In my endeavors to bring more information to the masses on waterskiing I have
teamed up with Kris Lapoint to help my fellow brothers.---------little humor
( MARK KOVALSON------this is for you )
Printed with the permission of WATERSKI and World Publications from issues
April 1988 and March 1989-----way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
LAPOINT ON SLALOM New Ski Or Not New Ski?
That Is The Question by Kris LaPoint
Last month Bob laid down the ground rules for slalom "spring
training." He presented several points, the most important being the concept of
developing a training plan with specific guidelines and goals. Let's add a
couple of early season ideas on testing new skis.
After a long winter layoff, it is never good idea to try new slalom skis right
off the bat. I've made this mistake
before and have seen several other skiers do it, too. You have to be skiing
reasonably well on last year's slalom before you can properly evaluate a new
ski. A good guideline is to be skiing within one pass of last year's peak. if
you test skis earlier, it is too easy to make a bad judgment.
For example, you buy anew ski to start the season. One day you decide to try
last years ski and immediately
realize to your chagrin that you should never have gotten off it. Or the
opposite can also happen: you try a new ski before you're ready, don't like it,
and prematurely dismiss it. The ski may have been better for your skiing style,
and you would have found out, had you been in better form.
How long should you test a new ski? It depends. From the first passes, a new
ski needs to do certain things better
than your baseline ski or it's not worth wasting any more of your time. Each
slalom skier has his own basic form. I don't feel it's worth the effort~r
perhaps even possible-to radically change your style to accommodate a certain
ski. That's why the test ski has to do something better right away like have a
better offside turn than the base ski, to deserve more than one or two ski
rides. Five to 10 ski sessions should be
enough to fully evaluate a ski. If the ski seems to have real potential,
try it in the ultimate test situation, a tournament. Lots of skis seem good in
practice but tournaments are the proof because you're skiing under pressure and
adapting to conditions, instead of modifying your habits to adapt to a ski. You
haven't properly tested a new ski
until you try it in a tournament. This brings up another subject: Don't be
afraid to test skis. Very often I've been frustrated by skiers who won't try a
ski in June or July because they're concerned about hurting their chances in
the Nationals in mid-August. Not to worry Testing, when properly done, will
help your skiing whether you decide ultimately to change skis or not.
if you do decide to switch, it will be because the new ski improves your
performance, which is obviously a positive situation. If you don't like the ski
you test and return to your old ski, it can also be to your benefit. Hopefully,
your old ski will seem so good to you that you will perform better on it than
before. It's a strange phenomenon, but you will seem to appreciate the strong
points of the old ski, take advantage of them, and ski that much better. The
key here is not to ski too long on the new ski if it's not right for you, as
you will eventually start to adapt to it and then have a hard time getting back
on the old ski. Bob and l each skied on over 100
test skis during the 1986 season, which included some 12 to 14 tournaments
spread out over the whole summer This was way too much testing and I'm sure it
hurt our performances. But we were developing anew ski and had no choice. I
mention this to illustrate an extreme and to convince the skier who won't try
anything new after June 1 (because of the Nationals) to try new skis. Your test
program may give you the edge to meet or exceed your 1988
Ski Hunt by Kris LaPoint
So you want to try out a new slalom ski this year? That's great, because skis
are constantly improving and a new one could add extra buoys to your score. The
key is to pick the right ski for you, and here are some guidelines to assist
you in your search:
(1) I strongly recommend that you try out a new ski before you buy it. Either
borrow or rent one from a pro shop, or try a buddy's.
(2) Try skis that fit your style. If you keep your weight distributed over the
ski's forward section in the turns, find a ski designed to be used that way.
Such a ski will have a wder forebody and less rocker in its front section. If
you ski with your weight back in the turn's, choose a ski that has a narrower
forebody, more rocker in the front, and perhaps a somewhat softer flex pattern.
If you're not sure of your slalom style, ask your friends to watch you or have
yourself videotaped while skiing. Another method is to work with an expert at
the local pro shop. Tell him what skis you've tried in the past and what you
liked and didn't like about each one. A good salesperson should be able to
recommend a couple of skis for you based on this information.
(3) When you try skis or when you take out the new ski you've purchased, be
sure to pay attention to the little details. First, the bindings must fit right
and provide the same kind of support youy old bindings did. (Additional support
may actually be better, but adjust to the ski before adding more support.)
Next, make sure your feet are the same distance apart on your new ski as they
were on your old model. If you used awing on the fin of your las ski, use one
again and vice versa. Also, have them placed in the same way and at a similar
(4) Pick a ski that's the right size for you. People pay too much attention the
length of a ski and not enough to the overall size. The area of a ski is more
critical than its length. One manufacturer's 67-inch model might have less area
than another's 66-inch model. Size can fool you. Skis with more rocker feel
smaller than flatter skis. Skis with smaller bevels feel larger than skis with
larger bevels. Skis with softer flex patterns feel smaller than those that are
stiffer. In general, you're better off with a slightl larger ski than one
that's too small.
Okay, you've followed the guidelinec as best you can, so now you want to know
how long it will take you to learn to ride your new ski. By the third ski ride
you should know if the ski has potential for you or not. It should be doing
some things better than your old ski did or it's time to try another.
In the final analysis, there is no one ski model that works best for everyone,
so take the time to find the one that's best for you and your individual styte.
After you find it, you can start fineAuning your skills to take full advantage
of your new ski. Good hunting and good skiing!
No need to thank me just send skis and money