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are wide skis good or bad for the industry? - Page 4

post #91 of 117
As a relative newbie to the forum I would like to offer my two cents worth on the issue.

I agree with all of you who feel that the wide skis are more of a fashion statement for some than a functional piece of equipment. I also agree that the wide skis allow bad skiers to get into places where they should not be. A couple of months ago I watched a couple of younger guys on fat twin-tips side-slip their way down the North Bowl at Breck. How did I know they were side-slipping all the way down? Because I was side-slipping about half the way down because I probably should not have been there either! It was ok though, I have fat skis.

The semi-common theme that is emanating from this thread, and many like it is that wide skis are "bad for the sport" "cheater skis" or "killing the soul of skiing". It is the same arguement I have seen with the shorter skis. Quite frankly, I do not get the lament.

I skied about five times in the 80's. I absolutely hated the sport. I was a very athletic and talented person, but skiing on 210's kicked my ass. I never had a will to try skiing again until my brother talked my into going with him and trying something called skiboards. Had had bought a pair after knee surgery thinking they would be easier on the knee.

The first day on skiboards I fell in love with the sport. I learned balance, how to turn, how to carve, and it all soon became instinctual. I learned how to ski the trees, something I never would have dreamed of attempting on 210's.

Eventually I moved to longer skis, but have welcomed the short/fat revolution. I still ski short skis, and only move up in length when I feel like the short length is somehow limiting me. As a result, I have enjoyed every day of skiing. I has not taken me years of "excruciating practice" to learn how to have fun, I had it from day one.

I have used this analogy before, but feel it is apt. In the 1960's, all golfers played blades because that is all that was produced. As a result, only the golfers who could play 3-4 days a week were any good. Enter the game-improvement irons, oversize metal woods, and newly designed balls. Now the golfer who plays every other week can still have a good time and hit good shots.

Is this equipment somehow limiting their skills? Yes! It does not provide the same feedback as a set of blades. However, the thing the limits their skills the most is the fact that they do not play golf every day. The new equipment allows them to not have to have their skills "perfected" every time out. Sure their are a lot of players out there using blades. They are called pros. They practice three days a week and play the other four!
post #92 of 117
If you want to play bad golf in front of me you do not ruin the course for me or affect my enjoyment of the game. If you and those others guys just sideslipped half the North Bowl at Breck, which you wouldn't have done on non-fats, then you've trashed it for me and everybody else that comes after you in a way that would not have happened if you were traversing or skiing it well. Fat skis = unskilled skiers smearing down steep slopes = crappy skiing on those slopes for the good skiers that follow.

Yeah, it gets you out on hills and in snow conditions that you wouldn't otherwise "enjoy", but that may be having a huge effect on the ability of better skiers to enjoy those same slopes and conditions.

I have seen it over and over on a powder day where snowboards and intermediates on fat skis sideslip all the steeps parts of a run that they cannot handle thereby totally screwing it up for those that see it as the best part of the slope. Unfortunately, fat skis and snowboards have such a short learning curve to get to the reasonably manuverable stage that lots of their users are on slopes they cannot ride well, but they don't care, they are going down them anyway and some of us are not too thrilled about the results.
post #93 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot
If you want to play bad golf in front of me you do not ruin the course for me or affect my enjoyment of the game. If you and those others guys just sideslipped half the North Bowl at Breck, which you wouldn't have done on non-fats, then you've trashed it for me and everybody else that comes after you in a way that would not have happened if you were traversing or skiing it well. Fat skis = unskilled skiers smearing down steep slopes = crappy skiing on those slopes for the good skiers that follow.
Actually someone hacking around in front of you with almost unhittable clubs will hamper your enjoyment. Your leisurely four hour round just turned into a five hour wait. All you do it watch them hack around and it gets frustrating. If every time down the slope I was dodging unstable, shaky beginners on 210's ala me in the 80's, it would not be as enjoyable. As it is now, except for the true beginners, most people are in decent control of their descent.

As for the second part for your quote, I agreed with those who contended that the wider skis allow some skiers to get into places they are not eminently skilled enough to get out in a smooth manner. I do not, however, think it is the end of the world. Unless you are buying a different pass or ticket, they have the same access to the "entire mountain" as do you. I went back and looked at my ticket from Breckenridge, and there was no restriction to the north bowl on it.

If somebody is creating safety problems by being in a certain area or spot, that is a different situation, and they simply should not be there. The simple fact that they are not going down the mountain in the same manner that you are does not give you license to ban them to a different area.

Look at the new Imperial Express chair at Breck. Do you think that this chair was funded by the small group skiers who formerly hiked from the top of the tow rope? NO! It was funded by all of the gapers, families, and weekend skiers using short fat skis on the greens and blues. If a few of these people acquire the skills to take a trip or two down from the top, even if it is side-slipping half the way down, then they have the absolute right to do it.
post #94 of 117
I don't deny that eveyone has the right to ski badly anywhere on the mountain once they have bought a ticket. I certainly do it myself on many occasions. My point is that fat skis may be good for the industry in that they are allowing skiers to enjoy the sport more quickly but in my opinion the resulting effect on the quality of the snow and my over-all skiing experience has been negative.

We would all like the slopes to stay untracked for as long as possible on a powder day, so it hurts to see it consumed by an increasing number of people who are just getting down and not even coming closed to skiing or riding it. Do they have the right to do that, sure, but I don't have to like it. Fat skis make skiing easier for almost everyone, but reducing the sport to it's lowest common denominator will never result in the best skiing for those of us who do it a lot more than 5 or 10 days a year. I already have to pay premium prices for a lift ticket to support massive grooming that I don't want or use, and now I have to share the limited untracked with an increasing number of skiers who are smearing it off all the few steep sections of the mountain. I guess I'm starting to get grumpy.
post #95 of 117

Fatenski 451?

Do Fat Skis have the potential to ruing skiing the same way Callaway "ruined" golf with the introduction of Big Bertha in the early nineties?

If so,

BURN ALL FAT SKIS!!!
post #96 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot
I already have to pay premium prices for a lift ticket to support massive grooming that I don't want or use, and now I have to share the limited untracked with an increasing number of skiers who are smearing it off all the few steep sections of the mountain. I guess I'm starting to get grumpy.
Don't get me wrong either. I am not trying to be a pain in the ass. I realize this forum is mainly compised of serious skiers whose ski days are three digits each year, and as a 38 year old fat guy who skis 15-20 days a year with the family and tries to keep up with his teenage son, I am the odd person out.

You guys are the reason I read this forum. I like the insight, and the expertise that you all have to offer. I just do not like to see an elitist attitude being espoused, even if it is just my perception.

Believe me, I like to play 3 hour rounds of golf and despise getting stuck for five hours behind the hackers that, even with the new equipment, could not hit the earth in three shots. I get grumpy and bitch too. However, I always have to remind myself that they are paying for the improvements to my course and keeping it is great shape.

I promise I will smear as little powder as possible next year!
post #97 of 117
Thread Starter 
Mat, no we don't all ski 3 digit seasons, we all would like to ski that much. I don't think you are seeing elitist attitudes, just folks who are very passionate about skiing and the quality of the snow and runs. Since most here are advanced to experts, these things matter to us very much and we take it seriously. When someone side slips and F's up the snow, we take this more as disrespect and rudeness. Welcome and yes, don't f' up the pow!
post #98 of 117
matt7180:

Sorry I'm so bitchy about this subject, but the mountain I ski a lot is all benchy with almost every run composed of long flat sections mixed with short steep ones, many of which are visible from the chairs. I have spent many powder mornings watching the "best" parts of the mountain slipped clean before I could get there. Powder is so precious to me that I guess I've gotten a little crazy about it.

Skiing powder is fair, first come, first serve, and my fat skis let me ski powder faster and with less effort, but the irony is that so does everyone else, so it just disappears quicker.

Keep pushing yourself. Finding youself in over your head once in a while is an important facet of skiing, but I just hope people try and stay aware of how they may be effecting the snow and use a little consideration if possible.

Death to the long sideslip!
post #99 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot
matt7180:

Sorry I'm so bitchy about this subject, but the mountain I ski a lot is all benchy with almost every run composed of long flat sections mixed with short steep ones, many of which are visible from the chairs. I have spent many powder mornings watching the "best" parts of the mountain slipped clean before I could get there. Powder is so precious to me that I guess I've gotten a little crazy about it.

Skiing powder is fair, first come, first serve, and my fat skis let me ski powder faster and with less effort, but the irony is that so does everyone else, so it just disappears quicker.

Keep pushing yourself. Finding youself in over your head once in a while is an important facet of skiing, but I just hope people try and stay aware of how they may be effecting the snow and use a little consideration if possible.

Death to the long sideslip!
I hear you mudfoot.
You are making the same argument about fatter skis from a different direction.

Fat skis make the steeps Powder and chop easier and accessible to many. Not to mention how nice it is to hit those long flat run outs.

Fat skis do open the mountain to many. Skiers are having more fun conquering tougher terrain and conditions. I see this as good for the ski industry as a whole. It does suck for me due to the increasing competition for terrain. However I notice that on powder days I am able to get more enjoyment and more runs with allot less effort. And that does not suck.
post #100 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot
Skiing powder is fair, first come, first serve, and my fat skis let me ski powder faster and with less effort, but the irony is that so does everyone else, so it just disappears quicker.
Exactly! You can't have your cake and eat it, and you cannot turn the clock back.
Or perhaps everyone should take a test, to show that they can make, say, at least 30 nonstop turns in the fall-line in 2-foot deep powder. This would then give them a certificate, without which they would not be allowed on to lifts which access off-piste terrain.
post #101 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Bell
Exactly! You can't have your cake and eat it, and you cannot turn the clock back.
Or perhaps everyone should take a test, to show that they can make, say, at least 30 nonstop turns in the fall-line in 2-foot deep powder. This would then give them a certificate, without which they would not be allowed on to lifts which access off-piste terrain.
Thats not fair!! What about guys like me who get off making 3 turns in the same line where you make 30?
post #102 of 117
Maybe we should ban turns altogether, then no-one would need to learn any of that boring technique stuff, with barstools etc...
"Ted Shred" was years ahead of his time...
post #103 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Bell
...perhaps everyone should take a test, to show that they can make, say, at least 30 nonstop turns in the fall-line in 2-foot deep powder. This would then give them a certificate, without which they would not be allowed on to lifts which access off-piste terrain.
Or we could put everyone on mono skis; I'd like to see those tourist side-slip now!

Michael
post #104 of 117

expierence on wide skis

first of all, as a newbie in this forum, i d' like to say hello and introduce my self. my name is nicola, i am an austrian skier (occupational i have to do a lot with biomechanical influence on ski developement)
some detailed infos about my skiing history:
http://www.edelwiser.com/download/ku...g_engl_pic.pdf

the influence of wide skis is one of my main themes, as i use (for my self and my workshop clients) and develop skis with 80mm mid since more than 10 years. as i befriended about 2500 (maybe more) clients on getting familar with wide skis, i found out, that vantages of wide skis are depending mostly on the conception of skiing motion. people who's perception on skiing is tool oriented find skiing on wide skis more inconvenient than those who have a versatile-related approach to skiing. strait talk: the fundamental question of skiing could either be - "how do i move my skis underneath my body from one side to the other?" or "how do i move my body above my skis from one side to the other?" while the first question is to be solved by avoiding inefficient frictional resistance through limbal movements, the second concept looks for using more the surrounding forces [this might not be the right translation - i mean gravity, centrifugal force etc.] through movements of the mass center.

so my experience brings me to the conclusion, that wide skis with a small radius are helpful to realize the kinetic attributes of modern skitechnology in an effektive and fast way. as some teaching methods are (yet) not pioneering a way of natural movement in skiing, many skischools still don't provide wider skis. on the other hand one has to know, that developing wide skis has to focus all parameters of skibuilding to get mature skis. so it will depend on the dveloper efforts of the industry if wide skis are more or less a marketing trend or really can be a next milestone for easier skiing.
post #105 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by skifex
...that vantages of wide skis are depending mostly on the conception of skiing motion... "how do i move my skis underneath my body from one side to the other?" or "how do i move my body above my skis from one side to the other?"
Shane McConkey discribes the differance betwen using normal rechnique and skiing the Spatula in the owners manual from Volant in much the same way; "First of all, in order to clear your mind and attempt to make sense of all this, take most everything you have ever learned about skiing and stick it where the sun don't shine. Or at least in the garage next to your shaped skis...Simply put, if you want to maximize your abilities in soft snow you do not want to use the same tool as you would on any kind of hard, groomed, or compacted snow.

...It is important for you to understand the adjustments to your skiing technique you will need to make in order to ski them well. Don't worry! It's easy. Many people may get intimidated by the progressive shape of the Spatula and think that it takes an expert to know how to manage them. Not true. These skis will make powder skiing much easier for even the least experienced beginners. Actually the opposite concepts explained here will be much easier for a beginner to grasp than an expert conditioned to use their skis the way they always have. The expert will have to open their mind and be prepared for some very differnt concepts. Or simply, they must floss their brain!

Ski on both feet! Put your weight a bit more on two feet throughout the turn instead of mostly on your downhill ski. This will help you stay afloat and facilitate sliding when you need to. You will also be able to load up your downhill ski as you normally would in most soft snow situations but knowing how and when to use both feet will greatly increase your abilities with the Spatulas. Suncrust and wind affected snow are prime examples of when to use both feet. In these conditions the Spatulas will blow your mind. Normally these conditions would require you to slow down and be very careful not to hook a tip. Not anymore. Ski on two feet and let er rip.

...Slide instead of carve! Yes, believe it or not this is something that you should be trying to do in the powder. Sliding will be the most difficult of Spatula techniques to learn but you should be able to get the idea in time. Even if you never attempt to learn slides you will still be able to blow doors on everyone else without the Spatulas. Who knows, you might just naturally start doing them anyway. The more dense and compacted the snow is the easier it will be to perform slides. Sliding will greatly improve your maneuverability and control. Begin your powder turn and then instead of hitting your edges hard to carve a turn, stand up on two feet and let your skis slide or skid diagonally across the fall line. It will be harder to perform a slide directly down the fall line. Start off doing them diagonally.

...Flotation and sliding. In order to better understand why the Spatulas are so efficient the two most important concepts to grasp are floation and sliding. In a ski world where everyone is constantly thinking power, pressure and carving it may seem like a crazy concept to accept almost the opposite theory. Then again, soft snow is pretty much the opposite of hard snow. Retraining your mind that sliding not carving is actually a good thing is a very hard concept for many people to swallow. A ski which is fat under foot will float much more than a ski which is narrow under foot. A ski with reverse sidecut will give the skier the ability to slide their turns where as side cut will force the skier to sink and carve. Reverse side cut combined with decamber immediately puts the tip and tail higher than the waist of the ski as well as pulls the edges of the ski away from the snow leaving the point of first contact with the snow at the waist of the ski. When you set you skis sideways to start a slide there is much less ski at the tip and tail to catch the snow and prevent the slide. It also helps to eliminate catching your downhill edges and stuffing it. The Spatulas are also twin tipped. This helps immensely for initiation of the slide.... In virtually all situations you will still be able to carve your turns. the Spatulas simply give you the option to initiate a slide or to scrub speed by sliding similar to how you would do it on a groomer. Why is it so easy for snowboarders to scrub speed in the powder? Why is it so easy for them to make turns and go fast when skiers are laboring slowly down the hill? Why do snowboarders use less energy than skiers in the powder? It is a simple matter of flotation. Snowboarders are always on top of the snow. Skiers are mostly down in it. The Spatulas will give you all the benefits of snowboardings floatation and ease as well as satisfaction in the fact that you are actually on skis and still have all the luxuries and mobility options that skiing offers..."

The entire text is available here: http://www.skiersjournal.com/article1115.html

Cheers,

Michael
post #106 of 117
Hi Nicola. Welcome to Epic. With your strong background in skiing, I'm sure you will bring a good perspective to our discussions. I don't know what took you so long to get here, but now that you're here, please stay!

Quote:
Originally Posted by skifex
...many skischools still don't provide wider skis ... on the other hand one has to know, that developing wide skis has to focus all parameters of skibuilding to get mature skis. so it will depend on the dveloper efforts of the industry if wide skis are more or less a marketing trend or really can be a next milestone for easier skiing.
Two comments:

1) With respect to ski schools providing wider skis, I'm obviously not against this, but as I'm sure you know, even if the technical benefits of fatties in ski instruction were fully accepted (they are not), there are important financial and strategic aspects of such a possible change.

A mix of wide and conventional width skis would take up a lot of storage space and cost money. The curriculum of the ski school and the training of the instructors would have to be modified to accomodate such a change.

To overcome the above problems, the rental department of a ski area could go completely over to wide skis, but this is extremely risky. Look at the differences of opinion just in this (and related) threads. Here on Epic, we have skiers that are extremely knowledgable in equipment and technique, and willing to experiment with new things, and we can't even agree among ourselves that fat skis are better for teaching newbies. The skiing public would probably see a mountain with a rental fleet consisting entirely of fat skis as very odd and radical. Many would decide to go elsewhere.

2) With respect to industry's roll in the further development of fatties, it is a bit of a "chicken and the egg" situation. Within reason, the mfgrs can make just about any sidecut, width and flex pattern that they want. The problem is that even if they make a new ski that is absolutely fantastic in performance, it costs money to set up production and then distribute a new model. If the ski retailers and the public is not fully on board and psychlogically ready to purchase the new model, the shops and retail customers will consider it "radical", it won't sell, and the mfgr will have effectively just thrown their money down the drain. Thus, the pace of change is often much slower than technology permits. This is why "early adopters" of new technology such as many of the folks here on Epic are so important.

Just some thoughts on the subject.

Again, welcome to Epic!!!

Tom / PM
post #107 of 117
Servus Nicola, und wilkommen bei Epicski.
Wir kennen uns, glaube Ich, nicht, aber Ich war etwas später auch in Stams – Ich habe in 1983 maturiert (gleiche Klasse wie die Regina Sackl, die nach dem Rennlaufbahn zurück in die Schule gegangen ist).
Ich war auch Weltcupabfahrer, aber mit weniger Erfolg als Du!
I look forward to reading your contributions to Epic!
post #108 of 117
servus martin,
i did not expect to meet a "stamser" here, what a nice surprise - obwohl wir dort "zeitversetzt" waren erinnert mich das doch an zeiten mit viel spass. we never met but i'm sure you know my brother from the worldcup circuit and of course regina was one of my closer friends in the austrian team. well good old times, we should exchange our expierence past racing as i found out our ways have some similarities contct details http://www.kunstpiste.com/contact.php

Quote:
I don't know what took you so long to get here, but now that you're here, please stay!
thanks for the warm welcome, i need to brush up my english, wich is a hurdle for me, because i am not as fast as writing in german and sometimes i am rather short in time...
post #109 of 117
Holy moly, we snared a ski godess! Welcome skifex. I hope you will be joining us soon at altitude.

post #110 of 117
Skifex,

Wilkommen!

Thank you for taking the time to post here at Epic Ski. I enjoyed your comments very much and look forward to reading more whenever you find time to write.


Cirquerider,

Thanks for posting the great photo.
post #111 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider
Holy moly, we snared a ski godess!
Yes, we did, lock the doors so she can't get out.
post #112 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot
If you and those others guys just sideslipped half the North Bowl at Breck, which you wouldn't have done on non-fats...
I'm not sure I except this as a truism. I would venture to say the addition of fat skis to ones feet does not make them any more or less likely to side slip a powder run. The same people out there side slipping on a fat board would be doing the same thing if they were on a carving ski instead.

I have never seen any mediocre recreational skier get significantly better by getting on a pair of fat skis or not ski something because they lacked them. I have seen plenty fault their lack of fat skis for the source of their woes, only to demo a pair and find out that they still can't ski ungroomed.
post #113 of 117
onyxjl:

My personal experience on fat skis is that they are much easier to sideslip in deep snow and hench you no longer need to traverse and kick turn if it is too steep for you to ski. I see intermediate skiers on 100+ mm skis sideslipping powder in places I don't think they would have ever ventured on skinny skis.

As I said above, my home area (Purgatory) is benched and you see the medicore skiers on fat skis turning on the flat sections and sidesplipping the steep parts. Before the skis got up to about 90 mm waists this never used to happen. If you couldn't ski it you had to traverse, which was more work and screwed up the snow much less. If you have ever tried sideslipping on a steep slope in deep snow on 65mm skis and then 100mm ones I think you will notice a huge difference. Fat skis don't necessarily make intermediates better powder skiers, but it sure seems to make them better powder sideslippers. The powder/crud smear turn also seems to be coming in vogue along the increase in sideslipping. In my opinion, nothing screws up powder faster than skiing it sideways.

Fat skis are a great tool, but I will always lament the fact that they are so easy to manuver in deep snow that it has opened up the untracked and crud to many who are making somewhat of a mess of it. Do they have the right to do that, sure, but I don't have to like it.
post #114 of 117
My very first post to EpicSki was on a thread debating the value of wide skis. And out of pure ignorance, I didn't have a clue then. Personally, I don't see anyone on wide skis sideslipping down the hill. I see a lot of people cutting off a cornice and traversing through skiable lines, but side slips in pow are rare except on snowboards. What I do see is a lot more access to steep and deep lines that we used to have to ourselves, regardless of ski width. As wider equipment became available and better understood, it has helped me ski better in a place I already enjoyed; but it also allowed a lot of people in that weren't there before. The mountain tracks out faster. It may be sideslips, traverses, less than elegant Z turns, or true rippers. The indisputible consequence is there are more people competing for powder lines than ever; and I have to attribute it to better accessibility made easier/possible by wide skis.
post #115 of 117
I'd attribute it more to an increase in interest created by the latest generation of skiing media. The equipment is an extension of better skiers wanting to ski faster in the crud. It makes a novice survive marginally more than they otherwise could on a carving ski, but I don't think it is a deal breaker. It is certainly advertised as such.


From the perspective of a skier who has skied for a long time recreationally and recently become seriously dedicated to improvement, I know that I was always trying to ski stuff that was too hard for me on whatever boards I was on. Now that I have gotten much better in the ungroomed I can ski it just fine on a pair of SL:9s that are 65mm, even if the Monster 88s are a better fit.

I actually think that for the majority of skiers the wider skis are often harder to improve on. They are typically harder to get on edge, keep on edge, and often require much faster speeds to come alive. If your inside foot is lazy on a slalom ski, its really lazy on a powder ski.
post #116 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot
onyxjl:
Fat skis are a great tool, but I will always lament the fact that they are so easy to manuver in deep snow that it has opened up the untracked and crud to many who are making somewhat of a mess of it. Do they have the right to do that, sure, but I don't have to like it.
I still feel some of my best days in powder were on skis which measured 85-65-75@205cm. I could ski lines and marginal powder that few people wanted. Now with fat skis, and snowboards its all gone in 45 minutes. Elitist? sure, but I spent years getting there, and it was fun. Oh well, times changed.
post #117 of 117
There is no question that powder at all the major Resorts is getting tracked out much faster than it did 20 years ago. The Resorts realize this also and have opened up new terrain to help compensate for this but with more skiers venturing into the deep powder, it's a washout.

There was a time when we were a rare breed seeking the steep and deep on 65mm sidecut 205cm boards, and loving it. I have always enjoyed skiing down in the powder rather on top of it. Unless you were really good, you didn't venture into waist deep black diamond stuff.

Now, it seems like everyone is doing it. Am I complaining? Somewhat, but now that I'm older, the fat skis have given me a couple extra hours a day. There is no question, the fat ski era has definitly helped the skier and the ski industry. The down side, places like China Bowl are tracked out in thirty minutes.
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