Edge With Confidence

Ski Paradise coach Gordon Rathbun offers three beginner tips.

Junior U.S. Open slalom champion Paige Rini demonstrates the ideal wake attack. Bill Doster


As you complete the turn, try to maintain a tall, stacked position. “The last thing you want to do is get on your back leg,” says Gordon Rathbun. “As you predict or feel the finish of the turn and get ready for the pull of the boat, that’s when you lean away and let your arms go long, down your body.” Place an emphasis on a proud chest, straight back and having your hips directly over your feet.


Lowering your center of gravity to brace for the wakes will result in the handle separating from your hips, resulting in a far less stable position. Don’t back off on your intensity in fear of the wakes. “Rookie skiers often need to pull twice to get wide enough on the boat to make a decent turn,” says Rathbun. “How hard you pull the second time dictates how much slack you have.” Your goal should be to just lean away or pull from the finish of the turn to the center of the wakes.



“Once you improve your body position crossing the wakes, you’ll carry enough speed through the wakes that you won’t need to pull twice,” Rathbun says. As you hit the first wake, soften your knees without letting your arms away from your sides. Think soft knees but a strong, still upper body. The pull will be the greatest as you leave the second wake. It’s critical at this point to keep the handle close to your body and your chest upright to avoid taking a spill.