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The Slalom Course


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How To Run The Slalom Course: a mini, virtual-clinic on how to ski the course.

Right after the second wake: Figure 1
The elbows are in tight and I am resisting my upper body getting pulled forward. I am going to keep this position almost out to the buoy line, the thing that will change is my body's angle to the water. Here I am setting up my body to allow the ski to swing under me and continue outward on the trajectory I set up off the last ball. I will use my arms to start making up the increasing distance between my ski and the boat.

 

1.jpg
Figure 1

 

Figure 2
Same time period of the above picture but from a different angle. You can see how the ski is already starting to swing under me as the boat is progressing down course, the ski is going to keep going outward. My elbows are in tight, so, the pull is coming through my center of gravity. This is important because it means that I just have resist.

 

2.jpg
Figure 2

 

Figure 3
I have now let go with my down arm and am slowly reaching because I want to use my arms to bridge the distance from the boat to my ski. I want to allow the ski to keep going as far outbound as possible to maximize my angle on the next ball. If I reach too quickly here I will make up more room than the boat has progressed away from me and the ski will stop going outbound and start turning in. I will also start to fall forward because the rope is not there to keep my arm pulled tight. This will drop my shoulder closer to the water and get my balance off and move my weight forward on the ski driving the tip down and increasing the sharpness of the turn.

 

It is important to know at this point that these shots are at 32 or 35 off and that the only difference is the degree of lean away from and toward the boat. At 15-22 off the same principles apply only the degree of lean/leverage changes.

 

3.jpg
Figure 3

 

Figure 4
I am still just slowly reaching out trying to keep allowing the ski to go outbound. You can see though that the ski is starting to come back in and look where the buoy is! Notice where my arm that is not on the handle is. I want to keep it tucked in tight so that my shoulders stay level and my head stays level. This keeps my weight from coming forward and that keeps the ski from biting too hard and getting either too much angle or getting the angle too quickly before I am in a position to hang on to it.

 

4.jpg
Figure 4

 

Figure 5
This picture shows my off arm coming away from my body and now there is not a straight line that can be drawn through my body. My shoulders are starting to come forward and notice the water is starting to climb up higher on the ski tip. The one good thing I have going for me here is that my shoulders are still counter-rotated.

 

5.jpg
Figure 5

 

Figure 6
I have finished the turn now and am waiting for the boat to progress down course. I have kept my lean that I established coming into the ball and I am just going to maintain that. I do not want to over turn here by pushing on the ski and I do not want to start rotating my shoulders cross course. I will wait for the boat to pick me up and then I will evaluate what I need to do then, hopefully nothing but enjoy the nice acceleration cross course.

 

6.jpg
Figure 6

 

Figure 7
I wanted to use this picture to demonstrate how early the ski has changed edge and where the arc of turning back in starts. The spray off the ski starts just behind the boat from this perspective. I am skiing 38 off in this picture so I picked up speed quickly and you will not need to start your edge change this early but I wanted you to get the idea that even at 15 at 22 off you want to start your edge change 6-10 feet after the second wake so that you can have a bulk of your turn completed before the buoy.

 

7.jpg
Figure 7

 

Figure 8
Right behind the boat! Elbows are in tight to my vest, I am looking down course and the handle is right next to my hips. The further away the handle gets from your hips here the more the boat is loading your upper body and the more forward you are going to have to ride on the ski - the boats are too strong.

 

8.jpg
Figure 8

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