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Is a lighter ski too much of a downhill performance trade-off

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Dedicated AT skis are lighter than their resort equivalents.  Most often, that is so because of the lack of metal in the ski's structure.  I understand that everything is a trade-off, but what is the ideal balance between weight and performance?  At what point does the weight gain become too much of a compromise, in terms of downhill performance?  I can understand saving weight by going to Tech bindings, because with frame AT bindings one lifts the weight with every step..  But what about skis?  Is light weight that important?


Edited by Pacobillie - 10/16/13 at 7:39am
post #2 of 15

This is a question that may kick up a lot of dust...I've heard about people said every extra once on the ski is beneficial for them bombing down the hill because of the extra stability. I've also heard people said unless a pair of ski is too heavy or too light, they normally would not be able to tell the difference, and weight does not affect the ski's performance as much as the design (profile, construction, materials, etc). IMO it is purely personal experience. I like a pair of lightweight ski since they are easier on the legs and knees (I have Vwerks RTM, they are almost the lightest skis in its category) and I cannot say a pair of much heavier skis can give me much more confidence in term of stability at the speed I like to travel. But hey, someone can just barge in and tell me I'm absolutely wrong. So, again, it is purely personal. The "ideal" should be unique to oneself, not a general standard.

 

What I normally do is to demo skis until I find several pairs with characteristics that I like. Then I'll pick the lightest one lol (or the one with the best looking top sheet)~

 

BTW there are also some skis in the market that are light and stiff (Vwerks Katana), and also ones that are relatively heavy but soft. It really depends the design more than anything else. 

post #3 of 15

Lighter weight means less to drag up hill. Earier to swing a kick turn. Less weigh when back packing. If you are stuffed from carrying heavy gear along the downhill will be less enjoyable irrespective of what weight ski you enjoy for the down...

post #4 of 15

People have been saying for a while now that heavy boots, heavy bindings and heavy skis all add to  your stability in less than perfect snow.

 

I have skied on some heavy gear in the past.  An now ski on some of the lightest boots/skis and bindings available in the BC and off lifts inside the area.

 

I find that "heavy stuff works",  nonsense.


Edited by Dane - 10/17/13 at 7:41pm
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

BTW, the reason that I am asking is that I have been looking for a dedicated AT ski to go with a pair of recently acquired tech bindings.  Most, if not all of the AT skis that I have looked at thus far seem to have so-so reviews from a downhill standpoint.

 

There also seems to be a lot of people who put tech bindings on regular alpine skis.

post #6 of 15
There are three important pieces of information you should contemplate:
- how long and far you plan to tour
- you generally spend 90% of your time going up when touring
- how much you like carrying heavy stuff uphill
post #7 of 15

I don't hike much. But I want the lightest ski, binding and boot for any skiing I will do. A lighter ski will turn faster, tire you out less and let you feel more of the snow. Maybe if all you like to do is straightline down a hill a heavy ski is an advantage but I like to turn down a hill.

Would you rather drive a semi or a racecar? On a backroad there is no debate.

Light skis rock!

Eric

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacobillie View Post
 

 Most, if not all of the AT skis that I have looked at thus far seem to have so-so reviews from a downhill standpoint.

 

 

Check out the reviews at Wildsnow.  A few decent skis reviewed at Cold Thistle as well.  But they will be back country specific reviews which will generally mean soft snow unless it is intentionally made to be a summer/spring ski for hard snow conditions..

 

I've not skied on  a lot of BC specific skis.  Only a dozen or so from La Sportiva, Dynafiit and Black Diamond   From full on skinny to full on fat all skied pretty well IMO.  Some ski exceptionally well imo.  Some  are lighter than most anything else available.   DPS and Praxis being two exceptions I have found to be similar enough in weight to use in the same places as dedicated BC skis.  Get the right boots and binding and most any ski will do within reason.


Edited by Dane - 10/16/13 at 8:21am
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacobillie View Post
I understand that everything is a trade-off, but what is the ideal balance between weight and performance?  At what point does the weight gain become too much of a compromise, in terms of downhill performance?

 

That's up to each individual to determine for their style of skiing, snow and terrain.  

post #10 of 15

These days you can get some impressive yet lightweight boots & bindings, which allows you to go with something more substantial than skinny weight-weenie touring skis.  Sure, you might not be traveling as light as you could be, but you can be "pretty light" at an amazing level of performance.  You just have to decide where that balance is for you.

 

Kind like getting a diet coke with your Double Whopper.  Or a milkshake with your salad.  Put the calories where you'll enjoy them the most.

post #11 of 15

Spent a couple of hrs lapping some decent terrain today with full on rando race gear.  Hard Spring like conditions and was impressed what a 4lb 2oz per foot combo of boots, skis and bindings was capable of.

post #12 of 15

Now we just need a smooth/damp 100-110mm waist ski @ 180-190cm which is less than 4lbs/2kgs a foot with dynafiddle bindings and a stiff 2 buckle very comfortable on the up ski boot...... (* includes skins or better still a pattern base than doesn't effect downhill perfomance)......

post #13 of 15

A number of stiff two buckle super light weigh boots available if you can stomach the price.   Scarpa, La Sportiva or Dynafit all offer boots that will push a 100mm ski easy enough.

 

With Speed Superlight bindings mounted the 177cm Huascaran is 4# 6oz  @ 113mm under foor

Same bindings on a 182cm Praxis GPO is 4# 14oz @ 115mm uder foot

177 DPS 99 is 3# 3.5 oz.  without bindigs.  Easy ski to get under 4# with bindingswith normal Dynafit Speeds @ 13oz per foot

 

Speed Super Lt is 6.7oz per foot

Low Tech Race is 4.4oz per foot

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

To close the loop on this topic, I ended up ordering a pair of NOS Dynastar Altitrail Mythic Light on eBay (same ski as current Dynastar Alti Cham 89).  1520 grams per ski!  Not the lightest, but quite light.  I will be mounting a pair of G3 Onyx bindings, with Garmont Shogun boots.  Should be a decent touring combo!

post #15 of 15

Excellent, now wait for snow and enjoy.

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