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An Introduction to Competitive Slalom Water Skiing

Listed below are the different Classes in the GGWSC. One of the best features of our tournaments is that one skies in a category based on ability regardless of age. This means a beginner skier competes against other beginners. Since we ski with people of similar abilities, we get lots of support, good coaching, and have a great chance to win 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place ribbons.

Depending on your ability, you will ski in a class of that speed range. If you normally ski the river at 26-28 mph you could ski in class 3 regardless of your age. Once you successfully ski around all 6 buoys at 30 mph in a tournament, you advance to the next class. In this case, you would advance to Class 4. When you successfully ski around all 6 buoys at 32 mph, again you would advance to Class 5.

In Class 5 and up you will notice that there are two different speed ranges for each class. Your age will determine what the maximum speed you will need to ski to advance to the next class. The age groups are based on AWSA standards. So when you make it to Class 5 and you happen to be a man 35 years old or older, the maximum speed you will ever need to ski is 34 mph. Under 35 years old, men ski up to 36 mph.

As a skier successfully makes all 6 buoys at the maximum speed in Class 5 or above, the rope becomes shorter. A standard ski line is 75 feet long and is referred to as a long line. The rope is first shortened by 15 feet, and is referred to as 15 off. Now the skier skies the course using a 60-foot long rope. Once that is accomplished, another 7 feet is removed for a total of 22 feet off of the long line. This is a 53-foot long rope. The increments for shortening the rope are listed in the Rope Lengths table below.

In a tournament, one skies until they miss a buoy or falls down. At a GGWSC tournament, skiers are allowed two opening passes. This means that if you happen to miss a buoy on your first pass and you do not fall down, you get a second chance at the same speed. The goal here is to give the skier an opportunity to ski as much as possible. In AWSA Class C tournaments once you miss a buoy, your turn is over, and people are grouped by age, regardless of ability. This makes it difficult to compete for people new to the sport. In a GGWSC tournament, everyone has the chance to win in his or her class.

Let Chris and Cindy Hook or Dell Jamora know if you are interested in attending a clinic on slalom course etiquette. Last years clinic was a blast and everyone who wanted to, got to ski the course.



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All rights reserved. Revised: January, 4, 2003