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Skiing too fast for your skis?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Got a question.

How can you tell if you are skiing too fast for your skis? How can I tell when I have reached the upper speed limits of my skis?

I mean for me what limits my speed is my brain. I get going at a certain speed and I think to myself; that I should slow down, because I am going at a rate of speed that I don’t feel comfortable. Mostly, because I’ve never gone that fast before. I am progressing in skill and my speed is increasing. I don’t notice any instability with my skis (Metron 9s).

So what are the symptoms of a ski that has reached it’s limit, speed wise? What characteristics should I be looking for with my skis that says I’ve reached their speed limit. (and maybe think about replacements) I am looking for characteristics that are not related to one's skill. I suppose an expert can ski anything fast.

I am a level 6-7 hoping to become a solid 7 this season.
post #2 of 13
Spontaneous combustion is the guide I use.
post #3 of 13
Usually, it will rear it's ugly head on ice or hard pack, crusty groomers and the like. When the ski begins to dance and chatter and starts to loose it's grip .... you have reached the top end.
post #4 of 13
If you hear a loud BOOM!!! and the FAA comes looking for you... you are probably skiing too fast!
post #5 of 13
Most shaped skis lose stability when skied flat and straight down the fall-line but have a higher speed limit when kept slightly on-edge. The lower the turning radius of the ski the greater the difference between on-edge and flat ski performance.

Try making long turns with gentle transitions on a blue slope. You will probable regain some confidence at speed.

If you are serious about speed skiing, select a ski that is better able to handle speed. What are you using now?

Cheers,

Michael
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
How can you tell if you are skiing too fast for your skis? How can I tell when I have reached the upper speed limits of my skis?

...

So what are the symptoms of a ski that has reached it’s limit, speed wise? What characteristics should I be looking for with my skis that says I’ve reached their speed limit. (and maybe think about replacements) I am looking for characteristics that are not related to one's skill. I suppose an expert can ski anything fast.
SNPete, you'll know...

Your skis take on a mind of their own when they get going too fast. The most typical symptom is the shovel of the ski beginning to vibrate on their own, causing them to be difficult to direct. When on edge, the snow tends to help dampen that vibration, but as the snow gets harder and/or the speed gets higher, nothing will overcome the inability of the ski to really handle those speeds.

That's why we call it "squirrelly".
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by barrettscv View Post
Most shaped skis lose stability when skied flat and straight down the fall-line but have a higher speed limit when kept slightly on-edge. The lower the turning radius of the ski the greater the difference between on-edge and flat ski performance.

Try making long turns with gentle transitions on a blue slope. You will probable regain some confidence at speed.

If you are serious about speed skiing, select a ski that is better able to handle speed. What are you using now?

Cheers,

Michael
Thanks to all for the insight. I am skiing Atomic Metron 9s in a 157. (the correct size for me according to the Atomic sizing chart) I prefer short radius turning skis as they make steep and/or ungroomed runs easier for me. As a matter of fact, as I was going down an ungroomed black today, I said to myself, why would I want a longer ski? This run is challeging enough as it is. Now all that might change as I improve. I can see going to the next size up in a season or two

From what has been said, it doesn't appear that I have reach the speed limit of my skis. My brain is another matter tho. : Today, I once again found myself flying down a blue run and thinking hmm...slow it down a bit. The skis were stable. My mind wasn't.

My goal is not speed skiing. This being my forth serious season of skiing, my goal is to ski as fast as my friends and my wife (who has 20 plus seasons under her belt). I am a late bloomer being 56 years old. I did get 37 days in last season and today was day 5. It is nice to live 40 minutes from a resort.
post #8 of 13
While skiing a short ski/tight radius (SL type), the ski will get a bit "squirmy" at speed on a straight flat. Just accept that and learn how to ride a flat ski. One of the things that you teach a racer who is going through those last turns and in a tuck shooting that last straight line to "break the beam", is to ride the ski flat and try to feel a bit of squirm or wiggle.

To keep up with the gang however, you may want to go a bit longer. My "go fast" skis are Stockli SC's (168 & 170) .... one of the nice things about race/performance construction is that on ice or hardpack, neither the SL's or SC's do the "dance & chatter & spit on the griddle" crap.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
While skiing a short ski/tight radius (SL type), the ski will get a bit "squirmy" at speed on a straight flat. Just accept that and learn how to ride a flat ski.
.
Interesting. I sort of discovered that. I do ride the ski flat at speed and it works. As you said. Most helpful. I will focus on that.

I should also note that part of staying up with the gang is being able to ski the same runs that they do. So...at this point in time the short nimble ski does the trick. My friends and the wife don't mind the short wait for me at the base. I plan to make that wait shorter this season.

Three seasons ago I could barely do easy blues. Now I can ski any run that my wife can, but slower. Oddly I can ski the ungroomed stuff better than she.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
From what has been said, it doesn't appear that I have reach the speed limit of my skis. My brain is another matter tho. : Today, I once again found myself flying down a blue run and thinking hmm...slow it down a bit. The skis were stable. My mind wasn't.
Hi SNPete,

While you may be able to add some speed from added experience, a demo of other skis might be in order. The Metron 9 is as you describe; responsive & quick turning but not intended for speed. Try to demo a RX8, Nordica Speedmachine 12, Dynastar Contact 11. These models just as easy to turn and will support faster skiing.

Michael
post #11 of 13
If you are a level 6-7 then its more likely you are experiencing technique flaws rather than equipment limits. To find a skis limits you have to be giving it precise input and asking it to do something in a proper fashion and it has to be refusing to give you what you are asking for even if you are asking it politely and accurately. For an example of how bad technique can reveal what seems to be a problem with your skis see the thread on high speed chatter. Too much pressure and too much edge angle done too abruptly can cause chatter even on skis meant to ski at mach schnell.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramshackle View Post
If you are a level 6-7 then its more likely you are experiencing technique flaws rather than equipment limits. To find a skis limits you have to be giving it precise input and asking it to do something in a proper fashion and it has to be refusing to give you what you are asking for even if you are asking it politely and accurately. For an example of how bad technique can reveal what seems to be a problem with your skis see the thread on high speed chatter. Too much pressure and too much edge angle done too abruptly can cause chatter even on skis meant to ski at mach schnell.
Good thought. My speedy wife skis a Siam 8 which has the same shape as my M9, but is softer and is a 153. She weighs 140 and is advanced level 7-8. She leaves me in the dust.
post #13 of 13
The short-radius shape of most modern skis has certainly complicated things. The complication is that the ski will wander or wiggle hunting back and forth searching for a turn when running flat on a flat surface, and try hard to turn as any little bump interacts with their sidecut. This is not a speed-instability. Putting the ski on edge will tell it which way to go. You will reach a sort of limit at which you would need too much force to make them turn at that small a radius, and be forced to scarve larger radii than the sidecut was designed for, but this also is not what is commonly referred to as the ski's speed limit.

When you reach a ski's speed limit the ski will start to vibrate uncontrollably. The vibration will first appear on hard snow or ice and the first clue will be that the tips are dancing up and down while going straight. It's a little bit like tip chatter, but not exactly. At first the extra vibration will calmed down by engaging the tips in a turn, but as things get worse, the vibrations will make it hard to engage the edge properly. Pushed to the limit, the skis will be vibrating up and down like a hardware store paint can shaker, and turning will become most difficult indeed.
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