Your pullout to start your pass is the most important move of your entire slalom run. It determines the speed you’ll make your first turn with, and, as a result, the angle you’ll take back into the wakes. Whether you’re a free skier or buoy nerd, it’s all the same: Pull out with purpose or you’ll be behind in the game before you even begin.
This is going to be the only freebie of your entire pass, so you’d better capitalize on it. As you line up to the side of the wake, ensure that your hips and shoulders are square to the boat and your weight is evenly distributed over both feet. Stand as tall as you can, with your hips directly over your feet. This will ensure that your handle is low in relation to your hips, and you’ll be free to make your first move.
To initiate movement away from the wake (to the left), simply take your shoulders away from the boat as your right hip comes up to the handle. Your arms will now be framing your right hip as you assume a powerful leaning position away from the boat. In this position, your hips will be facing the same direction as your ski while your upper body remains open. You should feel the pull through your right arm if you’ve kept your shoulders square to the boat.
The most critical part of the pullout is the transition out of your lean. It’s what determines whether you will move quickly and smoothly into an arcing turn or whether you’ll lose all of the speed and direction you’ve created. As you begin to rise up from your lean, your hip and handle should remain in close proximity to one another. If the handle gets pulled away from your body, it will force your center of mass to move behind your feet to counterbalance the boat’s pull. This will prematurely reduce the speed you’ve created, causing you to be narrow in your turn. Following these steps will allow you to flow smoothly and efficiently into the first turn of your pass.