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Are my skis too stiff/ what happened to my SX-11's?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I've been skiing on Atomic SX-11s for four years now. I am 5-11/ 160 or so and mine are 180s' with an 18m radius. I am hard on them, ski about 35-40 days/ years, and had to have the bases ground several times now. The last time the tech warned me that the P-Tex is so thin that he probably won't be able to do it again.

When I first got the skis several guys asked me "how do you make them turn?", and suggested that I would have done better with something softer and shorter. In fact I rode a lift one day with the regional Atomic rep, and he told me pretty much the same thing, especially about the length. I also asked him about slalom skis, at that time for my son who was 14, and he suggested the SL-9s.

All the guys I talked to were probably right, but I have gradually gotten better and stronger, and ski the SX-11s reasonably well to be in the 16-20 range NASTAR. It appears to me that the skis have become less stiff with age. When I set them base to base they are almost flat against each other.

I registered for USSA this year and bought a slightly used set of SL-9's so I could compete at SL races. The previous owner was about 5-8 / 145. These are 160cm/ 11m skis. They are so much stiffer than the SX-11's. Set base to base you have to squeeze hard for them to touch at the mid point. After skiing them about 7 or 8 days I am becoming concerned that they may be too stiff for me.

Edge angles on the 9's are 1 and 3, and for the 11's, 0.5 and 3.

I alternate between the different skis daily, and really have not yet become used to the SL-9s. I realize the short radius dictates short, quick turns, and that's fine, but I don't seem to be able to set an edge on hard snow (Southern boilerplate). It almost seems like I am turning on tips and tails only. Last weekend (a four day!) I skied the SL-9s Saturday-Monday, and I really had to concentrate on edge grip, and heard/ felt a lot of skidding. On Tuesday I switched to the SX-11's and they were like a dream- every turn carved perfectly and silent.

1. Are the SX-11s "worn out" with regards to stiffness?
2. Any suggestions for a replacement set?
3. Are the SL-9's too stiff, or am I just skiing them wrong?
post #2 of 27
SL9's are soft skis by nature, so I doubt that the skis are too stiff. SL skis do however have an uncanny ability to exploit technique flaws in your skiing. I suspect that is what is happening here - more than likely all issues are related to balance in the fore/aft and lateral planes. Without seeing you ski it is hard to tell what the issue might be.
Later
Greg

Yes, replace the SX-11's.
post #3 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post
SL9's are soft skis by nature, so I doubt that the skis are too stiff. SL skis do however have an uncanny ability to exploit technique flaws in your skiing. I suspect that is what is happening here - more than likely all issues are related to balance in the fore/aft and lateral planes. Without seeing you ski it is hard to tell what the issue might be.
Later
Greg

Yes, replace the SX-11's.
Greg, The SL9 was longitudinally very stiff particularly in shorter lengths like the 160. We have a pair of (Adult ski)140cm SL9.12 that are absolutely bricks.

i never did like that ski. We had 3 or 4 pair of them in a 160cm. . They only like to make one turn shape, and if you are not on that shape, they almost wag like a ski skate. just too radical a side cut for it's length.

Amazingly the B5 metron has none of that characteristic.

the SL 9.16 and the SL11 & new SL12 are far superior skis in every respect. More versatile turn shape and smoother.
post #4 of 27
Southern Man,

Quote:
I registered for USSA this year and bought a slightly used set of SL-9's so I could compete at SL races.
Good ski, wrong length. The guy sold them for a reason. BTW, your 11's are getting tired by the sound of it.

RW
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
Are the SX-11's worn out in flexure? I thought they were a fiberglass/ foam core ski. How long are skis supposed to last? Any recomendations for replacement? I love those skis. I know I can get brand new SX-10/ 173cm for $500. They would be for GS and all-around.

Atomicman: you described what I am experiencing with the SL9s. It seems like I can only lean so far, then I lose the center part of the edge. Several guys my age ski on them and recommended them to me. Are the longer skis softer in a given model? Maybe I should go with a Vokl or Dynastar. Or Head.

Ron White: What length should I look for? USSA rules for J1 and 2 are 165cm minimum. That does not seem to be a huge difference from what I have.
post #6 of 27
Replace the SX11 with SX12; the SX10s are a step down.

It sounds to me like you used to skiing SX11 speeds and trying to do the same with the SL9.

You can not clean carve (as in arc) a turn greater than 11 m with an 11 m ski, and you cannot arc it at a speed greater than somewhere around 25 to 30 mph, without having the g-force push the ski out of the groove it's cut at the tipping angle. It is possible to make railroad tracks at higher speeds, but your body and skis will not be going along the same path (cm will be going straighter).

If you want to go faster and still make a pure arc you need a longer radius ski.
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
Ghost I think that you are right. I did a USSA SL race last Saturday for the first time. The gates are tight so you really have to slow down relative to a GS. For practice free skiing I would make the same radius turns, and along with really throwing my weight into the downhill ski I could finally make them carve. Its not at all the type of skiing that I'm used to.

Atomicman: I've found that by using this technique I can in fact vary the turn shape, albeit not as easily or as significantly than the SX11s. There is a guy in the event that has SL12s, probably 5-8 140, and he skis them well. We were able to talk a bit and I showed him the force required to squeez base to base, and he thinks my SL9s are stiffer than his.
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
Ghost I think that you are right. I did a USSA SL race last Saturday for the first time. The gates are tight so you really have to slow down relative to a GS. For practice free skiing I would make the same radius turns, and along with really throwing my weight into the downhill ski I could finally make them carve. Its not at all the type of skiing that I'm used to.

Atomicman: I've found that by using this technique I can in fact vary the turn shape, albeit not as easily or as significantly than the SX11s. There is a guy in the event that has SL12s, probably 5-8 140, and he skis them well. We were able to talk a bit and I showed him the force required to squeez base to base, and he thinks my SL9s are stiffer than his.
I am sure they are longitudinally stiffer but probably not torsionally stiffer!

I have an absolutely immaculate pair of Stockli WC Laser Slaloms mounted with Marker Comp 1400 on a Marker WC Slalom Plate. These are not stiff lengthwise either but are torsionally stiff (a good thing). 166cm in Length

Have been skied on about 3 days. They are 2005's and i just stone ground them and hand tuned. They look new! $475.00 plus shipping.

Pm me if you want photos!
post #9 of 27
How much softer than a SL-11M with WC (black) plate?
post #10 of 27
Trust me if Atomicman says they are in great condition, they are in GREAT Condition. He sold me a pair of Atomic SL 11 's a couple of seasons back and when I got them, they looked brand new. Still ski them and love them. Nothing like a slalom ski for the icy scratchy conditions that unfortunately are all to frequent at my local hill.
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by roundturns View Post
Trust me if Atomicman says they are in great condition, they are in GREAT Condition. He sold me a pair of Atomic SL 11 's a couple of seasons back and when I got them, they looked brand new. Still ski them and love them. Nothing like a slalom ski for the icy scratchy conditions that unfortunately are all to frequent at my local hill.
Thanks for the "Roundturns" Seal of Good Ski Keeping!!!!

But it is true, I only sell stuff in mint condition!
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
How much softer than a SL-11M with WC (black) plate?
BigE, you askin' me about the Stockli's:
post #13 of 27
ghost,

Quote:
You can not clean carve (as in arc) a turn greater than 11 m with an 11 m ski,
The reference to 11m radius side cut does not mean that they make a 11m radius turn. That reference only means that the side cut shape of the ski (as seen from above) is the part of the shape of a circle with a 11m radius. The actual radius it may carve depends more on the longitudinal stiffness of the ski (resistance) as it is placed on edge and decambered. A softer ski with the same sidecut would not make the same radius turn (less resistance = less climbing power of the tip) assuming the same torsional stiffness.

Southernman,

Quote:
Ron White: What length should I look for? USSA rules for J1 and 2 are 165cm minimum. That does not seem to be a huge difference from what I have.
Many skis use the same core material or core tubing for a few lenghs of ski, but cut it down to fit the shorter ski. This means that it is not retapered to keep the relative stiffness equal in the shorter length. The end result is a much stiffer flex compared to the same ski a few inches longer. Many skis are designed to meet standards at the ussa reccomended length (where the majority of sales for the ski lies).

RW
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post
BigE, you askin' me about the Stockli's:
Yes I am A-man!
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron White View Post
ghost,



The reference to 11m radius side cut does not mean that they make a 11m radius turn. That reference only means that the side cut shape of the ski (as seen from above) is the part of the shape of a circle with a 11m radius. The actual radius it may carve depends more on the longitudinal stiffness of the ski (resistance) as it is placed on edge and decambered. A softer ski with the same sidecut would not make the same radius turn (less resistance = less climbing power of the tip) assuming the same torsional stiffness.
A ski working in soft snow, not arcing (defining clean carve arcing as snow moving parallel to edge of ski at edge of ski as ski moves forward with no component of motion in the cross-edge direction), has a natural "turn radius" better defined by it's stiffness than its side-cut radius. As true as that may be, you still cannot arc a turn greater than 11 m with a ski that has a side-cut radius of 11 m. There is now way to get that edge to have a larger radius of curvature. Tipping it over and laying it against the snow will make it smaller r=sidecut radius/ cos(tipping angle), but the largest you can make it is 11 m when the ski is flat.
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by roundturns View Post
Trust me if Atomicman says they are in great condition, they are in GREAT Condition. He sold me a pair of Atomic SL 11 's a couple of seasons back and when I got them, they looked brand new. Still ski them and love them. Nothing like a slalom ski for the icy scratchy conditions that unfortunately are all to frequent at my local hill.
I would confirm this as well. I also bought a pair of skis from A-man. They were in great shape and the edges were sharper and smoother than my own tunes ever are. If you buy from him, you can't really go wrong.
post #17 of 27
Ghost,

Quote:
A ski working in soft snow, not arcing (defining clean carve arcing as snow moving parallel to edge of ski at edge of ski as ski moves forward with no component of motion in the cross-edge direction), has a natural "turn radius" better defined by it's stiffness than its side-cut radius. As true as that may be, you still cannot arc a turn greater than 11 m with a ski that has a side-cut radius of 11 m. There is now way to get that edge to have a larger radius of curvature. Tipping it over and laying it against the snow will make it smaller r=sidecut radius/ cos(tipping angle), but the largest you can make it is 11 m when the ski is flat.
I agree with what you are saying about the ski will only make a shorter radius as it is tipped more, but you are not understanding the the reference to 11m radius side cut doesn't mean that it will make a 11m radius turn. It only has reference to the rudius of a shape on a 11m circle with the ski flat, with the side cut placed over the drawn segment of the circle.

RW
post #18 of 27
I understand that. I'm just saying the ski will not be able to arc a turn with a radius larger than 11 m. You will be able to arc smaller turns than 11 m on hard snow/ice. You will not be able to arc a turn with a larger radius than 11 m using that 11-m side-cut radius ski. Do you agree?
post #19 of 27
Ghost,

I agree with all but the 11m part.

Quote:
You will not be able to arc a turn with a larger radius than 11 m using that 11-m side-cut radius ski. Do you agree?
It.s the bold part that I'm not following your thinking. It should be 11m radius sidecut (the shape and not the radius the ski cam make). It may be able to carve a 14m radius turn (or less). The reference is only to the shape of the sidercut and not to the radius turn it makes.

RW
post #20 of 27
I'm still a little :, but we seem to be getting somewhere.

We agree that the 11-m radius refers to the best-fit circle in the plane of the ski that would overlap the edge of the ski. We agree that the shape of the ski is in fact not a perfect circle, with for example more shape at the tip than tail typically, but if we were to approximate it to a circle, 11-m would be the radius of that circle.

Further, it seems to me that the shape the ski assumes when tipped over and the edge pressed onto a layer of boiler-plate snow would not be a perfect circle, but if we were to use, say least-squares difference regression, the radius of a circle that would best fit the edge would approach 11 m when the ski was flat on the snow and be smaller than 11 m when the ski was tipped. Would you agree with this statement.
post #21 of 27
ghost,
Yes,

Wheather or not it would actually carve that smaller radius?? I don't know.

RW
post #22 of 27
Why would it not?
post #23 of 27
Ok!

So the biggest circle you can bend the edge into is roughly 11 m with an 11-m-side-cut-radius ski. To carve a pure arc, you must travel along the edge, ergo the biggest circle you can pure-carve as in "arc" with an 11-m-side-cut-radius skis is 11 m. I hope that's clear enough.

As to the smaller circles, if the force of gravity and the centrifugal force due to the skier's acceleration add up to a vector pushing on the ski that is more than the snow can bear, or is in a direction that has a non-perpendicular-to-the-plane-of-the-ski component that pushes the ski out of the groove it has cut instead of down into that groove, the ski will not be able to arc the turn. This situation at the limit occurs when banking a turn. And the fastest turn you can carve on a hard surface, as in pure-arc carving, depends directly on the side-cut radius of the ski (about 25 mph for a 13 m ski and 55 for a 65 m ski). You can have your skis arcing at higher speeds, but your cm will need to be following a shorter (less curved) path.
post #24 of 27
For sure.

An 11m ski cannot carve a 14m turn, because you cannot arrange/bend/straighten the ski in such a way that the entire edge follows the track of a 14m turn.

You may make big GS style turns on SL skis, but there will be a lot of slippage, and so don't qualify as pure carves.
post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post
I am sure they are longitudinally stiffer but probably not torsionally stiffer!

I have an absolutely immaculate pair of Stockli WC Laser Slaloms mounted with Marker Comp 1400 on a Marker WC Slalom Plate. These are not stiff lengthwise either but are torsionally stiff (a good thing). 166cm in Length

Have been skied on about 3 days. They are 2005's and i just stone ground them and hand tuned. They look new! $475.00 plus shipping.

Pm me if you want photos!
Thanks for the offer but I finally got the hang of the SL9's, and I'm starting to like 'em. I'm using them for USSA GS races, and in the last several weeks picked up a bronze, silver and gold, in that order. (Of course last week, I was the only one in the M5 bracket!)
post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
For sure.

An 11m ski cannot carve a 14m turn, because you cannot arrange/bend/straighten the ski in such a way that the entire edge follows the track of a 14m turn.

You may make big GS style turns on SL skis, but there will be a lot of slippage, and so don't qualify as pure carves.
I would agree with this, per my experience with the SL skis on GS courses.
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
We took our annual spring trip to Vermont this year, Stowe and Smuggler's Notch, and got back about a month ago. This was my first time back to Vermont in over 20 years. It hasn't changed much. The hippies just drive nicer cars than they used to.

On our first day, we were at Stowe, and on one of my first runs I bent a tip of my old SX-11's. It was just a relaxed ski day so I didn't let it bother me that much, and we quit around noon anyway. We took a slow lunch, and walked around the resort, looking around at the new lodge that they're building, and looking through shops at all the end-of-season sale items. I finally ended up in the ski shop to look at new skis, and they were having a 30% off sale. The saleswoman told me to check out the demo shop, so I did.

What a great set-up at Stowe! The demo shop is right next to the base of a lift, and you don't have to walk 1/4 in your boots and up stairs and all that. I tried three pairs in less than 1 hour.

First I skied on Vokl ten foots. They had that adjustable rod system that I thought was kind of a gimmick. They were a nice solid ski, but didn't have the "pop" that I'm used to. Then I tried the Nordica Top Fuel, and they beat me up coming down. The tech said that they may not be stiff enough for me. My last set was a pair of Rossi Z11s, and they were just right, the bases were near perfect, and 60% off, so I bought them.

I skied them the rest of the week at Smuggler's and didn't touch my Atomic SL-9s. The conditions went from 50 and raining to 10 and frozen, and we saw the entire range of conditions. On Thursday morning first run my son and I tucked The Toll Road from top to the base at Madonna lift. He had his hand held GPS and clocked our top speed at 55.1 mph. I think I made the right decision on the skis. :
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