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Ski problem or technique problem?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I bought Fischer Rx4's last season after leasing Head C100's for a season prior. At the time they were more ski than I needed, but now I am thinking a bit differently.

My problem - at speed (which is moderate by my estimation) the ski begins to get a bit unstable and any little surface irregularity gets the skis shaking (vibrating). Also, when turning at speed or on a steep grade the ski transitions from carving to skidding (and vise-versa). They also begin to chatter.

I took two lessons over the past few weekends. One instructor thinks it is my technique, not the ski. We started making big arc turns on a green trail and slowly tightened the radius. We then moved to a steeper blue trail and did the same. No question - my technique is a part of the problem...BUT. Even with the instructor (she was good, gave me some great pointers) the skis started to skid and I had trouble keeping a tight turn on the steeper blue trails. I was better, but still not right.

The second instructor, one week later, spent 4 runs following me and watching my technique. Says its not my technique, the skis are being overstressed at the higher speeds and they are loosing there energy when I apply turning forces at speed or on a steep slope. Either I make larger arc turns to stay in the skis sweet spot or move up to a more aggressive ski.

What do you think?

I ski 100% in the East in the Catskill Mtns (NY) or Birkshires (MA). I ski 90% blues and 10% easy/groomed blacks that are not crazy steep or full of moguls. I like moderate speeds for the trails I am on. I enjoy playing on and around the dips on the trails and like to cut back and forth across the slope. I would say my turns are more moderate than ultra tight or long arcing turns. I am not a great fan of speed because I feel unstable at speed.

Please advise.

-Scott K.
post #2 of 16
RX4 Ski
The ski for the aspiring intermediate. You’ve conquered green terrain, blue terrain is the norm, and you’re getting pulled to the black diamonds by your friends. The RX4 is the ski with a comfort zone all over the mountain * stable at speeds and easy to skid or carve. Ski Magazine gives it “high scores in Long Turns and Stability at Speed”. The popular mid-fat 67mm waist gives this ski its versatility and helped it take two medals in this year’s magazine tests. Available as a Railflex2 system or without
Doesn't sound like the ski. Chattering is often caused by poor pressure control.
post #3 of 16
what did you think it might be, eh?

those skis have no chatter issues. it's the pilot, not the plane. the archer, not the arrow. et cetera, et cetera.
post #4 of 16
I know a guy who skis the RX4 who found that for his technique, he had to move the binding forward significantly to make the ski reliable. I think his boot center mark is an inch ahead of the ski's center mark. This guy gets most of his edging from inclination rather than angulation and rarely ever really pressures the fronts of his boots.

Like Gonzo said, it's the archer, not the arrow.
post #5 of 16
If your skis are not bent and your edges reasonably sharp up to the contact points the ski should be good enough for the way and slopes you ski.
Lack of pressure on the ski´s forebody is often the problem.
Have you checked sufficiently your
- fore/aft position on the ski
- boots
- stance (body configuration)?
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input, I will have my fore-aft position, technique (forward pressure on skis), body postion, etc... I liked the skis up til now, perhaps as I get more confident, my technique is becoming more significant for teh skis to perform correctly. I am going back this weekend to Butternut, I am going to try and get another lesson in with Christy.

Thanks again
post #7 of 16
All the above could be correct. You did have some instructors say your tech was ok. I would be sure to have your back relaxed so that you can feel your back against your jacket, along with the rest of your balance position. i.e. without pushing the butt backward... say to yourself... I'm so tired, then slouch. Even though this is taught in PSIA I've gotten slammed for saying that. but then perhaps I didn't explain myself well enough.

Another possiblity is perhaps the ski can't take the speed you are asking of it. - just a guess.

Another possibility- are the tips and tails very wide on this ski? If the base is higher than the edges just past the snow contact point at tip and tail, the ski will be squirelly. Also (contrary to others) if this area is base-low (concave) to the edges then the ski always 'wants to be on edge' which can be squirrelly as well. Very wide tips and tails sometimes tend to be this way. One take have them ground down NOT totally flat but with about an inch or 1.5 inches of concave space at the center. This way the ski will be more predictable and not leave the base too thin in these areas.

All in all- I'd say you are a very accomplished skier. Don't be so hard on yourself. Others are more than willing to do that for you!
post #8 of 16
ScottK alignment could be an issue with these skis. You mention the fact that they are very squirrly at speeds when flat. Sounds like you are either bow legged and on the outside edges slightly or are pronated and the skis are flat. You also sound like you are a bit back in your boots. Either way, the skis will not track very well on flats. The solution is footbeds, possibly heel lifts and boot cuff alignment.

This miss alignment can also cause problems with pressure control as both skis are never edged to the same degree. The other skis may have had enough give or the edges junk and you did not notice it as much.

Have these things checked before you beat up on yourself to hard. If you are very far out of alignment you will play hell correcting these things through technique. You will need some kind of screwy upper body movements to get the skis on edge.

Sometimes it can be equipment and you can sometimes buy a turn. You must understand I am usually with the crowd that says it ain't the arrow its the indian.
post #9 of 16
Skis and trends come and go. I had the same problem with my Volkl SL's on the ice and icy cord groomers. Great when the snow was a bit fresh or soft but, they were like "spit on a griddle" on a hard surface. The dance and chatter every time I approached speed drove me nuts! They were cap skis not race stock.

I switched to Stockli, at the time, "made the old fashioned way", by hand and they weighed a few ounces more. Chatter gone and a much higher "top end". They were not a "cap ski" but were the "straight sidewalls".

Four or five years ago if you wanted a straight sidewall it was Stockli or nothing unless you had a good race room connection. The trend has reversed again and there are a lot of companies that put the "meat" back in.

You and I ski the same basic eastern conditions. I'd go demo a pair of Fischers or Elan or whatever .... not a "race stock" ... but a bit more ski and see if the chatter goes away.
post #10 of 16
I'm just guessing here, not having tried out the RX4, but it would seem reasonable that you are taking these skis to speeds and turns that require forces they can't deliver without flexing and momentarily letting go of the edge.

The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. It should be easy enough to go rent an RX8, Fussion Pro, Nordica Speed Machine, or any other high-performance ski and see if they chatter. If they don't, maybe you need an RX6; if they do maybe you need more lessons.

PS. Even if it's the ski, your technique could still be off.
post #11 of 16
Scott K, are you keeping the skis well-tuned?
post #12 of 16

Because of the deeper side cuts and shorter length, today's skis are more tune sensitive than traditional skis were. Fishers are tuned at the factory with a base edge bevel of 0.7 degrees, and a side edge bevel of 2.75 degrees. These angles can be approximated at 1 degree and 3 degrees respectively and the skis will perform the same. If, however the bevels are messed up so that they are inconsistent over the length of the ski, the skis can act pretty squirrelly, particularly on hard snow. There's not much that you can do technique wise to change this. In soft snow you probably won't notice it much. This can be caused by normal wear and tear from sking hard snow.

Another tuning problem that can occur with these skis is that Fischer leaves them sharp tip to tail at the factory. Rather than dull the tips and tails, they reduce the side edge bevels in the tip and tail. They ski great right out of the shrink wrap. If a ski tech does you the favor of dulling the edges at tip and tail, this can change the way they handle. They don't hook up as well in turns, and if they are dulled too far into the running surface they won't handle speed well.

I recommend that you take the skis to a good ski tech and have them tuned properly. The RX4 should last longer than a year and a half. If you liked them before but they have changed so that they no longer ski the same, the tune needs some attention. A good shop will flatten the base, which is hard to do accurately by hand, and will clean up the edges with proper bevels.

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. I had them tuned at Stratton (after 8 solid days of skiing) - I am assuming they did it correctly. I demoed 5 stars a few weeks ago at Butternut while my kids ate lunch, they held better than teh Fischers, which leads me to beleive its the skis, not that my technique is correct either.

I need to demo more higher-performance skis on the same slope as skiing with the current skis to determine better if its more the ski than me, or more me than the ski.
post #14 of 16
I usually ski race stock GS skis and a big all mountain ski, but I bought a piar of 175 Rossi T Power Cobra X's new on Ebay. It's an entry level ski. I have them mounted without a plate, just with Marker Demo bindings. They are tuned and waxed. They are a blast on easier slopes on crowded days, which is what I bought them for. They have an upper speed limit on ice, hard pack and even soft snow. They chatter, slide and even bounce. My point: I think it's your ski. Demo the RX8 or a similar ski and see what happens. You may need to get a ski you can grow into.
post #15 of 16
when I ski ANY of my skis with too much pressure and edge angle for the ski's relation to the snow at that point in time, they chatter.

every one of my skis is rated for "expert" skiers.

and every one of them quiets down considerably when I first ask the individual ski what it wants FROM ME in order for it to hold an edge on harder snow in steeper terrain. usually when I approach it this way, my ski seems to have no speed limit. I'm willing to bet I could find the RX4 to behave similarly for me.
post #16 of 16
I think that Nightcat and Gonz are actually both right. It is more difficult to work a low-end ski to hold a solid edge at high speed. It is possible, but I think it takes a higher-level skier.

I think if you tried an RX6 or RX8, you'd find a similar ski with a lot more "beef". If you've spent much time here, you know what I think of the RX8.
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