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post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Why does it exist in modern skis? Particularly "all-around" recreational skis?

post #2 of 14
Ski tips will not engage on flat (non-3D) terrain with out camber.
post #3 of 14
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by DonDenver View Post
Another golden oldie...
But dated (plus I was mostly out of commission during this October's posts... ). The thread you linked to is a discussion with certain assumptions - based on the Spatula's negative camber & negative sidecut. The newer experiments which have hit the market & will hit the market include potentially more interesting combinations of rocker (does not equal negative camber) or flat, taper, sidecut to varying degrees, etc. So the old discussion focused purely on the design characteristics of the Spatula is an interesting bit of history, but not an especially relevant part of the broad discussion...

I was, and still am, hoping to get back to the basic question - why camber in today's skis?

In all honesty, part of what provoked me to ask was skiing on Pontoons last Saturday. Besides being a riot in powder, they were shockingly well mannered on soft cutup and soft flat groomers. They went up on edge and skied just peachy - which got me thinking... which provoked the question...because I want to understand if I'm missing something or not...
post #5 of 14
It's pre-stressing. The amount of stress the ski is under and hence the force it exerts on the snow near the tip and tail increases with the amount it is bent. If you already need to stress it to get it straight, you have more stress when you bend it.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
It's pre-stressing. The amount of stress the ski is under and hence the force it exerts on the snow near the tip and tail increases with the amount it is bent. If you already need to stress it to get it straight, you have more stress when you bend it.
OK. But where is this an advantage and where does it start to become a disadvantage? Obviously tip engagement and tail hold are big deals on hard groomers. On the other hand, most anyone who has skied Spatulas or Pontoons or any of their cousins in powder has had an incredibly positive reaction. Giving up camber is no sacrifice in that environment. And given the odd little section of micro-sidecut on the Pontoons, folks I've talked to who have used them have been surprised at how well they behaved in a decent range of conditions. Not saying they'd be your ski of choice in all of them! Just that the ski's performance does not immediately go to crap when you exit deep powder.

In the environment they were designed for, I thought the Pontoons were unbelievable. And better than expected on soft groomers. Which got me wondering about where on the spectrum of conditions does the balance tip one way or another? Very soft groomers? Generally soft off-piste? Slush? Variable spring snow?

With modern materials and mechanics, there are lots of things that can be done with ski flex. And overall geometry certainly plays a role in engagement. So, is it possible there will there be a trend toward flat or rockered skis for soft snow environments? That careful consideration given to shape and flex can result in a ski that is "better" than today's "conventional" cambered designs in conditions other than pure powder? Or at least "good enough" - with better and better performance in more powder-like conditions?

There clearly will be some interesting experiments in flat/rockered designs on the market this next year. I can think of at least 5 or 6 models from major manufacturers (K2, Salomon, Volkl) that will be available in 07/08. And that's not even counting the "boutique" manufacturers. So, will these designs remain useful only in the realm of powder, or will they creep into more "all around" skis for places that usually have soft snow and offer off-piste powder opportunities? Evolutionary dead ends or the beginning or an exciting and useful design direction?

FWIW - despite the fact that much of the footage is in powder, you can see a couple of rockered skis in action in Ski Porn. Obviously McConkey is using Pontoons. But also watch for what I understand were the proto Hellbents (the ones with dark bottoms and no camber when in the air - it'll jump out at you...)
post #7 of 14
Good discussion spindrift. I have been wondering the exact same thing. I am really eager to try out skis with conventional sidecut and no camber or slightly reverse camber like the Katana or Hellbent. The main reason I think they would be good in powder is that it would take a lot less pressure to flex the ski into a turning arc and should lead to much less tip dive in stiffer skis like tha Mantra. And yet with a conventional sidecut you could still rail groomers, albeit with less edge pressure near the tip and tail.

I suspect a stiff to super-stiff ski with slight rocker and moderate (25m) sidecut could be incredibly versatile in a range of snow conditions and speeds. Now to find and try some...
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
oops, minor correction... The McConkey Pontoon stuff I was thinking of was actually in Push/Pull. The Hellbent protos (I'm told thats what they were anyway), as stated above, are in Ski Porn. Don't know why I just remembered this...
post #9 of 14
Great thread!

You're suggesting that with modern materials skis could be designed rockered (with "reverse camber" or "negative camber") for all-conditions applications? That is an interesting thought.

I don't think that camber alone could be altered without considering other properties. If a reverse camber ski were made stiffer, it may still have the camber profile to promote float, but I would think that shovel flex is still an important property, perhaps more important. A soft-flexing shovel (or whole ski) together with a reverse camber profile, as in the Pontoon, is a killer powder ski. It's ablility to adequately handle mixed conditions or even packed powder goomers is a function of its torsional stiffness.

A stiff reverse camber ski on groomers would have to be skied on edge constantly (new SL design perhaps...). It would feel squirrelly and strange when trying to go straight.

There have been skis with little or no "normal" camber in order to promote a more functional reverse camber profile when on edge or in softer snow.

Any engineers out there to correct our "best guess" assumptions?
post #10 of 14
You need something to keep the tip and tail down and gripping right away after transitions on the hard stuff, especially at speed.
post #11 of 14
where ahve you heard the katana is reversed camber?
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
where ahve you heard the katana is reversed camber?
A few places, but this oughta do it for ya...

and this (near the end)

Note though that in all of this it is worth distinguishing flat from rocker from reverse camber. And whether or not applied to both ends...
post #13 of 14
fujas seems to think that reverse camber is the next big thing for park riding
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey, maybe on this special night there are some folks who might have something to add. Maybe even know something about the topic? Bumpity...

Maybe even read this patent application?
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