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Ski size disadvantages - adv/ex

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

What are general disadvantages for advanced/expert skiers with skis that are shorter than the "recommended length" (based on averaging all of the online charts / common knowledge) and more flexible than recommended?  example: an intermediate skier starts with a ski that is the appropriate length and stiffness for an intermediate, but progresses to advanced/expert, where they should have a more rigid ski that's 10-20cm's longer.  

post #2 of 11

True advanced and expert skiers need a ski that maintains its shape when tipped on edge on whatever the snow conditions. A ski that's torsionally soft will twist when put on edge, so the edge doesn't hold. 

 

A longer ski feels more stable at speeds, to a point, while simultaneously requiring more precision to work with. A ski that's too short can be overpowered by the skier, who may muscle the ski into position rather than balance themselves over the ski through the turn. Also, the same ski in two different lengths generally has a different turn radius. 

 

This all goes out the window when talking about park skis or bump skis. 

 

For the record, I've always skied my skis a bit short. I think many males have a case of ski envy and get skis too long for their good. Same with their poles. There's probably a joke in there about compensating for something!

post #3 of 11
Men lie about three things. How many girlfriends they've had. What their golf handicap is. And, wait for it, the size of their...skis.

Or something like that.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Sounds right!

post #5 of 11
To me, it would depend more on the ski's purpose. If the ski is for high speed cruising, then sure you'd want a stiffer, longer ski. But if the ski's being used for more "complicated" terrain, the less rigid (but still torsionally stiff), shorter, ski might be just fine. Some (most?) skis have a way bigger range of uses than just "for experts"/"for beginners".
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe strummer View Post

Men lie about three things. How many girlfriends they've had. What their golf handicap is. And, wait for it, the size of their...skis.

Or something like that.

We understate the number of girlfriends, when speaking to current or potential girlfriends and overstate it when speaking to other guys.
post #7 of 11

Keep in mind that the "recommended" length depends on what kind of ski you're talking about--a carver will be a lot shorter than a powder ski for the same skier.

post #8 of 11

Recently had a chance to check out the same ski at difference lengths at the Alta Demo Day.  I knew the shorter length was probably too short.  Took a run (2000' vertical) that started out on fairly firm groomer and ended on soft bumps with a fair amount of pitch (Lower Rustler).  Then repeated exactly the same run with the next longer length, which is essentially the same as the all-mountain skis that I've owned for a while.  I was not happy with the shorter length on the groomer because it felt a bit unstable, especially when going faster.  In the bumps, it was clearly easier to turn.  The longer length felt better overall, even though I had to concentrate more to make turns on the bumps.  Have only been skiing steeper bumps non-stop for a few seasons.  Bottom line is that if I were going to buy that model, I would definitely want the longer length.

 

As an example of the length difference that's comfortable for an intermediate vs. an advanced skier . . . When I was an intermediate starting to ski more regularly, I had front-side skis that were about 5cm shorter than the all-mountain skis I have now as an advanced skier.  When I rent powder skis, I'll get something up to 10cm longer depending on the length or the tip rocker and the construction of the skis in general.  My carvers for short Mid-Atlantic slopes are 11cm shorter than my all-mountain skis.

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmy37 View Post
 

What are general disadvantages for advanced/expert skiers with skis that are shorter than the "recommended length" (based on averaging all of the online charts / common knowledge) and more flexible than recommended?  example: an intermediate skier starts with a ski that is the appropriate length and stiffness for an intermediate, but progresses to advanced/expert, where they should have a more rigid ski that's 10-20cm's longer.  


OK, first of all I will admit that I may be in the minority here, but I do not advocate that intermediates should be on shorter than ideal for their weight, height, terrain, and skiing speed; I think they should be on the same length they would be on if they had "expert" skills.   IMHO, the only thing putting them on too short skis does is teach them bad habits (like pushing the skis around instead of learning how to access the ski's "self-steering" properties).

 

Having said that, skis available and ideal skis are not the same.  Sometimes expert skiers will be skiing on skis that are too short, too long, too soft, too stiff, too small a turn radius, too long a turn radius, etc. 

 

Limiting the discussion to too short, here are some disadvantages (assuming ideal longitudinal and rotational stiffness and turn shape for conditions and skiing style):

More difficulty in maintaining proper fore aft balance, especially over rough terrain at higher speed;

Somewhat related to the above, you cannot apply forces at as great a distance from your centre of mass with a shorter ski;

Smaller platform of snow under the ski, thus limiting maximum turn force that can be applied without the platform giving way;

In my experience given a top-shelf ski stability is not a problem, although it used to be a problem (even with Super Giant Slalom skis) 30 years ago;

The above disadvantages must be weighed against the main advantage which is more pressure on the edge for grip on ice, and the fact that unplanned forces applied at greater distance from your centre of mass (tip and tail) have less effect (as they produce less torque).

post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
 
OK, first of all I will admit that I may be in the minority here, but I do not advocate that intermediates should be on shorter than ideal for their weight, height, terrain, and skiing speed; I think they should be on the same length they would be on if they had "expert" skills.   IMHO, the only thing putting them on too short skis does is teach them bad habits (like pushing the skis around instead of learning how to access the ski's "self-steering" properties).

 

 

This may be true if we are only talking about carved turns, where length makes only a small difference in the form of slightly longer radius for a longer ski. It makes a lot of difference in the bumps and on steeps where the ability to pivot the ski and skid the tails is necessary to control speed and make turns tighter than the carved radius will allow (even WC GS racers skid their tighter turns, although I suppose they have a different name for it.) And pivoting the ski is a lot easier with shorter skis.

post #11 of 11

Thanks Oldgoat, Thumbs Up I completely forgot about that (despite the experience of skiing similar moguls on 220 cm skis and 65 cm skis). Longer skis are definitely harder to manage in moguls, shorter skis easier to manage in moguls.  With shorter skis there is less resistance to being pivoted, less swing weight, less bridging the trough between moguls, and most importantly less chance of catching a tip (or tail) on a mogul that you didn't mean to catch on.  The advantages of the shorter ski does limit training opportunities, as they lead to less skiing on one ski, less skiing switch, less skiing switch on one ski, less hockey stops on one ski and less climbing back up to get that other ski, not to mention less time practising falls for intermediate skiers.:D

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