Originally Posted by Wingmaster
What you should get is a 165cm FIS slalom ski. That's right, go right to the source all the way down in size from the P9. Then learn to ski it. This is carving. Maybe ski with people who are good - on modern equipment. You're in a vacuum. Once you do that you will realize what people are talking about. Maybe think of it as a balance excercise at first, not having all that tip and tail.
Phil Mahre is not skiing his straight skis from the 80's. He's a smart guy and knows a few things about skiing.
A fully carved turn is not something the P9's are familiar with or really capable of in any normal turn at moderate speed. Slalom was never about a carve turn anway. Quick on th edges and quick off. I still own fully functional and tuned Volkl P20 slaloms. They get used maybe once a year. Except this year, and the year before that, maybe another one. Once is enough of a reminder why not more.
I hear ya, but dang, 165? That seems so absurdly short. Keep in mind that I have no intention of racing SL or anything. I prefer longer turns these days on a freshly groomed slope in the a.m. working my way into the bumps as the day progresses. Heavy carving tho using a lot of leg force. Speed control by pushing into the mountain, not for any other reason.
165 SLs don't really seem like the ticket there. Thoughts?
Yep. 165. Well if you want to go 158 because they're easier to get cheaply that's fine. Not as versatile though for your size but way more than you think.
Here's the thing before we get into why. If you get a 165 FIS Slalom ski you will not outgrow it. You should, and will, get other skis but you will always have the slaloms to rip around on.
I'd say a non Fis Slalom ski around 170 would be ok because it's cheaper perhaps. But no longer!!
But really, you're on the P9 because it gives back what you put in. A slalom ski will do this. Just make it simple, go to the successor to your P9 - 165 FIS Slalom. Learn the technique on that, it will be much quicker in advancing into the new world.
The Head Rally? No, not at 225 lbs especially. Just does not have the pop you've come to like out of your Volkl. ( Never skied the P9 but the P10 was awesome. Better than the 20 probably.) Your P9 was made back when Volkl used to put the milled wooden core on display at some ski shops. The core was pre shaped/steamed? with camber and had hundred of little holes in it for fiberglass resin flow through. They were very proud of this core made from wood, poplar I think, felled from their own forest. That core really was a work of art. Some shops might still have one. (Btw, that is "flip core" construction that Blizzard makes a big deal of and I think trademarked the name. But I digress).
Anyway, there's nothing like stomping the tail of that P9 and getting a little launch from the exquisite wood core. If you weighed 110 lbs the Rally might do that. Any 165 FIS Slalom ski will have that tail pop if you want it once you learn the movement pattern. You know how to pressure the tail, it's the timing and moving into the new turn that's different from your 205cm? p9.
So why the slalom? It's so simple. No demo, no wondering, no blah blah blah about ski design . It's proven. Like when you bought the P9, the choice was "slalom or gs?". Now there's literally a hundred good choices. But you've never learned shaped skis.
So short. It's clear from what you've written you have a lot of up/down in your skiing and use a lot of up unweighting. You "push into the mountain". This needs to change. You need to guide the equipment and then handle the forces which can be considerable given how you like to ski. Key to that is getting the ski on edge early. Key to feeling that is a narrow ski. Definitely 78mm and under. There's a huge difference between the immediate edge engagement and feel when the edge is right near the big toe. You need to feel that hook up and what happens when just going straight on a cat track and you just tip your foot. A revelation. Tipping the P9 on edge? It is waiting...waiting...waiting...As Jim Morrison downs another bottle before the turn starts. By the time the turn is across the fall line he's dead in a Paris bath tub. That's why you have to "push" on the skis to get them to start the turn now.
Why short? 165 is 35-40cm less then what you're used to. Crazy. That's freak out city for your body. It's nothing like your used to. Therefore you will be far more likely to be open to new movement patterns. Going to something in the high 170's to 180's you are going to use similar movement patterns and also be constantly comparing to your 200cm P9. Something way different will short circuit that thinking.
Why else- you can do a lot in a little space and at lower speed. This helps work on timing esp when you are with the kids. You do not need to be flying or doing big turns. What you want to feel and learn is quick feedback.
Why the FIS Slalom. It's perhaps the most versatile specialized ski. You're a big guy, used to pushing a race ski. You can handle the ski and the ski can handle you. If you aren't getting it to perform... well it's not the ski. You'll ask why.
Which brings us to the next point. The ski needs to be tuned. Even before you use it. Do not, as was the practice of yore back when Hans was chopping down trees in the Volkl forest, do not dull the tips and tails. This goes true for all shaped skis. If there is no tip protector on the curved up part you don't ski on, that should be rounded so it doesn't catch. Like in the half pipe. :-)
Have the ski tuned to .75 (or .7 ) deg base bevel and 3 deg side. You could go .5 base but this will make the ski grip very quickly. You migh like that. Best for your second grind after you've used it awhile unless you know you want that. Easy to put more on but not tge otherway. Do not under any circumstances put more than 1deg base bevel on any carving ski you get.
I'm not saying this is your be all ski, it's not, but it is probably the best to jump into shape ski technique given your back ground and intended use on groomers. It just makes things easy too. No debates, no long consultations, easy and done. They come with the plate. Just don't get a "stiff" version of the slalom. (Although if you are 250lbs, that might be ok for you. @ ScotsSkier would know. Maybe pm him. I am loathe to recommend that but maybe for you) You often see those cheap usually a Fischer. But in general, almost any brand will do though I'd avoid the Head unless this years just due to the top sheet metal not going all the way, and the Fischer because it has the hole in the tip for face shots free skiing. But people use it.
Here's a used one in excellent condition with a fresh grind and base bevel set to 0.5 which is worth $50.
Btw, no store is going to recommend a slalom ski. Esp not an FIS version. "Too specialized", too small, you'll get hurt, "rip your legs off", blah blah. In Europe you can rent them at ski shops. Multiple models. Unheard of here.
"It's squirrely". This will be a big change, yes. No getting around it. But only when the skis are dead flat. When you're bored on the P9's and just want to get down you point them and go straight. They're good at that. They don't want to turn, which is why Morrison has so much time to get hammered before they do. You're going from a radius of let's say 50m? - and stiff, to 13m. The solution is to slightly put the ski on edge and do shallow turns. Yeah, going straight down is kind of out and you'll hate it at first but the benefits are elsewhere. Like lots of fun without killing your knees. A longer ski with sidecut in the 20's is going to be much better at schussing, now called straightlining. But tbh, nothing will be as good at going straight on groomed as... a straight ski. So chalk one up for straight skis. They go straight on groomed. 99.7% of us are now fine with that and don't care.
It's not the one ski for everything, just the intro to everything that will keep on giving as you get others.Edited by Tog - 4/27/16 at 8:55am