View Full Version : Slalom Ski Course Survey

08-01-2013, 06:24 AM
Our club needs course maintenance and I really would like to put in all new main lines, subs, and replace any anchors that are bad. I'm a certified diver so paying for a dive crew is not necessary and I've put in 2 other stationary courses before. Our course is 20' or deeper in areas. The course has not had the main lines replaced in over 10 years and over time things are slightly out of place. It is by far skiable but I've skied a lot of other places and always ski better by a few buoys to a full pass and I'm not buying water conditions, fast water, wind etc. I've manipulated the stargazer in every way possible and have had great conditions left our site and skied way better on a known straight course with same water conditions.

Our course is on a public/private cove that is leased. Therefore the need of cameras for a world record tournament is not necessary (fishermen run over our buoys at night and the need to OCD over world record camera crap is a waste). The course is close to tolerant now, but if I'm diving every buoy to replace main lines, then I would like to straighten it up.

One of OUR members gave me a quote to have it surveyed for 5k and he gave me this huge list of nonsense of how hard it will be, camera bs, camera feed cables, power, blah blah blah.

I just don't see it costing 5k if it is just surveyed. We don't need or will ever use the the camera equipment.

Will someone PLEASE let him know that for a survey crew to come out and say left 4" and back 2" does not cost an arm and a leg. I'm just a big dummy that apparently has no clue on how things work or how do anything. He gets a so called "old friend" out to look at the course and 5k is what was tossed around to have a perfect course. The guy who looked at it is a USAWS mr survey expert so I'm sure he's giving pin point exact procedure etc. and because he is a certified course man he is right and I'm an idiot who can't do angles or math. Heck technically you could get it darn close with long measuring tapes if you had any geometry skills, but I was informed that I have no clue what is involved or how labor intensive it will be even though I've helped build 2 from scratch.

I'm guessing $500 or less for survey. We have a large hillside that the survey crew can set up on and get it close enough and be a lot quicker than attaching measuring devices to an anchor and stretching them out to get correct angles and clip to the next anchor to straighten it out.

We only do class C tournaments and USAWS doesn't even require a surveyed course for a C tournament. So I'm not buying the fact that USAWS only has a few certified course surveyors that are the only ones qualified to use survey equipment. If we ever had a pro tour stop they would survey it again anyway before the tournament. I don't care if the guys in yellow jackets on a road crew come do it. Angles are angles and distance is distance. I also seriously doubt our rent a cove site will be used as a tour stop ever again. It was used back in the early 90's and has not been back in 20 years, so making a come back is a pipe dream. I also believe that a regional or national tournament checks how true it is before the tournament because they both are record tournaments. My point is that our site is not a world class ski facility. It's for guys to come out and have fun. If it was an exclusive private lake then a little more OCD may be involved. I have also skied at 4-5 exclusive private lakes in our area. I think I've heard of cameras only being on 1 of the lakes and they are all world class private lakes not a rent a cove place like what we have.

The club is not spending 5k or even entertaining the idea. I just want some other skiers to back me up on this because it won't cost 5k and I'm trying to get a better price idea. I looked up a link on ball of spray and the survey was $350.

I'm sure we could build the entire course, all new main lines, subs, buoys, magnets (yeah most people still ski on old technology where you can have slow first segments and fast second segments, then wonder why SG and ZO boats are so hard to ski behind), clips, all new zip ties, rubber bands, and maybe a few new anchors, for less than a $1k and that would be including the survey.

I just need a man to stand behind the tripod and radio to me where to go. I'm not buying that it will only be straight if the usaws certified course builder does it.

08-01-2013, 06:36 AM
Talk to local regular surveyer and see what he thinks about it.My guess is that any good surveyer can do it for a lot less.They all do it from shore anyway.

08-01-2013, 07:53 AM
I wish I was closer to you, I would be happy to survey it for a couple of pulls and a 12 pack of Bud Light. But seriously, there are plenty of guys who you could get to do it for far less than $5grand. I am not officially a USAWaterski rated Technical controller, but I do survey sites, including my own, and have done the course work for record events. It is entirely possible to survey the course yourself. If you have someone that can level a transit and navigate an excel spreadsheet, you can do it yourself. Complete instructions on completing the survey are available here: http://www.awsaeast.org/official/download.php (scroll down to the bottom of the page and download the wssurv file and extract it). You can rent an instrument at many construction rental places or dealers who sell survey equipment. Cost to rent for a weekend should be under $200.
I suggest you contact one of the 8 technical controllers in your state and I am sure they would be happy to do it for a very reasonable fee. They can be found in the officials directory on www.usawaterski.org Feel free to PM me for any advice in the process.

08-01-2013, 11:37 AM
Thanks guys for proving my point.

All I need is a guy with a tripod and a lawn chair to stand up, tell me N, S, E, W. Then sit down in the lawn chair and wait for me to go down and move the anchor in that direction and come back up. He then will stand up and give further directions.

I'll contact a real survey crew not some "old friend" and get a quote.

east tx skier
08-01-2013, 03:41 PM
My opinion. Skip it. Get some low stretch rope and mark the various distances on it with zip ties. Label the zip ties with duck tape and measure your course (both at the buoys and at the anchors). There is tolerance built into the course measurements, and if you are not holding record events, close is good enough.

It was hard to tell from your description (or maybe I missed it), but are your buoys individually anchored? You mentioned "mainline," which leads me to believe they are not. But if it's a portable with a stainless mainline, I'm not sure how much adjusting can be done.

If an individually anchored course, what kind of anchors are you using? What does the bottom of the lake look like? Mud? Sand? Rock? I have messed with maintenance on our club courses (someone else did the diving) and have built one at our lakehouse in much shallower water. If the tolerance on any of these was noticeable, I have never noticed. And the high level skiers that have stopped in for a pull on the way to tournaments have had no complaints.

That said, we did figure out that one of our courses was out of tolerance a couple of years ago. We set new anchors and ran new stainless cable. We measured with rope and it seems is spot on. But we never bothered with a survey because there are better things on which to spend that money.

08-01-2013, 05:41 PM

See the attached file that I have uploaded. It will help you with ski course dimensions. I laid it out in AutoCAD and it should be very accurate. Dimensions can be used to square up course.