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Additional Shaped Ski Hazard?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
The other thread got me wondering...

Last Wednesday, a good friend tore her ACL in kind of an unusual way. We were participating in Jackson Hole's early-season race camp and she was demoing short slalom skis (Rossi Power Viper S, not that it really matters).

She was following a coach down a fairly steep, fairly hardpacked section. On one of her turns, she got a bit back, a bit uphill, and railed the uphill edge of her uphill ski. That ski totally engaged and hooked hard uphill. She didn't stay with it, got her weight back and low, and popped the ACL. You certainly can't claim that the tuning *caused* the fall (no question it was her error that started the fall sequence), but you might wonder if the tuning might have made it worse.

This pair of skis, because they were demos with no "right" or "left" designation, were fully sharpened tip to tail on both sides of each ski. I know that my own Head WC Slalom TI's are tuned exactly the same way.

Some in the camp seemed to feel that it might be wise to slightly detune the outside edges of this kind of ski to help prevent this sort of thing from happening. Anybody have any thoughts, yea or nay?


Whose knees have plenty of *old* reasons to see orthopods. They don't need any new ones.
post #2 of 21
Doesn't sound that unusual to me. It's the classic ACL scenario and a classic shaped ski scenario. De-tuning wouldn't have made the slightest bit of difference. Those shorty slalloms are real bucking broncos until you get use to 'em - and even then :

Demo gear, early season, race camp: pretty much a recipe for injury. I wish your friend a speedy recovery; ACL repair is a long row to hoe. Let's be careful out there.
post #3 of 21
Yep - its a lot easier to get killed driving a Ferrari than a Buick. But we pay hard to play hard!
post #4 of 21
I stand by my theory that longer skis are more likely than shorter skis to be involved in ACL injuries. You may recall the publication of stats showing that skiboard users suffered broken legs at a much greater frequency than users of regular longer skis with release bindings, and yet the skiboard users had almost zilch ACL injuries. I will agree that the scenario described is classic for ACL injury. I am not at all ready to discount the idea that a completely detuned outside edge may indeed contribute to a substantial reduction in ACL injury - but the theory has yet to be demonstrated and I suspect that it never will be demonstrated. The skates of a hockey goalie are in fact "detuned" - that is, without edge - on the outside edges of the blades to enable the goalie better to make those lateral moves to block a shot on goal with his leg pads. However, from what I've been told by those who choose to be human targets, actually skating on them presents a challenge. But who knows? This may be an experiment worth trying with skis to be used in some situations. or maybe not
post #5 of 21
I would disagree based on a gut feeling and anecdotal evidence.
I believe what many are saying: short shape is riskier than long straight. You probably end up on a loaded, turning ski that could really torque your knee a whole lot more on shorties than you ever would on old skis.
And I would never think that a skiboard would cause ACL injuries because they are so short and without much shape. They can't load up on you the way a short ski can, and they're not long enough to apply the torque.

Basically a hunch, but a lot of people think that's what the numbers may end up proving.
post #6 of 21
While watching the women's slalom world cup competition, I was amazed at how many wipe outs occurred because the skier didn't stay balanced over the center of their ski. When they did get in the back seat, there seemed to be no ski length behind the binding, to help them recover to a more balanced position.

I think we are beginning to see where the limits of ski length shortness are coming into play.

Personally, I am now a little apprehensive since the skis I recently bought are 180's. Not that long ago, sometime in the early 90"s, I used to ski a 205 pencil shapped ski, then a 193 freecarver/all mountain ski, a 190 powder board and now the new 180's. I was almost also considering a 175. Glad now that I chose the 180.

I think Bob raises an issue, worthy of further discussion: "When is short, too short ?" I think we are there with this one.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
jim s:

I agree completely that the accident sounds like a classic recipe for an ACL. Although, now that I think of it, isn't the more common cause getting railed on the inside edge of the downhill ski?

Anyway, I guess the "unusual" part to me is the fact that this particular woman is an extremely good skier (former instructor and racer) who has never before injured a knee while on skis. She typically skis about a hundred days a season and skis *comfortably* on 212 and 217 downhill skis.

She was on a pair of 160's, certainly not a super-short length in the modern slalom skis given her weight of 105#. Those who witnessed the fall felt that the very abrupt uphill turn on the uphill ski was a contributing factor in the injury.

So, my question had more to do with whether some of the folks on this board who have more experience on the short slaloms have any opinion on the concept of detuning the outside edges of these skis. To me, there's an intuitive case to be made for the idea. Wink's comments about skates are interesting too.

I just think that these skis are so *capable* of turning when pressure is applied that maybe backing off just a bit on the outside edges isn't a bad idea.


post #8 of 21
I can almost see how your friend caught the rail, outch! Sorry and good recovery!
Earlier today, I tried to get a detuning tool in order to allow to smear over the back of the ski, and after reading your post i think i will try harder... Well, at least it cannot worsen the case.
Also, i was reminded what Marker claims on their homepage about their bindings:
"The Biometric release system
reduces the vertical release forces by
up to 50% during a backward twisting
fall. Release force protection is
customised by your specific
DIN setting, resulting in backward
release function specific to your
DIN characteristics. With a quick and
precise release, the stresses on the
knee ligaments are reduced and the
risk of a serious knee injury is minimised."
We like throwing technology at problems, and maybe this one helps?
post #9 of 21
You mentioned that your skis are sharp tip to tail.
On my first set of carvers I had the tips detuned equally about 2-3 inches from the tip. With my new ones I have taken this slightly further on the outside than the inside, but also detuned the tails slightly, so that if my weight goes back I don't get in to trouble as quickly.

This works for me, but that doesn't mean it's right! [img]smile.gif[/img]

post #10 of 21
I agree with Oboe. This isn't a "short ski problem." This is a skier problem. Longer skis are more dangerous to the ACL because they create a larger "phantom foot," which acts as a lever arm applying torque to the ACL.

Todd hit it correctly, too. If you want to play hard and get into advanced hypercarving, you must be prepared to pay the price... and a torn ACL is a high price but is worth it to most.

Why am I not hearing the obvious alternative remedy of turntable heels with LOWER DIN SETTINGS?

thanks for your support
post #11 of 21
I would hesitate to put any blame on the ski here, either the length or the sharpness. It sounds like the classic backwords twisting fall/causing torn ACL. Just skier error. Any time you get in the back seat you're at risk for this type of accident. It's almost better to accept the fact that you're going down, get your legs together and try to throw your hands forward and fall. Trying to recover while in this position, though sometimes sucessful is a good way to finish your year. Ever see people ski down the hill sitting down on the tails of their skis looking cool? ACL's stretched to the max. Catch an edge in that position and it's "See Ya" Don't blame the ski or the tune. By the way, I like my shorties sharp all the way from tip to tail. When you're cranking long hard turns at speed, you need all the edge you can get.

Short skis can be rewarding to some people making for easier turns, etc. but with less ski, it forces you to stay centered and balanced. Get lazy, and you're in the snow. Hopefully unscathed!
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

"By the way, I like my shorties sharp all the way from tip to tail."

So, assuming you use a designated left and right ski, your outside edges are just as sharp just as far up and down the ski as your inside edges?

If so, why?

I'm not trying to be a smarta%%, I'd really like to know what benefit would be gained by having super-sharp outside edges tip to tail.

My own skis are tuned sharp inside and outside, but I'm starting to wonder why. I completely understand (and like) the concept of having the *inside* edges of a modern ski sharp tip to tail, but unless someone can give me a good reason I think I'm going to detune the outside edges somewhat. Particularly near the contact points.


post #13 of 21
So Bob, how would you carve railroad tracks if the outside edge of your inside ski is detuned and wont bite in the snow to decamber?

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Do you think the tip and the tail areas of the outside edge of the uphill ski *really* need to be very sharp to do railroad tracks? My sense is that's not really a requirement, but I've been wrong plenty of times before.

I'll give you a report after this weekend. I'm going to detune the contact area on both outside edges and use those skis this weekend. Not that I'm the best test subject in the world, but I'll see if I can tell any difference.


post #15 of 21
Bob, I'm not the big tecky guy here at the forum but i'll try to explain it anyhow. What Ott was trying to say with the railroad thing was, if you are carving short or long radius turns on shaped skis, you are weighting both skis. Now, when skiing down the fall line and turning to the right, you are on the inside edge of your downhill ski, and on the outside edge of your uphill ski. Now you iniate turn the other way, thus turning to the left, now the downhill ski is on the inside edge and the upside ski is on the outside edge, hopefully!

This proves what? That both edges(inside and outside edge) of each ski is used when skiing. When on shorties,(mine are 174 Vipers)you need all the edge you can get to crank high speed turns. Hope I helped.

Oh ya, in order for you to detune your outside edges, you will have to dull all the edges of your skis, rendering them useless on hardpack. You don't want to do that man!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 18, 2001 01:14 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Lars ]</font>
post #16 of 21
As for the Goalie's skates. I played hockey for over 20 years. A lot of it in a very good semi-pro league. I played goalie for 4 of those years. A goalie with dull skates is like a flounder in the hold of some Japanese fishing boat. Same principal as skiing. You have to have a sharp edge to push of on in each direction. The only time you want to slide across the crease on your skates is to take the water and shine off the ice.

About short skis!!!!!

I feel like I was one of the last hold outs for the long ski issue here. I was so apprehensive giving up my 201's. I made the transition to 174's last year and will never go back. I have never gone this fast and felt so stable on skis before in all my years of skiing. I'm also canning my 191 xx's for some 184's. Why ski a longer ski when a shorter one will do? (did I say that?)
No kidding, Short skis are here to stay. At least for the time being.
post #17 of 21
Today in a lecture by a reputable US Ski Team associate and a PSIA executive the following was stated:

"Short Carving Skis and the associated wide set Slalom courses have raised the G forces in the turn from around 3 to 5. These increases in forces are achieved at lower speeds in general. Last year a large increase in knee injuries amongst WC racers have been directly attributed to the unforgiving nature of short carving skis + the increase in turning forces".

Leaving the rails hurts. Extremes are being reached more often with the inherent consequences.

Be careful folks. The product may bite back.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #18 of 21
Can you tell us who the "reputable US Ski Team associate and a PSIA executive" were? Where, and for what occasion was this? Is there a transcript anywhere?

P.S. Glad it wasn't one of those DISreputable US Ski Team 'associates'! (And after years of being in the PSIA I didn't know it had 'executives'

Note: I'm not at all doubtful however about the conclusion. Some years ago, before the term "shaped skis" was even invented, the advent of greater sidecuts coupled with better training tecniques was noted by coaches to be increasing the centripetal force load experienced by competitors.
post #19 of 21

See PM. I am wary of attributing quotes to real names online. The basic message was confirmed with direct questions after the lecture.

The event was a Vail\BC SS - PSIA new Teaching Manuals Outline followed by a lecture on WC basic coaching concepts framework with video.

Centripetal force load experienced by competitors has also been increased by setting slalom courses with maximum gate width. Again "styling for the ski" instead of "skiing for the style".

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 19, 2001 07:25 AM: Message edited 1 time, by man from oz ]</font>
post #20 of 21
Bob Peters has questioned whether the outside edges of a short ski shouln't be partially deturned at the tail and tip in order to avoid the "railing effect" that could cause a slow backward fall and thus potentially injuring the ACL.

Now the question for me is if you beleive in early weight shift to the uphill ski as part of new turn initiation, how does or will detuning the outside the tips and tails of the outside ski edges effect that?
post #21 of 21

You probably mean that todays slalom courses are set with large offset at maximum gate spacing. There is a limit on the maximum distance between the turning poles, currently at 15m. The offset (distance perpendicular to the direction of the course) is up to the course setter. I agree that the setting has changed drastically to suit the new skiing style and involves setting at minimum number of gates and several of those set at maximum spacing and large offsets.
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