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what does "more forgiving" mean?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Every time I read a review the comment is this ski is "more forgiving" than that ski. Does that mean a more top-end ski will demand more attention, more skill at edgeing or turn initiation? Does "more foregiving" mean a soft flexible ski? Is this prase a moving target or is there a definition?
thanks
post #2 of 15
Hello, Ryel!

Similarly to golf clubs where an off-center hit is less penalized with a "forgiving" club, a "forgiving" ski is one that will not punish a skier for errors in technique or judgment. However, as a result, they are likely to be less "precise" under the feet of a skilled skier. So, if that skier made a subtle move in an effort to quickly change direction by a quick edge change, a "more forgiving" ski may not respond as quickly or as exactly as a "more precise" ski.

A ski can be "forgiving" in terms of edging, fore/aft flex, snow feel, and even binding connection to the ski.

...hope this helps!
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks Steve,
so it will be easier to ride on an easy slope but unwilling to respond when you are going steep and fast?
post #4 of 15
It means you dont have to be a superstar to ski them. Generally speaking if a ski has a reputation for being forgiving then all the hotshot skiers will avoid that ski like the plague because nobody who wants to present the image of a hotshot likes riding a ski that has a rep for forgiveness. If you dont have any problem with trying to too hard to be a hotshot then the forgiving ski is good because we all get tired sometimes.
post #5 of 15
A forgiving ski will ignore slight inputs from you, so that if you are slightly off balance or tip the skis slightly they will not start a turn that you don't want to make.

A forgiving ski will not have the strength to deliver a lot of force, so that if you tip them too far they will not suddenly take off like a shot leaving you on your but. On the negative side, you will have to tip them a lot farther before anything happens, so they will be less responsive. When you do give them all the right commands to make a hard left turn for example, they will not have the grip to make that turn and you will drift wide.

Riding forgiving skis is like driving an old buick sedan with cheap commuter tires, worn springs, shocks and ball joints and a few dozen turns of the steering wheel lock to lock, versus driving a Chevrolet corvette with stiff sticky tires. You can't go as fast around the corners (or straight ahead for that matter), but you won't end up in the weeds if you accidentally jerk the steering wheel when you drop your coffee, and you will be skidding a lot more if you try to go fast around the curves.
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryel View Post
Thanks Steve,
so it will be easier to ride on an easy slope but unwilling to respond when you are going steep and fast?
Hmmm... I wouldn't put it that way. Also, keep in mind that we're talking about a spectrum here, with a custom World Cup race ski on one end and a rank novice ski on the other end. While the racer could ski the novice ski, it wouldn't respond the way that she needs it to respond while in course. So, if she gives a subtle wiggle to reduce and then increase the edge angle to miss a pole, the novice ski won't change direction at all. In addition, as Ghost says, it won't withstand the turn forces, either.

At the other end, put a novice on those race skis and they will respond to the slightest nervous shaking of the knees. Think about the pretzel contortions that the poor novice would discover!

In between are a wide range of skis that fall somewhere along that spectrum. One example is the difference between the Rossi Z9 and the Atomic B5. Similar target skiers, similar sidecut and shape, but the Rossi far more forgiving than the B5. As a result, when you really push the Z9, it won't be as precise as the B5. That's not to say high-end skiers won't ski and enjoy them (both Annie Black--Colorado Ski Instructor of the Year--and Nick Herrin do). In fact, they may actually help in some situations, especially if you're spending a lot of time skiing at the limits of your ability in freeskiing terrain out west.

Just some thoughts. I hope this gives you some grist for thought...
post #7 of 15
Also consider that some traits that make skis less forgiving and more responsive also make the ski less suitable to soft deep snow. A few feet of powder won't hold the tip as well as boilerplate, so the ski will not decamber properly in the soft snow. Stiff skis will not bend without a lot of force, so skiing at less than racing speeds with racing skis is a chore. I would much rather ski an RX8 on a 250 foot vertical hill than my WC skis.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
I have been ridinging K2 Mod 7/8 for three years and I guess they are forgiving. Easy to ride down a groomer or light new snow but slow to turn and skid under hard turns. Or maybe they just need a better rider!
post #9 of 15
You guys! Unbelievable after all we talk about. (Smiling) You are putting foregiveness off entirely on the ski design and for the most part acting as if it is a negative in terms of performance.

My definition of forgiveness would include a ski that not only forgives my transgressions but also makes it less likely for me to transgress. Since from our work we know many skis are easier to use when binding position is changed, once properly set up that ski becomes more foregiving and better performing at the same time.

The same is true of ramp angle.

One of the reasons ski tests are not the valuable tool they could be is that they are not a true test of ski design but rather take in all factors related to tune and general setup.
post #10 of 15
To error is Human but a ski that forgives my sins is Divine.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by race510 View Post
You guys! Unbelievable after all we talk about. (Smiling) You are putting foregiveness off entirely on the ski design and for the most part acting as if it is a negative in terms of performance.

My definition of forgiveness would include a ski that not only forgives my transgressions but also makes it less likely for me to transgress. Since from our work we know many skis are easier to use when binding position is changed, once properly set up that ski becomes more foregiving and better performing at the same time.

The same is true of ramp angle.

One of the reasons ski tests are not the valuable tool they could be is that they are not a true test of ski design but rather take in all factors related to tune and general setup.
You bet! Unfortunately, for the vast majority of skiers, they don't have any ability to experience this--and they are recommended against this as they visit various shops and learn from instructors.

A Campbell balancer in every shop? Well, I know at least two in North America that have them, and you're one, race510 and Steve Bagley who helped us at ESA last year is the other. And most shops don't spend any time on these variables.

But, EpicSki can help get the word out on these things!

It's hard to really get a sense of a properly set-up ski before it's bought and set-up, tho. And that's an issue that will take some work to figure out. How can you demo a proper setup?
post #12 of 15
Forgiveness is not necissarily a negative trait. When ski tests rate forgiveness, also catagory is important. A forgiving expert ski doesn't mean it'll fold up at speed, perform poorly or that anybody can ski it. I was a K2 guy until I skied my first Volkl- a P-40 F1 GS off the rack- not race stock. I tried it because I wanted a go-fast ice and groomer ski, but this was rated highly forgiving- for a GS race ski. This seemed approachable and the performance blew me away- and I never looked back. Also, if you're skiing off-piste a lot, a forgiving ski with a big sweet spot is a good idea because you're bouncing around a lot, catching air, intentional or not, hitting uneven snow, often in the same turn. Unless you're super bad, and guys that ski big stiff Austrian alpine skis on tele bindings know who they are...( Like that chick at Alta Mtt and I met with the Blizzard Titan Pro 188's on tele... so great, but she's a professional year round guide.)
The point is finding a balance between performance- ability- forgiveness that's realistic and well, if you're going up high, safe. You see plenty of great skiers on "forgiving" skis.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
Riding forgiving skis is like driving an old buick sedan with cheap commuter tires, worn springs, shocks and ball joints and a few dozen turns of the steering wheel lock to lock, versus driving a Chevrolet corvette with stiff sticky tires. You can't go as fast around the corners (or straight ahead for that matter), but you won't end up in the weeds if you accidentally jerk the steering wheel when you drop your coffee, and you will be skidding a lot more if you try to go fast around the curves.
That is too funny!

I think "forgiveness" in a ski is really just a design compromise. For some people (or uses), it is preferred. For others, a more fully responsive ski is preferred. Some days I like my GS skis; other days I like my all-mountain skis.

As with cars, some are good for cruising the interstates on a road trip (set the cruise control, enjoy the scenery, etc.) other cars are better for banging off the logging roads and through a clear cut to the perfect fishing spot, and others still are perfect for flat out speed and race track handling.

Forgiveness in a ski is not a fault; it's exactly what you want for certain applications.
post #14 of 15
You have a point Steve, but it doesn't change my perceptions that a forgiving ski is not a low performance ski by any stretch.

Lou
post #15 of 15
Not necessarily... I agree.
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