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Chattering powder skis on hard pack/ice: My experience on the Atomic Access and some questions:

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

So I just spent a day on my very first skis, the Atomic Access at 171 cm(100mm waist).  For those who are interested/want some more info into my thought process as I bought these skis, look here:

http://www.epicski.com/t/107331/ski-width-78mm-100mm-for-an-intermediate-skiing-out-west-but-might-move-east-atomic-access-vs-atomic-panic-vs-k2-amp-shockwave

 

Today was my very first day on these skis at Mt. Hood Meadows.  The place I bought them from said that I could try them out and return them if I decide they aren't for me, so I tried to pay attention to how I felt in them throughout the day. The conditions up at Mt. Hood right now aren't ideal for powder-oriented skis.  The snow was hardpack, and in some places icy.  That being said, the conditions right now are not typical for Mt. Hood--and I can only afford one pair of skis right now.  I'll try to formulate my comments into associated questions:

 

1) I noticed that it didn't appear as though the front edges of my skis made contact with the snow while skiing on the groomed runs today.  Is that typical for a rockered ski on a groomed/hardpack/slightly icy trail?  Would a slimmer ski be more likely to have more of the edge making contact with the snow?  How about a non-rockered ski? 

 

2) I also noticed that at high speeds on the groom/hard pack and while on the flats of the skis, the skis chatter a bit(meaning I can see the front tip of the ski bouncing or shaking a little bit.  Is this also due to rocker/the width of the skis?  Would slimmer/non-rockered skis be less likely to chatter/bounce?  Will the Access do this in conditions with more powder?

 

3) I noticed that when skiing on trails that were more or less a sheet of hardpack/ice, the skis made a loud scraping noise noise when edging--and I didn't feel confident or comfortable.  Then again, I've proabably never felt comfortable on ice.  Do slimmer skis do better on ice? 

 

4) Finally, I noticed that when turning on hardpack, the skis tended to slide out a little bit and chatter.  Are all skis likely to do that, or would slimmer/non-rockered skis do better in that situation?

 

Overall, I liked the skis but couldn't help feeling like these skis weren't made for the conditions on the mountain right now  I also wonder if the things I noticed today might become less noticable in time?  I think skiing these skis made me appreciate how much I like skiing on skis that carve easily.   However, I also appreciated that on the Atomic Access I felt more stable and less likely to catch an edge or lose my balance, which might happen on those carvey skis especially in powder.

 

Please help me out and answer my questions/give your input the best that you can.  I don't have the luxury of demoing many skis before buying, so your help is appreciated.

 

Matt

 

 

post #2 of 18

Not exactly sure what you expected but you got what you paid for......ie: a soft snow oriented (rockered) ski. Your descriptions are pretty good and about what one should expect from that ski in your current conditions and given your current ability. No other ski of similar conditions bias will perform notably better or much worse than what you have. If you want something more hard snow oriented, fine.....easy enough to do although the difference might not be in the width alone. In fact, the width is not the major determining factor at all. The overall and torsional flex, amount of rocker vs. contact length etc. are  more important in this case than width.

 

To get skis of this type to handle hard snow well, it takes more of a finesse approach. Rolling the ski gently onto it's edge early in the turn and applying pressure lightly will work better than skidding it around then trying to muscle it on edge all at once. This light touch may be a little beyond your skill level at this point. If you work at it, it will probably get better. When you get your first storm and snow softens up on the groomers, the Access will feel more comfortable.

 

So.....did you buy the wrong ski? Yeah.......you probably did for where you are at this point in your skiing.  For right now today, you might have been better served by something like a Blizzard Bushwhacker, Nordica Steadfast or Dynastar Legend 85 among others. However, the Access is not completely out of whack and will probably serve you well as your technique improves. Ultimately, the Access may be a better call than those others once you learn to ski a little better and develop the skills to handle powder and crud a little better. How long it will take for this transformation to take place will depend upon you.

 

SJ 

post #3 of 18

these skis will not turn on hardpack for you. skinny skier will be easier on ice DUH! If your leaning back the fronts of the skis will be in the air and it will be very hard to enage the edge.

 

the way to ski a fat rockered ski on hard snow and be proficient at it is something that lies in the realm of expert skiing. You need to balanced in the middle of the ski with the ability and knowledge to move fore and aft as needed. You must be patient enough at the top of the turn to roll over on edge instead of just twisting the ski, but quick enough that your not just going straight.  Lastly you need to be countered enough and with enough angulations so that the skis can bite.

 

 

post #4 of 18

You will probably like the skis alot better once a nice storm rolls in and softens up the snow. 

post #5 of 18

The current conditions at Meadows are not ideal for that ski. BUT, conditions like this are rare, and generally only last a couple of weeks each season. I would not judge any soft snow ski's performance based the snow we have now. Ski them again when there is fresh snow.

post #6 of 18

I would say the OP (Matt) has a much better grasp of ski performance than we are giving him credit for. He correctly perceived and diagnosed the performance issues of his skis on less than optimal snow for their design, and I also predict (as some of the posters above) that he will be much more comfortable on them as the season progresses because he understands the issue and therefore has the knowledge to adapt to varoius conditionds he may encounter.

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by NE1 View Post

I would say the OP (Matt) has a much better grasp of ski performance than we are giving him credit for. He correctly perceived and diagnosed the performance issues of his skis on less than optimal snow for their design, and I also predict (as some of the posters above) that he will be much more comfortable on them as the season progresses because he understands the issue and therefore has the knowledge to adapt to varoius conditionds he may encounter.



I don't see anyone at all questioning OP's perception of the ski's performance. As I previously pointed out, he got that part right. We are pointing out two things............

 

  1. Snow conditions.
  2. Skier's ability/technique.

 

In this case.....#2 is probably more pertinent than #1.

 

SJ

 

post #8 of 18

Kinda like taking a spatula to a knife fight. A person can with proper training and technique can make it work, bit not ideal. Wait until the next storm cycle and give your review again.

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hey all!  Thanks for the comments--I should be able to respond to comments quickly--I'm almost on winter break.

 

I'll respond to posts individually below, and then add my collective thoughts.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

Not exactly sure what you expected but you got what you paid for......ie: a soft snow oriented (rockered) ski. Your descriptions are pretty good and about what one should expect from that ski in your current conditions and given your current ability. No other ski of similar conditions bias will perform notably better or much worse than what you have. If you want something more hard snow oriented, fine.....easy enough to do although the difference might not be in the width alone. In fact, the width is not the major determining factor at all. The overall and torsional flex, amount of rocker vs. contact length etc. are  more important in this case than width.

 

To get skis of this type to handle hard snow well, it takes more of a finesse approach. Rolling the ski gently onto it's edge early in the turn and applying pressure lightly will work better than skidding it around then trying to muscle it on edge all at once. This light touch may be a little beyond your skill level at this point. If you work at it, it will probably get better. When you get your first storm and snow softens up on the groomers, the Access will feel more comfortable.

 

So.....did you buy the wrong ski? Yeah.......you probably did for where you are at this point in your skiing.  For right now today, you might have been better served by something like a Blizzard Bushwhacker, Nordica Steadfast or Dynastar Legend 85 among others. However, the Access is not completely out of whack and will probably serve you well as your technique improves. Ultimately, the Access may be a better call than those others once you learn to ski a little better and develop the skills to handle powder and crud a little better. How long it will take for this transformation to take place will depend upon you.

 

SJ 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

these skis will not turn on hardpack for you. skinny skier will be easier on ice DUH! If your leaning back the fronts of the skis will be in the air and it will be very hard to enage the edge.

 

the way to ski a fat rockered ski on hard snow and be proficient at it is something that lies in the realm of expert skiing. You need to balanced in the middle of the ski with the ability and knowledge to move fore and aft as needed. You must be patient enough at the top of the turn to roll over on edge instead of just twisting the ski, but quick enough that your not just going straight.  Lastly you need to be countered enough and with enough angulations so that the skis can bite.

 

 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post



I don't see anyone at all questioning OP's perception of the ski's performance. As I previously pointed out, he got that part right. We are pointing out two things............

 

  1. Snow conditions.
  2. Skier's ability/technique.

 

In this case.....#2 is probably more pertinent than #1.

 

SJ

 


 

 

So SierraJim and BushwackerinPA--you both seem to be saying that my technique plays a role in this skis ability to perform on hard pack.  That makes sense--and it's something I didn't think about too much.  I think  I don't tend to lean forward so much while skiing or at least I have to keep tabs on myself to make sure that I am.  Would leaning forward reduce chattering in the hard stuff?  I'd be interested to try it out and see--as well as trying to "finese" turns in a more subtle way. 
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post

The current conditions at Meadows are not ideal for that ski. BUT, conditions like this are rare, and generally only last a couple of weeks each season. I would not judge any soft snow ski's performance based the snow we have now. Ski them again when there is fresh snow.



Those are my thoughts exactly ecrimontal.   As you were saying before, when Hood gets dumped on, the whole mountain can be covered in powder.  Ecrimortal, when Hood has conditions like they do right now, would you ski on your wider skis or do you have carving skis that you would use?


Also, thanks NE1.

 

So here are my thoughts at this point:

 

I have more or less come to terms with the fact that if/when I move back to the East Coast, I'll need to get some slimmer skis.  I also get that the skis I have now are not ideal for hard packed snow.  I know regardless of anything else, I'd like skis that will perform well in lots of snow since that's what the PNW typically has to offer. 

 

I'm wondering what differemnce it might make if I swapped the skis I have now for the Atomic Panic which have a 87mm waist(or another ski with a comparable waist and rocker) in terms of how'd they perform in powder, and if I'd gain a lot better performance carving?  Would they be less chattery?  Would the difference in width make skiing in powder more difficult?  how might the slimmer waist affect the performance of the ski?  I'm also curious how much of the chattery-ness is a byproduct of my skill level vs. the nature of the skis.

 

Trying the Access also made me realize that I enjoy carving.  It seems like newer technology like rocker isn't important when it comes to carving skis.   Could I piick up a good pair of used skis for hard snow for cheap?  That is an option--but it seems silly to own two skis considering I don't ski that often.  It'd be great to have a ski that was fun to carve in but also held up in powder--not sure how possible that is.

 

Thanks all!

Matt
 

 

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Bump.

post #11 of 18

Responding to your bump, have you had a chance to work on that finesse?     To figure out just when the skis will chatter and to edge and pressure the skis to just short of that point?     To change the shape of the turns you wish to make so that the ski can have time to respond to your inputs with what it can give you?   

 

Sometimes it pays to give real close attention to what your hips and core are doing when the ski chatters; being 'forward' is a part of that but 'being more forward' is neither an end-all cure nor a reliable instant fix.     Finesse involves what the posters in the instruction forum refer to as 'DIRT' - Duration, Intensity, Rate, Timing of /all/ the inputs you give to the ski, not just your weight bias.

 

To the second part of the question...you enjoy carving.     It seems to me that a cheap extra pair of frontside carvers would be far better value than trading down to 87mm waist.     That way you lose /nothing/, and only need to focus on getting more time on snow.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by folkfan View Post

So SierraJim and BushwackerinPA--you both seem to be saying that my technique plays a role in this skis ability to perform on hard pack.  That makes sense--and it's something I didn't think about too much.  I think  I don't tend to lean forward so much while skiing or at least I have to keep tabs on myself to make sure that I am.  Would leaning forward reduce chattering in the hard stuff?  I'd be interested to try it out and see--as well as trying to "finese" turns in a more subtle way. 
 

....

I have more or less come to terms with the fact that if/when I move back to the East Coast, I'll need to get some slimmer skis.  I also get that the skis I have now are not ideal for hard packed snow.  I know regardless of anything else, I'd like skis that will perform well in lots of snow since that's what the PNW typically has to offer. 

 

I'm wondering what differemnce it might make if I swapped the skis I have now for the Atomic Panic which have a 87mm waist(or another ski with a comparable waist and rocker) in terms of how'd they perform in powder, and if I'd gain a lot better performance carving?  Would they be less chattery?  Would the difference in width make skiing in powder more difficult?  how might the slimmer waist affect the performance of the ski?  I'm also curious how much of the chattery-ness is a byproduct of my skill level vs. the nature of the skis.

 

Trying the Access also made me realize that I enjoy carving.  It seems like newer technology like rocker isn't important when it comes to carving skis.   Could I piick up a good pair of used skis for hard snow for cheap?  That is an option--but it seems silly to own two skis considering I don't ski that often.  It'd be great to have a ski that was fun to carve in but also held up in powder--not sure how possible that is.

 

Thanks all!

Matt
 

 



 


Edited by cantunamunch - 12/15/11 at 9:44am
post #12 of 18

Wouldn't rolling the skis over more during the turn, by pushing your hips down lower and articulating at the knee reduce the chatter by increasing the angle of attack between the ski and the snow? Chattering is a symptom of the ski edges releasing/slipping out of a carve: by leaning the ski over more you should be able to increase the lateral G's you can take before the edges slip. Comments?

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

AVyoung--I'm not sure I can address your point.  Anyone else?

 

When I say "chatter" part of what I'm referring to is to the front of the skis bouncing while I'm going fast on hard snow(I was also talking about the skis slipping while turning).  Is this just an inevitable consequence of rocker?  It seems like it might be

 

Maybe getting a cheap pair of skis for hard snow is a good idea.  It seems silly for me to have two pairs of skis at this point given that I'm only skiing max 10 days a year.  It'd be great to have one ski that could do it all--but if I can find a cheap ski to cruise on.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post

Responding to your bump, have you had a chance to work on that finesse?     To figure out just when the skis will chatter and to edge and pressure the skis to just short of that point?     To change the shape of the turns you wish to make so that the ski can have time to respond to your inputs with what it can give you?   

 

Sometimes it pays to give real close attention to what your hips and core are doing when the ski chatters; being 'forward' is a part of that but 'being more forward' is neither an end-all cure nor a reliable instant fix.     Finesse involves what the posters in the instruction forum refer to as 'DIRT' - Duration, Intensity, Rate, Timing of /all/ the inputs you give to the ski, not just your weight bias.

 

To the second part of the question...you enjoy carving.     It seems to me that a cheap extra pair of frontside carvers would be far better value than trading down to 87mm waist.     That way you lose /nothing/, and only need to focus on getting more time on snow.

 



 

I haven't been up on the slopes since my post.  I didn't take into consideration that my technique would be causing the chatter.  Do you think if I was on carving skis, technique would matter less and the skis would have an easier time carving?

 

Matt
 

 

post #14 of 18

Hi Matt

I appologize I didn't catch your description of tip chatter. I found my k2 coombacks with a rockered tip bounced around just as you described. Same with the Rossi S7 I tried. Surprisingly with my DPS 112 skis that have alot of tip rocker I don't notice any tip chattering. I think this is is common. Well enjoy the new skis and hopefully we get some powder soon. 

post #15 of 18

Folkfan,

The Northwest demo tour will me at Meadows on Sunday. You should go up, and try a few different skis.

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

So I called the ski rental shop at Meadows to ask them about the ski they rented out last year, which was the carving ski I enjoyed myself on--but found it a bit of a challenge to ski in powdery conditions.  The ski was the Solomon X-Wing 700, which seems to be a ski from 2007.  It's dimensions are 123-73-109, quite a huge jump from the Atomic Access at 127.5-100-119.5.

 

So in an ideal world maybe I could find a ski that is somewhere between these--but I'd end up sacrificing performance in powder?

 

It seems to be pretty impossible to find the X-Wing online for cheap--one ski resort sold off their stock of them for $100 a pop.  Does anyone think/know of similarly performing carving skis (with similarish dimensions to the Salomons that I could buy for cheap online?   Any ideas?  Thanks! 

 

My responses follow:

Quote:
Originally Posted by avyoung View Post

Hi Matt

I appologize I didn't catch your description of tip chatter. I found my k2 coombacks with a rockered tip bounced around just as you described. Same with the Rossi S7 I tried. Surprisingly with my DPS 112 skis that have alot of tip rocker I don't notice any tip chattering. I think this is is common. Well enjoy the new skis and hopefully we get some powder soon. 


Thanks avyoung.  You said you notice your skis bouncing around.  Does this happen in all conditions or just on hard pack?

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post

Folkfan,

The Northwest demo tour will me at Meadows on Sunday. You should go up, and try a few different skis.


Hey, thanks.  I'm thinking about it.  I'm going to a party Sat night which is going to go really late--but it might be worth losing sleep to demo skis.

 

post #17 of 18
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hey all!

 

I was just pondering the fact that I'll try to demo skis Sunday--but it looks like the conditions out here won't be ideal.  Still hard pack, oh well.  I guess I can see how different skis handle those conditions.

 

Also, I was just thinking about how my skiing experience thus far in life has been on the east coast.  Skiing in lots of snow is more of an idea than a reality at this point.

 

Hmm...

 

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