[The discussion I was hoping to have in this thread actually materialized in the Rossi 9SL IBox thread
, so I'm attempting to redirect that conversation over here to spare the people who really want to hear about the Rossi 9SL IBox.]
ScotsSkier and others: Thanks for the excellent input. I need to clarify a couple things.
On the topic of race night skis, I unfortunately have two conflicting agendas, or so it appears to me. Agenda 1: "What kind of ski would help me post better times during the fifty seconds I'm actually in the course each week?* (See footnote for more info on what kind of course it is and what my achievement goals are.) Agenda 2: "What kind of ski will be the most fun and best suited for free-skiing with my pals on hard snow for the remaining three hours of the evening?"
Originally Posted by ScotsSkier
In your case, the answer is, It depends!!! (spoken like a true consultant!) . You talk about beer league/Nastar, so I assume you are looking at a shortish radius GS. You are also in Maine so going to have to deal with a lot of man-made (aka sheet ice as i recall form my time there) so if you are at all serious you want the grip of a real race stock. However, I dont think you want a full 23m GS. A couple of thoughts, I would suggest you try a pair of 155 (or even 158) race stock slaloms as a first reference. Find some junior that is unloading a pair as a first point of entry. 155s are waay easier to come by than 165s on the used market. Second would be a longer junior race stock GS, say 170 or 175 but you would need to check what plate is on it, a lot of them have the junior plate which does not work with an adult boot. I can also check around for some used options if you are interested. I run the for sale/wanted for our masters team
In the course, I feel like something longer, damper, and possibly a bit flexier at the tip would help me. In general I think I'm looking for stability. Beyond posted in another thread that sometimes on a turnier ski you can "feel clean and quick but be slow as molasses." I definitely resemble that remark at times on my very lively 14m Supersonics. For this reason, I would need some convincing on the suggestion to go with a slalom ski in the course. (Also not sure what I should make of the fact that virtually every skier in my league who's in the top 15 or 20 is on a GS ski of one variety or another. That could be because it really works best, or it could just be a case of groupthink. Or both.)
By contrast, for the remaining 179 minutes of skiing I do on race night, I'm sure I would really enjoy a slalom ski. I've spent time on a friend's 155 Volkl rec'l slaloms, and on the Rossi CS 70, which is clearly kind of a detuned SL, and liked those experiences a lot. They're just a load of fun for burning in the right movement patterns and generally getting a lot of arc-to-arc mileage out of limited terrain on a small hill with a firm surface. That angle would also be good for some of the informal coaching and demo stuff that teammates and I do with each other occasionally.
Originally Posted by Tog
So, you'd recommend a junior race gs ski for what weight range for an adult for beer league?
Re: the confusion around my question to ScotsSkier about whether he'd still recommend a race stock ski for a 135lb woman. I am a guy. My question was hypothetical. I asked the question that way because I wanted SS to focus on my actual size, not just gloss over onto specs for a typical Joe, they way many men do, in my experience. I have trouble making this sink in with some people, and need the equivalent of a big wooden mallet to get the facts across effectively. I've learned over the years that the "let's start over and you pretend I'm a woman" approach works. (Example: I was shopping for skate skis - which are flex- and length-matched to skier weight - at one point, and in two different stores I had to tell the staff guy twice, like he was a bit deaf, before he really believed me. In one store I actually had to get on a scale to make the point.) I know that Beyond thinks I pay too much attention to the weight thing, because he thinks that speed and the dynamics of good skiing are more important, and offset light weight in terms of the forces needed to flex a ski effectively. I get it, and I agree, but only up to a point. For example, I love my Supersonics at speed on hard snow, but for me they are way too stiff - especially in the forebody - and quick to rebound in any kind of soft snow or off-piste conditions to make them ideal for me as a general-purpose ski. Meanwhile I'm aware that many people - Weems, for example, I think - found this ski a very good easy-skiing narrow all-mountain model, and might consider them hopelessly flabby for racing.
ScotsSkier, the link you posted to those Atomic junior GS skis was intriguing. Looks like a good deal. I was actually looking at the same model on the Ski-Depot site. (They are the closest thing I have to a "regular" brick-and-mortar shop. Good people who have gotten to know my idiosyncrasies and tolerate them with good humor.) With all the above in mind, you still think that's a plausible choice?
Originally Posted by ScotsSkier
Fair points. I should clarify slightly though in that I normally recommend the race stock rather than the pseudo-race as it offers better value and performance. If what you want is 911 type performance, you don't buy a Lexus, no matter how many gizmos it may have..... Also, particularly with slaloms, the myth that the civilian version is easier than the race stock is exactly that, a myth...
Are you comparing a recreational race-carver like the Course Ti or the Fischer RC pro or - I suppose - the Stoeckli Laser SX or Kastle RX to the Lexus? Those skis don't have "gizmos," that I know of. If anything, there are fewer gizmos (no native plate). They're a smidge wider with a smidge more sidecut than the race models. Are you talking about construction and design differences that you feel make a difference in grip or ability to hold a precise line? Sorry if that question seems naive to you. You're probably aware that it's pretty hard to demo any kind of a selection of race skis, so someone like me is more or less forced to work through some of this by proxy, with the help of people who are involved deeply enough in racing that they somehow get to try this stuff. I know a lot of people swap skis to try, but I don't have many friends with race skis, and in any case their feet - not to mention skis - are typically way too big to make that an easy option.
Thanks again for all your helpful input. If I go on at length above it's precisely because your comments have been really useful, not because I am feeling contentious about them.
++++++++++++++ footnote below +++++++++++++++
* The course is a Nastar-style course - easy, fairly turny GS, not quite as flat and straight as some Nastar "courses" I've seen, but nevertheless easy in terms of pitch and set. Someone said, "between slalom and GS." Yes, but much closer to GS. I've been doing this for a bunch of years now, gradually improving, but it's the ONLY racing I do and it's only two runs a night, once a week, for nine weeks. No practice runs allowed. That's only 18 runs a year, so you can see why progress has been slow! The group is typically 60 or 70 skiers. Regular jamokes who are solid skiers but have not really learned to arc a clean turn run this course in 30 seconds + / -. I'm usually around 25 or 26. The hotshots who always take the top three spots are usually in the 21 - 23 range. These are guys who are in their 20s or 30s and have real race training from college or whatever. I'm never going to beat any of them and am fine with that. However, right behind them is a cluster of five or six guys between 45 and 65, several of whom usually beat me by a second or so. My goal is to pull myself up so that I'm at the top of that cluster, scoring in the top five overall with some regularity. I think what these folks have that I don't is lots of time in the gates. Some of them are retired, and some are Cranmore locals with grown kids who just make getting gate time a priority and have easy access to do so. When I see them free ski, I can see that, for the most part, they are not better skiers, in terms of the fundamentals, than I am. In fact as I chat with these near-strangers at the finish line, watching friends come down, I have received essentially the same spontaneous comment from multiple people, on different occasions: "Man, you have really good-looking turns. Don't understand why your times aren't better. I think you just need to do x," where x is any one of a number of tactical items. Insert your favorite one here: More aggressive start, lower line, straighter line, lower body position in the main part of the course (vs. finish tuck), etc. etc. I don't want to go into those tactical things in this thread, necessarily. I'm documenting this as an effort to communicate where I am in my development as a skier and racer - i.e., better at the former than the latter. Sometimes I feel like my biggest problem is that wanting to go as fast I as possibly can at any cost is just not part of my basic personality. Really "opening it up" doesn't come naturally to me, and even when I do, I sometimes find out that I didn't really. ;) Or my ski falls off. :)