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How can I tweak my Head iM70's for better performance?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
First of all, I'm a new member to these forums, although I've been browsing around the gear sections for a couple of years (some great stuff here!). And I'm relatively new to the sport -- this is my 3rd season. As such, I'm a strong intermediate and learning fast. I ski mostly in the east (Ontario, upstate NY), with an annual trip or two to Utah or the Canadian Rockies. Total ski days are about 20 to 25 per season.

My specs: Age 45; 6'2"; 215 lbs, reasonably fit, and getting fitter (mid-life change in lifestyle ).

I've got a pair of Head Monster iM70's in a 170 length, with Tyrolia SLD11 bindings. I've had these since day 1, and they've been good to learn on. Boots are Tecnica Rival X9, which I love because they are so adjustable for pronation alignment.

I'd like to get some feedback on how to get more performance out of my gear without buying a whole new kit. I'm finding that the skis are decent, but not the most exciting ride, and I'm getting kinda bored. They're good for long turns on hardpack, not bad in bumps, and downright awkward on narrow trails and for tight turns. I have real trouble in crud, where the skis just don't want to plow through, and easily get bogged down and throw my balance off (this could be my inexperience, but perhaps I can adjust my gear to compensate?).

Basically I'm looking for more spark, energy and fun. I love long fast turns on hard groomers, which the skis are good for, but wouldn't mind having some fun with shorter turns. Also, maybe it's my technique, but my wife is way faster than me -- she's more experienced, but skis on Head Supershape Speeds, which can really move.

So, some questions:

What can I expect if I set the bindings to a different position? They're presently in the +15 setting on the rail. Will moving them to the zero mark make much difference?

As for edge tuning, I've been playing with an 88 degree edge, and that seems to help on ice and hard stuff (I used to have them at 90 deg, which was fine for learning). Any recommendations? Should I go to 87 deg.? And what angle should I file the base bevel to?

My boots are a bit on the soft side, so that doesn't help, I'm sure. But I will play with the adjustments (Tecnica is great for that) to see if stiffening them up might help. If that doesn't work, a new pair may be in order. Any feedback on this? Does a stiffer boot make that much difference? I don't want to sacrifice too much comfort, as I can wear the Tecnica's all day in comfort and warmth.

Any suggestions other than the questions to the above would be most welcome. Many thanks in advance, and I look forward to your input.

Cheers,

Svend
post #2 of 14
When I skied that exact ski i was (am) 8 inches shorter and weighed about 50 pounds less than you and had absolutely no trouble getting them through crud, the ski loved it.

You have the binding all the way forward and they are not good in crud? I'll hazard a guess it is your fore-aft position---you are probably skiing at least part of the time in the back seat.

While certainly not a SL carver -- at 15m radius they were pretty good short turners and decent in bumps (although in my case it was most likely the driver that was not too adequate in the bumps).

These skis are quite damp and there is not a whole lot you can do to make them more lively.

My suggestion is try the bindings for at least a couple runs in all three positions---just so YOU can see how much difference there is. Move them all the way back and I bet they are even less handy in crud!

My best suggestion is take a couple lessons and don't worry quite so much about various equipment specs. Keep the skis sharp, and waxed.

Go read VSP's current thread about how did we all survive before shaped skis?? it is a good read!

I think a good lesson will cure some of the things you are mentioning.

2 degree edge is fine, 3 would be better in hard conditions---but less durable and 1 degree base would be a good place to have the base set if it is time for a grind anyway.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Skier_J, thanks for the tips. I will be taking some lessons soon (next week, in fact), and am constantly trying to improve my technique (gotta catch my wife one of these days ). I readily admit that I have a lot to learn. But I do have to say that I'm not too obsessed about equipment specs, but am simply looking for some advice on making sure the gear is set up right and won't hinder my progress. There are lots of posts on these forums and in mags and books, about people who have trouble improving because their skis are poorly tuned, or their bindings are set wrong, or whatever. Basically, I think the iM70's are good skis, and I really don't want to trade them in. But if I can get more fun out of them, then that's a bonus...right? That's what this sport is all about.

Thanks again for your input -- much appreciated.
post #4 of 14
Hi Svend,

It sounds like you are discovering that the skis are too short. It may be time to move into something more reasonably sized. May as well go a bit wider too, given what you have said. Generally, someone of your weight/height would want skis in the 180-185cm range as they progress into advanced skill levels; exact length depends on the ski and the terrain/conditions. A 76-80mm waist would probably serve you well in soft snow without compromising groomer performance. You may think you're an intermediate, but the fact that you are starting to notice shortcomings in the ski gear suggests to me that you're moving up in skill level.

I really think 170cm 70mm waist skis are not a lot of ski for a 215lb 6'2" skier, especially if you are skiing crud and wanting to go faster on groomers. There aren't really any simple tweaks you could use to overcome that basic issue. So, it might be time for bigger skis...

Good luck!
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hmmm....I kinda thought someone might say that. Good for my ego...thank you. But I'm not sure if I'm quite ready for that yet. Maybe; maybe not.... I really want to work on my technique first before making a jump into better gear, because when I do jump, it'll probably be into a much more advanced ski. We'll see...I'll get some feedback from a good instructor in the next couple of weeks. That should help me figure out where my skill level is at, and then I'll go from there.

Should have mentioned: the Head iM70's that I have are the 05/06 model (dark gray and orange funky graphics, orange Monster script), which apparently are a much softer flex than earlier versions of the iM70. They are definitely not super-stiff, but not mushy either. This may not be helping me, considering my size.

Re. binding position, will moving the binding forward, backward or center make much difference in turn initiation and getting the skis on edge?
post #6 of 14
Why don't you demo a few skis? That would answer a few of your questions. I would agree that even with better technique, you are still trying to ski skis that are too short. You have probably maxed out your ski ability with your current setup. One easy, and relatively inexpensive, way to tell is to demo skis.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I might just do that, just to see how I like a longer ski. I have a mental short list of ones that I'd like to try -- Fischer RX8, Head SS Magnum, Head XRC 1200, Nordica Gransport 14 -- but some of these might be hard to find here in southern Ontario as demos. My wife was trying to find Supershapes and SS Speeds last year, and had no luck finding a store that had a demo pair. At very least, I can demo a similar pair in an appropriate length just to try them on for size. I'll also be in Utah in early March, so perhaps I'll have better luck finding what I'm looking for there. The stores in SLC seemed to have a good selection when we looked in there last winter.

Thanks for the reply!
post #8 of 14
Binding position certainly has an effect, but it's not going to make the skis bigger or stiffer, which seems to be the main problem.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Gotcha. The size issue seems to be the crux of the matter here, based on the replies I've received. I suppose 170 was a good size to start with for learning, but maybe I've outgrown them in only 2-1/2 seasons. I didn't think I'd be trading up that soon. I've PM'd Dawgcatching to get his advice on models, lengths, etc.. Will try to demo what I can in the next six weeks (or sooner, if our snow doesn't all melt this week, which it is doing as I write this.....not good), and then see if he has a good match for me. He seems to have some great prices at the moment, which beat anything I've seen around here.

Regards,

Svend
post #10 of 14
SGN - this problem about having a wife that skis faster and you have to catch up with her - I'd love to have that problem Myself, the problem is more "how do I get my wife out skiing more than 2 days a year??"

Sorry, can't help you with the ski problem. :
post #11 of 14
It sounds like you are ready for more ski! I would recommend something along the lines of a 177-182cm for a midfat (something between 75-80mm underfoot) which would be a good blend of hard-snow ability and soft-snow ability. Since you primarily ski in Ontario from the sound of it, I wouldn't go too wide with your ski choice.

My experience has been that the further back you move the binding, the more you will have in terms of stability. Most of the better skiers I know ski their bindings up to 3cm back of center, depending on the ski. It certainly depends on you, but as you get better, you will find that you don't need to be locked into the tip all the time to make the ski turn. I think that is one of the reasons I often find equivalent-length Fischer's tend to be more stable than the equivalent Head skis: they are mounted rearward in comparison.

Regarding ski choice: check out some stuff around 70mm underfoot (like what was on your list) and also try things a bit wider, like the Head iM78. It will give you a good compare/contrast and allow you to decide what may work best in your situation. My experience is that 70mm skis are best for hard snow, but the stouter skis up to 80mm underfoot aren't bad at all, and better off-piste.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey Jerry -- any decent day (whenever other obligations allow, and even when they don't) you will probably find my wife on the slopes. As for her speed addiction, I've suggested counseling, but like Amy Winehouse, she said "NO, NO, NO". She claims she gives me head start of 2/3 of the slope, and still passes me before I get to the lift. I'll have to independently verify that claim -- it's just too deflating to stand for. Dawgcatching...Help! I need some rockets! Didn't James Bond have a pair of rocket skis? I want those.

Cheers,

Svend
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
A quick update for anyone interested:

I moved the bindings on my iM70's from the +15 position back to center (zero mark), and skied on them last night at Blue Mountain. This was a significant improvement -- better balance, easier turning, and much more stable. And was it my imagination, or was I going faster than ever? Granted, the conditions were icy and granular from a thaw/freeze we had earlier this week, so the runs were fast. But I'll try 'em again in the next couple of days on some fresh snow that's falling now. And then move the bindings even farther back to the -15 mark and see if that improves things even more.
post #14 of 14
Binding position

The rule is that forward helps some beginners, back for racers and middle for most of us. Simple rule and does not fit all - but if only in 3rd year skiing put them in the middle.

Next suggestion. Blue Mountain is a well developed resort and probably has some sort of 8 week ski program for int - adv skiers. Might even be Masters racing or something. Find out what is available and sign up for next year. Gives you something to do on a smaller hill and really improves any technique/balance/etc... issues. Also quite social.

If you are determined to stay with ead try the SS Magnum in a 170 or 163. Stay away from 177. You will get a lot of zip from these skis and the waist is is a bit wider than a Slalom ski & would fit profile Dawgcatching was suggesting.

Mike
CSIA III
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