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Sweet Spot Explanation

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Can someone explain what exactly is the sweet spot on a ski and give an example of when having a small sweet spot comes in handy? I have heard various defintions such as the tendency of a ski to react to fore or aft movements etc. Thanks
post #2 of 6
From Bob Barnes's Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing:

"The 'sweet spot' is that point on the ski and inside the boot over which we strive to balance for optimal ski performance and athletic stance. The actual location of the sweet spot may vary somewhat, depending on equipment, individual physical makeup and turn type. Generally, the spot is in the area from just behind the arch to the ball of the foot."

Generally, a "small" sweet spot requires greater skill to feel/employ. A ski that has one and a skier that can make use of it can result in more precise and efficient turning. As Bob says, it's a spot over which you want to balance your weight for optimum performance. If your weight is too forward, the ski may hook at the tip. If you're too far back, you may not be able to start turns accurately. Either case may require greater energy expenditure to make turns.
post #3 of 6
I wouldn't say that a small sweet spot is directly handy. A small sweet spot is the result of design tradeoffs favoring ski performance characteristics over ease of control. For example, the Volkl 6 star has a smaller sweet spot than the Volkl 5 star. The Volkl 6 star is a stiffer ski than the 5 star. It can handle higher speeds, firmer snow and is quicker edge to edge (my opinion) than the 5 star. If your fore/aft balance is very good (i.e. you have no trouble staying within the small sweet spot), the 6 star is real treat. If not, the ski sucks big time. If you don't need the forgiveness of a larger sweet spot, a small sweet is indirectly handy because of the increased performance that can come along with it. It's interesting to note that the 6 star was designed as an "Eastern" ski, while the 5 star was designed as a "Western" ski (instead of the 6 star being designed to be marketed as a higher performance ski). Volkl believes that the 5 star has the right performance characteristics for skiing on soft snow. It just happens to have a larger sweet spot.
post #4 of 6
I agree with Rusty on the answer to the question posed in the thread but wish to disagree on the opinion of the marketing of the 5 and 6-star volkl they were initially designed as differing levels of performance, however after the first year's split in sales btwn Left and right coast the marketing in subsequent years changed to what it is now as Rusty describes, this is not an uncommon practice in marketing in any industry, for example RAID was orignally researched at Berkley UC as a Redundent Array of Inexpensive Drives but Industry got a hold of it and RAID now stands for Redundent Array of Independent Drives and in the computer industries ppl outside the know still debate what it stands for while both arguing a differing points of views which to some degree is in fact accurate. But I digress...

I would also add that with the narrower the sweet spot the greater the skill level of the user (Skier) needs to employ in order to get all the ski has to offer out of it, however a softer ski like the 5-star will allow Arcing turns in a purely carved fashion at a much slower speed than that of the 6 - star or p50/60, this may be desired for demos in teaching as my p50's take quite a bit of speed and force to bend and not a great ski for demoing to my students how to arc, sure I have made it work but I much prefer the 5-star as it gives the students more time to see what I am doing in my demos.

Now if you like the speed element of turning and going very fast, I feel much more safe and confident at 40-50+ MPH on my P50's than I do on 5-Stars. A Stiffer ski with a genuinely narrower sweet spot will usually handle higher speeds better than a softer more forgiving ski.
post #5 of 6
Yep. I can't speak to year one marketing. My comments came straight from the Volkl reps ... from after year one. The tweaks they've done in subsequent model year designs reinforce the left/right approach as opposed to the skill approach.

Funny - I still use "inexpensive". But then again, the prices some of those mid range vendors are charging for RAID drives are so rediculous no wonder they're calling them "independent".
post #6 of 6
It is easier to notice when you get to sweet spot on surfboard
(You go MUCH faster)
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