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What is the science behind choosing the best ski?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
What is the science behind choosing the best ski based on skier's ability and size?

My info:
6’6” and 235lb.
35 years old and advanced skier (I started when I was 6).
I mostly ski groomed black runs (90%) and sometimes powder (10%).
I usually ski 20-25 days every year. I am moderately fast and I like to carve(short and long).
I missed a few years (3) of skiing and all technology behind new skies.
I usually ski on the east cost (Ontario, Quebec and Vermont).

As you can see I do not fit in a category of “standard size skier” and it may be a little bit harder to fit me with appropriate equipment.

Last week I visited 2 different stores and left with 2 very different recommendations.

Recommendation 1:
It is important to buy skies that are long enough. Formula should be: Skier height (I am 200 cm) - 15cm + 5 cm based on my weight + 5 cm for advanced skier = 195cm
Not an easy job to find one. Maybe some fat skies, but I don’t ski on powder!

They recommended: Volkl AC4 in 184 cm

Recommendation 2:
Length is not important any more as long as you buy ski that is stiff enough. 178cm stiff ski would be a good choice.

They recommended: Dynastar Contact XT 09 in 178 cm.

What do I do?

Thank you,

post #2 of 11
Ski design varies so much that there are really no reliable formula for picking the correct ski. A good rule of thumb as a staring point is eyebrow height, perhaps a little longer for narrow skis, a little shorter for fat skis. after that you have to ski them to know if they are right for you. Remember, science is an experimental endevor.
post #3 of 11
By the way, my brother-in-law is about you size and skis in the 190 range. Perhaps a Stockli Stormrider XL in a 194?
post #4 of 11
I usually go either Rock/Paper/Scissors or Eanie meanie miney moe. Or just sometimes the best deal on a certain type or ski.
post #5 of 11

I would say it all boils down to your height, weight, what level skier you are/skill sets you possess, and your aggressiveness level.

Other than that, my "science" was to ask around at a few shops for suggestions. I told them what I had been skiing (198 Rossi 7S) and what type of terrain I was skiing (venturing more into off-piste, but still wanted something a bit turny). Then I just started demoing.

I also consulted Ski Magazine's online gear guide and talked to friends.

Sadly, I hadn't discovered either Powder Magazine or EpicSki or TGR until late this year, but they are all decent resources to set up a "To Try" list for demoing.

I also ended up with 5 pairs of skis because 1. my "science" is anything but correct and 2. I have a bear of a time making up my mind (plus I hadn't had new equipment in over 20 years).

Basically, I'd ask around at the shops and amongst your friends and get some recommendations, do some reading in the gear guides of the magazines and online (Realskiers.com, for example) and go from there.
post #6 of 11
Selecting a ski is part science, but with the great variety of skis on the market there is a lot of personal preference involved. Sounds like you want a carving ski that will handle speed and your size. One approach would be to put off the purchase until mid or even near the end of the season. Between now and then
1. demo as many as you can,
2. read these forums (remember there are different personal preferences in skis)
3. Read the responses you get to your query
4. look at what ski patrollers are skiing in your area (they spend a lot of time on their skis so will have a solid one on their feet)
5. Finally go for one that seems to fit your style.

I have heard good things about the AC4, but have no experience with it.
post #7 of 11
It all depends on the ski. I am your weight, but shorter. I ski a RX8 in a 175. Great ski.

Remember that WC Racers are skiing 165 cm skis, and are more powerful than you or I.
post #8 of 11
I think it's easy in your case -- both your height and weight pretty much put you in the longest available length of any ski. You are on one extreme of the envelope, so you can almost forget about the sizing dilemnas many other people debate over.

Rather than choosing a ski because it comes on a long size (ie, 195cm powder boards) look at the longest length of the types of skis that interest you. I have no doubt that a 180cm carver ski would suit you fine (say Volkl Allstar, Fisher RX-8, etc). All mountain mid-fats in the 184cm-190cm range would be OK too.

The argument about short skis being OK as long as they are stiff is true to some extent, especially for hardpack carver skis. However, I think too many people go too short, in an effort to get skis that are more maneuverable and easier to ski. In doing so, you would be giving up edge length which contributes to stability and control at speed, along with grip on hard snow and ice. And the shor tturning radius may not be appropriate for someone of your stature. So the "shorter is better" trend has to be taken with a grain of salt. Common sense and a feel for the skier and ski style are important.

I am 6'1 and 185 lbs now, but was 225lbs for the last few seasons. I have skis in the 180-185cm range, and can tell you they never felt too long or too short when I was heavier, and they all skied great with plenty of authority. It will be interesting to see if I detect differences with 40lbs less on board. I am thinking that the length will still be appropriate because of my height, and I tend to ski hard and fast. If anything, I will be in better shape to push the skis even harder now.
post #9 of 11
IMHO, If you want to make different turn shapes on eastern harpack at speed, you should get a skiercross ski in whatever the longest length they come in for that year, something like an SX11 in 180, or SX12 in 183, or maybe this... http://cgi.ebay.ca/New-Head-i-XRC-12...QQcmdZViewItem

Theres plenty of good deals on GS skis too if you decide to forget about making short turns.
post #10 of 11
As far as a ski recomendation I dont know any thing about carving skis so i cant help. But a quick story about my ski experience last year.

I skied 171 soloman 1080's (noodly skis even for someone much shorter and ligher) last season when I was 6'1" and weighed 220+lbs. I skied them in tons of powder(great snow year) ice, bumps, trees and steeps. I had a ton of fun, and really advanced in my skiing. my point is gear is not as important as everyone makes it out to be. Just have a good time and charge hard on what ever boards you end up with.
post #11 of 11




That's how I discovered the right ski for me.
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