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Side Cut Eye for the Straight Guy

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
The post by Daslider and the lengthy replies reminded me of how difficult it is to explain to a diehard 'straight skier' the advantages of the new technology in ski manufacturing.We have to remember that it isn't just sidecut that makes the difference. Length is a huge factor , stiffness and torsional flex, and bindings with lifters and flex plates change everything. This last winter , I purchased a pair of Dynastar Omicarve 10s , length 158. Previous to that I was on a pair of 170s ( also Dynastars, IMHO the greatest ski ever made) and my students sometimes do the doubletake and have to ask if my skis are big enough to support me ! And when I want to go even shorter, I put on my blades and really lay down some arcs.

So what is it about new ski technology that 'straight' skiers don't get? In my experience, it has to do with the way they ski, not the ski itself. Most long time 'straight' skiers only use their edges for braking. That's why they hate hard snow and ice so much. When the snow is soft, it's easy to push the edges sideways and get enough snow scraped under the bases to deflect off of and redirect the ski sideways. On harder snow, the edges simpler skid down the hill with the helpless skier hoping for God's mercy to avoid the trees below. This same skier also avoids powder ( although many can ski it because the deep snow creates resistance ) and especially crud conditions where the sideways push will put you down, pronto. There are variables in this technique, of course, and some instructors have gotten pretty good at the little 'push' at the end of their turns. ( Of course, have never done this! LOL )

Anyhow, if you don't understand what sidecut does, I would suggest the following exercises: Railroad track turns, Pivot slips, Hockey stops, Uphill garlands, and there are dozens more. These will help you explore the realms of flat and tipped skis. Wait a minute, it's July! O.K. , I guess we'll just have to wait unless you live down under. I think I'll go fire up the BBQ, see y'all later.
post #2 of 8
It's kind of like taking out that old vintage car for a spin. They just don't make them like they use to. Size does matter. But hey I'm with you on the shaped skis. I went for 205cm to 191cm to 150cm and now found that a 170 all mt. ski is where I want to be. Skidders or Carvers. Here we go.
post #3 of 8
Snowdancer, great thread title!

I agree. Those who loved to carve prior to shape skis, and had to struggle all those years with the radius limitations, had a common thought the first time riding a pair of the new sidecuts: "What the f*** took them so long!!"

Those who didn't carve prior to shapes didn't understand what the fuss was all about.

FASTMAN
post #4 of 8
Rick,

And then there were those who sort of carved mixed in with some skid. They got on the new skis and fell in love because the ski emphizised the carving side of things. And because things were working even better than they did before they saw no reason to update technique to match the new skis. Kind of nice except for one thing. Many ski instructors fell in this catagory and sadly to say there are just too many of them who haven't updated how they ski or teach yet. Too bad we didn't have a change or lose situation like racers.

yd
post #5 of 8
In about 1997, when I was on Jeep King of the Mountain, I skied with former Canadian downhiller Todd Brooker. He was on some new "shaped" skis, and came up with a classic Brooker-ism: "These skis make it easier for me to ski well now, than when I used to ski well".
post #6 of 8
classic Brooker-ism: "These skis make it easier for me to ski well now, than when I used to ski well".


I guess we have a new Yogi
post #7 of 8
there is a lot of thruth there, I noticed a huge difference in the amount of energy expended throughout the day.

Also, although many instructors have not changed the way they teach, they still have very valid points. I often use straight ski methodology when I have students that are stuck or plateau'ed, while these techniques may be somewhat outdated, their fundamental principles are the same, just often times exaggerated in some way shape or form.

With instructors who will not teach newer methods, they just need to realize that with the new equiptment, there is a new best methodology, and while their's is not wrong, they could be doing more for their students if they changed even a little.
post #8 of 8
Hmmmm... I'm young for this forum (16) and so did not experience the straight skis while being a reasonable skier.

I got on shaped skis at the age of about 10 for the first time because we (my family) believed that they would only make a difference if you were a "good skier" and none of us were particularly good. It was only when we showed up at Mt. Bachelor and all the rental shop had were shaped Atomics (the old really crappy ones) that we tried them.

Never went back except for one weekend when the only skis small enough (150s) for me at the time were straight renting from REI.

Oddly enough, the length progression went backward for me. It may have something to do with my bulking up and muscle change. From noodly 152 X-Scream 700s (crappy skis but all I could pay 1/2 of as when I was 12) to 170 Bandit XXs ('01, the red-topped ones bought from a demo shop used one year - they were an amazing step up) to 176 Scratch BCs (bought from the Deep Pow House) and I'm now looking at 186 Legend Pros. I'm 5'10" and weigh about 150, but my body shape does not reflect the usual weight because of the imbalances in strength - my legs are so overbuilt compared to my upper body (what 4 years of running with minimal weight training). As a result, I've never had any problems skiing skis that would seem "too stiff" or "too long" for me - I got the 170 Bandit XXs when I weighed only 110 and was 5'5" and had no problems flexing them. It may also have something to do with my willingness to exert more energy than absolutely necessary - unless I've been hiking for every run I'm almost never dead tired at the end of a run.

But shaped skis introduced a whole new world to me. Especially considering high performance shaped skis. The difference between the first atomics and the X-Free 9s that I demoed on a hardpack day at Taos and first discovered the rush of a carved turn and the speed.... ahhhh... good memories.
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