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Advice needed: advanced skier lacks confidence in skis: Update

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I need some thoughts.  I bought a pair of NOS 2011 Dynastar Cross carvers to replace a pair of Dynastar 4x4's.  Wanted a ski that was an east coast hard-snow carver, quick, fall-line type of ski.  I didn't demo, but liked the 4x4 OK, though they felt a bit "planky" for what I was doing with them.  I haven't had too many days on the new Dynastars, but I just can't get comfortable or confident on them.  They seemed a bit recalcitrant to carve, so I re-tuned. Not much better. Then I tried playing with ramp angle.  They have just 2mm over a 306 BSL.  That seemed like it helped, but the bindings are on a rail, so HARD to adjust permanently (I was skiing w/small pads under toes).  So...I tried moving bindings forward one notch (abt. .5").  That also seemed to help with the initiation.  But......

 

I just don't feel confident on the skis.  I can carve them and make them do what I want, but I'm nervous at speed.  When I see mixed terrain coming up, I feel unbalanced, like I'll go over the handlebars.  I would NEVER want to take them into the trees or soft.  I just don't feel bullet-proof.  In contrast, when I step into my Scott Crusades, it's like a comfortable pair of sneakers.  They may not have the hard snow performance of the Dyna's, but I know what to expect.  They just inspire confidence; when I see ungroomed coming, no problem.  Bumps, no issue.  Mixed terrain, whatever.

 

I'm disappointed.  Is it me? The ski? Too stiff for me?  Too long (172 @ 170lbs)  Binding ramp?  Binding fore/aft placement?  FWIW, I have about the same number of days on the Scotts and the Dynastars (about 10 each) so it's not like I'm moving from a "favorite" to something else.  Thoughts?

post #2 of 15

I haven't skied either ski, so my comments are more related to 'type' and expectations.

 

If you're talking about the Dynastar Contact Cross and the Scott Crusader, you're comparing a full camber to rocker ski. Course you can do that, but expecting there to be some similarity in their characteristics is likely a reach.

If you've adapted your technique to the Scott and do not make adjustments when you ski the Cross, then it's likely the cross may seem , planky, recalcitrant and hard ot initiate.

A rocker/early rise ski will be easuer to initiate (all things being equal...)  and will seem more predictable when conditions may be very variable, if you're sking with your weight/pressure more rearward. A carving ski would be best when pressure starts at the tip and weight is more centered.

WIth the boot moved forward .5 inch (over 12 mm - if youve mounted Boot sole mark to ski mark)) I wouldn't be surprised if the ski feels nervous, unstable - like you're going over the bars. Moving forward adds more tail to an already solid/stiffer tail and causes the tip of a well designed to ski to be less than supportive.

I would move the binding back to the original position and modify my technique to a more carving style.

Let the Cross do what it does best, carving turns: Start the turn with solid pressure with the Ball of Foot. Find the neutral balance point of the flex, Don';t expect a high energy carver to be a slarvy, easy turning new school board.

The Contacts will bust crud and motor through mixed terrain, bu they'll require the same precision of technique as when/if they were on a nice carving surface.

For a 170 lber, I'd say a 172 should be an easy match.

Given there's nothing much wrong with the tune, then I'd say you'll prolly find more answers in looking at what you're not doing to find the sweet spot of that ski.

post #3 of 15

So... I had to look up the word "recalcitrant".  I'll try to work it into a conversation but I'm expecting funny looks.

 

What moreoutdoor is saying makes sense to me.  I'd add that, sometimes, a skier and his/her ski are just a bad match; like a chemistry thing.  I've bought several pairs of skis without demoing and almost always lucked out. 

 

Once, though, I got a pair of Prophet 90s in a 186 and my longest skis are 174.  I was pretty confident I could make them work but after a few days I realized it wasn't going to happen.  Not exactly the same situation but you get the idea.

post #4 of 15

Wow.     The 4x4s were planky in comparison, dead feeling even - at slow speeds.     The Cross was an eager little scalpel.    If you ever feel like selling the Cross...I might be interested (if I don't grab one of the 80mm frontside Nordica Firearrows in the meantime, that is)

 

I will second what moreoutdoor said - shift the binding back to neutral on the plate and then focus on starting turns by pressuring the forefoot of the ski.  

 

What boot are you skiing in?  

 

That particular combination:

 

 Not being able to start a turn, shifting binding forward, and then feeling like the ski is too unbalanced for 3D terrain  

 

just screams "inadequate range of motion and narrow balance point in the boot"  to this reader. 

 

 

post #5 of 15

As skis get higher in performance in terms of level, carving and speed, in most cases they get stiffer for better turning ability at higher speeds.

 

Unfortunately, a lot of skiers that ski very well on good skis, do not commit enough for the higher performance skis and can't understand whats (not) happening.

 

Dive into you turns and commit, you will be rewarded.  Your boot stiffness will also play into this as it will reflect how much of the energy you put in is tranfer to the ski along with how fast the response is.

 

Also see

http://www.epicski.com/t/89248/dynastar-contact-4x4-vs-dynastar-contact-cross-ti-ski-what-s-the-difference

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for thoughts. 
Some more info: I'm 58, been skiing 20+ years, not expert, but solid 8 -- especially on anything that's been groomed w/i the last couple of days.  I'm sure I could use some technique correction, but my past skis have been carvers, so I'm not trying something I've never done: last three skis were Dynastar Speed 63, then Fischer RX8, then Dynastar 4x4.  Loved the first two, found the 4x4's just too much.  With a bit of attention, I can leave pretty clear C-shaped railroad tracks on most groomed terrain up to steeper blacks, where I start to "brush" my turns.
 

As for boots, I'm skiing well-fitted Head Vector 120 boots, 2 years old.  I will second feeling what cantunamunch claims: "a narrow balance point in the boot".  Or ski, not sure which.  That seems to be the issue.

 

I'll move binding back to "correct" spot, and see if that's better. I wouldn't have thought the Cross was too much ski for me...but maybe.

post #7 of 15

If your new skis are wider than your old ones you just have to lean over further to get them to carve. While I dont know how tall you are 172cm sounds a bit short for confidence at speed. Why not get a lesson on your new skis? The instructor should be able to give you tips

on where you are going wrong. I am a guy who has always enjoyed the challenge of nutting out how to ski a new type of ski and its been part of the fun of buying them. Unlike a previous poster I have never bought a ski that did not work for me although I have bought a few that I grew out of not knowing how good I would actually get at skiing. From my experience you do not have to be an expert skier to enjoy an expert ski.

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by tch View Post
. I wouldn't have thought the Cross was too much ski for me.

 

Yeah, I still don't think it.   

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Cantunamunch: when you write "inadequate range of motion and narrow balance point in the boot", do you mean both things relative to the boot?  or are you suggesting I'm not moving enough ("inadequate ROM")?  or that the boot doesn't allow it?  Is it MY issue that I don't have have a good sense of balance or the boots?  I'm trying to figure and this comment seems ambiguous too me.  Don't get me wrong -- I'm more than happy to figure it's my issue, not the boots, but it's unclear what you meant.  Again, it seems to be only a problem with these skis; I've skied my Scotts and a pair of rental Bones out west, and didn't have issues. 

post #10 of 15

Sorry, not intending to be ambiguous - more of a limit of what I can reasonably extract from the data given and post back.    

 

I suspect that the boot is blocking you somehow - you're balanced enough to make Fischer Sbounds work on XCD terrain with nordic boots - and I suspect that skiing 4x4s and  rockered skis has been masking those limits.     But, that is merely my unsupported intuitive suspicion. 

post #11 of 15

I can only vouch for the skis. I have the '10 contact cross ti and haven't had any probs. great ski for carving. no chatter. easy initiation. im 175lbs and ski the 172cm. What does NOS mean? excuse my ignorance

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

agreen: New Old Stock.  In other words, stuff left laying unsold around after the product has been discontinued (or significantly changed). 

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by tch View Post

Cantunamunch: when you write "inadequate range of motion and narrow balance point in the boot", do you mean both things relative to the boot?  or are you suggesting I'm not moving enough ("inadequate ROM")?  or that the boot doesn't allow it?  Is it MY issue that I don't have have a good sense of balance or the boots?  I'm trying to figure and this comment seems ambiguous too me.  Don't get me wrong -- I'm more than happy to figure it's my issue, not the boots, but it's unclear what you meant.  Again, it seems to be only a problem with these skis; I've skied my Scotts and a pair of rental Bones out west, and didn't have issues. 

 

asking whether it's you or the boots or skis is not something you can get from a paragraph or 2 on the internet...

skiing the Scotts and Bones - both skis of early rise/rocker and considerably wider than the full camber Contact Cross - will ski very differently from a more traditional camber ski.

getting some video of you skiing both, and certainly the Contact, would help you see if there are any obvious major considerations. I'm not saying to post it, but at least review it yourself.

Taking 'instruction' while skiing the Contacts, should have a good instructor easily pinpointing the obvious... and if the boots are inhibiting some of that, it'll also become obvious.

 

I personally find it very easy to slide into a comfortable style for an early 'rise' ski and get a surprise when moving back to something full camber.

Recently I did 2 days on some Fischer Motive 88's, and on the 3rd day, went back to my full camber Rossi Sickbirds. I was shocked at how 'poorly' I skied the first couple runs on the S-birds...

embarrassed... a lot... redface.gif

Took a further run  to get back to solid fundamentals and 'switch' back over. And that was only after 2 (very nice) days on the Motives.

 

your original post really got to me, cause I am a little concerned, after just returning from 6 days in the Wasatch on the Motive 88, that I'll be floundering when I get to Mammoth next week, and using my other (all full camber) skis.

it's not necessarily that we become 'lazy', we adapt. And it's only obvious when we suddenly change back.  May not be a big deal for someone doing 50-80+ days a season, but if you're only doing 20-ish and a bit days, the adaptation can be dramatic.

There are obvious 'sweet spots' for your Contact Cross and my Sickbirds and other full camber skis, which will make them work - we just need to find/refind the spot and relearn the MoJo.

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

OK, so just a quick update for the good of the community, even if it's a bit humbling.  I moved my bindings back to "normal" position and after I did another couple of days on the two skis, I reached this conclusion: Operator Error.  For reasons which are complex, understandable, and too complex to detail here, I had gotten slouchy w/my technique.  As moreoutdoor suggests, I needed a "tune-up".  Since I've skied a fair bit, I assumed I was fairly static in my technique, but, in fact, I am not (nor probably are you). 

 

So lessons:
1) It's usually NOT about the equipment.  LIke many of us, I wanted to blame/credit the equipment.  That's the easy solution.  In fact, there was/is nothing wrong with the skis; it was me.

2) Most of us, unless we ski every day in every condition with impeccable technique, are susceptible to changes, discontinuities, failures of our technique.  Even if we have skied 20-30 years, we are not static; we ski differently and as conditions change fall into movements or behaviors that may deviate from efficiency.  We need to keep vigilant and re-check our movements and technique constantly -- even if we think we are competent, advanced skiers.

 

Not particularly ego boosting revelations....but probably more useful in the long run.

post #15 of 15

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by tch View Post

Not particularly ego boosting revelations....but probably more useful in the long run.

 

Cheaper too, no new equipment required.icon14.gif

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Advice needed: advanced skier lacks confidence in skis: Update