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Good ski type for icy snow conditions

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Yesterday, I was talking with this guy who says he is a ski patrol somewhere. He gave me the impression that, for icy snow in East, more rigid/stiff less-pronounced-shaped skis hold snow better than soft wide-tip/tail ones. Does anyone have any thought on this? I am not sure if I have gotten his message correctly, however.

post #2 of 32
Traditional slalom skis were stiff and narrow, with very little shape. The new slalom skis are still stiff, but they are very short (155cm) and have a lot of side cut. If you are going to stay on the groom in the East, that's the best ski to have, at least for advanced skiers.

post #3 of 32
I'll second the motion that "shorty slaloms" are a wonderfull choice for East coast skiing. I personally use the Rossignol T-Power Viper S, in a 167cm configuration. As always, demo to find your ideal length. I find that shorty-slaloms are capabable of far more then just rattling off an endless succession of short carved turns.
post #4 of 32
I demoed a pair of Atomic R11's in our last Aussie season, in some very hard, icy conditions. In quite a short length, 160 - I'm 5'5. They stuck in the turn like nothing I've ever skied before, they didn't slip an inch.

I finally decided on the R10's though, as a better all-round ski for me, but I can't imagine better edge grip on the hardpack than the R11.
post #5 of 32
The best ski for ice is torsionally stiff, with a well tuned edge. Volkl and Atomic tend to make some of the best ice equipment around. But, the best advice is to remember to more evenly weight both of your feet. Ski a high edge angle. Don't park and ride (when you've finished steering the finish of one turn it's time to start the next). Stay as light as possible thru the ordeal. If you heavily weight the outside ski, you'll actually push it out of the track it's trying to carve. Good Luck!! And OBTW...we refer to those conditions as eastern pow! [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #6 of 32
I have been skiing Stockli Spirit Pro's in a 158, an SL cut. They have been holding VERY well and, we have had not shortage of ice. Best ice ski that I have been on!

Tomorrow, I'll try the 156 SL.
post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 
Interesting. I will definitely try much shorter skis next time. I've got Dynastar Speed Carve 63 178cm, but I think I would have more fun skiing with 170cm or even 160cm. I think 178cm is good when I ski on a big mountain, but considering where I mostly ski (icy and narrow trails with a lot of people) I should go shorter. Also, I will try as many demo skis as possible before I buy next pair. Thanks for your comments.

post #8 of 32
Sharp edges and torsional rigidity are all you need for skiing on ice. Length and shape of the ski depends on the size of turn you want to make.
post #9 of 32
Im 5'10" and when I ski my 185 Dynastar Assault Superior's, they rip ice up like its nada...
post #10 of 32
I think you also want them longitudinally soft, in addition to torsionally stiff. BTW, speaking about edges, what base and side bevel angles are better for ice?
post #11 of 32
Originally posted by yuki:
I have been skiing Stockli Spirit Pro's in a 158, an SL cut. They have been holding VERY well and, we have had not shortage of ice. Best ice ski that I have been on!

Tomorrow, I'll try the 156 SL.
I like 'em yuki - fun I have 163 but trading down this year I hope
post #12 of 32
Originally posted by AlexG:
I think you also want them longitudinally soft, in addition to torsionally stiff. BTW, speaking about edges, what base and side bevel angles are better for ice?
Just like in the rest of packed snow skiing, there are two types of speed reducing maneuvers you can do on ice, carved (or nearly carved) turns, and sideways skidding. With modern, deeply sidecut skis and suitable skills, nowdays, you can usually carve a turn (on ice) of small enough radius so that you don't build up excessive speed even on blacks. This is obviously the preferred way to do things.

Unfortunately, there are still situations where you need to do controlled skids on ice and hardpack (eg, emergency stops, narrow trails, traffic alongside of you, etc.).

While a ski can be moderately soft and still carve well, the same ski will often go into all sorts of conniptions when skidded at high edge angles on serious (ie, "look-at-that-fish-down-there") ice. For example, the tip will often feel like its flapping around or catching and releasing in what is called a relaxation oscillation mode. If you go to an even softer longitudinal flex, you may get rid of the relaxation oscillations, but the flapping will be even worse, and the ski will feel very unstable and short. OTOH, if you go to a stiffer ski (and perhaps a bit less sidecut), the ski "smears" over the surface as a unit (think of a butter knife) and will have better manners when skidded.

As an example of this, I have a pair of 9.16's that are absolutely wonderful for ripping carves on serious hardpack, but don't do all that well (at my wt) when I need to skid them (or even sideslip them) on steep hardpack. Unfortunately, mine are from the model year before race coaches complained, and Atomic stiffened them up. OTOH, I have a pair of xp-100's that have an even shorter sidecut radius, but are much stiffer than the Atomics, and they carve well AND skid well.

Thus, I can't agree with your recommendation for a soft longitudinal flex.

Tom / PM

PS - With respect to edge angles, this has been discussed many times before on Epic, so just do a search and you will undoubtedly find what you need. Personally, I have one pair of skis that I reserve for hard snow carving (my 9.16's) and keep one set of edges at 0/3 and the other at something like 1/2 and ski with them on the "wrong feet" until I really need the extra bite, and then switch them to the "correct" feet.

[ February 12, 2003, 11:45 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #13 of 32
I ride four year old Kastle Speedmachione GS boards (198cm), and when those babies are tuned and sharp they carve up the ice like crazy. Great for medium to large radius turns. I even rip in the icy bumps on those boards even though they were never intended for bump skiing, but a little shorter would be nice for that stuff.

I also have a pair of K2 Axis X in 188cm (fatter waist and more sidecut). Not shabby, but not as good as my Speedmachines when it comes to holding an edge on ice at higher speeds.

As betaracer mentioned, torsionally rigid ski design and sharp edges are a must for skiing ice. Of course, if your ice skiing technique sucks, it doesn't matter what you're skiing on. A good skier will adapt and overcome.

post #14 of 32
PhysicsMan - good point.

I ski on Nordica Next7.0, and I can almost stop on the "see-that-fish-down-there" (LOL!!!) ice. But in SL, when the course is icy, I have to work really hard, look for a piece of snow, etc. to make the skis take the shape I need. Actually I sharpened the edges, and it helped - duh! :

Conversely, my daughter (at only 30 lbs lighter than me) skis on Elan PSXs and she can carve figures on that ice I can't even dream of.

So I guess it is a matter of what one wants to do on ice.
post #15 of 32
As Easternskibum said Volkl or Atomic, My 15 y/o x-racer loves Atomics, he has 3 pair of them along with Pocket Pockets. Say's even his Atomic AFT's hold well. His 9.12's 140cm and his R11's have edge hold that is hard to beat. I like my Volkl G3's, 177cm they are great on ice as well as my Atomic 10.20 wide bodys 170cm, that I keep as a rock ski. I find the G3's to be a great all mountain ski.

Edge hold on ice has a lot to do with how the edges are tuned. I touch ours up everytime we ski. You also want to be lite on both edges as someone else said. Do not try and force the edges into the hill.

Granted some skis are just better on ice then others. I could go on and on about skis I've demoed, but just try and stick with Atomic or Volkl.
post #16 of 32
I highly recommend Stockli for ice hold. I ski about 5 different models depending on the race (GS, SG, SL) or resort (east or west), but for all-mountain Eastern ice, hardpack whether cold or warm, the Laser SC or Spirit Pro are very hard to match. Vertical sidewalls, impeccable edges, and tortionally stiff while being much more supple and snappy than Volkls. Atomics are great, Volkls are great, but there is something special about Stockli. Get them on edge early and ride the curve. Not the best ski for skidding turns, but very versatile turn shapes in the SC or Pro.

[ February 25, 2003, 09:26 AM: Message edited by: TJazz ]
post #17 of 32
Stockli makes some good skis for ice. So do Atomic, Dynastar, Elan, Fischer, Head, Nordica, Rossingnol, Salomon and all the rest.

The fact of the matter is that a lot of folks here have their favorites. If you are a very good skier check out either the GS or SL race ski reviews on Peter Keelty's website. If your not quite there yet look for a slalom carver.

I personally like Fischer skis. Look at Fischer's World Cup and Europa Cup race results. Pretty impressive and those races are held on ice. Look at what masters and club racers in the USA are skiing on. You will see a lot of Fischer's. However, Atomic, Rossi, Volkl or Stockli etc. fans can (and do with gusto) also point to qualities of their favorite ski brand and credibly (or otherwise) argue that their brand is "the best".

If you pick the right type of ski for the conditions you ski in most of the time and for your ability level you will be fine. To me the rest of it is just a Ford vs. GM kind of debate- a matter of personal preference. Different brands do have somewhat different "flavors" but that really goes to feel rather than performance. All major manufacturers make skis that are excellent in icy conditions because the East Coast has no lock on ice in world skiing geography.

Have fun picking out your new skis. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
Edited for Typos.
2nd Edit: I almost forgot, besides the Keelty site you can do a search right here on Epic Ski in the Consumer Gear Review section. Just type in "review" in the search feature. [img]redface.gif[/img]

[ February 25, 2003, 12:34 PM: Message edited by: Lostboy ]
post #18 of 32
Lostboy makes a number of good points. For me, a week of free race ski demos during camp at Mt Hood last summer really brought home the notion that all top end skis are good. It really does depend on one's skiing ability, style, and preferences. Atomic had a light, but very precise feel. Fischer was a freight train powerhouse demanding careful placement of line with big speed rewards. The Volkls were good all-around--and not as damp and stiff as they once were. Rossi was probably suited to a more touch-oriented skier than I. and Dynastar was the most forgiving of the lot, but also about the slowest. Stockli is average in the demands it makes of the skier---until you get in the back seat. Then it's like climbing a rope to get back on it. Centered, however, it feels to me like the most powerful, subtle, and absolutely fastest ski I can buy as a USSA Masters racer. And I do like the idea of supporting a smaller, family-owned company that hand-makes their product.

I really don't think one can say any one brand is the best. You don't see Stockli too much on the podium (Hoffman notwithstanding) because they simply are not a big-sponsorship, big-budget brand. Atomic, Rossi and Salomon have huge financial commitments to racing. I do notice that Stockli's off the rack stuff seems closer to race stock than other brands, except maybe some Fischers and Elans. Are there reps and company employees secretly lurking in this forum? Of course. We need them here to give us the bright side of the story. It's up to us to demo and decide what is "best" for ourselves. All the well-written descriptions in the world can't replace a few hours of actual use.
post #19 of 32

Ambrossi Hoffman has had a good year indeed just being short of the podium twice.

Paul Accola took a fifth during the Olympics on Stockli.

Many of the Swiss racers now on AYE-TOE-MEEK were on Stockli and a few have actually fallen since the switch.

Ambrossi has been hovering between 9'th and 11'th in overall WC points all season.
post #20 of 32
Skied on Head Monster i.M 75 Chip skis today in 170 cm length. Snow was not new - cordury was frozen, ungroomed was "Son of Death Cookie". Dimensions: 114 tip, 74 waist, 103 tail. Seems like a mid-fat for soft snow, right? BEST FREEKIN' ICE AND HARD SNOW SKI I'VE EVER BEEN ON. Head also makes the Monster i.M 70 with a 69.5 mm waist, and that wasn't too shabby, either - very playful on hard hard hard snow.

Obviously - well, it's obvious to me, anyway - it's really difficult to choose a hard snow ski by applying general rules these days. You gotta try 'em before you buy 'em.

[ March 07, 2003, 06:03 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #21 of 32
Oboe, I was on that same IM75 chip today at Cannon (which is a tough hill for me) and I have to second your comments. Amazing stability through ice and junk snow, these skis instantly elevated my skiing. How do you think they would be in the trees? I notice you're looking to buy the IM70 instead...
post #22 of 32
I admittedly am torn between the Monster i.M 75 CHIP and the Monster 1.M 70. The 75 is AWESOME!!!

I, however, am not so awesome. I like a "doctor/lawyer" ski that's easier for a 61 year old, average skiing lawyer to enjoy. The 70 is just that - not the full bore wowie zowie piece of work that he 75 CHIP is, but for me it makes short, quick turns more easily, while still making great GS turns and carves on ice better than any other skis except the 75 CHIP. And it has the 70mm waist and wide tip and tail that will be fine for off-piste skiing. I expect to get it in the Super Railflex version.

Make no mistake - as awesome as the 75 CHIP is, that's a lot off ski for me, and it takes some work - at least, substantially more than the 70. I did not have the opportunity to demo these in trees or soft snow, so I can't say for sure how they'd be. I'll try to find out when I get a chance, though.

[ March 07, 2003, 06:14 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #23 of 32
Tried the Head IC 180 Super Railfex (the red one) the other day, and found it to be even better on ice than the IM.70. The narrower waist (65mm.) probably had something to do with that, but I can't imagine any ski being any better on ice than these are. I'm 6'1, 205 lbs., and the 177 was all the ski I needed. There are probably better powder skis out there, but for the narrow, icy slopes in the East, you would be hard pressed to find anything any better than these.
post #24 of 32
Theoretically, that's the report I'd expect on those skis. As it turned out, I just did not like them nearly as muchas the i.M 70.
post #25 of 32
Thanks, Oboe as always for your insights.. I am no expert but I do have 10-12 pounds on you and prefer a 170cm ski... (being fairly new to shaped ski technique, I find that when I go up to 177-178 range I start reverting to traditional technique instead of trusting the skis to come around)... so the beef of the IM75 worked out well for me. Sounds like we'll be happy skiers next year either way [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #26 of 32
Oboe, I'd be interested to know where you found the IM75 Chip to demo. I'm going to be in your neck of the woods next weekend, and I'd like to give them a try. I have seen a few pairs set up to demo at the Basin in Killington, but I don't know of many Head dealers in northern Vt. I know that there are a few shops that carry them that are not listed on Head's website. By the way, how do these new Heads compare to your Bandit XX? Sounds to me like you're getting ready to retire them.
post #27 of 32
The Head Monster i.M 75 CHIP was shown to me at the New England trade show at Killington and I think it is not available to the public yet, not sure. If anyone finds out, please let me know. The CHIP was added for the 2003/2004 season. The Monster i.M 75 - without the CHIP - is a 2002/2003 season edition and is publicly available in limited locations.

As for my retiring the Rossi Bandit XX's, please bear this in mind: Some have said that I change skis and socks with near equal frequency . . . well, that's hyperbole, because I change my socks at least daily, while I usually wait a few months before sliding into new skis Also bear in mind that, while I am a so-so skier, I have a fascination with equipment construction, performance and sales - and suitability for the purpose and for the customer. That said, here's my comparison of the 2003/2003 Rossi Bandit XX and the 2003/2004 Head Monster i.M 75 CHIP Super Railflex back-to-back:

Grip and carving: Especially considering the 74 mm width of the XX, I thought it's grip and carving weren't all that bad - good, in fact. However, in that category, it can't carry the 75's jock strap. The grip and carve of the 75 were simply the best - and I also skied an Atomic cross-type ski the same day, for comparison. The 75 felt like I was ice skating with figure skates on a flat rink a few minutes after the Zamboni left the building. Not only was that grip tenacious - it was SMOOOOOTH. This was felt on hard frozen corduroy and ungroomed "Son of Death Cookie" snow - I mean, it was snow, sort of. In other words, the 75's grip and carve were not only good for a ski with a 75 mm waist - it was good for ANY ski. I gotta tell ya, it was a great feeling. If you decide to get into the railroad business, these guys make great tracks.

Skidding: I can't say that one was any better than the other.

Stability: Both at speed [meanng FAST] and at slow speeds, the 75 again was way ahead of the pack. This felt solid as a rock - and, again, smooooooth. Head claims that the "Intellifibers" react to the snow conditions in milliseconds, stiffining tortional ridgidity when required - and the CHIP is claimed to magnify that times five [or some such thing]. The confidence I felt running the 75's as fast as I could was unbelievable. They absorbed every smidgeon of roughness, stayed on course precisley, and felt like Mother Earth herself. My most notable complaint about the XX is its greater likelihood to chatter in high speed turns on hard snow.

Edge-to-edge/maneuverability. The ease and speed of changing edges is related to maneuverability - but they're not the same. The XX was the more nimble and had a lighter feeling. However, the 75 had a definitely heavier feeling but could be guided easily in carved turns. It's hard to compare them edge-to-edge. This is not a matter of "better" or "worse" - it's just that they're palpably different. The XX swishes back and forth more quickly and easily - but the 75 CARVES back and forth more quickly and easily. The XX makes short turns more easily, but not by carving. To label one as quicker than the other is less useful in comparing these skis. The 75 is definitely the more powerful feeling of the two.

Hard snow performance. If you don't know by now, you haven't been paying attention.

Soft snow/powder/crud. Sorry, folks. I only got to demo the 75 in the hard snow conditions I've described. I'm chafing at the bit to ski it in soft snow conditions. But let me guess . . . in heavy, chopped snow, the power of the 75 would be significantly greater than the XX. That's a guess.

Forgiveness. This is a toughy. The XX is an easier short turner, but the 75 treats you like God - you can do no wrong.

Bottom line: If I had to choose between the XX and the 75 . . . I'd choose the 75 without hesitation . . . but I don't need to choose one or the other, so . . . I expect to choose . . . neither. More on this in another thread at another time.

I hope I've answered your questions. Please feel free to ask more.

[ March 09, 2003, 08:11 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #28 of 32
Oboe, thanks for the detailed lowdown on these new skis. I just got back from making a few turns in New Hampshire over the weekend. I'm not surprized by your opinion on the Chip 75, I see that Peter Keelty has already nominated these for ski of the year on his website. I also value your evaluation, because although I'm a few years younger and a few pounds heavier, I believe from reading a lot of your previous posts that we probably ski at about the same level, and would likely have similar opinions on how skis react. I've noticed from skiing some of the Railflex bindings that they do give you a lot of lift, and therefore more leverage, which might give them a carving advantage over the XX, but I've also found that they add a lot of weight, and while the extra weight doesn't seem to be a negative factor in the swing weight of the ski, it may account for a slight loss in quickness. I haven't had a chance to try these yet, but you've tweeked my interest, so my next stop might be the Basin Ski Shop, as I know they have some to demo. I'll give them a call tomorrow, if they have any for sale, I'll let you know.
Thanks again
post #29 of 32
The best ski for ice depends on how you ski; I've found that 170 cm shaped skis allow me to transition from side slipping to turning more easily than stiffer skis. And the ease of initiating a turn translates into ease of adjusting the angle when sideslipping.
Sideslipping down a frozen waterfall such as Jiminy Peak or Mountain Creek is fun in itself; it's like figure skating on a tilted rink. The control comes from carefully paying attention to the edges, and shifting weight from ski to ski to keep the edges set at the correct angle. It's a bit like riding a bike, where we continuously adjust our weight from side to side to remain balanced.
When doing linked turns, it's essential to minimize the amount of time your skis spend in or near the fall line; a ski that turns more easily will allow you to move past that point when transitioning from one turn to another. The typical nightmare on long stiff skis was to get caught flat footed on ice between turns (perhaps because of muscle fatigue or cold) and find yourself accelerating downhill on boards that were hard to turn.
post #30 of 32
Oboe, as a follow up to my previous post, I called the Basin today (802 422 3234), and they do indeed have next year's 75 Chip in stock ready to demo and for sale at a reasonable price. Just stick to the 170's and leave the 177's for me!
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