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Industry-wide standardized ski facts and figures

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I sure wish the ski industry would establish standardized measurements of ski equipment so that it would be possible to accurately compare gear across manufacturer lines. This certainly wouldn't be a substitute for on slope testing when selecting gear, but it sure would help when developing personal "short lists" for gear to demo. Then you could think - well I really enjoyed ski "A" last year and now I see that ski "B" has very similar characteristics - I should try that one.

What I'm proposing is standardized methods to measure (and publish):
1. Ski tip, waist, and tail widths
2. Ski sidecut radius
3. Ski longitudinal flex
4. Ski torsional flex
5. Ski weight

If the ski manufacturers won't adopt these standards then I would hope that a publication (or Keelty's Tech Support for Skiers site) would adopt standardized measuring methods and run all the new gear through the testing.

One thing that I'm continually finding when I pull out my calipers is that ski manufacturers' published dimensions don't always match up with the actual skis that are coming off the production line. It's either that or the manufacturers are measuring the ski dimensions at there own predefined points that don't necessarily correspond to the ski's widest and narrowest points along their length.

And while we're at it - how about having the boot manufacturers adopt some kind of standardized flex index so that we can compare across those manufacturers too.

OK - I'll get off my soapbox now.
post #2 of 18
I agree on the boot flex numbers
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
I just thought of another measurement I mentioned last season, but forgot about in the list above. I want published "running lengths" instead of chord lengths. Chord lengths don't mean much since it's really the running length (some call it the contact length) that matters.

When someone says a ski skis "short" I think that what they're really saying is that the running length is actually much shorter than the chord length (although there are other factors that affect how "long" a ski feels).
post #4 of 18

An Idea... but

With some careful analysis of every manufacturer's site you should be able to come up with a good idea of what skis fall in what category, and what skis should be compared to each other. The gear FAQ that we put together, especially the second section which I wrote, is a good start in doing what you are suggesting. Things like weight and flex are left out, but considerations are given based on dimensions and radius. The reason that I left certain parameters out of the discussion was that it quickly becomes confusing if you have 5 different flex levels within a category (assuming beginner to expert). I figured that it was better to assume you could purchase (categories like race skis excluded) a ski for most ability levels from each category; therefore the ability to select the sidecut and flex that you desire from each group of skis. Example? the Atomic Metron M:B5, M:11, M:10, and M:9 all fall into the same category. Each has different characteristics due to the crowd they are targeting, but the are skis that are in the same category. The Salomon Scrambler Hot also could fall in this category.

The better way to do it might be to research how certain manufacturers skis actually "feel" on the snow. every manufacturer has certain characteristics that set them apart from the next manufacturer. If you can learn these trends, it is very easy to select a ski company that suits your skiing style, technique, and most of all your personal preferences regarding ski feel. Comparing skis based on raw numbers is diffcult - lke comparing two cars (one a tuned Civic and the other a BMW M3) just based on their 0-60, 60-0 mph, 0-100, 100 - 0 mph, 1/4 mile, and 1 mile times. While the numbers might be the same, that query would completely ignore things like interior design, comfort, style, feel while driving, transmission type (a lot of BMW's are using SMG's now), engine response, engine noise, and ride feel.

Skis are the same way. You can set ski A and B next to each other; length may be different only by 2cm, weight may be different by 100g, mounting position may be different by 1cm, shape may be different by 1mm (in either direction), flex may be similar (but remember different skis flex at different points), and torsional strength may be nearly identicle... but the two skis may ski entirely different once skied back to back on the snow. Factors like materials, construction, flex points, mounting points, binding type, and many others make a comparison based on numbers alone to be close to useless - unless you note the brand performance and "feel" trends.

Later

GREG

Note: I wote this while others were posting. I agree that manufacturers should try to use a standardized boot flex chart. Some are actually getting close to being similar - Salomon, Nordica and Head are VERY close when tried on back to back (multiply head's by 10). The only problem there is are you talking about room tempurature flex, or on the mountain flex? Different plastics will yield different flexes when put in 20 degree weather.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
I guess it's the engineer in me that wants to see "hard" numbers published instead of just browsing other people's reviews. I believe that we could learn how to "review" the standardized published numbers based on our own skiing experiences and the reviews posted by others. All I can say is that I don't think it would hurt to have these numbers, but I doubt there would ever be any standardization in these measurements across the industry. It's more of a discussion topic and one that I hope a publication would pick up on and start performing more objective scientific testing along with the on-the-snow subjective reviews.
post #6 of 18
I agree that it would be helpful and interesting, but might become counter productive. I do agree that current equipement reviews are totally and utterly useless compilation of slick sounding adjectives and phrases that have no meaning what-so-ever. Usually Ski and Skiing can't even come up with new ones from one season to the next... read them from year to year regarding the same ski... usually they say the same stuff. The amusing part is that skiers scramble to get these magazines every fall... an actually listen to what they say. I like the pictures.
Later
GREG
post #7 of 18
Since the participants in this thread belong to the 3%(?) skiers who want the facts and who know how to use them we´ll agree that such standardized info would be useful and desirable.

Unfortunately, I don´t think there´s a force capable of making the manufacturers publish the data the way suggested or similar.

The less precise they are the more freedom they have to characterize their products and pretend there is a variety.

They´ll tell you that most skiers (e.g. those remaining 97%) don´t know what to to do with technical data supplied. Which is true but at the same time false.
Their reluctance to provide FACTS goes so far that even the reps and shops - who should know to be able to sell the appropriate gear - don´t have them.

(I was asked to write the domestic technical manual for one of prominent brands. The problem is there is only their blahblahblah-catalog and that the original manual should be available in October. The only chance to instruct the shops is NOW before new skis come and people attack the shops, then they have to be there, instructed. It´s nice, they feel I´m the best one to do this but I don´t have the facts. Nor cross-sections that were standard a few years back. Don´t ask me how I do it: few facts and a too much unprecise words used in the public catalog already. Not a good job but I need the money.)

You want the facts for everybody when they don´t supply them to their people?

An example:
Each ski length has different dimensions. You don´t say that and only publish one. You have 3 slightly different models (flex, materials, name) from the same mold. You present A in 155cm, B 165cm, C 175cm. They have different dimensions and radii and it looks like you have 3 completely different skis.
Next year A,B and C are the same. You present them in 150/160/170cm and you have "different" (modernized, innovated, etc.) skis again, at least their radii. The impression: variety & change.

Another example. A guy asked me on the German forum what the flex of his Fischers is compared to some 28/38 racestock Atomics SL.

I told him:
"privat müsste man den ski in beiden kontaktpunkten unterstützen und in der mitte belasten.
die DIN ISO 5902 schreibt 325 N vor, es wird am besten mit der vertikalen legpress-maschine und entsprechenden gewichten realisiert.
viele sportlichen SL-ski weisen dabei die durchbiegung um 6 cm auf, ich weiss nicht, wie hart/soft der WC SC ist
die werte werden aber nicht veröffentlicht und afaik, gibt es auch keine tests mehr, die biegesteifigkeit der ski messen."

Basically that the norm DIN ISO 5902 operates with the pressure of 325 N exerted in the middle on skis supported in both contact points.

He got the following answer from Fischer:

"... Die Härteangabe der verschiedenen Skifirmen kann man im Übrigen nicht vergleichen. Sie messen im Allgemeinen die Durchbiegung des Skis nach Anbringen eines bestimmten Druckes in der Skimitte. Die Durchbiegung in mm ist dann typischerweise die Härteangabe.
Je nachdem,
- wie schwer dieses Gewicht ist,
- ob man mit oder gegen die Vorspannung misst,
- an welchen Punkten die Ski vorne und hinten aufliegen,
- ob mit oder ohne Platte gemessen wird
ist auch das Ergebnis von Firma zu Firma unterschiedlich. Unsere Rennski liegen z.B. in "Fischer" - Härtebereichen von 70-78, d.h. wir haben mit Sicherheit ein anderes Messverfahren als Atomic."

Saying that the values found may vary according to the force applied, including or against the camber, depending on where exactly the skis are supported, measurement with or without the plate.

I thought there was the norm. It seems that it means nothing and that the manufacturers have their own standards.

And you would like to be given standardized values?

That´s the reality, my dear Watson.
It sucks, of course. I´d be the first to celebrate a change.
post #8 of 18

ski measurements?

I was just going to post this question and found this thread. I measured 2 pairs of my skis today. The measurement written on the ski for the waist ( which I thought was the narrowest point under foot) is 65mm Volkl, and 64mm Atomic. The actual measurement by my crude method is (outside of edge to outside of edge measured on the running surface) Volkl 59mm, Atomic56mm. The Volkl are 65mm wide at 100mm forward from the front of the front binding plate. The atomic are 64mm 55mm forward from the front binding. Even if I were drunk my measurements should be closer than this. I am obviously doing something wrong. What is it?

Mark:
post #9 of 18
For 1 and 5, how hard can it be to measure the ski at it's smallest and widest fore and aft point?. For weight, may I suggest that they simply measure the mass using a scale. Come on! My grocer can weigh a roast; surely Atomic can weight skis. The sidecut curve might require a bit of math, but a simple least-squares best fit to a circular arc should be within thier capabilities.

I will admit to there being some additional complications with torque and a simple modulus or even a deflection graph would probably not suffice.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkevenson
I was just going to post this question and found this thread. I measured 2 pairs of my skis today. The measurement written on the ski for the waist ( which I thought was the narrowest point under foot) is 65mm Volkl, and 64mm Atomic. The actual measurement by my crude method is (outside of edge to outside of edge measured on the running surface) Volkl 59mm, Atomic56mm. The Volkl are 65mm wide at 100mm forward from the front of the front binding plate. The atomic are 64mm 55mm forward from the front binding. Even if I were drunk my measurements should be closer than this. I am obviously doing something wrong. What is it?
X-C skis and Elan Stealth/Phantom aside, the last time I saw skis only 59mm wide were some Dynamics in about 1998 or 99, and they were an exception.
What´s wrong?
The crude method?
You were drunk?
I don´t know but I´ll bet all my skis that yours are NOT 59/56mm wide.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkevenson
The actual measurement by my crude method is (outside of edge to outside of edge measured on the running surface) Volkl 59mm, Atomic56mm. ... Even if I were drunk my measurements should be closer than this. I am obviously doing something wrong. What is it?
I have no idea what, but I think you must be doing something wrong. I've measured a goodly handful of my skis, and the waists are always very close to what's stated. More significantly, perhaps, they're never anywhere near that narrow. Those are smaller than the FIS minimum of 60 mm (not that that matters to you if you're not racing on them ... but it certainly indicates they're well without the ordinary range of ski design).
post #12 of 18
Weight would indeed be easy to measure, but I don't think it's really very informative. What you really want (maybe) is some measurement of swing weight.

Another note: having wide distribution of the "wrong" measurements is perhaps more dangerous than having no measurements. If the demands of marketing force ski companies to "optimize" against some metric, they'll have to do that, rather than optimize the way the things actually ski.
post #13 of 18
What use is the ski weight? The tiny differences? Just skis, skis and plates, or skis and plates and bindings?

If you publish the weight of the 2004/2005 model you can´t speak of "a substancial weight reduction" for 2005/2006 and show that it´s only a few grams...
Dynastar has always published the ski weight. I don´t think it has helped them any.
post #14 of 18
mkevenson: How many times have you tuned and machine ground your skis? I guess theoretically you could grind them so there is virtually no edge left, and be left with a narrower waist than is posted on the ski... although I have never seen it happen.
Later
GREG
post #15 of 18
Mkevenson, some rulers start the scale with zero a little in from the edge of the ruler. Did you make an offset error?
post #16 of 18
I was exploring some of this in April:

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...8000+sx% 3A11
post #17 of 18
[quote=Ghost]Mkevenson, some rulers start the scale with zero a little in from the edge of the ruler. Did you make an offset error?[/QUOTE

Absolutely! And it was Sunday morning and I hadn't had a drop in at least 24 hours. What an IDIOT I am!!!!! THe actuall measurements are right on using the ruler correctly. I feel so embarressed. Thanks Ghost.:
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler
And while we're at it - how about having the boot manufacturers adopt some kind of standardized flex index so that we can compare across those manufacturers too.
Flex, volume, ramp angle, forward lean, and pack-out rate...
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