You're not understanding how a ski works. Putting the ski on edge and bending the ski into reverse camber (pressure control) is what sets up the arc of the turn. Edge angle and amount of pressure are the variables. Everybody told you that big angles were a good thing, but nobody ever said why. The turn radius of a ski is not a gimme, you have to make it happen. My ski can be rated at 23 meters, but if I don't have big enough angles and sufficient pressure, 23M ain't gonna happen. In LeMaster's latest book, he has an interesting chart where he shows the difference for the same ski in turn radius when the ski is 45 degrees on edge versus 60 degrees on edge.
Edge angle and the amount of pressure are just what set up the arc of the turn. What makes the turn happen is pressure distribution. Everybody told you to press forward at the beginning of a turn, but nobody told you why. What you want to do is to have the arc follow the shape of the sidecut, starting with the front of the ski, running through the middle, and ending up on the tail. That, you do with pressure distribution, which is why you start by bending the front of the ski. Now take a look at a ski. The sidecut I just talked about runs from the contact point with the snow up in front through the part on the tail where it's still curving in the same direction as the arc. The tip itself and the last little bit of the tail are actually curving in the opposite direction of the arc you want to make. That's why you want to dull the tip and tail, because they'll lead you in directions you don't want to go.
A zero degree base bevel isn't necessarily a bad thing, although I'd say for most of us, a half to a full degree is the right answer. I talked to some WC reps at Loveland a couple of years ago whose racers had their SL skis with a 4 degree base, 7 side bevel. Why would they do that? Well, those dudes can really get their feet out there (see the above discussion about big angles), and they don't want the edge to contact until the ski is way out there. If, on the other hand, I'm not great at creating angles, maybe flat is okay for me. If you don't know what's best for you, start with a half and see how that goes, and increase if you like. It's easy to increase base bevel, it's a lot harder to take it away.
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski
It recently came to my attention that the shovel's contact point is actually what "grips" the snow (with the tail) when the ski is up on edge, and allows the rest of the ski to bend and thus tighten the radius (in addition to holding the edge).
Therefore, my idea of detuning a 23 meter ski is stupid. In order for me to work that ski the way it was meant to be worked, I need a sharp and grippy shovel. What I was probably experiencing was a zero base bevel angle.