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Ski hop / chatter at the boot on hard fast turns. skier or ski problem?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I am male, 5'10", weigh about 170, and I would say a level 8 skier. I have Nordica Beast 12 boots. I've been recommended ~170cm skies. I most often ski groomed or choppy blue and black runs, winding packed tree trails, smaller moguls, or smaller mogul chop, and light powder. Speeds and turning vary from easy to fast GS turns through quick turns for fun or small moguls, to GS - downhill on some blue runs with few turns so we have enough speed on some flatter sections and to keep up with a few speed demons in the group.

I recently demoed a number of this years skis on groomed hard pack in the hills of the upper midwest. With some I got what I would call a bad mid ski hop / chatter on higher speed quick carving turns. I wanted to test how they felt if I needed to be evasive in an emergency or wanted to drive them hard. Vokl AC30's and Nordica Top Fuel 170's did pretty good, but the K2 Recon 176's and Magfire 10 174' had the chatter.

In the past I have skied an older pair of 188 K2 X15's (that I think have lost some spring), or ~170cm 2+ year old demos or "advanced skier" generic rentals. The K2's are from around 2000 I think, and the latter were more recent shaped skis. I ski the shaped skies with my feet about shoulder width apart and carve turns by rolling / tilting my feet. I never got any chatter with these skis. My K2's had a fresh tune, some of the old demos had a very good edge, and some of the rentals had good edges. These skis worked well at higher speeds, and were more prone to washing out / slipping if I made quick carving turns and over powered the ski. I prefer this to the choppiness of some of the skis I tried.

I still tend to want to drive the tips harder when making quick higher speed turns. I have gotten mixed advice on how much I need drive the tip with shaped skis when pushing them or I may be trying to rotate them (like early -mid '90's skis) since I am driving them hard and falling back on old habits.

I have also been told I need to look at longer skis or more top of the line models. Since I am still working at getting better at moguls and enjoy ski trails, I like the shorter skis and am not sure if I want to go much longer than 170's.

I also wonder if it might have been the snow conditions. Would the skis have less chatter in conditions closer to CO. If the skis don't work as well on the upper midwest type hard pack but would work well in CO, I would rather have that. I could learn how to deal with them in midwest, you can only have so much fun on a hill :.

Lastly is there a technique so that they would slide vs chatter. I have heard this is not really possibly with the newer shaped skis unless you start the turn with a slide. At the time I didn't think of trying to slide them mid turn. By habit I tend to carve turns especially in any emergency conditions, and in the past if I needed to scrub speed it was easy to slide skis in anywhere in the turn.

Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated.

post #2 of 24
pkquat, chatter can be caused by several different reasons and nailing one down without more detail would be hard.

Skis vary in there being prone to chatter. Skis can chatter because they are more ski than your skill or chatter because you are more skier than the construction of the ski. I will let others address these specific models.

The difference between a level 8 skier and 9 skier is primarily in their ability to continuously maintain a very good stance and control pressure throughout the turn. Controlling chatter through technique is not only possible on newer skis, its the norm.

Tell us a bit more. Where does the chatter happen. On short turns in narrow corridors, steep sections on GS turns, are you really agressive or does the chatter happen when you are tenative. A bit more detail will help.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
The chatter / hop happens only at during aggressive sharp carving turns at higher speeds. I wanted to test how they felt if I needed to be evasive in an emergency or wanted to drive them hard. My technique might drop to a level 7 during those times.
post #4 of 24
Without seeing you ski it will be tough to diagnose, but my guess on this is that your ski is chattering because of lack of balance/pressure on the outside ski and more than likely also a result of being in the back seat. In the recent clip I had filmed of me skiing slalom turns you can see this kind of chatter happen at about 00:16 into the slow motion clip. This was from being too far aft on the ski and not pressuring the ski in order to have the sidecut slice through the turn (instead it is grinding through the turn in a series of grab/release gyrations).

Bascially, new skis want to carve. If you do not give them input that will allow them to carve how they want to - they will often react very stubbornly - especially when you are skiing on high-end models. Deep sidecut is also a contributing factor because the turn that the ski wants to slice is very tight, and will require very quick and precise movements in order to keep up. In the clip I posted above I didn't keep up well in most of the run (there are a few instances of the left leg shaking because the edge isn't set properly).


post #5 of 24
I would guess it is in the last half of the turns, not the first half.
Is this correct?
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
The chatter appears similar to what I experienced. The snow you were skiing on was much softer than what I was on if it can make a difference. It would be great to see that clip in real time to get an idea of actual speed. I am not sure if I may be back to to far technique wise, but there was solid pressure more towards the ball of my foot and on my shin. I tend to drive the tips more from old habits, but it sounds like for sure I should get lesson - evaluation on the hill next time I go.

Based on my demo experience that day and what I have been told I may also be over powering the ski. It did seem that the stiffer skis, the Top Fuels and AC30's did not have this chatter and the turns were not skidding. Would they cover up area's where I need to improve on technique? One other factor is that I skied these skis later in the day when I was more tired so I could not drive them as hard.

To answer the other post. Yes the chatter is in the later part of the turn.
post #7 of 24
post #8 of 24
Originally Posted by pkquat View Post
Based on my demo experience that day and what I have been told I may also be over powering the ski. It did seem that the stiffer skis, the Top Fuels and AC30's did not have this chatter and the turns were not skidding. Would they cover up area's where I need to improve on technique? One other factor is that I skied these skis later in the day when I was more tired so I could not drive them as hard.
The chatter as you describe is not from over powering the skis. The stiffer skis are probably covering up other deficiencies. Being tired is a tell tale sign of this kind of chatter occurring due to poor position over the skis.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
TY for the information. It appears your speed was close to what I was skiing at. I think I was faster when I got the chatter. I will see what I learn from a lesson.

It was much easier when skis would slide when they were pushed hard and form may not have been perfect, and stop the slide it just meant more pressure - effort. The chatter is not a comforting feeling.
post #10 of 24
Chatter (the ski edging and releasing in a staccato manner) is usually the result of the amount of edge and amount of rotational activity being disproportionate.

If the ski is twisted actively before the edge is engaged, and then an effort is made to engage the edge abruptly, chatter will more than likely occur.

If the edge is engaged first, but then rotational movements are increased beyond the edges holding capability, chatter will also occur.

In conjunction with this chatter, you will usually find that the pivot point of the ski is slightly forward of its optimal position. So if you have even a little too much shin pressure or weight on the balls of the feet, this will encourage the chatter to occur.
post #11 of 24
Nice post Ric!
I would add that all skis have a targeted performance range. Softer more forgiving skis will not be as grippy on ice, stiffer more demanding skis will not be as easy to ski. Finding the right one has always been a trial and error activity. When you find that magic pair that fits your style well, buy more than one pair.
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
TY for the information as well vail snopro. What you described is most likely what I was doing. That is what my old habits are with less shaped skis.

justanotherskipro and all.

I'll get back to one of my original questions regarding a targeted performance range. How poorly will skis listed as "carved - skidded" turns perform at higher speeds and icy conditions? Can you get them to carve without chatter and get skidding instead? "Stiffer more demanding skis will not be as easy to ski." Could you explain this a little more; not as easy to ski how? More picky about technique? More effort required to make them turn?

Also how do snow conditions effect the apparent performance of skis. Would the hard pack be more prone to cause chatter vs. softer CO fresh groomed runs? What effect do those differing conditions have.

PS Finding skis seemed easier before shaped skis.
post #13 of 24
Originally Posted by pkquat View Post
PS Finding skis seemed easier before shaped skis.
It's still easy if you know what you're looking for. The skis you've tested all seem to be all-mountain skis with a lot of sacrifice made for the ability to perform well in soft snow as opposed to hardpack conditions. If you are skiing mainly on hardpack, you should be trying something like an an Atomic SX12, Fischer WC, Volkl Tigershark, etcetera. You may also want to try the Fischer Progressor if you need more versatility.
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
The problem is I don't think I know what I am looking for and that once I know I will know what ski will match it, but this forum is helping.

While I only ski CO once a year, groomers and well traveled tree trails in CO is my target. Since hard pack in the upper midwest often means more time on the chair lift than the slopes they don't have to excel on hard pack, but I would also like them to not suck completely on it.
post #15 of 24
You are quite correct, those skis which are torsionally softer will also allow for a chatter to occur when too much pressure is exerted to the ski.

But since torsional rigidity is a fundamental property of most of the current crop of skis, there are only a few which suffer greatly from this. The torsional loading has gotten so great that few skis are made that soft any more. If you are on a ski which falls into that narrow group, even an accurate f/a stance isn't going to alleviate it when it happens. The ski just isn't built to withstand that degree of pressure.
post #16 of 24
When I started skiing again after a long layoff, I experienced some severe chatter from time to time. After a few days of skiing I began remembering how to ski and had adjusted my technique so as to be able to avoid the chatter. Later on, I tried another pair of skis I had laying around and again experienced some unnerving chatter. I later discovered the skis to be seriously concave on the bottom. After tuning them, they didn't chatter any more.

Back in the day, (late Cretaceous, maybe) metal sandwich skis used to chatter really bad, while wood and fiberglass skis had more damping ability and chattered much less.
post #17 of 24
pkquat, what you are experiencing in caused by you being in the back seat. You need to stand up and pressure the front of your boots. I'll go as far as to say all modern high end skis are made to be driven not riden. A lot of us have been where you are.

Take a lesson and tell the instructor what your hoping to achive, aka, getting out of the back seat. It's not as easy as it sounds.

One thing I have noticed lately is I don't see the tips of my skis with goggles on, in fact I don't see them with goggles off either. Stand up and get forward.
post #18 of 24
I agree with Ric, the OP stated that they were already pushing forward against the tongue and the balance point was under the balls of the feet.

Insofar as the ski models tried, it sounds like some matched his technique more than others. Not unusual. Like I said before if you find one model you like buy two pairs!!!
post #19 of 24
He may think he is forward but is he really. I used to think I was until I was told to stand up and present my pelvis.

He has stiff boots too. Nordica 12's, I believe they are stuff.
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
If all goes as planned, I will be able to get a lesson / evaluation this Friday and have some more information on how I actually ski.
post #21 of 24
MC- Maybe you have had the pleasure of skiing with pkquat. Then you may have some insight as to what his fore/aft stance is.

But until I see him ski, or at least view some video, I will defer making such broad stroke statements about it. Until then, I will accept his comment about being forward on the boot. If there is one thing, being too far forward can be just as detrimental as being too far aft. In some cases, its even worse!
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
Skiing got canceled for this Friday So I will have to wait for a review.

I did find some video of me from 2 years ago, however it is more just fun skiing and I am not digging in and driving my turns so I don't know it is evaluation worthy. My skis are much closer together in the video than I ski now. I was also on rentals that had an ok edge. I'll also have to figure out how to convert it from DVD format to YouTube.
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
Finally an update. I got the chance to go skiing this weekend and got a quick evaluation from a friend of a friend who is on the Ski Patrol and a Ski Instructor.

My weight balance was good, and the evaluation matched what I felt. My stance was still a little too upright, and my skis were only about 2/3 - 3/4 as wide as they should be. When skiing the demo day I think my stance may have been wider, but I probably was standing up straighter than I should. I didn't get a chance to ski with my friends shaped skis as long as I would have liked to really get a feel for them or working on - studying my technique before the evaluation.

My friends skis were Atomic R10's, 160cm, with a recent tune up. I didn't get any chatter, but I didn't push them super hard since it was closer to the end of the day and I was more tired. They turned really sharp and fast. I almost wound up on my butt the first few times. I could release the edges and re-engage them in easy turns without much difficulty if I wanted. I am assuming they are a stiffer ski than what I demoed.

I am not sure where the length vs stiffness comes into play for a recommended ski. Any additional information would be great.
post #24 of 24
I'm no expert, but here's my theory. Different skis/skiers under different conditions will have different amounts of edge grip. If you have less edge grip, you end up skidding. If you have lots of edge grip, you end up carving. Chatter is when you're in between the two modes--you have enough edge grip to prevent skidding but not enough to carve. Some skis have more edge grip than others. So you may find that one ski skids but that another may increase the edge grip but not enough to actually carve. So you end up in this transitional area--called chatter. If you look at professional downhill racers, they chatter a lot! That's because under the speeds/conditions they travel at, it is almost impossible to get enough edge grip to be comfortably in the carving zone. So often they'll end up in the chatter zone. SO I guess the solution would be to increase your edge grip to the point where you can carve. This can be done either by increasing the angle of the edge to the snow or by decreasing the pressure on the ski. Of course, this is what skiing is all about and so I'll leave it to the professionals on this forum to tell you just how to do that. Another solution would be to back off the edge so that you're comfortably in the skidding zone.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Ski hop / chatter at the boot on hard fast turns. skier or ski problem?