The versatile and blended approach: This style will encompass a good portion of the water-ski world, as most skiers are not able to replicate the same line through the course every time. Depending on where you are in the course, you will adapt to your environment, employing a J-style slalom turn when you are running late or desire an aggressive turn, and remaining patient while using a C-style giant slalom turn when skiing early. Your line may be less predictable, but you find success through your ability to respond to your environment. Will Asher, arguably the most versatile water skier in a course today, embodies this adaptable technique. He seems capable of handling the fast, round turns of giant slalom, but is able to immediately adjust when necessary to make a more rapid, aggressive slalom-style turn.
The slalom approach: If your style employs a J-Style (or sharper) turn, you are bringing the fast-paced lines of a slalom racer to the water. You will be using a series of movements resulting in increased edge angles at the completion of the turn. Counter is an important component in your brand of skiing. Therefore, you will need to rely heavily upon your musculoskeletal system as you angulate your body to withstand the forces generated by the increased angle your efficient movements will generate. Chris Rossi, an accomplished snow skier himself, is a great example of this technique. Through this approach, Rossi is able to effectively move his center of mass in his desired direction of travel.
The Biomechanical Transfer Glossary: Whether you make the majority of your turns on the water or in the snow, the following terms will undoubtedly make you way.
Skeletal alignment: A balanced, centered posture that eliminates unnecessary muscle and joint tension.
Stacking: Having your feet, knees, hips and shoulders skeletally aligned on top of one another, resulting in a strong position.
Inclination: Tipping the whole body off its vertical (upright) axis.
Angulation: Forming an angle between two body segments, such as between the upper and lower body.
Counter: A twisting or turning movement of the hips, chest, shoulders, and head in the opposite direction of, or away from, the intended turn to assist in edging.
Center of mass: Your body’s balance point, usually about 1 inch below the navel.
Rotation: A twisting or turning of the upper body (hips, chest, shoulders, head) in the intended direction of a turn.
Load: External forces acting on the ski’s surface that create pressure on the skier’s body. Such forces include gravity, centrifugal and centripetal forces, friction and air resistance.
Whichever style you subscribe to, adaptability may be your greatest ally. The greatest skiers in the world, be it on snow or water, all share the ability to respond quickly and effectively to their mistakes. So before the snow melts on this winter’s ski season, consider heading to the mountains instead of south to the warmer waters. “Those who have strong snow-ski sense are at a distinct advantage over water skiers who don’t in many cases,” Larsen explains. “They understand the movements required and can readily apply their snow-ski mechanics to the water, and vice versa.” So while your buddies toil their winter away in the gym, take your water-ski game to the snow and begin working toward your best summer ever.–By Trent Finlayson