Did I go to sleep last night and wake up today to find that the laws of physics and how they relate to skiing have changed?
In Universal Ski Techniques George Twardokens (Dr T.) illustrates and explains the difference in edge hold between a skier and ice skater. In sum, due to the fact the skater's edge is directly under the center of the skater's foot, the skater can get to the edge quickly with minimal angles and maximum force interaction of the ice and edge. Conversely a skier, whose edge is located outside the base of the foot, must create greater angles to tilt the ski to a point where the edge gets more in line with the center of the foot to achieve comparable force. The skier is slower to get to the edge and has to move more to do so. In other articles Dr. T explained the benefits of binding risers plates and how they, while lifting the skiers foot up from the ski, allowed the skier to achieve a greater edge angle with less edging movement compared to a non-lifted binding. While this again made getting to the edge slower, it became generally considered that if you had shape ski, you needed a lifter kit for your bindings.
So with everyone talking "Rocker", we have now skis wider than ever underfoot. The physics say that the wider the ski, the more movement needed to get to the edge, the slower that movement will be, and with less force. Am I missing something here? We already have thousands of skiers who can't effective edge a ski that is 65mm underfoot and now we have have equipment that averages 75mm? Has getting the ski on an early edge at the top of the turn gone the way of the 8 Track?
How do you stand at the top of Ovation or Super Star at Killington after a January rain/freeze, at the top of a freshly groomed East Bowl at Heavenly or Cornice Bowl at Mammoth with skis that wide underfoot and think "I am going to slice this up with my Rocker!"?
To make matters worse, I just read Mike Porter's detailed "All Rocker Isn't Created Equal" article in the latest 32 Degrees. Great piece. Fantastic charts. Yet one very disturbing thing jumped out at me under the "Ice" section:
"Traditional camber gives you the largest ski surface for edge grip and power, and allows the tip to engage to create edge from initiation." - Okay so far.
" Early rise makes the turn initiation easier, which can create more consistent linked turns, allowing better control." - Still okay.
"However , it dies promote steering to initiate, which limits initial edge grip." - Not so good.
"Tip-to-tail rocker allows for a more pivoted or skidded arc." - WHAT?!?!?
I know he is referring to "Tip to tail rocker" but, seriously, since when is pivoting to an edge set on "Ice" acceptable? Ask any ski professional who has been working with long term clients, that is EXACTLY what they have been trying to eliminate from the student's skiing. The last thing I want to see is a "skidded arc."
Skidding is not the NEW carving.
Sadly, with this new evolution is ski design and its marketing to the masses, it is evident we are going to see more of it.