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Is there a weight limit for Women's GS skis?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Is a 185 pound man too heavy for a Women's GS ski?  Obviously, the radii of Women's GS skis steers the recreational male racer toward those skis, as they often seek "race room" construction.

 

But at what cost does the smaller radius come?  A ski too longitudinally-soft?  Unstable even?

 

Skidude72 has told me that actual WC skis are softer longitudinally than retail race-stock skis (which brings up another issue because another thread in this sub-forum indicated that retail race stock skis are full-on WC skis that were in a bad batch number, perhaps getting rotten polyethylene, bad wood, or poor metal).  But anyway, this being the case, is it a non-issue?

 

 

I mean, each ski has a spring coefficient, period?

post #2 of 17

I weigh 210, and ski a 183 Volkl for small-hill races, which is a women's ski. For bigger hills, i prefer a 187, which is a man's ski.

 

 

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richr View Post

I weigh 210, and ski a 183 Volkl for small-hill races, which is a women's ski. For bigger hills, i prefer a 187, which is a man's ski.

 

 



For "small" and "big" hills, are you referring to course length/vertical, or to steepness?

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post

Is a 185 pound man too heavy for a Women's GS ski?  Obviously, the radii of Women's GS skis steers the recreational male racer toward those skis, as they often seek "race room" construction.

 

But at what cost does the smaller radius come?  A ski too longitudinally-soft?  Unstable even?

 

Skidude72 has told me that actual WC skis are softer longitudinally than retail race-stock skis (which brings up another issue because another thread in this sub-forum indicated that retail race stock skis are full-on WC skis that were in a bad batch number, perhaps getting rotten polyethylene, bad wood, or poor metal).  But anyway, this being the case, is it a non-issue?

 

 

I mean, each ski has a spring coefficient, period?



Their is nothing inherently unstable about womens WC skis vs. mens.

 

 

As for retail race skis just being "bad run of WC skis"....no.

 

The materials used for WC skis tend to be better, but that is not to say the retail stuff is garbage.  For example the WC cores would be the same wood, but wood being a natural material is not perfect or consistent, but some pieces are better then others...the best pieces are taken for the WC skis, they then also take extra care to make sure the wood is balanced, etc.  Hence the retail skis are just made in a production....the WC skis are made individually with alot more "by hand" care.  Even with this there is a grade, some skis come out bettter then others, the top WC guys get those, the less WC guys get the next set, the next tier get the next pic and so on.  So even the "WC" skis that certain "top masters" racers get to buy...are bottom of the WC barrel skis.

 

 

All in all...its a none issue, for you anyway.

 

At the top levels guys fight hard over which skis they get, but unless you are likley to stand on a WC podium this year...that is not you.

 

 

 

 

post #5 of 17

You seem to not understand the type of power that a World Cup level female skier can load into a ski. It's not just size and strength (even though Maria Riesch is 5'11" and Lindsey Vonn is 5'10") it is also technique which allows for the application of power... they can lay the freakin' wood DOWN.

post #6 of 17

To go back to the original question, I have known several top ranked male masters racers who routinely used women's GS FIS skis. I would guess their weight to be 160-170 approximately. I discussed how they liked the specific skis but not what the upper weight limit might be. One of them is now back on men's skis and the other isn't.

 

The whole longitudinal "softness" issue has come about as FIS has increased the minimum sidecut radius. As the radius went to 23 and then 27 meters, the turns required did not change so the ski makers made the skis a bit more flexible. However, they are a long way from being too soft or unstable. Have you seen some of the bigger WC women ski GS? They can be going very fast on steep, icy trails and holding exceptionally well. Assuming that you are not a top notch racer, my guess is that you would find women's WC skis to be not too soft and also demanding. One of the things that you get is with these skis (M or W) is precision and one of the things most of those skis require is precision. Get you weight off the center at the wrong time and you are in for an unpleasant ride.

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post

You seem to not understand the type of power that a World Cup level female skier can load into a ski. It's not just size and strength (even though Maria Riesch is 5'11" and Lindsey Vonn is 5'10") it is also technique which allows for the application of power... they can lay the freakin' wood DOWN.



Excellant point - the forces applied to a ski are more about technique and speed then our "mass".  You might out weigh a female WC skier by 50lbs, but she is still likley able to put double the force on a ski that you could.  

 

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post

 

The whole longitudinal "softness" issue has come about as FIS has increased the minimum sidecut radius. As the radius went to 23 and then 27 meters, the turns required did not change so the ski makers made the skis a bit more flexible. However, they are a long way from being too soft or unstable. Have you seen some of the bigger WC women ski GS? They can be going very fast on steep, icy trails and holding exceptionally well. Assuming that you are not a top notch racer, my guess is that you would find women's WC skis to be not too soft and also demanding. One of the things that you get is with these skis (M or W) is precision and one of the things most of those skis require is precision. Get you weight off the center at the wrong time and you are in for an unpleasant ride.


No.  WC skis have always been softer longitudinally...even in the straight ski days.

 

 

But you are right that "soft" is relative.  These are not "soft" skis....just softer then their off the shelf counter parts (ie shelf race skis).

 

 

What do WC skis offer?  No precision is not it.  WC skis offer very very very stiff torsional rigidity, definatley stiffer then what you get off the shelf.  This provides superior edge hold.  To get skis torsionally stiff...usually requires also making them longintudinally stiff...but this makes the skis feel "planky".  WC skis offer the best balance of maximum torsional stiffness, with minimal longitudinal stiffness.  Shelf race skis also shoot for this balance, but reality means they compromise, with a little less torsional rigidity, and a little more longitudinal.  WC skis are also damper, offering a more stable, predicatable ride, again a function of the build. 
 

 

post #9 of 17

I'm 170lbs and ski the 176's, for my hill time its the perfect ski.

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post



For "small" and "big" hills, are you referring to course length/vertical, or to steepness?



It has more to do with how tight the set is. On smaller hills, the set tends to be tighter (more like Nastar), and I like having the quicker skis. 

post #11 of 17

About 3-4 years ago I purchased a 152 cm Dynastar SL and 182 cm 21 r GS ski marked with "Shelly" on both pair at the Breck Ski swap.  I gave the SLs to a lighter friend of mine, but have skied the GS pair and it is the stiffest ski I own.  I skied these weighing about 190 lbs and didn`t feel I came close to over powdering them in the limited use they have seen with a handful of Nastar runs and some mid-week days early season when I expected the slopes to be empty enough to push things. 

post #12 of 17

Would it be safe to say that in general a women's WC GS ski will still be more capable than a men's cheater ski?

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talking Monkey View Post

Would it be safe to say that in general a women's WC GS ski will still be more capable than a men's cheater ski?



It'd be safe to say that Lindsey Vonn is a more capable skier than a beer leaguer whether he cheats or not. smile.gif  Good word! "Beerleaguered".  Even the 'cheater' skis are much better than race skis were and not very long ago at that. For a typical recreational racing course/hill, I can't imagine you'd have all that much to gain with a full on WC ski, but if it helps with the song that's in your head, ski on what you think is your '11'.  Good boot fit and ski prep will make a bigger difference even when 'unplugged' IMH and 2 cents of O.

 

 

post #14 of 17

I honestly think ski choice is more of a personal thing.  Over the last few years I have owned a lot of different types of skis and right now I am skiing mostly on an old FIS ski that is 186cm and 21m, and I am 5'3 and weigh 113lbs.  I bought them used off someone who was going to get into racing and decided not to, and just wanted to get rid of them.  I got them fairly cheap.  It did take me awhile to get used to them, but now I think their great.  People frequently tell me it is the wrong ski for me, until they see me take them through a course.  My point is that you kind of learn to ski on the ski you most frequently use, if you decide to buy a WC ski, you will figure out how to use it, and if you decide to buy a cheater you'll figure out how to use that.  I never liked the "cheaters" because I didn't like skiing on short GS skis and I also found some of them too soft for me.  I also didn't like the women's skis either for the same reasons.  But that was along time ago, I haven't tried the more modern versions of these skis.  I used to have a FIS ski that had a softer plate, and then I went up to a full FIS ski with a shorter turn radius.

 

 For SL it is different though, I don't mind the recreational SLs as compared to the FIS, I can use either, they are just different and I have no preference.  

post #15 of 17

I believe the difference between the womens and mens is length and radius.  Some of the really strong women skiers ski the mens lengths and radius (I believe this was written about here in one of the posts).  Stiffness appears to be about the same.  I'm about 165/170lbs 6'0"and find that the 176 length very good.  No I don't get the hill time at some do, however the ski has yet to let me down in any condition.  I have yet to find the upper limit.  Until now I have been always sking race skis (in the 200+ length in straight skis).  I suspect that the 182-186 would also be just as rewarding, its just at the time this was the best deal available and no men's lengths where available at that time and these were my first shaped ski.

 

I have friends who race on this length and find it more than adequate for the job (and they get at least 30 to 50 days of hill time and race almost every weekend).  They ski better than I, hill time is oh so important.

 

Best advice is get away from thinking womens and mens skis in this category, think FIS ski....now decide on which Length/Radius would suit you best (unless of course you are skiing FIS races and then all the rules apply).  Be prepared to work the ski, a little effort returns a lot of reward on WC skis as the sky's the limit on these skis. 

 

 

 

post #16 of 17

Radius and length are definitely different, but also stiffness is nowhere near the same between men and women race skis. Normally men weight more (ok Maria, Lindsey and Anja are most likely a bit heavier then some men), and what is more important... they are way stronger then any girl in WC, which means they bring way more power to skis then any of the girls. Lindsey (and some others) is sometimes skiing men version of ski (not all that often as someone might think), but they are normally way softer skis then men ski them on average. But even between men racers, there's huge difference. Some people ski extremely stiff skis, while other ski really soft ones (Kostelic's SL skis for example are really soft... at least for race skis). So it's hard to say what stiffness is "normal" and it's pretty much impossible to find ski this way, since differences are big and only way to know what fits you is with lot of tests, which most of skiers have no chance to do.

post #17 of 17

I'm 5'7'' and weigh around 175 and last season I got myself a pair of n.o.s. womens race stock Fischer gs in 178 r21m to compare to my Salomon Lab gs in 185 r21 and they feel as though they have completeley different radii. The Sals are way heavier with a stiffer plate and I even caught myself cussing out loud in a race course for the 1st time as I struggled to get them to come around but boy did they feel fast! The Fischers feel way more manageable but I'm not convinced they are any slower. It may just feel that way because I feel I can work them a little more without them kicking me in the butt. I haven't had the opportunity to A/B them in the same course so this is all a little subjective. I don't feel as if the gender of the skis is really a factor. I just have to learn to drive them a little differently to get the best out of them.

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