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Tail width in ski design

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I notice that several different ski dimensions can achieve the same turn radius. To get to the same advertised radius (let's not get into how radius is measured), it seems like some manufacturers go for a relatively wider tip, and others go for a wider tail.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the two designs?

post #2 of 9
If you mean wider tail than tip I can hardly think (without consulting the catalogs) of current skis made that way.

The only ski I know about is one of the two Blade (Made in Italy) GS with about 96 : 98 mm.

The only other ski of that design was the retail Salomon GS a few years back with (if I remember well) 97-66-100. It managed only two seasons and than disappeared.
When it was new at the Munich ISPO show the freshly retired Gunther Mader was there as a Salomon man and he told me they were sure all GS skis would be like that very soon...
The ski had the mounting point 9-10 cm closer to the shovel.
The theory was approximately:
- extreme acceleration due to the dominant strong tail
- easy initiation due to short forebody and the forward position
The ski was, IMO and in my memory, rather weird, not bad just on a well-groomed slope and difficult to manoeuver on a rough terrain.
Afaik, it has never been the Salomon racestock/worldcup ski.

One of the first Fischer carvers had 93 : 94 but it didn´t last longer than 3 years, I think.

It´s surely not complete and I probably forgot something.

If you do mean "relatively" and not "absolutely" I´m sure someone will tell you more.
post #3 of 9
I think gehoff meant relatively. If two skis were identical in construction and radius but had different side cuts, what difference would we notice while carving with them. For example, if one ski was 118-65-100 and the other was 115-65-103, and they were both 160cm long, would the ski with the wider tip initiate turns easier and be easier to skid the tails? I am curious too.

post #4 of 9
I may be mistaken on this, but it seems to me that if the bias is to shovel width and not tail width, the ski not only initiates easier but also releases the turn easier - therefore tolerates skids better. that's what I think I've perceived on skis, but I could be wrong...
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Yes, I meant realtive width. For example here are the published dimensions of two skis a radius of 19: (tip - mid - tail )

Atomic R11 : 108-70-99
Fischer Big Stix 7.2 : 112-72-96

You can see that the big stix has a much wider tip and narrower tail, yet the same advertised radius. I'm curious what that translates into on the snow. My gut feeling is what gonzo said above.

post #6 of 9
I've been wondering why race skis are all going big up front. I came across this a while back.

Concord NH March. 2, 2004

New FISCHER GS Ski New for 2004-05 is Fischer’s GS ski. With an improved sidecut and construction based on winning runs from this seasons WorldCup athletes like Kirsten Clark in Lienz Austria and Manfred Moelgg in Adelboden Switzerland, this ski has already proved its merits. Because GS technique has evolved in the last three years, Fischer has also. With this new ski we have gradually increased the width of the forebody while keeping the tip, waist and tail at the dimensions of 104-65-89.5. In regards to construction we have torsionally softened the area under the foot. With these adjustments it allows the athlete for the new technique “to drift” while approaching the apex of the turn and then applying full pressure when they find their line. The results are cleaner linking arcs with no chatter under foot. This new GS ski, as in our previous skis, is FIS legal with radius >21m in our 173cm through 193cm.
post #7 of 9
I have noticed that narrower tails are faster when the skis are running flat on the snow.

post #8 of 9
Originally Posted by real9999
I've been wondering why race skis are all going big up front. I came across this a while back.

Someone please tell me if I'm right...if they increased the width of the forebody while maintaining the same dimentions, they essentially take away from the curvature of the sidecut in front of the binding, and probably add curvature behind. This would probably be along the lines of widening the tail, right?

To answer the question about tip vs. tail bias, I have wondered the same thing.

In comparing the 2005 Rossi 9S WC (117-65-104) to the 2004 model (115-64-98), it felt like the newer ski was gripping and turning along the entire length of the ski, whereas the 2004 model feels like the grip is concentrated mainly underfoot. The newer model with a wider tail seemed to be more locked into the arc, with better grip and stability. I have heard similar comments about the Elan SLX Race (114-64-104), also a very wide-tailed ski, in terms of feeling grip along the entire edge.

So my bet would be that having a wider tail results in a smoother, better-held carve, whereas a narrow tail allows for easier skidding and line changes. Tip width affects ease of initiation, with wider being easier. However, a narrower tip can be overcome by having the binding centered more forward, which also allows the tail to disengage more easily when needed.
post #9 of 9
As early as in the first years of shaped skis there appeared:
"a wide tail is for those who can´t finish their turns whereas a narrower tail for those who can"

Unfortunalety, it´s not so simple as that.
Narrower tails (a GS ski as an examole) allow the ski to go faster both generally and when there is no need to tighten the end of the turn.
Wider tails finish off the turn very strongly but at the cost of straighter exit.
The shape of the sidecut and both flex and torsional stiffness play a role, too.
That´s at least what I think.

Race skis (such as the Fischers mentioned by real9999) are, as we know, changing constantly.
I measured the absolutely new Head GS our St. Caterina-medalist Sarka used to be the fastest in the 2nd run.
The ski (183 cm, officially 185) is different than the official 102.9-66.7-88.7 and the tail is only 85.5 and tip in the contact 98 (a not very precise measurement by myself).
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