Well, hockey is over and snow skiing is winding down this weekend. So I started thinking about getting ready for the next season. Looks like we'll be running the imaginary course this summer...
Just got back from 4 days at Lake Powell and it was the perfect cure for the low water, no course blues. We haven't been there in 3 years or so and forgot how awesome it is. Breathtaking scenery, magic light, and warm water. There was glass at daybreak and again at around 10:00 AM, then plenty of tucked out of the way, narrow canyons for flat water the rest of the day. What a trip! Hopefully we'll go back before this season is over.
Well, it's official. Had to pull our course out this week due to low water. That and due to some back and hip issues this season, I had a grand total of 6 sets in the slalom course this year! We'll need a really big winter this year to even get it back in next season. There will still be skiing just not the course. Let's hope it happens.
Not much to write about...
My "weekend" Tuesday/Wednesday seemed like a fight to get any decent water. Despite there being less than 10 trailers in the parking lot of one of Colorado's largest lakes, there just seemed to be somebody doing donuts wherever we went. I still got some decent pulls in but it felt more rushed than it has lately. More of the same rhythm and swing stuff as last week. First day was cut short by a leaky hose fitting in the boat. Second day we did more open water to start the morning. When I got to the course I discovered the water to be too low. After moving it (seems like all I ever do) I got one set in windy conditions where I kept it slow at 30 and just thought about swinging up on the boat and getting real good angle on the next. Fun.
After surveying the depth situation I am thinking we are going to have to pull our course out in two weeks at the latest. It's the lowest since 2004. There will still be plenty of open water since parts of the lake are in a 200 foot deep canyon, just no course. Oh well. We'll pray for a heavy winter otherwise next summer will be a bust.
Due to various circumstances I have been skiing very little this summer. Not all bad, mind you, I got to go to hockey camp which was absolutely fantastic. But now, due to house guests, weather, and other commitments it is not the usual. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the water level is going down early, so we may need to pull the course out in a few weeks!
All is not lost though. I am really enjoying the skiing that I am doing. My schedule for the last two weeks and for the next three allows me to ski Monday and Tuesday, instead of the normal weekend. It doesn't get any better than that on a public lake!
So how's it going? Great! I have been skiing at least one free ski session each day prior to running the course since there is no pressure to ski the course before the weekend tubers arrive. Basically, all I have been doing is rhythm and position at various speeds and lines. Then, I'm trying to take this relaxed approach into the course at 15 off, 30, 32 and 34. When it stops feeling the way it did on the open water I stop to avoid diminishing returns.
What have I learned in my three weekends? I have stopped thinking wide. Yup. I have discovered that thinking up-on-the-boat works best for me and I am able to gage this more easily when free skiing. Up on the boat translates more to using my speed to swing more of the arc with less resistance. It just feels more slick and efficient to me. When I think wide I tend to rotate away from the boat and for all the effort, very little of it helps me carry out and up or to swing. Another thing about paying attention to this is that I can immediately tell what is changing when the speed goes up or as fatigue sets in. For instance, when going from 32 to 34, it seems more difficult to move up on the boat at first and I am unable to truly finish my turns and gain angle. If I work harder, it seems to get worse. But because I'm free skiing I can start all over and adjust my stance, pull out, and timing until it feels like 32.
The other thing that I have taken the time to become more aware of is that by moving up on the boat more it has become MUCH easier to get my butt forward and engage my front foot in the preturn. I can be taller and ski farther around the turn before hookup. It even is making trailing arm pressure work where I previously had difficulty. This is just making life much better at the finish and into the wakes. It is also the first thing to go out the window in the course when I'm late and narrow so I have been using it as a self-test as to whether a pass was any good or not.
Anyway, I just thought writing this stuff down would help solidify what has been working the last few weeks.
Well, I'm headed to Ice Hockey camp this morning... Got 12 hours of ice over four days coming up. Eventually, I'll get my head back into waterskiing! And, I'm looking forward to it!
My ski season won't happen for at least another month but that doesn't mean I haven't been preparing. As usual I played hockey this winter and, having "extra time" on my hands, was fortunate to be able to spend 2-3 hours, 6 days a week on the ice in addition to snow skiing. I am feeling strong and best of all I have lost some weight, to the tune of 15+ pounds from my already not too overweight 165 pound frame. Haven't been this light since high school, which was a longggg time ago. Anyway, I'm just trying to keep some level of this fitness going until the end of this mud season when I'll attend a short hockey camp and begin waterskiing.
The real reason I wanted to write this diary entry was because I had an enlightening experience yesterday at a time when it was least expected. Who would think that stopping at a park to walk the dog during a combination of doctor visits and shopping 2 hours from home would bring on a waterskiing inspiration when you haven't even seen the water, let alone skied, for 6 months? Well, if your paying attention, it can come anytime! In my case it came from a bomber swing setup in this public park, the kind that is very tall and has heavy chains with a soft seat. With all of the talk about swing, carry out, pendulums, tension, loading etc. I just had to try this and I recommend you do too. At first, just like everything else, I thought I knew/remembered exactly how to move my body to get maximum trajectory out of this thing. You know, pumping legs, hooking arms and swinging the upper body forward and back. But after getting some decent height with my gorilla-like, overdone motions, I realized that it required much less. Actually no upper body motion and only a perfectly timed kick of the legs was all that was needed to pump and release this thing into it's highest swing. What's the lesson in this for waterskiing? I'm not going to try make any kind of statement about skiing being the same as this or that. You can draw your own conclusions. I'm just going to say that finding and feeling the energy that is already encompassed in what you are doing and then adding only to that will yield surprising results. And learning to do this in a different medium that has similar physical properties can teach you much about all of the other similar activities and help develop an awareness. So get get out there and pump your skateboard on the ramp, ski or snowboard in the half pipe, do figure eights with c-cuts on skates, hula hoop, or yes, even swing on a swing set. Do anything it takes to discover how to produce the "pump" that keeps things moving and is the free ride that is "getting up on the boat."
Snowed all day yesterday with power outages all over Southwest Colorado. Now we are having very cold temperatures for a few days. Got to go and drain my boat! Still need to pull our course out but that will have to wait until better weather. Thinkin' about ice hockey now.
Joel, here's a couple more stills that go with my comment to your blog. Notice the difference in rope angle between you and Seth.
Got a half a set in before a strong wind picked up. I was expecting better weather, but it didn't happen. Oh well, nothing new to report. Running 50% of 32/15 passes. Still not happy with transition from offside to onside. Never got to try anything else.
Hopefully this will end this week long weather trend. Not to sound too wimpy, but I don't think I'm skiing today.
I had a rare opportunity to ski on a Tuesday which means great conditions. Well, good conditions, given that there was a steady 10 mph crosswind, but NO OTHER BOATS. The water temperature is about 63 now and when we started so was the air. I'm not ready for this.
First set: Ran 4 passes at 30/15 like a gorilla. It is so easy to completely over-do everything here and then despite that, run the pass. At 32/15 I ran 2 and went to 5 ball on 3 passes. Still having a tendency to "get back" on my offside and then push my legs to regain support. My ski does not tolerate this (porpoises) and I am finally thinking about a binding move.
Second set: Bindings forward 1/2 hole (sequence plate). I feel like I am more over the sweet spot on the ski for now even just riding behind the boat. At 32/15 I ran 3 of 8 passes and again, the rest go to 5 ball. I am really just thinking about my gate, one, two and they are working well. However, I am noticing now that I am tending to get separated at the second wake heading for 4 ball (offside cut) which is really blowing the rhythm.
Third set: At 31/15 I ran 2 passes and crashed on 2. 32/15 I ran 1 of 6 passes with basically same results as second set except I threw in a couple more crashes. What a focus blower. I could not get my gate setup timed and could not seem to get any kind of rhythm going. Must be tired.
Thoughts: My usual patterns are the same regardless of speed. If I have a smooth, well timed pull-out and turn-in, 1 and 2 ball seem sweet and early. Somehow, I nearly always wind up narrow for 3 and rush/over pull to 4 and the trend continues. My thinking is that the problem is really back a step. I am actually losing my direction off the wakes going into my 2-4 side (RFF). It looks early but ends up narrow and rushed and the result is that I don't get the full value of my onside turn and make myself narrow at 3-5. Why am I losing my direction? Even when I'm well positioned going into the wakes I frequently get separated at the second wake. No, more like ricocheted at the second wake. I'm either overloading just before the wake or just not in as good a position as I think, but the result is an early edge change. I'm feeling like I need video and free skiing to work on this but time is running out.
Another thought is the binding position. When the binding was back and I overloaded my offside pull the ski just porpoised, losing angle so I didn't get jerked at the second wake. Now that the ski is biting better I'm getting more angle out of 1-3 and not getting away with poor connection and overload. Again, some free skiing may help to sort this out. Wish I had a picture.
Looking out my window there is snow on the peaks this morning. I'm not ready!
Well, Saturday morning I got a short notice invite to ski with a friend at his private lake. I had intended to work on the kitchen since the forcast at the public lake was not good for wind direction. Guess which one I did. Anyway, it was a great day and I got to catch up with old friends, see their progress on their lake project, and, of course, ski a couple of sets in great conditions.
Started at 30/15 and immediately bobbled at 1. Then ran 3 full passes. At 32/15 I was getting to 5 for several passes when I was made aware that I was skiing narrow and traced it back (where else) to gates/one ball. Ran the next then ended. Honestly, I have not spent any time at 32 mph this season, so I'm a little shakey on the start timing. When it is right I run it. What I realized Saturday was I am pulling out and turning in harder when I change speeds. This was causing two problems for me. First, I'm too fast at the turn in and never really get my angle set. Second, the excess speed is causing me to edge change and reach simultaneously, rather that skiing out to the end of the rope before reaching and turning.
Second set I ran 3 passes at 30/15 then went back up to 32 mph. In terms of buoys, I was only getting around 5. However, my gate, one, two was much improved. Lots more control, and able to think again about staying connected, trailing arm pressure, etc. Things were starting to come together again.
A repeating pattern for me is to have a great gate, one, two then over pull too soon to three (on side) in a misguided attempt to get earlier. The result is to get later and carry too much speed the rest of the way. I really need to stay in the moment and trust my turns to stay on same rhythm.
As a side note, I have been riding a Strada lately. Most of my bobbles have to do with losing front foot pressure. When I get back or push on the legs before the turn is finished on this ski it is game over and is much less tolerant than my D3. Stay balanced and it's quite another story not to mention it is very little effort. Lastly, this ski is much happier at 32 mph and there is much less tendency to "get back."
Headed for a week of vacation at the lake. I'm sure I'll have lots to talk about then.
Needed to do work on the kitchen Saturday which meant no skiing for me. This is killing me! Sunday brought a new weather system complete with white caps and rain. However, I was not stopped. One of the advantages of a very large lake is that there is a very large number of possibilities to find good water. The course was blown out and so were all of the usual "secret stashes." What then? The picture above is not the actual place but it does tell the story... :)
I've been skiing very little this season and I finally got a two day weekend at the lake while being treated to some good weather and water conditions. Wind was still in the 10 mph range off and on, but that's normal. So I basically spun laps at 30/15 for a total of six sets, with a few 30/22's thrown in just to shake things up . In addition, we put the boat back in at sunset on Sat night for a 4 mile open water glass session. I love it when that happens and it's a great way to get the repetitions in and build rhythm.
OK so what am I working on? Three things together. Connection, width, and rhythm. They all go together so when I lose one, at least one of the other will faulter. What's clicking? I'm actually feeling the trailing arm pressure thing and able to correct on the fly when it's not there. Also, my handle is a lot more level so I can only assume my shoulders are more level. I have no idea why this is working for me now. Lastly, when I start with good width, the speed is there for a good finish, which is putting me right back into to that connected position... repeat. It is much easier to ski this way. Why don't I do this all the time?
Next week I'll probably ski at least half of my passes at 30 again, then begin to take the speed up again as well as mixing in some slow 22's. I just need more time!
Joel, saw your tweet about sending Momentum to Netflix. Oh well, but consider it "giving back to the sport." You might have just turned on the next world champ!
BTW, I would like to see more activity on this board. Personally, I'm not skiing much this season and have more need to BS about it. Anybody else out there?
Finally got to the lake Sat evening. Too much traffic near the course so we free skied in a long river section on real smooth water. Great for getting it all figured out again! 20 turns at a time.
Sunday AM was very windy and whitecapping so we went to check on the course. Discovered someone had broken one of the arms and hid it in the weeds. How clever, we never would have noticed! Spent 3 hours fixing and aligning. Took a boat ride to look for good water and found it. Got in 2 long sets of open water before getting blown out again. I am real sore right now!
First time out! Been busy with remodel, bluegrass festival, weather, etc. Finally got the boat and my butt in the water. Nothing special, just a few turns at 30 since it was a bit windy. Water was a surprising 61 and only needed the shorty. Now off to a wedding on the east coast, where I hope to ski with an old buddy while there. I'm right on schedule to be actually skiing the course by August! Hope to have more to contribute by then. I don't see why I won't be running 32 off by then :)
Same picture, different day. When will it end?
For all of you guys that complain about your weather... this is why I don't ski much before June! More on the way today and tomorrow.
The good news is that there will be water in the lake!
Looking forward to days on the lake like the one here with my camera shy coach...
Ski season is not quite finished yet but hockey season is. I can truly say that I'm having withdrawal. It's that time of year in the mountains where we're sort of in limbo, winter is starting to let up and summer will be a while. Spring just doesn't exist!
Thinking about hockey... what a great sport! I probably mentioned on the old site that this was the first year in 35 years that I played. If you want to drop weight in the winter this is way to do it. I lost more than 15 pounds, got some legs, and gained some endurance. All this while having fun. Hopefully, this translates a little something to waterskiing.