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Demoing success

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I was taking to my buddy bushwackerinpa a few weeks ago during my last trip to UT. Our topic was my girlfriend Madeline. She is a very strong and technically good skier. She skis the whole mountain at snowbird, alta, and solitude. However she has a terrible fear of speed. She never EVER makes long turns. On groomers she skis the slow line slow and in softer snow her skis generally stall out and she has tourble maintaining enough speed to link turns. Everyone who has ever given feedback on her has been like: she is a really strong skier, she can make all the right moves, but is simply unable to move down the hill consistently and put it all together. They always ask, why no long turns? Why so slow?

Her main skis are a pair of Dynastar Exclusive Carves 152cm 115-65-98 (SL sidecut, snappy but not really stout, not suited for long turns or high speeds, not damp). She also has a pair of Atomic R9 160CM 106-70-97(soft ski, good in soft snow, not really stiff enough to be stable on hard pack or in variable conditions). I have tried a number of different skis in the past year. My experience has been that the right ski can really help make me feel more comfortable and ski more aggressively and confidently in (insert challenging condition here).

Madeline is not very vocal about her gear. After watching her take lesson after lesson for the past year and discussing this issue with her for like half the season it seemed that neither of her skis was really supporting her in her efforts to ski fast or to carve longer turns. My guess was that when she says I don't feel comfortable going fast... What she really meant was, these skis are not working for me. I finally realized this might be an equipment issue and convinced her to demo some stiffer, wider waisted, and hopefully more stable skis to see if the feedback provided by an expert level ski would give her some more confidence.

I got her to demo some stiffer midfat skis like the Attiva AC3 (158) to start off. She liked the AC3 in the variable icy and soft snow conditions. She was doing well with it, carving longer turns, and getting up to more reasonable speeds in the variable conditions.

When we took them back I noticed they had a M11B5 in 164cm. I had demoed this ski earlier this year in a 170 and knew it was a very arcetypal midfat that was predictable, with good performance, but not too demanding. I figured it was worth trying a size larger to really leave no stone unturned. I had to overrule the shop employee who was handing her a B2 in a 150something and got her on the M11s. She loved the longer ski and was ripping all day on them. In fact I had to push to keep up with her on a few runs later in the day. That was definitely as fast or as confidently as I had seen her on skis in the past 3 years.

Even after she returned her demos I could tell she was going faster and skiing even more confidently on the exclusive carvers than she had in recent times and this was in 6 inches of soft choppy snow (pretty challenging for a skier on short SL carvers). I guess this is just the tip of the iceberg because there are so many good skis in 75-90mm waist range that would be great for her.
post #2 of 13
The Atomics were so much fun! I never realized how different skis could be, and how stable I could feel at faster speeds. These skis made me feel like I could more aggressively ski the terrain at my little ski hill.
post #3 of 13
Bonni had a similar experience switching from an Exclusive 10's? in 155ish (I think) to her one luvs. She was luvin life and feeling good. Hopefully next year she will really get them going.

She mentioned that the One Luv felt more solid, had better edge hold and generally gave her a much more secure platform than the dynastar---which by comparison, felt light and twitchy.
post #4 of 13
Ani instructor I work with is a bit like your girlfriend. She is small and skis on small skis. Most of them have turn radii in the single digits. We got her onto a pair of Fischer jr GS skis witha 17m radius. What a difference. She is finally starting to feel the need for speed. She cut 1/3 off of her race handicap the first day she tried them. I think once she really gets used to them she will ski faster on her other skis as well.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
I think the moral of the story is that even is you are small, a small ski isn't always going to serve your needs best, especially if you skiing faster on more challenging terrain.
post #6 of 13
My girlfriend is facing some of the same problems. She’s 157cm (5’2”) and about 140lbs. VERY strong legs (runs 4+ marathons a year and works out 3-5 times a week). She’s a strong intermediate, but a bit of an odd one. She likes short skis (maybe they’re just less daunting) and because of that, skis what would be for me tiny little SL turns all the way down the hill. Doesn’t matter what pitch, snow condition (even cement mixer crud! Why oh why am I going out with a woman that loves thick deep crud?!?). Just top to bottom, no stopping, hundreds of slow SL turns.

We skied at Fernie earlier this year and she was on 150cm B3’s. She seemed to like them, but was hesitant of going fast due to chattering and instability of the skis. I told her to get off the glorified snow blades and she wouldn’t have that problem…

Anyways she’s 50-50 east west split, but all on piste (though piste is different east to west…). Like Tromano was talking about, what would be a good ski to start to allow her to ski longer turns and with more speed. I know I can’t talk her into a 164 or probably anything over a 158. What skis should be on the list?
post #7 of 13
Reminds me of when I first got my wife demoing back in 90 or so to get new skis. We tried a few skis and nothing wow'ed her until she got in some Rossi 7S's in a 193...she flew on them and had a blast. We struck oil with that ski and stopped drilling. I had a pair on her feet with in a week. If she liked the M11B5 that much, go out and get them for her so she can start ripping ASAP.
post #8 of 13
Same thing happened to my daughter, though she's an intermediate, not advanced. She seemed to be doing all right, but one day we rented her some head lightning skis and she couldn't keep up, couldn't get a good carve going steeper blues or mild blacks, and felt out of control when she tried to go faster. I got her some Volkl Porsches (P50 in disguise) and she was fine again.

I noticed the same thing with my learner skis when I switched from GSs to SGs.
post #9 of 13
Originally Posted by Mithras;648590
Anyways she’s 50-50 east west split, but all on piste (though piste is different east to west…). Like Tromano was talking about, what would be a good ski to start to allow her to ski longer turns and with more speed. I know I can’t talk her into a 164 or probably anything over a 158. What skis should be on the list?
Stormrider AT
post #10 of 13
I'm not a big fan of mid or fat waisted skis unless you're in snow so deep you really do need the flotation. The right narrow waisted ski will be easier and quicker to roll from edge to edge on the pack and ski fine in thin to medium powder & crud with excellent stability at all but the very highest speeds. I really like the Head i.XRC 800 (and the whole XRC line and the Supershapes, all from Head) and have heard very good things about the Fischer RX line. I know, mids & fatties are the current fad, and most of them do ski quite well, but I prefer the narrow waist, wide tip & tail Heads and likely the Fischers.

Is your girlfriend getting the support she needs from her boots? Boots that fit just right, provide the right stance, and have the right support are more important than skis. Note that some brands of boots are made to cause the heel to move outward when the boot is flexed. This is OK if the skier wants to skid the skis and the skis are made to ski easily that way. One tell-tale is if the cuff rivets (bolts, whatever) are higher on the outside than on the inside of the ankle. Other boot info in this link:

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Her boots were fitted professionally at skicenter in DC. They are the most reputed boot fitters in the area and are recommended by the lists here at EPICski. That said, she has had complaints about her boot fit from time to time. However removing the footbeds (skiing in liners only) has increased her comfort and I haven't heard anything about it since.
post #12 of 13
I'd suggest the Lotta Luvs as an options in that waist width.

If she can't ski with her footbeds in her boots, take them back and make them fit. It's very likely that she needs the footbeds for proper foot bone alignment.
post #13 of 13

Demoing Success: Update

So I have a pair of 164 Head iM 88s in the mail...

I cannot WAIT to get these on the snow..
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