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Are longer versions of a ski made differently than shorter versions?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

It is said often that longer versions of a ski will be stiffer than shorter versions.  I've always wondered about that.  It just doesn't sound right.

 

If I take two lengths of wood, one long and one short, prop these them both upright on the floor, hold the tops steady with one hand, and try to bend them by pressing on the middle with the other hand, the longer one of each pair will bend more easily.  This works for lengths of pencil rod steel or flat sheet metal too.  It's leverage that makes the longer one easier to bend.  

 

So why aren't longer skis more easy to bend, since there's more leverage?

 

Do ski manufacturers make the components of longer versions of a ski thicker, or different in some other way, in order to assure that the increased leverage does not make them easier to bend?  

post #2 of 14
I have seen a few cases where the SHORTER lengths were actually significantly stiffer than the longer ones. The milling of the wood and other materials can be manipulated fairly simply (I would usually say "easy" but getting it right isn't always easy) but getting the end sizes on the small and big end sometimes fall off target because they do not always get prototypes built and tested. Over the past few years, there have been a few skis that were "disproportionate" in either flex or design compared to their reference size. Not only in flex do we see a problem but in system bindings, most of the systems out there are designed to accommodate both a 260mm and 360mm and is being used on skis from 145cm to 185cm skis, another area that the flex can get hindered.
post #3 of 14

My Elan M777s are 87mm at the waist in the 192cm length.  Shorter lengths of the exact same model are 77mm underfoot.  I've not heard of this with any other make or model though where longer and shorter lengths of the same model have different widths. 

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

My Elan M777s are 87mm at the waist in the 192cm length.  Shorter lengths of the exact same model are 77mm underfoot.  I've not heard of this with any other make or model though where longer and shorter lengths of the same model have different widths. 

Not uncommon but not as common as it could be. Look at my review of The Ski, all for sizes are different widths. My winner in Steals & Deals, the Salomon Quest 98 is a progressive sizes ski with the lengths getting wider as the ski gets bigger, the same with another one of my winners, the Head Rally, the reference size is 76mm in the 170cm but the 177cm is 77mm. Nordica is also doing it with the El Capo/ Vagabond/Wildfire triplets. IMHO, the make the ski better for more people is to make the sizes proportionate.
post #5 of 14

You are absolutely correct. Mechanically, the longer ski will take less force to displace - if all other things are equal. But can all things really be equal? The different length skis are completely different designs. Placement of camber, sidecut, materials and weight will change with changes in length. A designer considers this as well as who will choose different lengths and adjusts the ski accordingly.

 

If the longer ski usually feels stiffer, that is reasonable as it is probably aimed at a larger skier. A bit more material, maybe a different core and possibly just more edge available to carve with can give this difference in feel to you as the same size skier trying both.

 

Designers of snow skis do a great job carrying a "feel" through different sizes. I know waterski characteristics change drastically with length - sometimes counterintuitively. 

 

Demo with an open mind regarding size and choose what you like best.

 

Eric

post #6 of 14

LF,

You ask some of the best questions!

 

I've pondered this myself.  I reasoned it out that the shorter ski in many cases have a shorter TR and feels easier to turn so people think they are softer.  It is easier to carve a turn on an 155 SL race stock than a 190 (insert some all mountain ski) that has something like a 19 or 20 TR, but the SL race stock is probably stiffer.  Especially with a race plate.

 

I also think that for most folks, the longer ski is more stable and it is percieve as stiffer (i.e. how it handles crud).  I think this has more to do with more running surface contacting the snow.  Longer is more stable but may or might not be stiffer.  It will feel smoother.  Add that to the larger TR and it may very well be percieved as "stiffer".

 

Another thing to consider is the design (as mentioned). 8' 2x4s bend when pressed as you described above on the wider side.  Rotate the 2x4 90* and it is very difficult to bend it.

 

Keep in mind also the some skis are designed to be softer flexing along the length but stiffer laterally.  From size to size, that design wouldn't change much.  I think this is why Elan uses waveflex.

 

Geometry of the ski will also cause a feeling of stiffness.  Two similar skis with different a different Turn Radius will feel different and the larger TR will feel stiffer.

 

At least that's how my head sorts it out.

 

Ken

post #7 of 14

Something I have seen occasionally over the years is that the longest ski of a particular model is much stiffer than the rest, which I believe is because that is what is used by the company's sponsored skiers for going big in various forms.  A example is the old Rossi XXX, which was an extremely popular powder ski, but the 195 cm length was a different beast that would not function until you got it up to at least 30 mph, although it was branded just like the rest of the XXX line.

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
 

Something I have seen occasionally over the years is that the longest ski of a particular model is much stiffer than the rest, which I believe is because that is what is used by the company's sponsored skiers for going big in various forms.  A example is the old Rossi XXX, which was an extremely popular powder ski, but the 195 cm length was a different beast that would not function until you got it up to at least 30 mph, although it was branded just like the rest of the XXX line.

 

IRossi & Dynastar are known for this. I have some Girish Comps come up, a big boy version of the Girish from two seasons ago. 

post #9 of 14

yes for sure and although some of the manufacturers won't say it in their marketing, they do. Some of the indies especially,  

post #10 of 14

Here ya go: http://epicski.onthesnow.com/t/111837/kastle-mx83-holy-cow

 

Same actors, marginally different play.

post #11 of 14

IIRC, Every length of 4frnt EHP was a completely different ski.

post #12 of 14

nordi patron or unleashed hell are often reviewed as being stiffer in the 193

post #13 of 14

Salomon, ON3P and 4FRNT have varying dimensions based on length for most of their models as well.  It makes sense to me, I'm kind of surprised everyone doesn't do this... but I'm not a ski designer so what do I know?

 

One thing I will add is, there can be notable differences between a ski's actual flex and its perceived flex at different sizes.

post #14 of 14

Dynafit as well.  Expensive way to build skis.  And it does indeed make a difference.   Starkly so on a Huascaran between a 177 and a 196.

 

Length: 167    177   186   196
Weight (g): 1690 (167)   1780 (177)   1850 (186)   1940 (196)
Sidecut: 133-110-122   134-112-123   135-114-124   136-115-125

 

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