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More on foam vs. wood

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Two things: first, my local ski shop reports that they have had more woodcore skis come back broken the last couple of seasons than foam cores skis. They think the new materials available for building foam cores are much, much better than a few years ago. However, this may beg the question of whether the foam core "wears" out faster, that is, you might lose edge grip within fewer days.

Also, I asked a very solid ski instructor what he thought and he gave a logical answer. He said if you only ski 10-25 days a year, the foam core ski will last you long enough. Long enough means until another wave of technology and smart design hits the industry and you want new skis. That makes sense to me.

I marvel at the differences in skis in 2004-05 season from just 3 seasons ago. The Salomon X-Scream Series and other very popular skis are basically passe today.

p.s. He recommended the Dynastar Legend 8000 over the 2005-06 Rossi Bandit line not because of wood core vs. foam core but because of skiing characteristics (mainly quickness).
post #2 of 24
I use to think That foam core skis were just plain weak. I would never ski anything but wood core skis. However foam core isn't really what they use to be. A better way to discribe the core would be synthetic core. In all the higher end synthetic core skis it is amilled product very storng and light. The new materials have a longer memory then wood core. In other words they will hold their shape longer then a wood core ski. building a ski might not be rocket science. However a lot of the materials used today in the ski industry come out of the Aerospace industry. Rockets, Jets and even Yachts are built with foam and some sort of fiberglass composite. Don't get me wrong IMHO Wood is still good. Start with wood or synthetic core Add some of the new alloys and play with some designs on the computer. Do some on snow testing and then launch the lastest wizbang ski that everybody must have.
post #3 of 24
I think it has more to do with "feel" than it does with longevity--unless you're skiing a hundred days or more a year...
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
ssh: people say the foam core skis are not as good in bashing crud. Is that what you refer to? Or, is it at high speed on hardpack. Are there specifics?
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Billiam
p.s. He recommended the Dynastar Legend 8000 over the 2005-06 Rossi Bandit line not because of wood core vs. foam core but because of skiing characteristics (mainly quickness).
One thing I have noticed about the dynastar 8000 is the bottom metal edges stop right before the curved tip. I have no idea if this is a problem but I can see where it could be. The Dynastar 4800 edges do run up the curve tip a little more but again not all the way up.
post #6 of 24
I used to be a wood core snob. (Volkl mainly)

But as has been said, foam or some combo of it has come along way.

I think it comes down to the whole package, not just the core material.

They both can be great, depends on the ski!

We have found Atomic very much more durable than volk's were.
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Atomicman: Funny you bring up the durability of Volkls. They have long had THE reputation for quality guts, edges, topskins, and for construction. My local shop still praises the materials Volkl uses but swears they are not the product they used to be in terms of durability. They see more bent and delaminating Volkls these days than a decade ago. He is not saying it is a cut-rate product now, just that Volkl has some cracks in its veneer.

I own two wood-core skis, a Volkl Snow Ranger and a Salomon X-Scream, but obviously they ski almost totally differently. The stiffer Volkl wants to go fast and the softer X-Scream (has one sheet of metal over woodcore and some other plastic junk) is more of all-round ride and quicker edge to edge. So, there is a lot more to how a ski behaves than its core. The last few years, it is my impression that geometry is where the cutting edge designers have concentrated on.
post #8 of 24
I agree on the shpe issue.

When my older boy was 13 he raced on VOLKL, he is now 19. He broke or bent 7 pair that year racing or training. That was about 1999. He is now 6'1 & 220lbs. The next year we switched to Atomic, not a bend or a break since!
post #9 of 24
I cannot tell the difference between a woodcore and foamcore ski, in terms of feel. Some wood skis are soft and damp and some foam skis are stiff and springy. A good ski is a good ski...there's more than 1 way to skin a cat...
post #10 of 24
There´s some fresh info I have to back up what Atomicman says about the lacking durability of Volkls.

(i) One of bigger shops in Prague selling Volkls (don´t know how many pairs but we are a small market) has about 50 warranty issues this season including one customer sueing them because of the delam after 3 hours of skiing

(ii) I delivered a lecture on ski gear for a group of future coaches studying for their exam.
(Yes, Forrester, the stupid Czech Ski Federation with a bunch of world champions this season lets the possibly "14 year-old kid living in Alabama who has never even seen a pair of skis" teach its coaches )

In the following discussion one of them, a father of some young light junior (120 lbs), told me about their experience with Volkl race skis. They chose them because they were fairly soft and skiable for the boy and even took part in some Volkl race ski demo. "The lightweight of mine delaminated the slaloms on his third ride in gates," he said, "and this should be just normal". "Geeze," I exclaimed, "what do they do with Pranger & Co.? There would have to be a truck full of skis accompanying the racers on the World Cup tour!" "There is," the father replied, "at least they say so."
Would you recommend Volkls to parents who have to pay for each pair their youngster needs/has/destroys?

I´m neither an Atomic-guy nor an anti-Volkl man. I just say what I heard from people who have no reason to defame the skis (one sells them, the other had them as their choice).
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Billiam

Also, I asked a very solid ski instructor what he thought and he gave a logical answer. He said if you only ski 10-25 days a year, the foam core ski will last you long enough. Long enough means until another wave of technology and smart design hits the industry and you want new skis. That makes sense to me.
How does he know how frequently these waves of technological innovation will occur?
:
post #12 of 24
Waves occur when the marketing departement is smart. I think I have heard that in Austria the average skier buys new skis every 4 years. So make 50 days out of it
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremecarver
Waves occur when the marketing departement is smart. I think I have heard that in Austria the average skier buys new skis every 4 years. So make 50 days out of it
It used to be 7 years in Germany.
Fact is that the "Carving Revolution" forced most skiers to buy new skis and thus accelerated the long-time proved change of gear.
It might settle down to longer periods again but the ski industry is doing everything possible to keep them as short as possible offering new and "new" skis served with appropriate comments and background stories.
post #14 of 24
Foam can be a great material. My wife has the Rossi B:2's and she loves them. The Rossi B:3's are among the best-reviewed powder skis out there.

However, the light weight can be an issue. Here in the PNW, snow is often heavy, thick and chopped. In those conditions, a lighter ski (which can mean foam) tends to get knocked around, especially if the tips are light.

The reason I chose Atomics is that their heft is well-suited to such conditions. They're able to plough through heavy chop with aplomb. My wife's B:2's don't bulldoze as well.

It's also true that pure foam-core skis, like the Bandit Rossi's, won't stand-up as long to punishing use. I've been told that hard-core Rossi-sponsered free-skiers are given up to 6 sets of B:3's per year.

Regardless, they're outstanding performers in most snow and have received glowing accolades from reviewers.
post #15 of 24
Strato, The Atomic is a synthetic core ski. The B2 and B3 both have some Alloy in them. Durability might have more to do with the over all quaility of the materrials used and not just the core of tyhe ski.
One of the lightest skis I was on this season was the Dynastar 8000 and that is a wood core ski.
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
I can see we are building to a consensus here: It doesn't matter what is inside the ski; it is the overall construction and geometry that really matters. Since people are breaking Volkls more regularly than before, since the "soft" Salomon and Rossi skis have been selling like hotcakes (the older X-Scream and newer Bandit series), since at least some Atomics are stuffed with plastic, since some people like trees, some like speed, we are back to: Demo, Demo, Demo. But I love discussing all this with fellow gearheads.
post #17 of 24
Actually Volkl has always had a tendency to bend. It was not a function of core but more the amount of metal read sheets of Titanal in their skis. I skied Volkl's for about 20 years and never bent or broke one, but knew many people who did.
post #18 of 24
I quit skiing on Volkls in the late 70s after two successive pairs delaminated. The Sapporos I had before them were perfect but I had probably hard luck with those Renntigers.

The warranty issues with products imported from the West were a big problem behind the Iron Curtain back then and I could not afford to ski on hard-to-get and expensive skis with poor life expectancy.
post #19 of 24
I had Volkl Explosivs in 1989, it was their bump ski back then, pricey. They were my dream ski and skied like it as well. Until on the same day at Okemo I broke one of them and the tip delaminated on the other one. This was in less than a season. I sent them to Volkl and got nothing in return. Then I bought Dynastar Coupe De Monde's and skied them for 3 years and they were fine. I was more than bitter at Volkl. Today I am not bitter towards them, I am impressed with their variety of Big Mountain freeride skis.

My recent skis were Rossi Bandit XX and Pocket Rockets, I ski them HARD and they do fine. I believe both are foam core skis but I am not positive on that....

Alfonse
post #20 of 24
I think the distinction between foam and wood gets blurred by today's cap-ski construction. In the old days, the core was a major structural element; nowadays, it functions more as a filler (web if the i-beam effect) while the cap, sides, and layers make up much of the outlying structure. The core is used as a tuning/damping/feel element, and that's where wood and foam can go in different directions. Heck, even different types of wood can alter feel.

I think the modern ski is truly a system construction, with many components and fab techniques. This tends to de-emphasize major components.

Craig
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah49
I use to think That foam core skis were just plain weak. I would never ski anything but wood core skis. However foam core isn't really what they use to be. A better way to discribe the core would be synthetic core. In all the higher end synthetic core skis it is amilled product very storng and light. The new materials have a longer memory then wood core. In other words they will hold their shape longer then a wood core ski. building a ski might not be rocket science. However a lot of the materials used today in the ski industry come out of the Aerospace industry. Rockets, Jets and even Yachts are built with foam and some sort of fiberglass composite. Don't get me wrong IMHO Wood is still good. Start with wood or synthetic core Add some of the new alloys and play with some designs on the computer. Do some on snow testing and then launch the lastest wizbang ski that everybody must have.
Bunk. A synthetic core can have no foam in it. It can be made of metal. Often wood is mixed with synthetics. The shape of foam changes more quickly than that of wood. Foam and Wood quality can vary drastically even with the same Mfg.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219
I think the distinction between foam and wood gets blurred by today's cap-ski construction. In the old days, the core was a major structural element; nowadays, it functions more as a filler (web if the i-beam effect) while the cap, sides, and layers make up much of the outlying structure. The core is used as a tuning/damping/feel element, and that's where wood and foam can go in different directions. Heck, even different types of wood can alter feel.

I think the modern ski is truly a system construction, with many components and fab techniques. This tends to de-emphasize major components.

Craig
Depending on the particular ski, the core is still important. Selling skiis takes a lot of hype. They played up the cap skiis to sell the new technology. According to those pushing the new stuff it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Besides, you can't have a cap with sides and layers. It was an alternative to laminate skiis with separate sidewalls.
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills
One thing I have noticed about the dynastar 8000 is the bottom metal edges stop right before the curved tip. I have no idea if this is a problem but I can see where it could be. The Dynastar 4800 edges do run up the curve tip a little more but again not all the way up.
Running the edge futher up the tip is a running change, most if not all skis madeafter the first of the year have it.

coup
post #24 of 24
My 8000's edges run past the curve but not all the way up.
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