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Problems with new gear or technique

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
This is kind of long with several questions, but any input on any part will be appreciated.

I recently had a problem with some new skis/boots I bought and am looking for advice on what to do. Skis=Atomic SX:9, 170cm; boots=Rossignol Elite Pro 3. I'm an intermediate skier, 5'10", 182lbs.

The main problem was that the tails of the skis, particularly the left one, kept grabbing the snow when I was trying to complete turns. I looked at the skis and it definitely seems they are both leaning slightly inwards, and I assume(d) it's because my legs bend inwards. I thought all of this was addressed in the ski shop when the boots were fitted and I had custom insoles made. The guy talked about it and looked like he was dealing with it. Unfortunately I can't get back to the place I bought the boots (easily), so if it is a gear issue, I'm going to have to go somewhere else.

A few questions:

1. Is it possible that this problem is happening primarily due to stance issues rather than the gear and if so, what to look for in stance which might be causing the problem. I was with an instructor and he was emphasizing forward lean and "aggressive attacking of the snow", but while that gave me a better feel for the front of the ski, it didn't seem to deal with the tail issue entirely.

2. I took the boots to a shop in the resort and they played with the canting screws on the size but that didn't fix it and since I hadn't bought the boots from them, they weren't really interested. In general, is taking skis and boots you bought somewhere else to a shop and asking them to help you fix it common, provided you are willing to pay for the service? Are there any self-fix things I could do to try to correct this?

3. I'm going to be in Summit County, CO, in November and if anyone knows of a very reliable shop there I could contact to have them help me fix this (I'll pay), that would be great. It sort of soured my recent trip as I got into lifting the tails in turns to compensate and it felt sucky after a while. I know I've got technical issues to work through but the overall experience was poorer than past skiing trips and I think the gear was part of the problem.

4. One shop said that I should check if the skis had been bent somehow (I can't see it) and might need the edges altered to make them turn more easily. He went into some spiel about how this is commonly done to new skis and offered to do it, but I didn't want to get into that since I hadn't heard of this as a common solution (is it?).
post #2 of 23
Could be the tune... It is a little hard to say, but what you're experiencing jives with what people experience when their skis are railed, or the edges are machine tuned and not finished right. Did you switch skis from one foot to the other? If so and you only had problems with your left side then it might be the boots as well. Tune wise I've always liked Racer's Edge in Breck. Good luck with that.
Have fun.
post #3 of 23
Sounds like you are "scarving" your turns instead of carving clean arcs. The other part of the problem is your skis, Atomic SX skis are made for aggressive carving and don't really tolerate back seat driving. You need to get and keep your weight foward and your knees bent. Stiff tails are made to hold you in the arc of the turn, they don't help you initiate the turn.
post #4 of 23
As I understand it, the tails are supposed to hold onto the snow at the end of your turns. They should hold you in the turn right up until the skis are flat on the snow again and you are going straight.
post #5 of 23
Does your heel lift and your foot twist inside you boots when you turn? If so your boots are too big or you may need to crank your buckles up tighter.
You would be surprised as how much a loose fittting boot even by small
amount can affect your ability to control your skis when turning. Also check the boots forward lean and flex. The flex should be set to soft while you are getting the hang of your new skis and boots. Try initiating your turns with a pole plant as this will help you stay centred over your skis. Dont sit back at the end of your turns. Stay upright all the time.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bennyr View Post
Could be the tune... It is a little hard to say, but what you're experiencing jives with what people experience when their skis are railed, or the edges are machine tuned and not finished right. Did you switch skis from one foot to the other? If so and you only had problems with your left side then it might be the boots as well. Tune wise I've always liked Racer's Edge in Breck. Good luck with that.
Have fun.
I have to go with BennyR here, possibly a machine burr was left on the ski. Feel the edges by running your finger across it for the entire length in both directions. Rather than your finger falling off the edge smoothly, it will feel like there's a very slight wall built up at the edge, either facing down (into the snow) or sideways (acroos the snow) depending on which edge was done last. Even if only a quarter inch length of the edge was not finished, in the right spot, this would make quite an inpact on the skiability of the skis, and if in the tail area, will tend to stop the turn from releasing. If this exists, a diamond stone will smooth it out easily.
Another possible problem with the skis that could explain this, would be if they are railed. This is a common problem with brand new skis, because sometimes the manufacturer tunes the ski before they're fully cured. They then sit and finish drying until bought so that the bases contract past being flat. To tell this, you would need a true bar. Holding the true bar across the ski, it should sit flat on the edges and bases, with no light shining through, the entire running length or the ski. Any decent ski shop could check this. If they are railed, the cure for this would be a complete tuneup with a base stone grind.
Quote:
Sounds like you are "scarving" your turns instead of carving clean arcs. The other part of the problem is your skis, Atomic SX skis are made for aggressive carving and don't really tolerate back seat driving.
SX are their all mountain ski and the nine is not their race model. I doubt if it's a problem inherrent in the choice of the ski, unless it was the Metron.
Quote:
2. I took the boots to a shop in the resort and they played with the canting screws on the size but that didn't fix it and since I hadn't bought the boots from them, they weren't really interested. In general, is taking skis and boots you bought somewhere else to a shop and asking them to help you fix it common, provided you are willing to pay for the service? Are there any self-fix things I could do to try to correct this?
It would be a pretty extreme problem for the boots to cause what your describing, but how did the skis feel when skiing flat. If you were in your normal stance on groomed snow, your skis should feel like they want to wander because they are flat and no edges are engaged. If they don't wander(it feels kind of funky and unstable), your should be able to move your knees in or out to get that feeling. If you must move each knee to the outside a little, that's fine since your sitting slightly on your inside edges, if you have to move your knee to the inside a little, that's not good as it predisposes you to catching your outside edge, but it's the opposite of your problem.
It's common and any good bootfitter would be happy to check your stance, and consider your problem. Bring your skis also.
I'm sure some of the guys here could give this info to you in more technical terms and supply animation, but even if I could, your problem isn't that important enough to me to go into that detail. but I hope this helps anyway...

P.S. If they weren't Atomics, I would also suggest the skis could be mounted off center, but the Atomics are predrilled and I've never heard of the plate being factory-mounted wrong.
post #7 of 23
A slight variation on 2turn's flat-running test would be to try side slipping across the hill.

On a green or moderate blue, imagine yourself with both skis pointed across the fall line with the uphill edges engaged, at a stop. Then just slowly release the edges until you find yourself moving sideways downhill. Edge release should really happen at about the same time for both feet.

Then try it to the other side.

Swap skis between feet if you notice an asymmetry, then try again.

If the asymmetry is still to the same side, I reckon it's not the skis.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2-turn View Post
SX are their all mountain ski and the nine is not their race model.
Don't know that I'd classify the SX series as "all mountain". Agree that the SX-9 is not a race ski - but I would classify it as geared towards frontside carving, so I tend to agree Atown313 on the skis. One additional piece of info that might help clear this up is to determine what skis DCSKI is coming from. If they were old, straight skis, or even moderately shaped, it might just be a case of needed to adjust technique to the new gear.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tumbler View Post
One additional piece of info that might help clear this up is to determine what skis DCSKI is coming from. If they were old, straight skis, or even moderately shaped, it might just be a case of needed to adjust technique to the new gear.
Oh yeah, I forgot there's still that, "first time on shape ski syndrome". Although that's usually a turn initiation complaint...
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
BENNYR/2-TURN/COMPREX: Thanks for the shop recommendation and tune comment. I’ll check the edges but I think I’m going to need a pro to look at these since I’m not sure if I could tell about such a problem. Regarding side slipping, I did try that and was surprised at how difficult it was when the left ski was the downhill ski. I didn’t think about switching skis from foot to foot, just pointing one way across the hill and then the other. I’m back home now so can’t try it but will when I next get to some snow.

ATOWN313: Definitely working on keeping weight forward and flexed, but I had this idea that there could be a bit of steering with the tails which would involve them smoothly smearing across the snow, which I can’t seem to make happen. See further comments below.

GHOST: What I’m noticing is when I turn the skis and just try to go straight down the hill (as a test), they are not flat but inclined slightly inwards and it requires leg contortions to keep them flat.

CASSINA: I’m not noticing significant interior foot movement (if any really) but it doesn’t feel that the custom insoles are giving me enough inside support on both feet, but maybe that’s not it. Insufficient experience to make this kind of assessment, I think, which is why I’d really like to go a reliable shop and talk through all of this at the same time I can then go out and keep testing the skis and boots. The boots fit my Mondo (sp?) size and were very, very snug in the shop. They've packed out a bit and I had them strapped rather tight while using them. The heels seem to be less well-seated in the back than I would have thought, but as I say, I'm not very experienced in assessing all of these things. I'm open to the possibility that I got less than ideal gear and bad advice when getting it, but I don't want to come to that conclusion until I can get back to a mountain along with someone whose advice I can rely on. (Anyone know a shop in Washington, DC like that?)

TUMBLER: Previously using a Head C200 CP9 in 163cm. Got the Atomic SX:9 because it was recommended by the shop guy (based on East Coast snow conditions) and came at a great price. An aside: I’m wondering if 170cm is too long. Technical improvement is definitely required. Unfortunately I couldn’t connect with any instructor/shop people during the trip (Valle Nevado, Chile) who could look at the problem and help work through it.
post #11 of 23
I find that 90% of my problem is that interface between my boots and my poles. The other 30% is the gear.
post #12 of 23
As I understand your explanation, if you looked at your skis from the rear when you are trying to go straight they would not be flat but would be inclined like this \ / (using available keyboard graphics for left and right ski). This is not good and seems like a boot alignment issue (canting perhaps). I have not tried the SX9, but the 10 and 11 don't like to smear turns; they will continue to grab onto the snow in an effort to keep carving , especially so when they are still inclined.
post #13 of 23
Most people ride the inside edges when straight running unless they consciously spread their knees. If it's still happening when your knees are directly over your ankles, you may benefit from canting. The Brians (two guys named Brian) at Ski Center in DC are highly regarded boot fitters (although I haven't used their services). If the new skis are exposing some alignment issues that you were previously unaware of, they should be able to help.
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the additional comments. Ghost, graphically the skis seem to be doing this / \, though obviously not SO much. I think I'll take them and the boots along to the DC Ski Center and see if it can be worked on before next trip. I appreciate the comment about the SX's wanting to keep grabbing the snow. In the end maybe it's just a little canting problem and that. We'll see. Thanks for all the input!
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DC_SKI View Post
Thanks for the additional comments. Ghost, graphically the skis seem to be doing this / \, though obviously not SO much. I think I'll take them and the boots along to the DC Ski Center and see if it can be worked on before next trip. I appreciate the comment about the SX's wanting to keep grabbing the snow. In the end maybe it's just a little canting problem and that. We'll see. Thanks for all the input!
I thought \ / when you said inside edge, but now that you made it clear, it seems to jive with what your feeling on the bottom of your feet. \ / would not be good, but / \ is worse! Did you catch a lot of outside edges? Do you have to ski with your knees tied together and your feet three feet apart? Probably canting. The boots should do it with other skis too.
post #16 of 23
The tails on the Atomic SX skis are flat on the snow and straight across, they're not turned up and rounded out. The flat tailes don't release as easily as the rounded flipped up tailes. Atomic SX is a supercross ski not an all mountain ski, they are made for aggressive carving. The all mountain models are the metron or the old ride series.
post #17 of 23
True, supercross skis are close to slalom race from what I've read here. If he's going to ski local, they could make some kinda boring mountains exciting.

DC Ski, You'll figure them out. Bootfitting can help from what I'm told, time on snow, instruction if all else fails. Those ski will be fun for you if you spend some time on them.

You said your legs bend inward and the skis lean inward. So are the skis like / \ or your legs like / \ ? I'm confused. Ghost's graphic is meant to depict the running surface of the ski, which of course is much closer to _ _ in real life, but \ / would mean inside edges (big toe), knock-kneed stance, and / \ would be typical of a bow legged skier riding outside (little toe) edges.

My guess, you need to work the transition, allow your center of mass to move steadily downhill.There's a lot in the instructional forum about how to do that.

Your new skis will keep turning until you tell them to stop turning (or preferably tell them to turn the other way). Don't hold on to the turn too long and stay forward. As you probably know, a common glitch in skiing is leaning back and into the hill (causing ski tail to dig in). This is the picture I got when I read your post. Maintain perpendicularness (ski term) to the slope.

It sounds like you get around, Chile, Summit County, but you can dial in those skis and your skiing in general if you spend some time at Whitetail. Get some miles in! Those lifts eat up vertical as well as most, hit it very early weekend days, weekdays (not holiday), at night.
post #18 of 23
If you go from / / to \ \ you can let them hang on all they want.
post #19 of 23
That's it.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DC_SKI View Post
3... I'm going to be in Summit County, CO, in November and if anyone knows of a very reliable shop there I could contact to have them help me fix this (I'll pay), that would be great. It sort of soured my recent trip as I got into lifting the tails in turns to compensate and it felt sucky after a while. I know I've got technical issues to work through but the overall experience was poorer than past skiing trips and I think the gear was part of the problem.

4. One shop said that I should check if the skis had been bent somehow (I can't see it) and might need the edges altered to make them turn more easily. He went into some spiel about how this is commonly done to new skis and offered to do it, but I didn't want to get into that since I hadn't heard of this as a common solution (is it?).

If you are going to Summit County in November and want to check out your boot set up, Jeff Bergeron, who posts here is widely considered one of the top bootfitters in the USA. You should make an appointment with him in advance of your trip. You may first want to post your boot question in his FAQ column here at Epic and see what he says.

To check if one of your skis could be bent or warped (not all that uncommon for even new skis) there are at least a couple of simple methods:

One, secure your binding brakes in their "up" position with rubber bands and press the skis together in the middle. Look at the skis along the edges. They should contact with each other from tip to tail without much , if any, light showing through and without variation along the length of the skis.

Two: Place your ski base (with the ski brake secured in its "up" position with a rubber band) against a plate glass sliding door and press in the center of the ski. The ski should contact the glass evenly at each side of the ski at the tips and tail. Press the ski all the way against the glass so that it is fully decambered. Now, rock your hand gently and the ski itself should not rock but remain in even contact with the glass.

Finally, it is one thing to have a burr on your edge which can be easily dealt with by any competent ski shop, or yourself. However, I would be very wary of someone who offers to "alter" your skis to make them turn more easily. Often what is meant is to dull or "detune" the edges at their tips and tails.

Edge dulling or detuning was a common practice with older straight skis. Many, shops still do it for shaped skis. It will make it easier to skid turns but it defeats the very reason why shaped skis were developed which is to make carving turns much easier. The shops just assume that the skier will continue skidding their turns anyway so it won't matter if the skis can no longer carve (though they may be often be right, they've just turned a pair of new carving skis into the old straight skis the owner previously owned, defeating the reason for getting new skis.)

Once skis have been detuned, it can be difficult to get them sharp again without taking off a lot of edge material in the process. Before you let that person "alter" your skis find out exactly what he is proposing to do. There are a number of threads on how to deburr (as opposed to detuning or dulling) skis yourself here at Epic. Using the search feature will turn them up. Atomicman, among others, has written several very good "how deburr ski edges" posts.

Good luck.
post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
ATOWN: This is good to know about the tails of the SX range. I really thought I should have gone with the Izor 9:7 or other brand equivalent, but I'll deal with it.

TELEROD15: I'm going to check out the DC Ski Center, do my best and then most of the time will be spent in PA and WV this coming winter. Thanks for the Whitetail comment. I'm relatively new to DC so I've been asking around where to go and PA is pretty close compared to WV. I'm looking forward to it. About the graphic, okay, I was taking it as if I were looking down at the skis at the front. The problem is being slightly knock-kneed, but ATOWN's comment is very helpful. Not knowing the finer points in ski selection, I may not have been prepared for this kind of thing based on past experience. I'll check out the instructional forum too since I'm sure that will help.

GHOST: True Better than // ... \\ ... / \ ... \ / ... == ... crash, though fortunately there were only 2 or 3 falls during the whole trip, so maybe I'm getting worked up about a problem that isn't as serious as I imagine.

LOSTBOY: Thanks for the tips on checking the skis and edges and the reference to Jeff Bergeron. I thought he was in Aspen, but if he's in Summit Co., then that would be fantastic. I'll check it out. Thanks! Regarding the detuning proposal, it was a guy in a shop in La Parva and he said it would affect the carving, etc., and by the end I knew I didn't want him messing with the skis in that way.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DC_SKI View Post
GHOST: True Better than // ... \\ ... / \ ... \ / ... == ... crash, though fortunately there were only 2 or 3 falls during the whole trip, so maybe I'm getting worked up about a problem that isn't as serious as I imagine.
If it messes up your vacation fun, it is that serious.
post #23 of 23
Regardles of wether you learn new technique or not, you should be able to get your skis flat on the snow without being a circus contortionist. I would check the alignment with decent boot-fitter AND take a lesson for a certified instructor.
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