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Slalom Course "process"


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I have a question on course "processs" for the ski crew.

This weekend we were at one of the courses at the lake and there was another boat making runs, so we sat to the side and watched while they finished their sets, then they moved away and we moved in.

When i pull my kids, i usually try to make a sharp turn / circle at the end of the run, then re-align and go back. When there is room for the turns, i can usually make about 4 passes then the kids are ready for a break, so they drop.

I noticed the other boat using the course always dropped and stopped, rotated, then did a re-start. This makes alignment easier, but also adds a lot of time to the runs.

Curious as to what others do, and what are the benefits of the drop and stop method?

I realize in some locations there is not room for a turn at the end, but there was good space at at least one end of this course.

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To be honest, I would prefer to drop and restart because it takes less effort as a skier than a turn. I also don't feel it takes that much less time if you are mindful of how long you are sitting down. We go quick because we have break walls that we get bounce back from.

They may have been dropping for the above reason or change in speed / line length.

Neither is wrong as long as you are doing a "P" style turn and it sounds like you are. If your lake allows for both then I would say it is just personal preference.

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We run the whole time and do 6 passes if we don't crash.

If people stop they are usually adjusting the rope.

Either way works.

If we crash the boat stays straight until it stops then idle's back to the skier who should swim out of the course.

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tournament rules dictate a drop in and line change after each successful pass.

if you are (or hope to someday) head to a tourney i'd suggest getting accustomed to that approach.

if your skier plans on the same line length for all passes then spinning at each end should not cause any frowns if that is the skiers preference.

local conditions may impact your final decision, as ahopkinsTXi pointed out.

on our primary course, if we drop at the end of each pass the reflections from seawalls means you will be skiing in your own slop, with the exception of the first two passes.

weather may have an impact, also. i'm much more eager to drop in if the water is warm. dropping into 40° isn't nearly as much fun as it sounds.

as long as all are considerate and patient it's primarily personal preference (imho).

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In addition to rope length change - it could also be teaching and feedback between each pass. This way you have direct feedback for each pass & improve quicker.

When done right, there isn't much difference in time & the stop/short break can allow someone to complete 6 passes vs 4 when pulled thru constantly.

I've also seen the stop happen after every 2 passes instead of every pass during training/instruction.

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All good points. I hate spinning on the ends due to the increased load on my back and arms, and I am also usually cutting the rope after each pass. Also, spinning creates more rollers down-course, regardless of the turn you make. Stopping on each end, as mentioned by others, allows feedback from those in the boat, as well as a chance to re-group for your next pass. That being said, for kids and others that are beginning, spinning is just fine as long as it isn't affecting others by sending rollers at each end.

Edited by Brodie
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Our group of four has a two hour Wed eve rental on Bow Lake, north of Seattle. It's a man made slalom lake, islands at both ends. Most drop at each end for a quick rest and to let the rollers calm down. I do the same anytime I ski the course. My old body can't do back to back passes w/o a quick breather in between, but I can manage 6-8 passes & 2-3 sets with a drop at each end. And HOORAY - it's Wednesday so skiing and BBQ tonight!!

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@Soon2BV: Good question. IMHO the advantages include:

1. feedback from boat which allows skier to improve and adjust

2. allows rollers to dissipate from course

3. gives skier a rest period before next pass, even a few seconds helps

4. allows skier to think over previous pass and mentally think of needed changes (slalom passes are very much a mind game)

5. allows the Perfect Pass system to be adjusted to maintain correct boat speeds and thus proper times

6. better simulation of tournament protocol and process

7. allows for rope length changes and speed changes (if skier feedback part of changing speed)

8. saves some fuel and some wear and tear on boat

Disadvantages of stopping:

1. perhaps takes more time to complete a set

2. get ups can be more energy use than riding

3. if cold water, skier gets cold and loses performance

4. driver needs to be competent in dropping skier w/o dragging him/her when stopping / turning around

You can also consider a hybrid version, drop on one end only and do a P turn on the other end.

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The guys teaching me have been going for years and I have always seen them stop at each end. They converse on the pass and often shorten the rope. they usually do six passes then switch out rider, they do that twice. For me having them stop and drop each time allows them to give me much needed advice on what to improve, ask me how that felt, if I know what I did wrong and so forth.

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I prefer dropping. Even when free skiing, I like going out, making 10or so turns, dropping to focus on technique and take a breather, then back up for another 10 or so turns.

Spinning saps a bunch of energy and skiing tired doesn't do you any favors making good form muscle memories.

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I prefer dropping. Even when free skiing, I like going out, making 10or so turns, dropping to focus on technique and take a breather, then back up for another 10 or so turns.

Spinning saps a bunch of energy and skiing tired doesn't do you any favors making good form muscle memories.

The point you make about muscle memory is spot on. I've only been skiing for 5 years, and this is the first year that I've been dropping at each end. I find that not only do I get a good breath before the next pass, but it seems like my skiing is improving more quickly due to repetition with rest and having that be consistent. I started doing this because I was at a ski clinic and found myself less tired after a set when dropping. So when I started doing it at home, I didn't realize there would be added benefit.

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