Connelly Skis family has grown once again! This time, we are pleased to welcome Slovakia native, Martin Bartalsky. A once formidable force in the collegiate scene, Martin has also made his mark in the pro realm with impressive overall finishes at the World Championships and podium placements at U.S. elite tournaments. However, Martin’s prowess extends further than what he can accomplish behind the boat. Read below to learn more about our newest member, and don’t forget to check out the rest of our elite team at https://www.connellyskis.com/ski1.html
Tell me about your background (where you grew up, your family, what daily life was like, etc.).
I grew up in Slovakia. Most of the year I went to school like other kids, but I would miss a few weeks because of training and tournaments. Interestingly, my parents initially wanted me to be a competitive snow skier, and waterskiing was meant to be a summer hobby for staying in shape. Usually, I would go to school in the morning and spent afternoons and weekends at the lake, on the ski slopes or at the gym.
How did you get involved in waterskiing? Was it a family sport or did you discover it on your own?
My dad used to be a 3-event waterskier back in the day. Both of my parents loved spending time at the lake in summer. They were members of the waterski club back home and that's where I started. Since the beginning, I’ve always skied a lot.
How did you get involved in and get good at 3-eventing?
3-eventing seems to be a lot more popular in Europe than in the U.S. Most of the kids actually start as 3-eventers. We always had a jump at our lake. When I was under 14, tricks were my best event. When I was 18, jump was my best. I did not really learn how to step it up in slalom until my early 20s. I still love to hit the jump when there is a nice headwind! If there were more hours in a day, I would definitely keep 3-eventing! Jumping is still my favorite event.
When did you first move to the states and why?
I skied at the Junior Masters when I was 17, and a few guys came to talk to me from Monroe, LA. I pretty much committed on the spot, and I spent my last year of high school getting things ready to move. I knew if I wanted to go to college and keep waterskiing, I had to move overseas.
What are you doing when you are not water skiing?
I love hanging out at the lake even when I am not skiing. During the winter, I spend most of my time snow skiing and even got back into racing last year. That was a lot of fun. I also go to the gym quite a bit. Work also keeps me very busy (I work in e-commerce — digital advertising, building/managing web stores and sourcing inventory).
How do you best prepare for your ride when you are at a big tournament?
Over the years, I came up with a routine that seems to work for me. I usually go for a quick run and do my regular warm up. I do like to eat but not within less than 30 minutes or so before my turn. I hate skiing on an empty stomach. I like to have a few sips of Redbull to wake me up. I found that coffee does me no good before skiing. I ski the best when I am a little nervous, but not too much. I need to get myself under the pressure to ski my best.
Name some things other than water skiing that you are passionate about?
Like I have mentioned, I love snow skiing. I love to race, ski powder or just rip groomers. I also love to ride motorcycles up in the mountains.
What do you like about your new Connelly GT and the culture of the company?
Joining the Connelly team has been nothing but a pleasure from the very beginning. All of the employees and team members I have dealt with are awesome. I am extremely thankful and excited to be on the Connelly team. I have always been very picky with how my skis feel. I have to trust the ski in any type of condition. The Connelly GT impressed me from the very beginning. The ski is very stable, yet gets me side to side effortlessly. Both turns are symmetrical, and I can always predict what the ski is going to do for me.
What are your goals for skiing now and in the future?
I had a fairly slow start this year since it was cold in Utah and I did not travel as much as I was planning on. I would love to get back on the podium at a pro tournament this year. I have a few events planned for the next few weeks (Canada Open, Malibu Open, California ProAm and possibly Europeans), but I try not to plan too far ahead.
What is one thing you can’t live without?
Water and snow! Is that one or two things? Sorry!
Most embarrassing moment at a tournament?
I think there have been a few, but those usually happen to many of us. Two years ago I was at a tournament in Austria, and I begged the best driver at the site to get in the boat for Open Men. He did just for me, and I missed my gates by about 10 feet on my opener.
Favorite place to be in the summer:
Summer activity of choice (besides waterskiing)
Uh.. what's that? No waterskiing?
Favorite food to grill on a warm summer night