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How much of a difference would I notice if I got race skis? - Page 2

post #31 of 45
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Mac. That explains a lot. What that info tells me is that I am not technically sound and strong enough, and I am evidently not bending my ski enough. My Volkls' published turn radius is 12.3. I think I am not forward enough, nor am I getting my skis up on edge enough to get them to perform up to their own potential. So it's gotta be me, not them. Bummer. It would be sooo easy to blame it on the gear, and fix it with dollars instead of hours.
post #32 of 45
Don't forget that length will also make a difference in the turn radius of the same ski. The Volkl Supersport series has just about the same turn radius in the same length (175) as the skis that I am currently skiing on, that is in the area of 15-16m. If the skis you are skiing on are shorter, than the turning radius will be somewhat shorter. True, you have not had a lot of years to develope your skills, but I have seen young racers (and I'm assuming that you are fairly young) make tremendous progress in a very short time with proper training and a little dedication. The difference in time between the two different typs of skis that I was talking about before in a fairly steep and tight course was a full two seconds. Not in just one run, either. That was the consistent time difference over half a dozen runs. No matter what we did, we could not narrow that time gap. I'm not saying that the skis you've got are no good, I would certainly keep them for freeskiing. I just think you would be better served to at least try something else to compare them to. And I know, by the time that the season opens all the deals will be gone. If you don't mind me asking, what kind of $ are you looking to spend on new gear?
post #33 of 45
Thread Starter 
I have heard that some manufacturers adjust the sidecut in their skis to keep the turn radius the same no matter how long they are, and others just let the turn radius change as the ski lengthens. At least that's what several dealers told me. How odd. Seems like the industry would be served well if they standardized this, to avoid customer confusion.

I have 154s. Thus the short turn radius of 12.3. So I guess the question is, which is better, my ski with a short turn radius, or another ski with a short turn radius.

I can carve just fine when the turn is wider than that, but I skid in the gates when the turns are short. On a blue or black slope freeskiing, I can sometimes carve very tight turns and feel the rebound and keep the skis on the ground and just keep going, slicing through the hardpack, but other times I can't do it at all. I'm not able to do it on a race course yet. Not enough hours practicing. So, if it's maybe my technique, then I'd rather wait (save money) and see if I can get myself to initiate those turns earlier and more effectively on the skis I've got. But if it sounds like the ski itself is holding me back, then I'll be looking for USED skis at a nice reasonable price, not new ones. My budget just doesn't look that generous at this time.

Last year at a local swap I saw something labelled "race skis" for $279.00, used only 5 times. I remember the bindings were raised, the graphics looked recent, and the skis were long. I don't know if they were race stock, or the "friendly" race skis we are talking about, but this season I'll know more about what I'm looking at. I would rather spend less, but don't know if that is possible.
post #34 of 45
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet
Hi Cassina. Thanks for the comments. This is the first time this discussion has moved to boots.

I am on Atomic T-9s. I think these are the high end women's boots just short of real race boots, if I remember correctly. I've had them ground and punched and ripped and I have custom foot beds and we did the stance balancing thing with the little inserts under the footbeds and the canting and everything else that needs to be done. Actually, we haven't tweaked the forward flex yet, and they are stiff, but there may be some advantage to that. The guy who works on my boots saw me quite often last season, and I'll go back as the next season gets going and have him fine tune these boots until they are as perfect as my hiking boots are, if need be. I think the T-9s are just fine for me; if they are not, there's no way I'm going to start this process all over, so they are going to have to do.

As for the skis --- I am skidding them, no question there. But I have concluded that it's me, not the gear. But I don't know.............it would be truly sweet if it were the gear causing me to skid, wow, what a nice excuse. BUT ... I've only been skiing three years and even though I am aggressive and have a learning curve that is very steep (so they tell me), I still suspect that I am not riding these skis with my weight far enough forward. I've had the bindings moved to the most forward position, and that helped. I did learn last year at the end of the season to thrust my torso forward, WWAAAYY forward, at transition, and set the skis into the carve way ahead of the fall line, on ICE. It worked! That was thrilling. But that was in April, and I didn't get a chance to practice it in the gates in tight turns, so I plan to work on aggressively working with my CM instead of steering the things.

So what do you think? Could it be the gear? Oh, one more thing. I went really fast in the last race last year, moving up one more notch in classification. I had no skidding at all, but they set the course by Masters standards, with the gates farther apart, and I tucked it all the way after the first three gates. What does that say about these skis? They work fine (published turn radius of 12.3) on longer turns, and they skid on shorter turns. I think it's me, not them.
A way to find out if it is technique or gear causing your skidding is to
try and do some high speed carved turns outside the race course. If you
can achieve nice high speed carves outside the race course, race course technique is more likely to be the issue. It certainly is with me
post #35 of 45
And me too. In fact, I don't think you can find a racer at any level that is ever totally satisfied with their tecnique. The point I'm trying to make is that the right equipment can make a difference to even someone with very limited skills like myself. Maybe the best thing for you to do would be to keep your current skis for now, and demo some over the course of the season to see if another ski will really make a difference, instead of wasting your money on something that is no better than what you've got now for the sake of trying to save a few bucks. Do you ever go to Wachusset Mt. during the week or for some night skiing? They have a good ski in and ski out demo program there. Very convenient. You can try three skis for as long as you want for something like $35 per day, and they do have some nice high performance skis to try, as they have a lot of junior race programs going on there.
post #36 of 45

How to tell?

Not having seen you ski nor having been on your skis it is very difficult for me to say. I am also not a racer, though I have ventured onto the odd course AFTER the race:. The turns had a lot of offset and were polished down to a nice icy finish.

I'm just guessing but here's my guess. In order to turn your ski (sidecut 12.3m) in a 6.15 m radius turn without skidding it you would have to put it on edge with a tipping angle of ski bases 60 degrees to the snow, or use advanced techniques to force the ski to bend more than it wants to. In order to do this you have to be going pretty fast, or angulate a lot (see posted pics of HH). Severe angulation is a bit of an acquired taste, and most people don't do really sharp turns at high speeds outside of a race course. I bet, with a 1 degree base bevel, you found it easier to just skid the tails a bit in the sharp turns that you have been making so far.

With that in mind, the next time out see how much sky you're showing your bases. Are you getting really high edge angles? Are you riding on the sides of your skis and getting boot-out?
post #37 of 45
Thread Starter 
OK, with all this advice I think I now know what to do. You people are very generous to spend your time talking with me. I really appreciate it.

I will maintain confidence in the skis I have now, not get new (used) ones at all this fall, and work on my technique once the slopes open. I will demo the recommended skis - Fischer WC SCs, RX8 and RX9, Head SuperShapes, comparable softer skis by French mfrs such as Rossi, Salomon, and Dynastar, maybe Atomic SL9s, and if I ever see a Stockli guy for sure I'll try his SCs. I will pay close attention to the differences between the softer and harder skis in this batch. I will discuss adjusting my bevels with the wonderful guy who maintains my skis. At the end of the season I'll visit the Sundy River and Killington big sales and see what I can find, or search on Ebay over the summer.

Thanks again. It's great to think about this on 92 degree July days.
post #38 of 45
Originally Posted by Yuki
You dont need a "race stock" ski, but you would benefit from a race stock type ski.

As an example, the Stockli SC is something of an in between SL & GS; it is of straight sidewall construction and weighs (like race stocks), a few ounces more. This is more suited for the tighter "GS'ish" type courses that you encounter.

Such construction (straight sidewall/sandwich), will be much less prone to chatter and bounce when the course get rutted or icy. Cap skis, even in the "race category" are often prone to this.

Depending on your level of agression, a 156 with a radius of 12.2, or the 163 with a 13.5 radius may be a huge leap from what you are on in terms of performance and stability. I also recommend setting the center of boot and the center of ski (there are marks on both of them if you look), slightly forward.

Setting the binding slightly forward will make the ski a bit more easier to turn and with little or no sacrifice in stability and the racers (a few juniors on this ski are on them to be USSA legal .... light weight teens who were too light for full race stocks) .... they are racing them in SL.

Blizzard also made a slightly softer womans GS, my son had a pair and liked then but passed then on as he gained weight.

A few individuals come to mind here to send a PM to ..... dawgcatching and Helluvaskier ..... Atomicman too .... Slatz .... they are usually pretty helpful.
ditto this - and you get the better base and edge stuff in this ski as in all skis from the stockli "race" types... but not so full on "RACE" ski...

ant hates race skis and did not want to even try them - but had to if she wanted me to try the off-piste ones she was on... she now owns a pair

Great skis - give them a go...
post #39 of 45
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet
and work on my technique once the slopes open..
no start now

rollerblading for you...skate up hill... turn down... set up witches hats as gates if you are game...

gym - lots of core work...

hill running....

yada yada yada....
post #40 of 45
Originally Posted by Mac
Skidding your turns could very well be the result of your equipment. Tuning issues aside, a ski has a built in turning radius. A ski will only carve as much as you can bend the ski to conform with the size of the turn. If you are very tecnically sound and strong, you can sometimes bend a ski into a tighter arc than the ski would normally be able to carve, but there is a limit to what any ski can be bent. After that point, the ski can only skid. Thats why skis are advertised with a turn radius. My everyday skis, which are a similar design to the ones you have, have a turn radius of between 15-16m, a versatile all mountain design. But in a tight race course a ski like that will only bend so much, and then it has to skid. Not only will a ski like that not turn as tightly, but it takes more time to set up the next turn as the gate approaches, thus leaving you with less margin for error, and less time to recover from a mistake. Very similar to skiing moguls. If you are late with a turn in the bumps, chances are you will probably be late with the next one too. Trust me, there is a huge difference between skiing a tight course on my everyday 16m skis as compared to the Head Supershape with a sub 11m turning radius. So the question may not be would you be better off with a race ski, it may be would you be better off with a different type of ski.
99.9% chance on and 12.3M ski it is technique. if he can't carve a 12.3 M ski he sure can't carve a 16M longer ski. Shorter more shapely skis are infinetly easier to carve on.

skidding in a Race course is almost always about

#1 Line
#2 Techique Twisting the feet and/or pivoting. rather then progressively setting an edge at the top of the turn and and standing on it and waiting for the riseline which takes us back to line.

if you are not waiting for the riseline and are not on the right line in general and are going to straight at the gates (very common with inexperienced racers) then you are not getting the majority of your turn done before the gate and do not have the strength (nor do many) to keep from skiiding belwo the gate and getting even later and lower as the course progresses.
post #41 of 45
Thread Starter 

Yes, you are quite right, fitness now, technique later. It's running hills, hiking the mountains, biking hills, the steeper and longer the better, and sweating in the gym are my choices for the summer.
post #42 of 45
Thread Starter 

I think it's setting the edges early using forward pressure in just the right way that I need to work on. Getting my weight (only 130 lbs, as I am a smallish woman) forward has been my big issue. The binding is set in its most forward position, I'm on fairly stiff boots, and I just need to get my torso forward aggressively to slice the ice. I think. Give me a break - I've only been skiing three years.
post #43 of 45


Staying over the center is critical and it is nice to note that you have the center of the boot slightly ahead of the center ski mark. Actually click the boots into the skis and see how the marks line up.

Footbeds ..... good footbeds ... for balance and stability.

At your light weight you may want to get the boots looked at. One of the first things Greg Hoffmann of GMO did with my Lange L-10's was soften them up, there was plastic flying all over the shop as he ripped into them.
post #44 of 45
Thread Starter 

I've had EVERYTHING done to my boots so far except softening the forward flex, and oh yeah I haven't had the forward lean messed with, but I don't know if thats a reasonable request. I am planning on asking my boot guy if he will soften that tongue this winter, or whatever they do to get the front end softer. Thanks for the reminder.
post #45 of 45
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet

Yes, you are quite right, fitness now, technique later. It's running hills, hiking the mountains, biking hills, the steeper and longer the better, and sweating in the gym are my choices for the summer.
rollerblading will help you stay centred... ever try leaning on the tails of a pair of rollerblades?

Hence why you do the turns down the hill on them.... makes you better aware of weight/feet etc...
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