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Ski Manufactures Characteristics

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I know that there are alot of different skis/ski types made by the same manufactures but I am curious to know what kind of differing characteristics are found among skis made by different companies.
post #2 of 22

...

Rossignol and Salomon (both French) are known for their livliness and finesse feel as a resut of the use of foam cores. Atomic, Elan, Volkl, and other Austrian-type skis are known for edge hold on ice as a result of their wood cores, which gives them high torsional rigidity and a very damp, powerful feeling. K2 skis, the only major American manufacturer, is considered a very recreation-oriented company who has tried many a time but just cant get their racing skis right. Their skis are similar in feel to the French companies but less performance oriented.
post #3 of 22
While I would consider Salomons and Rossignol's "All mountain" skis to be finesse oriented and generally not that demanding, I certainly would not consider them lively. Just the opposite is true. They are not for "powerful" or aggressive skiers. THey are very forgiving. On the other hand, Rossi. racing skis are among the stiffest in the industry. Atomic and Volkl high-end skis are generally wood and titanium (i.e. stiff and powerful). Real fall line, no non-sense skis manufactured for the most aggressinve skiers. They are all about power. Just the opposite of their French counterparts. (Are we talking about skis, or culture...or both). Until recently, K2 has had a real marking problem. In the past, they manufactured a great product (E.g. Merlin V1). THe XP was an ok ski, just a bit dead. I hear great things about the Apache Hellfire and Recon. Dynastars are fine French skis. Whether it be the Speed 63, Omecarve 10, Intuitiv 74 or, I am sure, the new Legend series, those skis perform with percision and grace.
post #4 of 22
French and American all mountain skis usually tend to perform like was described above. They are very damp and do not tend to be lively. They do however like to lock into a carve usually and will ski very well over many different conditions regardless of how the pilot drives them. An expert or a novice can ski their top end skis and see two very different ends of the ski's performance spectrum. A good example was the Salomon Xscream, and now the Crossmax 10. The same can go for the Dynastar Omeglass 64. I do have to mention that rossignol race skis are actually some of the softest in the business (their race stock skis that is). The 9X and 9S world cup skis are noodles. They are insanely damp and smooth over the snow, but tend to not track well when the snow/ruts get rough. Their retail skis are designed to be stiffer so that rough snow does not effect their performance like it does the stock skis. This however makes the ski lose the advantage that a very soft flex can offer in a race course (tighter turn radius with less sidecut - works great for new GS skis that have to have certain radius - 21m - can turn well below that with the right flex).

German skis... okay here goes... german skis are not friendly to ski on unless you are AGGRESSIVE. This means, strong, powerful, fast, etc. This is maintained for mostly only their top end skis, but it is the same across the spectrum. Volkl race skis are very stiff... as are their free ride skis. They are great for an aggressive skier, but anyone who isnt on top of their game should look elsewhere for recreational skis if they are considering skiing on top-of-the-line equipement. Mostly the difference you will notice here is the presence of large amounts of rebound, good edgehold, and punnishment for not skiing over the sweet spot. The french skis wont punnish you if youre not over the sweet spot, but they give up in the rebound department.

Austrian skis... Have a very snappy rebound to them. Very lively. Like to turn and once youre in the turn they dont let you out of it - especially Atomic. They tend to be stiff, but middle of the road - as in not as stiff as Volkl. They do like ice, but you have to be prepared to carve when they get to it. The race skis will require muscle typically, and dont like an apathetic pilot.

These can be further broken down by manufacturer as well... which if im bored after i start dinner i may post.

Later

GREG
post #5 of 22
Okay, by manufacturer (I'll do the major ones):

Salomon:
Smooth, damp, responsive, requires to user to ski the high end models, but they still do most of the work for you. Not a lot of rebound. Decent edgehold, but solid enough for the average recreational skier (ie: racers need not apply). Retail race skis are slow, but the stock skis are extremely fast - especially GS skis.

Dynastar:
Similar to Salomon, same characteristics with slightly more rebound to the ski. Like to ski very round smooth arcs. The retail race skis are not as fast as other companies skis, and cannot be pushed really hard.

Rossignol:
The freeride skis are very smooth and like to arc. They tend to be very soft and responsive. The race skis and carver skis however are toward the stiffer end of retail model race skis. This makes them ideal for skiing crud and cut up snow. They will require a fairly aggressive pilot due to their stiff flex. The stock models are very soft and very fast, but awful when not in a course or on perfectly groomed snow (ice).

Atomic:
The skis arc very nicely (buttery smooth). The race skis do not like to let go of a turn however. Once they start to carve they will maintain a carve, thus skidding can be difficult. They usually are known for very good edgehold, but often need a strong heavy skier to realize their potential. Recently they have adopted softer flexing skis, but int he past they were known for very stiff race and freeride skis. Good luck getting race stock skis... if you get them... good luck turning them.

Fischer:
Great race line. Very stiff race skis. Retail models like to turn turn and turn. Stock models are very lively and give good feel for the snow you are traveling over. Not as damp as a french ski - or even an atomic for that matter. The freeride line isnt as popular in the US as other more prevelent companies.

Nordica:
I can only comment on nordica race skis. They are built like tanks, weigh about as much, and have the inertia of a tank. The good part is that they move more like a bullet train. They are smooth, and fast. They soften up after you ski them a few times... or you just stop getting beat up by them. They are very damp - even the slalom ski. Although it is damp it will offer great rebound if you give it the input.

Blizzard:
Again - only race skis. Very lively. Least damp of any ski i have ever been on. You can feel every aspect of the terrain you are on. They also go like hell. They also have wonderful edgehold. A very strange feeling if you are used to skiing on a ski like Salomon that lets no vibrations to your foot. They are also surprisingly stiff, and really need to be skied hard - no relaxing.

Dynamic:
See Atomic.

Stockli:
All race stock construction. Great skis. Powerful. No other company can compare tot he performance you can get out of these skis. Expect to pay for what you get though. If you cant get a race stock ski for a main stream company you can always order one from Stockli... since they only build race stock skis.

Volkl:
They are very stiff skis that need to be pushed, not merely relaxed on. They will give back, but you can easily push them beyond their boundaries unless youre riding a stock race ski. Their freeride skis are very good, but again, very stiff. The stiffness i have found is not always practical, especially if youre under 170lbs. They can be skied by lighter individuals, but dont expect to take it easy.

Elan:
Very smooth, moderately stiff skis. They love to arc, especially the race skis. Very few recreational skiers will ever be able to out ski their recreational race skis. Forget out skiing the stock skis. The slalom skis have great rebound. The GS skis are very smooth and damp. Edgehold is never a problem, but staying focused on the edge can be a problem.

Head:
Head skis are VERY damp. They seem to stick to the snow. When i say stick to the snow they feel like they hug the snow terrain. they turn very easily. I only have experience with one race model, so i cant comment on the race skis a lot.

K2:
K2 seems to ski like french skis. They don't have amazing rebound, but they will perform at a high level. The race skis are easy, but slow. The company seems to market more toward recreation rather than race. The freeride/park skis are very good as well. Check out posts on here regarding the new powder skis. Usually you can't go wrong with a K2 for recreational skiing, but i fyou have higher end performance in mind, it is not the route to go.

Thats all for now, i know i left out Line, volant, and a few others, but i figure others can add those. I went through each of those very quickly, so i may have mis-spoke or been vague on a few, but they should convey a general idea of each brand. To get the best view of each brand, try them all. See what you like to ski on. My personal preferences are Salomon, Nordica, and Elan.

Later

GREG
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takecontrol618
Atomic, Elan, Volkl, and other Austrian-type skis are known for edge hold on ice as a result of their wood cores, which gives them high torsional rigidity and a very damp, powerful feeling.
I'm pretty sure that Atomic uses foam cores on most of their skis but they are damp.

The beta lobes cause the skis to be torsionally rigid.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier
Okay, by manufacturer (I'll do the major ones):

Salomon:
Smooth, damp, responsive, requires to user to ski the high end models, but they still do most of the work for you. Not a lot of rebound. Decent edgehold, but solid enough for the average recreational skier (ie: racers need not apply). Retail race skis are slow, but the stock skis are extremely fast - especially GS skis.

Dynastar:
Similar to Salomon, same characteristics with slightly more rebound to the ski. Like to ski very round smooth arcs. The retail race skis are not as fast as other companies skis, and cannot be pushed really hard.

Rossignol:
The freeride skis are very smooth and like to arc. They tend to be very soft and responsive. The race skis and carver skis however are toward the stiffer end of retail model race skis. This makes them ideal for skiing crud and cut up snow. They will require a fairly aggressive pilot due to their stiff flex. The stock models are very soft and very fast, but awful when not in a course or on perfectly groomed snow (ice).

Atomic:
The skis arc very nicely (buttery smooth). The race skis do not like to let go of a turn however. Once they start to carve they will maintain a carve, thus skidding can be difficult. They usually are known for very good edgehold, but often need a strong heavy skier to realize their potential. Recently they have adopted softer flexing skis, but int he past they were known for very stiff race and freeride skis. Good luck getting race stock skis... if you get them... good luck turning them.

Fischer:
Great race line. Very stiff race skis. Retail models like to turn turn and turn. Stock models are very lively and give good feel for the snow you are traveling over. Not as damp as a french ski - or even an atomic for that matter. The freeride line isnt as popular in the US as other more prevelent companies.

Nordica:
I can only comment on nordica race skis. They are built like tanks, weigh about as much, and have the inertia of a tank. The good part is that they move more like a bullet train. They are smooth, and fast. They soften up after you ski them a few times... or you just stop getting beat up by them. They are very damp - even the slalom ski. Although it is damp it will offer great rebound if you give it the input.

Blizzard:
Again - only race skis. Very lively. Least damp of any ski i have ever been on. You can feel every aspect of the terrain you are on. They also go like hell. They also have wonderful edgehold. A very strange feeling if you are used to skiing on a ski like Salomon that lets no vibrations to your foot. They are also surprisingly stiff, and really need to be skied hard - no relaxing.

Dynamic:
See Atomic.

Stockli:
All race stock construction. Great skis. Powerful. No other company can compare tot he performance you can get out of these skis. Expect to pay for what you get though. If you cant get a race stock ski for a main stream company you can always order one from Stockli... since they only build race stock skis.

Volkl:
They are very stiff skis that need to be pushed, not merely relaxed on. They will give back, but you can easily push them beyond their boundaries unless youre riding a stock race ski. Their freeride skis are very good, but again, very stiff. The stiffness i have found is not always practical, especially if youre under 170lbs. They can be skied by lighter individuals, but dont expect to take it easy.

Elan:
Very smooth, moderately stiff skis. They love to arc, especially the race skis. Very few recreational skiers will ever be able to out ski their recreational race skis. Forget out skiing the stock skis. The slalom skis have great rebound. The GS skis are very smooth and damp. Edgehold is never a problem, but staying focused on the edge can be a problem.

Head:
Head skis are VERY damp. They seem to stick to the snow. When i say stick to the snow they feel like they hug the snow terrain. they turn very easily. I only have experience with one race model, so i cant comment on the race skis a lot.

K2:
K2 seems to ski like french skis. They don't have amazing rebound, but they will perform at a high level. The race skis are easy, but slow. The company seems to market more toward recreation rather than race. The freeride/park skis are very good as well. Check out posts on here regarding the new powder skis. Usually you can't go wrong with a K2 for recreational skiing, but i fyou have higher end performance in mind, it is not the route to go.

Thats all for now, i know i left out Line, volant, and a few others, but i figure others can add those. I went through each of those very quickly, so i may have mis-spoke or been vague on a few, but they should convey a general idea of each brand. To get the best view of each brand, try them all. See what you like to ski on. My personal preferences are Salomon, Nordica, and Elan.

Later

GREG
that was a great low down. Pretty accurate!! thanks!!
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the awesome input!!!
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scalce
I'm pretty sure that Atomic uses foam cores on most of their skis but they are damp.

The beta lobes cause the skis to be torsionally rigid.
Wrong. Only the lowest level junior models use a foam core. The majority of the line uses a Densolite core which is machined like wood, and placed into the ski the same as wood would. Foam core refers to an injected material. :
post #10 of 22
so,
i've been a little nationalistic since I lived in Austria and skied for a season.
They couldn't believe I skied on swiss skis (the other instructors). many of them wouldn't dare ski on non austrian skis....

So,
After ski testing for a local truckee shop for many years now,
I've skied alot of skis and enjoyed many of them,
As a tester, I try to remain unbiased,
but I have some sweeping generalizations that may be controversial,
but hell, I'm a bit opinionated.

French skis:
I generally don't like them!
I only ski them as backcountry skis because they tend to be light...

Salomon? my least favorite at the moment. I get a light and airy feel that is not inspiring at all. the original xscream was really good, but since then, i havn't gotten along with them (a buddy I ski with has been salomon sponsored forever and loves them (eski on this forum), but not me.

OK, above...not my least favorite
dynastar are the worst. the part vertical sidewall, part cap deal is the worst ski construction i've ever skied. no cohesiveness to the flex and feel. almost schitzophrenic!
The original BiG was a great backcountry ski, but they screwed up the constuction with the intuitive ...

Rossi,
my AT backcoutry ski is the T4 (B3) and is a good light ski, especially for climbing and driving with a light boot,
but otherwise, still a light french feel (no likey)

volkl,
blizzard,
nordica,
fisher,

Great skis, I liked them best when it was simple and they were all just simple wood torsion box skis. now the wider skis are other variations,
but i like austrian and german skis....what can i say

stokli.. great but demanding.

K2,
fun playful torsion box skis, not as demanding as others

Atomic... only austrian ski i don't like at all,
feels more french than austrian
beta is bogus in my opinion

Elan,
the newest incarnation are vertical sidewall,
heavy and nice feeling skis

So,
whos going to launch into me?

did i miss any of note?

Cheers,
W
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Betaracer
Wrong. Only the lowest level junior models use a foam core. The majority of the line uses a Densolite core which is machined like wood, and placed into the ski the same as wood would. Foam core refers to an injected material. :
I didn't realize I said injected foam.

O that's because I didn't.

Densolite, even though machined, is sometimes referred to as densolite foam.
post #12 of 22
Who refers to it as foam?
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Betaracer
Who refers to it as foam?
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22densolite+foam
post #14 of 22
Just because its on the internet does not mean it is correct. Just because results turned up in the search, does not mean that all the links are correct. I'll prove it. I'll create a new term which must be correct because now its on the net... Steel Water.

foam

n 1: a mass of small bubbles formed in or on a liquid [syn: froth] 2: a lightweight material in cellular form; made by introducing gas bubbles during manufacture v : form bubbles; "The boiling soup was frothing"; "The river was foaming"; "Sparkling water" [syn: froth, fizz, effervesce, sparkle]


foam ( P ) Pronunciation Key (fm)
n.

A mass of bubbles of air or gas in a matrix of liquid film, especially an accumulation of fine, frothy bubbles formed in or on the surface of a liquid, as from agitation or fermentation.
A thick chemical froth, such as shaving cream or a substance used to fight fires.

Frothy saliva produced especially as a result of physical exertion or a pathological condition.
The frothy sweat of a horse or other equine animal.
The sea.
Any of various light, porous, semirigid or spongy materials used for thermal insulation or shock absorption, as in packaging.

plas┬Ětic ( P ) Pronunciation Key (plstk)
n.
Any of various organic compounds produced by polymerization, capable of being molded, extruded, cast into various shapes and films, or drawn into filaments used as textile fibers.


Densolite is an acrylic plastic, not a foam. Trust me on this one. There's a stereotype associated with foam in skis. The way around it is not to use it. There is also a myth which hypes wood as the premier core material. The reality is that in a modern cap ski, the core plays a little part flex and life. If you consider why wood is used you'll realize that it is to absorb vibrations. Where do vibrations come from? As a ski flexes, the base stretches and the top tries to compress. When there is a solid object firmly laminated together, this material tries but does not achieve its result. The result is a shear force which creates the vibrations as it disipates the shear force. Think of it a s a mini earthquake/tremor. Atomic's way around this is to separate the base from the core and the cap by using an elastomer between the three main components. The Densolite is one key to making it work because it has the properties to not change shape as it gets tugged and squeezed, and the elastomer bonds very well to it. Now the layup of materials can move at different rates from each other, reducing the shear force by a measured 70%. A foam would not have the structural integrity to withstand repeated cycles... It was tried and tested. So now please stop refering to Densolite as foam.
post #15 of 22
My bad

I will refer to it as an acrylic from now on.

I just knew that it wasn't wood and I had heard it referred to as a type of foam before. Not just from a Google search.
post #16 of 22
Hey Powderhound24, I saw your post very briefly before you edited it. Did you have a question or need help with anything? I would have read it and responded but my girlfriend was yelling at me to get off the computer. As to not have to sleep on the couch i decided to take her advice. Let me know though, im more than happy to offer help to you.
Later
GREG
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Heluva,

I did and I was thinking that I should move it to gear section and I tried to copy it and screwed up and lost it all together, as a result I got frustrated and went to bed.

Thanks for offering to help, here goes.

I am a 5'10" 250lb advanced and aggressive skier, my issue is another ski length dilema. I currently have a pair of Xscream series 187cm and Dynastar Speed SX 63 167cm. I like both pair but I found myself skiing the Dynastars almost exclusivley (Holiday Valley, 2 Tahoe trips and one Utah trip) my only beef is that the Dynastars are a little to soft. I only pulled out the xscreams in pow/crud and spring slush. I was thinking of adding an REX to my quiver for use out West and when conditions warrant at Holiday Valley. I can't beleive it but I love the way I can toss around the Dynastars so I am considering going with a 168 in the rex to replace the xscreams. I know from trolling the forum that everyone will recomend the 184 but I think I want to get the 168 or 177. What do you think?

BTY, I notice you live in Buffalo. I assume that you ski at Holiday Valley? I live in Cleveland and try to get between 10-15 days a year in Ellicotville.
post #18 of 22
I do ski at Holiday Valley. I'm currently a student at the University at Buffalo and a few seasons ago i was instrumental in taking over the ski team here at the University. Since then we have grown in size and have become a big part of the area ski community. So, that being said, we train at Kissing Bridge and Holiday Valley 3 nights a week.

As far as your skis are concerned, i would say to go with the 177cm R:ex. The 184 may be too long for your particular style of skiing, and i would say is definitely too long to be skiing at the Valley. I have trouble with my GS skis there since the hill is so small. You will however probably like the extra length for those skis more than you will like the shorter length - due mostly to the stability of the ski in crud and in longer turns. Your fore-aft stability in rough terrain is where you will primarily notice the advantages. I am 5'7" 155lbs and i usually free ski on skis that are 170cm to 180cm. You are far heavier than i am, so i imagine you would be fine on the 177. It should still feel very short to you, but it wont feel unstable.

If you were looking to replace the Dynastar 63, i would look toward something that is much beefier than that ski. There are many offerings from several companies, but if youre looking to keep the same type of 'feel' i would look at the Omecarve 10 in a 165. There are many other options out there including skis from Rossignol, Volkl, Stockli, Elan, and Fischer.

Stay in touch and we can meet up on the hill sometime. Good luck chosing skis... its always a very fun and exciting shopping experience.

Later

GREG
post #19 of 22
Most Salomons use a wood core. They used to use almost all foam cores, but switched to mostly wood about 6-7 years ago. The Super Force series of skis were foam. The X-Scream have wood. Today's Pilots are wood.
post #20 of 22
Based on Salomon's site most of their skis are a combination of wood and foam or just foam.

I didn't see any that are just wood.
post #21 of 22
I have demoed powder skis - Big Stix 106 (180cm) 8.6 (190cm), Explosiv (180/190cm), Ti Chubb (190cm), Beast 92 (188cm), Powder Plus (180cm), Powder Cruise (180cm), Pocket Rockets (185cm - they were godawfully soft & noodly), Axiom (180cm), Bandit B3 (186cm), AK Launchers (190cm with MOD and without - it doesn't seem to ski any different, it's soft), Mad Trix Mojo (186cm?), Sugar Daddy (183cm), and Scratch BC (188cm). I don't like foam cores, because to me, they're not as durable as wood cores. There were between a foot to three-plus feet, dry, heavy, and Sierra Cement.
post #22 of 22
Interesting thread and great input.

Last season I bought some stockli stormrider XLs in 174. When I demod them I was a little nervous having read so much about them being "demanding" - I'd been skiing bandit b2s and atomic r9s. They were fantastic - amazing edge hold and very precise as well as plenty of float. Only demanding aspects were weight (damn heavy compared to R9s) and stiffness on landing jumps.

If you have reasonably good technique and are somewhat aggressive I would not be put off by the "demanding" tag (I speak as someone who is not an instructor and has only managed 10 - very full - days a year in recent seasons).

J
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