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new narrow waist skis good off-piste?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Peter Keelty's site raves about the Fischer Sceneo S500 and the Volkl Supersport T50 5 Star. He says that each ski is good for EVERYTHING except bottomless. What's curious about this observation is that since just 2 seasons ago, the "common wisdom" seems to be that anything below 70mm waist can't possibly be good in any condition except shallow crud and groomers.

Dimensions of Sceneo S500 - 118/68/100

Dimensions of T50 5 Star - 111/68/98

Here's my big question --

After skiing a friend's P50 Platinums last year, I got interested in a ski that actually rips the short turns on hard snow. But I chose to avoid a race carver ski because of its limitations off-piste. In last year's reviews, Peter did not rave about any sub-70mm waisted ski's off-piste performance. This year, it's different.

Has anyone skied the Sceneo S500? The T50 5 Star? Both? I'm interested in a report from someone other than Peter, even though I trust his judgment.

If these two new models are as great as Peter says they are, I'm likely to sell my Axis X skis and get one or the other of the Sceneo or the T50. Should I bother doing a demo? Is Peter telling the truth, or is he just a little over-excited about these two new skis?
post #2 of 24
you joining a practice back east gonz?


See ya in Jan,
woodsy
post #3 of 24
All these discussions of waist width for powder seem pretty frivolous really when you consider that as recently as 5 or 6 years ago almost everyone was skiing powder and crud on narrow waisted skis. I'm certain that the T50 Supersports I bought for this season will float better in powder than my old K2 SL Race's...and I didn't do too badly on them. If you really plan on skiing powder the best thing to do would be to take a clinic and learn to ski it properly on the skis you have.
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
hayull no! I've had it with the East. 36 years of my life there. much happier here. if only Missoula had SLC's snow & skiing!

indeed, woodsy -- will see you in Jan. maybe I'll have some pocket rockets by then... or G4s. who knows. I sure don't.

bwaaah hah hah
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
NERacer,

Thanks for your insight. I don't have any problem skiing powder, I grew up skiing pencils and only recently switched to modern skis. I've skied powder well on old school pencils. I don't need any clinics. I'm lucky enough to have a fine former race coach as my coach. I'm just being curious, that's all -- another incident of wondering if the product can do what it's claimed to do.

If Dominique Perret can thrash the extremes on a 70mm waisted Stockli, a good skier certainly doesn't NEED a 100mm waisted ski to enjoy powder. However, more flotation = more fun in my book. I'm about as technical a skier as you can be w/o being a racer or instructor, but I'm not afraid to have a little fun wherever I can.

It's not the NEED I'm talking about. It's the issue of what might be possible.
post #6 of 24
I never really understood the thrill of skiing powder the same way as waterskiing; just floating on the top.
It seems to me that just by virtue of their large tip dimensions the new "all mountain" skis like the T50s etc should have no trouble floating enough in powder to make them easier to float than old style skis. The only downside would seem to be that the shorter lengths result in less total surface area so they may not float so well as a result. Also, the large sidecuts may not work well in deep snow (I have no experience of this).
post #7 of 24
Several years ago I had an early shape ski (which I won't name because I got a pro deal on them and I don't want to offend the rep) that were narrow under foot and very wide at the tip and tail, and quite soft. They worked fine in moguls, and good at moderate speeds, but in powder they were the worst skis I ever had! They had a reasonable amount of surface area to float in deep snow, but I think that the combination of narrow waist and wide ends made them bend too much in powder. That made them both too turny, and allowed them to store enough energy when bent to make them difficult to control. That's the main reason I chose the Vertigos (with the more conservative side cut) over the T50 5 Stars this year.
post #8 of 24
I'm trying to figure out what you mean by narrow waist. Both skis are 68mm wide in the waist while your Axis X are 70mm wide. Not much difference.
post #9 of 24
>... that were narrow under foot and very wide at the tip and tail, and quite soft. They worked fine in moguls, and good at moderate speeds, but in powder they were the worst skis I ever had! ...

JohnD - I know exactly what you mean. I have been on many skis that acted like that.

I do want to point out that you can still have a ski with a deep sidecut work ok in pow as long as it is stiff enough. For example, my old pr of 193 red SCX's "monoblocks" have a tiny waist but really flair out to a substantial shovel and tail (115/60!/106 - if I remember correctly). Its surprising to most people, but they are really quite good in motoring through deep, soft, highly cut-up crud in spite of their deep sidecut. The crucial factor is that they are extremely stiff.

There are conditions (heavy, tracked up slop) I would rather be on the old SCX's than on the 184 10ex's that I used last season. While the 10ex is a great crud ski for many people, its suitability, as does that of any soft snow ski, really depends on the skier's weight. The 10ex's are clearly stiff enough for most people, but for me at 210 lbs + wt of pack & gear), I've found that its stiffness is only marginal.

Of course, the average width of the 10ex is much more than that of the SCX, and that makes the SCX's feel a lot more tippy (side to side) in deep soft stuff, but I can live with that a lot more easily than trying to ride a ski that is continuously in huge ammts of reverse camber. Obviously, going too far in the other direction a getting a ski that is too stiff is no good either.

I'm not recommending skiing crud on something like my SCX's, and I'm trading my 10ex's for a pr of G4's to get an appropriate stiffness for me *and* the lateral stability of a wider underfoot platform (83mm) without going so wide that their groomer performance suffers.

Just my $0.02,

Tom / PM

PS (in edit) - With respect to the original question of can narrow waisted skis be good off-piste, I think they can, and a good test & rule of thumb is to block up the tips and tails a few inches off the ground of the pair that you are considering. Stand on the skis, and weight them equally. If their downward deflection is more than 1.5 - 2.5 inches, IMHO, they are too soft for cut-up irregular snow, unless they are extremely wide (ie, over 90 mm). Basically, you are trying to find a ski that for your weight, the radius of curvature of the reverse camber should be in the same ballpark as the sidecut radius (ie, in the other plane).

PS #2 - Gonz - Along with the Scenio that you mentioned in your first post, I've also heard nothing but good things about the Head xp100 as a crud ski in spite of its wild 123/68/107-ish sidecut. Again, its a fairly stiff ski, and that's what saves the day. Its large swing weight probably doesn't hurt, either.

[ November 24, 2002, 04:33 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by PhysicsMan:


I do want to point out that you can still have a ski with a deep sidecut work ok in pow as long as it is stiff enough.
That's the conclusion I came to. There's some relationship between sidecut and optimum stiffness. Skis with a lot of sidecut need to be stiff, and skis with more moderate sidecut need to be softer.

John
post #11 of 24
Gonzo,
Have you noticed, the T50s are wider than the X-scream series? 68mm waist are shared by both skis, but other than that the T50's are wider [img]smile.gif[/img] surprise surprise (i know i was)

You'd better hurry on those T50's. Volkl is having a great season with them...They're basically out at their warehouse, so everything you see on the shelf is what's left for sale [img]tongue.gif[/img] I DID hear someone saying that you can get them shipped from europe for a good price though...you might want to search around on this forum...i think it was Shea-Bird that got them through euro.

Regards,
MelloBoy
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by John Dowling:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by PhysicsMan:
I do want to point out that you can still have a ski with a deep sidecut work ok in pow as long as it is stiff enough.
That's the conclusion I came to. There's some relationship between sidecut and optimum stiffness. Skis with a lot of sidecut need to be stiff, and skis with more moderate sidecut need to be softer. John</font>[/quote]Its even more complicated than that. First, you have to distinguish carefully between the hard and soft snow cases. In the first case, you are turning on your edges, and the deeper the sidecut (everything else being constant), the shorter the radius of a carved turn.

In the second case, you are turning on your bases, and the deeper your ski goes into reverse camber, the shorter the radius of psuedo-carved turns in powder.

In cut-up snow of variable depth and consistency, the forces acting on your skis in a turn are sometimes due to forces generated by your bases, and sometimes due to forces generated by your edges. If these two forces are significantly different, then during a turn in which the skier is trying to keep his forward velocity and turn radius roughly constant, he will experience instability or a "wild ride", and label that ski as a poor crud performer.

Obviously, the designer of crud skis could make a ski that is unusually stiff, and it won't be as susceptable to being buffetted around in crud. Unfortunately, it also won't turn in soft snow (grin). Another option is to make a ski that is unusually wide. It will ride on top of much of the crud and indeed be more stable, but will not be good on the denser/packed snow sections for all the usual reasons.

Matching these two areas of performance within all the other design constraints is a tricky optimization and demands the very best from ski designers. It explains why there are so many skis that are fine in untracked powder or the groomers but become a handful once it gets cut up.

My personal opinion is that skis like the Scenio 500 and Head xp100 (ie, deeply sidecut and quite stiff) are exploring exactly the right area of parameter space for the broadest optimal performance.

Tom / PM
post #13 of 24
P Man, I'm not a very good skier, but I have found skiing easier and more fun, on groomed, on dust-on-crust, in chopped crud, and in powder, since I got Rossignol Bandit XX's. Seriously, what is there about the construction/design of the XX that makes all that happen? It certainly isn't the narrow waist - it's 74 cm underfoot. It doesn't have much shape, as modern skis go. So what is it?

[ November 24, 2002, 02:54 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by PhysicsMan:

My personal opinion is that skis like the Scenio 500 and Head xp100 (ie, deeply sidecut and quite stiff) are exploring exactly the right area of parameter space for the broadest optimal performance.

Tom / PM
So are you saying I should have taken the T50 SS 5 Stars and not the G3s?

John
post #15 of 24
>... Seriously, what is there about the construction/design of the XX that makes all that happen? It certainly isn't the narrow waist - it's 74 cm underfoot. It doesn't have much shape, as modern skis go. So what is it? ...

B - You just asked the $64 question, and if there was a single, simple answer to it, every ski company in the universe would use that approach.

Realistically, the only truthful answer that I can give is to say that there simply are a whole lot of ways to make people happy on skis, and you (and quite a few other people) have found one particular combination of design parameters (ie, the XX) that works great for you.

Now, generality of the level of my previous paragraph is probably not what you were looking for, so let me throw out some two specific guesses as to why you & others like the ski.

1) The sidecut (110/74/100) and moderate flex is similar to that of the k2 Enemy (109/75/97). The latter is a ski which also has a loyal following, even out of the park. Spinheli and I both ski the latter in a 173 (similar to your length), and love it for general, day-in, day-out moderate speed use. I particularly like it for crowded trails and slightly softer snow conditions. This sounds like the usages you were describing. Both of these skis are a bit wider than average and have a moderate sidecut, so that they skid/skarve very well, but not so wide that they are hard to put up on edge.

2) I have never demo'ed the XX, but from my experience on the Enemies, I can tell you that I prefer to ski a different ski in over 8"-12" of snow, and if the speeds start getting high. OTOH, impression is that you are OK with your XX in these conditions but probably don't get to sample them very much. They are ok for you in cut-up crud, whereas I know they aren't optimal for me because I have done direct comparisons in crud to other skis.

There is a very good explanation for the differences in satisfaction between us in different conditions: You weigh 140 (if I remember correctly), and I weigh 210. Flex isn't as important to moderate speed hard snow performance (both carving & skidding) as it is in powder, crud, and at high speeds, so I can live with a slightly softer ski for most conditions, but need to use something more beefy / wide in these other conditions. You, OTOH, are probably right at the optimal design point for the XX over a wide range of conditions.

Just some random thoughts. Hope you are having a nice season.

Tom / PM

[ November 24, 2002, 04:21 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #16 of 24
>... So are you saying I should have taken the T50 SS 5 Stars and not the G3s? ...

Nope.

I was only talking in generalities & can't make any specific recommendations since (a) I have never demo'ed the new T50's and (b), as I said to Oboe, there are lots of ways individual skis make people happy.

Specifically, I used the phrase, "broadest possible optimal performance". I can guarantee you that there will *always* be skis that will work even better than this group over more limited ranges of uses, skier weights, etc. As always, it comes down to how often do you want to (or can) change to a more optimal ski for the specific conditions of the day, hour, run, etc.

Sorry to have to waffle on your question, but that's the best I can do.

Tom / PM

PS - FWIW, I did like the g3's when I demo'ed them under normal groomer conditions a couple of years ago, so take that as another (unfortunately) limited vote of confidence.
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by PhysicsMan:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by John Dowling:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by PhysicsMan:
I do want to point out that you can still have a ski with a deep sidecut work ok in pow as long as it is stiff enough.
That's the conclusion I came to. There's some relationship between sidecut and optimum stiffness. Skis with a lot of sidecut need to be stiff, and skis with more moderate sidecut need to be softer. John</font>[/quote]Its even more complicated than that. First, you have to distinguish carefully between the hard and soft snow cases. In the first case, you are turning on your edges, and the deeper the sidecut (everything else being constant), the shorter the radius of a carved turn.

In the second case, you are turning on your bases, and the deeper your ski goes into reverse camber, the shorter the radius of psuedo-carved turns in powder.

In cut-up snow of variable depth and consistency, the forces acting on your skis in a turn are sometimes due to forces generated by your bases, and sometimes due to forces generated by your edges. If these two forces are significantly different, then during a turn in which the skier is trying to keep his forward velocity and turn radius roughly constant, he will experience instability or a "wild ride", and label that ski as a poor crud performer.

Obviously, the designer of crud skis could make a ski that is unusually stiff, and it won't be as susceptable to being buffetted around in crud. Unfortunately, it also won't turn in soft snow (grin). Another option is to make a ski that is unusually wide. It will ride on top of much of the crud and indeed be more stable, but will not be good on the denser/packed snow sections for all the usual reasons.

Matching these two areas of performance within all the other design constraints is a tricky optimization and demands the very best from ski designers. It explains why there are so many skis that are fine in untracked powder or the groomers but become a handful once it gets cut up.

My personal opinion is that skis like the Scenio 500 and Head xp100 (ie, deeply sidecut and quite stiff) are exploring exactly the right area of parameter space for the broadest optimal performance.

Tom / PM
</font>[/quote]Physics Man: Re your personal opinion on the Scenio 500 and Head XP100 I must agree with you. I think the XP 100 is just about the most versatile ski I've ever been on. I have not tried the Scenio 500 but looking at its dimensions and the reviews its gotten, it looks like a winner too.

Which one do you think is the best all-mountain expert ski?
:
post #18 of 24
I'm repping for Fischer this year.

I have not been in crud, powder, or wind slab this year, however, I skied the 500 in a 170cm and the 400 in a 160 cm and both skis carved VERY tight radius turns.

I'm ordering a pair of the 400's this week.

Note: the 400 and 500 differ only in a sheet of titanium and a plate on the 500.
post #19 of 24
FFF asked, "...Which one do you think is the best all-mountain expert ski?"

Besides not being qualified, you got another thought coming if you think I'm going to answer that and get in trouble with everybody!

Rusty said, "...the 400 and 500 differ only in a sheet of titanium..."

Kinda reminds me of the old song, "What a difference a sheet of titanium makes".

Tom / PM

PS - FFF, just as a data point re your opinion on the xp100, how much do you weigh (if that's not classified info)?

[ November 26, 2002, 08:30 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #20 of 24
See the string "All Mountain Ski Suggestions" for more opinions on the Head XP-80 and XP-100. Jo Canadian reports that the XP-80 does well in all conditions and it features a slim 66mm waist.
post #21 of 24
Much of the foregoing discussion of the physics of float is way over my head, so I'll just add my oversimplified two cents. My ol' G30s are 69 in the waist (1 mm wider than the SS), but not as wide as the SS in the tip or tail. The G30s are terrific in powder or crud. The only time I felt I needed more board underneath was in 2' of wet Tahoe fresh--conditions not usually seen in the Rockies.

I would expect there to be a pretty big difference b/w the SS and the G30 on VT hardpack, but less difference on MT fluff. If you're worried about a lack of surface area on the snow, buy the SS a little longer than you would if you were skiing 'em in Vermont.

And if you want a lighter weight ski of similar dimensions that would permit you to ski/hike the bc one day and carve tight turns on the groomers the next day, check out the reviews of the 03 Volkl Mountain. Thought of that ski when I read your post, Gonz.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by oboe:
P Man, I'm not a very good skier, but I have found skiing easier and more fun, on groomed, on dust-on-crust, in chopped crud, and in powder, since I got Rossignol Bandit XX's. Seriously, what is there about the construction/design of the XX that makes all that happen? It certainly isn't the narrow waist - it's 74 cm underfoot. It doesn't have much shape, as modern skis go. So what is it?
Actaully, I think there _is_ a simple answer. (Sorry P-Man.) AOTBE, wider waisted skis are going to be more stable and forgiving. Narrow waist buys you quickness, etc.., but wider actually makes it easier to ski.

Might even explain some of the popularity of midfats -- nice new Keelty article on this subject over at tsfs.
post #23 of 24
L - What you say about the advantages of extra width is absolutely true, but knowing the large number of skis that Oboe has said he demos every season, and his general knowledge of skiing, I automatically assumed he was comparing them to other 70+ mm mid-fats (especially to his previous skis, the k2 mod 7/8's), and was not making the mistake of comparing them to significantly narrower skis. Thus, I was looking for other effects beyond simply width.

Compared to his previous skis, I'm not convinced that 4 extra mm (ie, 74 vs 70) is going to make a huge difference, but when you put that one change together with a lower swing wt, decreased damping, increased stiffness and a different flex distribution of the XX's vs the 7/8's, then you wind up with a ski that feels quite different to the user.

In addition, a person's skiing style and where they ski is critically important to their perception of what consitutes a good ski. I'm pretty sure that while he states that he is an intermediate, Oboe also has said that he likes narrow eastern trails, eastern glades, etc.. To me, this strongly suggests that he isn't a knuckle-dragging hypercarver, and rather, probably uses a lot of intentional speed scrubbing in skiing such terrain. This will further bias his choice of favorites towards skidders rather than carvers, even among 70-75 mm midfats.

Besides, I can't make anything simple -- it goes totally against my grain -- you should know that by now.

Tom / PM
post #24 of 24
Guys, see my review of the Sceneo S500 for details on the ski. I have no idea about the Volks SuperSport, but I bet they are a blast everywhere.
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