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When is the best ski the wrong one?

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 

I have said there are a more wrong skis than there are bad ones and it has never been more true of of late. Be it the "Disappointed by the MX88" thread or this guy selling his Bonafides, two skis that have been critically acclaimed not only in the printed press but also here in the virtual world. Why? A couple of reasons...

 

* The ski was not what the person thought they wanted. 

* The physical requirements of the ski did not match the physical attributes of the skier

* The technical requirements of the ski did not match the technical ability of the skier

* The ski was just a bad re recommendation by a buddy/rep/salesman/reviewer that had nothing in common with the skier buying the ski

* Having the biggest, baddest, stiffest, widest ski is right

* Add your reason *here*

 

How many people are out there on the wrong ski, even though it is a very good ski? All the skis (well MOST of the skis) are exceptional. But it needs to be considered less of what a ski is, but with more of what the ski does. 

post #2 of 48

it can simply be the ski doesn't thrill them; not as damp, too damp, not the right "feel".  AND one issue I have with a lot of ski's is the mount point. +/-1 can make a huge difference in a ski as well as a bad factory tune.  

post #3 of 48

In boxing there is a great saying: "Styles make fights", meaning, putting the two best boxers in a ring together doesn't necessarily assure a great fight, putting two fighters with skill sets that match each other well does. Ski gear is like that, getting the 'Best' ski is meaningless if it doesn't do for you what you want from it.

post #4 of 48

Pretty simple. A lot of folks don't want to hear that they need to have a skill set to make a particular ski work well. If they do, it does. If they don't, spankings occur, ski is sold, complaints registered. 

 

Even if one is a technically sound skier, 5-6 days per season doesn't develop enough 'ski fitness' to make the best use of some of the best products. That said, there are some terrific products out there for exactly that skier... so long as they accept the fact that they no longer are actually skiing 40-60 days per season. Sometimes that's the hard part. smile.gif

 

Then there's the whole 'east/west' thing to add to the confusion, along with skiers buying skis for a specific trip that will be little use to them with the exception of their visit, but that's another story.

post #5 of 48

The Cynic's View:

 

The vast majority of skiers, yes even  the good ones, do not know what they want or need when it comes to skis, so it it more common than not that they end up on something that does not completely suit their needs.  There are lots of reasons for this, but they just all re-emphasize the fact that if you don't demo, and do it in a variety of conditions, you are not going to end up with the best ski for you.

 

The "right" ski does not make you a better skier, it's the wrong ski that makes you ski below your potential by giving you a slap when it should be giving you a caress.  Trying to figure that out without actually skiing on them verges on magic and dumb luck.  You may get close, but if you really want your "soul mate" ski you need to take it for a serious test drive.  When you finally do get it right it is a wonderful thing.  After all, love is grand, no matter where you find it.

post #6 of 48

My cousin found himself in such a situation. He was looking to buy skis for the first time and went with a family friend who skied for years and set him up with a pair of Volkl AC2. He mentioned that they are more of expert level skis but that my cousin should learn just fine. Fast forward a few years and he still has some trouble getting into turns and catching the edge correctly. I gave him my pair of beginner skis and he caught on much faster. We actually have a trip to Copper in a few weeks and I told him if he has trouble to demo a pair of skis that are recommended and, if he's still having trouble, take a lesson with his skis to see what an instructor would recommend.

 

I just made the switch from a 68 underfoot ski to a 110 for days where the other just is more work than fun. I can't recall how I came across it but I found the Rossi Sickle and read all the reviews plus reviews of comparable skis. Ended up buying the Sickles since they were rated as great skis for just about everything, packed snow being manageable but I have my other pair for that. Tried them out in Wisconsin and took some time to get used to them, about half the day. I kept getting them caught on the back tip, having to fight them a bit to turn in, and just catch an edge. I knew it wasn't the best conditions for them but rather find out on midwest slopes than in Colorado. After adjusting my style to keep my legs wider and "hop" into a turn rather than just transition, I was able to get the hang of them and push them faster and faster throughout the day. It may be only two skis but each one has a different style and skiing on one type won't necessarily translate to another. Just figured that with any ski, you have to give yourself a day or two to really get the hang of them and get comfortable.

post #7 of 48

Being honest with yourself about the type of skiing you like to do.  A lot of the time you'll notice people on stiffer skis that like to go fast and rail big long turns, but they're doing short, slower turns and working their way down the mountain and would clearly be much happier on something with a softer flex and tighter radius.

 

And then of course there are the people on big powder skis who barely leave the groomers even on a powder day, which I always find perplexing.

post #8 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard8873 View Post

I just made the switch from a 68 underfoot ski to a 110 for days where the other just is more work than fun. I can't recall how I came across it but I found the Rossi Sickle and read all the reviews plus reviews of comparable skis. Ended up buying the Sickles since they were rated as great skis for just about everything, packed snow being manageable but I have my other pair for that. Tried them out in Wisconsin and took some time to get used to them, about half the day. I kept getting them caught on the back tip, having to fight them a bit to turn in, and just catch an edge. I knew it wasn't the best conditions for them but rather find out on midwest slopes than in Colorado. After adjusting my style to keep my legs wider and "hop" into a turn rather than just transition, I was able to get the hang of them and push them faster and faster throughout the day. It may be only two skis but each one has a different style and skiing on one type won't necessarily translate to another. Just figured that with any ski, you have to give yourself a day or two to really get the hang of them and get comfortable.

 

 

No offense here at all, but if you're 'hopping' to make your Sickles work, sign up for a lesson or two while you're out west. 

post #9 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post

The Cynic's View:

 

The vast majority of skiers, yes even  the good ones, do not know what they want or need when it comes to skis, so it it more common than not that they end up on something that does not completely suit their needs.  There are lots of reasons for this, but they just all re-emphasize the fact that if you don't demo, and do it in a variety of conditions, you are not going to end up with the best ski for you.

 

The "right" ski does not make you a better skier, it's the wrong ski that makes you ski below your potential by giving you a slap when it should be giving you a caress.  Trying to figure that out without actually skiing on them verges on magic and dumb luck.  You may get close, but if you really want your "soul mate" ski you need to take it for a serious test drive.  When you finally do get it right it is a wonderful thing.  After all, love is grand, no matter where you find it.

 

Agreed, except I don't think that's a cynical view, I think it is realistic.  Unfortunately, there are some people on Epic, who just say "Buy this!"  That is totally unhelpful and could contribute to the problem.  I always try to say "try xx ski, you might find it suits you."  When I was looking to buy new skis last season, if I had asked for advice here instead of demoing, I probably would have bought a different ski.  But I don't think I would have come to realize how important, for me anyway, a lighter weight ski is, if I hadn't demoed.  Part of understanding what I really wanted came from that demo process.

post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

No offense here at all, but if you're 'hopping' to make your Sickles work, sign up for a lesson or two while you're out west. 

 

Absolutely correct.  I have Icelantic Shamans that are 110mm and there is no difference in how I initiate turns with them as opposed to my Steadfasts at 90mm or my Volkl Supersports at 70mm.  

post #11 of 48

Good discussion topic, and little to disagree with in either Phil's list or other posts. I'd only add that there's a cultural factor at work too: We're conditioned to experience what social scientists call "normative dissatisfaction." Meaning it's normal, typical, to feel dissatisfied with ourselves or the products we consume to ease that dissatisfaction. Thus we "need" to consume more new products. Which we'll discover don't really do the trick either. So all skis are the wrong one.

 

Here at Epic, it's shown by the constant drumbeat of posts about "what new ski do I need," or "here's the new latest and greatest," when in reality the poster probably would benefit far more from lessons or exercise than new skis, especially when the new version is only mildly better (or just different) from the older one. And how many "gamechangers" really change the individual game, looking back on it, more than logging hours on the snow and taking lessons? 

 

So OK, I get that we're all certifiable about gear, that's part of why we bother to be here. And that most of us have enough discretionary income to churn skis and boots. And that some of us are good enough, or involved enough with the industry, that we honestly can buy new skis and be completely satisfied with what they add to our skiing. But none of that exempts us from the cultural tides, it just means we smile and go with them. 

 

God I hate my gut! Almost as much as my edge angles. wink.gif

post #12 of 48

This thread reminds me of the importance of demoing tons of skis before making your final decision. Although that can be tough if it's a rarer ski. I was easily able to find demos for my Gotamas, which I later bought. Then my next pair were some Icelantics. No demos to be found around here. I took a leap of faith and thankfully they're my favorite skis EVAR! But maybe that was just luck that I found my match made in heaven (for me). At least with demoing tons of stuff over the years, I figured out what dimensions and features I like, the nuances of different brands, etc.

post #13 of 48

The ski you buy to make it easier to ski better but without any change to technique.

I have a friend who buys new higher performance skis every year but never takes lessons and is a solid in the back seat when it gets hot intermediate. He is not improving but wants the latest because, I think, he believes in a 'magic bullet' ski that will transform him. Alas he just doesn't want to take advice like 'have a lesson' or from friends that are ski instructors so......

 

Personally I think a lot of skiers would benefit in using shorter tighter radius skis to learn carving technique on the predominant hardpack here before moving to wider skis later on. Easier to refine skills first then diversify. But a lot are just put straight onto whatever is flavour of the year now, tending wider and we rarely have new snow. 

Although there seems like there are a lot of low energy skiers now that aren't into working hard for the rewards it gives too i.e not interested in going fast with control or quick short turns over just cruising down the hill with no technique so any ski will do as they will never know. I'm guessing they are the same people I see at the moment over here riding expensive 29 inch dual suspension bikes very slowly too....sigh.

post #14 of 48

Good posts. Technology/Technique.

post #15 of 48

When is the best ski the wrong one?

 

 

When you're heading up to Magic   eek.gif

post #16 of 48

I am in a ski club and on their race team, plus I work P/T in a ski shop and I see the wrong equipment (not just skis, but boots too) all the time.  It truly does baffle me.

 

I see low level racers who are at best an intermediate skier on full blown WC skis and 140 flex boots and they wonder why they aren't improving because they have the best equipment.  I also see guys skiing 90+ skis who never leave the groomers and maybe never will and swear they are on the best skis ever, yet I see them struggling to keep the skis under control down blue groomers! 

 

It is like putting an average Joe driver in a race car, Corvette or Porsche.  That won't make him a race car driver, instead he is just an average Joe in a really nice car who doesn't know how to drive it, so goes the average Joe skier who wants the best equipment for instant chair lift cred.

 

I am pretty sure this kind of macho thing has been going on since the caveman days.

 

Rick G

post #17 of 48

 

 

I think some people buy skis based on the conditions they dream about skiing in rather than the actual type of skiing they do. Thus the person who buys powder skis, yet rarely skis or sees power.

post #18 of 48

Also, I think people tend to forget how many great skis are out there.  Each season seems to have the It Ski - this season appears to be the Season of Blizzard (for both men and women).  The It Ski gets talked up, because it's a great ski, and people who are newer to buying equipment or to forums come on and see the (probably justified for most) hype about that ski, and go and purchase it.  For me, I went and got the Black Pearls.  But though that ski can work and work well for many, it doesn't mean it's the be all, end all.  I didn't love the BPs - sold them to a skier who did love them.  I actually prefer my stiffer, non-rockered Kenjas in retrospect.  But my point is - there's an incredible array of choices out there, people need a way to narrow that down (hence, the expertise of these forums and skiers), but sometimes, that also means other skis that may work better may get left out. 

post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossi Smash View Post

When is the best ski the wrong one?

 

 

When you're heading up to Magic   eek.gif

 

biggrin.gif  Just stay light on your feet!

 

I was actually talking to someone on the lift last weekend about the cheap pass as a tradeoff for the higher than average level of ski replacement. My Mojo 90s are making their way through their third season there though (and my judgment about whether coverage is adequate is considered suspect even among other Magic skiers...) . They might be the most tenured non-Explosiv there by the end of the year.

post #20 of 48

As the instigator of one the threads noted by the OP, I thought I would chime in.  I have definitely bought a few good skis that were not right for me.  I remember getting a pair of Volkl Platinums in a 188cm.  I wanted a hard snow gs style ski, and that ski held like a dream on hard snow, but unless I was going to race superG, those skis were way too long.  That was a real wake up call for me on how skis have changed.  One of the best runs of my life was down Upper Sun Bowl on a pair of 220's and now a 188 is feeling way too long.  And of course skis have evolved in every which way since the days of the Platinum.

 

The story with my Kastles is a bit different.  I wouldn't say that they are the wrong ski for me.  I was looking for a carvy, traditional camber, all mountain ski with a bit of a hard snow bias that would also do well in up to a foot of powder.  So far so good. I read DawgCatching's reviews, someone that seemed to be looking for the same thing in a ski as me (high praise for the Elan888). The length seems perfect.  I can easily put the skis into a tight carve, and at I my weight (150 lb.) I really don't see moving up a size.  As far as technical proficiency goes, I hate to even mention this, but on my second day on the skis I came to a stop at the bottom of the upper pitch under Little Cloud lift, and a random 20 something year old came up to me and said, "You skied that really well!"  He went on for a couple minutes praising my run.  There are a lot of people that are WAY better skiers than I am, but I think I am good enough handle the ski.  It's just that after seven days straight, I still have have to think about how the ski is going behave.  On a good day I usually don't think about what my skis are going to do, they just do what I want.  If I give them a little more time, and a good tune, hopefully I will get to that point.

post #21 of 48

With all the advancements in technology over the past 15 years, even the bargain brand skis are far superior to their straight edged ancestors. We see people on the hill all the time with brand new everything...decked out to the nines....and rocking a set of 105's on an icy local hill with 450ft of vert...You can go out an buy the best ski in the world, it aint gonna do shit unless you match it to your terrain, riding style, and what you want to achieve.

post #22 of 48

I don't like stiff skis.  

 

There, I said it.  

post #23 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

 

 

No offense here at all, but if you're 'hopping' to make your Sickles work, sign up for a lesson or two while you're out west. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

 

Absolutely correct.  I have Icelantic Shamans that are 110mm and there is no difference in how I initiate turns with them as opposed to my Steadfasts at 90mm or my Volkl Supersports at 70mm.  

 

Not really hopping, just how i felt at the beginning when transitioning between edges. plus with how close I was used to keeping my legs, the tips were catching and had to adjust that. had it all down by the end of the day. been skiing in Summit County for about 10 years now, about 6 of those on the old Rossi Axiums with 68 underfoot. they just felt intuitive after all this time and the Sickles different when i started out. no difference by the end of the day but we'll see if two weeks.


Edited by wizard8873 - 1/31/13 at 7:05am
post #24 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post

 

I think some people buy skis based on the conditions they dream about skiing in rather than the actual type of skiing they do. Thus the person who buys hardsnowpowder skis, yet rarely skis or sees a hard groomer power.

 

Fixed it for some of us.... icon14.gif

 

But yes, that's a good point. 

post #25 of 48

The best ski is the wrong one when it doesn't match the user. I can't think of a single ski that EVERYONE collectively hates, there is someone out there who is skiing on it and loving it. This leads me to believe it is completely dependent on the person skiing it.

 

If you don't like the ski it is you, not the ski.

post #26 of 48

I think people talk too much (and too generous in appreciations) about the strenghts of a ski and less about its bads; and that could be misleading. 

post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard8873 View Post

 

 

Not really hopping, just how i felt at the beginning when transitioning between edges. plus with how close I was used to keeping my legs, the tips were catching and had to adjust that. had it all down by the end of the day. been skiing in Summit County for about 10 years now, about 6 of those on the old Rossi Axiums with 68 underfoot. they just felt intuitive after all this time and the Sickles different when i started out. no difference by the end of the day but we'll see if two weeks.

 

Narrow stance... hopping, trouble getting the CoM into the new turn. You aren't by chance a little bow legged, are you?  Even with 68 underfoot, you should still have the same basic stance on groomers. Sounds like an alignment problem and some resultant movement patterns... but of course without video, it's only speculation.

post #28 of 48

I'm on the right skis even though they're supposed to be very, very bad skis. 

post #29 of 48

Maybe the answer is to pay less attention to the internet "noise."  The question might be, "when is the wrong ski the right ski ?"  Last year I demoed the K2 Aftershock which many reviews panned (Philpug excepted, he extolled it) and I loved it in all situations, bought a pair.  Every ski has someone that will hate it and every ski has someone it was built for.

post #30 of 48

^^^^ An equally interesting question. I'm not a K2 guy, but I note that there are other brands largely ignored, eg, the wrong one, by the popular review mags that turn out very fine skis. Elan, Fischer, and Dynastar come to mind. 

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