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Flat tail vs twin tips

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hi, I went to a ski shop in Killington to demo skis. The sales guy kept showing my twin tips and I said I don't do tricks. He insisted it doesn't matter that the tails are flat and I asked if it doesn't matter why aren't all skis twin tips. I never really got an answer. Can you guys tell me does a flat tail matter? I feel like it probably my helps with turns.
post #2 of 19
Don't think of them as twin tips. That's just an observation of shape. How quick do you want the ski to be? How easily do you want the ski to release in 3D snow? How do you want to hold carved turns on hard snow?

There is no one ski that will help optimally with all turns in all conditions. I like very quick freeride oriented skis, which as you might think tend towards a more centered mount, neutral stance, and easy release. Other people like burlier big mountain skis, while others like more frontside oriented skis that typically have those flatter tails, sometimes squared off, sometimes rounded and slightly more upturned for an easier release.

Demoing various ski types is a great idea, but I would focus more on the design intent than category of the tips and tails.
post #3 of 19

So, since we are in a gear forum, it's pretty standard that we over analyze, scrutinize and geek about every little detail of an equipment.

As there are several types of tails over there, it's reasonable to assume they will suit different needs and will have a preferred situation in which they excel.

First of all, not even talking about tails here: I do feel the guy is trying to clear a bit his twin tip inventory. Park skis tend to have a softer flex pattern (useful in the park) but this is usually detrimental of the hard snow performance. For that alone I already would prefer a non twin tip, since I'm not a park rat. Of course there are all mountain twin tips and you might want a softer flex, so as usual ymmv

For the tail, what you described is what most people feel: stiff flat tail gives you that launching/rebound sensation in the end of a turn.

But even between the non twin tips there are variations relating to how "bent" the tail is and it's shape:
- normal slight bent in the point of contact of the edge (full camber ski)
- bending start before point of contact (tail rocker ski from a ski with tip and tail rocker design)
- very flat, almost no bend up, flat as a flatfish (as in the dynastar chams, GS skis)

First generation of all mountains incorporating rocker were tip and tail rocker and the tail rocker (tail would be less hooky) but some models that were tip and tail moved to only tip rocker,so I guess manufacturers found out people missed the flat tail rebound.

Then the other big variable would be the tapering profile. If it's 5 points, multiradius, pin tail, swallow tail, etc. I wouldn't be able to tell you about all of them (maybe someone will weigh in here hehe) but seems they are related more to off piste skis.

On the other side of the ski, it's fun how the format of the ski tips have changed... I find interesting those new Head turbine skis with the weird tip shape. But I digress
post #4 of 19

Three reasons to push only one certain type of skis when you ask for another. 1. There is a surplus of stock. 2. That is the only thing they sells or 3. That is the only thing the salesman knows or uses.

post #5 of 19

Are they full on twin tips, or skis with a little rise to the tails?

Also, this time of year lots places have been selling off demo skis so it might just be down to fewer choices.

post #6 of 19

There are park twin tips and there are all mountain twin tips. There are stiff twin tips and soft twin tips. Just because a ski may be a twin tip does not mean its meant to be used for "tricks".


If you aren't a park guy but you like to ski soft snow or trees, or you like the ability to smear a turn on groomers easily (to check speed, avoid other people, quickly change direction etc.) then you will probably see some benefit in owning a twin tip. Subtle turn release, smearing, the ability to slide backwards easily in the woods if you need to adjust your line...


If you aren't looking for any of the above attributes and you prefer a more locked in tail, then go with a flat tailed ski. It's really that simple. 


The sales guy may have been trying to move inventory or maybe he assessed you as a skier -- based on what you told him -- and made a recommendation. And, like trailtrimmer said -- maybe you're confusing twin tips with skis that have a flared tail but would still be considered a flat tailed ski. 

post #7 of 19

I doubt if this is on anyone's priority list, but I find that flat, squared-off tails work much better for moving around on the flat or slightly uphill icy hardpack at the bottom of a groomer, around the lift, etc. Both "skating" and cross-country-like movement become less efficient and more tiring with twin tails.


I wouldn't sacrifice on-slope performance for it, but between two skis that I like otherwise, it can be a tiebreaker.

post #8 of 19

One negative for twin tips is loading them into the racks on the gondola cars.  A pair won't go in base-to-base.  You have to load them separately.


Interestingly, I had a similar experience at the Basin Ski Shop on the Killington access road several years ago.  I think its probably the age of the salesman and what kind of skiing he does.

post #9 of 19
Twin tips sideslip well too, which is nice if you are trying to get into good snow from an area that's shitty and narrow at the top.
post #10 of 19

Twin tips will make your buddies hate you if you ever ski in front of the pack.


post #11 of 19
Some twin tips send up HUGE rooster tails, and some aren't even noticeable. It's kind of weird.
post #12 of 19

I ski kind of "old-school" with skis and boots basically touching, and I found that the rear tips would often catch on each other, even if just slightly, if I was really trying to rip down some bouncy or cruddy terrain.  In that respect, I feel traditional flat rears give more leeway in that very brief overlaps of the rear edges of the skis is literally of little impact and often not noticeable and self-corrects much easier.  Hence, I've gravitated back towards more flat tips.  That being said, I do recognize that there are MANY situations and skiers of which I believe twin tip style skis are likely optimally.  Style is still probably the best dictator of which ski type is best for each individual.  Obviously.

post #13 of 19
Twin tips are catchy wishboning.
post #14 of 19
Originally Posted by clink83 View Post

Some twin tips send up HUGE rooster tails, and some aren't even noticeable. It's kind of we


The size of the rooster tail has way more to do with the skier than it does with the actual ski. If the skier doesn't have his canting/alignment done correctly, it can cause a rooster tail. The rooster tail happens most markedly when the ski is tipped to a low angle, and is not turning. It allows the loose snow to come up over the ski around the waist, then the tail kicks it up in the air. 

post #15 of 19
Eh, I'm not so sure about that. I had Icelantic Nomads and Prophet 90s as a two ski quiver with the same boots. The Nomads threw a HUGE rooster tail, prophets not so much. No difference in technique. The main difference is the shovel shape.
post #16 of 19

I find a non-flat tail to be very useful in a tight chute when you wind up with your tips up against the rocks and you have to back up.  I find the flat tail useful when I have to drive a ski into the snow as an anchor or to put it on on a steep slope. Having skied many skis with both types of tails I have found that as far as how they ski the tails make little difference compared to shape, width, and flex. (I find it interesting that we obsess over width and sidecut and pay a lot less attention to flex, which is at least as important but isn't easily measured or expressed as a number.)

post #17 of 19

Trees:  don't go in there without twin tips.  Exaggeration of course, but there have been many time in relatively tight trees when I've had to back up, flat tails do not help in that situation.  My groomer skis(Noridca FA84EDT and Head Strong Instinct Ti) both have flat tails, Nordica extremely flat.  My other skis(Nordica Steadfast, Nordica Soul RIder, ON3P Billy Goat) all have at least a slightly turned up tail and they are the skis I'll take out for an all day all over the mountain adventure.  Twin tips also help in bumps.

post #18 of 19

Minor point but twin tips are super nice when teaching your kids to ski.  I loved skiing switch while watching my son ski behind me.  They're easier to maneuver overall, break loose, etc... Just more playful when out with the kids.

post #19 of 19
I'm less experienced than many of you here, but I'll offer an anecdote from my skis.

When I bought my twin tips, which are made by a local manufacturer, they also offered them in a version with the tail cut off in the manufacturing process.

It wasn't totally flat like a carving ski, due to the tail rocker, but its rear profile looked very similar to many all mountain flat tailed skis I have seen around. This goes back to what IceCookie was saying above, not all flat tails are the same.

I tried both and asked about it, since it didn't feel any different. They confirmed to me it made zero difference in riding on piste, as the contact points are the same, the raised curve of the tail does not contact the snow.

What I think is more important than whether it's a twin tip, is the flex profile of the ski, the camber/rocker and its intended purpose. A ski with a very flat tail might have full camber right into the tail. It will therefore ride differently to a ski which has a bit of rocker back there, despite the fact neither are twin tipped.

You could however make the comment that in general, most flat tailed skis are going to have the intended purpose of carving and therefore the profile to match. And given a twin tip ski at random, you're more likely to see that softer flex and different profile.

Just my 2c.
Edited by eXDee - 1/21/16 at 10:27pm
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