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Need advice for a High School Skier

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I need some advice on the next set of skis for my high school racing son.


My son is a high school racer here in Michigan (manmade, hardpack and sometimes slightly icy conditions, short courses usually). He is currently racing on a used 2006 Nordica Dobermann SLR @ 155CM with Vist plate. Rec salomon binding and Nordia Beast ski boots (I know these are not race boots but he says they are "comfortable and his feet don't get cold like everybody elses" -I would welcome boot suggestions too _ i am thinking he is nto getting the performance out of the boot eventhough he seems to be ok with them - dont want to screw with too much stuff but maybe the boots have something to do with his stability in the course). So looking for Ski recommendations (and even boot and binding recommends if you think that will help him). Would like to get him something before the season starts (demoing would be ideal but maybe can't get on the snow soon enough to demo and limited race ski demos here in MI I am guessing).


Just wondering what your opinion of the next step in ski/equipment for him is (he was complaining last season of losing edge, slipping out in races with the Nordicas- mostly technique probably).  I think he is skiing on a .5/3 tune (wonder if that is sufficient for his ability and conditions here).



He is 5'10-5'11 and 180 lbs. Intermediate to maybe getting to advanced high school racer (varsity).


I was thinking of the Atomic D2 SL line for him (maybe 2012 or 2013 redstar) and moving him to a 165 (or greater). He uses the same ski for Slalom and GS races as of now. High school does not have tight standards on length etc. so he can use whatever - he will most likely only ever ski in High School races and camps out west and is probably not good enough to ski in college or beyond. He currently uses the same ski for slalom and gs races. Less worried about sl vs gs and more concerned with a ski that will help his stability, confidence and ability to finish races.


I was thinking of the Atomic D2 SL's (wonder if GS's, in a shorter length, would still be too hard on slalom courses). -OR- the Dynastar Omeglass TI's seem to be rated high. Everybody in his league seems to favor the Fisher's but they seem to be less favored than the Atomics and Dynastars by reviews I have seen.


Note: I have heard that race ski manufacturers are moving to softer tips recently (maybe to get into the turns easier). IS and FIS or "wrold Cup" ski designation too much ski for him? Would hate to go more rec-like ski than what he currently has and find out it is too soft but then again, maybe that is the direction that would help him ski more confidently? Sort of torn between longer/more compliant ski and/or longer/more competitive ski??? 


Any advice you can give would really help. Looking at suggestions for size (155-175?) brand experiences, and other considerations. Thanks a million for any advice you can give.

post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

An additional note - from what I am reading - the Dynastar Speed Omeglass Ti's are pretty good skis. It appears they have four models. Worldcup Speed Ti, Worldcup Course Ti, Speed TI and Course Ti (I think I got that right). Essentially a Slalom version (speed TI) and a Gs version (course TI). I am really liking what I am reading about the Dynastar Ti line.


Between these four, what would you look at and consider. Logic would say the World Cup Speed TI or the Speed TI. BUT, with the new tip rocker, etc wondering if some combo of Course Ti is appropriate for a HS racer for GS & Slalom courses. These are not FIS level courses, but not nastar either.


Thanks again.

post #3 of 10

I dont have any specific ski reccomendations but here is some generic advice:



Lenght - at 5'10 -5'11 I would reccomend a 165-170 length for a SL/GS combo ski.  It depends abit on the course set, but usually HS racing is pretty wide open courses, so a bit of extra length should be ok.  It will provide more edge hold, and smooth out the ruts some.


SL vs. GS - for what you describe I would reccomend a SL ski.  Easier to ski a SL in a GS then the other way around.


Tune - you mentioned 0.5/3.  I would consider that pretty extreme.  I know lots of guys run that for racing, but the trade off with really sharp edges is they also dull really quick and at 0.5 base that could be "grabby" in unskilled hands.  If you are running that, he must be tuning every day.  If you are not, drop back to a 1/3 or even 1/2.  A true 1/2 is much sharper then a dull 0.5/3.  Further a full 1 on the base will make the skis easier to manage = faster.


WC tips - softer has always been the goal of WC skis.  Of course that is softer longitudinally.  WC skis are still ultra stiff torsionally.  You want skis that are as stiff torsionally as possible.  There is a trade off here, torsionally stiff means the skis are less "forgiving", but you gain edge grip.  For racing its a trade-off worth making.  Further, it is difficult to make a ski torsionally stiff, and longtidunally soft.  So stiffer torsionally usually results in stiffer lengthwise.  But 180lbs your son should have no problem.  Go to any ski wall and try to twist the race skis, then go to the other end of the wall and do the same with a beginner ski, you will notice a huge difference.


Hope that helps.

post #4 of 10

Hi there Good guy (my wife has been looking for you for years... biggrin.gif)


Ok, lets look at this analytically first.  Your son is  5'10-5'11 and 180 lbs. and he is skiing on a 2006 155 SLR.  At that size and weight he is getting well beyond the capability of the ski which has been designed for a woman/lighter male racer (the stronger women tend to be racing on 158/165 these days) so there is the first issue. Second a 6 year old slalom ski that has been well used will have lost most of its pop and rigidity by now.  So, not surprising that he is struggling a bit!   Sorry to say this but it is probably well past its sell by date now, slalom skis tend to have  a shorter life than others.  That Nordica is a great ski, I had a 2007 pair that had been selected for a top junior racer and I really liked them.  But I am lighter and smaller.  And i also found I was significantly faster when i moved to 165 last season  From a safety perspective am even more worried about the thought of him running these in a GS course, even a HS/Nastar type course.


WRT the .5/3 tune, I am sorry to yet again burst the myth being propagated above that somehow a 3 degree dulls faster than a 2 degree. That is simply not true. Do a search on this topic on Epic and look for some of the more scientific explanations on it by people like Atomicman.  I am a more simple soul  that has proven it to work.  I would not recommend going less than a 3 on a race ski.  In fact I use 3 on ALL my skis, including powder boards (apart from an occasional 4 on slaloms on the ice coast   WRT the .5, that is something down to personal preference.  I always run .5 on slalom and .7 on GS but some people prefer the less immediate response of a 1 degree.  However, unless you have had a recent grind I would be surprised if they are actually still a true .5.


WRT type of ski.  IF he is skiing slalom, you need a proper slalom ski.  Unfortunately the old days (bamboo!) where you could use the same ski for both slalom and GS are gone.  At a pinch you can ski a slalom ski in a tighter set Nastar type GS but you can not hope to be at all competitive in a slalom course without a proper slalom ski.  Even for high school you are using breakaway gates and to be fast you need to be able to get across the gate. You will not do this effectively with something longer than 165/~ 11- 13 radius.


So we have narrowed it down now.  If you are going with one ski. it should be a 165 slalom ski.  Also if only one ski, I would suggest the race stock version rather than the consumer race version for the simple reason that the true race stocks are normally 13-13.5 radius where the consumer versions are usually around 11 radius.  That will help a bit in a GS course.  Also by buying a slalom ski you then have the option of later buying a cheap GS ski and having the right tool for each event.  Buying a compromise type ski leaves you still having to buy another 2 to do it right.  It is also a bit easier to pick up a used GS ski.  Probably for HS racing you should look at an oder 21m radius or the newer 23m womens versions rather than the full on 27m versions. Length wise look at 180-183


WRT which brand, the Atomic D2 Slalom is a great ski, as is the GS but there are also a lot of other good skis out there.  The Dynastar/Rossi slalom (slant nose) from 2011 on is an excellent ski (dont touch the prior versions).  The 2013 version of the slalom has early rise (it has been used in teh WC stock for a couple of years - mine are 2011 graphics with the early rise) but i would not overly worry about it if you can find a deal on an earlier pair. You will pay top dollar for the current year and would be much better buying a slalom and GS from earlier years for the same money instead.    The Dynastar race stock GS had early rise in the 2012 version. I may be wrong but don't think the Dynastar TI had early rise.  It does get some good reports though and could make a good HS gs ski.  Other brands I ahve used and recommend are Fischer (for GS) and Blizzard (SL and GS).  


WRT boots.  IIRC the Beast is ~ a 90-100 flex which may be getting a bit soft for himn at his weight.  Be careful not to go too stiff though, stay away from the 150 flex, look at a 130.  If he has a Nordica foot try the Doberman Agressor (95 width) or the Doberman Pro (98 width).  Other suggestions to look at depending on his foot shape are the Lange (RS?) and the Atomic TI.  The Atomic fits very similar to the Nordica.  These will be a bit colder than the Beast tho, you get nothing for nothing, but a good fitting boot is essential if he is going to compete.  You will get all the advice here to work with a boot fitter to select the right boot.  


Hope this helps.  I have also sent a PM with some potential ski options.  

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
I posted this question in another forum...please reply here only (Ski Gear Discussion) - Thanks...
post #6 of 10

Ask his coach.  Courses in different regions vary in pitch, firmness, gate offset and length. Coaches know what works best in local conditions, and they know how your kid skis.  After that, try to develop a relationship with a rep.  When I was coaching, most juniors used Rossignol or Atomic because they got the best support from those companies, but that changes from time to time.   

Don't assume you need "World Cup" skis.  Bode Miller proved that recreational skis can be faster for skiers who don't have world Cup strength.

Your kid is on to something with his preference for warm feet.  Aside from the risk of a frostbite injury from poor circulation, cold feet are less sensitive to the feelings of edge grip and balance.  Warm feet are faster.



post #7 of 10
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post

Your kid is on to something with his preference for warm feet.  Aside from the risk of a frostbite injury from poor circulation, cold feet are less sensitive to the feelings of edge grip and balance.  Warm feet are faster.



^^^ Or more generally, warm muscles are faster and have better endurance. Suspect that the lets-all-mimic-the-WC-circuit extends to silly constrictive boots with no or minimal socks. I'd also guess that there's no scientific evidence that this actually makes for faster times, just competitors doing it because the other guy does. Reminds me a lot of swimmers shaving, ah, everywhere. 

post #8 of 10

Sounds like 165 is the length to go with. FWIW I was a high level ski race on the east coast. I'm 6'2 190lbs and was consistently back and forth between a 165 and 170 length sl ski. I feel more comfortable on the 165 and in my high school races I didn't feel that I needed the 170 to get good times as hs is less competitive than club. The courses were also fairly wide open. I have an oldish (09-10) pair of 165 Fischer WC SL's that I'd sell you pretty cheap but they are the stiffer limited edition carbon version and don't have a ton of edge. Honestly, high school racing isn't that competitive so he won't gain a huge advantage by spending 1000$ on a new pair of Atomic D2s in comparison to a properly sized used ski unless he is at the very top of the leader board.


I'm not a huge fan of dynastar but its honestly just a personal bias from skiing a bunch of different skis that they have made. One brand you might want to check out is Blizzard. They have been producing some awesome race skis for the past two years and can be found for pretty cheap.

post #9 of 10



I am from southeast Michigan so I am familiar with the snow conditions you describe and probably the resort as well. My son raced high school for 4 years and graduated 2010. I still coach locally. My first suggestion is to get a well fit pair of boots but no more than 120 flex. He doesn't need race boots but, a good high performance, properly fit boot. As for the boards, our GS course sets really lend themselves to a cheater GS ski. At 180 lbs. I would recommend something in a 172 with a 15.5 to a 17m radius. Nordica, Volkl, Fischer and Blizzard are all great skis and are very popular with our local high school racers. For the tune I would recommend a 1/3. A cheater ski will have plenty of edge hold. By all means stay away from any race stock GS skis unless he is going to be racing CUSSA where he will have rules to abide by. As I said earlier our course sets are too tight for that kind of ski. If your son will be racing slalom, then I would suggest letting him begin his early season training on his old skis and start contacting his former teammates that have graduated and no longer have a use for their slaloms. Most kids will keep their GS skis but are willing to part with their SL's and their price is usually better than you will get at the local swaps especially when they know that the skis are going to a teammate. Good luck this year!




Go Dragons!

post #10 of 10

While you dont want a "cheap" or worn out ski, I would look with a critical eye around the swaps as wells as the local shops (NIchols, Shumakers, Sun n Snow, Don Thomas, Skierspeak, etc)


Race skis are the most expensive skis out there, with "this years" model often going for > $1000


But many racers are gearheads, so lots out there.


I have the Omeglass Ti (SL, one sheet of metal not two).  I'm quite happy with  BUT I am just starting to race in beer league.



At Alpine Valley Shumakers often has race skis with demo bindings he might be able to try out

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