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Question about ski length for tight spaces...

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I ski a 180 for just about everything. I find it a good length for me. Very stable at speed, great in pow and crud etc. Currnet ski is an Atomic MX9 (old beta ride:22)
I am 185 lbs with all the gear on, and 5'11, skiing 17 years. Agressive freerider.
However, I was scoping out some glades in the adirondacks up at gore mountain, and was thinking that a 180 is just a little long in fact a lot long. So how short could I go, just to ski through the woods and to do some heavily wooded tours. 170? 160? What are the disadvantages to going shorter? Should I just snowshoe.
I don't have to go fast, just survive, if you know what I mean.
post #2 of 14
I'm 5'7 150lbs and I wouldn't go shorter than my 177's, unless I get a really fat ski...
But if you really think you need a shorter ski, I'd say don't go shorter than 170, a 160 will be very hard to ski in any type of ungroomed snow.
post #3 of 14
as I've gained more experience in tighter trees I've realized it's not so much the ski's length as are these

(1) the ski's ability to have a "loose" tail == or said differently, a ski that doesn't want to hook you into a carve and keep you there, a ski that lets you butter and smear your turn finish, typically a ski that would work well in bumps for similar reasons...sometimes this can be from a twintip's turned up tail.

(2) the skier's ability to have "fast feet" and be able to turn at will

(3) the skier's experience in reading lines through the trees

just something to think about as you consider new skis.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well actually the skis have a very rounded "forgiving" tail and the skis themselves are relatively soft. Easy to turn. Does not lock into a carve and stay there. Maybe I am just being a little over analytical during this super duper short ski revolution.
Now that I think about it, only 8 years or so ago I was skiing trees in 195's thinking to myself the whole time that the 195's were way too short and that I shoulda got 201's. Then only 5 years ago, I felt that the new shaped 180's beta rides I just purchased were "way, way too short and shoulda got the 190's."
It is almost bizarre now that I feel that 180's might be too long.
I may be a victim of some crazy conspiracy.
post #5 of 14

tight spaces

you say that you are agressive freeskier and 180 are to long for you in the woods that maybe you are not as good as you think you are.for your higth and weight 180 are the right size.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
well... you have got to see the type of woods and trees I am talking about though. It is in the Adirondacks region. Unfortunately, this year I won't have to worry about it since there is no snow.
Anyways, the backcountry options are there, but the woods are thick. Not ideal skiing by any stretch of the imagination. Picture hopping down through game trails and hiking paths with no room to turn.
I am thinking a long ski would just get hung up too much.
post #7 of 14
shorter skis definitely make a difference in tighter spots
I'm no expert freerider but I'm 140lbs and have been skiing 170's for many years. I would consider myself an advanced skier. Recently, I demoed something at 163 and it changed my entire skiing experience. SO much more fun and maneuverable--I could turn on a dime. I felt so much more confident on shorter skis--I would never go back.

I had been up in Canada, skiing the double blacks in the back bowls of Lake Louise. "The ultimate steeps" or so they say. With 170cm skis (I was on the Volkl EXP), I felt somewhat tentative. But after trying 163 skis (Head i.M72), I began to feel disappointed that these slopes weren't steeper! The double blacks suddenly felt like blue squares! (well almost.)

The difference is the change in swingweight of shorter skis. My leg muscles simply could not turn the longer skis fast enough to achieve the desired maneuverability. In making short turns, I had always felt like I was working really really hard in each turn transition to get the old downhill ski to become the new uphill ski. WIth shorter skis, that is no more. This also makes skiing less far less strenuous on my muscles and my stamina has improved tremendously--far less quad burn.

I'd say go shorter--it may revolutionize your skiing experience. 170/174 sounds about right for you. 160 may be pushing it.

Don't listen to all the people saying to go longer all the time. Shorter is the way to go. It has made skiing so much more fun for me. It could do the same for you. You won't know until you try.
post #8 of 14
I'm 5'10'', 170 lbs and use an 181 Shuksan as AT setup for tight spaces too. Personally wouldn't want to go shorter but that's just my opinion.
post #9 of 14
I was in a similar situation. I am (5'9" 180 ) This is what I recommend...

Demo some skis - start with 10 CM shorter than yours and go down to crazy small ones -

I demoed a pair of 153 CM that really improved technique - Now back to the 170cm with better style of confidence.

I think that the shorter skis help you learn to make shorter faster turns easier - Then you can apply that to the correct length - which will give you a better feeling on the edges and make you a better in the tight turns.
post #10 of 14
If you want to make turns in tighter spaces and/or at slower speeds get a ski with some tip rocker. Too much rocker means bad skin contact, but skis like the K2 Anitpiste of Rossi Rayven have mini tip rocker that will increase turnability in all kinds of snow condtions, and next year there will be many more new options in that category.

Don't go shorter, get rock'n!
post #11 of 14
I think you should go demo some 160's and see what you think. If you go pretty wide, you'll still have a similar surface area on the snow.

I weigh about 10# more than you and my "normal" bc skis are in the mid-180's, but I've skied 163's (Black Diamond Havoc) and had a great time.
post #12 of 14

Sliding snowshoes

These things are kind of interesting...


especially for the kind of situation the OP describes.
post #13 of 14

Holy 3 year old threads, Batman!

Fwiw, the Metas (actually any wider striding/approach ski, including my personal favorite the Rossi Free Venture) absolutely -bite- if there is any icing or postholing at all:

They get less contact with the surface than snowshoes because they are not compliant.

They get less forward grip on steeps because the foot cannot swivel a crampon down into the snow.
post #14 of 14
I'll second mudfoot's recommendation. Short skis are easier to muscle around in tight trees, but they're not any easier to ski. I can ski Sanouks (193) and Praxis (195) in super tight trees no problem.
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