View Full Version : ski rope question?

02-13-2008, 01:08 PM
Hey guys,

I'm looking to get my father a new ski rope for his birthday, but I don't know anything about slalom. I am big into wake boarding so I know all about the ropes we use, but could use yall's help a bit. My dad's a recreational skier, he doesn't really ever hit the course but he does ski a competition ski and skies around 34-36 mph. I've never really seen him shorten a rope that much and he's only ever skied with the straight 11"-12" handle.

His current rope is a piece of crap rope from walmart, so I want to get him a quality rope, but I can't break the bank. I'm looking at spending around $60 for a rope and handle. I've seen the straight line ropes and galidator ropes on overtons, and someone also suggested masterline. Do yall have any suggestions on which ones would be good for him? Thanks for the help!


02-13-2008, 02:14 PM
Any quality ski rope will work just fine, it will really get down to "how the handle feels" in his hands and since it is a present you won't be able to answer that one. I would get a nice rope, not too expensive and then fork over some extra money for some gloves for him too!

02-13-2008, 04:51 PM
Thanks Zeg, I'll look into it! Hey is there an advantage to the curved handles? Or is that just a preference thing as well?

02-13-2008, 08:00 PM
Since I have never tried one I cannot answer that but I am sure that would be another preference issue. My wife is the "big time" slalom course skier in this family and she won't go without her gloves. She finally bought me some a month ago because I was complaining about our current handle being rough on the hands, HOWEVER I will not get to try them until the water warms up which in my case it will be a couple more months.

02-13-2008, 11:07 PM
Hiya Miller_Time

Ski ropes are as personal as underwear. What one person hates the next guy loves. If your Dad is used to a straight handle I wouldn't try to convert him now. Find a nice quality rope with a straight handle and take zeg's advice about the gloves. I'd be careful about thin lines too. People that aren't used to them have been known to rip fingers and thumbs off.

Good luck

02-14-2008, 12:20 AM
You know the thing about ropes in my opinion is that you can never have enough of them. Second most handles on sectional lines are changable. I tend to waste a bit of money experimenting with ropes, gloves, etc. I tried the curved handle from straight line last year and instantly fell in love with it. I've tried expensive fancy gloves with matching greptile handles and hated the set up.

I do agree with MM that ropes are a personal thing especially for someone with you dads experience. But I bet he'd be more willing to try one you bought for him than trying to convince him to buy it on his own. Heck it's a gift I bet he'll be thrilled. Chances are he still goes 15 off so go with the sectional anyway you go :D

02-14-2008, 01:00 AM
I'm not an expert on ropes and handles, but I do have an opinion after doing some shopping at the end of last season.

First, you should have him go to your local boat store and 'feel' some handles and see what he prefers. I ski twice a week in the season, once behind a friend's boat with a radiused handle and once behind mine with a straight handle. I don't have a strong preference either way, but when I buy a replacement it will have a 13" wide radiused handle, like this one:


That rope/handle combo is out of your budget, but it looks pretty good. If your dad skiis agressively at all, he'll tear up cheap handles. A cheaper option that is probably an improvement over what he has is this:

http://www.overtons.com/modperl/product/details.cgi?i=10387&pdesc=Gladiator_Attack_Handle_w/75_line_with_8_color_coded_take_up_sections_rope_k eeper&aID=1G&merchID=1009&r=view

Good luck and props to you for thinking of a great gift - I hope I get a new rope for my birthday!


02-14-2008, 06:28 AM
Also, you can expand your search for ropes and handles to ebay. I picked up a Straight Line multi-section rope with 12" straight handle and a Spectra Wakeboard line for under $50 and they were brand new.

Your results may vary.

02-14-2008, 10:26 AM
Thanks for all the help guys, it looks like I have plenty of research to do now, I guess I've gotta find a store with a good exchange policy haha. Never thought a ski rope could have so much character. Thanks again!

02-16-2008, 11:53 AM
I am 52 and have been skiing for 35 years. I have snapped handles and pulled cheap ropes apart at the back threading. My experience suggests the following:
1. Never buy a rope at Walmart, Kmart, Target, etc....
2. Never buy a rope with a wooden core handle - they really hurt when they snap.
3. Always buy a rope with sections down to 41 off, preferably from a well known manufacturer. Does not need to be top of the line. But if it has multi-colored sections to 41 off you can pretty much rely on the overall quality because the cheap ropes are not likely to put that much thought and effort into making the rope.
4. If the rope has labels on each section, even more likely to be reliable.
5. A higher quality rope is also probably more likely to actually be correctly measured.
6. A floating handle is preferred over a sinking handle, but not if it sacrifices the overall quality of the rope.
7. The handle bridal should be removable.
8. I find that good gloves make the features of the handle less critical.
9. After you get the rope, take the first section (15 off) off the rope and leave it off. No one should ever ski on a 75 foot rope.
10. Once in a while shorten that rope up just for the fun of it.
Good luck

02-16-2008, 01:01 PM
I skied with walmart style ropes on a combo ski and io boat for the first several years of my skiing - between the inboard boat, towline, and semi comp ski I had a ton of adjustments to make. At one point I sectioned off my old walmart style ropes and put a nice handle on it, it allowed adjustment and more. On an older rope, that broke in half once, I just used that half length rope.

For the first year I used the $30 gladiator rope and handle to 38' off.

Now I've switched to a thicker rope. The more strands (80/16) makes a gigantic difference over the normal stranded rope in how much swing and spring that you get. http://www.overtons.com/modperl/product/details.cgi?i=15667&pdesc=80_Fiber_8_Section_Tournament_Mainline&cname=Ropes-Handles&aID=1G&merchID=1009&r=view

I'm sure your dad would enjoy any actual skiing rope. A new grip makes a huge difference, especially compared to the typical walmart foam ones. Having measures loops allows you to try new things and get closer to the competition idea.

Section wise, unless your dad is tall and has aspirations to be a pro, anything more than 35' off is only going to be used when you are fooling around.


02-16-2008, 01:02 PM
For what it's worht I agree with everything Ben said 8)

02-18-2008, 08:14 PM
Ben, I would like to disagree with you on a floating handle. I always like a sinking handle because you don't have to worry (as much) that the rope will get stuck in the fins if you ever happen to just sit there while switching skiers out.

I've not had to swim under the boat as many times with a sinking handle.

02-19-2008, 05:24 AM
Good equipment is very important to progressing.
The Genesis............
In the beginning, an '88 Bayliner Capri I/O, O'Brien Ambush 143, Walmart handle and rope, and a Kent life jacket.
4200.00, 125.00, 30.00, 15.00 (price each).
We got what we paid for.
The Revelation........
Now, world class ski boat, top of the line Liquid Force board, Accurate non stretch line w/ Straight line handle, and Bodyglove vests
28,000.00, 700.00, 210.00, 90.00.
We've come a long way, baby.
Needless to say, we're hooked.

02-19-2008, 07:52 PM
And that folks is how its done :D

02-20-2008, 01:22 AM
I still prefer straight handles with a good grip but not soft. The handles with rubber encapsilation on the ends down to the tie off last a lot longer. I used to fray the rope wraps on the handle but now either the covering helps or the rope is covered and I just can't see it wear. When skiing behind other people's boats you can tell the good ropes/handles versus the cheap stuff. Learn to fib and save some bucks. I go through end sections (pylon end) fairly fast but I use the sections I have taken off to make a new section. When the handle wears though, I call it toast.

02-20-2008, 10:23 PM
The deal with floating handles....

We never leave the rope in the water when changing skiers so I guess I had never considered a sinking handle as a benefit from that point of view. I don't trust other boaters, nor do I necessarily trust some of my drivers, or the wind, so I train everyone to pull in the rope when a skier is done. Usually before the boat gets back to the downed skier.

We ski in shallow lakes so sinking handles can dredge up weeds and take some housekeeping when you get up.

I actually have not bought a rope in a long time, as I have gotten them as gifts over the last decade. So I just take what I get. I tend to go through handles before ropes so sometime a handle section will go from one rope to the other.


02-22-2008, 12:52 PM
Again I agree, unless the skier fell and you are just looping back to get them started again , we always pull the rope in first. Just good house keeping and prevents problems like have been discussed earlier

02-27-2008, 01:58 AM
The other reason we pull in the rope is so that it does not drag behind the boat and spin. Allowing the rope to spin obviously twists the rope. Then the next time you take off the tension on the rope wants to try to un-twist - but it can't because the skier has the handle. In my opinion this increases the probability of breaking fibers in the rope due to torsional forces.

Something I often do with my ropes is to untwist them when no one is skiing. One more reason to stand in the boat and look like you know what you are doing, whether or not you are really helping ??? I like to think so..


03-03-2008, 08:13 AM
I bought a straight line 8 section pro rope, will certainly work for my open skiing ( no courses) For length of rope and speed of the boat, do I make adjustments for the rear OBV from the center DD pylon. For optimal rope length and boats speed. I usually openski at two sections off at about 32 MPH. that's behind a IO. Maybe a dumb question? but just curious on comments.... :D


03-03-2008, 09:34 AM
The other reason we pull in the rope is so that it does not drag behind the boat and spin. Allowing the rope to spin obviously twists the rope. Then the next time you take off the tension on the rope wants to try to un-twist - but it can't because the skier has the handle. In my opinion this increases the probability of breaking fibers in the rope due to torsional forces.

Something I often do with my ropes is to untwist them when no one is skiing. One more reason to stand in the boat and look like you know what you are doing, whether or not you are really helping ??? I like to think so..


Try a higher quality rope next time you need one. Masterline makes an awesome rope that doesn't twist and coil like cheaper made slalom ropes do...............imho.

Not only does it not twist as much it will also be easier to ski. Cheaper ropes act like a bungee. When you come of your pull throught the wakes into your preturn a spongee rope will pull you up to soon taking away out bound direction.

03-03-2008, 07:07 PM
Hmm a Malibou owner eh, no problems :P

Maybe I'm wrong but wakeboard ropes are made with no give so that they do not get a bungee effect as they load up on the wake and release or pop. But a slalom skier needs a bit of stretch in the rope due to the extreme loads put on by a full pull as it were, also a tight rope could actually cause an injury by causing a no give situation and pull you over your ski.

If I'm wrong let me know, I'm alsways interested in learning 8)

03-04-2008, 09:57 AM
You are correct when you say slalom skiers need a little give.
You just don't want your rope to be to soft and basicly cause the same problems it causes wake boarders......