Originally Posted by Bob Barnes
For what it's worth, one of the most acclaimed and popular competition moguls skis around is the Hart F17. The standard model, a stock version of which carried Bryon Wilson to his bronze medal in the last Olympics, is built in the exact same mold as a competition GS ski. The construction is somewhat different, since the titanal in a GS ski easily gets bent in moguls, so it is eliminated. The F17 is a bit softer than a GS race ski, but it still has some muscle. And you would probably ski it a bit shorter than a race GS ski--maybe 10-15 cm.
Because it has a standard GS shape, the classic F17 is actually a pretty good all-round ski. The F17 World Cup is its "big brother," intended as a pure competition mogul ski. It has less sidecut, making the tips narrower (which helps keep them from interfering with each other in the bumps), but making it less versatile as a general-purpose ski.
Both skis have tips stiff enough to help absorb some of the shock when they hit the bump, as we've discussed. And both have tails stiff enough to help a skier recover when out of balance to the rear--as sometimes happens when landing an aerial, for example.
And on that note, contrary to another common myth, stiff tail skis do not throw you into the back seat. Think about it--when you push up on the tail of the stiff ski, it pushes you forward,
not back. Of course, if you are already off-balance in the back seat, that push forward may make it quite obvious. But if the tail was too soft, it would not help you recover--would just bend and fold up when you tried to push yourself forward into balance.
And yes, of course, a good skier can ski pretty much anything pretty much anywhere, but it is the force it takes to bend a ski into reverse camber--instead of just pounding on the skier--that does the trick here. It is not the reverse camber itself, so skis that are already "pre-bent"--early rise, reverse camber, whatever--cannot absorb the shock as well.
The key--stiff skis, soft skis, stiff boots, soft boots, camber, reverse camber, whatever--is to fight for balance fore and aft. And that is no easy task in moguls. Consider the challenge, with both the speed and the angle (up and down) of the skis constantly, erratically, and often violently changing. It's literally like trying to balance on a bucking bronco. To do it, your feet must move vigorously but precisely forward and back beneath your body which, combined with the up and down movements of your feet, brings us back to that backpedal motion....