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Gotama Construction Philosophy

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Here is a short description of the philosophy behind the Gotama's construction.

the gotama is a new way to think about powder skiing. it inherits alot of ideas from the man mcconkey and his baby, the spatula. i borrow largely from his essay on th spatula for the philosophy here.

the biggest problem with most skis in strictly deep powder conditions is the inherent tendency of the tips to want to be in the snow, rather than on top. this comes from the fact that the camber in the ski pushes the tip down further than the waist when the ski is un-weighted (ie in between turns). this only gets worse when powder conditions come with that thin hard layer on top that makes skis ski all funky.

what happens, therefore, when a ski is skied in powder, is that everytime the ski is unweghted in between turns, the tip wants to naturally dive. this leads to that awkward forward face plant into deep powder - actually a quite dangerous situation. many powder skis address this by softening the flex of the tip so that it will inhrently try to "butter-up" on top of the snow. this does work.

the problem with this is that the camber in the ski makes the ski oriented for actual edging. in poweder, a hard edge, or set edge, is not necessary for turn initiation, rather a sublte weight shift can initiate the change in direction (much like riding a bike in deep sand - you can't steer like on firm dirt). have you ever had your inside ski in variable powder initiate a turn in the opposite direction you're trying to go? this is what mcconkey calls an "unstable hooker".

so, new powder ski philosophy is trying to address this tip diving problem and the fact that there is less need for edge gripping power.

smearing a turn is much more effective than a real carve in powder, - i'm sure lots of people know what i'm talking about here.

so, to take the speed limit off of a ski in the powder, it is important to make it so that the tip not inherently want to be lower in the snow than the waist, and make the ski stable in turns in high speed by orienting the turn quality of the ski away from edge grip and towards not getting unstable hookered up and self-initiating turns.

to do this, the camber has to be removed. yes, gotamas do have ever so slightly some camber. the spatulas took this a step further by eliminating all camber and reversing it. even better.

the lack of camber is why the gotama feels so dead. this lack of camber makes it ski better than anything else in soft snow. it makes it stable, easy to smear, and it really acutally floats on top of the snow.

it's a different experience. all standards about cómparing it to other skis on hard snow won't hold because it's got a different background.

oh no, what did i just start?
post #2 of 11
Softening the tip and/or reducing/removing/reversing the camber keep the tip up. The third way to do this, while keeping a ski usable in other conditions than perfect powder is increase torsional rigidity. As a ski gets wider, the effect of torsional strain makes it easier for the ski to twist, which leads to diving.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Betaracer
Softening the tip and/or reducing/removing/reversing the camber keep the tip up. The third way to do this, while keeping a ski usable in other conditions than perfect powder is increase torsional rigidity. As a ski gets wider, the effect of torsional strain makes it easier for the ski to twist, which leads to diving.
huh. can you give an example, or write this in layman's terms? you're wording is over my head...
post #4 of 11
I don't get it either-but please fix it. Last spring I took a face plant so hard into Sierra cement that it broke my sunglasses. I still get the willies thinking about if a rock had been there.
post #5 of 11
Welcome to Powder Ski design 101, Where is Physics Man when we need him? A ski has two ways it can flex. One tip to tail. We have all done the flex test in the ski shop. Those crafty ski designeers can put more or less flex in the tail tip or underfoot. A ski can also flex side to side. Take the tip of the ski in your hand and twist it like you are removing the lid of a jar That is Torsional flex. Balancing longitudinal and torsional flex plus camber,weight ect... Is what makes one ski great and another so-so.
post #6 of 11
You don't have to know how fuel injection and suspension work to drive a car well.
You don't have to know how a ski is designed to ski well.

So never mind the construction, "How does it ski?"
That's what my flat-sloped, neolithic mind wants to know.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49
Welcome to Powder Ski design 101, Where is Physics Man when we need him? A ski has two ways it can flex. One tip to tail. We have all done the flex test in the ski shop. Those crafty ski designeers can put more or less flex in the tail tip or underfoot. A ski can also flex side to side. Take the tip of the ski in your hand and twist it like you are removing the lid of a jar That is Torsional flex. Balancing longitudinal and torsional flex plus camber,weight ect... Is what makes one ski great and another so-so.
I would add that the shape and profile, how energy is transmitted to the ski and the edge, the materials used to construct it, also have a profound effect on a skis performance.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by unionbowler
Here is a short description of the philosophy behind the Gotama's construction. The gotama is a new way to think about powder skiing...major snip of lots good stuff...
Comment #1: This article makes some really good points that are probably unfamiliar to most skiers.

Comment #2: The further you go in the direction of optimizing a ski design for soft snow, the more likely you will have given up some aspect of hard snow performance. In this case, decreasing the initial camber of the ski certainly makes it perform better in soft conditions, and certainly makes the design more marketable than the Spatula (ie, you won't get guestions like, "Whoa, dude, why are your tips off the snow - did you bend them in the moguls?").

On the other hand, less camber reduces the hard snow performance of skis. I often would prefer more, not less, initial camber in my hard snow skis to ensure the tips and tails are in constant contact with the snow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Betaracer
...As a ski gets wider, the effect of torsional strain makes it easier for the ski to twist, which leads to diving....
I can't imagine any physical mechanism by which this could happen. Torsion is really a minor consideration in powder because the whole width of the ski is supported underneath by the snow, so there is much less tendancy for a ski to twist torsionally compared to edging the same ski on hard pack.

Would you care to elaborate on your hypothesis?

Tom / PM
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
betaracer's comment about torsional twist has more than a few stumped...maybe he'll elaborate...i'm not going to explain what i think his username emplies he's getting at...
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim S
So never mind the construction, "How does it ski?"
That's what my flat-sloped, neolithic mind wants to know.
how does it ski? in soft snow, wicked fast, on top of the snow! won't turn unless you want it to! (something sidecut skis don't seem to understand, generally).

on hard snow at mach10, well, let's just say it leaves a fair amount other than speed to be desired. you can make it turn, and the ski is still very controllable, but you have to be careful. then again, i don't know of a fat ski that allows to burn into a busy part of a ski area at Mach10 like you're in a huge empty bowl and be in complete control while you attempt to dodge the abrup-direction-changing moving gates in front of you.

really, like i said, it takes some getting used to. after that, it's pretty skiable anywhere (just like a 155cm slalom race ski - the antithesis of the gotama). it is dreamy in variable powder conditions or whereever the snow did not get ruined by traversing ski classes and groomers.

i have never skied a ski that made so many different kinds of turns well - carve, smear, straightline, backwards, landing, any combination thereof (hop turns STRONGLY discouraged). but you have to remember the philosophy to understand it and enjoy the experience. i'm in love with mine.

jim, as a first fat ski buyer, just just go buy a flannel shirt, some big hair and ripped jeans to go with that Made 'N AK? you're not going to go wrong with them!
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by unionbowler
jim, as a first fat ski buyer, just just go buy a flannel shirt, some big hair and ripped jeans to go with that Made 'N AK? you're not going to go wrong with them!
LOL. I showed my sons the K2 graphics and, even though they are boarders at ages 10 and 13, they were drooling like puppies.

Care to compare/contrast the Gotoma and Made 'N' AK?
I ass/u/me the Gotoma is more versatile.

I was going to buy one pair of skis to contrast with my 69mm waist Dynastar Skicross 10 for my location. But since I'll be skiing my butt of this year and I did move here for the skiing and a killer job I feel I may buy two pair: all mtn-crud-powder and maybe a truly deep powder ski. Maybe.
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