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Long-time snowboarder making the switch. Question about ski length.

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Utah born and bred.  Was one of the first snowboarders on the hill way back when (think Sorels with ski booth liners and Wintersticks with soft bindings and nylon straps you had to tighten every 5 minutes), so yeah, I'm getting old.  Spent a snowless decade in Southern California, then came back home.  I've never been hardcore; half-dozen days on the hill a year or so (shame on me).  I was a mediocre snowboarder at best, but enjoyed it.  But I finally reached the age where I became sick of sitting in the snow strapping in or skate-pushing myself around.  I decided this was the year to make The Switch.  And the year I would get a season pass and start getting a lot more time on the hill.

 

I'm blessed to live 15 minutes from garage to lift chair and that fine, fine Utah pow.  I took five 2-hour lessons in the past month or so.  They started me on 150 cm skis.  Then I moved up to 160 cm.  I felt I had a pretty good handle on those.  My parallels were tight and smooth (snowboarding seems to have helped with this) and hockey stops come naturally.  I'm not wedging at all.  Then I moved up to 170s this past weekend and things went south.  A few months ago I got a killer deal on some new Line Prophet Flite skis and Marker Griffon bindings at 173 cm (I believe).  I used rentals for my lessons because, well, they were free.  I figured for my last lesson I would move up to a 170 cm rental  ski to have the benefit of instructor correction before I started using my own skis.  I definitely lost a lot with the 170s.  My parallels weren't as tight or controlled.  I felt like a was flailing a bit.  I crossed my tips and went down pretty hard, my first real crash in 5 lessons.  I was also starting to lift my uphill ski on right turns.  Things didn't feel...right.

 

So my question is, should I grab a pair of 160+ cm skis to use for a year until I've better solidified my skills/technique?  Or should I jump on my 173s and flail around a bit until I have them under control?  My fear is developing some bad habits with the longer skis that I will have a hard time getting rid of.  Would sticking with a shorter ski for a season be to my benefit or detriment?  I know the 170 size is an eventuality for me, but don't know if I should wait a bit and practice on the shorter sticks.

 

Oh, 5'11", 150 lbs.  Groomers for now since I'm a newb.

 

Any advice from the veterans here would be appreciated.  Thanks!

post #2 of 10

Hi, Its hard to make a blanket statement regarding ski length since it all depends on the ski type and construction/design.

 

I have used some 186cm skis that feel much shorter than some 184cm's I tried. 

 

But generally a twin tip rockered ski with a center mounted binding will feel the shortest for any given length and a GS or race type ski with no rocker will feel the longest. 

 

Your experience on the longer skis could be a combination of technique and ski design / behavior. But the Line Prophet Flight seems like a pretty mild ski since its a twin tip with a bit of tip and tail rocker and its pretty flexible. 

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks Muchos.  I guess I'm not looking for a specific length recommendation.  Rather, should I stick with a shorter length during my first season and then move up to a more "appropriate" length later?  Had they not started me on 150s, I doubt I'd be skiing parallel already.  So learning on the short skis certainly seems beneficial.  The question is, how long should I leverage the shorter ski to refine my technique?
 

post #4 of 10
Give it a few days on your new skis. Your description sounds like the short skis were enabling back seat driving, and the longer skis were stiff enough to express it. I personally prefer to not have the crutch, but that's a call you have to make.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

Give it a few days on your new skis. Your description sounds like the short skis were enabling back seat driving, and the longer skis were stiff enough to express it. I personally prefer to not have the crutch, but that's a call you have to make.


That could very well be.  Getting forward on my skis has been my biggest challenge.  In snowboarding you spend a lot of time on your heels, so I'm struggling to get past that long-term habit.

post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedHotFuzz View Post


That could very well be.  Getting forward on my skis has been my biggest challenge.  In snowboarding you spend a lot of time on your heels, so I'm struggling to get past that long-term habit.

 

That's not how you snowboard if your good at it.wink.gif  I think a 170 is not too long for you if you are getting good ski instruction from the beginning and are fairly athletic.  

 

The for-agonal extension into your alpine turn is very similar to the crossover move used at initiation on a toe side turn on a snowboard.  The completion phase of a toe side snowboard turn feels similar to a tele turn.  In the SB turn the front leg and hip move basically the same way that both legs and hips move on skis.  On skis both legs and hips move simultaneously to pressure both ski shovels, while on the SB the legs and hips move more sequentially to generate twist along the long axis of the board

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

 

That's not how you snowboard if your good at it.wink.gif  I think a 170 is not too long for you if you are getting good ski instruction from the beginning and are fairly athletic.  

 

To be fair, it's a safe spot so to speak when you star to get in trouble. Especially for intermediates. It is also where most of your support is so making heelside turns takes little effort. When I switched over it took a while for me to stop equating the back seat as the safe place when things got hairy. The OP is probably having trouble due to being in the backseat.

 

The for-agonal extension into your alpine turn is very similar to the crossover move used at initiation on a toe side turn on a snowboard.  The completion phase of a toe side snowboard turn feels similar to a tele turn.  In the SB turn the front leg and hip move basically the same way that both legs and hips move on skis.  On skis both legs and hips move simultaneously to pressure both ski shovels, while on the SB the legs and hips move more sequentially to generate twist along the long axis of the board

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post
 

I am not that good on a snowboard, but I stand by what I said....  Good snowboarders don't spend most of their time on their heels.  Heel side is not the best position to manage pressure or external force from and is definitely not the place to be when things get hairy.  IMO you see snowboarders slipping on their heel edges and hanging out on their heels because it allows them to be facing down the fall line, not because it's a stronger/better position to be in.  Watch a snowboarder slipping something steep on heel side....  When they wash out and fall on their butts, it is hard to self arrest from this position in spite of the fact that the back of the binding would seem to support the ankle.  The best self arrest position in skiing or snowboarding is facing into the hill and using your toes.  A good snowboarder isn't in the backseat or overly inclined into the hill even when on heel edge. 

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

I am not that good on a snowboard, but I stand by what I said....  Good snowboarders don't spend most of their time on their heels.

 

I never said "most," only "a lot."  wink.gif

 

A snowboard has a toe edge and a heel edge, so of course you're going to be spending some time in both positions.  It's hard to apply pressure to your heel edge if you're on your toes.  So it's a challenge to switch to skiing, where spending any time on your heels, as I'm finding out, is a bad idea.

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

I am not that good on a snowboard, but I stand by what I said....  Good snowboarders don't spend most of their time on their heels.  Heel side is not the best position to manage pressure or external force from and is definitely not the place to be when things get hairy.  IMO you see snowboarders slipping on their heel edges and hanging out on their heels because it allows them to be facing down the fall line, not because it's a stronger/better position to be in.  Watch a snowboarder slipping something steep on heel side....  When they wash out and fall on their butts, it is hard to self arrest from this position in spite of the fact that the back of the binding would seem to support the ankle.  The best self arrest position in skiing or snowboarding is facing into the hill and using your toes.  A good snowboarder isn't in the backseat or overly inclined into the hill even when on heel edge. 


Well, we're certainly not talking about some Jeremy Jones shit here. I was thinking in terms of more manageable terrain.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Long-time snowboarder making the switch. Question about ski length.