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Learning ski choice

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Having recently gone through the tribulations of my first ski purchase (complete with information overload as well as useful and well-intended advice, for which I am very grateful), I am wondering about something: As a general rule, if someone is investing in a pair of skis and if they plan to continue to improve as they ski (as an amateur recreational skier, not a pro), should they buy skis at the recommended length and model for their current level, or for the level they are targeting to improve to, say in a year or so? I am wondering what the ski instructors here think about this. Would going too long/too advanced in order to make one's investment last longer hamper learning? Or would, on the contrary, going at the current ability level slow learning or lead to learning bad habits or getting too comfortable with skis that are easier to maneuver? 

Thanks!

post #2 of 17

I would avoid going too long (or too stiff), but many skis are suitable for a range of skill levels, so I would recommend getting a ski that starts at where you are now with a range that expands upwards.

 

As an example, I think Sierra Jim might have come up with the label/category "Easy Expert Ski" ...I would say many in this category would be fine for an intermediate looking to advance their skills.

 

The best advice might be to demo some skis that are suppose to be above your skill level and get the one that feels best.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks, that sounds reasonable. That's what I ended up choosing actually! But the bigger issue has been the length, because you can certainly utilize more of the ski's capabilities as you progress I figure, but it won't grow any longer :) 

post #4 of 17

Actually, IMHO most skier are on ski that are too long for their ability. Most skier believe that longer skis give them better stability at higher speeds. That is true to a point. For most improving skiers a slightly shorter pair of skis will allow them a bit more sensitivity and feed back.

 

I've watch Jean Mayer, Tech director for the TSV ski school, telling some of the skiers in his classes to get a shorter pair of ski so they can properly feel what the skis are doing.

 

Just remember, generally, it is not the arrow, it's the Indian. 

post #5 of 17
Get slaloms to continue learning and skiing most conditions and slopes - forget the "all mountains", look at something like the Head Supershape or Fischer Progressor 8 or Atomic ST (I think), at around 12m radius and length around your nose. Having tried them all, i know you will be fine with either... Differnt character, but similar capablities. More turns per minute simply give you more practice per minute.
post #6 of 17
Quote:

Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post

 

As an example, I think Sierra Jim might have come up with the label/category "Easy Expert Ski" ...I would say many in this category would be fine for an intermediate looking to advance their skills.

 

The best advice might be to demo some skis that are suppose to be above your skill level and get the one that feels best.

I agree, beginner if you really are just beginning, jump intermediate and look towards the easy advanced and above skis.

 

razie's point while good misses the point of what type of skiing you are looking to do as you improve.  Look at little towards type of skiing you are planning to do. Fat powder skis won't ski nice on hard pack and slalom skis won't ski nice in powder.  Sometimes a compromise should be made leaning towards the primary application.

 

Length and type depends on application/area conditions/ht/wt of the skier.  A little shorter or longer will not likely hinder for the most part and as experience goes up it will matter less and be more a matter of preference as long as they match the first criteria.

 

What matters more is the rating of the ski  IE. Expert=very responsive/unforgiving to Beginner=very forgiving/easily overpower (for the experienced skier .  Again these are loose guides and vary by ski type and application.

 

Seek advice from shops that ski (or have experience skiing) in the areas you are looking to primarily ski and DEMO if possible.

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldschoolskier View Post


... what type of skiing you are looking to do as you improve.  Look at little towards type of skiing you are planning to do. Fat powder skis won't ski nice on hard pack and slalom skis won't ski nice in powder.  Sometimes a compromise should be made leaning towards the primary application.

I dont think one can learn on powder - that in my mind is advanced control, it takes many more things to do properly. He should get slaloms and learn on groomed how to control those first and they will ski a lot of conditions and even powder as well but wont be great at it. If he then wants powder, get a powder ski as well.

Demo is nice, but as a beginner or even intermediate, what is there to feel? I certainly remember i felt the difference going froma an old strait ski to a modern slalom, but between slaloms...? It may be just a chance for those guys to push whateve they want to sell more of...

Between me and the kids, I now have 10 or more pairs of race skis I can use and I still love my first... a Fischer RX 8 - so easy to control, it still teaches me things smile.gif
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone, this is a wealth of information and I really appreciate it. 

 Interesting point about shops pushing what they want to sell: it's tough for someone new to know when they get good advice or advice that comes with an ulterior motive. One of the first stores I went to with these questions was really REALLY pushing Salomon BBR 8.9s as the PERFECT ski for what I was looking for :) Maybe they really believed that, but honestly, is that what someone should be learning on, on Eastern groomers?!?

 I ended up getting Head i.Peak 74s. They seem to allow some growth on them and I like them so far. I was concerned about the size, I went with 163 which by weight seems just fine (I'm light for my height, 5'10 150-155 lbs). They come to about my mouth at most, but reading what you guys are saying it sounds like they should be fine and I probably won't outgrow them too quickly. 

 But this is a good general discussion, I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering about this. Just as when I started out in photography, still my main hobby, I will probably end up with several different skis if I remain consistent, but when someone initially invests in equipment they want to try and get something versatile and that they can keep for a long time. On the other hand, to push the analogy further and going off KingGrump's comment about it being the arrow not the indian, I found that the better I got at photography, the less I cared about equipment. I get the feeling it's the same with skiing... I started out convinced that what limited my shots was the fact that I didn't have a bigger, better, shinier SLR, and now I make better photographs on my iPhone than I used to on 1.5k cameras :) Maybe I'll also end up skiing better on these than others do on 1.5k skis...

 OK, rant over

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by razie

I dont think one can learn on powder - that in my mind is advanced control, it takes many more things to do properly. He should get slaloms and learn on groomed how to control those first and they will ski a lot of conditions and even powder as well but wont be great at it. If he then wants powder, get a powder ski as well.

Demo is nice, but as a beginner or even intermediate, what is there to feel? I certainly remember i felt the difference going froma an old strait ski to a modern slalom, but between slaloms...? It may be just a chance for those guys to push whateve they want to sell more of...

Between me and the kids, I now have 10 or more pairs of race skis I can use and I still love my first... a Fischer RX 8 - so easy to control, it still teaches me things smile.gif

I love all my race skis too biggrin.gif.  I wasn't suggesting powder as the main choice, but possibly a compromise depending on which way the OP was leaning.

 

Anything in the Slalom, GS  cheater versions (or all mountain compromise or carver with similar turning radius) are likely a good starting point.  As for demoing, if its available (sometimes for free) at various hills (even if it is the same brand), it does give a chance even for an intermediate to feel the difference with side by side comparison.

 

Not necessarily as meaningful as it would be for the better skiers, but still adds value as it shows the difference (of what the radius does along with the responsiveness and forgiveness)

 

BTW my current quiver includes 4 sets of Straight (3 full blown race), 1 FIS GS ski and 1 SL race ski plus 3 more for the wife and kids.  I personally only switched to shaped last year (long time over due, but I enjoyed my straights so much).  Eventually I'll have to get powder skis.

 

One of these days we'll have top ski together here in ON.

 

Cheers,

 

G

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by rocdoc View Post

 I ended up getting Head i.Peak 74s. They seem to allow some growth on them and I like them so far. I was concerned about the size, I went with 163 which by weight seems just fine (I'm light for my height, 5'10 150-155 lbs). They come to about my mouth at most, but reading what you guys are saying it sounds like they should be fine and I probably won't outgrow them too quickly. 

 

that's sounds like a decent choice. good ratings and i see the radius is around 12-13m, while 163 maybe a bit short at 5'10 but good overall i think.

 

have fun!

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldschoolskier View Post

 

One of these days we'll have top ski together here in ON.

 

Cheers,

 

G

sure - PM me when you're going up...

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

L9 will still exchange them for the 170 version for me, but I think that one might be too long for me at this point. 

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by rocdoc View Post

Thank you everyone, this is a wealth of information and I really appreciate it. 

 Interesting point about shops pushing what they want to sell: it's tough for someone new to know when they get good advice or advice that comes with an ulterior motive. One of the first stores I went to with these questions was really REALLY pushing Salomon BBR 8.9s as the PERFECT ski for what I was looking for :) Maybe they really believed that, but honestly, is that what someone should be learning on, on Eastern groomers?!?

 I ended up getting Head i.Peak 74s. They seem to allow some growth on them and I like them so far. I was concerned about the size, I went with 163 which by weight seems just fine (I'm light for my height, 5'10 150-155 lbs). They come to about my mouth at most, but reading what you guys are saying it sounds like they should be fine and I probably won't outgrow them too quickly. 

 But this is a good general discussion, I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering about this. Just as when I started out in photography, still my main hobby, I will probably end up with several different skis if I remain consistent, but when someone initially invests in equipment they want to try and get something versatile and that they can keep for a long time. On the other hand, to push the analogy further and going off KingGrump's comment about it being the arrow not the indian, I found that the better I got at photography, the less I cared about equipment. I get the feeling it's the same with skiing... I started out convinced that what limited my shots was the fact that I didn't have a bigger, better, shinier SLR, and now I make better photographs on my iPhone than I used to on 1.5k cameras :) Maybe I'll also end up skiing better on these than others do on 1.5k skis...

 OK, rant over

 

Jan 24, 2012

 

Hi RocDoc:

 

First let me welcome you to the Barking Bears Forum.  I hope you enjoy your stay here as well as being a long time participant.  

 

Noting that you live in the Washington DC metro area, I would suggest that the ONLY ski shop to frequent is Ski Center located on Mass Ave close to the Maryland state line (address 4300 Fordham Road NW, Washington DC 20016, phone 202 966-4474).  I've been a loyal customer for many years, and have benefited from the wide choice of great equipment available as well as the expert advice given non-partially by expert skiers i.e. skiers with 30+ years of skiing, racing, race coaching experience, who are full time sales persons during the winter months.  They ski on their days off or after the local ski season is over and head up north or out west and even overseas to Europe, New Zealand, South American etc.  Since none of them work on "commissions/bonus", they have no self interest to "push" any brand or type of ski.  If you honestly discuss with them your skiing ability (as you have done here) and your future goals, they will come up with recommendations which will be more or less ideal for you, in terms of type of ski (SL, cheater GS or all mountain ski), length, width and stiffness.  They will also take the time to explain the reason for their choices to you.  Most sales associates have many years of retail experience with the Ski Center.

 

As you get to know and understand more about skiing, please NOTE that your MOST IMPORTANT piece of equipment, IS NOT YOUR SKIS, but YOUR BOOTS.  This goes for type of boot i.e. beginner, intermediate, advanced, racing but more importantly as to whether a particular boot (i.e. brand and model within brand) is a GOOD fit for YOUR FEET  (NOTE, YOUR FEET not Bodie Miller's feet, for example).  This is one ARROW where the Indian might not be able to shot as straight no matter how good he is, given a "crooked arrow".  After understanding your skiing ability, where you like to ski, your goals as well as an initial inspection of your foot, a recommendation of several boots will be made for you to try.  Once you have decided upon a particular boot, the hard part starts and the real "fitting" process begins.  This involves fore aft balance, canting if you are knocked knee, stance based on your body type and a foot bed, also known as an orthotic.  At this stage of the game, they may even recommend over the counter othotics such as Super Feet.  However, as you advance in skill level and ability, you will probably be looking at custom orthotics, which involves a non-trivial fee (custom orthotics).  Fitting, even with over the counter orthotics, involves several hours and might involve multiple visits for MORE fitting (punching out the plastic shell on pressure points etc).  This is all included in the price of the boot and is part of the fitting process.  

 

So, with all this said, I hope that you have not been scared you off with the mumbo jumbo above.  Hope you go out skiing this weekend.  The conditions should be great.

 

Think snow,

 

CP

 

ps:  They wouldn't mind you taking your skis to their shop for a second opinion, assuming they aren't busy (they can be quite busy).  This is one method which they build customer good will and loyalty.

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by rocdoc View Post

L9 will still exchange them for the 170 version for me, but I think that one might be too long for me at this point. 
Dont sweat it - its not an exact science, you will have fun with either. Keep the short one and start shredding...
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by razie View Post


Keep the short one and start shredding...

A-shredding I will go :)

Thanks

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post

 

Jan 24, 2012

 

Hi RocDoc:

 

First let me welcome you to the Barking Bears Forum.  I hope you enjoy your stay here as well as being a long time participant.  

 

Noting that you live in the Washington DC metro area, I would suggest that the ONLY ski shop to frequent is Ski Center located on Mass Ave close to the Maryland state line (address 4300 Fordham Road NW, Washington DC 20016, phone 202 966-4474).  I've been a loyal customer for many years, and have benefited from the wide choice of great equipment available as well as the expert advice given non-partially by expert skiers i.e. skiers with 30+ years of skiing, racing, race coaching experience, who are full time sales persons during the winter months.  They ski on their days off or after the local ski season is over and head up north or out west and even overseas to Europe, New Zealand, South American etc.  Since none of them work on "commissions/bonus", they have no self interest to "push" any brand or type of ski.  If you honestly discuss with them your skiing ability (as you have done here) and your future goals, they will come up with recommendations which will be more or less ideal for you, in terms of type of ski (SL, cheater GS or all mountain ski), length, width and stiffness.  They will also take the time to explain the reason for their choices to you.  Most sales associates have many years of retail experience with the Ski Center.

 

As you get to know and understand more about skiing, please NOTE that your MOST IMPORTANT piece of equipment, IS NOT YOUR SKIS, but YOUR BOOTS.  This goes for type of boot i.e. beginner, intermediate, advanced, racing but more importantly as to whether a particular boot (i.e. brand and model within brand) is a GOOD fit for YOUR FEET  (NOTE, YOUR FEET not Bodie Miller's feet, for example).  This is one ARROW where the Indian might not be able to shot as straight no matter how good he is, given a "crooked arrow".  After understanding your skiing ability, where you like to ski, your goals as well as an initial inspection of your foot, a recommendation of several boots will be made for you to try.  Once you have decided upon a particular boot, the hard part starts and the real "fitting" process begins.  This involves fore aft balance, canting if you are knocked knee, stance based on your body type and a foot bed, also known as an orthotic.  At this stage of the game, they may even recommend over the counter othotics such as Super Feet.  However, as you advance in skill level and ability, you will probably be looking at custom orthotics, which involves a non-trivial fee (custom orthotics).  Fitting, even with over the counter orthotics, involves several hours and might involve multiple visits for MORE fitting (punching out the plastic shell on pressure points etc).  This is all included in the price of the boot and is part of the fitting process.  

 

So, with all this said, I hope that you have not been scared you off with the mumbo jumbo above.  Hope you go out skiing this weekend.  The conditions should be great.

 

Think snow,

 

CP

 

ps:  They wouldn't mind you taking your skis to their shop for a second opinion, assuming they aren't busy (they can be quite busy).  This is one method which they build customer good will and loyalty.

Thanks for all the info. I will definitely check them out, I did not know about them.

I did go through some effort finding a good fit for the boot, although not as extensive as the above. I will however plan to spend more time and effort on this as my skiing progresses - I do understand now that the boots are key.

post #17 of 17

So... I'm going to beg to differ with some of the advice here. We were out demo'ing skis yesterday, and made it a point to ski several runs on Nordica's price point 'intermediate' ski, the Avenger *. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone who's just getting going as a ski to get up the learning curve... Best $400 MSRP ski I've ever been on. Holds well, turns short, turns long, skied well on harder snow, and dashed off into some fluff on the side without hesitation. Sure, it isn't as stable at high speed as the more 'advance' skis, nor as heavy and wide for bid crud busting at speed, but for $400 or probably less since there's going to be new top sheets for next season, it's a winner with money left over for chicken dinner and more importantly, LESSONS! smile.gif  

 

 

(this is all assuming boots are worked out and taken care of)

 

* I'm not sponsored by, nor do I/did I receive anything from Nordica other than a coffee mug and a tee shirt.


Edited by markojp - 1/25/13 at 4:21pm
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