Slalom skiing is a lot of work. Even the most efficient course tactician will tell you there is a bit of “grunt” involved in running the shorter line lengths. There is, however, a veritable tipping point where your excessive efforts may be in vain. Quite simply, you may be working too hard. By keeping the goal of acceleration in mind you can be certain your movements result in maximum speed across the wakes. This increase in speed will result in a decrease in load and will make it easier to maintain your direction out to the buoy line.
Take a Stance
Where you stand on your ski is the first aspect to address. Regardless of your particular style, you must assume the proper stance to foster acceleration. This means assuming an athletic pose: shoulders over hips, hips over top of your front foot. From this position you are light, free from the boat and able to effectively move.
Mass in Motion
In an athletic stance, you can now move your body’s weight toward your intended direction of travel. By sliding your hips in front of your feet toward your intended path while opening your shoulders and hips to the boat, your ski will accelerate efficiently while minimizing line tension. Too often, when a skier wants to go left, they push their body weight to the left but away from the boat. This pushing away from the boat increases the line’s load and makes it very difficult to maintain direction. Your ski’s lateral orientation to the water will ensure you have adequate lean; pushing your body away from the boat beyond that point is doing yourself a great disservice.
The key to generating maximum speed while keeping your line tension manageable is paying particular attention to where you are trying to go. As the boat tows you down the lake, your path, regardless of cross-course angle, will always have a forward component. If you ignore your forward motion you may be compelled to over-lean. By thinking in terms of your actual intended direction you can avoid pushing away from the boat and creating excessive line tension and achieve optimum outward direction through your release.