|Originally posted by Utah49:
...The truth is as far as I know He could be just making this stuff up ... all this talk of torque, edge contact,surface area, surface contact goes over my head ... the Odyssey says about skis and his concept of what makes a ski work?
Here's my take on it. I believe the guy when he says that around ten years ago ('92), well before it became common knowledge, he discovered that skis with a certain shape and length (ie, similar to many 2002 models) worked much better than most of the skis being sold in those days.
He obviously thought that the improvement that he experienced was dramatic enough to spend his years from '91 to '97 (and obviously a good hunk of money) getting a patent. The text of his patent makes for very interesting reading, particularly in terms of the history of other ski patents:http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1='5,603,522'.WKU.&OS=PN/5,603,522&RS=PN/5,603,522
Notice, in particular, that unlike his web pages, in his patent, he makes no unusual claims about longitudinal flex:
> ...For reference, the current industry standards
> for torsional flex and longitudinal flex, which
> have varied little, if any in the last 10 years
> are: for torsional flex, a range of approximately
> 0.8 to 1.6 N-m/degree, and for overall longitudinal
> flex, about 32 to 46 N/cm. The wide short ski
> employs approximately these same industry
> tested standards of flex criteria in its
> various embodiments.
I think that what happened to this guy is that he discovered that skis approximately 180 cm long by 80 mm wide were versatile and fun right around the same time that the big mfgrs were also realizing this and starting to move in the same directions. Industry and consumer resistance to change made it take until the last couple of years before skis in this length and width range became fairly commonplace.
I have no first-hand experience with Odyssey skis, but I suspect that given their sidecut and his statements about relatively stiff flex, they might very well be similar in performance to very nice, slightly wider mainstream skis like the G4 and 10ex, and thus, a real bargain at the prices he is asking. OTOH, he doesn't say a word about other design issues like flex distribution and damping, and he almost certainly doesn't have the resources of Volkl or Atomic to tweak his design in these (and other) areas.
Personally, I would only buy Odyssey skis if I could demo a pair myself, or if I saw a LOT of positive, credible, non-BS reviews (ie, not like Ski or Skiing Mag) where they were specifically A/B'ed against comparable mainstream skis like G4's and 10ex's. Otherwise, I would consider them "$225 pigs-in-a-polk".
The real question is will this be another case like Gould's famous laser patent where a non-mainstream guy was successful in getting a patent on something that later came into heavy use.
Finally, to get to your question about all the geek-speak on his web site, I hate to be disparaging, but IMHO, the "physics" that he claims is behind all of his design work is a mumbo-jumbo mixture of obvious, clearly correct statements (eg, the formula for the rotational polar moment of inertia that he throws in his patent) intimately mixed with hidden assumptions and assertions about difficult-to-characterize systems (ie, human bio-mechanics and snow) in such a way as to seemingly theoretically justify the ranges of parameters he prefers.
Other than for the sake of trying to "snow" non-geeks with techspeak, I see no need for this -- the (apparently good) performance of the skis is all that really matters.
Hope this helps,
Tom / PM