Three Things you don’t want from a Water Ski School
The first thing you do not want from your water ski school/vacation is blistered hands. So many things change when you are in a school environment, from different water temperatures to just hanging on to the handle for longer periods than you are used to. From the newest beginner to the seasoned veteran water skier we have seen them all ruin their hands, some on their first session on the water! What can you do to make sure your hands don’t become a mess? First, be proactive tape from the beginning and be aware the very second you feel a stinging sensation come back to the dock and tape up. We sell several different liner type products from a neoprene palm protector to full under glove Kevlar liners made by Masterline. If all else fails you can always go to Clincher gloves, to many they may feel strange initially but, as they say necessity is the mother of invention! Any water skier suffering from hamburger hands becomes willing to try almost anything to keep skiing. Most important is to pay attention and if unsure, tape, tape, tape, money well spent to bring a roll of good old Duct tape or water proof medical tape. There is a great article in the April 2012 issue of Waterski Magazine on proper taping technique.
The second thing you do not want from a water ski school is Forearm pump, I’m sure those of you who have never had it and are scratching you heads, saying what the? Those of you who have had it know exactly what I am talking about. This happens way more often than it should, again another very avoidable but trip altering problem. Forearm pump is when the muscles of your forearms are so traumatized that you can’t hold on to the handle. For that matter those that experience this have trouble holding a hairbrush for days. The most common way we see the forearms start to go, is when guests start missing the get-ups out of the water. The more they miss the starts the more they over grip and so the story goes…Anyone who suffers from the forearm monster must learn to stop over gripping the handle. Often its nerves and often it is the way a particular skier holds the handle, which may work for their limited start and stops at home but can’t hang in a lesson environment. All you need is to get your hands around the handle and grip it not strangle it! Sometimes is can be just one submarined handle pop on the missed start and trouble begins. So what can you do? If you have ever experienced anything like what I have described before tell us right up front so we are aware. For that matter, if you have EVER had trouble on your starts speak up, better to have a plan than have us find out after your arms are shot. There are lots of things we can try to reduce the stress on your forearms from taking all the punishment. Dry land/garage practice of holding on to your handle hooked to something safe using a grip that is not the death grip can really help the skier to become aware of what enough vs. what is too much grip.
The third thing you do not want from a water ski school is Hamstring pull, although this does tend to be more often a male problem we have seen our share of gals coming up lame with the hammy pull! This tends to happen on any skier that gets deep in a start and starts pushing their legs straight to resist the pull. How many times have we all heard, “stay in a ball” so simple, but that is really the key to avoid this typical water ski injury. The nerves of your first start at the strange place with strangers and performance anxiety are the perfect storm for this to happen. A skier that starts to push back against the force of the water in the start will always loose! It’s easy to say relax and let the boat do the work, but in the throes of the moment, most people that this happens don’t even realize they are doing it. The more they miss the more they push until the hammy says, “Enough” and you are done! The best way to avoid the hamstring type pull is to practice your starts until they become totally effortless! If you can’t practice before arriving at a school or have not been able to get past the push, let us know sometimes the fix can be as simple as using a different handle! It may seem more embarrassing to say something beforehand, thinking you will be ok, but an ounce of prevention… Another common technique that works well for many skiers until they face the rigors of school is dragging a foot. Many skiers beginner and even pros that use a rear toe kick leave their foot out until they are out of the water. For a more advanced skier who is used to tons of starts throughout the season they don’t usually have a problem. The stress comes again when doing repeated starts in one day or over a short period of time, that front leg is taking all the stress against the powerful push of the water and sometimes just gets overly fatigued. The easy fix again is just tell someone then we can be sure to spin the boat more often and drop less.
In summary, there are so many things skiers are looking to get out of a water ski school experience don’t let these three be one of them! Communication will help us, help you have the best water ski vacation possible! Oh yeah, and stretch, stretch, stretch...
Come ski with us soon,
Robby Trimble Owner/Skier
When it comes to water ski schools in Northern California, oddly there are relatively few. Strange because some of the best water skiers in the world have and continue to call Northern California their home. Even though Northern California has a long ski season with great climate, with lots of water. Access has always been a problem with most open bodies of water being so regulated as to not allow a school setting. Over the years there has been a boom in private manmade lakes in Northern California allowing for some fabulous water ski training sites, although most of them are held by a small group of owners that limit use from outsiders.
As sole owners when Doug and I saw there was a niche for a water ski school/vacation experience in Northern California, we could make the decision to open up our first class private manmade lake for others to experience. SkiSunsetRanch is the perfect boutique water ski school. We have built a resort like atmosphere; our compound is gated and fenced for the exclusive use of our guests. The accommodations are first class with choices for individuals and groups. Here at the ranch we run only one boat on the lake at a time. Before or after your lesson you can walk a few steps back to your accommodation to relax and prepare for your next lesson, without having to be out in the elements all day, so you are fresh for your session.
You may be able to find other places in California to take some water ski lessons, but you will only find one SkiSunsetRanch. We make your experience personal and unique to your specific level and needs. You will find the environment here rich with great lessons, critical content and video analysis for all to assure each skiers needs are met. Oh yeah, most importantly everyone gets plenty of time on the water! If you are interested in more than just lessons, a great vacation experience come to Northern California, you will love it!
We are just 20 minutes from Sacramento International Airport, ski you soon!
First we improved the turn, learning to ride your ski in a balanced stance creating more angle. Now that you can generate angle out of the turn next is holding that angle thru the wakes. Just like in making a balanced turn it is important to keep your hips up (or at least not droping back) it is again critical to build a strong position thru the wakes. Once you have completed a balanced turn and have good angle moving toward the wakes at this point you must generate lean against the boat. You will feel your hips moving toward the handle(hips move to the handle not handle to hips) at the same time you feel your head and shoulders moving away from the boat. At this point you are in a strong safe leverage position against the boat. This strong position maintains the angle your balanced turn created and you are maintaining the correct line!
It is critical to hold this strong leverage posititon thru boat wakes, this is the bottom of the pendulum and will give you the momentum to ski out wide and able to make a balanced turn. These are the keys to working on your lean:
- Lean away from the actual boat, not away from the direction you are traveling.
- Leaning away from the boat keeps you balanced on the ski, keeping the ski on the cutting edge.
- Be sure not to lean away from the direction of travel this action will move you to your back foot and the ski tip will rise up coming off the cutting edge causing you to bounce across the wake having lost your angle.
Maintaining the correct line when transitioning from a strong lean to the turn will be the next topic...stay tuned
Doug Trimble Owner/Coach SkiSunsetRanch
Which D3 Water Ski is best for you?
Written by Paul Crawford, Director of Competition Services, D3 Water Skis
There are many slalom course ski choices available these days. Depending on what ski you are familiar with and what ski you are currently riding some will be easy to transition to and others much more difficult. My job at D3 is identifying which one of our ski models suits a skier best.
The of the first questions is always, “are you interested in the slalom course?” “Is this the end goal?” A slalom course oriented skier has specific needs that a recreational skier may not. D3 skis, for the most part are slalom course specific skis. It is also important to add that while a ski may be slalom course specific it does not have to be difficult for the entry level slalom skier to ride while learning the basics of slalom course style skiing.
In my over 30 years of listening to competitive skiers needs I have come to the conclusion that most fall into one of two distinct categories: The “speed freak” and the “stability addict.” While your style may have features in both categories typically a priority will emerge if you ask yourself what is most important to you.
Group A “The stability addict”: is looking for an ultra-stable, predictable ski. It may not feature blinding speed and take additional effort to ride but is manageable and makes it easy to manufacture a big turn or addition angle when running late. This skier likes to decide when and how hard to drop-in and turn the ski.
Group B “The speed freak”: is typically seeking a ski that requires less effort to ride. The ski should feel fast from side to side and carry its speed through the turn. This skier, is for the most part patient and likes to ride the ski through the entire turn and maintain the angle the ski naturally builds. The speed freak is light on his or her ski most of the time and takes advantage of the skis quickness and easy glide out the buoy.
Once I have a general idea of which category a skier falls into, my job becomes significantly easier. At D3 we build two models with similar DNA. While both are top performing slalom skis each has its own way of delivering results.
To satisfy “The stability addict”: The X7 sits deep in the water creating a solid stable feel. It is also great in rough water and will excel for the skier who likes to work the ski and be in complete control. Many 36 mph, short-line skiers love this ski. The X7 is also available in a toned down model called the X3 with a more forgiving lay-up for entry to intermediate level course skiers and open water enthusiasts.
For the “The speed freak”: The Fusion is the answer. Fast, quick thru the turn and effortless to ride the Fusion is the choice of many top competition skiers. The Fusion is also the perfect blend of speed and symmetrical turns that work best for up and coming junior skiers. This is why our junior models are designed with the Fusion shape. For the best turns on the market without sacrificing speed the Fusion delivers.
If you would like more information about what D3 is best for you. Answer these questions and return them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will get back with you with my thoughts on the best size and model for you. Or better yet Book a stay at SkiSunset Ranch waterski school for some great waterski lessons and I can personally set up a D3 for you.
- Skier weight and height?
- Typical score on a practice day?
- What ski are you currently riding?
- What size?
- What boot/binding system do you use
- Your end goal?
I wish everyone a great ski season and I hope to hear from you if it is time to try a new ride.
Written by Paul Crawford, Director of Competition Services
D3 Water Skis, 916-714-9389
**We offer all SkiSunsetRanch guests special pricing on both new and our huge inventory of factory blems call or email for more information and stock on hand.
Written by Doug Trimble Owner/Coach SkiSunsetRanch
In my previous blog post I talked about running the correct line in the slalom course. If you agree with my suggestion about running a more efficient line, it does beg the question, how do I acomplish that?
So, here are some ideas to get on the correct line...The first step to getting on the correct line begins with your turn. You will need to get comfortable making a turn balanced on your ski. In order to acomplish a balanced turn you need to feel as if you are weighting your front foot. Once you are on your front foot the turn becomes as simple as leaning your body in the direction you want to go. If you are turning to the right, you will pull out to the left of the boat. Stand up tall feeling preassure on your front foot and while you are feeling that front foot, push your hips forward with slight knee bend, arch your back squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Riding water ski in a balanced stance
Now you will be gliding on your ski in a balanced stance; to turn, keep your shoulders level and facing forward, keep your hips forward and simply lean your body to the right.
Leaning in to turn
Now repeat on right side of the boat and practice a balanced turn to the left. This type of turn will keep the ski flat on the water so when you lean to the right or left there will be more ski edge in the water and in turn generate the angle you need to ski the correct line.
Don't get discouraged when working on making balanced turn, if it feels awkward you are probally on the right track. Here at SkiSunsetRanch water ski school, a common error I see is, not keeping the hips pushed forward. Many skiers let the hips drop back as they start into the lean to the left or right, this very small movement puts the skier weight on the back foot. Weight on the back foot causes the tip to rise so there is not enough edge in the water, then the ski cannot generate angle and you are already off the correct line and it becomes time consuming and difficult to turn. Students taking water ski lessons here at our private lake in California will practice drills working on their stance. At SkiSunsetRanch we video everyone, so guests can see exactly where their current stance is.
Stay tuned for more water ski lessons...
Join us this season, to improve your water skiing!
written by Doug Trimble owner/coach SkiSunsetRanch
Over the years as more guests pass through the ranch, I have begun to recognize a few technical concepts that seem to plague many of the skiers we see. The first one that comes to mind is the concept of running the course early. I’ve seen many versions of what individual skiers consider “early”, that is not. In this article I will give my explanation of the path that skiers should strive for that would really get them “early”.
A typical scenario at the ranch is when we drop at the end of the lake to discuss the last run and I ask, was that pass early or late? Most of the time the skiers reply is, “oh, pretty early but could be earlier”. My answer is most often is actually you were about 20 feet past ball one at the start and got a little later as you went through the pass.
Typical down course path
I often get a puzzled look and the answer ok, I will be earlier next pass. After the next pass we have the same discussion with the same results, although no earlier. As many of you who have been to the ranch know we spend time discussing this concept and looking at our paths during video review. What I believe here is that the skier is really not sure what being early is, looks like or how to get there? Most all skiers see the buoy, pass the buoy (although close sometimes) and turn, that is not early. The common response to my coaching them to get earlier is, I can’t get any earlier I will hit the buoy! Which is true, if you turn sooner on that path you are running you might well hit the buoy.
Typical path same as above, just turning sooner
Running the course “earlier” is not turning tighter or faster. When skiing truly “early” it is very difficult to actually hit the buoy the way it knocks you down. I’ve seen the pros do it on occasion, but it is rare. To really be early in the course, the path has to be established (preferably) from the gates. That early path is a very different path than most of us have ever traveled. The "early" path is a giant key to slalom skiing success and continuing to improve, go faster and/or run shorter line. Pro skiers and other successful short line skiers get that concept and always run that other path. I believe they even see the course differently because to run short line they have to, however running the “early” path needs to start way before “short line”.
Spend some time wrapping your head around this concept in the off season, this is a great “visualizing exercise”. So, when we hit the water next season, you see it and believe it and will be willing to act on the change. Taking this path in the slalom course will bring great rewards.
Begin to visualize your 2012 trip to the ranch and running the “earliest” pass you can imagine and stay tuned for suggestions on how to begin skiing “earlier”…
2012 Reservations Open in January, book early to get the dates you want!
Written by Doug Trimble
Since I handle the bookings here at the ranch and am in contact with most guests before arrival by email or phone, I am often asked by future guests, what can I do to prepare? However, most often I am not asked about what things to do to prepare for my waterski vacation. In the past I have assumed that the future guest has an understanding of what they are about to experience and most times things work out great. Going forward I will have a series of reference articles guests can read to familarize themselves with our program. To better assure everyone has the most successful waterski vacation possible! Also, to cover the bases for those of you who might forget or may be to shy to ask, I will share on this blog post the "numero uno" thing a guest can do to prepare for their waterski vacation.
Take as many "deep water starts" as possible before arrival, simple, easy and just that short!
Now for those of you who maybe thinking huh, what, why that? Let me explain...
Let's just say you do all your skiing on open water at the lake. Typical day is get in, get up go until your arms cry get back in the boat, done. Sound familiar? Now, you show up at the ranch ready to go and in your first lesson you take 8 deep water starts.(if you don't fall) That can be 1/4 of a seasons starts right there...we typically take 3 lessons per day and a "Short Stay" typically has 10 lessons that is "80" deep water starts, in 4 days, not to mention the "Weekly Stay at around "150"!! way more than many folks have done ever!!!! Even those of you who ski at a slalom lake or on a course most likely do not take 80 starts in 4 days, while skiing harder that you ever have in your life. Getting the picture?? Don't risk being too tired by getting up, to be able to work on improving skiing techinique!
So, now if you are in a panic that you won't be able to acomplish the homework before arriving, take a deep breath there is hope. First, speak up we will appreciate it and so will you, let us know where you are at with your starts and what is typical for you. We will adjust your ski schedule as necessary, we can spin the boat at the ends of the lake so you don't have to drop in, take longer breaks between lessons, shorten the length of the lesson and tons of other options. After all, it has been said a million times success is built on quality not quanity! The last thing past guests will tell you is that they did not get enough ski time. So, don't worry, just keep us informed of where you are, what your experience has been and where you want to go...we will do our best to get you there!
Ski ya soon, Robby
The question, "Is slalom waterskiing dead" has been posed many times here at SkiSunsetRanch and over cocktails with friends many other times. So, I thought I would throw in my two cents, feel free to chime in with your own yeah or nay.
This can be a pretty widely debated topic, especially when over the last several years it has looked like the entire boating industry in the USA is on it's last breath.
I believe slalom waterskiing is going to live on...First, let me say that old school "tournament waterskiing" is and has been dying a slow painfull death. That skiing genre is often what is used as the barometer for slalom waterskiing which is most likely the reason for all the bleak forecasts.
A guest who was just hear asked me the question again and here is what was my reply...
Years ago when Doug and I cooked up our hairbrained idea that we would open up our world class private slalom lake for skiers from all over the world to be able to come to and enjoy in for a waterski school/ waterski vacation experience here in california. We went with the "if we build it they will come" philosophy....and so they have come. From many more places in the world than I had ever dreamed of, countries I could not even imagine had waterskiing. There are tons of waterskiers out there young and old, many of the younger may have started in the wakeboard boom. Now many of those boarders want to continue to be out on the lake and have mastered all wakeboard tricks they can. Those younger skiers are starting to do what the rest of us have done for years looking for a challange and finding it in slalom. The great thing about a slalom course is there really is no end and there is always one more buoy just out of reach. The rest of us, that I am speaking of many of which are open water skiers that have skied for years, many having lake homes in the family for generations. Those folks often are really good skiers, also looking for good waterski coaching to put those years of skiing to the test to see just how good they are!
They seek out a waterski vacation, or take a lesson the door opens and the buoy addiction begins; before you know it they are putting a portable course on their lake or searching out a local club to join. It is now our mission to foster the slalom waterski life, to see that that first buoy or first full pass happens and the rest is history...
Fuel your Addiction Here...
If you've been skiing for several years and you've been hunting for an increase in buoys and overall better performance, then perhaps the next generation of skis might be something you need to invest in. Over the past decade materials for skis have changed drastically. Between the amount of carbon used and the types of cores within the skis almost all manufactures now produce top world cup stock skis. Now, to narrow it down a bit, ski shapes have drastically started to change for the better. At the moment four ski companies have really started to think out of the box and get back to actual ski shape design. There is a new phase coming in water ski design where water ski companies are designing skis with and for pro athletes. In previous years there has been a lot of ski shape copying only to make small changes and then call it their own. Ski shapes now are starting to be built with a specific style and person in mind and the shape design starts from scratch. These are the fundamental elements that make up pure ski design.
Ski at the Ranch this season
The wide ski from Goode was one of the first skis to begin to think differently and focus on helping a fluid style of waterskiing and to get back to the roots of ski design. As of now Goode ski technologies offers two very different type world cup ready skis. The 9900 SL WIDE RIDE AND 9900SL. While both skis are for high end competition each ski is for two different styles and/or purposes. The 9900 SL WIDE RIDE was designed to maintain speed through the finish of the turn for aggressive skiers while also allowing an abrupt sharp finish for short line turns. The 9900SL was designed with having a more rounded smoother arc in mind and has essentially been one of the most successful overall shapes and has been one of the highest selling skis of the past decade. If you're as into waterskiing as I am and are wanting to find that extra edge to improve your skiing then I would suggest looking into purchasing some of these new age skis.
written by nick Parsons
We naturally have an "on-side", and an "off-side" turn in slalom. What many skiers try to do is to overcompensate on the off-side by trying to turn, and rotate the whole body to get the ski to rotate around. This just makes the off-side worse. Why do we have an "on-side" and an "off-side" turn? It's the stance... On our on-side turns our hips are naturally opened up, making it easier to keep the shoulders level, and get the lower body weight moving over the inside of the arc. The off-side is more difficult because our hips are closed up.
To improve this situation, what can we do? Well, think of a snow skier. They have two even, or on-side turns. By being able to move the feet individually of each other a snow skier can open equally well on both sides. Approaching a left turn, the outside foot will drop back a bit making the skier essentially a left foot forward skier. On the other side the left foot will fall behind the right foot a bit making them a right foot forward skier.
Come to the ranch to develop your two on-sides!
A slalom waterskier isn't allowed to make quite as much change in stance, but we can improve our off-sides by making them more like our on-sides. As you approach your off-side turn try to mimmick that snow skier movement as much as possible. If you could you would drop that outside leg back. Well we can't move our feet, but we can move our hips. Try taking that outside hip back as much as possible. If you're a right foot forward skier approaching the 1 3 5 buoy side twist your hips to the right. Bring the right side of the hips back, and the left side of your hips forward. You're trying to open up your hips so your left hip is now more over your front foot, and your right hip is brought back more to the middle of the ski. A left foot forward skier will do this on the other side of the course, on the 2 4 6 side. Bring the right side of the hips forward over that left foot, and allow the left side of the hips to trail, staying over the middle of the ski. By opening up the hips as much as possible into and through our off-side turns we can make the ski turn equally well on both sides of the course.
written by Terry Winter