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fatter skis change technique?

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 

Do fatter skis change your technique much over time - for better or worse or is it totally about ski conditions only?

The reason I ask is you don;t often see instructors on fat skis...even when they go off piste, they could ski it on toothpicks...

post #2 of 81

post #3 of 81

OP, in general, the 'go to' ski for strong skiing instructors is generally narrower than the public. Why? Probably because of the requirement to ski with more precision both for lessons and in training. I'd say rather than 'go as fat as you can', it's more, go as narrow as you can manage for your home mountain. Making a narrower ski work in powder isn't hard once the mechanics are basically (not perfectly) sorted out.

post #4 of 81

   I see a lot of the skiing gen pop on super fat, rockered skis when it hasn't snowed in a week--on groomers. Tips n tails flappin' everywhere...hard to begin to work on technique when there's only 40 cm's of your skis touching the snow...

 

   zenny

post #5 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

OP, in general, the 'go to' ski for strong skiing instructors is generally narrower than the public. Why? Probably because of the requirement to ski with more precision both for lessons and in training. I'd say rather than 'go as fat as you can', it's more, go as narrow as you can manage for your home mountain. Making a narrower ski work in powder isn't hard once the mechanics are basically (not perfectly) sorted out.

 

So, basically fat skis are more forgiving and allow crap technique when used in conditions that suit the ski?

 

Secondly, when doing lessons, should you be using a narrower ski...?

post #6 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by GordonFreeman View Post

 

1.  So, basically fat skis are more forgiving and allow crap technique when used in conditions that suit the ski?

 

Secondly, when doing lessons, should you be using a narrower ski...?

1.  The more politically correct way to say it is that fat skis make certain conditions easier to ski, but there can be other advantages as well (such as experiencing a different sensation when you surf more on top of the powder- particularly nice when you have about 6 inches fresh on top of crust/ice)

 

2.  It really depends on what you are trying to accomplish in the lesson-  If there is a foot of fresh and you are not a very good powder skier, I would go wider.  OTOH, if you want to work on carving short turns then an SL ski is preferable (but a wider skier with a short radius is better than a full blown FIS GS ski).

 

I think ski choice is more than just about width- radius, width and flex certainly play a role. 

post #7 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by GordonFreeman View Post

 

So, basically fat skis are more forgiving and allow crap technique when used in conditions that suit the ski?

 

Secondly, when doing lessons, should you be using a narrower ski...?

 

1. Nice troll. Most fat skis (not all) are more forgiving of pilot error in soft snow. They're also just plain old fun. Mine included. smile.gif

 

2. Not necessarily. Some days you have no idea who's coming in the door. You could be doing a 'never ever' group, or you could be doing a level 7-8 off piste steeps private. No fuss, no waiting, no running around fishing for skis. When taking lessons, ski what you have. You might show up on 205 Rossi ST's... instructors will work with it, no problem. 

post #8 of 81

When I have taken lessons with my Bonafides, I've found it more difficult to do some of the exercises, as compared to my Legend 8000s.  Of course, many of the exercises were developed before the advent of fat rockered skis.  Pivot slips, I have found, can be easier with rocker.

 

Ironically, these "cheater" skis can be more difficult to ski through certain drills.  I've found I need to be more precise on the Bones when skiing on one ski.  In general, the fore-aft balance requires more attention with rockered skis.

 

Just my opinions, of course.

post #9 of 81

Fat rockered skis let you ski powder, and especially Sierra cement, without getting in the back seat. That breeds good habits, not bad.

A lot of instructors I know don't use their good skis for lessons. And even if an instructor is giving a powder lesson, if the instructor is using a powder ski and the student or students are on skinny skis, the students are going to blame the skis for their difficulties and lose focus on technique.  If you want to know what people who ski for a living ski on look at patrollers.  In the Tahoe area I don't see them on anything skinnier than the 90's and a lot of them are on wider even on groomer days (patrollers don't make enough to have big quivers.) . And OP--if you want to keep skiing on your old skinny skis, it's fine--especially since you live in Eastern Canada--but you don't have to make up reasons why it's better.

post #10 of 81

I have some fairly fat skis, 105mm at the waist.  They were fat when I bought them several seasons back, now they are just mid-fat.  Anyhow, the answer is yes I do change my technique when skiing them; notably so mostly in low angel pow where I love to just sit back on the tails and surf.  Bad technique, maybe.  Fun, most definitely!

post #11 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post

I have some fairly fat skis, 105mm at the waist.  They were fat when I bought them several seasons back, now they are just mid-fat.  

 

Funny...after doing a google search a few days ago I was reading a thread either on here or TGR from around 2001 I think.  Someone was talking about buying some 75 or 78 mm midfats. 

post #12 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

Fat rockered skis let you ski powder, and especially Sierra cement, without getting in the back seat. That breeds good habits, not bad. Agree.

A lot of instructors I know don't use their good skis for lessons. Agree. And even if an instructor is giving a powder lesson, if the instructor is using a powder ski and the student or students are on skinny skis, the students are going to blame the skis for their difficulties and lose focus on technique. If you want to know what people who ski for a living ski on look at patrollers. Disagree; patrollers are also using their skis as tools, just like instructors - in this case something stabile enough to handle a sled in tough conditions - rather than purely for recreation. In the Tahoe area I don't see them on anything skinnier than the 90's and a lot of them are on wider even on groomer days (patrollers don't make enough to have big quivers.)  Agree about last part, in sense that they'll try to compromise with a ski that's good enough for everyday and strong for patrolling. But I really doubt they only own one ski. And OP--if you want to keep skiing on your old skinny skis, it's fine--especially since you live in Eastern Canada--but you don't have to make up reasons why it's better. He's not making reasons up, he's either trolling because the old fat-skinny threads are well, old, or he's reflecting reality; I know a level III back here whose Kendo is literally the widest ski he owns or uses. And no, he's not poor, he just can do everything he likes to do on a 89 mm ski. Beyond that, he doesn't like the slower edge to edge reaction or the width in bumps. Which tend to come along with powder back here. Same for a bunch of excellent non-teaching skiers I know; their "fat" ski is in the high 80's to high 90's. And it's, ah, fairly new. I think the knee-jerk equation of fat skis with new/forward looking and thinner skis with old/backward looking is frozen in 2008. Most of the big technological changes in the past few years have been in the 80-100 mm range, not the 110+. That tech is nearly mature; in fact fat ski makers are calming down their rocker, going back to traditional camber underfoot, etc. Volkl is the only major I know that makes fully rockered skis. 

And to return to the original question, yep, fatter skis encourage different techniques. Not a startling revelation, exactly. 

post #13 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by GordonFreeman View Post

Secondly, when doing lessons, should you be using a narrower ski...?

 

No, you should talk to the ski school and make clear you only want instruction from an instructor who uses modern skis and is familiar with the technique that goes with them. Why would you pay to learn outdated technique on outdated gear? Especially when aspects of that "old school" technique are far less than optimal on that gear. 

 

And yeah - someone will come come back with "skiing is skiing". But that only goes so far. The newer designs want a slightly different technique. Just watch the strongest skier at your hill (at least in Western NA) and you will likely see it wink.gif

post #14 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

 

No, you should talk to the ski school and make clear you only want instruction from an instructor who uses modern skis and is familiar with the technique that goes with them. Why would you pay to learn outdated technique on outdated gear? Especially when aspects of that "old school" technique are far less than optimal on that gear. 

 

And yeah - someone will come come back with "skiing is skiing". But that only goes so far. The newer designs want a slightly different technique. Just watch the strongest skier at your hill (at least in Western NA) and you will likely see it wink.gif

My italics. Can make no sense out of this. Technique is correlated to gear, not perfectly, but pretty strongly. You can smear a 70 mm ski, but why? And you can carve a 120 mm ski, but why? Anyway, "old-school" isn't carving, if that's what you're implying, anymore than smearing and skidding is "new school." In fact, good luck trying to actually carve railroad tracks on a 210 cm ski from 1995. Back when school was old, school was all about brushing and skidding and smearing, sport. You're all excited about skiing like everyone did a generation ago, you just haven't done your homework. 

 

But that's OK, we all know that in your world, no one skis on packed powder, lifts are for just getting to the goods, and those goods are always endless and deep. wink.gif

post #15 of 81
fat rocker skis (with or without camber underfoot) allow a skiers with technical defincies to negotiate "the goods" (of course, they also enable proficient skiers to make gs like turns in the pow), my only concern is for the former...if you can get away with things like backseating, rotating, etc, why not?? because it ultimately could lead to the "dumbing down" of skiing.

zenny
post #16 of 81

I had an interesting experience yesterday skiing at Heavenly. There was about 6" of new powder a lot of places on the hill, which has been a rare occurrence this season. For that reason I have mostly been skiing Dynastar Contact 4x4's (76mm underfoot), and after a recent lesson have really been focusing on staying forward and getting early edge engagement as a way to better control turn shape and speed. (Get control early and keep it, as opposed to having to brake later in the turn.) I have mostly been making turns on blue groomers, with some recent focus on bumps, and feel like I am finally starting to get a feel for making clean turns.

 

Anyway, yesterday for the "big powder day" I broke out my Line Prophet 100's. I got and skied them a lot two seasons ago in Colorado, but have only been on them a couple times this season. I have Railflex bindings on the Prophets, and have had them set 15mm forward, and that has always felt best for me. Up until yesterday. I started skiing them and found them way too turny - felt really squirrelly - just could not get comfortable on them. So I eventually made my way to a workbench and moved the bindings back 15mm to the center position. Much, much better.

 

When I really started skiing 3 seasons ago I was really flinging my tails around, and still have some rotary push off in my skiing, but as I've evolved over time that has lessened, and I guess now I am providing more of what heretofore I was looking to the setup to provide.

 

To each his/her own, but I've come to see the wisdom of learning fundamentals on a narrower ski. I believe it will provide a better foundation for all my skiing, even if I have to alter technique somewhat if I find myself on a fatter ski in deeper conditions.

post #17 of 81

Thanks beyond, you exposed an ambiguity in what I said. 

 

Let me clarify. My point was that learning perfectly excellent technique on, and for, old school gear is less than optimal for two reasons. First, because the newer designs are "better". They allow for easier skiing across a wider range of conditions (unless you blindly insist on not changing technique one whit). So, at least IMO, it is a disservice to customers to groom them up on equipment and technique that will lengthen their learning curve  (although it might hook them on a never ending stream of expensive frustrating lessons). Second, because that equipment is going the way of the dodo bird. Not without a fight by folks holding on to the past - but fade away it will. So it is a disservice to customers to hone technique on older gear, only for them to have to readjust it on the equipment they will eventually use. OK - not entirely. There are circumstances that are exceptions. For example, if someone aspires only to technical carving on icy snow. Etc. But that is not the average skier. Nor is it the average lesson customer.

 

As for me - lifts are a way to get on the snow. When that is "the goods" all the better. And by virtue of where I live, I get more "goods" than average - I admit that. But I ski my share of firm groomer days - as I'm sure you know or assume. Usually on skis around 110 or 115. I've seen some designs that could tempt me down to the +/-100 zone on a pure firm snow day. But yeah - I'll cop to the belief that anything sub-90 (maybe even sub-95) is not a reasonable all-around recreational ski for normal recreational skiers today. And I'm pretty sure the market will bear that out over the next few years as there is a "changing of the guard" - and the folks who do not get it either age out or go bust.


Edited by spindrift - 4/9/13 at 12:15pm
post #18 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

 Disagree; patrollers are also using their skis as tools, just like instructors - in this case something stabile enough to handle a sled in tough conditions - rather than purely for recreation. In the Tahoe area I don't see them on anything skinnier than the 90's and a lot of them are on wider even on groomer days (patrollers don't make enough to have big quivers.)  Agree about last part, in sense that they'll try to compromise with a ski that's good enough for everyday and strong for patrolling. But I really doubt they only own one ski.

 

The patrollers I know spend a lot more time freeskiing than handling sleds and the like (and more time hanging out in the shack than either.) Sure they have more than one pair of skis, picked up over the years, often including a pair of used beaters they picked up to do snow safety--lots of walking on rocks on the ridge lines--but not the expensive, recent model quivers a lot of folks have. And most them can ski anything on anything (including handling a sled) so it is interesting to see what they PREFER to ski on.

post #19 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

Thanks beyond, you exposed an ambiguity in what I said. 

 

Let me clarify. My point was that learning perfectly excellent technique on, and for, old school gear is less than optimal for two reasons. First, because the newer designs are "better". They allow for easier skiing across a wider range of conditions (unless you blindly insist on not changing technique one whit). So, at least IMO, it is a disservice to customers to groom them up on equipment and technique that will lengthen their learning curve  (although it might hook them on a never ending stream of expensive frustrating lessons). Second, because that equipment is going the way of the dodo bird. Not without a fight by folks holding on to the past. But fade away it will. So it is a disservice to customers to hone technique only for them to have to readjust it on the equipment they will eventually use. OK - not entirely. There are circumstances that are exceptions. For example, if someone aspires to technical carving on icy snow. Etc. But that is not the average skier. Nor is it the average lesson customer.

 

As for me - lifts are a way to get on the snow. When that is "the goods" all the better. And by virtue of where I live, I get more "goods" than average - I admit that. But I ski my share of firm groomer days - as I'm sure you know or assume. Usually on skis around 110 or 115. I've seen some designs that could tempt me down to the +/-100 zone on a pure firm snow day. But yeah - I'll cop to the belief that anything sub-90 is not a reasonable all-around recreational ski for normal recreational skiers today. And I'm pretty sure the market will bear that out over the next few years as there is a "changing of the guard" - and the folks who do not get it go bust.

 

Whether you argue for using wide, rockered skis or not in general is one thing, but your argument about teaching or learning to ski I don't agree with at all.

 

I'd say the exact opposite of what you're saying. It is far easier to learn quickly on what you consider "old school" gear on the groomers, bumps and steeps. (I'm not talking powder here.) That would mean sub 100mm, (more sub the better), cambered, non rockered, non massive taper, gear. Learning skiing is about learning movements and timing. With an "old school" ski, (even though they're completely modern), you get much more feedback and quicker feedback from your inputs to the ski.

With a (what you consider "dodo bird") narrow ski, your foot is very close to the edge. You tip your foot, the ski tips quickly. It's "easy" to learn railroad tracks as the ski responds fast and there is no pushback torque from a wide ski because the edge is far beyond the boot sole. I say easy, but many people struggle with it. Even people who've skied for years have no idea about their edges.

Learning to skate is much easier. Geez, skating with a 110mm ski is just a chore. It's hard enough to get a new skier to skate with a narrow ski.

Learning to release the edge and sideslip may actually be easier with a wide ski as you have more room for error. Again though, a narrow ski will force you to actually control subtley the angle of your ski base.

 

If you're learning in boots that are two sizes too big, then perhaps a wide ski platform is "better" because it doesn't react as quickly and smooths out errors.

If you want to emphasize people learning to ski off their tails, it's a good start. That's bad enough with "old school" gear.

That's not exactly learning a skill.

 

You seem to think that skiing a "modern" ski, ie greater than 100mm, rockered, highly tapered, maybe even reverse camber or reverse sidecut, involve movements that are completely different. As if we have different bodies on those skis. Movements are movements, and learning how to control one's body, and what happens is what counts. Yeah you can do things on "modern" gear in snow you can't on narrow "old school" gear, but they're not completely different movements. It's just applying movements on equipment that allow you to do it in a different environment. Transference from narrow skis to wide is easy. Really, it's no big deal.

 

If one is to optimally teach someone from never having skied, it would not be the quickest path to learn on 100mm + skis.

If you had to learn from zero skiing in powder all the time, ok sure it'd be better. That's not a great way to learn how to ski though.

post #20 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

 

Whether you argue for using wide, rockered skis or not in general is one thing, but your argument about teaching or learning to ski I don't agree with at all.

 

I'd say the exact opposite of what you're saying. It is far easier to learn quickly on what you consider "old school" gear on the groomers, bumps and steeps. (I'm not talking powder here.) That would mean sub 100mm, (more sub the better), cambered, non rockered, non massive taper, gear. Learning skiing is about learning movements and timing. With an "old school" ski, (even though they're completely modern), you get much more feedback and quicker feedback from your inputs to the ski.

With a (what you consider "dodo bird") narrow ski, your foot is very close to the edge. You tip your foot, the ski tips quickly. It's "easy" to learn railroad tracks as the ski responds fast and there is no pushback torque from a wide ski because the edge is far beyond the boot sole. I say easy, but many people struggle with it. Even people who've skied for years have no idea about their edges.

Learning to skate is much easier. Geez, skating with a 110mm ski is just a chore. It's hard enough to get a new skier to skate with a narrow ski.

Learning to release the edge and sideslip may actually be easier with a wide ski as you have more room for error. Again though, a narrow ski will force you to actually control subtley the angle of your ski base.

 

If you're learning in boots that are two sizes too big, then perhaps a wide ski platform is "better" because it doesn't react as quickly and smooths out errors.

If you want to emphasize people learning to ski off their tails, it's a good start. That's bad enough with "old school" gear.

That's not exactly learning a skill.

 

You seem to think that skiing a "modern" ski, ie greater than 100mm, rockered, highly tapered, maybe even reverse camber or reverse sidecut, involve movements that are completely different. As if we have different bodies on those skis. Movements are movements, and learning how to control one's body, and what happens is what counts. Yeah you can do things on "modern" gear in snow you can't on narrow "old school" gear, but they're not completely different movements. It's just applying movements on equipment that allow you to do it in a different environment. Transference from narrow skis to wide is easy. Really, it's no big deal.

 

If one is to optimally teach someone from never having skied, it would not be the quickest path to learn on 100mm + skis.

If you had to learn from zero skiing in powder all the time, ok sure it'd be better. That's not a great way to learn how to ski though.


No one is learning to ski on R/R ski's. Don't be so sensationalist.

post #21 of 81

Quote:

Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post

No one is learning to ski on R/R ski's. Don't be so sensationalist.

 

Not a sensationalist, just a curator for dodo birds apparently. Remove that statement if it bothers you.

Do you have anything to add to the discussion?

post #22 of 81

Skating a 138 R/R ski is a chore. biggrin.gif Skating a a 110 or 100 modern sidecut ski is no big deal so long as you pay attention to what it tells you. Likewise for carving - it is just not that hard if you use the ski right - and that's the point.. Especially on a ski that will not kick your ass for minor errors - but will rather work you into getting it "right - and reward that accordingly. But let's look at the other side...

 

How many times have you watched beginners waste time or even hurt themselves because they were on stupidly narrow skis that made them teetery and nervous? What do you figure is the number of times the average beginner falls because they hooked an edge or crossed their tips due to stupidly "over-responsive" skis? And what impact do you figure that has on retention? How many of them leave their first round of classes effective carvers? I can answer that one - not many.Creating pointless suffering and wasted time is not the hallmark of a customer oriented business or industry, Luckily, while not a majority, more and more instructors I run into to seem to be coming around (recently had one I randomly met rave about the S7 as the "super" ski for putting student's on). But they are stuck inside a matrix where time still seems to move slowly and making that happen is hard.

post #23 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Quote:

 

Not a sensationalist, just a curator for dodo birds apparently. Remove that statement if it bothers you.

Do you have anything to add to the discussion?


I learned to ski on a Prophet 100,  I took my first lesson this year on an Influence 105. My instructor said I demonstrated the skill of someone who had much more than 3 years on ski's. I have only owned 1 ski under 100mm.

 

I know people here love to act like skiing well is some zen secret that can only be earned by years of tedious drills, and spending a lifetime in lessons. But it's hardly rocket science. I laugh when I watch people spending all day on some silly drill when they could be applying, and honing the technique they are working on by having fun skiing.

post #24 of 81

Well starting out never evers on wide short skis is an interesting idea as they are less responsive and might mitigate the gross inputs.

Then I would go back to more responsive skis though, so in the end it's just easier to stick with one type.

Ski teaching methods that relied on using different lengths have consistently disappeared. I don't know much about the GLM method of the early 70's, but Elan tried in again in the late 90's, and early ought years.

 

In response to :

How many times have you watched beginners waste time or even hurt themselves because they were on stupidly narrow skis that made them teetery and nervous? What do you figure is the number of times the average beginner falls because they hooked an edge or crossed their tips due to stupidly "over-responsive" skis? -spindrift

The real problem is ridiculously unresponsive boots. Usually because they are vastly too big. It's not that you want them on some high performance boot, just something that transmits their input. I really wish they'd come back with a decent rear entry boot that's easy to put on. The crappy rear entries ruined it for the few good ones.

Often it's muscular guys who do the worse, cause they try to muscle everything.

 

What's interesting is both you and spindrift have zero interest in ski teaching. It's all some sort of idiotic conspiracy. Ok, fine.

Whether it's informal or not, those skiers you admire spent a lot of time learning. Look at kids in the park. They'll trudge up to get back to the top of the half pipe or slope course to practice new tricks. Over and over. Those that learn quickest usually have input from the other more experienced ones.That's teaching.

post #25 of 81

First off I agree with Tog that boots are the main problem.  I instruct and mostly get never evers or other beginners.  Rental boots are a huge problem in learning to ski.

 

The idea of teaching beginners on modern wide skis, with camber underfoot and some sidecut is intriguing however.  I would love to hear from any instructors who have done this.

 

I recently demo'd the new Rossi Soul 7, 105 under foot, moderate rocker tip, minimal tail rocker, camber under foot.  17m turn radius.

 

I found them quite good on groomed terrain, they gave me a confidence I had not felt before in all situations I tried them on.  I owned Rossi S3's (just sold them in anticipation of buying Soul 7's) and liked them a lot, but they did not do as well in any conditions as the Soul's did.

 

Does anyone know of a mountain with a rental fleet of wide skis?  If that exists there should be some instructors who can talk about teaching on them.  Beginners rent skis.

post #26 of 81
@ecimmortal, not every skier is blessed with the innate talent for the sport which you so obviously possess in abundance. consider this the next time you watch someone learning while you laugh.

zenny
post #27 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post

First off I agree with Tog that boots are the main problem.  I instruct and mostly get never evers or other beginners.  Rental boots are a huge problem in learning to ski.

 

 

Totally true....in fact this is true for far more people (well past beginner) than its good for the industry to admit.

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post

 

The idea of teaching beginners on modern wide skis, with camber underfoot and some sidecut is intriguing however.  I would love to hear from any instructors who have done this.

 


Does anyone know of a mountain with a rental fleet of wide skis?  If that exists there should be some instructors who can talk about teaching on them.  Beginners rent skis.

 

It works....side stepping a little trickier...other then that (and that is usually sorted after the first couple of go's), no real difference. 

post #28 of 81
Wow... This thread is now officially full of hyperbole, chest thumping, and BS strawmen... If the OP was a troll, he won.
post #29 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Wow... This thread is now officially full of hyperbole, chest thumping, and BS strawmen... If the OP was a troll, he won.


Well with the kneebinding thread dead, and no active helmet threads....something had to give.

post #30 of 81
Quote:
"skiing is skiing"

I try to match my skis to what my students are on.  Although it has happened, I rarely need to pull my Super 7's out to teach on.

 

One lesson that sticks out in my mind this season was a young lady from the PNW.  She was on the women's version of an S7 with AT bindings & boots.  She has had many lessons in her short (60 or so days over a season & a half) skiing career.  We didn't have any powder that day & we split our time between some soft off-piste bumps & carving (her choice) on the groomers.  It was a great lesson (good students tend to make good lessons & good teachers).  I would say that the boots were a bigger issue than the skis as far as limitations for advancing her technique. 

 

In general my everyday skis have gained width almost every year over the past decade.  The skis I keep in the Snowsports meeting area are 101mm waist, & I am not a big guy.

 

 

Skiing is skiing, good technique is good technique, it is tactics that change.

 

JF

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