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Boot stiffness and your ability to flex a ski.. - Page 2

post #31 of 35
Your skis cannot tell how stiff your boots are, only how much force you are applying to the ski and where. I may be completely out to lunch here, but (assuming all boots have an end point to their flex) I don't think that stiff boots allow you to apply more force to your ski tips, they just make it happen with less motion, which also makes the balancing easier. I believe BushwackerinPA could "drive" his goats with Kryptons, he would just have to move the bindings back and hang on the front of his boots more and ski from a different position (more flexed). I am not necessarily recommending this to him, but as proof I can drive a stiff ski with a soft tele boot using a different technique requiring much more flexing of the boot.

A soft boot has a more free (and probably larger) range of motion, so it is harder to maintain your balance while pressuring your tips than with stiffer boots. Stiff boots don't allow you to apply more pressure to your tips, they just allow you to do it with less motion and therefore make it easier to balance, which comes in handy when you are going 30 mph in variable terrain.

Some people like a stiff on/off switch feel, while others prefer a smooth continuum of slowing increasing resistance. It is definitely harder to control a stiff ski on the second type boot, but there are also many benefits, including greatly increased feel.
post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
I don't think that stiff boots allow you to apply more force to your ski tips, they just make it happen with less motion, which also makes the balancing easier.

This sounds a lot like the difference in steering between a racing car and a passenger car.

Race car steering gets the wheels completely left or right in less than one revolution of the steering wheel. A regular, every-day passenger car requires 2+ revolutions to go from straight to all the way left or right.

This gives the racer the ability to steer much faster....but it also can mean disaster much faster since very small steering wheel movements translate into actual changes of direction. In your passenger car, if you move the steering wheel just a touch, the car won't really change direction. This is a good thing for us commuters because it prevents us from turning until we really want to turn.

To bring this back to boot stiffness and skiing....stiff boots are like race care steering. A little change in your position to put pressure forward/back/side can translate into real changes in the ski with a stiff boot.

Race car steering - 1/2 revolution of the steering wheel gets the car turned from completely left to completely right.

Stiff boots - 2 cm (I'm just making up numbers for illustration) movement gets you from all the weight on the tips to all the weight on the tails.

Commuter car steering - 4 revolutions of the steering wheel gets the car turned from completely left to completely right.

Flexible boots- 10 cm (I'm just making up numbers for illustration) movement gets you from all the weight on the tips to all the weight on the tails.

So for us amateurs, if we happen to flex our boots backwards 1 cm, we won't land on our butts in flexible boots but in stiff boots.....the mountain will get a good feel of our rear.
post #33 of 35
tsproul:

I think that is a very accurate analogy. The difference with boots is that, unlike car steering, you also have the factor of much more feedback giving you a feeling of what is happening with the "steering." Stiff boots work quickly and effectively, but give almost no feel of the ski and the snow compared to a progressively flexing softer boot that allows you to monitor and tailor the pressure you apply. With stiff boots I feel that I am constantly (but quickly) correcting for the changing situation, but with my softer Kryptons I feel that I am feeling and skiing the snow more in real time, if that makes any sense.
post #34 of 35
Bud:
I think you said that generally what we get from a stiff boot is the ability to use it as a platform for recovery. I agree. We get a platform to recover from and also a platform to help support us as the forces from turning or from change in terrain build. There is a quote in a book I have by Jean Claude in which he answers the question of what is the purpose of the locked hinge, raised heel boots. I'll quote " The locked hinge, by physically locking or stiffening the junction of the shaft and the foot allows you to have immediate control over either the fronts or the backs of the skis. The raised heel puts your knees forward so you can sit back without losing your balance, and the ultra-high backs provide extra support for muscles not quite strong enough to maintain this positon and also act as a springboard from which you can bound forward when you need to."

I guess there is no doubt as to what he would say about the modern marketing blather that says extra ramp angle helps you stay forward.

Anyway, what I am finding with my skiing is that as I reduce ramp (yes, I know the question is about boot stiffness) and use the balanced position for bindings it is no longer necessary to pressure the ski tip by pushing hard forward into the tongue. Rather it seems that I stay fairly erect and apply pressure down through the ball of my foot.

Now I am skiing a stiffer boot than I ever have before, but I seem to need less movement. Rather I think I am skiing faster and need the stiffness to aid balance at times. Also as manufacturers stiffen boots they also typically make them narrower, and I am now skiing in a Tecnica plug boot. I love the way it skis, but think the responsivess is due more to the reduced volume, and reduced ramp than to the stiffness.

Lou
post #35 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsproul View Post
This sounds a lot like the difference in steering between a racing car and a passenger car.

Race car steering gets the wheels completely left or right in less than one revolution of the steering wheel. A regular, every-day passenger car requires 2+ revolutions to go from straight to all the way left or right.

This gives the racer the ability to steer much faster....but it also can mean disaster much faster since very small steering wheel movements translate into actual changes of direction. In your passenger car, if you move the steering wheel just a touch, the car won't really change direction. This is a good thing for us commuters because it prevents us from turning until we really want to turn.

To bring this back to boot stiffness and skiing....stiff boots are like race care steering. A little change in your position to put pressure forward/back/side can translate into real changes in the ski with a stiff boot.

Race car steering - 1/2 revolution of the steering wheel gets the car turned from completely left to completely right.

Stiff boots - 2 cm (I'm just making up numbers for illustration) movement gets you from all the weight on the tips to all the weight on the tails.

Commuter car steering - 4 revolutions of the steering wheel gets the car turned from completely left to completely right.

Flexible boots- 10 cm (I'm just making up numbers for illustration) movement gets you from all the weight on the tips to all the weight on the tails.

So for us amateurs, if we happen to flex our boots backwards 1 cm, we won't land on our butts in flexible boots but in stiff boots.....the mountain will get a good feel of our rear.
I like the race car comparision but since when have you ever been behind the wheel of a race car? .5 would be way to twitchy for almost any cars. Heck F1 cars are 1.2 turns lock to lock. NOt anything much quicker than that.

OH Yeah got the plugs and stiff tongues in my boots now and they are MONEY.
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