For the second installment of the BallOfSpray interview series, Terry Winter let us ask him some questions about his return to D3, West Coast style, pro skiing and MB’s hair.
Horton: I think that most hard core slalom skiers know the name Terry Winter by reputation but don’t know where you came from and how you came up in skiing. Where did you grow up and how did you get involved in skiing?
TW: I grew up in Northern California, learning to ski on public lakes and the Delta. When I was about 8 years old my family started going to Willi Ellermeier's Ski School at Lake Berryessa. That's where I learned how to get up on a single ski (with Steve Cocheram teaching me) and eventually learned to run the course. Willi's was a great place to get started because he made sure the fundamentals were there. He was not overly complicated, but he just made sure you had your hips and chest up in a strong position.
Horton: Who were your early waterskiing influences?
TW: Obviously my family made it possible for me to ski so they come first. Willi was a great early influence, and then I had my heroes from watching the tournaments on TV. Sammy, Carl, Bob, Andy... that's what I wanted to do. When I was about 9 or 10 years old I remember my Dad sitting me down and asking what I wanted to focus on in my life. Without a doubt it was waterskiing, and it has been since.
Also, we moved to Sacramento (Bell Acqua) when I was about 10 or 11. Ja Parades lived there, and he has always been an influence for me. He has a smooth, fluid style without much body movement. I think I owe a big part of my learning to him. I got to watch him ski for years. We never talked about it too much, but sometimes I think that's the best way to learn.
Horton: What can you tell us about your first Pro Event?
TW: I think my first Pro Event was somewhere in North Carolina when I was sixteen. It was tough conditions, and I think I ran like a pass and a half. It took me a long time to figure out how to ski in the pro events.
Horton: What is your career highlight?
TW: My career highlight was definitely winning the magazine Shootout. I had to run '39 every round and I ran my PB to win a tournament. I'm really happy that my only win so far was at a place where everyone was skiing well in good conditions. I feel that, because of my size, I usually benefit in tougher conditions more, so it was awesome to win when it took a big score.
Horton: For a number of years you were the associated with Denny & D3 skis. After a few years on another ski, the rumor is that you are back at D3. Can you talk about rejoining D3 and your relationship with Denny?
TW: I'm really excited about getting back on a D3, and working with those guys again. This time I'm going to be more involved with R&D, and for me that's like a dream job. Designing, testing, and then competing on those skis... awesome!
Horton: D3 R&D skis with wider forebodies have been seen around the country this year. Have you been involved in any of that development and can you talk about the project?
TW: I really wasn't involved with any of the D3 testing until now. Nick Parsons busted out that wide ski over the last two years, and I think he basically got everyone started in that direction.
Horton: Do you have a favorite Denny Kidder story?
TW: I think the best of the Kidder stories come from before my time. It's awesome to go out to dinner or something with him and hear the stories he's got to tell.
Horton: I think any Terry Winter interview has to have a few Marcus Brown questions. Here goes: What he hell is the deal with his freak’n hair? Are there birds living in there? Does he think it looks good? Does it smell?
TW: Ya, at this point I think it's kind of like "Joe Dirt" where he's just stuck with it. I never get close enough to it to see if it smells, but I have heard some strange noises coming out of there. All I know is that it's funny as hell when we go mountain biking, and his helmet just sits on the top of all of it like he's wearing a toddler helmet.
From the BallOfSpray forum, kdeupser asks What is your opinion about speed control?
TW: Speed control in general is awesome. I love skiing behind the old perfect pass now and then because it feels so soft and smooth. But, I really like how now with the Zero Off the times are always exact. It's so consistent, and I think that's necessary for proper training. Nothing worse than running a great pass, and then finding out it was on the slow side of a time.
kdeupser asks Do you see more or less Pro Events in 09?
TW: The last I heard there are supposed to be more. MasterCraft is stepping up and putting more effort into making it happen for us once again.
kdeupser asks Do you see a major Tour Sponsor coming back to the tour such as Budweiser?
TW: I think at some point it will happen. Skiing is a great sport, with people involved that are very passionate. Someone will make it big again.
Horton: 20 years ago Carl Roberge and Sammy Duvall had name recognition in and out of the sport. What does waterskiing have to do to get skiers back in the spot light?
TW: It's got to get back on TV, and we need to sell the stories and the personalities of the athletes. Skiing is fun to watch only when you know who is skiing. Think about Lance Armstrong, and the Tour de France... People wanted to watch Lance win because they knew his personal story. That's what we need more of in the waterski magazines, and on TV.
Andre from the BallOfSpray forum asks the one question that I bet you hear every time you to the lake.
What is the biggest mistake\misconception of "West coast" style?
TW: The biggest misconception is that "WestCoast" is dropping the hips low and back away from the handle. "WestCoast" is about having a strong position against the pull from the boat, and then being dynamic out of the turn and across the course.
Horton: If there was a theme to your coaching, one subject that you hit on it most students, what would that be?
TW: Keeping the body square and level... having the shoulders facing down the course, and keeping them level at all times.
Horton: Will you be coaching this summer?
TW: Yes, I will be coaching a limited number of clinics. It depends some on my tournament schedule, but I will be trying to coach about one clinic per month. You can look at my website on the coaching page for more information... www.skiwestcoast.com
Horton: What is the biggest thing you work on for your skiing?
TW: Trying to be level into and out of my off-side, and keeping a solid upper body through the edge change transition.
Horton: Jamie Beauchesne told me this fall that I need to be in the jet pilot position. Do you have any idea what he is talking about?
TW: Jamie comes up with some pretty interesting ways to describe things, and I don't think he ever tries the same way twice. I have no idea, but that makes me laugh just thinking about it.
Brent from the BallOfSpray forum asks
How much fin tweaking do you do in the course of a season. Do you use after market fins or boots?
TW: Once I get my fin set on a ski I rarely change it. If I get it to where it feels good, and I ski good consistently for a week or so then I know that setting works. After that, if something changes to where I'm not skiing as good I know it is me. The less variables you have with your equipment, the easier it is to focus on what you're doing as an athlete.
DaveD from the BallOfSpray forum asks Do you ride stock skis or request special skis?
TW: My skis are stock. I'm small, light, and I don't ski that hard. I think some of the bigger guys may benefit from tweaking their skis more, but I kind of fall into the average range.
DaveD from the BallOfSpray forum asks What is you practice regiment, off season, in season?
TW: I normally take a month or two off from skiing in the off-season. The rest of the time I ski as much as I can just because I love to ski. I ski like five or six days a week, usually two sets in a day.
SkiBug from the BallOfSpray forum asks
Is sponsorship the biggest driver for the pros in terms of the skis they ride? Do you ride a ski from a sponsor, that might be courting you, before you switch rides?
TW: It's definitely part of the deal, but there has to be a blend of how well you like the ski, the company, and what they have available for you. It's not the only factor because most of the time the companies just don't have that much money to offer. You could make more money from doing well in tournaments than what you get paid from a ski sponsor, so skiing on what you think will work best for you is a main part of it.
Horton: What does the future hold?
TW: Lots of skiing, no matter what.
Horton: Not including anyone you work with, who do you think the most influential or important person in the sport is?
TW: I don't think there is any one person. To me, it's the community out there of die-hard skiers that make skiing what it is.
Horton: What the heck is are skiskinz? And how do I get one?
TW: SkiskinZ are custom graphics for skis that I make. From the information someone gives me, I can use any photos, ideas, logos, designs etc. and create a one of a kind custom ski or wakeboard graphic. They're a very thin, waterproof, laminated vinyl graphic that sticks to the surface of a ski. You can get them from my website at http://www.skiskinz.com/. There are a few predesigned models on there, but most people want a custom graphic. So, the options are unlimited. You just have to use your imagination. Right now, the website is a bit limited, but I'm in the process of building a new one for 2009.
See Terry's clip from Evolve here http://www.skiwestcoast.com/video.html
Buy the video http://ballofspray.com/evolve