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Do we take Skiing too Serious??


jpattigr
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Watching this video from the days when everyone wanted to ski or did ski, it hit me that what they were showing was people having fun! Many people on this site discuss how to grow the sport again, I think the key is selling FUN!

I don't think anyone that has never been on a SL ski and watches a SL tournament will be "Oh I want to try that" but showing people the fun side of the sport will get more people skiing!

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Neither me nor my friends are competitive skiers, but I have skied with both kinds, I.e. despite level, either they are cranky, or they know how to have a good time. I have skied with some INT level, casual competitors. Some are never happy. "Dont sit there, sit there, you are messing with the wake, why did you not get lined up with the course that pass, you were off speed..." And I've skied with just as good skiers who are much more chill and realize its not the end of the world if every little thing is not perfect. Again, neither I or them are 39 off skiers, so its much more fun when you let it be fun. I can see a serious competitor wanting everything just right, but otherwise....

 

Saved these two clips off an old thread here. Thought they were pretty good summaries of the appeal of surfing over skiing.

 

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In another recent thread, someone asked the question, "how can I get my surfer friends into skiing?" One of the answers was show them someone running 35 or 38 off. I dont think that would impress a non skier. They really wouldnt recognize or maybe a better word is appreciate the difference between a 15 off run and a 38 off run. I think you have to be a skier for a while to appreciate it. Although we have a blast doing it, the blast is derived more from the satisfaction of accomplishment than it is the thrill of the ride. I have had the recent pleasure of having a non skier join a skier bud of mine and me on a weekly outing. The nonskier quickly mastered his two skis and is now ready to move to one. He really enjoyed starting out and looking forward to progressing. I think that is rare. I think a lot of people learn 2 skis (those that are willing to try skiing vs wakeboarding) and find it boring and have no interest in moving on.

 

I rambled on a bit. I'm not sure, but I think there was a point or 2 somewhere in there.

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Some people are too serious and some are not. I ski with people who try, can and will run 35+ off with all kinds of people in the boat, shit boat, bad wind, rollers, ect. I also know people who can barley run 22 off and are tweaking settings and complaining or telling you to do something different each pass because something is never right.

 

I am fortunate enough to have enough of the first type of people to ski with that I don't often invite those that are less fun. I enjoy skiing because of the people, the vibe and the lifestyle. If your style doesn't mesh with mine then I will surround myself with other people.

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I have asked myself, 'am I really having fun'? Usually as a result of arriving at the lake with way too high of expectations or super frustrated at how hard it is to be consistent at this sport -at my opening (and next line length). Know what I mean?

 

Then of course you have the coaches' in the boat. All mean well, but some give you way too much to think about Every pass............doesn't help.

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@jpattigr

The athletes in that old HO video were the very best in their discipline at the time. That video makes it look like fun but I promise you each of them trained like a serious athlete. As a competitive skier, I do sometimes envy recreational skiers who do not have aspirations of skiing at a higher level. If you wish to ski at a higher level then you have to take it seriously. If you take it less seriously you might have more fun but you will not ski to your potential.

 

I do bias this forum towards serious competitive skiing but I'm always happy to have the folks here who are just here for fun.

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@Live2ski don't tell the guys at Mastercraft I said this but if you are not serious about your skiing you don't need a new boat

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@Bruce_Butterfield next thing you know dogs and cats will be living in harmony.

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California Ski Ranch ☆ Connelly ☆ Denali ☆ Eden Lake ☆ Goode ☆ HO Syndicate MasterCraft ☆ Masterline ☆ 

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**Opinion** probably a bad one

Skiing, as a competitive sport, has never been helped by show skiing or Tony Klarich riding a picnic table. Those have always made skiing look like a stupid sideshow. Not that either of those things don’t take incredible work or talent, but they don’t help anyone take the “sport” aspect seriously.

For recreational skiing, maybe both of those I mentioned are good things.

Recreational skiing and competition skiing have almost zero in common and I just don’t see the “show” aspect doing anything for the “sport”.

The pros who look like they are having fun have WORKED, like it’s a full time job, since childhood, to get that good. There’s no way to do that and not be serious.

But, have fun doing it either way you do it. My boat has been running like crap for a month and because it’s been cold crap weather, I haven’t got the bug worked out. Even not running a pass I should run 60-70% of the time, because of the boat, I still had fun today. Not as much, but I had fun.

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FWIW, I agree that they don’t need to be mutually exclusive. I grew up as an elite gymnast (probably the equivalent of a good 38 off skier) and fortunately paved my way through a D1 program and although I just recently got bit by the Slalom bug about a year ago, I already see a lot of similarities between the two sports. All the way from the technical dynamics of weight transfer, to the variations in the size of the sport over the past 30 years. If the sports aren’t taken seriously, there will be no forward progress in the elite. But if there was no fun in it, no one would even get to that level in the first place. (Sometimes the fun is just buried deep down, and occasionally really deep down.) There’s always a balance between the two, and I think that’s important to keep in mind when trying to explain the sport to someone you’re trying to pull in. I think that there’s both a place for fun and hardcore determination as well as a hybrid of the two. So when trying to grow the sport, I believe it’s about knowing your audience and emphasizing the aspects that you believe will appeal to them.

 

Either way, I’m just pumped to get behind the boat and really learn how to ski this summer, I only have the means to free ski but I’ve had a brand new ski sitting in my room for a few months now and I fully intend to get as many hours on it as I possibly can. Hopefully sometime in the near future I’ll be able to find my way to a course.

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You get out what you put in...in terms of reaching potential.

 

Some can ski really good scores without a lot of work, others have to work really hard for the same score. Both can be having fun in their own way. If some of those really gifted folks worked hard whoa boy the potential.

 

I worked exceptionally hard in the gym, and the results showed at bench tournaments...I also reached what I believe is full potential there. Fun? For sure...I miss it but I'm past my prime and my body won't allow it anyway.

 

Skiing I didn't work as hard, didn't buy a ZO boat--tho upgraded from a '89 MC with 240 hp specifically cuz that was SO different than tourneys to a PP bubble butt SN. I made rudimentary binding/fin/wing adjusts...basically running really tip heavy and clobbering turns. Seldom made adjustments.

 

Did I reach my full skiing potential? No. Big fun? Yes. Is it too late? Yes, my spine has caught up with me. Satisfied on the PB front, yes.

 

Both of the above were fun...one reaching potential and one less serious...it's not binary.

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Serious and fun can happen at the same time and Serious isn’t synonymous with exclusive or unpersonable.

On the water I will be serious, focused on a specific aspect and striving for improvement. In the boat I’m with friends or family so celebrate achievements and laugh at shortfalls, serious stops and it must be fun. If you sit or pout etc you aren’t fun and probably would see dwindling opportunities.

 

As with anything it is a personal connection between serious and fun. For my kids it’s more fun to ski together behind the boat and have spray wars then ski one at a time working on technique. Fun can be the catalyst for involvement and some will develop into an enthusiast or obsession. I think that goes for any recreation which is why there’s such variety of activities and levels within those activities.

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I got the bug watching Hot Summer Nights, thinking "I could totally do that!". Turns out I can't, but it's sure fun trying. Slalom course skiing reminds me of those old video games where you never actually win. You just keep trying to get to the next level, and when you do, there's another even harder level. Water skiing is more than just fun. It's like and addiction/craving that your body just needs to do. It's very hard to understand people that just want to go for a boat ride without having someone in tow. And they can't understand us:).
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Skiing has given me a lifetime of Fun = Camping, fishing, cooking out, hanging out, beautiful sunrise/sunset, raising a family skiing, friends across the nation, parties before after, my kids still like hanging with mom and dad. Seeing my kids smile instead of the back of their head looking at a video game. Traveling to ski sites across the US with new friends I met via skiing tournaments.

 

Skiing has given me a lifetime of serious = Staying shape, purpose and goal every night after work to practice, teaching my kids common sense driving a boat and safety. Taught my kids the outdoors how to survive in the wild. Sportsmanship of what to do and what not do watching some make fools of themselves at the party and on the water.

 

Moral of the Story make skiing a priority it's a great life.

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I tend to be pretty serious about getting my ski time, I try to not be too serious from set to set, you won't always set or get to your pb, plenty of days it's pretty windy, but screw it, go ski. If it's really cranking drop the boat speed and see what you can do. The season is a bit short around here as it is. It's always way better than shoveling snow!!
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Yes and No. When I am at the lake it's always about having fun, even if I ski terrible. When I am off the water, I over analyze what I could be doing different to get around more buoys. But I think that's part of the addiction and I am okay with it.
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I think it's easy to confuse skiing at an elite level and personality types of which there are several at the higher levels of this sport. We have to decouple personality from skill level. There are plenty of folks who are "serious" about the sport and are fun people to be around. There are also folks who are "serious" about the sport but are not fun people to be around.
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I would have to classify myself as a "Frustrated Fun Skier". Fun skied for 30 years and loved every minute. Then went to Ski Paradise about 10 years ago. Lucked out and got to ski with Marcus & Trent. First time in the course, had an absolute riot and got hooked on the course.

 

Fast forward to now.....can count the number of times on one hand I have had the chance to ski the course again during the last ten years (life happens). I read BOS every day and still dream about running the course. Got to the point I didn't enjoy free skiing any more because a course was not available........didn't ski for two years (and I own a ski boat). Almost quit BOS because of the frustration just thinking about it (sorry Horton).

 

Finally had to have a long talk with myself and started free skiing again last summer. Would love to ski the course all the time but needed to let it go and just have some simple fun again on the water.

 

I was taking skiing WAY to serious!

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@JonB makes a good point. Once I skied the course I just didn't find free skiing as much fun. Put another way I found it WAY more fun to ski the course. I'm happy to pull you doing whatever you want, whatever is most fun for you. For myself, I enjoy slalom geekery.
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I think half the fun for me is being with like minded people who take skiing serous too. I don't enjoy talking about skiing with a 'weekend warrior' because they are just not passionate about it like we are. The passion can be easily confused with 'too serious', but passion is what makes it fun for me.
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Yes. Too serious compared to most but I am not the type of person that gets upset about bad skiing. Still having fun.

 

@JonB Get a portable course. You will love it and when you get good it is so easy to put in and take out. I have even gotten to the point where I can drop mine in less then 20 minutes from my pontoon solo. I can pull it myself if it is calm enough.

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Hell yeah, people take it too seriously. If you can't admit you haven't seen marriages and friendships broken up over the obsessive, compulsive nature of our sport and the crazy drama that goes on at every ski lake, you got your head buried in the sand.
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@aupatking I see your point if you have never partipated in show skiing. That being said the show ski division of USA waterski has the highest membership level of any of the disciplines. Yes, more than 3-event. Show ski nationals also has the highest participation numbers as well as spectator numbers. Most show skiers are extremely well rounded. They can foot, jump, barefoot, trick, wakeboard and slalom. A fair number also ski 3-event tournaments “just for fun”. Despite that fact that it looks like a stupid sideshow to you, most of the high level show ski athletes train seriously to avoid injury. Unlike slalom skiers, at times show skiers need to perform in water conditions that would have most slalom skiers would crying like a baby if they had to ski in them. Show skiing is also much more family friendly when trying to get the whole family into the sport. It is also an affordable option for many people to start waterskiing. No individual boat ownership is needed as they can join a show team that has boats and all the gear to learn. Personally, I find watching five skiers pop over the ramp doing flip, gainer, hell or a wall to 15 Footer’s much more exciting than a slalom tournament. Again, just my opinion. Not saying it is good or bad and I am not saying yours is good or bad. Something to think about as the numbers in our sport at large are dwindling. How do we attract new skiers?
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Wow. I'm surprised to see a few comments about not having interest unless there is a course. I feel incredibly fortunate every single time I get to glide across water behind a boat that was only a dream as a kid. I have to pinch myself some days.
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@SusanT I actually totally agree. I was just stating that I think the 3 Event “Tournament” side has never benefited from the Show side, in terms of whether the public knew the difference. If a person were to look for a sport they want to join strictly for competition, if someone brings up waterskiing, most people would dismiss it because of that blurred line. I totally respect the work that show skiers put into it but in the spirit of the thread, I was saying, for the 3 Event side to grow, maybe it NEEDS to “look” MORE serious.

For waterskiing as a whole, I don’t see it going anywhere. If we are being all-inclusive with all towed sports, I’m certain there are plenty.

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