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Do you like soft skis or stiff skis?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I always thought I liked soft skis only - I had Nordica Beast 72s, 1080s, and currently Karhu Jak BCs, a very soft (yet light) twinnie that's 90 under foot. Great pow and touring ski, but tough on anything hard. End of last season I figured I'd get a stiff ski for resort and variable conditions and, thinking I was tough, picked up a used pair of 173 Explosivs...one of the best reviewed (and stiffest) fatties around. Let's just say they used and abused me. They totally skied me rather than vice-versa. I sold them and relegated myself to soft-ski only wuss status.

However, this past season I took a chance and picked up a pair of Black Diamond Crossbows - a tele/AT ski that is 83 under foot made by Atomic for BD and a stiff ski for sure - in order to work on my speed and larger GS turns, and mostly for on-piste or variable snow applications. They require a lot of input, but give back what you put in...and beg for more and more speed. Completely unflappable in variable conditions.

What a difference it has made! Not only has skiing the stiffer BD made me a better skier in terms of my larger radius turns and speed handling (and an absolute joy in cut up snow), but when I do jump on my Jak BCs in pow or soft conditions, it's like there is nothing on my feet - I don't even need to think to turn. I do overpower the Jak BCs now occasionally (thinking I'm on the XBows), but I absolutely still love them for the softer snow and pull them out anytime we get fresh pow.

So I must admit now...I love soft skis...and stiff skis. In fact, I want to try those Exploders again (damn, shouldn't have sold em)!!!!

Anyone have a similar experience?
post #2 of 29
I figured out a while ago that I prefer soft skis in soft snow and stiff skis on hard snow- makes it hard to have a one ski quiver but the confidence inspired by snappy Herr Volkl on ice and hard snow won me over- conversly, the soft sensual curves (carves) of a Dynastar or Salomon in soft snow is so French, so promiscuous... : You're normal, you just need to collect skis...
post #3 of 29
Depends. There are too many variables to make the ultimate choice. That's why I have 12 personal pair, and 40 other demo pair to find the ultimate for the day or event.
post #4 of 29
Betaracer: Doesn't that variety confuse your balance point? I'm no racer, but I notice that when I hop on another set of planks, it takes me a run or more to dial in the sweet spot.

I've had skis I previously loved feel like 2x4's after skiing on something with a different geometry (my cherished Atomic R:11's sucked after a few runs on my new B:5's).

I can't imagine juggling 52 sets of skis.

BTW: In answer to the basic question, I've given up on soft skis. I used to own lots of K2's, but got fed-up with lack of edge-hold (think of Bambi on the ice-pond). Perhaps K2's are better today, I don't know.

I'm now a Volkl and Atomic convert. Power and control up the wazoo! What a difference.
post #5 of 29
Stiff unless I'm in powder
post #6 of 29
I like my race skis on the soft side of medium...stiff enough so they're not flimsy, but soft enough that they can be bent very easily. I like my skis damp, so the soft thing definitely helps that.
post #7 of 29
Since I usually don't have a caddy to hand me the right tool to any occasion behind me all the time like the golf playing folks I definitely prefer planks on the stiffer side on and off-piste.
post #8 of 29

Soft is for the birds!

I like them stiff and responsive.
post #9 of 29
Stiff skis tend to 'hold the line' better under pressure and chatter in a turn but I like being a little more in control of the radii and being able to communicate with the ski. A heavy stiff ski locks in the carve and runs it's pre-programmed course along it's radius and balks at mid turn changes. Medium stiffness skis allow changes (at least in my experience) in turn radius mid way through your turn, making them more versatile. You can switch up your turns on the run down for some variety.

My .02 cents...
post #10 of 29
I have been converted by my Fischer Big Stix 84's. Not a super stiff ski from shovel to tail but super stiff torsionally. They seem to handle well at slow to super fast speeds and on hard or soft snow. They float softer powder, bust stiff crud, crush hard bumps, etc.

I envision nanotechnology skis that can adapt to speed and terrain to always be the perfect ski. POW!
post #11 of 29
There just no way to say i likea soft ski or a stiff ski. my Atomic have a nice torsionally stiff tip and tail and med hard flex over all great skis love the edge hold. i also have some k2 less stiff then the Atomics yet much better edge hold in chopped up snow then the Atomics my Powder skis med soft flex and wonderful in the deep stuff. The dynastars i demoed and now might have to stick up a 7/11 to buy were softer then i normally like yet one fun ride. These ski engineers have so many diffrent ways to approach design that that more about the overall sesign then just how stiff or soft a ski is.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Strato
I'm now a Volkl and Atomic convert. Power and control up the wazoo! What a difference.
That's 'cause you haven't tried the Fischers or Elans or Nordicas...
post #13 of 29
nothing like going from the race skis in the morning to the twin tips in the afternoon, and then overpowering the twins and having the entire tip of the ski give out. it really leads to spectacular crashes, and people love to see just how much you can make a ski flex when you're about to go over the handlebars.

I dont have a preference of one ski vs. another, but if I start skiing on one pair of skis in the morning and then switch, it can take me a while to get used to the different flexes even though ive got at least 100 days on two pairs and 50 on another. I guess the key word here is consistency.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bklyntrayc
I like them stiff and responsive.
Now I'm intimidated.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
That's 'cause you haven't tried the Fischers or Elans or Nordicas...
Actually, I did try the Fischers, Steve, and liked 'em. They had great grab and were ultra responsive (actually better snow-feel than my Atomics).

For some reason, I just love the bulldozer impunity I feel when on Atomics.

Elans and Nordicas are the two other brands I'd probably like if I tried them. Their rep is much the same: stiff, responsive and powerful.
post #16 of 29
Too many people associate stiff skis with great edge hold. Many of these people tend to overpower their skis. I am more of a finesse skier so I prefer softer skis with good torsional stiffness and a great rebound. I like to play on my skis, so a stiff or damp ski is not my preference.

Also a stiff ski is rarely responsive under normal circumstances. You have to be very heavy or very aggressive to make a stiff ski responsive.
post #17 of 29
TomB: I don't know what passes for "stiff" these days, since ski geometry and construction has changed so much in recent years. Are my Atomics stiff? They feel so with respect to my wifes Rossi B2's and my old K2's and my old Volants.

Yet, they also feel wonderfully responsive, agile and powerful. Perhaps you're referring to the race versions, which I doubt most of us could ski effectively, or even flex. Most racers have thighs larger than my waist.

Your point regarding torsional versus longitudenal stiffness is well-taken. I have a few pairs of old Volants which are sloppy as a noodle fore and aft, yet offer suprising edge-grip due to the torsional integrity of the steel.
post #18 of 29
Being as I ski on hard snow and ice I prefer stiff, but I'm learning to ski soft skis. Getting all you can out of a ski is where the fun is. It's an game of give and take. You give the ski all it can handle and take the rest up so you don't overpower it. A softer skis limits are easier to play with, but they won't give you the same g-forces on hard snow that a stiff ski can.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
That's 'cause you haven't tried the Fischers or Elans or Nordicas...
Captain_strato,
Don't bother trying the Elans; you won't like them. The Fischers, however, work really well on snow. If the Nordicas have anything in common to Kästles, you would like them too. Nordica bought them out, but what they did to the skis, I don't know.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_Strato
TomB: I don't know what passes for "stiff" these days, since ski geometry and construction has changed so much in recent years. Are my Atomics stiff? They feel so with respect to my wifes Rossi B2's and my old K2's and my old Volants.

Yet, they also feel wonderfully responsive, agile and powerful. Perhaps you're referring to the race versions, which I doubt most of us could ski effectively, or even flex. Most racers have thighs larger than my waist.

Your point regarding torsional versus longitudenal stiffness is well-taken. I have a few pairs of old Volants which are sloppy as a noodle fore and aft, yet offer suprising edge-grip due to the torsional integrity of the steel.
I have a pair of old Kästle "Special R"s that I found in my garage, sharpened up and skied in some moguls a while ago. These skis (not my SGs) definately reminded me of rear leaf springs from a '69 dodge.
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Betaracer
Depends. There are too many variables to make the ultimate choice. That's why I have 12 personal pair, and 40 other demo pair to find the ultimate for the day or event.
I am jealous. Only have 3 pair and 5 is the max I have ever had.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
That's 'cause you haven't tried the Fischers or Elans or Nordicas...
Agree with the Nordicas. Was not as impressed with the Fischers or Elans.

Next years Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel was the best all mountain ski I have ever skied. All of the other Nordicas I tried in the Hot Rod and Speedmachine lines were all great as well.

Still like Atomics ( SX line and their racing skis) and Volkls though. But right now Nordica is my new favorite ski company. Really happy our shop will carry them next year.
post #23 of 29
Bsimeral,

What length of Top Fuel did you ski. Did you ski it in the bumps? What other Hot Rods did you ski? Can you be more specific on the differences you noticed between these and the Top Fuel.

Thanks!
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZ777
Bsimeral,

What length of Top Fuel did you ski. Did you ski it in the bumps? What other Hot Rods did you ski? Can you be more specific on the differences you noticed between these and the Top Fuel.

Thanks!
Skied the Top Fuel in a 178. Did not ski it in bumps and don't think it would be that good in them....maybe soft bumps. Skied all of the models and liked the Top Fuel best for edge hold and stability. The Nitrous is a narrower waisted ski and was very similar but preferred shorter radius turns. Top Fuel has a 78mm waist and the Nitrous a 74mm waist.

There are 2 more...the Eliminator and ????.....that are for less aggressive skiers but they skied really well too and might ski bumps better.

The wider waisted models are better for western big mountain skiing and the narrower waisted skis better for all mountain eastern skiing.

I was also impressed at how well the TP transitioned from turn to turn even in short radius turns. Very agile for a fairly wide ski.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB
Too many people associate stiff skis with great edge hold. Many of these people tend to overpower their skis. I am more of a finesse skier so I prefer softer skis with good torsional stiffness and a great rebound. I like to play on my skis, so a stiff or damp ski is not my preference.

Also a stiff ski is rarely responsive under normal circumstances. You have to be very heavy or very aggressive to make a stiff ski responsive.
I agree with TomB,

The better I get I find my taste in skis has changed. I now like a soft to med flex with good torsional stiffness. Makes it a easy ski to ski the whole mountain. For Powder I like the softness in my sons Pocket Rockets.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsimeral
There are 2 more...the Eliminator and ????.....that are for less aggressive skiers but they skied really well too and might ski bumps better.
The Modified is also for high-level skiers, and I thought was a 74mm or 76mm waist (one step below the Top Fuel).
post #27 of 29
WHat would be an example of a soft-flexing ski with a lot of torsional rigidity?
post #28 of 29
Just about every decent all-mountain ski, it seems to me. A lot of the external metal on skis (the Atomic Puls and b5 channels, for example) are to stiffen the tortional flex on a shorter, softer ski.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
The Modified is also for high-level skiers, and I thought was a 74mm or 76mm waist (one step below the Top Fuel).
None of the Hot Rod skis are for true intermediates. I skied them all and they all skied great. As I recall the 2 waist widths in the series were 78 and 74. As I recall there were some construction differences. I have the info at the shop where I work and will look it up later in the week. Maybe someone else in forum who works for a shop can get the info sooner. Or maybe there is a Nordica rep lurking out there.

The Modified and the Eliminator were lower level skis than the Top Fuel and Nitrous. You would put a weaker or less aggressive skier in a short length and stronger skier in a longer length.

I felt that all of the skis carved really well but I only skied the M and E for a few runs. I skied the TF part of 3 days because I like it so much.
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