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GS Suit-How much do you really gain?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
OK-The local Tues. Morning sub league and Wed. nite beer league will be starting in about a month. How much will I gain by wearing a suit? Enough to put up with the inevitable abuse from my racing buddies? The short course averages about 30 seconds and the long course averages about 45 seconds. The top three in our old farts group (where I usually finish) are separated by about a second. I've heard several figures on how much it's worth, but I'd like a few more opinions before I plunk down $2-300.00.

Amazing what you'll do to win a $5.00 trophy!!
post #2 of 23
IF you are a good enough skier to deal with the extra speed it gives you...around a second, is what I've always been lead to believe.
post #3 of 23
I have never seen any real data but I have been told 1-2 secs. FanOZakk makes a good point. It feels alot faster and can have detrimental technical and psychological effects if you're not used to it. This is for several reasons. Firstly, everything comes quicker so if you're not used to it, you can be put on the defence. As well, it's cold and is associated with the stress of racing, so when you're wearing it, it may add to the anxiety you feel when you're standing alone with the wand in front of your shins, staring down at an icy course. Lastly, it's tight and can restrict some movement at first, so get used to wearing it. Definitely do as much training in it as possible.
post #4 of 23
On longer GS courses, its a no brain-er. The race suit would be the difference between the top 20% and the last 20%.

On a 30 to 45 second course it will still make a very significant difference.

You could also consider the old-style, in-the-boot, tight ski pants with a snug-fitting top that provides sufficient upper body movement. Something a winter jogger might use would be cost effective. Just wear this under your parka and remove the parka in the starting gate area.

Hope that helps,

Barrettscv
post #5 of 23
Cannot say, for a couple of reasons:
a) It depends on how compact you tend to be when skiing. Not talking about tuck, but overall stance. Someone who is very upright might not gain as much as someone who doesn't present a lot of resistance in a normal jacket pants setup.
b) Can you handle the speed that comes with wearing one? You feel very naked in a speed suit... And it's very, very, very cold. Don't even think about waiting for your turn without wearing your coat at least...
c) You'll gain more on long courses (more than a minute) for the simple fact that you'll be able to maintain your top speed.
d) Ski prep: a ski suit with skis that are slow will still mean that you'll be slow.

With that in mind, shelling out for waxes and equipment to hand tune, at least in my opinion, will be more useful in your case: shop prepped skis rarely perform well in the course. Also, beer league is for fun: being the only one wearing the superhero getup sucks. Finally, if you're hell-bent on getting more speed, just removing your jacket and going with base layer only makes a signifiant difference.
post #6 of 23
I think they can certainly make a difference, but how much really depends on how strong your technique is to begin with, as well as your equipment, as has been stated above.

However, if you do get one, I will impart two very important nuggets of wisdom:
1) Have someone to carry your jacket down from the top to the bottom for you. You don't want to have to go up on a chairlift in just a skin suit to retrieve your jacket, and you don't want to be without it when you're waiting up top. Bribe someone with a beer after if need be.
2) Have a pair of ski pants that either zip down at the sides for easy removal, or at least make sure you can get your pants down over your boots. This way you can wear them when you're waiting around up top, and then give them to the person from part 1) so they're waiting around with your jacket at the bottom.
post #7 of 23
Quote:
1) Have someone to carry your jacket down from the top to the bottom for you. You don't want to have to go up on a chairlift in just a skin suit to retrieve your jacket, and you don't want to be without it when you're waiting up top. Bribe someone with a beer after if need be.
2) Have a pair of ski pants that either zip down at the sides for easy removal, or at least make sure you can get your pants down over your boots. This way you can wear them when you're waiting around up top, and then give them to the person from part 1) so they're waiting around with your jacket at the bottom.
Hell yes, you need your coat after your run, unless you like being cold. Shorts can also be used instead of full zipper pants, wich can be very expensive.
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the opinions! I already follow some of the recommendations-I do my own tuning and waxing before every race and I take my jacket off and run in a tight fitting fleece. I won't need to worry about standing out in a suit-it's a pretty aggressive group and a majority of the racers wear 'em. Not saying that my technique doesn't need lots of work-I only started racing 3 years ago at age 50, but if I can gain a second or so by "suiting up" I'll probably do it.
post #9 of 23
It took 1.5 seconds off of my ~25 second GS time at blue hills in MA. I don't think it restricts your movement at all; I think it enhances it. The spandex allows you more freedom in how much you can articulate your legs, therefore allowing you to angulate more and pull in your inside leg farther. It definitely is faster, and I would suggest wearing it to train with as well as race with so that you get used to both the increased speed and the increased freedom of motion. I suggest Artech or reliable racing if you do end up getting one.
post #10 of 23
One thing to keep in mind...how much of the improvement is due to the aerodynamic advantage of the suit...how much is psychological, because you think you'll be faster?
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by FanOZakk
One thing to keep in mind...how much of the improvement is due to the aerodynamic advantage of the suit...how much is psychological, because you think you'll be faster?
Very possible, I think racing is more mental than physical. Still, 1.5 secs is huge.
post #12 of 23
I've found that my GS suit gets me through slower tucking area's in the course a lot quicker and smoother, and also is a huge advantage in any GS race.
post #13 of 23
One thing that wasn't mentionned: don't skimp out and buy a DH suit. Maybe you're not hitting the gates (hard) now, but that will come with experience and pratice and no padding on the elbows and shoulders will make for a lot of nice, angry bruises. Jackets somewhat protect you since they are thick and insulated, speed suits don't unless they have padding.

After reading your post, it seems like you're ready to take the plunge (if the others are wearing them, why not?). Louis Garneau makes a nice, reliable gs suit that comes in nice patterns and colors such as red and blue... and hot pink, that are warm and reliable. And another wisdom nugget, ask someone to help you for the first few times you'll wear it, unless you want to rip the seams by fighting to get out
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffr
One thing that wasn't mentionned: don't skimp out and buy a DH suit. Maybe you're not hitting the gates (hard) now, but that will come with experience and pratice and no padding on the elbows and shoulders will make for a lot of nice, angry bruises. Jackets somewhat protect you since they are thick and insulated, speed suits don't unless they have padding.

After reading your post, it seems like you're ready to take the plunge (if the others are wearing them, why not?). Louis Garneau makes a nice, reliable gs suit that comes in nice patterns and colors such as red and blue... and hot pink, that are warm and reliable. And another wisdom nugget, ask someone to help you for the first few times you'll wear it, unless you want to rip the seams by fighting to get out
Definetly get a padded Gs suit, or a protective top. although i have wacked thighs on slalom gates before.

by the way, I think most here are underestimating the advantage of a speed suit. And psychological it is not. it is just plain physics.

I have discussed aerodynamics with an ex US ski team downhiller who worked in a wind tunnel wiht the team to work on aerodynamic. Just by having you elbows slightly outside of your knees in a tuck in downhill you lose 1/10 of a second for each 10 seconds on course. so on a 1 minute course you would lose .6 on a two minute course 1.2. Now understand this is in a full tuck and jsut not keeping your elbows out of the wind. can you imagine what a coat & pants does? granted this is downhill. but Gs speed is usually around 40MPH.

I have been clocked in a Gs course at about 41, no speed suit.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
by the way, I think most here are underestimating the advantage of a speed suit. And psychological it is not. it is just plain physics.

I have discussed aerodynamics with an ex US ski team downhiller who worked in a wind tunnel wiht the team to work on aerodynamic. Just by having you elbows slightly outside of your knees in a tuck in downhill you lose 1/10 of a second for each 10 seconds on course. so on a 1 minute course you would lose .6 on a two minute course 1.2. Now understand this is in a full tuck and jsut not keeping your elbows out of the wind. can you imagine what a coat & pants does? granted this is downhill. but Gs speed is usually around 40MPH.

I have been clocked in a Gs course at about 41, no speed suit.
Tuck position and overall skiing position are very important and specific tactics that are often overlooked by coaches and racers alike (obviously not on the WX, but in the lower levels of racing). How and when to get in and out of the tuck is often an integral part of what makes the great guys great and not merely good.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by John V.
How much will I gain by wearing a suit? Enough to put up with the inevitable abuse from my racing buddies?
Well that depends on just how abusive your buddies are, I think.

A few thoughts:

- I have never tested the time saved, but have heard from various sources figures similar to the optimistic ones above. Which is obviously significant.

- While you'd gain more time on a long course (for obvious reasons), the advantage might be greater on a relatively easy beer-league course than it would be on a long, gnarly, icy course (where the skier's ability to deal with length, gnarliness and ice is generally going to trump equipment).

- You can get second-hand ones pretty cheap on eBay.
post #17 of 23
Depends how many pairs of socks you pad them with
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffr
After reading your post, it seems like you're ready to take the plunge (if the others are wearing them, why not?). Louis Garneau makes a nice, reliable gs suit that comes in nice patterns and colors such as red and blue... and hot pink, that are warm and reliable. And another wisdom nugget, ask someone to help you for the first few times you'll wear it, unless you want to rip the seams by fighting to get out
While the Louis Garneau suits are great value and (relatively) warm I would caution that they seem to be very susceptible to "pilling" which makes them look secondhand very quickly. I bought a new one last year and it looks a lot more worn than my older Fila one (bought S/H). I wouldn't buy another LG one. As also suggested, there are lots on e-bay, I bought both mine there

Oh, and if you suffer from pre-race nerves, remember to p** before you put it on . These zips are short!!
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotsSkier
While the Louis Garneau suits are great value and (relatively) warm I would caution that they seem to be very susceptible to "pilling" which makes them look secondhand very quickly. I bought a new one last year and it looks a lot more worn than my older Fila one (bought S/H). I wouldn't buy another LG one. As also suggested, there are lots on e-bay, I bought both mine there

Oh, and if you suffer from pre-race nerves, remember to p** before you put it on . These zips are short!!

Hahah the skin suit whiz is an art! You get good at it but the first few times can get messy...
post #20 of 23
I was always curious about this too. I refused to wear one in high school racing. I just couldn't bring myself to wear it (self-conscious I guess). I definitely see how it would give you more freedom of movement and would give you a weird "naked" feeling that would be a bit disconcerting.

If I start racing again in a few years, I'll probably get one...
post #21 of 23
I think the freedom of movement is underrated often...I don't even like to train without a speedsuit on (and a coat and shorts obviously) because its such a different, better feel.

Also, they are actually pretty damn warm in my opinion, particularly GS suits. I have a hard time wearing mine if its above 30 or so out because I get sweaty.

I think sjjohnston made a really good point....on very gnarly technical courses there are few times when aero is the limiting factor. On beer-league courses the turns tend to be easier and aero seems to be a limiting factor more often. That will definitely make the suit worth it. On 30 secondish training courses, my three or four attempts at back to back testing have shown at least a second gained with the suit, but you'd need a much larger sample size to figure out what was really going on.
post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all those who replied! Lots of good advice-sounds like I just need to find the right deal on one. The decent ebay ones seem to go for close to what I can buy a new one for. Got about three weeks or so before the first race............
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by John V.
Thanks to all those who replied! Lots of good advice-sounds like I just need to find the right deal on one. The decent ebay ones seem to go for close to what I can buy a new one for. Got about three weeks or so before the first race............
You'll want to get it soon then!
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