Originally Posted by ski=free
Heluva, I disagree with everything you said including the threads you refered me to.
I didn't ask you to agree with me. I simply stated the truth. But, as many other have mentioned; there are a lot of skis out there that are not in the "turny" category. You will ge no arguements from me on the importance of flex, but often that importance only holds true when it is combined with the proper sidecut. Two great examples of this are the 2005 Rossignol 9X WC and the Elan SLX Fusion. Looking at the Rossi, you would guess that the ski won't turn at all based on sidecut. When you flex the ski, you realize it is a noodle. Most any reasonably skilled (carving) skier can ski a 185 9X into tight slalom turns. The SLX Fusion is also a deceiving ski due to its flex. They are STIFF. Interestingly enough, they have an enourmous sidecut, which when put on edge helps the skier to bend the ski very easily. They end up having impressive rebound and edgehold for a retail slalom ski because of it.
Most powder/freeride skis are still turning well over 18-20m as long as you go with the "real" skis like the Mantra etc. If you look at skis like the AC4, Hot Rods, Metrons, and MagFires - then yes, they do have a lot of cut to them... but they are not unmanagable in all but the most extreme conditions. In longer lengths they actually ski quite well (I demoed a Rossi Z9 in a 176 this past weekend to test the theory). For fast, big mountain skiing - those skis are not a wise choice, as that isn't what they were built for.
Basically what the "extreme" shape will do for a skier, is bring carving to a skier who may not have been able to experience it. Most skis are turning between 14m and 18m, which is a pretty useful range unless you are trying to make really huge turns. I have skis that range in sidecut from 24m down to 11.5m... guess what range the most versitile ones fall into? You guessed it - the 14m to 16m range. The recent threads talking about "shape" in skis as a detriment, or wanting less shaply skis is a direct result of technique that is used by most skiers these days. Now that shaped ski technology has taken over, companies are building skis that more than ever, demand modern skiing technique. Those who have never really
adapted are the skiers who are now finding a 16m or 14m turning radius cumbersome. I suspect that average radius size will settle around 14 to 18 meters over the next few seasons, mainly because it is a quite useful turn shape. Of course there will always be skis on both ends of the spectrum, and if you are looking for either "extreme" those selections are certainly available.