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Sweet spot?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I ski two skis regularly in typical Eastern conditions (vermont )


Skis are Elan Speed waves and Fischer RC4  Both with very similar tip/waist/tail dimensions (think skinny ski for eastern ice)


The Fischer has a sweet spot underfoot as long as the ski, (not really) I can be anywhere on them, and they turn as sweet as candy.


The elan?  Hmmmm  a bit fussy about where I'm standing.  Hook or slide  or just plane squirrly.


I can't say one turns more easily than the other,  of is "quicker", (wahtever that might be.


Both are fun,  but the Fischer is a lot easier at the end of the day,  turn for turn.


What gives?


Oh,  I wear soft boots if that matters  ATs





post #2 of 7
Just curious--how are they tuned? And where are the bindings mounted? (Please don't say, "on the tops"!)


Best regards,
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 



The bindings are on top! 


I "tune" myself,  same routine for everything I ski (which is a lot by some standards,  I patrol, and have a ski for every snow day of the week ;-)


About 1 degree side,  flat base (as flat a wear and tear will allow)  Sharp tip to tail,  i.e,  no "detune",  just never made sense to me.


Hot wax and scrape,  back on 'em,  Once a year to the shop for the "Montana Grind"




The binding position is Boot mark to ski mark,  nothing tricky,  just the suggested position

post #4 of 7

Why keep the Elans?

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

Why keep the Elans?

The bottoms the edges and the bindings are still good ;-)

post #6 of 7
"On top"

OK, so that's how it's going to be, eh?


So the skis are tuned similarly, and the bindings are mounted "as recommended" on the manufacturer-indicated lines. That may eliminate my first two concerns.

But it may not, too. I'll take your word that the tunes are the same. But I have very little faith in manufacturer-suggested binding mount points. I am fortunate that the VIST Speedlock bindings and plates I prefer allow substantial fore-aft adjustment over several centimeters, which allows me to experiment until I find where my skis work best (for me). Rarely (not never) is it "on the mark"--typically, it is one or two centimeters forward, sometimes more. Virtually never is it back.

I find that it makes a surprising amount of difference in how the ski skis. Since I often switch bindings from one ski to another (they clip on and off with the flip of a lever), sometimes I can't remember which position I prefer for a given ski. But I can tell in the first turn or two if I've mounted it wrong, and a quick fix brings the skis back to the way I like them. (Yes, I know, I could put a mark on the ski and eliminate the problem. But that would be too easy....)

Anyway, no telling if binding mount location is the problem on your Elans or not. It seems unlikely, actually, but if the bindings are in the wrong place it will make it awkward for you to stand easily in "neutral" over the sweet spot. It will require effort, whether you're aware of it or not.

For that matter, it could also simply be different bindings themselves, if they involve different "delta angles" (the difference in height between the toe and heel platforms, which affects the fore-aft tilt of your boots and, therefore, lower legs). If the delta angle is not optimal for you on the Elans, it will again require you to move somewhat less naturally to maintain fore-aft balance and to control fore-aft pressure.

Still, it seems more likely that you're just experiencing a difference between the ski designs themselves. Some skis do feel like they have a huge sweet spot, with a lot of communication that tells you when you're "in" or "out," and even a tendency to feel like they want to pull you back to "center" naturally. Others don't.

From your description of the symptoms, though ("hooky, squirrely..."), it still sounds more like a tune issue on the Elans--like they may be concave or railed, or have too little base edge bevel. I'm sure you trust your hand tunes, and your "Montana" shop for the flat grind. But have you actually put a flat bar on them to confirm? (For what it's worth, there are very few shops that I trust--and none that I would trust enough not to check their work with a flat bar....)

Of course, you could just ski on the Fischers!

Best regards,
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 



Thanks for your follow up.


Well,  The Elans were picked up to replace the aging RC4's , so there is some rational thinking in wanting to understand the difference.


My own preference is for a ski with "stiff" edges.  (Eastern conditions prevail)  Stiff being sharp tip to tail and when you are on 'em,  they are there.  "Hooky" in the sense of turning to a degree not wanted is just not part of any problem for me.


Regarding the "true edge" testing,  I keep a fully equipped machine shop for my own purposes,  grabing a 1/2" Square by 6 inch long lathe tool blank that is ground all over is my usual last look when giving the skis the weekly sharpen and wax.  I've seen no troubles after the Montana base grind, and the Elans have not gone hollow ...yet. 


Under foot,  both skis display "road rash" from skiing across the hard stuff (rocks to those less experienced with eastern skiing)  Hey,  I patrol, I need to go where I'm sent,  and that often includes "thin cover"  ;-) .  In fairness,  both skis show a similar "patina of use".


All in all,  I don't think it is the "Tune".  As mentioned,  both skis are fun and turn with authority.  The Fischers are just esier to stand on.


The binders are completely different.  The Fischers with Look/Rossi, and the Elans with whatever those boat anchors are.  (easy to get in and out of though,  and never a prerelease, and I ski soft settings 7-8).  I'll have a check over those ramp angles and stance.  I used to do a pencil test,  standing in boots and skis with a pivot point under foot just to see how I stacked over the equipment.  But I have not done that for years.  Might need to pull out the kit.


  I try to ski with the least amount of un needed or extra muscle tension. (clinched jaws or puckered ##&$&$, never seem to help much)  I'll run a little inventory of the needed efforts and see if I can discover something amiss.  Seems like the place to look.





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