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Why are There Flush Sidewalls on All Mountain Skis?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

This is a question I've transferred from a thread on how to tune vertical sidewall all mountain skis.

The tuning issue has been nicely dealt with thanks very much, but the question of why change a sidewall profile that has been and continues to be the standard in the industry for more than 50 years remains? Does a vertical sidewall somehow work better in the park or pipe? If so then why do some park skis have a traditional sidewall profile? Is it to save one pass through a router at the factory? They still have to finish the sidewall and grind the side edge so that doesn't make sense. Any ideas?

post #2 of 23

different constructions methods yield different sidewalls.

post #3 of 23

I'm having trouble making sense out the question. Unclear what sidewall profile has been changed; a vertical profile is the oldest and most common profile by far, the natural result of a sandwich construction. My woodie Northlands in the 50's had it. Actually, it's the slant or rounded profile that's the new kid on the block, and that requires more, uh, passes. Or a cap. Slanted profiles are more forgiving, easier to concentrate force on the edge in transition, thus more commonly found in intermediate and beginners skis, or in advanced-expert wider skis where carving is not top of the list. Lot of Rossignol soft snow skis have been slanted, as I recall, some Stocklis, prolly a bunch of others. 

 

Verts will necessarily be more rigid laterally, since more of the core remains over the edge, so they resist torsion better, and in general, reward carving. Which is something an all mountain ski needs to do, consider the name. And no, a vertical sidewall probably wouldn't be that important in the park, where you will want to smear and butter and all that. But it's simpler to produce, and park skis have a definite price point, so a simple vert sideway, with a softer flex, keeps the costs down. Am I missing something? th_dunno-1[1].gif

post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 

Yes beyond you are missing something, the same thing that I misunderstood when I bought a pair of all mountain with "vertical" side walls. You and I understand the vertical side wall to be the plastic cover on the side of laminate construction ski, even HEAD Radial skis of the 90's had a vertical though slightly angles sidewall. The ski edges stand proud of the sidewall by about one half of the of the edge width and are supported from above by a ledge of sidewall material about equal to the thickness of the  edge.

What I an referring to is the flush sidewall where the edge is not raised but buried within the plastic of the sidewall. It might be to give the edge more impact resistance by increasing the support above the edge but if that's the case I'd be surprised if the increase in strength would be significant over the traditional design and it is much more difficult to tune.

So pefhaps the correct question is  "Why Flush Sidewalls"?

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speeder View Post

Yes beyond you are missing something, the same thing that I misunderstood when I bought a pair of all mountain with "vertical" side walls. You and I understand the vertical side wall to be the plastic cover on the side of laminate construction ski, even HEAD Radial skis of the 90's had a vertical though slightly angles sidewall. The ski edges stand proud of the sidewall by about one half of the of the edge width and are supported from above by a ledge of sidewall material about equal to the thickness of the  edge.
What I an referring to is the flush sidewall where the edge is not raised but buried within the plastic of the sidewall. It might be to give the edge more impact resistance by increasing the support above the edge but if that's the case I'd be surprised if the increase in strength would be significant over the traditional design and it is much more difficult to tune.
So pefhaps the correct question is  "Why Flush Sidewalls"?


There you go... Is there a way to re-title the thread? Otherwise, here's the answer... Vertical sidewalks, while a bit heavier, are more durable than cap costruction skis. Flush sidewalls? honestly, I've never seen one on a new ski.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speeder View Post

So pefhaps the correct question is  "Why Flush Sidewalls"?

Yep, that would be the correct question. I saw a thread about flush sideways over at TGR, I think. Pretty rare. Think about it; how would you put a side bevel on them? Answer: You can't, far as I can see (which isn't always very far) wink.gif. So they'd work fine for deep powder skis where some folks who live to smear and pivot into the jump argue for edges of 2/0 or 2/-1. Should be desirable for rails, too, I'd guess. 

post #7 of 23

i think your dilemma has more to do with your choice of manufacturer than an industry trend, skis with "proud" edges and an actual shoulder on the sidewall are still the norm

i saw your original thread and have since looked around and i think your skis (brand and/or model) are an anomoly

don't sweat it, by x-mas at your new resort you will have figured out what works and be on your way

post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Vertical sidewalks, while a bit heavier, are more durable than cap costruction skis. 

hijack.gif

 

Y'know, this one's always confused me. I know it's true by inspection. But seems like it doesn't need to be. A stressed cap could be as strong - or stronger - as a sandwich. Volant comes to mind, and seem to recall Salomon used to make some very nice racing skis that were true stressed plastic caps, not just cosmetic caps over laminates. Have a hunch that the real issue is that cap molds are $$, and I suspect QC makes for more discards. And of us can make sandwiches in our garage. Or in the case of 333, in our trailor. 

post #9 of 23

aren't atomic race skis cap skis?

post #10 of 23
I don't know that durability is high up on the priority chain for race skis. For all mountain skis, think about how a side wall resists and disperses an edge hit from a rock as compared to a cap and you'll have the answer.
post #11 of 23

I'm wondering if the OP's skis had a manufacturing defect or had a bad new ski tune at the shop (assuming they were new skis.) Doesn't sound like anyone else has seen this in a new ski.

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

hijack.gif

Y'know, this one's always confused me. I know it's true by inspection. But seems like it doesn't need to be. A stressed cap could be as strong - or stronger - as a sandwich. Volant comes to mind, and seem to recall Salomon used to make some very nice racing skis that were true stressed plastic caps, not just cosmetic caps over laminates. Have a hunch that the real issue is that cap molds are $$, and I suspect QC makes for more discards. And of us can make sandwiches in our garage. Or in the case of 333, in our trailor. 

I always thought the idea behind a sandwiched ski vs. a cap ski was all about torsional stiffness, and the ability to control it along the length of a ski. Cap has to be easier to set-up (making manufacturing easier), but I was alway led to believe there is a loss of torsional stiffness.
post #13 of 23

From what I have read cap skis are cheaper to mass produce, but have a higher capital start-up cost because the mold or whatever for the cap must be produced.  Sandwich skis don't have that capital cost, but each unit individually is more expensive to produce.  

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jzamp View Post

aren't atomic race skis cap skis?

Some are some are not.

 

The speed skis are vertical traditional, some of the GS and slalom are cap covered traditional sandwich construction

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

I don't know that durability is high up on the priority chain for race skis. For all mountain skis, think about how a side wall resists and disperses an edge hit from a rock as compared to a cap and you'll have the answer.

Sidewall is more fragile. I have seen the sidewall blown right out of multiple skis which had rock impact of the edge on a traditional sandwich construction vertical sidewall ski.

 

Since there is no '3rd' piece inserted between the edge and the top sheet of  a cap ski there is nothing to blow out, although you may damage the cap where the cap meets the edge.

post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post

Sidewall is more fragile. I have seen the sidewall blown right out of multiple skis which had rock impact of the edge on a traditional sandwich construction vertical sidewall ski.

Since there is no '3rd' piece inserted between the edge and the top sheet of  a cap ski there is nothing to blow out, although you may damage the cap where the cap meets the edge.

IMH experience, most of the heavily edge damaged skis that come into the shop are capped. Not all of course, but the majority. YMMV.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

I don't know that durability is high up on the priority chain for race skis. For all mountain skis, think about how a side wall resists and disperses an edge hit from a rock as compared to a cap and you'll have the answer.

Nope, but Volant did fine durability wise. IMO what you're describing is a function of material, not shape. An ABS plastic cap won't have the tensile strength of a sandwich with some metal in it, for instance. But a metal cap, or one made of composites like they use for bindings and plates would do just fine in comparison, I'd guess. And if the composite included metal or carbon, would be lighter and stronger than wood/glass laminates, for sure.  Also not sure I buy the rock hit idea; seems to me that a rounded shoulder is structurally sounder than a 90 degree angle. Won't the round arc tend to produce sliding strikes, and redistribute the force both directions nicely, while the square edge will minimize sliding, and redirect force mostly one way or another? Like Atomicman, I've seen some blown sandwich sidewalls that look like the entire force of the hit was concentrated in one area. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post


I always thought the idea behind a sandwiched ski vs. a cap ski was all about torsional stiffness, and the ability to control it along the length of a ski. Cap has to be easier to set-up (making manufacturing easier), but I was alway led to believe there is a loss of torsional stiffness.

Is about torsional stiffness, given that caps tend to be plastic. So the materials thing again. Do not believe, however, that caps are easier to set up. Again, there have been threads on this. Molds for caps are pricey, both to make and because each length requires a new mold. Whereas sandwiches are simple enough to do decently in a garage with a press made of plumbing hardware and wood (check out ON3P's photo thread on TGR about how they did it early on.) Once you've go the cap mold, may be cheaper per ski, in the sense of less manual labor, so assume that's how any caps at all can be made. As above, I have a hunch the loss of torsional stiffness is more a matter of the cap design and material than some inevitable aspect of caps. As said above, Atomic race skis are caps, and they seem to do OK in the stiffness department. Not clear if the caps are just cosmetic, have a feeling they involve some load. Sollie caps - fully load bearing - were moderately stiff as race skis go, not planks, but had a strong record, not hamburger.

post #18 of 23
I believe that the flush sidewall construction can be considerably tougher--at least, that's the theory--less likely to see the sidewalls and edges blown out from things like rock damage. Personally, I don't like them very much, because they are considerably harder to keep tuned. But for all-mountain skis intended for soft snow, razor-sharp edges are not that important.
Quote:
Is there a way to re-title the thread?

I'll be happy to edit the title to change "vertical sidewalls" to "flush sidewalls," if Speeder (thread starter) asks....

Best regards,
Bob
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 

The skis im question are 2010 K2 EXT amd they are still in plastic. I've seen the same type of sidewall on Atomic Panic as well.

post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks Bob. Feel free to re-title the thead to "flush sidewalls".

post #21 of 23
Done!
post #22 of 23

I think we have not considered the real issue in that those models that have a flush sidewall are often not tuned any more frequently than a snowboard, and then only by a machine that is quite capable of grinding off sidewall as well as steel edge. it is cheaper and easier to produce however.

post #23 of 23

I'm all about the rounded sidewalls on most Praxis.  They seem to deflect much easier and chip far less.  

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