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When is the best ski the wrong one? - Page 2

post #31 of 48

I like this topic, but I believe the original question should be:  When Is The Best Ski The Wrong One For Particular Type Of Skiing? 

 

Skiing is a very broad term that spans all types of activities from: racing (that in itself has different types of skiing and skis used for it), park free style, big mountain free style, powder skiing, moguls, trees, West Coast, East Coast, carving, shifting, switch, jumping, you name it.  Each of these activities requires the ski to be different, or different setup on the same ski.  No matter how much advertising companies put out, every ski out there adheres to laws of physics.   A given pair of skis that is good in one activity is going to be weak in another type of skiing that demands something else from the ski.  That is the truth and there is no way around it. 

 

As you can see skis can be very sensitive.  They matter more than tires on your vehicle.  You get your tires wrong, you'll feel a small difference, but you'll be able to drive.  You're going to get your skis wrong, chances are you're going to hate skiing all together.  

 

I am 100% convinced most people buy skis blindly, reading online opinions on what is "hot" (Mantras and etc).    Those hot skis are probably very good, but they will not fit everyone.  One must understand their own skiing ability, and their new ski purpose in order to even start looking for a pair of skis.  That is how I bought all of my 6 pairs of skis.  Each pair had a unique purpose.  I knew what I wanted from the ski.  On top of that I knew the length, and setup characteristics of the new sticks I needed.  At the end I ended up with a specific pair of skis for my ski activity, and I love all of them as they are doing what

I wanted them to do.

 

If it's going to help anyone I'm going to post how I find good skis:

 

1.  I figure out what I need the ski for and what the ski has to be good at.  Here if I don't know I ask on the forum for ski characteristics. 

2.  I figure out what I can handle and what the setup should be (length, bindings, setup)

3.  I go to Free Skier . com   Every year they have technical reviews for skis in many categories.  They do not run a popular contest, but rather technical reviews and they provide what the ski is good and bad at.  Then they score the skis.  The score has never failed me so far.  Never, and I mean never go by popular skis.  Most people I see at ski resorts are on wrong (not optimal) skis.

 

Having said everything, I must admit there are surprises.  My latest bump ski (Blizzard Bushwacker 2013)  shocked me.  88 waist, up to my forehead 168cm (short by my standards) ski handles way better (except ice) than a pair of super expensive racing (almost) skis I have by Kastle.  Not that the ski is "better" as those are two different skis, but one that is suppose to handle well does not comparing to another less handling ski if you will. 

 

I'm not a good skier or anything like that, but I do it all, so I sort of have a feel for the skis by now, and I use good equipment to help me hide my lack of skills :)  Hope it helps. 

post #32 of 48

The best ski is the wrong one when what is read in a review is not what was written.

For example from the  "......ski for eastern ice " thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnySide View Post

I demoed the Bonafide '13 on 3 separate during the past few weeks all on Canadian east coast mountains. I gotta say I just loved them in pretty much any conditions. Great grip edge hold on groomers and hardpacks..they are not a race ski but still very impressive for a 98mm ski. Great in crud and a little deeper snow, they can go fast or slow..just a really great ski.  For me it was one of those skis which made me feel comfortable the second I put it on. Will definitely buy the ski next year.  For anyone in the east that wants a little fatter ski I really think this is a great choice.

How great is great?  To me a race ski has great grip, anything else, not so much.  To SunnySide, great is not quite as great as a race ski (apparently). 

 

How hard is hardpack?  Hint, it's a little harder at Adanac.  Most skis would have no problem with grip at Jay Peak Hard pack

 

How much allowance is being given for being a 98 mm ski?  

 

How fast is fast?  If I shushed (aka straight lined) from the summit of Tremblant on one of their steeper runs when no one was looking would I be happy with it?

 

How slow is slow?  5 mph while making tight turns in soft snow?

 

Depending on experience two different readers could get a very different take by reading someone else's review. 

 

With shared contextual experience, interpretation of reviews gets a little better. 

 

Please note, the above example was just convenient, and not meant to single it out.

post #33 of 48

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

Depending on experience two different readers could get a very different take by reading someone else's review. 

 

With shared contextual experience, interpretation of reviews gets a little better.

 

I agree and I would add that the credibility of the reviewer has a lot to do with how one might interpret the review.  Someone with 3,000 posts probably has more credibility than someone with 5 or even 100.  After someone has been around here for a while I think most people develop a sense of whether or not they know what they're talking about.  Unfortunately that discounts a newb who may be a true expert, but we have no way to know that except over time.

post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

I don't like stiff skis.  

 

There, I said it.  

 

Sacrelige! Heresy! The best ski is ALWAYS the stiffest ski. If you don't like it, its not the skis fault, its your shortcomings as a man. If you can't hack it with skis made solely out of 2" thick shaped tool steel, you just aren't a good enough skier.

 

My first powder ski was an Atomic Sugar Daddy. Not the burliest, but not a noodle either, especially in the tail.

 

When replacing that ski, I was looking at Gotamas and Shoguns, didn't have a chence to demo as it was near the end of the season.

 

Got a great deal on a set of Kung Fujas, generally considered a total noodle. Figured I would try them and dump them if I didn't like them. Liked them.

 

Next season, took a demo day. Skied the Shoguns. Decent ski, nothing exciting. Skied the Gots. Eh. Skied everything I could get my hands on, and generally the stiffer it was, the less it worked for me.

 

Skied an obsethed. Loved it, because it was skiing my ski. BNought a pari.

post #35 of 48
Quote:

The best ski is ALWAYS the stiffest ski. If you don't like it, its not the skis fault, its your shortcomings as a man.
 

 

Men don't have shortcomings.

 

If what you say is true I would have only one pair of skis and I would take my Nordica DOBERMANN DH skis into trees, park, bump and powder, mountaineering, ...

 

It's worth investigating what the stiffness of the ski is for.  

post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

Sacrelige! Heresy! The best ski is ALWAYS the stiffest ski. If you don't like it, its not the skis fault, its your shortcomings as a man. 

Sadly, because you aren't enough of a man, you don't realize that you've only got it half right. The best ski is always the stiffest and longest

post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

Sacrelige! Heresy! The best ski is ALWAYS the stiffest ski. If you don't like it, its not the skis fault, its your shortcomings as a man. 

Sadly, because you aren't enough of a man, you don't realize that you've only got it half right. The best ski is always the stiffest and longest


You forgot widest wink.gif

post #38 of 48

Thickness is the real measure of a man! duck.gif

post #39 of 48

Lets face it, a skier has to have a high level of expertise to be able to "feel" the characteristics of a ski. The average skiers can talk about edge hold as it relates to a well tuned ski, but they won't easily be in tune with flex, progressive flex, difference in flex between tip and tail and torsional flex. And depending on the skier's weight, these characteristic vary widely. Add width, side cut and snow conditions and it become a crap shoot. 

 

I bought the original Salomon Enduro XT skis, which are very stiff by most accounts. At the time I was close to 170 lbs and loved the ski, but even then I realized that in bumps the ski will be challenging. Now I am 150 lbs (due to long hours on the bike in preparation for the race season) and the skis are definitely the wrong ski for me. Sure they are rock solid on groomed when skiing had and carving hard. But when skiing slower or in bumps, they are stiff and quite challenging. The word 2x4 comes to mind. :)

 

So the one thing I always looks for, even from an expert reviewer, is weight. After skill, it is the most critical part of the ski experience as far as I am concerned. 

post #40 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB View Post

 but they won't easily be in tune with flex, progressive flex, difference in flex between tip and tail and torsional flex. 

 

And that's why I find useful Armada's information regarding flex distribution over the ski's length. I think that kind of information should become standard and written next to information about geometry and length. 

post #41 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB View Post

Lets face it, a skier has to have a high level of expertise to be able to "feel" the characteristics of a ski. The average skiers can talk about edge hold as it relates to a well tuned ski, but they won't easily be in tune with flex, progressive flex, difference in flex between tip and tail and torsional flex. And depending on the skier's weight, these characteristic vary widely. Add width, side cut and snow conditions and it become a crap shoot. 

 

I bought the original Salomon Enduro XT skis, which are very stiff by most accounts. At the time I was close to 170 lbs and loved the ski, but even then I realized that in bumps the ski will be challenging. Now I am 150 lbs (due to long hours on the bike in preparation for the race season) and the skis are definitely the wrong ski for me. Sure they are rock solid on groomed when skiing had and carving hard. But when skiing slower or in bumps, they are stiff and quite challenging. The word 2x4 comes to mind. :)

 

So the one thing I always looks for, even from an expert reviewer, is weight. After skill, it is the most critical part of the ski experience as far as I am concerned. 

Every time I read one of Dawgcatching's reviews I wish he'd put on 30 lbs so I could be sure.

post #42 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB View Post

 

So the one thing I always looks for, even from an expert reviewer, is weight. After skill, it is the most critical part of the ski experience as far as I am concerned. 

I always look for reviews from people in my same weight class, as that makes all the difference in the world on how a ski feels to a person.  And ya, it would be great if someone like D.C. was around to post up their thoughts for us 200lbs guys.

post #43 of 48

^ You can also ask Jordan at Folsom to build you a perfect ski.  His Folsom Rapture (powder) skis had one of the best scores I have seen on Free Skier dot com.  That means something.  You can customize them to your weight/style/etc.

 

You can also use a ski finder to find skis for you or at least have an idea what a specific ski is for: http://www.skifinder.com/


Edited by awegrzyn - 2/3/13 at 8:42am
post #44 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatherPlayThanWork View Post

Every time I read one of Dawgcatching's reviews I wish he'd put on 30 lbs so I could be sure.

 

That would be me... wink.gif rolleyes.gif

post #45 of 48

Lito Tejada Flores, in one of his books, said that when you demo a ski, unless it makes you say "Wow" there's no reason to buy it. Stick with what you've got.

post #46 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Sadly, because you aren't enough of a man, you don't realize that you've only got it half right. The best ski is always the stiffest and longest

Oh I got that part.  The shortest ski I own is a 189 (in K2 sizing, which makes it close to what other makes would call a 200).  The longest I actively ski is at 200 cm Atomic Beta 9.22 as a conditions really really suck rock ski.

 

Skis shorter than 185 or so are really hard for me to ski for more than a run or so.

post #47 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB View Post

Lets face it, a skier has to have a high level of expertise to be able to "feel" the characteristics of a ski. The average skiers can talk about edge hold as it relates to a well tuned ski, but they won't easily be in tune with flex, progressive flex, difference in flex between tip and tail and torsional flex. And depending on the skier's weight, these characteristic vary widely. Add width, side cut and snow conditions and it become a crap shoot. 

 

I bought the original Salomon Enduro XT skis, which are very stiff by most accounts. At the time I was close to 170 lbs and loved the ski, but even then I realized that in bumps the ski will be challenging. Now I am 150 lbs (due to long hours on the bike in preparation for the race season) and the skis are definitely the wrong ski for me. Sure they are rock solid on groomed when skiing had and carving hard. But when skiing slower or in bumps, they are stiff and quite challenging. The word 2x4 comes to mind. :)

 

So the one thing I always looks for, even from an expert reviewer, is weight. After skill, it is the most critical part of the ski experience as far as I am concerned. 

 

I don't know if I agree with this. I think virtually all skiers intermediate and above will be able to feel the differences in a ski- they will have skis they like, and skis they don't. The skis will definitely FEEL different.

 

However, they probably won't be that great in figuring out the specific attribute of the ski that makes them like or dislike. I think most people these days focus on dimensions when choosing a ski, and will credit the skis shape with 95% of the credit for how it performs.

 

I'm probably in the same boat of not being really sure what attributes are turning me on or off of a ski. I like the Shogun better than a Gotoma, but I'm not sure exactly why- the Shogun seems to have a bit more pop, but it also sucks up some huge hits without losing too much spring. I like Libtech's Freeride NAS a LOT, but liked the Magic Horsepower NAS (same ski with a basalt layer, similar to the Shogun) less than the Shogun and Freeride.

 

For a harder-snow oriented all-mountain ski, I adore the Volkl Kendo- I've never ridden a ski that is so fast and precise edge to edge. I suspect the addiitional layers of metal cause this, but can't tell you why it skis better for me than many of the other skis with similar dimensions and construction.

 

So yeah, I can definitely tell stark differences between skis, but being honest, could not tell you specifics on what the construction of the ski does to create those specific attributes, especially compared to other similar skis.

post #48 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

I don't know if I agree with this. I think virtually all skiers intermediate and above will be able to feel the differences in a ski- they will have skis they like, and skis they don't. The skis will definitely FEEL different.

 

Yes feel and performance are two different things. Not that it's bad, but a lot of people like the feel of skis that are too stiff for them because they drift down the trail pointing their skis left and right.  In short, they skid better without catching. Or they simply make huge turns. (Talking groomer oriented skis here)

 

I agree about weight of the reviewer being important to note for comparison.

 

There's also simply the style of how people like to ski. For instance, the Atomic Alibi, 98mm underfoot with some tip and tail rocker. One person may love it, another hate it. I found if you skied it on soft semi packed powder and did gs style turns with a lot of force to the tip, it dug in and didn't like it  to the point where It could be dangerous so I stopped. It's a fine ski, but it needs to be skied more neutrally to back - ie it rewards tailgunning. Frankly I had a lot of fun blasting through weeds in powder, but overall it's a no for me, but maybe great for someone else who skis more center to back of the ski.

 

In contrast, the Kastle bmx 88 I tried the next day was opposite. They are very different skis, but there is no way the Kastle would fold up in a fast gs turn. In fact it just wanted to go on packed stuff.  It's also more likely to punish tail gunning though not as much as some of their others. Does that make it better? Depends on how you ski and what conditions. Frankly, if deep I'd still go for the Alibi even though it's floppy, but in general I'd look elsewhere.

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