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Ski Radius and skills progression

Poll Results: What's your radius of choice?

 
  • 0% (0)
    <=12m
  • 59% (22)
    12-18m
  • 35% (13)
    18-24m
  • 5% (2)
    24-30m
  • 0% (0)
    30-35m
  • 0% (0)
    36m+ I'm too impatient to get to the bottom of the hill to turn.
37 Total Votes  
post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I've been skiing for about 32 years, I took a break from skiing almost 20 years ago to start snowboarding and switched back again to skiing as ski design improved.  Like many of you (I assume), the appeal to own a pair of short WC style slalom skis was irresistible, allowing the skier to turn with little to no effort.  I've been skiing on <15m skis daily ever since. (I do own a few pairs, WC SL, GS (>=27m) and a pair of Mantra's for trips)

 

However, over the last few years I've felt a strong desire to work harder on my skills progression so that I can eventually attain my level 4.  This year in particular I've been working hard on my body position and posture and I've found through demo days and some longer skis that the short radius skis available these days seem to inhibit a skiers ability to learn correct form and just let the ski do the work instead.

 

Most notably, consider the requirement to exaggerate angulation while demonstrating intermediate parallel.  If you've skied modern SL's, they have a tendency to want to hook up at the higher edge angles generated through angulation, especially at lower speeds.  In order to increase slip, it's necessary to reduce edge angle and angulation, which of course doesn't demonstrate very well.

 

We've had quite a bit of thaw and freeze cycles at my local hill this winter, so I pulled out my old WC GS skis for free skiing last weekend and I've since decided that a longer ski (27m is still tooo long for me as a daily driver :) allows me (forces me) to angulate more to increase edge angle and bring my turning radius down to closer to what I expect in my daily grind.

 

Fishing around, I've found quite a few level 4s that skis on Masters GS skis as their ski of choice, and I've decided to make that change myself, aiming for +-20m skis.  As an eastern skier, we don't recognize those long floppy things westerners use as skis.

 

What have your experiences been over the last 10-15 years as our technology has changed?

post #2 of 26

The current tech has thrown proper form out the window............. after all what is proper form when skiing backwards?!?!?! LOL............. Most of us on here can easily carve a "Proper" turn. Now we've gone abstract like Picasso............. early in his career, he could draw anything and make it true to form......... he later went abstract and threw "Form" out the window............. We now do this on skis.......... we now lean back or lean fwd or sideways, or one ski  or two skis,  or shift our weight wherever the mood and snow take you............... we paint our own pictures now based on innumerable factors.......... even the canvas (snow) varies so the picture is never the same............. :)........... some are even into pole placement art-form........... go figure LOL............

post #3 of 26

I hear ya'!

 

I am just starting the process of converting from my 30 year old Kastle RX to a newer set of Kastle RX's -- the different between them is quite literally black and white -- the old one's are black, 195cm with all of the stiffness and side cut of a 2x4.   And the new ones are white 168cm with dramatic side cut (Both skis are both about the same width at the waist).

 

The old ones demanded not only proper technique -- but speed.  Either you turned them the way they wanted to be turned -- or they didn't bother turning!  But at slow speeds they just didn't want to turn no matter what I did!

 

I have not yet tried the new ones (I just got them last night and they are in the shop right now having the bindings set and checked).  But I have tried some of the newer, higher end skis and the difference was incredible!  They actually not only made turning almost effortless, they made me look good!  Actually, I found that they did turn better when I used good technique -- but they turned pretty well no matter what I did.

 

But, I wonder if I am going to miss those fast, long turns on the 30 year old 2x4's?

post #4 of 26

15-18m radius.

post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

15-18m radius.


What markojp said. But not too stiff unless you are a big guy. For me, a race ski - even a cheater - is not a good all purpose choice, because it's too hard to bend at low speed, and too jarring in bumps.

The 12-18m choice in the poll makes little sense. It should be <= 14 and then 15 - 18, imho.
post #6 of 26

^^^^^This.  Back in the days of spinal flexibility I tended towards 20-30R, but carving wasn't part of the equation (not saying you can't carve at that radius, I just never bothered). Nowadays that 16-18R is darn near perfect - the better quality 16s are amazingly stable at straight speed, and the 18s are not quick turn averse.

post #7 of 26

About half a dozen years ago or so I finally made the switch from my antique Kästle RX National Team Super G skis to a modern SL sidecut ski (Fischer WC SC), one step below the FIS racing WC SL ski.   I hardly ever get to a big enough hill to let the SGs run for more than a couple of good high speed turns.  My local hill allows a couple of good GS turns on GS skis on the bottom half, and if on SL skis and I make good clean SL turns on the top half, I'm going too fast to hold a cleanly carved SL radius turn at the bottom, and while my SL radius skis will make GS turns they are not as clean as the same turn on the GS skis.

 

The modern skis allow me to ski at normal speeds using the same technique I used to use at high speeds, and I don't have to resort to "tricks" to make turns at low speeds.

 

I find that while it is easy to let the SL radius ski do the work and not improve, improvement is within reach if you push for tighter harder faster and cleaner turns. 

 

My choice of radius would be 13 m for small hills of 250 vertical feet or less, 23 m for hills of 500 vertical feet, and of course my old antique SGs for really big hills, but only if crowds are thin enough to speed.

 

As far as making those slipped turns, I can't help you; I pretty much suck at making those semi-sideways speed killing turns because I haven't practiced them enough.

post #8 of 26

My favorite ski a GS FIS 23m ski.  I also have a SL ski.

 

I think both are required to develop an advanced the skill set:  The SL ski helps develop understanding of the turn and turn initiation.  The GS perfects it with strength and timing because of the ski stiffness.

 

As mention above I love my GS ski and ski it most times, but ever now and then I ski the SL at slower speed and it lets me focus on the turns of which it can do a lot of in a short run.

 

BTW a 27m GS would have been nice too, but no deal was available when I got the 23m ski (no complaints though).

post #9 of 26

Ghost, that has been my experience as well:   I have loved my antique Kastle RX Combi's, but the turns they make are simply too long for the hills around here --- especially in crowded conditions.

 

But, on a long, empty hill where I can let them go and let them do their the things that they do so very well...   They are sweet music...

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldschoolskier View Post

My favorite ski a GS FIS 23m ski.  I also have a SL ski.

I think both are required to develop an advanced the skill set: 

I'd say that time on the hill in many different conditions at many different speeds with a variety of tactical situations are more critical to developing an advanced skill set than a pair of any type of race specific skis, cheater or otherwise. smile.gif
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post


I'd say that time on the hill in many different conditions at many different speeds with a variety of tactical situations are more critical to developing an advanced skill set than a pair of any type of race specific skis, cheater or otherwise. smile.gif

Agreed, I was responding to Proulx's original comments.

post #12 of 26

One beef I have with many skis is that they are GREAT at their intended radius, push them into smaller or larger radii they are not so happy.

 

I love a ski that can turn on a dime and make those 30-some meter arcs, all presumably in a non-railed style.

 

It seems any skier with a modicum of skill can have their boards turn their radius just fine, but then when the situation calls for a different shape, they panic.  Varying turn shape even in the same turn is a premium at least to me.  I was dangerous in my "carve rails or it's just a skid" days.

post #13 of 26

I guess if one really wanted to learn how to ski properly one should learn how to carve an old pair of straight skis--if you can carve a turn with those you can carve a turn on anything. On a related note, I'm having a hard time learning double clutching on my CVT-equipped Subaru. (I realize most of you have no idea what I'm talking about.)

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

I guess if one really wanted to learn how to ski properly one should learn how to carve an old pair of straight skis--if you can carve a turn with those you can carve a turn on anything. On a related note, I'm having a hard time learning double clutching on my CVT-equipped Subaru. (I realize most of you have no idea what I'm talking about.)

CVT....think skidoo transmission.

 

:rotflmao:

post #15 of 26

OP: Welcome to Epic. Think you'll find that radius increases with width, more or less, so in a way your poll is asking what our favorite width skis are. 

 

Oldgoat: I've done plenty of double clutching, either showing off in old sports cars or driving ancient Land Rovers in the 3rd world (think "The Gods Must Be Crazy" vintage), but don't know what CVT stands for (Continuously Variable Transmission? Can't Vrooom Transmission?) or why an auto would require a clutch. In any case, thank god for synchro...and modern skis.

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttinski View Post
 

One beef I have with many skis is that they are GREAT at their intended radius, push them into smaller or larger radii they are not so happy.

 

 

I don't think it's much different now than in the past, just more variety - what's changed is the improvement in other technical aspects like torsional stiffness and dampness, such that depending on the mix you can find a ski that matches exactly what you want (although sometimes the ski forest gets a little thick).  There actually are skis that allow you to change your turn radius without sacrificing performance.

post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttinski View Post
 

One beef I have with many skis is that they are GREAT at their intended radius, push them into smaller or larger radii they are not so happy.

 

IMO a lot of this is a result of modern rocker designs. To keep a shorter running length stabile on groomers or at speed, designers have had to stiffen up things. So the early rise makes entering the turn as easy or easier, but then it's park n' ride time rather than bend into a smaller radius.

 

Less clear what you mean by pushing into a larger radius. To accomplish that, you'll have to set a low edge angle and let the tip and tail slip a little as you, again, ride the radius. This is SOP for making SG turns on a 14 m ski. Not desirable mechanics, but everyone does it. 

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
 

IMO a lot of this is a result of modern rocker designs. To keep a shorter running length stabile on groomers or at speed, designers have had to stiffen up things. So the early rise makes entering the turn as easy or easier, but then it's park n' ride time rather than bend into a smaller radius.

 

Less clear what you mean by pushing into a larger radius. To accomplish that, you'll have to set a low edge angle and let the tip and tail slip a little as you, again, ride the radius. This is SOP for making SG turns on a 14 m ski. Not desirable mechanics, but everyone does it. 

I'd like to ski the east sometime, all my friends tell me that I won't like it, but when everyone here complains about hard or icy conditions I do not know what they are talking about.

:dunno I love packed powder, hard and chalky sounds dreamy to me.  

 

 

It is the lack of desire to force an unwanted radius upon one's skis that I observe.  I'm lazy so I can't call it laziness, maybe mentally lazy but It is a ritual riding a chair with some folks, first at the chair, you unbuckle your boots, then you load the chair and everyone wants to know, "where is it soft", then the reports of "ice", then what run to ski next, all along riding worn out Bandits or Xscreams with the extra chili, making the exact same turn all the way back to the chair, well that or pointing-em.  

 

 

If it ain't broke don't fix it and I'm glad everyone loves skiing enough to keep the resort in business.  But then I think of my friends who wiped out and broke a vertebra and ribs because their turn failed them on a steep hardpacked exit.  :(

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Lutes View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttinski View Post
 

One beef I have with many skis is that they are GREAT at their intended radius, push them into smaller or larger radii they are not so happy.

 

 

I don't think it's much different now than in the past, just more variety - what's changed is the improvement in other technical aspects like torsional stiffness and dampness, such that depending on the mix you can find a ski that matches exactly what you want (although sometimes the ski forest gets a little thick).  There actually are skis that allow you to change your turn radius without sacrificing performance.


I think SL skis have changed quite a bit, and are very different than in the past.  In the past you had to really get on the forebody of the ski, and dynamically so at my weight to get it to bend into a SL radius curve; you also had to start bending it first, either just before tipping it or while tipping it and you had to have a very big edge angle for it to work.  Lot's of folk smeared gs turns on their SL skis, but good SL turns were damn hard to make.  The 13 m and less side cut radius skis make carving a clean short radius turn much easier.

 

Damping has certainly improved.  There is now way you would get any acceptable directional control performance out of a good SL ski at SG speeds back then, but you can at least go where you intend to pushing a SL ski beyond it's range today, and without drama.

 

Torsional rigidity, meh, I have antique skis that are as torsionally rigid as any ski on the market today; they are just a lot heavier (three layers of stainless steel kind a does that).

post #20 of 26

What is different between older skis and new skis is that they all have shape and will carve a turn.  The difference between SL and GS is how stiff and how damp they are (GS being stiffer and having more dampening).

 

Turns that are easy to do on SL required concentration and effort on a GS at similar speeds simple because of the stiffness (note I did not say the same radius).   So when one switches back and forth between the two, one lets you focus on the dynamics and the other the strength (again we are not talking about race speeds here in either case).   What results is refinements in the skill set for different reasons which ultimately benefits all skiing no matter what the final objective is.

 

At least how I see it.

post #21 of 26

"Torsional rigidity, meh, I have antique skis that are as torsionally rigid as any ski on the market today; they are just a lot heavier (three layers of stainless steel kind a does that)."

 

Yep!   My 30 year old Kastle RX's are actually stiffer longitudinally than my 3 year old Kastle RX's -- and both of them are torsionally rigid.   But then I think they both have the same basic construction:   an ash core sandwiched between metal top and bottom.  (I can't swear to that -- but that's what I remember about the construction of the old masters).

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
 

"Torsional rigidity, meh, I have antique skis that are as torsionally rigid as any ski on the market today; they are just a lot heavier (three layers of stainless steel kind a does that)."

 

Yep!   My 30 year old Kastle RX's are actually stiffer longitudinally than my 3 year old Kastle RX's -- and both of them are torsionally rigid.   But then I think they both have the same basic construction:   an ash core sandwiched between metal top and bottom.  (I can't swear to that -- but that's what I remember about the construction of the old masters).

titanium vs steel, no? A big reason that wider skis with a high speed limit are available is that the availability of titanium makes the weight practical. BTW, it was the Russians who pioneered the use of titanium--in military hardware. The main sources today are China, Japan, Russia, Kazakhstan, USA and Ukraine (in order of output). Stolen from  Wikipedia).  So as skiers we should be very concerned with foreign affairs. 

post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
 

"Torsional rigidity, meh, I have antique skis that are as torsionally rigid as any ski on the market today; they are just a lot heavier (three layers of stainless steel kind a does that)."

 

Yep!   My 30 year old Kastle RX's are actually stiffer longitudinally than my 3 year old Kastle RX's -- and both of them are torsionally rigid.   But then I think they both have the same basic construction:   an ash core sandwiched between metal top and bottom.  (I can't swear to that -- but that's what I remember about the construction of the old masters).

titanium vs steel, no? A big reason that wider skis with a high speed limit are available is that the availability of titanium makes the weight practical. BTW, it was the Russians who pioneered the use of titanium--in military hardware. The main sources today are China, Japan, Russia, Kazakhstan, USA and Ukraine (in order of output). Stolen from  Wikipedia).  So as skiers we should be very concerned with foreign affairs. 


Ok Checkoff, the Rusians probably inwented it. ;)

 

If you want a ski for high speeds, the weight of the steel ones is very practical (The original Steel RX National TEAM SGs with steel are much better at speed than the "SG Light" Mg ones that came out later  - says me :p)

post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
 


Ok Checkoff, the Rusians probably inwented it. ;)

 

 

Television too--really. Back in the day we used to make fun of the Russians for claiming that, like making fun of Al Gore for inventing the internet--except they did (TV, that is) and he didn't. At least the titanium doesn't all come from China and Congo, like the stuff in your phone does.

post #25 of 26
Of course you're all aware of this. The quote is from wildsnow, which links to AMAG, which makes Titanal, and completely omits any mention of titanium:
Quote:
Titanal® is an aluminum alloy similar to other high quality aluminum alloys, only it is one of the highest strength of the lot. Despite its name, Titanal contains no titanium, but rather a portion of zinc and other metals, some of which other aluminum alloys use as well. Titanal is an excellent material for the structural component of sporting goods such as skis and ski bindings. Titanal is sometimes confused as titanium, or misleadingly marketed as such.

I guess we can relax, since at least our skiing won't be affected by the world supply of titanium. biggrin.gif
post #26 of 26

Good reminder.

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