Some interesting responses to be sure; I am absolutely in favor of buying a ski that will allow room for growth as a skier. I don't think too many of us like the idea of spending a bunch of money on new equipment only to find it passe in less than a season . . . . like computers, for instance.
It wasn't too many years ago that if you wanted a high performance ski, you bought a racing ski. Period.
In the dark ages - of the sixties and seventies - the technology wasn't available to make skis torsionally stiff, so they were made stiff longitudinally in order to hold an edge. But, you also had fewer brands and models to choose from.
As the technology advanced, performance skis were made much stiffer torsionally which allowed manufacturers to soften skis longitudinally. Lower performance skis were still softer torsionally in order to be more forgiving when skiers would slide or skid their turns. Relatively speaking though, all skis were becoming easier to ski and more forgiving.
Jump forward to our current bumper crop of brands and models - like buying sneakers, where there's a shoe for every conceivable purpose - the niche marketing and sometimes microscopic differences between models have made the ski buying experience ever more challenging. To say nothing of the ever increasing costs of supporting our habit. Short lengths, deep sidecuts and torsional stiffness can be found across the performance spectrum; but, lower performance skis, while still more forgiving than their racing/high performance counterparts have a performance envelope that has been dramatically increased.
I, like smithby, no longer feel the need to buy racing skis; but, I am still buying top-end performance skis. Recently I had the chance to ski next year's Volkls; when I was done playing on the models that personally interest me - 5 Star, 6 Star, 7/24 Pro, P60 GC (a GS racing carver), P60 team-stock GS, etc - I took out the "lower"
You could have knocked me over with a feather. I wasn't babying any of them and I was amazed and how well they held an edge at speed on hard snow. The ease with which you could initiate a new turn on them was truly astounding. What's not to like about a performance ski that is forgiving, more affordable and still allows the room for growth people are looking for. What is unfortunate is that there are a lot of great skis that will get passed over by lesser skilled skiers because they need
the hottest ski on the rack. When, what they really need is a ski that will reward their efforts without punishing them along the way.
I don't know why, but it bugs me when I see low(er) skill skiers plodding along on full-bore race skis or high performance big mountain skis. What's the point? Have these people confused "On Sale"
with "For Sale"
? Hell, they'll change skis before they grow out of them anyway. Or, maybe, I just know something they don't. Because buying a ski with room for growth today doesn't require an "S"
emblazened on your chest and a fat wallet. It requires some intelligence and restraint.
The money saved should be spent on a lesson so they can say "I've outgrown the performance of my old skis! I've earned new ones.
" What a great problem to have. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img][ March 04, 2003, 05:21 PM: Message edited by: Inspector Gadget ]