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Sandwich Construction, Vertical Sidewall, Cap Construction, etc

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I was chatting with a few people and I got confused :/

i thought any ski that had stuff layered on top of other stuff = sandwich construction which i think every ski is...no?

second, is it true that volkl still uses sidewall with the "cap" being just a cosmetic thing as opposed to a true cap like the monocoque?

third, what's the difference between vertical and angled sidewalls?

post #2 of 8
It's all about how the force of the skier on the ski transmits power to the edge. A vertical sidewall with sandwich construction is much more efficient because there is no angle with the edge. The skier transmits the power directly to it. Physics man can probably explain it much better, but im pretty sure it has to do with multiplying the force by the cosine of the angle in order to get the output from the edge. When the angle is 0 then the cosine of 0 is 1, therefore there will be very little or no loss. This is just a guess on how this works, but im guessing that im not far from wrong. Many skis have a wrap around them. Volkl's arent totally cap or sandwich construction. They are half and half much like a rossignol. Because the sides of the cap arent vertical there is no way it can be a total sandwich inside the cap, although a good portion of the ski is a sandwich. This is primarily where the edgehold comes from in the ski, and why volkl continues to use 3D side cut, it improves transmission of power directly towards the edges. Salomon on the other hand uses all sandwich construction, and wraps it with some sort of cap in the race stock skis. For their regular line of race skis they use a vertical cap construction. I know that the inside of the ski is sill built similar to a sandwich but because of the cap could be slightly different. In my opinion, sandwich construction is much better. It gives a better feel for the ski and a much more solid platform. This is primarily why all race stock skis are sandwich construction. I dont know why companies switched to cap a few seasons back, but it seems that most are now going back to sandwich construction, or some type of mix of it. The only companies that have not started using some variation of a sandwich or vertical sidewall are atomic, and blizzard. I'm sure there are others but i cannot come up with them right now off the top of my head. It makes you wonder how much of the ski companies so called technology is all marketing hype, or if the skis are designed to be easier to ski on for a normal person while still offering a large performance envelope.
post #3 of 8
Sandwich(also refered to as Laminate)-is any ski built up using layers of stuff(stuff is a technical term used to cover all materials in the core of a ski ie.aluminum alloys,wood,carbon fibre/kevlar,fibreglass,microcell(Rossi),densolite(Atomi c),etc.It is possible to have a sandwich ski with vertical sidewalls,angled sidewalls or even a cap. Sandwich skis skis tend to be more stable and have therefore been used as the foundation of most GS,SG,DH skis.

Cap-introduced by Fischer(stolen by Elan,Salomon and others).Where the external stucture of the ski gives it integrity. Basically an external torsion box(where the core of the ski is wrapped in various forms of fibreglass). Because a cap or torsion box wants to return to its original shape skis made like this tend to be very lively but unstable at high speeds(traditionally t-box skis have been SL or bump skis). When all the companies jumped on the "cap" bandwagon it became apparent that for some skiers the cap was great but other were unimpressed with directional or straight line stability(hence the proliferation of various doodads attached to the topsheets of cap skis to keep the tips on the snow).

Volkl and Rossignol both introduced hybrids that combine the best of both worlds, and Atomic developed Beta to solve the stability problem.

Why caps are still prevalent at the high end in public speed skis is beyond me, but I remember talking to a factory manager that told me that when they started making caps their production was increased because the caps came out of the molds easier than the old square skis.

I do always enjoy the power to the edge argument, if that was all that mattered we would all be skiing Look/Rossignol bindings because of their longer toe wings and 3 points of contact at the heel.
post #4 of 8
Toe wings shouldnt matter as all the force essentially goes straight into the ski. The part of the interface that transmits the power to the edge depends on how the binding is mounted on the ski, and if it is on a plate or not. That gets into deal with flex pattern though and is quite confusing because there are so many options out there. The laminate skis are much more superior to cap though. I think that within the next few seasons all high end skis will again be back to sandwich construction. Even a good amount of snowboard companies are following burton and using laminate construction on their snowboards.
post #5 of 8
I have a race stock Volkl P50 that is a laminate construction with a vertical sidewall. It is much more stable than the version Volkl sells in the stores. Waxman is right that the reason that manufacturers sell cap skis in the stores is that the cap skis are cheaper to produce. The cap thing is a total scam on the skiing public (at least high end skiers who would benefit from the better vertical sidewall construction). For example, Rossi's website talks about how great their "dualtec" technology is... meanwhile all of their sponsored skiers are on laminate skis with vertical sidewalls.
post #6 of 8
This is getting quite comical. Pretty soon the debate over wood core vs. manufactured core will surface.

Sandwich contruction is benefical for race skis is because moulds are simple to make. Most manufacturers continue to experiment with different shapes and flexes to create an ideal race ski. This applies to experimental freeride skis too. With the mould for sandwich, to change it all that is required is to alter the sides to form the new sidecut. The lay-up procedure is the same.

There are no measurable benefits or liabilities, other than manufacturing ease, regarding angular or vertical sidewalls.

Atomic uses true Beta Construction (resembles Cap, but still differs greatly) for all the Giant Slalom and Slalom race skis, World Cup through retail versions, and they have had quite a winning record since starting this. The Downhill and Super-G skis still use sandwich construction since it is more economically beneficial to build in this manner. Speed event skis can be heavier so additional metal and materials can be used in construction to aid in torsional stiffness, longitudinal flex, and stability.
post #7 of 8
Sandwich- where the various structural materials (titanal, fiberglass, rubber etc.) are glued to a wood or foam core and covered either with a conventional topskin and seperate sidewall pieces or a continuous cap.

Torsion Box- where the wood or foam core is wrapped by a box of resin and fiberglass. If the resin is uncured at the time of construction then it is a wet-wrap torsion box construction (most torsion box skis).

Cap- A ski's inner component(s) can be surrounded by a load bearing cap or a purely cosmetic one (as in most cap skis).

Sidewall- may be vertical or angled (angled sidewalls on a ski angle towards each other from the base like "/ \" ). They may be seperate from the topskin or as part of a continuous cap. Some ski makers have hybrid, seperate sidewall/cap constructions like Dynastar where the vertical sidewall under foot morphs into a cap at the tip and tail (I think) but I've never actually seen a hybrid sidewall construction up close.
post #8 of 8
Betaracer makes the most valid point about laminate "team" skis being less expensive to produce and the ease with which a mold can be changed. As far as Dualtec use amongst Rossi athletes, in it's first two years of existence Dualtec dominated WC, and the Atomic introduced Beta and it has been the prevalent technology since. To make any cap mold (Beta,monocoque,monoblock,dualtec,autodrive,etc.)t he cost is prohibitive so a manufacturer will generally find a sidecut and footprint that works and then build the mold for the general public. World Cup and Freeride athletes are the testing ground for all new technology and may try a different ski every run before deciding which one they like. When a Dh or Sg ski can be ruined in one run because of base burn it doesn't make sense to put all the capital into individual molds for each athletes tastes.
For whatever reason the general public expect all the bells and whistles to be visible on their skis. If they only knew how basic WC and team skis are in comparison. The same applies to boots.
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