Originally Posted by Atomicman
Ray, with all due respect, you have raced and trained a hell of a lot more than the vast majority of folks on Epic and you are very good at it!
Us mere mortals who have not spent that amount of time in the gates need all the help we can get!
A'Man, appreciate the compliments but you may be over-rating me a bit.! I will admit to being a reasonably competent racer (in GS at least, my slalom sucks this year) but a long way from a high level.
HOWEVER! While i can not claim to have 40+ years racing and coaching experience I do bring a perspective that is in some ways much more worthwhile for those here who want to take up racing somewhat later in life. As one who only started racing Masters at 50, I have been through the cycle of what to try, buy, how to start, how to improve etc and what works and what doesn't. Not too different in some ways from a lot of the posters on Epic who want to go racing. And yes I have made lots of mistakes along the way as well. However i am also now a regular podium finisher in one of the toughest masters classes (55-59) and a basic L100 coach. And as you know, I also have some strong views, based on experience, so here goes my diatribe, based on some of the post seen here. Feel free to get upset or otherwise!
Originally Posted by markojp
No bone with anything here, but believe me, as others have said, skiing on a slalom ski and working the turns is, well, work. Great stuff, but there really isn't a 'park and ride' mode with an SL ski. You will get tired if you're doing it right until you've been 'conditioned' to the ski. Kind of like the first time playing squash or racket ball even if you're already fit from another sport.
And don't mistake a Kendo for how ANY race ski feels. Not the same deal.
Originally Posted by CaptainKirk
+1 on this. I absolutely loath skiing my 165 SL skis outside a SL course. To ski them right, at high edge angles, with the right radius turn, is a lot of work! Sure, you can make sloppy GS turns on them. That is until they hook up, send what is left of my knees one way, and my body the other way toward the trees. Besides, ripping down the trail at 50 mph, arcing GS turns on GS skis is a heck of a lot more fun. As crazy as it sounds, I actually like free skiing on my old 201 SL skis way more than on the shorty ones. To this day, the old SL are awesome skis for Spring bumps. The new ones are horrible in bumps.
Absolutely! This is the point I was trying to make earlier. Sorry Levy1, there simply is no ski you can buy that will let you do what you apparently want i.e. effortlessly ski slalom with the ski doing all the work. A slalom ski needs to be driven and you need to always be on top of it. And yes, you will know you have been working. if you are not prepared for that, forget about trying to ski slalom. Harsh?, yes, but true. I will disagree with the Captain on GS turns on them, you can still make fast GS turns but you really need to stay awake and remember you only have 165cm under you. And i have no desire to take my old 203 slaloms out in preference to a 165 slalom, especially not in bumps! (and come on Captain, if you were a serious racer before, your slaloms were 203-205! )
Originally Posted by CaptainKirk
I skied on everything mentioned except the Kastle in the past year or so. The 23M Rossi GS Master I skied is really not a true cheater, but closer to their FIS skis in feel. Of the true cheaters, I liked the Atomic the best, but would never buy it because I was close to 2 seconds slower in a 30 second league course on it. The Head, Fischer, Blizzard, Stockli, and Volkl cheaters all sucked as race skis. They were all too slow, too turny, and no pop during the turn. The Fischer and Volkl were the worst. Actually, the Volkl was the worst because not only did it suck as a race ski, but it also had sucky Marker bindings on it. Plus, it completely delaminated at the tip on my second run through the gates on it. When I brought what was left of it to the shop, they weren't surprised and remarked "Oh great, another one blew apart".
I don't know of a single, truly fast racer in my league or in Masters that races on a cheater GS. Even in NASTAR, you will never see A.J. Kitt on a cheater. He does the regional time trials / championships on skis that are almost 30M, and he beats almost everyone, except a few guys half his age - who are also on 30M skis.
That's my 2 cents, and I'm sticking to it (and actual race stock skis too)
Yup!, don't waste your time with a cheater. If you are serious about running gates (as opposed to just wanting to do Nastar once a year) get the real ski. It will develop your skills much more effectively and force you into better lines and cleaner turns. It will also be quicker and save you from double turning between gates. And will be cheaper!. Buy the proper tool up front rather than have to buy several. And don't get hung up on radius. Just because a cheater says it is 18-19m, does not mean it turns easier in gates than an (older) 23m women's FIS ski.
Originally Posted by CaptainKirk
Pretty hard to jusddge a ski's performance by 1 skier in one run.........isn't it?
Who said I only did one run on these skis? I spend a considerable amount of time on them, over several weeks, with the intent of league racing on them. Everyone knows that a FIS 27+ M ski can be a lot of work in a league course. My thought process was "why make league racing harder than it has to be, save it for the weekend at Masters". Making it easier is one thing, costing your team major points is another. The FIS GS skis are more work, but like anything else in life, what you put in often determines what you get out of it. For me, the FIS skis are faster and generate more points.
The Head and Fisher Cheater were some of the stiffest ski I have ever skied on.
That may be the problem, stiffer is not always better, especially when it is stiff in all the wrong places. All the cheaters had a similar issue: a really goofy flex pattern, along with too much sidecut.
Volkl's are known , race stock too, for blowing up!
No question about that!
Yeah, so AJ Kitt doesn't ski on a Cheater Gs so no one else should???
Never said that. People can ski and/or race on anything they like. I was just giving my experiences and observations.
The best thing for any skier to do is to try everything: FIS Adult, FIS Jr. Race Stock, Cheaters, etc, and see what works best for them.
Several good thoughts here. However, something that is not really touched upon is that while it is good to try the different options, to understand how they will work in the course, you need to try them in the course!!! free skiing on them is only a first part of the consideration and can often give a false impression
Originally Posted by qcanoe
So, I know this discussion is kind of generalized. But since the last poster asking a directed question was @MephitBlue, I'd like to respond with that post specifically in mind, in a contrarian way, channeling @beyond's habitual M.O. Mephit has gotten feedback about which GS skis might be good candidates. I say "none of them."
I had the pleasure of skiing with MephitBlue here and there at the Utah gathering, so I have the advantage of having seen him ski. After he posted above, we had a little phone conversation, in which I probably did too much talking and not enough listening. In any case, I hope and believe it will be okay with him if I say that as a Bronze / Silver racer he faces similar challenges to those faced by many, many recreational racers, including many of my own teammates and our opponents in the beer league. Presumably many of the people reading this thread also fall into that category, whether or not they want to admit it to themselves or anyone else.
Specifically, for MB and his ilk, improving race results is not yet primarily (or even secondarily) about tactics. It's not about how you come out of the start. It's not about your tuck. It's not about your wax (although it may partly be about your edges). It's not about your skis. It's not even about how you see the course and adjust your line (or not) accordingly. No. It's about the fact that these folks generally are not yet at the place where they can make clean arc-to-arc turns on hard snow, with varying radii and timing, on demand. They haven't learned to do this when freeskiing, let alone in the course. If you can't execute on your imagined line, it matters not a whit that you may have seen it perfectly in your mind's eye. For a recreational racer at this level, getting to a place where you can tap this solid hard-snow carving overwhelms all of the other factors when it comes to moving up the leaderboard.
If you accept this analysis of the situation, then in my view it stands to reason that the last thing MB needs is a pair of GS skis. No, not even cheaters. What he needs is a pair of skis that will help put him on the fast track to solid, internalized carving skills. And that, my friends, means a short-radius carving ski. Something like a Head Supershape Magnum. Putting him on even a 17m ski (let alone a 23m one) is not going to help him work up the confidence to let the ski arc into the fall line and wait for it to come back out again. It requires too much patience and speed tolerance and elbow room for a learner. After a year or two of practicing (with coaching) and racing on these skis, he will "get it"; he will know how a clean carved turn really feels, how to tighten up the radius when needed, and - most of all - how to trust that those edges will hold even on rock-hard snow. Once that point is reached, THEN it makes sense to go to a GS ski of one flavor or another. My two cents. Now flame away.
QC, some decent analysis here, and will be loved from a PSIA approach, but also (IMHO!) only applicable if someone wants to do a long slow progression into gates. In my experience most of the (ahem!) more mature, newbies who want to race masters etc, want to get into gates and races as soon as possible! I am not taking account here of those who just want to race gates sometimes as part of their skills development and are prepared to spend years developing the perfect turn before they get into a race course. I had a similar debate with the trainer when i did my L100. While the USSA skills quest is a great approach for developing junior racers, for adults who don't have that time-scale in front of them we need to consider how we can take short cuts that will help them achieve their goals. I find most masters wannabees want to bash plastic rather than spend endless time on drills. I am not going to argue about the merits of drills, just considering the realities that will attract and retain more masters racers. Getting them into gates as early as possible helps! And yes, try to incorporate some of the drill principles into it as well but let them experience racing.
If someone is prepared to spend a lot of time developing the perfect carved turn (which will not necessarily be fastest in a course!) then I would recommend getting a FIS slalom ski for this. that will force you to really work at it and give you the confidence in laying the ski way over with decent angles. it will also quickly highlight other issues. But don't waste time and money trying to do that on some 15m all mountain tyoe ski. Ata least with the slalom ski you can use it later for racing
Originally Posted by MephitBlue
I really appreciated the time Tony (qcanoe) took to talk to me on a path forward equipment wise given where my skills are at. I'm sure there will be others around the same skill level as me that read this thread looking for advice.
The skis I was using this season had a 15mm radius and I'd just stick with them if binding and power plate didn't need to be replaced, since the sound close to the type of ski Tony described. However, I expect the cost of replacing the bindings will be close to the cost of a good used pair of carving skis like he described. I enjoy running gates, but my main goal is to continue improving my skiing overall and I want to get what will help me the most in that area.
As I suggested earlier, it depends on what your goals are. Doiyou see racing as just a part of your overall development or do you want to become a faster racer??? Either way, consider the slalom ski approach above!
Originally Posted by jzamp
The new specs 30m skis are VERY good... Granted you need a course that's an actual GS but...
I have a feeling @ScotsSkier
will race on then next season...
I have a feeling you may be right..... More to follow on the 30m skis
Originally Posted by CaptainKirk
How was nationals? I couldn't make it this year, our kids still had a few more races left that I had to attend (the problem with coaching and trying to do your own racing at the same time!)
What 30M are you using? I have only tried the Dynastar, which is the same ski as the Rossi 30M. I am interested in hearing about how the other brands ski. I'm thinking about ditching the 27M skis I have and going with a 30 next season. The 30/188 I tried was simply a much better ski than my 2 older 27s (1 Rossi, 1 Atomic)
more to come on this
Last review on the 175/23.5M Atomic I borrowed for the week: Still sticking to my opinion that even though this is a FIS junior ski, it is definitely ski-able for adults. What a fun ski, much more relaxed than an adult FIS GS. It does have a top end on pure ice, and did get thrown around more in some chopped up fresh snow on Saturday than my 27M skis. But actually in a fun way. Very light and lively, just point and shoot and laugh. The 27M was more stable, but more work, and not as fun to free ski on. I might take Pat's advice. If I can find one cheap at a ski swap next fall, I may just buy one as a fun ski with race construction to use when I don't want (or need) to take the big guns out. Plus, if I trash it, no big money lost like on the adult FIS skis.
Nationals was good to watch! i was on timing and course slipping so got some great close up views. Red Dog is one tough hill! The GS was full length top to bottom. And you could see most racers visibly tiring on the last pitch. I noticed also racers having to stand on the inside ski a lot more often to get round on the 35m skis.
In the slalom, these guys are simply different class, to charge a 10-11m set on a steep pitch that most people could hardly stand on takes real ability! (and also the DNF rate was about 50%!)
And on junior skis I will strongly differ. the 175 skis are built for juniors in the 100-130# range approximately. They are built to allow these guys to be able to bend them and stand up to that. Unless basic physics has changed, force is directly proportional to mass. So once you stick a 175# skier on them you start putting a whole different loading on them than they were designed for. Of course they will feel easy to use then. Heck if an adult can't bend them easily into a turn then lets simply forget about running gates. BUT, they are not going to stand up physically to a lot of use outwith the design range. Sure if you can pick up a pair really cheap and consider them disposable then go ahead. But they also are going to reflect a lot of the issues of cheaters of giving false confidence while not really doing the job. And if you buy a new pair, good luck in getting them warrantied when you bend them!!
And finally, end of diatribe, the perennial question of what is faster in a beer league type course. Yesterday we ran dual slalom, 12 gate/20m set. I made the first 2 runs on my dynastar 165 WC slaloms. Felt good, right on the gates, panel hunting all the way. Then did the next 2 runs on my Blizzard WC GS, 182/25. Waay faster! Able to really get drive and acceleration out of the ski, didn't need to beat my body up on the panels either. I will admit, it surprised me a bit as well. On my runs on the GS skis, I raced one of my Masters buddies (20 years younger, normally a top 10 O/A finisher and who normally gets me by about a second in a full GS.) He had brought out of retirement his atomic cheater d2 GS, 174 (which he bought when he originally started racing 3 years ago and quickly discarded when he found their limitations) which i would have thought would have been perfect for the set. However what we both noticed was that while he got out of the start quicker, in both races I was able to simply get more acceleration out of the proper race ski and caught him in both runs. So, case closed on the cheaters for me. If they don't work in this set what is the point??!
More to come on the 188/30s
Edited by ScotsSkier - 3/24/14 at 1:25pm