VailSP, we are on exactly the same wavelength!> due to the increased arc in a specific part of the ski, rather than the arc being distributed over the entire length
Yes! This arises from how a specified amount of overall stiffness (the design value) is distributed over the length of the ski, and each mfgr seems to have their own ideas about this. As you probably know, Iggy even went so far as to offer a couple of different flex patterns (and see where it got them
Personally, for anything from ice to deep slop, I strongly prefer what seems to be Volkl's standard design (eg, p40's) where they put most of the flex in the tip and tail and leave the middle 2/3rd's of the ski relatively stiff. When you hand flex a ski like this and compare it to a "round" flexing ski (eg, 10ex), or, even worse, a ski that "folds" (ie, has a soft middle), the difference in shape is very obvious, sort of like the difference between a glacier-made valley and a river-made valley.
For powder skis, the standard approach has been to use a very round flex pattern. I don't have enough experience in deep powder on different flex patterns to speak with authority, but I know I love my Volkl Explosivs, and their flex pattern is a slightly rounded version of the p40 flex pattern I described above. When it gets too round, I feel like there almost too much fore-aft forgiveness, you can rock back and forth without finding an obviously optimal position, and lose snow feel (as well as experience increased drag).
Tom / PM
PS (in edit) - I forgot to mention that I have a pair of k2 7/8's ( = Axis) laying around, and on hardpack, my experience with them is exactly the same as yours on the Axis-X. In soft stuff, they are not so bad, but I have other skis that I prefer for such conditions. Again, preferences like this are strongly weight dependent. As I recall, Oboe also has a pair, and loved them (but he weighs 145).[ May 23, 2002, 08:41 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]