n°2 if you go from n°1),your eyes don't have to see over the line,you will looking for your buoy after the second wake.

try it it's easy to do and a lot of things will change naturally.

 

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The trouble with slalom is that most of the time what you think you are doing or what you think you see other skiers doing is often wrong. The old cause and effect conundrum!

Take the issue of getting stacked. For me, trying to flex my ankles or straighten my back leg or trying to push my hips up or stand tall - just don't work. I just end up pushing on the ski even more.

If you think about it, you can't do any of the above if you don't move your hips forward in the direction of travel first. You can't flex your ankles if your weight isn't in front of your feet- I believe that's why guys like Marcus always bang on about all movements starting with the c.o.m (hips) - you just can't do it any other way.

I think that's also why they promote swinging/sliding the hips in towards the wake at the apex with the inside hip leading and thereafter trailing arm pressure. A turn with no rotation is the best way of moving the hips forward in the direction of travel on the inside/turning edge of the ski. If you move the outside hip around you are just putting weight on the high side of the ski or falling away from the handle.

If you start all movements with the hips then you can stay close to the handle and on the inside of the arc - if you do this the theory is you will naturally be stacked, with weight over your ski and ankles flexed. Cause and effect!

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Getting stacked or in a proper leverage position changed my skiing life last year ans I gotta lot'o years under me. I went out after I read Than's article 10 times and really started to get aligned body wise during the cut and crossing the wake phase..

 

Huge difference! The thing that made the most difference in convincing me to reexamine my position was in 1 thread, someone (might have been you Than) said that you can have a not-so-great turn and with a good position in the white water make it fine to the next buoy, but the opposite is not true, crappy position with great turn means you're in trouble and falling behind in the course.

 

So tremendous advice, get stacked. Made my 28's and -32's much better!

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@Skoot1123, not from your hands (plural), which is what you get when you hook up early and your ski does not finish the turn and gets behind you, but from your hand (singular), which would be what happens if you were really late in hooking up and the boat would get you before your free hand is in the handle.

 

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Just for clarity, having the "ski" a bit behind you as you hook-up is not the same thing as leaving your "hips" behind you. Leaving your hips behind is always bad. If your hips are stacked or even a little ahead, it can be good if the ski is a bit behind at the hook-up as long as it accelerates past you into the edge change.
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@ShaneH I agree 100% - I am always telling skiers to ski with straight legs. I do not really expect anyone to really get both legs totally straight. I expect that in the act of trying to get straighter legs the skier will be more centered.

 

Trying to bend your knees usually means ass back. I watched video of myself skiing yesterday and my knees are too bent and my ass is draggin. (Stupid to take video in November after not skiing for a few weeks)

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@shaneh - definitely good comment there!

 

@Horton - when I have had coaching before, he always said I have too straight of legs/too stiff. So he told me to be softer. Now the question is how to get rid of separation between hands/handle and hip. Basically, I need to get my hips up.

 

Work on one thing and loose everything else. Guess my practicing needs to change.

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@Skoot1123 straight legs is my thing. It is how I think about skiing. I think the guys that I ski with really benefit from it. @Rico , @charlieskiwest and the SkiWest crew. If that is the wrong idea for your skiing that is not a shock. We all have different issues and things we need to work on. It is not a one size fits all sport. I preach what I think helps the most skiers but it does not work for everyone.

 

Question? Has the coaching been that your front leg is too straight? That is not the same as legs too straight?

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@skoot1123 - my constant issue with the same has convinced me that it is strength in legs and core that fail me. Soft and I end up in the back seat off the wake, stiff and I end up bouncing and losing direction.

 

So I am doing lots of work this winter and seeing what happens in the spring.

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@BraceMaker I say stiff but what I mean is strong and not very compressed.

 

If you watch the video of me in the thread called "Too cold to ski at your house?" http://www.ballofspray.com/forum#/discussion/6982/too-cold-to-ski-at-your-house

 

You will see my back leg bending WAY too much. I saw this video and thought WOW this is exactly what I tell all the Ballers NOT to do. I needed to press my legs away from my center from the ball line to the wakes to fix this.

 

I do not address this much but how you exit off side also has a huge impact on your ability to be in a strong position on the way to On Side. As it is Winter and I have not been skiing much I am screwing up off side and am in crap position to deal with the load on the way across.

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@horton I have been stuck at 28 off for years now and I am quite sure what you have just described is what is holding me back, you did comment on one of my videos a couple of years back saying my back leg was collapsing out of my offside, it still is, I should have taken your advice then.
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Horton. Very good advices! I try to stick to them all except for one.

I always end up practicing one bad habit each run.

 

For me skiing is so fun so I ski to many passages each time I have the opportunity to ski.

(so in the end - sorry - always with bad technique :o(

 

But this one bad habit has a positive effect one me (this is my main summer work out and I get stronger by the day through out the summer).

 

G'd night fellows!

 

Peter

 

 

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FWIW, my first full ski season is ending today (possibly tomorrow). Total I'd say I have 1.5 seasons under my belt. I didn't get a full pass at 32 off but I did run 2 balls at 32 off and a handful of 28 off passes. I did it most by following the advice in this thread. I think if I had one more month I would get 32 off by just following this:

 

1. Ski with someone who runs 6 balls more than you

 

I'd say my ski partners have more knowledge and generally better technique. I try and watch what they do but I'd say only recently have I been able to identify good vs. bad technique unless it's really obvious. But in general I'm skiing with good skiers who are knowledgable.

 

2. Spend money on pro coaching before spending money on equipment

 

I did both. My ski was more than 5 years old (see #3) but I also spent time with pro's this summer. Not as much as I'd like but I think the 3 sessions I had helped a lot.

 

3. If your ski is more than 5 years old, it is time for a new one. If you can afford to ski, you can afford a new ski.

 

I got a whole new setup this year. Moved from an old CDX-1 with Animal bindings to an A3 w/ Strada. I know it's not wise to change everything at once but I did it on day 1 of my season, and FWIW I tied my PB.

 

4. Video yourself skiing

 

I didn't do this every day but I did it occasionally. I also didn't try and over analyze it. I just looked at what I was doing vs what I thought I was doing and tried to take 1 thing from the video.

 

5. Focus on basic technique. Work on one thing at a time for many rides at a time. If your boat crew comments on something different after each pass get ear plugs.

 

I generally had the same 3 things I wanted to do each pass. If I focused on doing these I skied well, when I didn't I skied poorly. They aren't yet second nature so I need to keep working. It is hard to block out all the other input at times but I try just to have my 3.

 

6. Most skiers who do not run 32 off do not have a good “stacked position”. “Stacked” is shoulders over hips and hips over feet. If you are not stacked almost anything else you work on is a waste of time and gas.

 

a. To be stacked is to have your back leg bent equal to or less than your front. The more you bend your back leg in relation to your front the weaker your position and the more weight is on your back foot. Some pro and elite skiers achieve this with a lot of forward knee bend with both legs. The bottom line is where your hips are in relation to your feet.

 

b. Personally I try to ski with relatively straight legs because I think it is the easiest way to move my hips over my bindings. 90% of all the coaching I give involves some version of “stand up”, “extend your legs” or “press both feet away from your body through the wakes”. There is nothing more important in skiing at this level than getting in and staying in a stacked position.

 

My "stack" is not great, the video helps me see that but it's getting better and I'm beginning to feel it.

 

The extend your back leg concept helped me but I am still confused on this vs comments from people saying you need to bend your knees. I don't exactly know what is correct, so generally I focus on extend leg before my pullout for gates and leave it at that.

 

7. Set your ski to stock or very near stock settings. Assuming that you are starting at stock, most fin and binding adjustments are a distraction and may mask real issues. If you are not centered on your ski (stacked) then are you adjusting from an incorrect vantage point. Ski adjusting is a science that few skiers at any level really understand.

 

I set the A3 up best I could for stock.

 

8. With new bindings you must always measure. The “middle hole” on your bindings may not be even close to the stock setting.

 

I probably need to relook at my setup but didn't want to change it mid season, will look at this over the winter.

 

9. Moving your bindings forward will not solve anything for a skier who rides back into the ball. Many stock binding positions are already slightly forward.

 

See #8

 

10. Don’t over ski. If you ski when you are not strong you are practicing bad habits.

 

I over skied for sure. It lead to being injured, not being able to ski strong and I'm sure bad habits. I always ski best after I rest a few days, this one is easier said than done.

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Go to a high level tournament like a pro event, Diablo, or Cottonwood etc. and watch the good skiers at -32 and shorter from every angle possible. Seeing the intensity of their pull out, their width and how far up they are on the boat, when they are rolling in and how hard is enlightening. Watch what they are doing before, around and after the bouy. Note their intensity, body position and drive. Look at their width, where the ankles are etc. Technique wise the good ones were pretty much doing the same things! We all learn differently. Watching a Tournament is not the same as seeing a video. It's not the same as coaching, a picture, verbal or written description, but it is an important part of the complete puzzle.
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So, here is a revised summary with 3 additional items per this thread:

 

 

Ten Things from John Horton with a few additions from others

 

1. Ski with someone who runs 6 balls more than you

2. Spend money on pro coaching before spending money on equipment

3. If your ski is more than 5 years old, it is time for a new one. If you can afford to ski, you can afford a new ski.

4. Video yourself skiing

5. Focus on basic technique. Work on one thing at a time for many rides at a time. If your boat crew comments on something different after each pass get ear plugs.

6. Most skiers who do not run 32 off do not have a good “stacked position”. “Stacked” is shoulders over hips and hips over feet. If you are not stacked almost anything else you work on is a waste of time and gas.

a. To be stacked is to have your back leg bent equal to or less than your front. The more you bend your back leg in relation to your front the weaker your position and the more weight is on your back foot. Some pro and elite skiers achieve this with a lot of forward knee bend with both legs. The bottom line is where your hips are in relation to your feet.

b. Personally I try to ski with relatively straight legs because I think it is the easiest way to move my hips over my bindings. 90% of all the coaching I give involves some version of “stand up”, “extend your legs” or “press both feet away from your body through the wakes”. There is nothing more important in skiing at this level than getting in and staying in a stacked position.

7. Set your ski to stock or very near stock settings. Assuming that you are starting at stock, most fin and binding adjustments are a distraction and may mask real issues. If you are not centered on your ski (stacked) then are you adjusting from an incorrect vantage point. Ski adjusting is a science that few skiers at any level really understand.

8. With new bindings you must always measure. The “middle hole” on your bindings may not be even close to the stock setting.

9. Moving your bindings forward will not solve anything for a skier who rides back into the ball. Many stock binding positions are already slightly forward.

10. Don’t over ski. If you ski when you are not strong you are practicing bad habits.

 

 

11. Never NOT do something correctly at the longer lengths /slower speeds just because you can get away with it. Practice makes perfect only if you practice perfectly. - ShaneH

 

12. Turn finishes from the ankles up. The shoulders and head are the last thing to turn toward the other side of the lake. Watch a really, really good skier. Once they're at the apex, they flex their ankles, their knees start to point into the turn, then their outside hip rotates, and finally their shoulders come back around. It leaves em with their knees driving the direction they want to go. But it all starts low. - ShaneH

 

13. You can have a not-so-great turn and with a good stacked position in the white water, you can make it fine to the next buoy; but the opposite is not true, crappy position with great turn means you're in trouble and falling behind in the course. -GaryWilkinson possibly quoting Than_Bogan

 

 

 

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So last year I saw the start of 32 - 2@-32 best skiing at the end of the year October. We have been free skiing most of the winter and now that we have the course back in the water I am starting to ski some balls. I seem to be know where near where I was last year. Some things that have changed are Dry suit and some clothing underneath, water temp way colder. So back to the volume sets that @Horton has talked about slower speed longer line length but I am getting discouraged with the lack of progress any other tips
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@Horton your advice about straightening legs and having the front leg being more bent than the back is a little hard to picture and controversial than some professional advice I've gotten previously gotten. Not saying it's wrong I'm just having a hard time understanding it. I've always known "stacked" to be shoulders over hips, hips over feet, but with the wake crossing I've always been told to relax the legs and treat them like shock absorbers. Is this completely wrong?
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Find a video of a skier with good form: how does the skier's legs look approaching the wakes? How do they look through the first wake? How do they look exiting the second wake?

 

Most skiers focus on their wake approach stance which benefits from taller, stacked stance with straigher legs. By the time the skier is exiting the wakes the load has caused the ski to initiate the edge change and the relaxing of the legs a is part of that transition. Watch a video of Terry Winter. He clearly does not have straight legs at the exit of the wakes. However, in his approach and through the first wake, he clearly is pushing with his legs to stay in a tall, stacked lean.

 

So, maybe the perceived conflict in advice is due to the timing of when to apply the concepts.

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