Originally Posted by LiveJazz
Common wisdom dictates that more flexible skis do not hold their edges as well as stiffer ones.
1) There is no answer to your question, no "point," but 2) common wisdom can be misleading. Depends on your mission, the speeds you ski, and so on. If you can't bend a ski using a combination of speed and mass, doesn't matter how much potential it has, you'll either skid or ride the existing radius. I see a bunch of that, even from skiers who think they're good. Some brands of rec racing skis are softer flexing than others, have never heard complaints about their hold, at least for purposes that 99.8% on this forum are likely to have. Typically, you ski a softer ski with a lighter touch, more attention to feedback from the edges, more real finish to the arc, making use of the flex to achieve an efficient shape.
IMO softer flex rewards precision more than stiffer flex, but is more work to ski well fast. Am reminded of 1) WC skiers hitting serious speeds coming off the training area on SL skis, obviously "too soft" (and too short, so danger of overpressuring the tips) for the speeds, and 2) the US Team's drills carving at very low speeds. Also probably soft rewards lateral moves more than tip pressure. YMMV because obviously what's stiff for me at 165 and subsonic speeds may be a noodle for you. And ^^^^ is right that too soft (relative to your mission) can produce a very eventful ride. Which takes us back to the SL competitors. If you're good enough, eventful is fine.
Coupla years back, SJ argued that the key to ski performance was a balance of longitudinal versus lateral flex. Seemed reasonable. Today we're seeing a lot of skis with far more lateral stiffness than longitudinal. Not sure what that means. Also, early rise changes all this, allows a stiffer ski because it's pre-flexed. Even some race skis have early rise now, again not hearing complaints about grip...
Edited by beyond - 11/29/11 at 12:29pm