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Is it the ski, or just me?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 



I'm a 6', 185 lbs level 7 skier and I have a question about my skiing. Since I have been progressing nicely technique and confidence wise, my skis tend to be quite nervous when I speed along in a straight line (that is, when the skis are flat on the snow and I am in the 'hocken' position trying to gain enough speed to get to the next hill on European groomed slopes). As easy as they turn and as gripy as my skis are, which I love when I put them on edge on steeper slopes, they tend to claw at everythig they touch when they are flat and that can be quite scary at speed.


So: is it the ski (2011 Blizzard G-force Supersonic IQ @ 167 cm) or is it my (lack of) technique?


Looking forward to your remarks.

post #2 of 16

Short skis with short-ish turn radii like your Supersonics like to be on edge and turning.  There's a reason that speed-event skis (i.e., downhill, super-G) are long with minimal sidecut!


That said, it could be an alignment thing on your part -- i.e., your ski boots don't having you standing flat when you think you are, and therefore your ski edges are always slightly in the snow causing them to "want" to turn.


Or it could be a tune-related thing to the skis -- i.e., if your ski bases aren't perfectly flat, they'll do some "interesting" things when running flat.

post #3 of 16

Just taking  a shot here but if you are in a more errect stance you may be causing  both skis to be on the outside edge and weighted equally at the same time. Next time try bending your knees a little more, with a more relaxed stance and one ski slighlty more advanced and unweighted than the other.

Since I am a somewhat uncertain about your explaination I could be totally wrong in my diagnosis and if so just disregard my theory. 

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

You might be on to something, but it also happens when I am in crouched position with the poles tucked in under my arms, like a downhill skier. It's just that I don't understand why my girlfriend doesn't have the same problem, since it seems we're doing exactly the same thing. I tried everyting in terms of balance or weight distribution, but to put the skis slightly on edge is the only thing that helps.


I will be trying some other skis next fall (for other reasons, not because of this problem), I'll keep you posted.

post #5 of 16

A bit of both I would say.  a ski running flat at speed is actually somewhat inherently unstable.  You need to have the leg control to keep them from gripping either edge.  There are many factors that could make the issue tougher.  Shorter/turny skis for example.  Bad alignment is another.  Skis maybe need to be tuned.  

post #6 of 16
I have WAY more problems with skis being wiggly on the car tracks here in certain snow conditions, namely when the snow has packed to a glossy, satiny, look, my powder skis take a lot of attention. To mitigate that, for the first time ever, I am detuning a ski. I'm still playing with what is best, so I can't give you any guidelines, but I found that the early rise ski has a contact point when it is flat totally different from the contact point on edge. For me, that meant the balance point for the ski changed rapidly from one spot to another. Detuning reduced this effect, but of course leads to a reduced grip area. Normally not an issue in the least for the conditions in which I use these skis, but I am slowly extending the tuned area back closer to the tip. Have read about having two different bevels and tried doing that, but you still have the transition issue.
post #7 of 16

I was skiing too short of skis for a while and they turned awesome but had a lot of chatter at higher speeds and straight lines.  I went to a heavier and longer ski and I don't have the problem anymore.  If you use the sizing chart that most people go by on here you should be on something 170+.


After my upgrade, I instantly felt more confident on the longer skis at high speeds, it was a night and day difference.  I did have to get used to the longer turn radius but that only took a few runs.

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all your comments. I bought these skies when I was a less experienced skier (4 weeks instead of 12) and 20 lbs lighter. So back then, this ski and length were fine. But now I might have outgrown the ski, at least the length. 

My next ski, for which I will hopefully be demoing next fall, should be more of a frontside allmountain ski that has a bit more width to go off-piste. That (rocker for example) and my increased weight and ability makes it a new chapter all together. I'm looking at the Rossi E88, Nordica Steadfast and the like in lengths of 177-186. I hope that will make a difference, which it could, according to Core2.

post #9 of 16

It's possible you're overloading those skis, but I put better odds that you can adjust your stance and refine your technique to improve your stability. It's an advanced carver, so it's made for fast hardpack skiing. Majortato is correct that modern skis, due to sidecut, are less stable when straightlining. Instead of straightlining, make railroad tracks on your way back. It's a more stable way to ski, more interesting than straightlining, and helps your skill development. Also, do a mental check on your balance as you're riding the cattracks. If you're leaning forward over the skis and your stance isn't spot-on, they're more likely to be squirrelly. 


It's also possible you have a boot fit issue. A sloppy boot enables the ski to wander more. Ensure your boots fit more snugly than a glove before buying new skis. There should be no slop whatsoever in your boot.


You might have an alignment issue in which you naturally ride an edge rather than completely flat. If this is the case, you'd probably also have trouble getting on edge in general in one direction on at least one foot. There could also be other strange symptoms like turning of one foot in a straightline. I'm not particularly good at detecting alignment issues yet myself. 


Lastly you could have a hanging bur on your ski. This would be the case if one ski seems to continually want to track in one direction. You'll be able to tell if it's a bur if you switch the ski to the other foot and it continues tracking in the same direction on the new foot. 


But my money's primarily on an opportunity to refine your stance and balance. Of course, there's always a ski out there that will be heavy enough, damp enough, and with so little sidecut that you'll be able to straightline at mach schnell. For most people though, assuming they're not on a noodle (and the blizzard g-force doesn't look noodly), they can just dial in their technique. 

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

Putting them slightly on edge has defeniately solved the problem for me, I was just wondering why other people didn't have the same problem that I had. And when I switched skis with my girlfriend (she's 5'6'' and 140 lbs, and skiing on Elan Pure Magics @ 158) I could put those skis flat on the snow without any issues. And then she told me that she found her (much shorter) skis much more stable than mine. That's why I was wondering of it could have something to doe with the skis (either the model of my specific pair, tuned exactly the same way as her Elans).


I did have boots that were too wide and my foot cramped up - very painfull - (Atomic B-tech 90 @ 104 mm last width, size 28), but I got new ones this fall, and they are much snugger (Salomon X-3 120 CS @ 98 mm last width, size 27). So I cursed the first bootfitter and now love the second smile.gif


I don't think my boots are the problem (but my leg control could still be, of course).

post #11 of 16

Good job comparing. Perhaps the bindings are mounted far forward. If the bindings are adjustable you could try moving them back 2-6cm. If that "fixes" the issue and your original mounting point is centered, then I'd work on stance.


Also, check if the bases are gouged or have an odd pattern in them. That can make the skis squirrelly. Or if they haven't been brushed after waxing and the wax has been skied off unevenly. (you'd probably already have noticed that.)


You could also check along the edge for a hanging bur, which is liable to catch (but you'd probably feel it turning too)...


You could check if the base is tuned to a 0.5 or 0 degree bevel instead of 1. (in such a case the ski would catch quite easily.) Well, you might have trouble checking that yourself. In theory if they tuned your skis the same as your wife's, they would have run them through the machine right after and should have the same base bevel... 


Lastly, perhaps the base has some odd wear and isn't completely flat. You can check it with a true-bar, or if you're like the rest of us and don't have a true-bar laying around, hold a credit card up along various points on the base across the width and shine a light behind. If you see lots of light underneath, that could affect your ability to stay on the flat of the ski. 


Failing all that, I've got nothing and would be ready to blame the ski too! I have a pair of skis that performed terribly too. I never figured out what the problem was--I just switched skis and have left the pair sitting in my closet to rot. 

post #12 of 16

The side cut of a short radius ski is designed to make the ski turn.  If you put them on their right edges, they turn right.  If you put them on their left edges they turn left.  Ski hills are not perfectly flat; they have irregularities in the snow.  If you try and keep your skis perfectly flat and there is a slightly higher surface on the left side than on the right side of the ski as you go by, this is just like putting the on its left edge.  If there is a slight mound on the right, this is like putting the ski on its right edge.  You may not notice the slight local curvature of the surface, but it's there, and it's random, and your skis will notice, and try to interact with it.


I suspect the problem isn't so much of a problem on your girlfriends skis, despite their equally short radius because her skis aren't as high-performance as your skis, but I am not familiar with them, so it's only a guess.  Put on some gloves.  If you grab her ski with one hand at the binding and one at the tip, how much can you twist it.  Did you cut your hand on her sharp edges, 'cause you forgot the gloves?  Are the edges sharp all the way to the tip?


A high performance ski is stiffer in torsion (harder to twist) and  will react more strongly to being put on edge, and also will react more strongly to irregularities when running "flat".


A ski with a high performance tune (sharper, more acute angle, less base bevel, no detuning) will react more quickly and more strongly to being put on edge and require less of an angle before it interacts with the snow; it will also react more strongly and require less of an irregularity in the snow to react.


There is nothing wrong with your skis, and your skiing may or may not be excellent.  You will probably get the most speed and carry the most momentum to get up that next hill if you keep them carving on a slight edge.  If you are going too fast to carve a turn a clean railroad track turn at their side cut radius, then keeping them on edge will keep them stable, but you will have less drag if you run them flat and let them wobble.


This "hunting for turns" instability is caused by the short radius side cut, and not to be confused with the vibrational instability (where you skis feel like a paint shaker on crack)  that in days gone by could only be banished by big long heavy stiff skis. 

post #13 of 16
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post....  keeping them on edge will keep them stable, but you will have less drag if you run them flat and let them wobble....




This wobble is called "swimming."  It's normal when running straight on short radius skis, even on a super flat surface.  The skis will be even wobblier on a tracked-up surface.  "Swimming" will happen anytime you set your short radius skis flat and seek straight-ahead travel, for reasons related to the ski's desire to hook up and turn as others have described in this thread.  There may be nothing else going on at all.  People get used to the wobble, as Ghost is implying you might want to do for purposes of speed.


Or there may be other issues exacerbating it.  

Edited by LiquidFeet - 2/28/13 at 7:41am
post #14 of 16

Wobble is normal for sure.  I would bet the binding placement is affecting it, but I expect more forward placement would help.  When the ski is not weighted with even tip and tail pressure each irregularity can set up a vibration travelling along the length of the ski. Slightly edging helps control this a bit.  I don't think it can be corrected with forward pressure on the boot tongue if the bindings are too far back, because that throws the skier forward and then back with each bump. 


Try this: put one foot slightly forward of the other when riding flat, then use quad muscles to adjust balance center forward and back until you find a sweet spot. 

post #15 of 16

you tried your g/f's skis and the problem went away.  Did you have her try your skis and see if she feels the issue? 


probable reasons:

  • type of ski - just a very turny and grippy ski
  • edges at the tips are too sharp - you can have the tips dulled a bit so they're not so grabby. 
  • binding mount position - too far forward could contribute to this
  • your g/f's ski does not have well tuned edges
  • bases of those skis are not flat (stone grind would fix this)


At the end of the day, you're not the only person to experience this.  Short high performance skis are hard to keep flat.  You need good control in your legs.  Generally just keep them on a slight edge to one side.  It should be able to go fairly straight..and switch to the other edge if you've drifted too much.  Done right, there's little loss of speed and is overall much more controlled.

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

My girlfriend had the same problem on my skis as I was. Also, our skis were tuned exactly the same (same edge angle anyway, did it myself). I haven't checked if the bases of my skis are flat, but that could stlle be a cause of the problem. And my skiing technique of course.

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