Originally Posted by Sleep Robber
Is it true that the new skis of today can make the average skier out there look like a pro ?
No. Not even yesterday's pro.
I'd truly like to know how today's technology has improved the ability of skiers compared to when we ha longer skis for going faster and shorter for going slower ??
We can still use one ski to ski all conditions. That hasn't changed. But the tradition of using longer skis for the faster events has evolved into using specialized skis designed for special conditions or uses. Just as the longer skis were better for the speed events, the special skis are just best for their intended uses. So we have twin tipped skis for people who want to ski backwards a lot. They are awful for having someone follow you because they put up a huge rooster tail of snow behind them. And an every day all mountain ski can go backwards just fine. But that extra turn up in the tail of a twin tip will give you a little extra safety margin when landing that big jump switch at 30 MPH.
There's a lot of technology out there that's relevant to this question. One could make a case that even little advances in ptex and wax technology have made a difference. But let's focus on shape ski and rocker technology to start with.
Before shaped skis, one needed to make a 45M+ radius turn in order to carve. For the average skier, there simply wasn't room on the trails they skied on to make those kinds of turns safely. Sure, we had some great skiers making skidded turns in challenging terrain and conditions, but it was relatively lonely out there compared to today. Shape skis made it easier to learn to turn because they make skis easier to turn. Because of that we started to see skiers ability levels grow faster and we started to see more people on advanced runs and in the trees and in the powder. I watched my dad add 10 years to his skiing career because of shaped skis.
There are some who claim that rocker technology combined with fat skis has ruined the backcountry because now any yahoo that can twist his feet can comfortably ski in deep pow without having to learn all of the nuances that all of us old fogies did when we had to ski in the snow vs on it. But we've got kids who couldn't carve a turn if their life depended on it stomping impressive lines on film that look like crap only to the folks who study technique. There's an equally valid argument that rocker technology has been as strong as boon to making skis easier to turn as shape skis have been.
I've got a 3 year old pair of 130cm rental skis that have shape and rocker technology that can outski any top end ski from 20 years ago except in a downhill course. Yes they get squirrelly at 50+MPH, but if went 50MPH all day I'd get my pass pulled. Yes they sink like a rock in over a foot of pow, but so did my old straight skis. I use them for teaching beginners because it's the same kind of ski they should be learning on. I don't use them for teaching advanced skiers because they typically are not on 9m radius skis. The reason the ATM method failed to revolutionize ski teaching was that the short skis they relied upon had to use so much glue to stay together that they were stiff as a board. We couldn't get true shaped skis until years later after glue technology had improved (and the snowboarders gave us a nudge). It was not possible to build my rental skis 20 years ago.
So today's technology does not make the average skier look like a pro. But the technology does flatten the learning curve.