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Switch to parabolic skis?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Ok, I’m an old time skier. I grew up skiing the Midwest, raced in high school (they took almost anyone on the team!), but have only skied a couple times/year the last 10-15 years (wife not into skiing much). Now my kids are into it (thank goodness) and I’m hitting it much more and considering new skis. I’m early 40s, 5’10”, 180# and in good shape. I like to ski what I call fast and aggressively on hard pack/groomed, making lots of quick turns bouncing back and forth. In the Midwest/Great Lakes, I love the groomed black, good blues, and the few non-bump double diamond if not icy (I don’t do bumps). I’ll probably be going out west skiing once a year or every other year in the future, and have done it a few times in the past, so I will not be in the powder too much. While some people that aren’t advanced skiers may call me near expert, I would have to say I’m advanced intermediate. On a 1-10 scale, I don’t know? Maybe 8?? I have a hard time rating myself.

If it ain’t broke-don’t fix it has always applied to me. Given that, I have old 190 Rossignol ST Comps that have to be 25 years old! Marker bindings and Raichle boots are only 15 years old! For the little I have skied the last 10 years, I haven’t bothered with new skis. But I can ski the way I like, don’t tire, and enjoy skiing with these old sticks – so why should I upgrade (other than to avoid being embarrassed standing in lift lines with these old things)?? It’s not spending the money I’m as hesitant about, I fear switching to parabolic and find I have to relearn to ski, can't ski the way I currently enjoy skiing, or will not enjoy skiing as much (had this problem with cross-country skis). I have rented parabolic once this year (they gave me 160s) and to tell you the truth I didn’t notice much difference (maybe they were bad skis) and if I had to pick I would take my old ones, but I also had to spend a lot of time on the greens that day getting my youngest going for the first time.

I have looked over the postings here and see that everyone says demo, demo, demo, but I haven’t found a place locally that does that so don’t appear to have a shot at that. My research and review on these forums have pointed me toward the Fischer RX6 or RX8. A local store has a great deal on the RX6 in a 165 or 170, and I’m having a hard time finding RX8. Some reviews say the RX8 is great for speed, and I say I ski fast, but what is fast to me may be slow to the true experts. For as little as I ski, I’m considering the great deal on the RX6. Or should I just put my head in the sand and stay with the old sticks? Thanks.
post #2 of 17
If you're only skiing 2-5 days a year on small local hills, then get the RX6s or just demo/rent shaped skis when you do ski. Take a lesson or two to learn the shaped ski technique. If you get more into it, then you can spend time on what to ski. Either way, ditch the old stuff. Isn't that what you wanted to hear when you posted anyway?
post #3 of 17
Nothin wrong with the RX6 if the price is right....you'll be astounded at the difference. However, unless the Raichles are flexons: , they are probably equally obsolete junk.

and warning - if you don't like spending money on gear you should turn around and walk away.


post #4 of 17
to tell you the truth I didn’t notice much difference
This is so because you are likely skiing them using the "old school" technique.

There are still a fair number of people on the pencil skis and there are "old school" people who are quite capable skiers.

To "get" shaped skis, you really want to use a different techique. The "old" technique was more "yawing" while the "new" technique is more focused on "rolling" (to borrow nautical terms).

Unless you are willing or interested in learning some different techniques, there isn't any reason you can't keep skiing on what you have. Keep in mind that skis don't last forever and any new skis you buy will have some shape. There are skis with less "radical" shape that can be skied using the "old" technique.

Oddly, if your kids are on new skis and are taking lessons, you might want to be careful giving them pointers. It's possible that any suggestions you make might contradict elements of the "new" technique. That is, any advice you give might be more of a hinderance than a help.
post #5 of 17
No, don't switch to "parabolics." :
post #6 of 17

what part of the midwest are you from. I went through the same thing last year and did find demo programs in the midwest (my area also). If you tell me where you hail from I can maybe steer you to some demo programs...
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for the advice. Although some feel I could stay on these old skis, someone pointed out that the old skis will not last forever, so I might as well make the change now rather than when I'm forced to and could be 10 years older.

And yes, I'm definitely an old school skier. For those of you that grew up old school, how was the change? Any pointers?
post #8 of 17
You wouldn't notice much difference skiing slowly with your family on easy runs. If you skied them fast and had to make some hard turns you would notice a difference. The RX6 is not meant to go fast. The RX8 should be ok to about 50mph, or as fast as you are likely to go without finding a big hill AND trying to go faster.

You say that you raced. If you are carving your turns as opposed to skidding them you will adapt quite quickly to the new skis; the difference in technique is easily accomplished by someone who can carve turns on straight skis. If you are currently skidding turns, you have a little more learning to do, but you are in for a treat.
post #9 of 17
This advice is all great and such, but this is really up to you. I will tell you my opinion on the whole "shape ski" situation.

I have been a snowboarder for the past 15 or so years and in my early 30's. This year my all my buddies are on skis, since I moved away from my old pals on snowboards. Well, one weekend not too long ago I showed up at my buddies to leave fo a day trip to VT. I purposely left all my snowboard gear at home and they were looking at me like I was crazy. I said to them, "today I am going to ski, and try out these new fandango shaped thingamagies." Well, they all started laughing.

When I got to the mountain I went straight to the demo center and picked up some boots, and then picked out my skis based on several recommendations. I went with the Atomic M:11 in 172.

I was eager to get out and try them, I was pumped. Well I hopped on clipped in and I was ready to go. I felt like I had never left the two planks behind in the past.

Let me tell you, after the first run I was in heaven. These skiis turned and rode through anything. Crud was a joke, and icy surfaces cringed as I rolled side to side. Carving and powerful turns were invigorating. The control was immeasurable. I absolutely loved it.

I ended up buying new skiis and boots last week and have been twice. At this point I am not sure I am going to be using my board at all for the rest of the season or for the rest of my on-piste excursions.

Make the switch and you'll never look back.
post #10 of 17
Student who shows up on straight skis and asks if I think he should buy "a pair of bolicks".

The good news is that you are in good shape, but still, once you learn the transition to shaped skis, you will be spending far less wasted energy skiing.

The shapes are much easier on the knees. There is a lot to be said for that.

On a last note, the bindings should be checked and the bad news is that they are probably not on the "indemnification" list .. that is the shop won't work on them.

I too was dragged into modernity .... kicking and screaming .... once I got there ... it was good.
post #11 of 17
Made the change a couple years ago. I went from 203 slalom ski, 207 GS ski to 180 cm. I am now skiing a 168 Volkl Allstar for hardpack and 175 Head Monster 88 for all mountain. Quite a change from the old chop stix.

The new skis felt great on the first run. After trying a bunch of demos over the past couple years and purchasing all new equipment, I can honestly say it's a different world. In short, I feel young again on the hill. I am skiing better now at 44 than I did 20 years ago when I lived in the mountains.

Make the change. It's flat out more fun on the new stuff. Good luck!

post #12 of 17
Originally Posted by oldskis
Thanks all for the advice. Although some feel I could stay on these old skis, someone pointed out that the old skis will not last forever, so I might as well make the change now rather than when I'm forced to and could be 10 years older.

And yes, I'm definitely an old school skier. For those of you that grew up old school, how was the change? Any pointers?
I have a buddy that has been a low advanced skier for the 10 years I have known him. I finally talked him in to getting some shaped skis this year (his other skis weren't that old, maybe 8 years), and now his skiing has exploded to the next level. Also, he's having so much more fun skiing. I used to have to drag him to the slopes, but now he's dragging me.

If your local mountain doesn't have a demo program, what better excuse do you have to take your family out West for a little ski vacation? It will be worth every penny.
post #13 of 17
oldskis, I had a pair of those ST Comps (but with Look/Nevada bindings and Lange boots) when I was in the midwest. I, too, bounced from turn-to-turn. I tried shaped skis as demos and they were "fine", but I still didn't get it. I, too, am an ex-racer and enjoyed the "carving" I did on the older pencil skis.

But, it's nothing like what I can do on a pair of shaped skis after some "update" coaching. Feet slightly wider (hip-socket width), tip from edge to edge and manage the energy into the apex of the next turn instead of into the air to change edges. Edge changes happen from rolling the ski, not getting off the snow. Higher edge angles than you ever imagined are possible and powerful.

The RX8 is a great ski for learning this, especially given your midwest location. Get a pair of boots, too, and get them balanced to help you stand on the middle of the ski instead of levered against the tips.
post #14 of 17

Go for it

I have been skiing for 45 years and have kept up with the new trends as they came along. I switched to shaped skis about 10 years ago and have never regretted it.

However, as mentioned in several replys; to get the full benefit from the new technology you need to learn some new techniques.

How to do this? Take some lessons, get some coaching, watch others ski, read and apply some tips found in ski magazines, check out the instruction thread. Don't be satisfied with how you skied 15 years ago.

One caution about demoing skis; You won't learn much demoing new skis and using old technique.

One approach is to rent/demo a preformance ski and spend that day or at least half of it taking lessons in how to use them. Maybe even do this a couple of times. That way you will learn to make the most of the new technology.

The other approach and the one I strongly suggest. Just jump in! Do some reading in the gear forums to get an idea of what people are recommending/liking for folks in your situation. There are lots of good skis out there and if you do the reading it is hard to go wrong. Buy some and learn to use them.

Also, get some new boots. Go to a good speciality shop for these. In general the big discount stores do not have sales people that can fit you the way you should.

This got longer than I anticipated. The bottom line is "go for it"
post #15 of 17
I didn't ski for twenty-three years after growing up skiiing all the time, so my transition to shaped skis was different than most. When I decided to ski again I went out and purchased equipment. I made one run down the bunny hill before saying, "to heck with this" and jumped on a chair to the top of the mountain.

I never felt the need to take a lesson to learn how to use the new equipment.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for the tips and advice on the conversion. I picked up a pair of "shaped" skis, 170 Fischer RX6s and made it out to the hill. I didn't have the epiphany that some say they had after 1 run, but when taking large, high-speed turns on hardpack it felt like I was on rails and way cool. Thanks for the great tips some PM'ed to me. I'm still working on the technique for short quick turns (which I'm used to "skidding" through on straight skis), as I didn't notice as much difference there, but the fast large turns show the difference in these skis and what carving is all about - I'm anxious to get the technique down.
post #17 of 17
Originally Posted by oldskis
- I'm anxious to get the technique down.
Nice choice...enjoy

Hunt around the forums some more....there are links to free video images of modern skiing and more supposedly coming to help you dial in the new technique.....I highly recommend the CSIA (canadian demo team) and the Italian demo team both are discussed here on epic in detail. Viewing these images should help you huge. Watch the best skier on your mountain. Copy. Repeat. A couple of private lessons might not hurt from a seasoned ski pro you trust. As an ex racer tho, you might just enjoy conquering the new challenge yourself as I did.

Enjoy and welcome again!
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