Can 2MM toe up ramp ruin your day? A racer's experiment.
So while you guys were all having fun in that other thread I went out testing today. This is just report, no particular reason for writing this,,,,
Here's the setup
Very Grippy Snow, firm packed powder (almost hard packed, kind of like that chalk we get at Sun Valley ski races). 20 Degrees F. Clear to partly cloudy.
A pair of Rossi WC 181 VERY sharp (I usually ski 185 or 190), .50 bottom/.93 Side bevels.
These skis already had a 4MM rear shim and a 6MM front shim under the heel/toe, a positive 2MM (toe up) Ramp.
I had one of the most terrifying rides of my life for 4 runs (a circuit we do as a warm up for either Master training or laps over at the Putt-putt course, NASTAR).
First of all, to get the skis to hook up I had to stand way more neutral than I do normally, I would say my hips were back about 1 - 2 inches from where I usually have them all throughout the turn. Though I was stacked properly for that fore/aft bias my skis either carved a 23 Meter turn or just didn't work. Forget a pivot. I attribute this to two things.
1) The skis were way too sharp for the conditions (however, I ski my other skis with similar sharpness and have never experienced what happened today).
2) Adding the toe lift put my sweet spot back on the ski, making me stand in an unnatural position for my skiing level, fitness, strength (I'm an old guy).
My observations. Though I was on the ragged edge of balance or at least it felt that way, by the end of the fourth long run I was hooking up and skiing Mach Schnell. I felt that if I could bring this into a course and maintain control over my skis I would probably produce a fast time. But I didn't like the feel. I felt as if I was putting strain on my body that I do not normally and that the slightest mistake would end in a torn knee or worse.
I had to make a very quick move across the skis to get them away from me (probably that they were overly sharp) but had to stay CM neutral throughout the apex and finish of the turn (the Ramp). If I tried to bring the radius down from where "the ski was happy", especially on the steeps, it misbehaved badly (chatter, hooked up and released). On my other skis I can pivot at will as well as tighten or loosen the radius with edge angle variance.
I didn't feel I could articulate the arc of my ski, more like the ski was happy at a certain radius and that was that. Obviously this would have to be worked out before EVER jumping in a course. I decided instead to make a hasty retreat from the hill.
What has truly amazed me is that 2MM lift on my toe caused so much havoc in my experience. I was also about 5MM higher total stack than on my other race skis, ie; more lateral leverage.
I immediately went to my service tech, Jeffrey Butz, Podium Ski Service. Jeff spend a few years on the World Cup here recently and is one of the best. We talked. I called my head coach, Warren Wilkinson and we talked.
The consensus was this was a result, as I said, of a combination of things. But all agreed that because of my size (6'1", 235Lbs) and these were originally set up for my wife at 5'6" 140 Lbs that the 2MM lift had a greater degree of effect on me than on her for this size ski. I'm on them as she felt the ski was a bit too much for her, after my ride, I had no idea how she skied them at all. She liked the skis for Master courses but didn't like them at all in the flatter NASTAR course both in Colorado and here at PC. While over at Podium we flexed these skis and 2 other pair of 181 Rossi, same year, one being those of a PC FIS Junior (about 60 pointer). She, the FIS Jr., had the same exact lifts on her skis. Her skis were pretty similar in flex, but not as sharp in as much as they did not have a vertical "burr" that my skis did (something that a stone can easily fix). This is her normal GS setup for the big hills. The other skis were simply softer in the tail but not so radically that it could account for the ride I experienced today.
Warren and Jeff both agreed that on the harder courses the ramp probably did not provide the PC Jr. racer with the ride or body positions I experienced. This was based on a a little bit of math, (this is a over simplification and not the actual equation) ramp angle X height x weight = X Leverage. True that my bigger boot (315MM) would somewhat lessen the increase in the actual delta of the ramp over the racer with smaller boot (285MM) but the 6 inches higher CM way over compensated for the ramp angle difference between the boot sizes. I was simply overpowering the skis when I stood the way I'm comfortable and therefore had to move aft.
We all felt that a younger, higher skilled athlete [my size] could handle this setup but was it worth the trade offs and risk of injury? Hmmm, not sure, but certainly there are WC guys out there with this much pedal, certainly not my size on 181 skis, however. So there is another part of the equation, ski length.
Tomorrow, before returning the skis to my wife (if I don't like them for the shorter courses) I am taking out the lifts, running a stone across the bottom of the edge (to knock down the vertical burr) and will take them for another ride.
We did get my wife a pair of the new 175 CM WC 9Xti's. The ski is beefy enough for her on the big courses but has a quicker swing weight on the flatter courses, kinda of a happy medium. She has to ski the 181's without the ramp as well or we take the toe down to a 4MM riser keeping her total stack up leveling out her delta and see if there is a big change for her, of course.
It will be interesting to see if the ski handles radically different closer to zero delta. I expect, as I have never had a ride like that, that they will behave beautifully and be a great option for me on a 18 to 20 meter turn course. If this proves to be the case I will surmise the toe up ramp is for either the smaller stature elite racer or for the extremely strong bigger elite racer who wishes to take his fore/aft balance to the edges of a body's tolerance, and of course on longer skis.
To be honest, I felt today like I had a brief window in the world of certain world cup racers and was glad I didn't play in that arena.
So for now, in those conditions on that ski, I agree with Pierre, Zero Delta, baby. Will I experiment with my 184 and 190's. You bet, I'm really curious.
We were talking about ramp, delta, shims, and so on, right? Yeah, we were. This is just a journalistic jaunt through today's experience, I felt like writing about it, nothing more,,,,,
Edit; Not true, I wrote this to keep my mind occupied and my nose out of where it doesn't belong in another thread