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Learning to ski on "expert" level skis - bad idea?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

So I have a couple friends who want to come skiing with me this season - first time for both of them. Mid-30's, somewhat athletic.

 

Since I have a ski addiction problem I thought I'd save them some money and let them borrow a couple pairs of mine that have integrated adjustable bindings so they could save money on rentals and put it toward renting high quality demo boots instead of cavernous rental fleet boots.

 

Is there some downside to learning on a more precise ski? The man's ski is a 2010 170 length Nordica hot rod nitrous ti. 78 underfoot, radius in the high teens. Fairly stiff, lots of metal, no speed limit that I've been able to find. Marketed as an "expert" ski - whatever that means. But it turns on a dime and is certainly not GS or slalom race ski stiff.

 

The lady's ski I have is a K2 phat love or one love, I think. Quite a bit shorter, 2008 vintage i believe. Also not marketed as a beginner's ski. Thought it might work for my buddy's wife.

 

They'll both be in lessons with quality instructors for sure.

post #2 of 13
Not familiar with the Nordica, but the K2 probably would be OK for an athletic lady.
post #3 of 13

De-tune the tips and tails a little more then normal, and they should be ok. 

post #4 of 13
I'm not a fan of swapping skis to save a couple bucks. Too much risk
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by swisstrader View Post

I'm not a fan of swapping skis to save a couple bucks. Too much risk


Ok so I can see risk if the bindings arent set right..but other then that...what "risk" are you afraid of???

post #6 of 13

It is amazing how much easier it is to learn on

some

of the rental gear out there.

 

But then most of us learned on stuff a lot worse than what you're offering your friends. Just make sure the binding's DIN is set correctly.

post #7 of 13
Quote:
I thought I'd save them some money and let them borrow a couple pairs of mine that have integrated adjustable bindings so they could save money on rentals and put it toward renting high quality demo boots instead of cavernous rental fleet boots.

Is there some downside to learning on a more precise ski?

In my opinion, calisnow, yes, but probably not as much a downside as others might think--depending on what type of high-end skis you're talking about. I wouldn't put your friends on a GS race ski, but many other high-end skis that are reasonably short would work OK for learning. It might not be ideal, as softer learning skis are more forgiving and probably lighter and easier to learn to maneuver around on. But even high-performance race skis today are much softer and shorter than those of the past. Surprisingly, a good slalom ski that is not too aggressively tuned would not be too hard for most people to learn on.

But, ironically, those "high-quality demo boots" could be a bigger problem. High-performance boots need to be set up well and customized--the higher the performance level, the moreso. High performance boots tend to fit snugger, meaning that without customization, they can be quite uncomfortable. More importantly, snug, stiff boots affect stance, both laterally and fore-aft, much more than softer, looser-fitting, comfy rental boots. The snugger the fit, and the stiffer the boot, the more critical the alignment setup needs. They may not be as warm, either.

As lousy as typical rental shop boots may be, since they will not be custom-fitted or professionally set up and aligned, that "sloppiness" may be favorable to a high-performance boot that is set up wrong.

It also will not likely save you much money. Most rental shops offer a package price for skis, boots, and poles. They won't reduce the price much if you have your own skis or boots. And in some cases, they might even be reluctant to adjust your skis to their boots.

So all things considered, I'd suggest that going with a basic rental package from a reputable shop is still your best bet for at least the first day or two. If that turns them in to "skiers," my next suggestion would be to bite the bullet and buy a pair of good, higher-performance boots and get them custom fitted and aligned by a reputable boot fitter. All of my arguments against renting high-performance boots reverse when they buy them and get them properly set up.

And then you can save them some money by loaning your skis, if you think it's appropriate.

Remember that those first couple days are critical in a skier's career. They can create life-long devotees of the sport, or they can turn people off forever. Yes, lousy rental equipment is one of the frequent culprits when people don't have a great first-time experience. But starting them out on poorly-set-up high performance gear would be like trying to learn to drive in a race car with misaligned wheels, brakes that pull to the side, and a grabby, worn clutch ....

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post


In my opinion, calisnow, yes, but probably not as much a downside as others might think--depending on what type of high-end skis you're talking about. I wouldn't put your friends on a GS race ski, but many other high-end skis that are reasonably short would work OK for learning. It might not be ideal, as softer learning skis are more forgiving and probably lighter and easier to learn to maneuver around on. But even high-performance race skis today are much softer and shorter than those of the past. Surprisingly, a good slalom ski that is not too aggressively tuned would not be too hard for most people to learn on.

But, ironically, those "high-quality demo boots" could be a bigger problem. High-performance boots need to be set up well and customized--the higher the performance level, the moreso. High performance boots tend to fit snugger, meaning that without customization, they can be quite uncomfortable. More importantly, snug, stiff boots affect stance, both laterally and fore-aft, much more than softer, looser-fitting, comfy rental boots. The snugger the fit, and the stiffer the boot, the more critical the alignment setup needs. They may not be as warm, either.

As lousy as typical rental shop boots may be, since they will not be custom-fitted or professionally set up and aligned, that "sloppiness" may be favorable to a high-performance boot that is set up wrong.

It also will not likely save you much money. Most rental shops offer a package price for skis, boots, and poles. They won't reduce the price much if you have your own skis or boots. And in some cases, they might even be reluctant to adjust your skis to their boots.

So all things considered, I'd suggest that going with a basic rental package from a reputable shop is still your best bet for at least the first day or two. If that turns them in to "skiers," my next suggestion would be to bite the bullet and buy a pair of good, higher-performance boots and get them custom fitted and aligned by a reputable boot fitter. All of my arguments against renting high-performance boots reverse when they buy them and get them properly set up.

And then you can save them some money by loaning your skis, if you think it's appropriate.

Remember that those first couple days are critical in a skier's career. They can create life-long devotees of the sport, or they can turn people off forever. Yes, lousy rental equipment is one of the frequent culprits when people don't have a great first-time experience. But starting them out on poorly-set-up high performance gear would be like trying to learn to drive in a race car with misaligned wheels, brakes that pull to the side, and a grabby, worn clutch ....

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

 

Good post BB,

 

I'll add that another key to set them up for success, is good clothes...I've writen this many times...you dont need to be an expert to appreciate warm, dry and comfortable.

post #9 of 13

I gave a pair of my old (flexed-out) stock Nordicas SLs to the fiancee of one of my former team mates and he was able to learn very easily on them. They were so soft and skied-out by the time he got them, that they actually made a very good learning tool at 165cm and 14m radius. His now wife (a photographer) took photos and video of him skiing on them that she later showed me and she was able to teach him to parallel turn and hockey stop after one day on snow... and this guy is from Salvador Brazil, so he didn't bring any "sliding on a frozen surface" experience into the equation.

post #10 of 13

one consideration apart from the ski's is the total cost.  a lot of resorts offer package deals where when adding up individual lift, rental and lesson, they discount significantly just so they can snag another addict who'll bless their hills in the future with more lessons, more lifts and more rentals, food and later add their kids ....

 

Only state this from experience, it seemed to have worked well for those who snagged me.... smile.gif  wife, 3 kids ..

 

Checked a couple of sites, they had various packages and if your friends are committed to learning (or can spin the cash) and often list success as comfortable on greens.

 

Heavenly has $147/day lesson, lift and equip,

Steamboat has a 3 day guaranteed learning package (3 days lessons, lifts and rentals) that if you don't learn, next lessons are free till you do.

Sugarloaf had 3 day with lift, lesson (not sure how long) and equip for only $180 (maybe I've read this wrong but ... )

 

Anyhow, you get the gist ... package at the cost of lifts and maybe rental, lessons almost free.  

 

if you pick the right day .. slow one, and do a group, they may only have one or two others with em

 

pete

 

don't forget to tip!

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post


In my opinion, calisnow, yes, but probably not as much a downside as others might think--depending on what type of high-end skis you're talking about. I wouldn't put your friends on a GS race ski, but many other high-end skis that are reasonably short would work OK for learning. It might not be ideal, as softer learning skis are more forgiving and probably lighter and easier to learn to maneuver around on. But even high-performance race skis today are much softer and shorter than those of the past. Surprisingly, a good slalom ski that is not too aggressively tuned would not be too hard for most people to learn on.

But, ironically, those "high-quality demo boots" could be a bigger problem. High-performance boots need to be set up well and customized--the higher the performance level, the moreso. High performance boots tend to fit snugger, meaning that without customization, they can be quite uncomfortable. More importantly, snug, stiff boots affect stance, both laterally and fore-aft, much more than softer, looser-fitting, comfy rental boots. The snugger the fit, and the stiffer the boot, the more critical the alignment setup needs. They may not be as warm, either.

As lousy as typical rental shop boots may be, since they will not be custom-fitted or professionally set up and aligned, that "sloppiness" may be favorable to a high-performance boot that is set up wrong.

It also will not likely save you much money. Most rental shops offer a package price for skis, boots, and poles. They won't reduce the price much if you have your own skis or boots. And in some cases, they might even be reluctant to adjust your skis to their boots.

So all things considered, I'd suggest that going with a basic rental package from a reputable shop is still your best bet for at least the first day or two. If that turns them in to "skiers," my next suggestion would be to bite the bullet and buy a pair of good, higher-performance boots and get them custom fitted and aligned by a reputable boot fitter. All of my arguments against renting high-performance boots reverse when they buy them and get them properly set up.

And then you can save them some money by loaning your skis, if you think it's appropriate.

Remember that those first couple days are critical in a skier's career. They can create life-long devotees of the sport, or they can turn people off forever. Yes, lousy rental equipment is one of the frequent culprits when people don't have a great first-time experience. But starting them out on poorly-set-up high performance gear would be like trying to learn to drive in a race car with misaligned wheels, brakes that pull to the side, and a grabby, worn clutch ....

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

As always, Bob's comments are right on the money.

 

In short:

 

Beginner/intermediate equipment, forgiving and less responsive to errors in input.  Great to learn and start on.  This lack of responsiveness allows skiers to make errors in input and experiment while they are learning without immediate very negative results.

 

Advance/expert equipment,  very responsive to every input, this includes errors, which will make learning difficult as will be hard to determine the cause of the fault for the skier.  Frustration!

 

You could better of in helping ensure the rental boots fit properly and checking the rental skis are up to snuff for tuning/wax, than letting them learn on high performance twitchy skis and boots (at least for beginners).  Once they feel comfortable, the transition (to higher performance equipment) is less of an issue as the errors are smaller relatively speaking and progression at that point will occur with a lot less frustration as they know what to expect (and are actually looking forward to the experience and progression).

 

 

Good luck

post #12 of 13

Get the regular rental boots. Just make sure you don't get the size 7 Mens for a size 7 street shoe for the woman.

 

Too often I see a first time student come out with boots 3 sizes too big. Lady or child tells the shop guy size 7, and he brings a 27.5 boot out.. They don't seem to think there's a difference between womens or childrens. sizes.

 

If your friend has a size 8 street shoe, have them ask for a size 7 or even 6. Better yet, if you can get that info (street shoe size), someone here can give you a mondo conversion.

 

Sit with them during the booting up part and teach them how to "squeeze" into a proper sized boot including having them flex the boot with their shin before tightening the boots down.. Your time and effort will be greatly rewarded with a better fit and probably a happier couple of friends ( in the long run)

 

DC

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the helpful insight guys. Yup I'll go with a lessons/rentals/lift package for them - makes complete sense. I have plenty of warm old clothes for them to wear.

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