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Gear advice FAQ

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
Ok, friends, I think we're pretty close to a final draft. Speak now or... well... make me edit it in the sticky thread...

---FAQ begins here---
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio
This is too complex. My advice is if all else fails ski what Bode skis on."
Skis

The first recommendation for ski selection is this: demo those that seem to fit your needs. Skis are very subjective, with it not being at all uncommon for two people to be polar opposites in terms of the skis they love and hate. Therefore, to know for sure, demo when you can. Note, however, that demo skis have a few distinct disadvantages: they often have heavier demo bindings on them, they are skied by a number of people and may therefore be damaged, and their tune may or may not be the one that you would use. However, there is no substitute for trying out a ski yourself.

The second way to select skis is to find someone who is approximately your ability and who likes skis that you have enjoyed skiing. So, for example, if you really loved skiing a Rossignol Bandit X, find out the skis enjoyed by other skiers who like those skis.

Third, check out the old threads on EpicSki. There have been many threads covering many skis, abilities, and purposes, and it is very likely that you'll be able to find much information about any ski that you are considering simply by searching for them (you may want to limit your search to the Gear Forums).

A fourth way to get information about skis is to post here in the Gear Discussion forum. When you do this, there are a number of things that you can communicate that will help other Barking Bears to give you some guidance:


  • Tell them enough about yourself:
    • Gender, height, weight, age
    • Skiing ability, including the type of terrain that you enjoy skiing, how you tend to ski it, the turn shapes that you tend to use, the speed you ski, and any particular areas of focus in your skiing (if you'd like to use skier levels as they are often used on EpicSki, look at this thread that defines them, especially posts 8 and 9)
    • Where you ski. Name the general geographic regions, the resorts you frequent, the slopes, pistes, and regions of the resorts you enjoy, talk about the conditions you most enjoy and those that you tend to avoid.
  • Talk about other skis


    • Mention skis you've enjoyed
    • Skis that you own that you will keep in your quiver
    • Skis that you own that you will be replacing with the new ones
    • Skis that you have enjoyed in the past
    • Mention skis you have not enjoyed
  • Anything you believe will make a difference in the ski selection
Then, sit back and watch the Bears go to work. Keep in mind that Bears are going to be sharing with you their personal insights. Many are instructors, some are manufacturer's reps, some are very experienced skiers who have much to offer, and some are religiously devoted to a particular ski or brand. Note: that devotion may be well-earned! Be sure to take into account the sources here, though. It is very likely that you will get excellent suggestions. It is also likely that the first suggestion will be that you demo!

Because you really should.

Boots

The single most important characteristic of a ski boot is how well it fits your foot.

The best way to make sure that the boots fits you well is to use one of the EpicSki recommended boot fitters. These fitters tend to go beyond just stuffing your foot into a boot, but are able to adjust the boot to fit your foot exceedingly well. In addition, many are able to balance the boots to make sure that you are in perfect balance when standing on your skis--both fore/aft and lateral/medial.

This really is the best way to find boots.

Best by a wide margin.

If, however, you insist on doing it on your own or, heaven forbid, you are unable to access one of the accomplished bootfitters mentioned here. Then we have a little more advice...

Know the general performance level of ski boot that you seek. Many Bears will recommend that you purchase the highest-quality ski boot that you can. I recommend that high-level skiers seriously consider consumer or true race "plug boots" (see Jeff Bergeron's thread for a lot on this)

The closest fit is best accomplished by getting a boot with a shell that most closely resembles the shape of your foot and leg. To discover this, shell fit the boot.

To shell fit a boot, first remove the liner. With the liner out of the shell, place your foot into the shell with your toes ever-so-slightly touching the front of the boot, look at the distance from your heel to the back of the boot.

This distance should be 1-2 finger-widths (approximately 1-2cm). Use the shorter end of the scale for more demanding performance, the longer end for a bit more comfort at the price of a bit lower performance.
Next, look at the shape of the shell. Is it wide where your foot is wide, narrow where your foot is narrow? Does the cuff approximate the shape of your lower leg and calf muscle?

It is often useful to remove the plastic spoiler from the back of the cuff so that the boot is a bit more upright and can accommodate a normal or low calf muscle. Skiers with thin calves may find the spoiler useful in reducing the size of the boot cuff.

After you find a shell that fits your foot pretty well, return the liner to the shell and put your foot in it. Make sure your heel is well-seated in the heel pocket (usually by pressing the heel down and back, flexing the ankle forward, and pulling up on the top of the liner). Then, stand in the boots in positions that approximate your skiing stance.

The liner should wrap your feet much like a pair of hands holding your feet snugly

Take advantage of any balance tests that you can, including standing on a cylinder to see where your balance point is in the boots

The bottom line in ski boots is this: unless you are pursuing FIS points (in which case, you're probably not reading this!), the fit of a ski boot is by far the most important aspect of it. You want it to be snug enough to hold your foot relatively immobile while you careen down a mountainside while also cushioning your feet enough that you can ski for the entire day (not to mention multiple days of a skiing) without pain.

Bindings

I find it funny that bindings seem to generate the greatest amount of religious fervency of any element of ski equipment. Fundamentally, ski bindings are governed by standards that allow any ski boot to fit into any ski binding. They are engineered to hold the skier in unless forces have conspired to potentially hurt him or her. At that point, they are engineered to get the ski off the foot so that it doesn't become the means by which the skier is injured.

All bindings do this. Every binding on the market has its proponents. Most are very similar. For the typical skier, any binding will work for you, and you should feel free to use the one that is designed to mount on your new skis (for the increasing number of skiers purchasing "systems" that include both skis and bindings).

If you have your own biases about bindings, more power to you. Just remember that others feel exactly the opposite of you. And neither one of you is wrong. Or right, for that matter!

Poles

To complete the hardgoods picture, I threw in poles. These days, poles are made of old-fashioned aluminum and modern-day composites like graphite. They have useful features such as length adjustability and releasable straps to protect your wrists and thumbs.

There are a few threads here about poles. I'd strongly recommend that you look at them first. Something about poles; they don't garner the kind of interest that the other components do. And some would argue that they are unnecessary.

Here are the basics:


  • The tip consists of several small sharp points so that they can dig into the ice.
  • The basket is big enough to be of some use in deep snow.
  • Approximate Size - elbow at 90 degrees when hand grips under basket with pole upside down and resting on ground for booted skier on skis.
Helmets and Goggles

Helmets and goggles are paired here because they really must be considered together. Note: if you have children that you will be putting into ski school, it is almost certain that they will be required to wear helmets. Better a well-fitting one that you've gotten for them than the "hand-out" helmets that the ski school has. Anyway, first, helmets:

Helmets are, like ski boots, all about the fit. Try on a number of different helmets across multiple manufacturers to see which one "disappears" on your head. Try the different styles to determine whether or not you like to have the helmet cover your ears--either with the soft liner or the hard helmet.

Once you've found a helmet that works for you, find a pair of goggles that mate well with the helmet. Make sure that the helmet does not interfere with the airflow into and through the goggles (if it does, the goggles will likely fog up!).

Personally, I have found the goggles and helmets designed to work together perform exceptionally well. And look pretty good, too!
post #2 of 67
A monumental job, Steve.

Unfortunately, I don´t have time to study it in detail. Nevertheless, I´m sure it has what it should have. The only concern I have on seeing the length and number of points is: won´t such a questionnaire resembling a job application scare away a newbie asking a simple (in his naive opinion) question? How about trying to pinpoint the "minimum requirements". i.e. the basic info needed to be able to give a basic answer (bold, italics, ...)
Sure, the more info we have the better the answer but, as we also know, too much is sometimes counterproductive.

It depends on whether we try to attract as many new members as possible or whether we only care about those serious ones who would take pains asking the way prescribed.

(I own you an answer to your last PM. My deadlines, you know, and I´m considering what is realistic. You´ll hear from me.)
post #3 of 67
Poles 101 (from description of Scott poles given to me as a gift back in the day...)
Aluminum This new high-tech material was used for light weight and durability, I've still got them after about three decades of hard use!

The TIP consists of several small SHARP POINTS so that they can dig into the ice.

The basket is BIG enough to be of some use in deep snow.

Approximate Size - elbow at 90 degrees when hand grips under basket with pole upside down and resting on ground for booted skier on skis.

411 that may no longer be of use: The Hand grip is form-fitted and contains no straps to bother about when you take them off at the lift. I've head that this model of poles was discontinued because it induced shoulder injuries in crashes instead of the pole seperating from the hand as with regular poles.

411 for modern day: I covet those form fitting curved ski poles for tucking at speed.
post #4 of 67
Great logic!

I only wish that half the people suggesting product to consumers could follow the kind of "application engineering" you suggest!

Barrettscv
post #5 of 67
Barrettscv did you find those dynastar big stix you were after. Any of the sites I found any good? I am much more content now as I got a new pair of boots diablo flames (on sale too)
post #6 of 67
This is too complex. My advice is if all else fails ski what Bode skis on.
post #7 of 67
Thread Starter 
Geez, that translated ugly from the outliner to the post.

Let me clean it up and see if you still think it's too complex.

Rio, I'll add that recommendation to the very top of the FAQ!
post #8 of 67
Thread Starter 
OK, I gave it some formatting. I still can't believe how ugly that first attempt was. I did post it at something like 1am after flying in from Peoria. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it! BTW, there were some cool views of thunderboomers coming out of Chicago. Fortunately for me/us, they were below and north of us. Great fireworks!

Anyway, now that you can actually read it, let me know what you think. What do we need to add/change/etc? Ghost, thanks for the info on poles. I've added some of it (but left the comments about Aluminum and the molded grips off! )
post #9 of 67
FLAWED!!!!
(.
.)
(.
.)
(.
Sorry, I guess thats just for polls?

Good job, Steve.
post #10 of 67
Helmet and goggle fit just after the poles, with perhaps a note about ski school requirements for juniors.
post #11 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch
Helmet and goggle fit just after the poles, with perhaps a note about ski school requirements for juniors.
Good catch on the helmet/goggles. I'll work on that...

What are you thinking on the ski school requirements for juniors? You mean the helmet requirements? Or something else?
post #12 of 67
I like this a lot....any room for comments re jr gear, esp racing gear?
post #13 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
Good catch on the helmet/goggles. I'll work on that...
Just added a section for this. Let me know your thoughts on what I put in there...
post #14 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by firstracks
I like this a lot....any room for comments re jr gear, esp racing gear?
Thanks...

Hmmm... probably (perhaps in a separate FAQ). What are you thinking at the key questions for junior gear?
post #15 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by barrettscv
Skis;


  • Speed requirements, is a cruiser enough, or does the skier like Giant Slalom speeds? A short turning ski with quickness & rebound or a more damp longer radius ski
  • I always ask if a female specific product is appropriate. Many expert women won’t accept this kind of gear & many weekend female skiers should look beyond this type of gear, dependant on usage.
Boots: Fit could include the kind of “what fits” guide offered at



http://www.bootfitters.com/archives/WHO_IT_FITS.htm



Barrettscv
Barrettscv, I thought that the elements above were included in the FAQ in a more general sense (tell us terrain, turn shape, etc.). Let me know if you disagree.

I also think that the second bullet, above, is a bit outdated. While some women prefer unisex skis, I know many high-level skiers who enjoy the high-end skis designed specifically for women.

Lastly, I've put the links in, including one to the bootfitters thread here. I'll check the link that you've posted and see if that would fit somewhere in the FAQ.

Thanks for the review!
post #16 of 67
Steve,

I see the FAQ are from the users point of view, and agree that the general elements you have is very useful.

The question of unisex is one of preference and perception. I agree that unisex skis can perform very well, but I also feel that the selection process should consider both unisex & gender specific models, depending on the open mindedness of the user.

My Daughter progressed fron a Volkl V3 20/20 to a K2 T:9 and will use a Volkl Gamma Supersport this winter.

Her younger brother used the Volkl 20/20 ski on one trip, it was a nice step up from his Jr, racing ski at that stage, and the ski was cosmetically neutral.

Great work on the FAQ!

Barrettscv
post #17 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
Just added a section for this. Let me know your thoughts on what I put in there...
Looks good. Yes, I thought it might be a favor to some parents to mention that ski schools may require junior helmets.


barretscv, I wish that link was being updated to show more recent boots.


For post #2 you can answer the perennial 'should I wax my new ones'

For post #3 for the gear faq 'How do I store these?'

For post #4 'How do I get the rust off?'
post #18 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch
Looks good. Yes, I thought it might be a favor to some parents to mention that ski schools may require junior helmets.


barretscv, I wish that link was being updated to show more recent boots.


For post #2 you can answer the perennial 'should I wax my new ones'

For post #3 for the gear faq 'How do I store these?'

For post #4 'How do I get the rust off?'
Gotcha on the helmets...

I also like your ideas on the additional posts. Well done!
post #19 of 67
Just a suggestion re: skis: from "first rule” in ski selection is to...”demo" how about "first way to select a ski" as with the other options listed?

In the perfect world, demoing would indeed be the "first rule" assuming a wide enough selection of skis to choose from. However, the tune and the demo bindings themselves can appreciably affect the characteristics of a particular model giving the tester an inaccurate perception of the ski as opposed to how it would function if the skier were set up properly with a particular model. It happens often enough that the techs cannot keep up with tuning chores and that demo bindings can and do affect performance.

Thanks for making the effort to make better sense out of the gear selection challenge.
post #20 of 67
Thread Starter 
Lostboy, what are you thinking re: "first way to select a ski"? My goal was to provide an FAQ that was an avenue for asking for specific advice in the forum, not to replace that advice...
post #21 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
Ok, friends, here's my first attempt at an FAQ for gear. Go ahead and blow it apart, but at least it's a start! I've done the initial edit for formatting, now, so hopefully it will be easier to parse...

---snip---

Skis

The first rule of all ski selection is this: demo those that seem to fit your needs. Skis are very subjective, with it not being at all uncommon for two people to be polar opposites in terms of the skis they love and hate. Therefore, to know for sure, demo when you can.

The second way to select skis is to find someone who is approximately your ability and who likes skis that you have enjoyed skiing. So, for example, if you really loved skiing a Rossignol Bandit X, find out the skis enjoyed by other skiers who like those skis....

... Keep in mind that Bears are going to be sharing with you their personal insights. Many are instructors, some are manufacturer's reps, some are very experienced skiers who have much to offer, and some are religiously devoted to a particular ski or brand. Note: that devotion may be well-earned! Be sure to take into account the sources here, though. It is very likely that you will get excellent suggestions. It is also likely that the first suggestion will be that you demo!


Because you really should.
I would suggest substituting something like "the first way to approach ski selection" and go on from there instead of saying "The first rule of all ski selection is this". There is another skiing site that stresses "demo, demo demo." I too, think that would be best in the perfect world. It's just that the skiing demo world is far from perfect. Unlike taking a new Porche with a flat tire out for a test drive, the tune and binding issues with a ski are not often as apparent but do occur often leaving the skier with inaccurate perception of a ski's quality. That's what I meant by suggesting the word change in the FAQ format to make it a tad more neutral sounding.
post #22 of 67
Thread Starter 
Lostboy, thanks for the clarification! I see your point and will make that in my next edit.
post #23 of 67
Thread Starter 
I believe that the current version (edited into the first post in this thread) accommodates all recommendations to this point. I think it's pretty close to being ready to post in a sticky thread. Please take a look and let me know anything else you would suggest for this version of the FAQ.

Thanks!
post #24 of 67
It looks good ssh. The only thing you might want to add is a link to a skier level explanation, eg http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homep...s/skilevel.htm or a better one if you know one (I just happened to have this one handy). I could not have told you what level I was at before I started reading these forums.
post #25 of 67
Thread Starter 
OK, Ghost, great idea. I did it by linking to another Epic thread with the definitions and some links to places in it.

Any other comments? Going once...
post #26 of 67
Dang Shh, you sure don't need much encouragement to go whole hog on a project. Good show! It's a good thing there are go getters like you around to implement the ideas of the lazy people like me.
post #27 of 67
Steve, I like your idea, since we have been getting an especially large number of similar posts recently... especially since they are often lacking valuable information for those reading and making suggestions. One thing that I end up explaining a lot is the difference between types of skis. You will have a person that likes the following: B2, 6-Star, SL:9, M:11, and SkiCross 10. However, few realize the difference between the skis. So, to remedy that I would suggest a short system to classify skis by turn radius, waist size, and intended use. Similar to what I posted in another thread:
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=28673
If you think it is a good idea i will formulate a list with about 8 categories or so - defining each by intended use, terrain, turn shape, and the likes...
Later
GREG
post #28 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier
If you think it is a good idea i will formulate a list with about 8 categories or so - defining each by intended use, terrain, turn shape, and the likes...
Later
GREG
Greg, I think that's a great idea! I'd propose that as an additional post in the (locked) FAQ thread... If you do it, though, let's see where it fits best. Thanks, Greg!
post #29 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by volantaddict
Dang Shh, you sure don't need much encouragement to go whole hog on a project.
Never underestimate the potential of a laptop on an airplane! :
post #30 of 67
Saw the new FAQ. Good work SSH. Most of the links to referenced threads are broken because they do not contain a complete address. The links are based on "showthread.php/?t=xxxx". May just be me, but it does not point to the location you intend. I get a not found screen.

I assume you will have this set up as a sticky? At the beginning you refer the user to this thread to post comments, recommendations or complaints. You might want to be even clearer and say, do not reply to this thread.
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