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Philosophical musings on "best ski"

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I am not a mathematician. However. Given the variables of ski brand, model, length, tune; skier size, conditioning, skill, skiing style, expectations; boot brand, fit, mount; mountain, terrain, weather, surface conditions. It would seem that the possible permutations and combinations would be almost astronomical. The conclusion would seem to be that the "best ski" is whatever feels best to you on a given day. And the corollary would be to buy the ski that feels the best to you after trying a bunch of different skis on the slopes you like the best and ski the most during the conditions you most commonly experience. Or am I missing something?
post #2 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebough
I am not a mathematician. However. Given the variables of ski brand, model, length, tune; skier size, conditioning, skill, skiing style, expectations; boot brand, fit, mount; mountain, terrain, weather, surface conditions. It would seem that the possible permutations and combinations would be almost astronomical. The conclusion would seem to be that the "best ski" is whatever feels best to you on a given day. And the corollary would be to buy the ski that feels the best to you after trying a bunch of different skis on the slopes you like the best and ski the most during the conditions you most commonly experience. Or am I missing something?
Nope, nailed it.
post #3 of 24
Right on. In fact, that is why reviews should be used to determine skis to try, IMO.

One thing to note: even with demos, there are variables, like the tune and the demo bindings (often much heavier and different than the consumer bindings).
post #4 of 24
Hmmm....maybe this is why I own 3 different "best skis".
post #5 of 24
I think the goal is to pinpoint the key elements that one enjoys or insists on having in their equipment, ignore the hype and sales gimicks and go with something you can live with as a choice.

As a gear head this causes many trips to the shrink to stop those damn "Metron and Kyrpton" voices, I think it's a deep laiden Supermanralific Epic Physcosis perliforation.

Demo is probably the best answer, but only a lucky few have the time for on hill play with different equipment.

It's hard enough just stopping and having lunch never mind demo booths and standing around waiting for some guy to sales pitch ya, when skiing it is all that really matters. No offense meant to the fine people at the booths, they are just doing their job.

We gear heads strive so hard to get the best stuff we think we need, that taking time out to experiment takes time away from the goods we worked so hard to acheive in the first place. What came first the chicken or the egg and how come no one ever talks about that horny rooster?

This is why I have whined in the past about ski reviews being mostly what I don't need to hear with only sniglets of what does. Ie better ski for light weights, gets nervous at speeds, not a bump ski, better wear bib pants in powder. Reading every review you can get your hands on, reading between the lines gets you close.

Faith and demoing are ones only last resorts.

review journalists are you listening?
post #6 of 24
The best way to understand how most high end skis actually ski, is to test the top end skis from each brand every few years. Demoing every model every season (or every high end model) is useless. It is better to get a picture of how each brand usually suits your skiing and then build a list from there. I have a list of certian brands that I know I don't like. They are usually great skis, but I just don't feel comfortable on the skis. Every one in awhile those companies significantly change their design or appraoch to their skis, and it is time to try again.

List of intriguing skis as of now:
Head IM:88 (hated previous models, but the sandwich is interesting)
Head i.XRC 1100 (or is it 1200?) SW (again sandwich is interesting)
Volkl Mantra (sandwich again)
Stockli Scott Schmidt Pro
Head race stock skis
Blizzard race stock skis

Overall, youre right. There is no best. No one will go out looking for that one ace card of a ski and find it. They may find a ski that they think is great, but the next guy may hate it... So yeah, best skis... I don't buy it, but I do feel that there are superior skis from time to time, that come and go. The reason for it is that ski companies re-vamp their ski lines at different intervals, thus one company can jump ahead one season, while the company who fell behind will catch up or surpass their competitor for the next season. (Notice that race skis alternate? Meaning one year the SL ski is a brand new design and the next year the GS ski is brand new. Somehting always stays constant while something else changes. This years best two examples are Nordica [new sl ski] and Elan [new gs ski]. This holds true if you look at freeride vs carving oriented ski lines as well... it is rare that both ski lines change for the same year.)

Later

GREG
post #7 of 24
My skis are the best skis because they're mine. The best skis are the ones that I get to ski by virtue of them being in my possesion. Others are of considerably less value because, being as they belong to others, I don't get to use them.
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by volantaddict
My skis are the best skis because they're mine. The best skis are the ones that I get to ski by virtue of them being in my possesion. Others are of considerably less value because, being as they belong to others, I don't get to use them.
Should your skis be the ones that everyone else wants they could be taken from you and therefore no longer be in your possesion and be of greater value to you than you may realize despite no longer being yours.

The fact that they are the best will also be placed into scrutiny as they can't any longer be your best skis but they could be someone elses. Up side, they may leave you with their best skis and assist in making all the other skis worthless again.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot mb
Should your skis be the ones that everyone else wants they could be taken from you and therefore no longer be in your possesion and be of greater value to you than you may realize despite no longer being yours.

The fact that they are the best will also be placed into scrutiny as they can't any longer be your best skis but they could be someone elses. Up side, they may leave you with their best skis and assist in making all the other skis worthless again.
After reading this I felt dizzy.
post #10 of 24
What if skiing on the ski that feels "best" just reinforces the technique you presently use?

Unless you are a world cup skier, your present technique might need some work.

Maybe you would be better served by a ski that doesn't feel "best"? Maybe a ski that kicks your ass today will develop your skills of tomorrow? Or, a ski that is too “soft” and “wimpy” indicates you lack the touch and finesse to ski it?

Maybe skis don’t feel “right” because you can’t figure out or can’t provide the input they require.

Maybe the “wrong” ski for the job will make you use the best possible technique – Explosivs in the moguls? High speed arcs on soft intermediate rentals?

Or, maybe you should be on the skis that you dream of being able to ski like they should be skied – and work on giving them what they need?
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by lurking bear
What if skiing on the ski that feels "best" just reinforces the technique you presently use?

Unless you are a world cup skier, your present technique might need some work.

Maybe you would be better served by a ski that doesn't feel "best"? Maybe a ski that kicks your ass today will develop your skills of tomorrow? Or, a ski that is too “soft” and “wimpy” indicates you lack the touch and finesse to ski it?

Maybe skis don’t feel “right” because you can’t figure out or can’t provide the input they require.

Maybe the “wrong” ski for the job will make you use the best possible technique – Explosivs in the moguls? High speed arcs on soft intermediate rentals?

Or, maybe you should be on the skis that you dream of being able to ski like they should be skied – and work on giving them what they need?
This seems like an excellent arguement for skiing many different skis. Good show! I will do just that. I have five pair of skis I've never even tried.
post #12 of 24

Best Skis are personal good skis...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebough
I am not a mathematician. However. Given the variables of ski brand, model, length, tune; skier size, conditioning, skill, skiing style, expectations; boot brand, fit, mount; mountain, terrain, weather, surface conditions. It would seem that the possible permutations and combinations would be almost astronomical. The conclusion would seem to be that the "best ski" is whatever feels best to you on a given day. And the corollary would be to buy the ski that feels the best to you after trying a bunch of different skis on the slopes you like the best and ski the most during the conditions you most commonly experience. Or am I missing something?
I really agree with what you are saying. If you are missing something it would only be a very small part of the overall picture. I would call it, and this is only for me personally, "the God factor". Now let me just say others have noticed it working in my life and called it other things, like random chance, dumb luck, and one of my ex girlfriends termed it "wanton hubris". Let me just qualify by saying I am an intermediate skier with a desire to improve my skiing. I just bought a ski thats 92 at the waist without demoing it and loved it (Nordica The Beast Limited Edition). Now if I had demoed it I would not have chosen it because it is a demanding ski. I love it because I know I can use this ski to improve my skiing. With that said, I just demoed skis for the first time and realized how extremely important that is. In fact I can remember thinking after skiing one ski that I must have been crazy buying skis without demoing them. But there it is, and as an interesting sidenote, out of the six or seven skis I demoed I liked the Elan M666 best, it would seem to fit in nicely with my Nordica...true
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by volantaddict
After reading this I felt dizzy.
It's the lack of commas...
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lurking bear
What if skiing on the ski that feels "best" just reinforces the technique you presently use?

Unless you are a world cup skier, your present technique might need some work.

Maybe you would be better served by a ski that doesn't feel "best"? Maybe a ski that kicks your ass today will develop your skills of tomorrow? Or, a ski that is too “soft” and “wimpy” indicates you lack the touch and finesse to ski it?

Maybe skis don’t feel “right” because you can’t figure out or can’t provide the input they require.

Maybe the “wrong” ski for the job will make you use the best possible technique – Explosivs in the moguls? High speed arcs on soft intermediate rentals?

Or, maybe you should be on the skis that you dream of being able to ski like they should be skied – and work on giving them what they need?
Thanks for all the comments. This one seemed to address a missing issue, namely, the ski that feels best wouldn't actually feel the best if my technique were better. I only consider myself an advanced skier, definitely not an expert. It took a long time to get good enough just to be able to reliably feel important differences in skis. Sort of like golf and golf clubs. For now, I'll just aim to ski on what feels best and slowly try to improve my technique. If I do get better, maybe on the next go-around a different style/brand/length ski will feel best.
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebough
The conclusion would seem to be that the "best ski" is whatever feels best to you on a given day.
You could even narrow it down - it may even be on one particular run, or even just part of it.
I can remember 15 years ago after I'd bought a new 5 wood. I had played a couple of reasonable shots with it. Then it came to the 12th on Portstewart Old Course. I'd driven down the fairway, and the lie wasn't too bad. I got out the 5 wood. I hit the ball clean, and crisp. It stopped within about 6ft of the hole. That was the best club ever - for that shot.

The best ski is the same - it leaves an unforgettable smile on your face.
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by lurking bear
What if skiing on the ski that feels "best" just reinforces the technique you presently use?
I witnessed this a number of times over the past two weekend demos days. I'm also certain that it's true of me.

I also find it interesting that last year at the ESA, Nolo felt that I skied better on the B5s than the RX8s, even though the conditions were more "east coast" and thus I assumed that the RX8s were a better choice.
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebough
Thanks for all the comments. This one seemed to address a missing issue, namely, the ski that feels best wouldn't actually feel the best if my technique were better. I only consider myself an advanced skier, definitely not an expert. It took a long time to get good enough just to be able to reliably feel important differences in skis. Sort of like golf and golf clubs. For now, I'll just aim to ski on what feels best and slowly try to improve my technique. If I do get better, maybe on the next go-around a different style/brand/length ski will feel best.
Sounds like a really good reason to attend the ESA this year!
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot mb
This is why I have whined in the past about ski reviews being mostly what I don't need to hear with only sniglets of what does. Ie better ski for light weights, gets nervous at speeds, not a bump ski, better wear bib pants in powder. Reading every review you can get your hands on, reading between the lines gets you close.

Faith and demoing are ones only last resorts.

review journalists are you listening?
Ok, as a wannabe review journalist, I'd like to understand this, and I'm having some difficulty doing that. Are my reviews (like this one) doing a decent job of this? Or are there changes you'd like to see in them?
post #19 of 24
Best for a particular task and snow condition and mood.

An Equipe 10SC or Rossi 9S is best at dancing through small bumps at 30 mph.

A big old Heavy SG ski is best at bombing the hill at 60mph, while still being able to dodge the moving gates, 'cause your a maniac and don't have access to closed DH runs.

A big fat soft powder board might be best for skiing neck-deep soft powder.

An SX11 or SXB5 might be best at skiing icy groomed trails at speed.

A perfect ski would have an instantly adjustable sidecut and flex pattern and maybe even length and mass. I can foresee the flex pattern adjustment with electronic technology. The side cut is a stretch, the lenght is a real stretch, and the variable mass: . Come on PhysicsMan, patent that thing!
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
Ok, as a wannabe review journalist, I'd like to understand this, and I'm having some difficulty doing that. Are my reviews (like this one) doing a decent job of this? Or are there changes you'd like to see in them?
That read pretty well to me. Gave the strong point of the ski and touched on the point or action that ski stopped working well.

When I read a review I want to hear what it's intended for and a some sense of the feelings you got while there. Then a workout of it in area's that are outside of it's intended use. Why outside? because these are the peices of the puzzle that allow one reading to pick up on the finer points of the ski that makes it what it is.

Speed is the next thing I look for. It may do fine in powder but does it do it slow and fast?

Turn radius. Again it's intended radius but what about plus and minus. Speed and turns can be one thing.

Edge hold. Almost everyone hits hardpack on the way back to the lift. It's a fact of life for most.

but what the hell do I know I'm just a puke skier from Alberta.
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot mb
As a gear head this causes many trips to the shrink to stop those damn "Metron and Kyrpton" voices, I think it's a deep laiden Supermanralific Epic Physcosis perliforation.
Hmmm, could you mean me? 1. Yes, I like the Metron and sing their praises from the mountaintop as a great "all mountain/one ski quiver" 2. As far as teh Krypton, I say it is a great boot..for me. After being in a Flexon for 20+ years it was the perfect evolution. THere is no ONE boot out there, it is what fits someoens particular foot. For the most part there really isn;t a bad boot out there (leaving out beginner/rentals). I am happy with my Metrons and no they aren't the only ski I have. The more different skis I demo, teh more appreciation I get for them and what is out on the market. But if I can only take one ski to the mountain, it will be my Metrons.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Pugliese
Hmmm, could you mean me?
I would never single any one person out. I can't say all the Metroniosis and Kryptonniopsis people are wrong as I have not had the pleasure of either.

I do plan to take these "B5" things out for a run and see if they are worth all the hoopla. I think they will be. Kryptons well demoing boots is not so easy for me. I have a bad case of tiny feetolopomy.

My Lange Pinnifarinna's are working out just fine, best boot I have ever put on or skied on.

Either the Metrons and kyrptons are all they are hyped up to be or someones medication has run low.
post #23 of 24

It's not math, it's magic.

The "best ski" is the one that disappears when the conditions are right.
post #24 of 24
The best ski is often the one that hides your technical flaws.
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