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What exactly is ski chatter?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
What exactly is ski chatter? How do you know when your ski is "chattering?" What does it feel like? I've had an experience when there is a steep icy slope and I have sharp edges, the ski will not skid smoothly. It's like the edge will hold then give then hold then give, causing a very bumpy ride. I can skid smoothly only when I take pressure off the edge. Is this related to chattering?
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrzinwin
What exactly is ski chatter? How do you know when your ski is "chattering?" What does it feel like? I've had an experience when there is a steep icy slope and I have sharp edges, the ski will not skid smoothly. It's like the edge will hold then give then hold then give, causing a very bumpy ride. I can skid smoothly only when I take pressure off the edge. Is this related to chattering?
That's as good a description of chattering as any! From dictionary.com: To vibrate or rattle while in operation
post #3 of 8
I ussualy get chatter when going fairly fast on hard pack / icy terrain at a good speed. The tips and front of the ski tend to bounce quickly up and down. Giving your legs and feet an odd vibration feeling. You can hear the chopping noises of the ski too.

Thats what I call chatter anyways
post #4 of 8
My understanding:
It's related to the springiness of your skis.
If you bend a ski and just let go then it vibrates.

If you lose grip a little and the ski is bent then the tip will spring 'downhill' a bit. This is likely to cause it to come into contact with the snow which then pushes it back 'uphill' into a curve - this happens in quite a snatchy way (and your ski is still not gripping well enough) so it lets go again and the cycle repeats.

Normally the damping in a ski stops this happening - but if you have the right conditions (higher speed, hard surface, tiny bumps - eg a frozen, pisted surface) then your skis will resonate - you can minimise it happening by backing off the edge and applying the pressure smoothly but once your past the point it happens at all it takes is a little bump to set it off.

I suspect that the increased stiffness of race skis changes the resonant frequency. I also wonder if recreational skis have less damping. Not sure
post #5 of 8
Drive down the Interstate and drift over to the white line till you feel the rumble strips telling you that you are about to go off the road.
When you feel that same rapid bumpy feeling on your skis you are chattering.

Chattering happens when you either over steer or over pressure an edged ski and it tries to slip and hold at the same time, as you explained in your original post. Think about skiing on a pile of eggs---calm your movements and you will find it happens far less.
post #6 of 8
trust me, you'll know it when you feel it.
post #7 of 8
Take your fingertips and push down relatively hard on a clean, wooden top table. Now draw your hand back towards you. Note how your skin sticks, then jumps, sticks, jumps? You can do it on glass too.

That is what your edges are doing. Either because of rough terrain or because you're losing an edge they grip, slip, grip, slip and start this funny bending wave thing. Sometimes it feels like your about to lose it.
post #8 of 8
A great explaination came from the best coach I ever worked with. The chattering is the result of loading and flexing the ski more than the edge can engage the snow and hold. The ski will "unflex" and the result is the tips and/or tails moving away from the turn, chattering against the very firm snow.

If the edge angle is not high enough to allow the carve to continue, or the snow is too firm for the edge angle to hold the carve, the ski will unload and the result is the chattering you feel. The answer, as stated above, is to finish the turn sooner or to "feather" the edges a bit to allow for a bit more skidding.

As the coach said, if your skis are chattering, you've either been in the current turn too long or you need a higher edge angle to maintain the carving turn you're in. Chattering is only a bad thing if you're looking for speed or comfort. It works against both!
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