At 165, unlike you, I'm not a big guy. And the same size and model ski will definitely perform differently when carrying my weight versus yours. I would hope we can all agree on this point.
I'm not debating that most intermediate skiers possess the ability to ski
today's high performance (recreational) skis. I am simply putting forth the supposition that - in a world of want vs. need - many people buy more ski than they need - or should? - because it's what's hot or for numerous other intangible reasons.
I was working for Volkl when the P9's made their debut. For clarification, the WeltCup or World Cup racing
skis were given the "R" designation - Explosive R
SL or R
RS (GS or long slalom), Renntiger R
(a classic combi ski i.e. GS construction/SL sidecut) and finally the Targa R
, later to become the P9 SLC. With a cracked edge, slalom sidecut and softer longitudinal flex, the Targa R's and P9 SLC's were considered a recreational
or NASTAR-type racing ski. The Targa's and SLC's were, in deed, a ski that many lesser skilled skiers enjoyed immensely. Many of these skiers (may) have been even happier with a Competition
series ski, which was one level down from Volkl's WeltCup skis.
It wasn't too many years ago that if you wanted a true high performance ski you had
to buy a racing ski. Period. For myself, and I'm confident, a lot of other skiers, only recently has my primary ski not
been a racing ski. So far has ski performance come, that the racing segment - while often still the measuring stick - has shrunk to accomodate mainly racers
. While the rest of us get to pick from a cornucopia of other high performance
skis. Ski performance is no longer layered or tiered like it used to be:
- Racing skis</font>
- Recreational racing skis</font>
- High performance skis</font>
- Performance recreational skis</font>
- Entry level skis</font>
Today, whether a front, back or front-side/back-side ski; at the high end of the performance spectrum it is a lateral
move from racing skis to high performance skis. I could race GS on my G4's/AX4's, such is their performance. But in the age of specialization, why would I. Especially when I can race on a ski designed specifically
for the GS course.
I would suggest that our ski vernacular is old and the range of performance for all skis is bracketed; since the Volkl 6 Star Supersport is what spawned this discussion, I'll use it in my example. The 6 Star is defined as a high performance
ski - which it must be, because it's not
a racing ski.
Please indulge my arbitrary values and the rambling story telling that follows.
If a skier has a performance range of zero to nine and the 6 Star has a design performance range of, say, six to nine; it would follow that the skier with a performance rating of four or five would be able
to ski the 6 Star. But, they wouldn't come anywhere close to extracting the performance the ski has to offer. And, when our Five
skier is having an off day, the ski may very well contribute to Mr/Ms Five's woes. The 6 Star wants
to be skied, it rewards energy input with energy output; but, even on their best day, our dear Five cannot give the ski what the ski wants
. Technically, can Five ski
the 6 Star? Yes. Can Five ski the 6 Star technically well? No, or at least only as well as their five
abilites will allow. Would our beloved Five be better off on a ski with a lower performance bracket - a bracket of five to eight or maybe four to six. I think so.
We've all seen it. A low(er) skill skier skiing
a full-blown race ski or very high performance recreational
ski. We can't really say they are not skiing
the ski, because they are. But would they ski better, maybe have more fun and possibly do it all more easily on a ski whose performance bracket more closely matches their own? I think yes. I'm not taking a shot at the instructors in the group, but would you honestly take your
student Five to the area shop to buy a pair of 6 Stars?
|Originally posted by John J:
Tom B, smart idea to focus more on the lighter or women's comments and reviews. I remember a long past article in Ski Racing (by Olle Larsson?) stating that most Master racers would do well to watch the Woman's World Cup racers with their finesse over strength as opposed to super strong Hermanator men.
(Particularly one French gal, smaller, a GS skier,Carol Merle). Combine moderate speeds with lightness and there will be a different feel to a ski.
Actually, boy athletes would do well to pay attention to elite female players in many sports, instead of skipping through the finesse game and trying the superior strength mode before they even have that strength.
But then what would all those hormones have to do?
I remember reading the same article referenced by JohnJ and believe most of us mere mortals
would do well to heed Olle's advice.
IG[ November 16, 2003, 12:50 PM: Message edited by: Inspector Gadget ]