Dynastar, Rossignol and Nordica have addred rocker to their race skis for 2012-13.
What is the benefit of adding rocker to race skis?
I asked the same question and got a reasonable answer from a Rossi rep. As I understand it, Rossi lifted and softened the tips of their slalom skis based on the fact that a slalom course is never a completely ideal surface. That is to say, having a softer and raised ski tip allows the racer to have a little more control and finesse through the ruts and chop that inevitably build up on a course. Ideally, were the course completely clean, a traditional full camber ski would still be in order.
It's been around on race skis for quite some time, and has been addressed on here before. It does several things, but in essence when you are talking about early rise or tip rocker, you can view it as letting you turn the ski when you want to turn. Even on a completely clean course this can have big advantages.
I might be wrong, but, for GS, I think adding some rocker has an effect on the way the Radius is measured and has allowed some companies to build a GS ski that complies with the new 35 R FIS requirement while really having a effective radius that is shorter.
Don't forget Atomic with the Redster Doubledeck GS and SL. We've skied on both and they kick ass!
I would think the same thing.
I was fortunate to be able to borrow a pair of next year's Atomic D2 GS Redsters for the NASTAR Nationals at Winter Park this past March. 174 cm, 17.8 m radius, 114/70/98, and early rise rocker. The courses this year were distinguished by reduced vertical offset and many racers opted for shorter radius skis. I had never tried a race ski with tip rocker before this season so I demoed a pair at Okemo's NASTAR course before heading for Colorado. On one weekend I set dual courses with a few crankers thrown in and the skis performed beautifully. On one run when I was the only one on the courses I intentionally took a super wide turn by hopping over and back to the adjacent course. The D2 GS Redster held the line beautifully.
At Winter Park, I took 2nd in my age group in the Platinum Division and missed winning by an average handicap margin of only 1.9%.
A number of customers have already expressed interest in buying a pair when they become available this fall.
Here's an advance look from Atomic Rep John Esterbrook who was kind enough to loan me his personal pair for the Nationals.
Because of the way early rise interacts with the snow, it's a bit different from cutting off length. Again, it just mellows things out a bit. For racing, it's been more widely used for GS and SG, and goes back roughly a decade at this point.
The main new thing here is the retail angle and ad copy.
Edit to add link, http://www.epicski.com/t/102611/why-no-early-rise-on-wc-skis
Might have something to do with the change in dimensions for next year? From what I recall, the new FIS dimensions are skinnier and longer yes?
At the beginning of this season (11-12) I heard that they tested early rise ski down in South America. same course same skier the rockers, early rise, were faster. IMHO rocker allows for easy initiation so they can get into the turn faster give them better times. I was hoping that Elan (see that I Mt rep for them) had jumped on this with the Amphibio design on there race skis. This would have given them the easy initiation with full camber edge hold.
I've been out of the race scene for a couple years now but have been skiing all-mountain in Whistler quite heavily. What I notice on skis that have early rise/rockered tip vs. those that don't is an easier turn initiation, especially in stivot turns when the ski needs to be loaded up a bit more abruptly. I find the benefits exist even on groomed runs. On skis with a less splayed early rise profile, much of the rockered portion of edge engages the snow once tipped over resulting in very little loss in stability. I'm certain that a (very mellow) early rise would have advantages on race skis. It would also definitely help make the new 195s less of a lumbering beast.