I experienced some new behavior from my skis this weekend and I am wondering if this is common or not?
I was skiing in New England this weekend (didn't meet with the Epic gathering due to last minute planning) after a 2 foot storm of fairly heavy (my buddy called it thick) snow on Thursday. I am 6' 4", 250 lbs, expert skier on my favorite Ullr's Chariots skis (101 mm wide, 178 cm long). We were skiing pretty fast on a lot of single blacks and some blues. Guessing we were going as fast as 40 mph on the empty trails. The snow was groomed trails that were quickly rutted and grooved up due to the soft packed snow and lots of skiers. As the morning wore on, small moguls were forming. I was making lots of wide, large radius turns and I was either absorbing a lot of shock through my legs or I was getting lots of small air. This was happening in mid turn a lot and I would come down still on my edges and continue turning.
My skiis started to feel like pogo sticks and I started feeling like I was too forward on my skis. I would try to get my weight off the front tongue of my boots, but I couldn't find a comfortable position that felt right. If I slowed down, everything felt good again, but over a certain speed, it just didn't feel good. I came to the conclusion that I should probably be on the 188 cm version of the ski for these conditions and speeds, and that these skis lacked enough damping for my size, speed, and uneveness of the surface. This wasn't a speed chatter, it was an impact instability. I guess I am learning about what role damping plays in a skis behavior. Never felt this on these skis before.
I changed to my 192 cm Blizzard race stock GS skis (about 70 mm underfoot) and after a run to adjust to 27 m turn radius (my chariots are 15m) I was on their sweet spot and going faster with better control. I was not getting nearly as much air and I could feel I was bull dozing the snow instead of launching off it. A lot more enjoyable for the afternoon. I almost tried taking them down a bumped up double black tree run, but decided the ego was getting a little to inflated. I was surprised the 70 mm ski was the better choice, but I think the damping and length were a better match for my size, and since the snow was packed and not fresh, the width was not a negative. In fact, the narrow width helped to bull doze the snow, rather than ride over it, so less air and shock. I could straighten up and "push" the snow out of the way on the smaller stuff. It became a new game, what terrain bump do I bull doze and what bump do I launch off of and get air.
Anyone else have a similar experience?? We don't get snow this good (or thick and packed) all that often on the Ice Coast.