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Why are skis symmetrical?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Just wondering why skis are symmetrical... why don't they make a L and a R ski and put slightly more sidecut on the outside edges, that way when you are turning with both skis at the same edge angle the inside ski would carve a slightly tighter turn... which is what you want them to do.

Of course I'm not talking about skis for offpiste, then you might get weird twisting forces.
post #2 of 7
Scottybob makes asym skis.
post #3 of 7
Atomic made Asymmetrical skis about 5 years ago, including the Beta Race 10:26. They were very popular with very positive reviews.

Could cost be an issue?

post #4 of 7
Sarner was one of the first to make asymetrical skis, back in the late 70's. Dynastar attempted some variations with different sidewalls and their ID series.
post #5 of 7
I think it is a cost issue, aside from the fact that benefits are unproven. If skis were asymmetrical, production would require two sets of tooling, resulting in a substantial cost increase. Edge wear would also be affected, as one could not switch skis to gain a fresher edge. I think cost is the bigger issue though.
post #6 of 7
Asymmetrical skis are not a new thing. Beside those mentioned I know such skis made by a tiny private manufacture in this country in the early 70s.

In the pre-shaped era the last ski of the sort was Volkl P9RSL in about 1995 which should have been a "two in one": both a SL with shorter radius and a GS with bigger. (Watch out: it was not the famous race ski P9!)

The first retail Atomic Beta Race 9.28 had radius 28/30m but the next 10.26 not anymore, I´m sure (similarly, afaik, the racestock 9.28 with full-length Beta lobes was symmetrical).
The radically shaped "extreme carver" Beta Carv 9.11, later 10.11, also had 10/11m till 2001/2002.

Fischer was another one with its first Radarc (you might remember the crazy shape which couldn´t stand on tails) built according to plans and theories of an Austrian Helmut Gottschlich (the father of the Wiener Modelle aka PSIman) and the first and second? generation Radarcs were asymmetrical too.

IMO the benefits - if any - haven´t outweighted the disadvantages. It´s a complication (I suppose it´s simpler to cut materials symmetrically), you can use the moulds for asymmetrical skis only, there would be problems programming tuning machines.

From the skier´s POV: the idea is not illogical but I think that in practice the skier seldom pressures both skis long enough for the different radii to really apply (I´m speculating here, not sure).

As a customer/user I would never buy such skis simply because they would last half the time. Considering how fast a season on hardpack/manmade snow eats up the edges they would be one-season skis for hard chargers. The L/R switch is important.
post #7 of 7
The Asnes Predator (1996) were asymmetrical telemark racing skis, deeper sidecut on big toe edge! I still use an asymmetrical snowboard. I agree with doublediamond223, it's cost. Cost killed asymm snowboards. It not only complicated manufacture but also sales and distribution. Carving boards were already a small niche market, dealers didn't want to have to stock regular and goofy footed boards.

That's a good point that you can't swap left/right. My bindings are mounted on release plates, so I can move bindings from ski to ski, but most telemarkers can't switch skis. It's funny to see newby telemarkers with skis on wrong feet. Their boots are at an angle to the skis.
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