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Old Guy Learning To Ski

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Poorhouse View Drop Down
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    Posted: July-01-2016 at 9:18am
Some of you may have followed my boat shopping posts over the last couple years which lead to a purchase this spring.

We now have the boat pretty well dialed in and are comfortable driving it, so it's time to ski!

I'm making this thread to track our progress and solicit feedback, pointers, suggestions, criticisms, face palms, etc.

My goal is to get up on two skies, get comfortable on them then move on to one ski. Wife's goal is to deep water slalom ski start and get better on the slalom ski.

My wife is 44 and I turned 45 yesterday. She grew up skiing, I have never water skied, but have snow skied since I was 5. I thought my snow ski experience would help in the water. My wife wasn't so sure.

First step was buying gear. The wife handled this. Pai of thrift store skies for 10 bucks, rope from Amazon 20 bucks, nice PFDs on sale at Costco. We are outfitted for under $300. We spent more on an inflatable and rope for the 6 year old.

Tuesday of this week wife had the boat out with some girlfriends who planned to ski. This would be the first ski outing. Wife ended up not skiing but learned a lot about how hard to "hit it" in an inboard ski boat vs the old out boards she grew up with. After pulling the rope out of people's hands she got the throttle figured out. The high school girl had skied behind her dads fishing boat. She could slalom ski but not deep water start. She successfully deep water started. She said the pop of the inboard made it easy.
The other woman was a bit younger than my wife and a slalom skier. She failed to get up in about a dozen tries and didn't want to try on two skies. The other woman did not ski.
High school girl also tubed with the six year old. He is fallen in love with her.

So day one was a good outing. Gear all worked, boat did well, and wife got a feel for the boat.

Yesterday for my birthday the plan was an afternoon on the water with family and my first day water skiing. Late start had us to the lake about 2pm. The crew was me, wife, kid and my Dad to act as spotter. It was pretty windy and a lot of boats out including several surf boats so the water was churned up. I didn't think it would make much difference for me as a newly. I was right and wrong about that.

We cruised the lake to find a spot with less traffic. Found a quiet spot and the wind died down, perfect. Wife went first, she gave me some pointers on the throttle and how fast she wanted to go if she got up, 20 mph. She was up on the first try and had a nice long ride. She was about catching up to the boat when she would finish her turns on either side. She did another similar run then it was my turn.

She had given me some pointers on what to expect. I had done a few dry land pulls and watched a few learn to ski videos. I was ready right? We'll sort of. Getting skies on and manoevering in the water was trickier than I thought. It's hard to fight the urge to use your feet to kick when the skies are on. I also had a bit of trouble maintaining balance I while holding the handle in the ready position.
Time to do it. Wife's technique was to drag me for a bit to get used to the feel of the skies pushing the water then hit it on my command. This worked well. First time when she hit it I pushed my legs to much and the skies went out in front of me. Second time I popped out of the water then the skies again went out in front of me. Third time was the charm, popped up and stayed on the skies. Rode in straight behind the boat for 15 seconds or so. Such an awesome feeling! I could have kept going but I saw we were going to have to turn and I started thinking about how that would work and went down.
Took a break to celebrate.

Back out 30 minutes later. Wind was up and surf boats all over. Up again, worked on turning in the wake and wiped out. The idea of putting the ski on edge is like snow skiing but the feel is different. Next ride was a good long one. Made good turns back and forth in the wake. Tried to get out of the wake, was a bit to tense and went down. Tried again and got out of the wake and found out why skiers want smooth water. The chop and wakes made it really rough, down again.
Tried another couple times and had some bad timing. Would try to start just as a wake came by and submarines my skies and I went over the front.
Same result twice and called it a day.

Feeling good this morning. Shoulders a little sore but not bad.

Will be camping this weekend at the lake with the boat and friends with their boat. They are both very good slalom skiers.

Video of first ride coming and pic of gear.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blamey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 9:47am
Originally posted by Poorhouse Poorhouse wrote:

   I thought my snow ski experience would help in the water. My wife wasn't so sure.


Personally I think it will help. It won't make you an instant expert but you should progress a lot quicker than if you didn't have the snow ski experience.

Originally posted by Poorhouse Poorhouse wrote:

Wife ended up not sliding but learned a lot about how hard to "hit it" in an inboard ski boat vs the old out boards she grew up with.


What exactly does this mean? Are you saying the power of the inboard requires a little more finesse than just going WOT?

I skied as a kid but haven't skied since I was about 10 years old. My boat came with an old pair of combos that I tired to get up on on my birthday and couldn't do it. Not sure what the issue was but I just could hold onto the rope long enough to get up out of the water. I do want to get to the point where I can slalom again, so I'll try again soon but I really didn't expect to not be able to get up.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Poorhouse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 10:17am
Originally posted by Blainey Blainey wrote:


Originally posted by Poorhouse Poorhouse wrote:

Wife ended up not skiing but learned a lot about how hard to "hit it" in an inboard ski boat vs the old out boards she grew up with.


What exactly does this mean? Are you saying the power of the inboard requires a little more finesse than just going WOT?

I skied as a kid but haven't skied since I was about 10 years old. My boat came with an old pair of combos that I tired to get up on on my birthday and couldn't do it. Not sure what the issue was but I just could hold onto the rope long enough to get up out of the water. I do want to get to the point where I can slalom again, so I'll try again soon but I really didn't expect to not be able to get up.


Yes WOT was to much and would,pull rope out of their hands.
We were going a bit more than half throttle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 75 Tique Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 10:53am
Sounds like you are doing everything right. Just keep with it. Before reading the whole thing I thought maybe you were doing what a lot of beginners do, which is pull up on the rope by bending your elbows, That is a sure way to have the skis go out from under you, but it sounds like you have your riding form down. As far as maneuvering and going in and out of the wake, keep your knees bent at all times (sitting in a chair) and let your knees absorb the bumps. Also, you can not be timid crossing the wake. Its all or nothing, you cant creep across it. You have to commit or it will catch you and knock you down. Too bad about the wife's friend that insisted on learning on one ski because she was too proud to do 2. That's just silly. A couple rounds on two and she could easily move to one. Like I said, Keep it up. Videos next time would be invaluable for us to provide more feedback. You know the rules.....pics or it didn't happen. Nice the wife is comfortable running the boat and quickly learned some of the nuances of driving an inboard. I just shake my head when I watch rookies trying to learn and the driver is doing everything wrong, either ripping the handle out of their hands or dragging the start out half way down the lake by going too slow. I see it all the time. Oh, and "old" pffft, at 45, you're just a kid.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NCH20SKIER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 10:56am
So, welcome back to skiing albeit on water.
Some thoughts out of the gate for you-
This is new to the body - do not overdo it to soon, you will not heal as quickly as a teenager (applies to both you and your wife)
Give your body (especially your arms and legs time to condition.to the skiing position
On the starts you should only need to ease into the throttle about 1/4 tp 3/8 of the way if you are coming up on 2 skis
If your grip is not that strong right now a pair of gloves will help. However, gloves are not the answer to a WOT start.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrMcD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 11:08am
Glad to hear you had success. Of all ski memories none are more precious than the first time to get up. Enjoy what you have learned and play hard. Don't worry about moving on to a single ski till you are bored on the double ski. I would advance till I could jump the wakes, throw rooster tails with both ski's on turns and really master the two ski's.
Skiing double skis is a skill that will always be good to have in your pocket.   You will find the beginner skis are terrible. Pick up a couple good slalom skis and use them as your new double skis you will find much more fun, faster turns and far more control.
When you are bored with the doubles lift up one, left or right going down the lake on smooth water and find which your are more comfortable on.   This will end up being your forward foot once you go to a single ski.   If you feel like it while skiing doubles you can shake off the extra ski and put your foot into the back boot to start single skiing.   When the extra ski falls off take your time putting your rear foot into the rear binding.   Many people crash trying to do this fast. There is no rush. Put the rear foot in the binding once you are comfortable. Then start playing around on one ski.   Have some fun out there and enjoy every minute of your new sport. Glad your boat is working so well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Air206 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 11:20am
Originally posted by MrMcD MrMcD wrote:

......... Pick up a couple good slalom skis and use them as your new double skis you will find much more fun, faster turns and far more control..


Good slalom skis prefer to be on edge, not flat. Stay with what you got until you need a fancier slalom. Your current skis don't care about direction, flat or on edge..... and that's just fine. Double slaloms are gonna be a pain..........

As Larry said - Arms out, knees bent, don't look at the water and I would add - "Ski Proud" (chest up). Live it up!

(Having someone around that skis already would be a tremendous help getting through the learning curve).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Poorhouse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 11:54am
Thanks everyone. Video below.

Edit - I don't see how to embed the video, so link below.

This is the third attempt, my first ride.

I'm pretty stiff here. Subsequent rides I softened my knees and started make small turns. Was also working on chest out and bringing the handle down toward my waist.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dreaming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 12:11pm
glad to hear that you are having some success! For your wife and deep water starts, I would suggest that if you don't have a deep v handle you should look into getting one. They are very nice for learning.   When you deep start on the slalom ski, I found that it was difficult at first to control direction of the ski, but by putting the tip of the ski into the "V" of the handle, the rope tension will help to keep your ski straight as you figure out the other parts of your start.   

For starting, both Slalom and on doubles, I try to keep my bum on the ski(s) until it the ski's begin to plane, and then stand up.   trying to get up on your feet too fast can pull you off balance (ski's out the front) and will require more muscle, so patience is going to serve you well in the process.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rebel skier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 12:34pm
Way to go! Thanks for sharing.

When you want to go out of the wake, turn your head to the side you want to go and look at least 45 degrees away from the boat to the side. Your shoulders will follow you head.

When you want to go back in, first pull out a little from the wake, then initiate going back in by turning your head and looking at least 45 degrees across the wake from the direction the boat is going.

Once you have this down and want more speed crossing the wake, turn your head 90 degrees and grin ear to ear as you take off.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Air206 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 12:47pm
Fun to see new skiers - you did great! The rest of this post is going to be like trying to tell someone how to drive. So take it with a pinch of salt.

You all are doing great.... Just like skiing behind the inboard, the right equipment makes it easier. The rest is practice,practice,practice.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8122pbrainard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 1:41pm


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AAM196 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 2:11pm
haha... nice... Sounds like you guys are having a ball getting into this! Best part is, you realized you could drop a ton more money on equipment but wouldn't make much difference.

On our lake... between DC in Pgh, it is common to see beginners out on a new $150k wakeboard boat they just bought with all new expensive gear, yet have trouble just getting across the monster wake or in some cases, even get out of the water.

Have fun!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 63 Skier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 2:28pm
Hey Jake, nicely done! You looked pretty comfortable back there for first time up.

Your wife's friend not getting up slalom, even though she was experienced - I had a slalom skier struggle to get up on my ski last night, he didn't have his so borrowed mine. Took a few tips for him to get the hang of it. Sometimes using a different ski can defeat a deep water start for a while, she really just ought to drop a ski and have fun next time.

I'm another one that's taking offense at the old guy title - 45, are you kidding me???!!! Keep at it and have fun!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dwouncmd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 4:31pm
Looked good to me. I don't have much to add to what has been said above (lots of great skiers/teachers, several of whom have taught me as a learner in my 40's). Keep it up. It is loads of fun, gets you outside, involves developing a real skill, is a workout, and best of all, does not involve looking at a back-lighted screen attached to a CPU. My biggest issue has been getting enough time on the water; not much left after pulling everyone else

The whole gearhead/boat thing is just a bonus
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Poorhouse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 5:34pm
Thanks everyone! It was really fun, I can see it will be addictive.

Good tips on crossing the wake and not watching the water. I an doing that now and checking my body position, both of which lead to getting off balance.

One thing I'm struggling with is where to have my weight. In snow skiing you have your weight on the balls of your feet and lean into the slope. Getting pulled by the boat you obliviously lean back but where do you center your weight? Evenly over your foot, more toward the heel? I felt like I was doing a lot of forward and back adjusting trying to figure that out.

More practice will be fun. I was happy that it didn't hurt to hit the water at 20 mph. That gave me a lot more confidence. The bummer compared to snow skiing is that you can't get right back up after a fall. You have to wait for the boat and start the whole process over again. I just wanted to keep riding.

As to age, I should have said 45 years young. Trying something new has me feeling younger today.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 63 Skier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 6:32pm
Originally posted by Poorhouse Poorhouse wrote:

I was happy that it didn't hurt to hit the water at 20 mph.

Just wait, it will hurt at some point!

What speed did she pull you at?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Poorhouse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 7:44pm
Originally posted by 63 Skier 63 Skier wrote:

Originally posted by Poorhouse Poorhouse wrote:

I was happy that it didn't hurt to hit the water at 20 mph.

Just wait, it will hurt at some point!

What speed did she pull you at?


Lol I'm sure. I did get a couple sinus enemas.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 63 Skier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 10:06pm
As you go a few more times bring the speed up to mid 20's, you'll find it easier to control the skis and cross the wakes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Poorhouse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 10:11pm
Originally posted by 63 Skier 63 Skier wrote:

As you go a few more times bring the speed up to mid 20's, you'll find it easier to control the skis and cross the wakes.


Will try it this weekend.

Going to a lake with less traffic. Hopefully the conditions will be better.

If my wife wants to slalom should we use the same speed?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 63 Skier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 10:22pm
She is on 2 skis as well? 20 is pretty slow. I've pulled kids slow, high teens to low 20's to learn, but for you guys mid 20's will let the skis ride high, respond well when you turn. It also depends on the skis, the newer wide combo skis let you get up easier and ride slower. Even so I think you'll quickly adjust to the higher speed and enjoy the feel.

Faster and slower signals from the skier will let you play around with speed during a run and get it to a place that feels good.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Poorhouse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-01-2016 at 10:34pm
She is going to experiment with 1 ski this weekend.

She has experience on 1 ski but can't deep water start.

In my mind the reduced surface area of 1 ski would require a higher speed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote td_in_nc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-02-2016 at 8:04am
+1 on the v rope to make getting up on a slalom easier. Even April Cobble suggest them for learning.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrMcD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-02-2016 at 8:39am
When your wife gets up on one ski you will need to increase the boat speed.
I suspect you will need 28 - 30 mph for a single ski.
As mentioned, communicate with hand signals to get the speed right for her.
A thumb up means more speed.
Thumb down = ;less speed
OK sign, speed is good.
One other tip that may help, when your skier is ready to go teach them to say HIT IT.
This means hit the gas, lets go, I m ready.
If they yell GO, that can be dangerous since GO and NO can sound the same. HIT IT is unique and you have less chance of error.
Go have some fun out there, glad you guys are so excited.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Morfoot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-02-2016 at 8:40am
Originally posted by td_in_nc td_in_nc wrote:

+1 on the v rope to make getting up on a slalom easier. Even April Cobble suggest them for learning.


Bought a nice Slalolm V-handle from her at the Atlanta Boat show last Jan. Got my 17 year old Daughter up with it on the second try. +2 on the training handle.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8122pbrainard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-02-2016 at 8:51am
Originally posted by MrMcD MrMcD wrote:

As mentioned, communicate with hand signals .




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bkhallpass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-02-2016 at 10:15am
Pics, or it did not happen.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiralhelix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-02-2016 at 11:04am
Awesome job!!!! Also, what a terrible setting to go skiing. Who really wants to look at that beautiful sight all day???   

I think everyone is hitting the nail on the head with instruction. Being a snow skier myself, I feel that that helps get the muscle memory going quicker. As Air206 said, chest up and lean back a little. You want the skis to ride the rollers/wakes like you would with mogals. With your knees bent already, there isn't much room to go and end up pounding them. And constantly hitting rollers tires you out quickly. Not saying you guys do this as the vid wasn't long enough, just remember (if you have to turn around a lot) Make the boat path a dumbbell shape, Not a nascar race track. That way the center of the wake will always be smooth(er).

Keep an eye out on either Amazon or woot.com for action cameras. I got mine for $50 and they turn out pretty awesome (maybe a bit less quality than a gopro, but far less expensive). Then you can either purchase or build a pylon mount that will track you as you move from side to side. Here is a thread discussing mounts.

Lastly, to embed video, copy the youtube link, then when composing the post, add the link between the {tube}http://youtu.be/j8VrFfnK3Gk{/tube} command or can be shortented to {tube}j8VrFfnK3Gk{/tube} (*note i used incorrect brackets on purpose so you can see the code. so you would just use a normal straight open and close bracket.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dwouncmd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-03-2016 at 12:38pm
I got my kids a v handle pretty cheap on Amazon (Jobe, about $35). Ordered and had it in two day (the local Overton's did not have one in stock). Has been a god-send for all 4 kids (the 7 and 8 year old are about to move to the standard rope).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Poorhouse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July-04-2016 at 11:46pm
If you thought that scenery was bad you will hate this.
Hungry Horse Reservoir, Glacier National Park in the back ground.

Camped for the weekend there. On the water Sunday and today.
Conditions weren't great. Low 70's and windy.

I was the only one who skied Sunday. Up on the second try and had a nice ride. Outside the wake and cutting across the wake. Felt great and was really fun. Water was choppy but at this point I don't know any better.

This morning the other guy in our party took advantage of a break in the wind and took a ride on the slalom ski. Fun to watch him lay it down. I didn't have the video camera ready when he took off.

After lunch the wife tried some deep water slalom starts with no success. She then tried to drop a ski and had a couple good wipe outs. That was enough of that and she had a nice run on two skies.

Here is one of her deep water attempts, just plowing. she was feeling like she needed more weight on the back foot. Our friends were telling her to keep both feet weighted equally. She made a couple more attempts with similar outcomes.

Mrs. Poorhouse deep water start

Here she is trying to drop a ski. She couldn't find the back binding.

Mrs. Poorhouse dropping ski.

And her run on two skies.

Mrs. Poorhouse on two skies

I took another run when she was done. There were a couple spots out of the wind with some glass that she had hit. I found a couple of those. Totally different experience than the chop. Sound, feel everything. I get why people would get out on the water early when its still cold to ski that, so awesome.

You can see start to push the turns more toward the end of the run and pick up my right ski a couple times. The turns felt great, picking up the ski felt pretty wobbly.

Poorhouse's run

Will order deep V handle rope this week to try out next weekend.
Sold - 1986 Supra Sunsport Skier
Current - 1996 - MC Prostar 205
I keep doing this wrong.
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