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# how fast is top speed

i have been reading ski reviews from magazines, talking to a lot of sales persons and looking in this forum too and i would like to know what they mean when they are talking about "...best at top speed...", "...only better if you go really fast", "for people that ski at very high speed"...
i mean, how much what that be in mph or km/h. i know racers like miller or maier have their top speeds between 60 to 80 mph dependend on the contest, but for non racing people, is it the same?
It's not exactly a science. When they say better at high speeds, it usually means that the skis are hard to bend at low speeds. Obviously people have different levels of ability and are able to exert different forces on thier skis. For example, a world cup GS skier can bend a 194 on the flats and make every gate, whereas for a skier like me, it feels like I'm riding railroad tracks. So when they say stuff like "best at top speed," it is usally a comment about the nature of the ski, and will vary for different people.
I'm guessing here, but I'd think that at top speed means the skiis have a lower limit of operation. My guess is 25+ mph, which IIRC, is about the average speed on resort blues. So, "high speed" would mean above this average speed. In other words, you'd be passing almost everyone at this "high speed".
Men's Speed Ski World Record = 250.790 km/h = 155.834 mph by Philippe Goitschel. I could not find a date on this...but I think is current.
I know what you mean about the ambiguity. Typically what the magazines mean when they say "works best at high speed" is that the skis don't respond well until you are going at least 20 mph. Once you are travelling above say 25 mph they will feel great, but below that almost (but not quite) any ski will feel better.

Fast also depends on the terrain; fast for a mogul field is slow for a groomer in terms of actual mph.

Skipress world reported the average and top speeds of their GS testers in the gear issue. Their top speeds were in the 50 mph range. My guess is if you are going over 40 mph on a groomer you will likely be in the top 1% of fastest skiers on the hill (at least in Ontario). So in magazine speak an unqualified "fast" = 35 to 55 mph. (Ghost speak , fast = 60+ mph).
Basically, it's a bunch of hooey. Ski reviews in magazines are all fluff, and contain very little useful information. Just look at the pictures and throw it away.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by marcaurel_121 i know racers like miller or maier have their top speeds between 60 to 80 mph dependend on the contest, but for non racing people, is it the same?
Was I right when watching the recent 'combined' at Wengen? The TV showed that the guys were doing 155 kph (about 97 mph ?) on the downhill section ? My God !! Are they crazy ?!?!
RoyB, yes you are right. That freaked me out also. The TV shots from the helicopter made it all look easy and not nearly as fast. Amazing!

As for "best at speed" label, it generally means that you need either weight or momentum (since momentum is speed x weight, speed is key here) to make that ski respond to your inputs. My understanding is that 25 mph or higher is generally enough speed. If you need more than that to make a ski behave, you have the wrong ski (unles you are a racer).
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TomB RoyB, yes you are right. That freaked me out also. The TV shots from the helicopter made it all look easy and not nearly as fast. Amazing! As for "best at speed" label, it generally means that you need either weight or momentum (since momentum is speed x weight, speed is key here) to make that ski respond to your inputs. My understanding is that 25 mph or higher is generally enough speed. If you need more than that to make a ski behave, you have the wrong ski (unles you are a racer).
Or unles skiing at 50 mph is what you really love to do.
i actually came up with this topic, because i read some reviews about skis, and they said about a ski i would like to get (head xrc 1100 chip), that it' s a great ski and only at top speed it starts getting nervous. so i was wondering, if i this would matter for me or not.
well, i am not going as fast as those downhill racers in wengen last saterday, but i like to go fast, though its hard to tell how fast. i guess its like you said around 20-25 mph in carved turns, and going straight it can raise to about 40-50 mph.
Are you normally passing people or being passed? Do you tend to ski faster or slower than others on the mountain? And by home much?

If you like to turn up the speed when you can, "starts getting nervous" means that the tips usually start to wander a bit, and the probability of catching and edge goes up. It can be very disconcerting to have skis not track straight! Many newer carving skis need to be on edge so that they will not "get nervous."
Usually top speed for recreational skis is between 20 and 30 mph. It is very rare and in my opinion dangerous for recreational skier to be traveling faster than that on groomed trails anyways. I doubt many skiers exceed 30mph while free skiing. I ski at a few hills regularly where it is possibly to get to around 55mph but this is usually only done by racers at the very bottom of the head wall... and 55mph feels FAST... even on race stock GS skis.

If you have to travel in a straight line for about the distance of 2 turns on your skis before you can actually get them to turn... you have skis that prefer to go fast. Very few recreational skis have what i would call a true tendancy to go fast. Most like (even expert models) like to be in the 15 - 25 mph range and no more. If youre skiing faster than that you should be skiing on race skis, or have very mature skills in terms of steering your skis at very high speeds.

To put racers in perspective with recreational skiers, put someone at the top of the hill and have them go relatively straight - long radius turns (over 21m)... then put say Bode Miller in a GS course next to them and you will find that even though the GS course is causing the racer to cover about 3 times the ground that the recreational skier is - they will arrive at the bottom of the hill at about the same time. The racers technique and equipment are designed to make them accelerate in each turn and lose as little speed as possible. The typical recreational skier does not have the knowledge or ability to ski their equipment at these speeds...

Later

GREG
Reference point: 30 mph is about the speed where you begin to think that you might actually live through the crash.
So how fast are you supposed to ski a ski like the VÃ¶lkl Superspeed before "it skis like it's supposed to" ?

Is it "impossible" to ski it slow or what?
anything german feels best at 250 k/hr. oh wait, that's cars.

actually, the superspeed is fairly easy to ski at slower speeds - it is actually pretty easier to turn lazily - if you like lazy at the radius the ski wants to turn. i find this ski easier to ski than people make it out to be. but, this ski always feels fast and so super stable it never really wants to go exactly slow.
This speed business really piqued my interest. So I took my new handheld GPS equipped with speed and elevation logging features out for a spin yesterday in my baby mountain resort yesterday. (Yeah... what a geek! And you are right.)

First, my "noodling mode": I was skiing with my wife on green, and easy blue runs. I generally waited for her to get about a 100 yrds ahead, then I caught up and pass her for another 100 yrds. So I was skiing 200 yrds at a time in well controlled small-med radius turns. In that mode, my max speed was 24 mph, and I was mostly between 10mph to 20mph.

Next, my "normal mode": I went to a couple of groomed black diamond runs, and did med radius turns, concentrating on keeping a crisp but not breakneck speed. I averaged between 15 - 25 mph. But I had a max of 35 at one point (I must have needed to straightline it at one point to avoid something!)

Then my "speed mode": These were basically med-large radius turns, and I focused on getting effective edge set and pressure. I maxed at 45mph, but I stayed mostly in the 15 - 35 mph zone.

I probably could have punched the speed up another 10mph by straightening out the turns, but I had no desire. Too many people on an MLK weekend.

I suppose each person's "max fun zone" depends on his/her skill and equipment. Mine seems to be 25-40mph for groomers.
I bought Atomic SX:11's end of season last year and all summer/fall was warned they "don't like to go slow" and "feel like a sports car going fast, but a greyhound bus going slow" or "Feel like lead on your feet unless you're going fast" or "don't like making short turns" got me worried I'll tell you.

Reality: (to quote from above) "hooey." They do everything at all speeds. sure a slalom ski would make short turns a little easeir, with less foot steering, but using modern techniques they go slow, fast, in between, long radius and short just fine, thank you! Maybe if you were an old style skier and trying to twist them the short turns wouldn't work well, but tipping and a bit of foot steering and they can ski short turns well. And as far as going slow, jeez doesn't turn shape and amount of edging have something to do with that?
Quote:
 Originally Posted by josseph This speed business really piqued my interest. So I took my new handheld GPS equipped with speed and elevation logging features out for a spin yesterday in my baby mountain resort yesterday. (Yeah... what a geek! And you are right.)
What are the characteristics of the area? Did you feel that the length of runs and congestion played a part?

Can I borrow your GPS dealie for ESA?
Thanks for the input skimangojaz, I'm looking for a SR ski that will let me ski with others, but still allow me to rip without going to the car to fetch my long boards. The sx11 is my next demo. It seems everytime I demo a ski it knocks the old contender off the podium.

You have to put these things in perspective. Yeah, it's susposed to want to go fast, but it's still going to be a 170 cm Cross between a GS and slalom (ok closer to GS), not a 208 Super-G.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Ghost Thanks for the input skimangojaz, I'm looking for a SR ski that will let me ski with others, but still allow me to rip without going to the car to fetch my long boards. The sx11 is my next demo. It seems everytime I demo a ski it knocks the old contender off the podium. You have to put these things in perspective. Yeah, it's susposed to want to go fast, but it's still going to be a 170 cm Cross between a GS and slalom (ok closer to GS), not a 208 Super-G.
Exactly, and yes I do have the 170's. The turning radius is 16m, which is between a slalom ski and a GS.

A friend pointed out that even an 11 meter radius is about 33 feet natural turn radius, not that short. You always have to use some foot steering.
hi. when i once made use of a speed-measuring installation in ischgl/austria, which was installed in the pretty fast runout of a reddish pitch of a blue slope, i quite easily achieved 50 mph. on my freestyle snowboard. even though that felt pretty fast, it was not yet personal top speed. an even though comparison is difficult, i would say i ski a bit faster than i board, especially when going down red groomers in super-g style turns. thats for measured speed.

the "minumum speed" -thing is something i never believed in until i demoed the stockli laser cross pro 172 after having demoed the super-smooth laser slalom (ice-grip from parallel universe) for a couple of days. turning the cross at slow speed ie after lifts or in crowded tight sections felt awkward and was fairly unprecise. the only way to bring life to this ski was to go straigt for hundreds of meters to pick up speed an enjoy a couple of superstable high speed turns then. i must admit i returned that ski after just two hours.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by josseph This speed business really piqued my interest. So I took my new handheld GPS equipped with speed and elevation logging features out for a spin yesterday in my baby mountain resort yesterday. (Yeah... what a geek! And you are right.)
Will that yoke also tell you the speed of your golf swing ?

How come North Americans always seem to know that ?

I have never seen any test facility that would measure swing speed on this side of the Atlantic (though I have heard that you can get this checked at Callaway's premises).
Quote:
 Originally Posted by ssh What are the characteristics of the area? Did you feel that the length of runs and congestion played a part?'
Don't exactly know what you mean by "characteristics". Yes, the day was moderately crowded, but except for the beginner (green) area, there was never a lift line more than a few people. I generally waited for the slope to be almost clear before starting down. Most runs, except when skiing with my wife, I could get from top to bottom without having to pass more than one or two people. - remember.... small resort : I tend to turn continuously so the speed I measured was not from shoosing run-outs.

Quote:
 Can I borrow your GPS dealie for ESA?
All the guys go ga ga over my gps; all their wives roll their eyes saying it was a gameboy for ovegrown kids. I truly don't want to get you in trouble with your significant other. Besides, you will be too busy having real fun. : We at little resorts have to find our amusement in other venues. :
Based on this thread, I took the GPS (Garmin GPSMAP 76S) out yesterday and recorded some runs. Maxed at 49.8 MPH, but averaged 24 MPH on most runs including startup, traverses and glides back to lift. Interesting to associate a real speed with the feel on skis. 50 MPH feels fast and the sound of wind overwhelms all other sounds. That was on 6****** always on edge and in carving stance, not a tuck. This seems pretty close to what Josseph found in his speed mode
Quote:
 "These were basically med-large radius turns, and I focused on getting effective edge set and pressure"
Conditions were hard-frozen groomed, (the kind that makes a lot of noise if you skid the edges) 1648' vertical diamond slope.

### GPS Speed

A little late to add to this thread, but last winter at a fairly deserted remote NH resort midweek, with wide, hard, groomed slopes my son and I were hitting 58-62 mph on GS11s according to my GPS unit. Perfect conditions, but you don't even want to think about catching an edge. Good visibility, no headwalls, no intersections, and there was no-one on the slopes (you could see the whole slope from the chair on the ride up) - kind of a once in a lifetime type of day.
Bump for summer.
My past is back to haunt me. :

### update

Thanks. Much better summer topic than debating whether an experienced ex world cupper with years of experience and race coaching can ski.

Since last posting, i've made a few aquisitions.

After extensive testing with my gps map 76Cs, slightly over 60 mph is about as fast as you can get on southern Ontario hills like Blue Mountain Collingwood, or Talisman. You can achieve that on 13-m radius 165 cm long Fischer WC SCs or 60 to 70 m radius 208 cm SGs. It felt very fast on the short skis, but felt dead slow on the super giant slalom skis. It felt so slow I brought them in to get fresh wax (On bigger hills I have felt these skis go fast).

Speeds of about a mile a minute felt fine on SX 11s, but a bit hairy on SX10s.

I am still of the opinion that "fast" from a magazine perspective is anything over 35 mph.

The real problem with high speed turns and short radius skis is that the skis will not be able to pure arc pencil thin railroad track carves at a radius larger than their side cut radius. That means about 25 mph for slalom-type skis and maybe 35 for longer radius skis, and about 50 or 60 for my SGs.
Oddball perspective here but, I have a feeling that ...... totally subjective ..... I ski at about +/- 40 mph.

Leaving the lot on the way home each time, I find myself drivng on the slow side .... usually about 40. I have to tell myself to speed the hell up, and it has nothing to do with being tired.

I have often wondered if it is because you get used to seeing objects move by as they have been all day and then just naturally match the pace?
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Yuki Leaving the lot on the way home each time, I find myself drivng on the slow side .... usually about 40.
Funny, on the way home from the slopes I nearly alway find myself going too fast. I figure that it's from spending the previous bunch of hours going as fast as I care to. It's hard to get that mindset to change into one of following a limit.
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