Originally Posted by ScotsSkier
2 cm does not sound much but I suspect if you look at them it is quite a bit more ski. If you look at the 158 Atomic it looks bang in the middle of the 155 and 165 when you stand the 3 of them together. I had a picture of this somewhere but of course I can't find it now!
Hmm, I had both the 156 and 158 in my hands on Wednesday, and the difference in length seemed very small.
One of our neighbouring clubs has done extensive timing tests with U16 racers on the different lengths, as well as several brands (at least Atomic, Head and Rossi, maybe more).
They are utterly convinced that the Head 158s that have come in as demo skis to Norway so far have been softer flexing than the 156s, and that the first year U16 boys were skiing the 158 consistently faster and handling it better in the SL gates.
So we tried, and all I can say is that I concur. If the demo pair is truly representative then its an excellent ski for racers >50kg with good technique, where the 156 needs more weight and/or muscle to drive it properly.
Originally Posted by CaptainKirk
The U16 level is a tough group to buy skis for. I've seen most of them this season end up on adult skis for both SL and GS. Many of the stronger U16s overpower the "tweener" skis that have come out the past few seasons. The tweener skis can to be too much ski for smaller U14s, but not enough ski for the stronger U16s. There seems to be a growing consensus, at least in my area, to get the U16s on adult skis sooner than later. I suspect that we are going to see a push to get U14s on longer skis sooner too.
Same tendency here. My boy will be 1st year U16 (he's not even 14 until September) and I've ordered the i.GS RD 181 r>25m and bought him the i.SG RD 202 r=40m !!
The SGs shocked him a bit, but they flexed quite soft, and are generally a better built ski than the 195 for the same $$$s.
The thing with the 158 SL skis is, that even though he couldn't ski them cleanly in the tighest of turns yet (he only demoed them for half a session on Wednesday evening), he was generally very solid on them. Going back to his old 146 Jr. skis he immediately looked squirrely and you could tell he was overpowering them (though he'd claim they were much more "skiable", for now at least). I'm putting him on a cheaply acquired pair of 156 Jrs for spring/summer camps, then we'll migrate to the adult skis in the autumn (probably wont't get them until then anyway).