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Ability vs Skis

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
BACKGROUND: I am 5'5", 125# female level 6 "aggressive" yet inexperienced skier (skiing regularly for only 1 season, but test into level 6). I own all necessary equipment except stix. I have been trying many different skis in hopes of finding a specific pair to buy at end-of-season cost. Most recently, I skied a women's '05 Vokl 6*, 154cm with mid-range radius. I really liked the stiffness and handling at higher speeds through crud, ice and uneven terrain. However, when jello legs set in, I could not control them at lower speeds. I really had to muscle turns and jump and swivel into hockey stops. I had to call it quits.

I do not like: Rossignol 152cm (sorry, don't know model ) and Volkl 320 149cm (too light and short, unstable for my ski style).

I have also been in K2s (beat up rentals) 149-153cm, Solomon Crossmax 10s 152cm neither of which were shiney winners in my book.

My question(s):
1. Is this a ski problem or an ability problem? Do I just need to know when to say when and get off the slopes until I am strong enough to go slower on a heavier ski? Or is it actually equipment?

2. What type of ski should I demo? Can you tell me if the stiffness or weight of the ski are what lends stability at higher speeds or if it is a length issue? If I choose a stiffer, heavier but shorter ski will it affect the amount of effort needed to be controlled at lower speeds?

Just looking for some direction, thanks in advance for your time and advice.
post #2 of 14
Where are you? east or west?

For the jello legs... www.sportlegs.com has been known to cure much of that.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

I live...

...in the Midwest so I mostly ski man-made groomed ice. No powder to be found.
post #4 of 14
Well, I don't know the other skis, but Volkl 6* and Volkl 320 are just about as opposing ends of the spectrum as you can get. While 320 is rated as an "entry level recreational" ski, the 6* is a high energy high level ski that many ex-racers favour for their non-racing skis. I can easily see how the 6* can start beating you up when you start tiring.

I venture to suggest that a ski somewhere in the middle of the two will be what you are looking for. If you look in the volkl line, maybe you should consider the Energy 380 or 420, which are rated as intermediate and intermediate/advanced skis, respectively. I think the answer to your question is part ski and part skier. The point is to find a ski that matches your skiing ability and you style, but still encourages you to improve.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks Joe! I will look into those. I definitely need to improve, but it's difficult knowing when I'm out skiing the equipment or the equipment is out performing me.
post #6 of 14

Like the name. You are definitely on the right track demoing skis. Since a lot of skiing and ski selection is about feel, which is a pretty personal and subjective factor, your first hand testing is much more important than any ski suggestion you may get here. With that disclaimer in mind, here is my essay:

Jello legs happens to everyone. As you get more experienced, you’ll make less mistakes and be able to ski when you are more tired, but it’s still preferable to call it quits when you get fatigued. With more experience, you’ll also be more efficient with your skiing and will be able to ski longer without getting tired. Finally, strength/fitness plays a huge part in this.

Regarding stability at speed: As a broad generalization, when comparing 2 skis of the same make and model, longer skis will be more stable at speed than shorter skis. The draw back is that longer skis will take more effort to turn (at high and low speeds). So there is a trade off that you need to balance when selecting ski length.

A ski’s stiffness, both along the length of the ski (longitudinally), and in cross-section (torsionally) is one of the key characteristics of how it will perform it terms of edge hold, “feel,” rebound and turn-ability. Generally stiffer skis take less “effort” to control, as your input is transmitted more directly to the snow, however I wouldn’t recommend very stiff skis to someone who is still learning because mistakes are also transmitted more directly to the snow, which can put you on your butt before you know what happened.

A ski’s weight is really a non-issue in terms of performance, but carrying around a pair of heavy skis can be a pain.

Unfortunately, I’m not very familiar with the skis that would be appropriate for you, but once you tell people where you ski and what you want to do, I’m sure that there are others who will chime in with specific ski recommendations. That said, I can make some generalizations as to which ski manufacturers might be more appropriate for your size and this might be helpful to keep in the back of your mind when selecting your next demo. As a rule, French skis are better for lighter, finesse skiers (you) than the Germanic ones. This means that Rossignol, Solomon, etc. may be better for you than Atomics and Fischers (And Elans which are Slovenian). Volkls have a reputation as being better for heavier, more powerful skiers too, but not seen as being as sensitive to that as Atomics. K2s (American) kind of run the gamut. Another thing you might find interesting is what the women on the World Cup are wearing. Keep in mind that equipment used on the World Cup has little relation to the stuff you see in stores, but it is interesting to see what manufacturers these women put their trust in. (And how different it is from the Atomic dominated men’s circuit).

Here are the results from the Women’s Slalom at the World Cup Finals. For reference, Anja Paerson was the overall winner this year. (From Skiracing.com)

Women's Slalom, Lenzerheide, Switzerland, March 12, 2005
Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Schleper, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
2 Kostelic, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3 Hosp, Volkl/Fischer/Marker
4 Ertl, Rossignol/Nordica/Rossignol
4 Poutiainen, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
6 Fleiss, Dynamic/Salomon/Salomon
7 Kildow, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
8 Mancuso, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10 Paerson, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

(By the way, because I know someone will jump on me about this, I know that Atomics are Austrian, not German. That is why I said “Germanic” meaning the section of central Europe of German cultural heritage, meaning Germany, Austria, parts of Swiss, and Belgium, Sudtirol, etc.)
post #7 of 14
I have no suggestions, but CheeseOnSkis is a fantastic username
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I'm originally from Wisconsin...I'm a transplant with attitude.
post #9 of 14
Yep, great name. What hills do you ride?
post #10 of 14
I recently tried an "intermediate ski". It's no wonder you like top end skis better at speed. I would say you best option is to get a top end ski and learn how to ski it.

Stop trying to muscle your ski's around. Give them the right instructions and let them muscle you around. Once you learn how, tipping a ski is as easy as falling off a log. Keeping your edges pressed when tired at the end of a term to complete a clean long carve on rough terain is another story.
post #11 of 14
Check out the K2 Burnin' Luv. I've heard plenty of good reviews from women about this ski. The Volkl Gamma (Pink Stars) sounds like it may also be what you're looking for in a ski. Definitely look into a ski that will challenge you a bit for now but give you the endurance to last while you grow into it. If you liked the 6 star, you may also want to check out the 5 or 4 stars since they're not as stiff and a have more forgiveness - they won't completely punish you for being a little lazy at the end of the day.
post #12 of 14
i liked the woman's crossmax, softer than the 10's, but after a while
(i had them 2 1/2 years, usually ski killington).it was not enough of a ski for me. i love my head monster im 75,intelligent ski -i demoed them at the end of last season and won't go back
5"6" 125
post #13 of 14
Most people are skiing equipment that is too stiff and too loong. IIt sounds like if you were more ballanced on your skis, you would not be having the problems you are having. The Key is a light ski, but you also need to be balanced over it. If you do not have toe, heel balance over the ski, you probobly will not like many skis out there.
post #14 of 14
just keep demoing. You'll find something that really speaks to you.
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