>... all the crap about turning radius, damping modulus, etc. is fun for engineers and folks like Physics Man, but for people like me who care more about how it FEELS and PERFORMS, they mean nothing ...
Gonz - We are a lot more alike than you may think: I don't deny that thinking about these things really is a lot of fun for me. I like knowing how things work and designing new things. It's something I have done since I was a kid, and its what I do for a living.
However, an equally important reason for my fascination with the techno side of skis (and skiing) is that it really allows me to make a much more educated guess at how a given ski might feel and perform (exactly your goals) without actually taking every ski I'm interested in out for a spin. For me, knowing about the technical end of things provides me with one more input (along with recommendations, reviews, etc.) in getting the demo list down to a manageable size. I'm not always right, but usually I'm usually not too surprised when I get the ski out on the snow. It's like a big game of reverse engineering for me.
Unfortunately, the main problem with my techno-augmented approach is that nobody ever publishes the most critical parameters of the ski (eg, weight, swing weight, torsional stiffness, and the fore, center and aft longitudinal flexes). So, except for the rare occasions when I get motivated to take a bunch of skis into my lab and do honest-to-goodness measurements on them, I'm reduced to going into stores and fondling the merchandise like everyone else. The difference is that I'm trying to get an idea of some very specific mechanical parameters of the ski when I'm doing the fondling.
For example, I'll not only get an impression of a ski's weight by picking it up, but I'll also hold it at the center and swing it back and forth to get a feeling of whether it has a low, medium or high polar moment. I'll not only flex it the usual way, but I'll turn it upside down and flex it again. I'll find a small step or rail and flex only the center section, flex it in torsion, bang it with my fist while supporting it in various positions along its length, listen to and watch the vibrations, etc., etc. Add in a little mumbo-jumbo and I could probably charge admission [img]smile.gif[/img] .
Fortunately, after many years of doing pretty much the same routine over and over, I usually can make a pretty good guess about how a ski will feel and perform, especially if is not radically away from mainstream designs that I am familiar with.
I suspect there are quite a few skiers with less of a physics background, but a lot more on-snow experience than me who can get an equally good feeling for a ski by going through the same sort of routine. The only difference between us is that they will not usually be able to put the reasons behind their predictions in words.
My real ya-ya's come when I finally get some skis out on the snow and find out what they are really like, see how close my guestimates have come, savor the differences between the various designs, and try to prevent myself from Oboe'ing over each new XX that comes along (poke
Tom / PM
PS to Oboe - Don't you give me any grief about proper grammar and punctuation like you did that guy in the other thread. I'm looking for the verb "to Oboe" in my copy of Strunk and White right now to see whether the apostrophe is needed. [img]tongue.gif[/img][ September 20, 2002, 12:30 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]