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Problems with longer skis

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello all. I am an all-mountain (mostly off-piste) skier in the Canadian Rockies. My age is early 30s, skiing about 15 years, 25-40 ski days per year, about 173 lbs, just under 5'9", ski moderately aggressive, sometimes more and sometimes less depending on terrain, conditions and how I'm feeling that day. Favorites spot on the mountain is steep and deep trees.

I am very comfortable and confident when skiing a length of 177-180 cms. Lately I have been demoing skis in the 180-185 cms range. Underfoot width veries from 90-105mm. I notice when on skis 180-185 cms I have to get quite far forward to get the ski to behave properly (find its nature turning arc), but this makes me feel like my weight is too far forward. I also notice at this length the ski tips tend to deflect easier then <180cms. I feel like I struggle to keep the tips tracking properly and from being thrown into the back seat (then drive back forward, then into the back seat again, then drive forward again). After a few hours I'm exhausted and frustrated.

Are these signs that 180-185 cms is too long of a ski for me? Or is that oversimplifying. Are instructors able to tell if a ski is too long when giving a lesson and will/should they tell me that (or too short for that matter)? Comments/Suggestions greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 7
Why don't you tell us which models of 177-180 cm skis are comfortable and which five cms longer make skiing the same conditions more difficult? It may not be the extra length, because 5 cms isn't much of a difference, but differences in model design can make a significant difference.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Comfortable on my every day ski Rossi B3 (176cm) and skis I've demod this year Mantra @ 177, Watea94 @ 178, Scott Mission @ 178, Mythic Rider @ 178cms.

Trouble with demod skis Gotama @ 183, K2 Seth @ 179, Mantra @ 184 and Watea94 @186.

Mix of comfortable and trouble with Salomon Gun @ 181 cm.
post #4 of 7
CalgarySkier , The reason the longer skis will not behave as well as the shorter skis has more to do with technique and timing rather than the ski length.

I suspect that you are using a small amount of upper body rotation as part of your steering mechanism. A slight rotation of the hips in the direction of the turn does provide guidance to the skis and work quite well except with longer skis or difficult snow conditions. Rotation will cause the new outside ski to want to run straight rather than hook up at the start of the turn.Are you keeping your inside hand and hip up and forward throughout your turns?

Timing can also be an issue. Longer skis want more speed and a larger turn radius. You may be trying to hold the speed down and turn tighter than these skis want to go.

You have said which skis and lengths you are comfortable on so you already know the answer to your "Are these skis too long?" question. The current timing and techniques you are employing favor using the shorter lengths.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Pierre View Post
I suspect that you are using a small amount of upper body rotation as part of your steering mechanism. A slight rotation of the hips in the direction of the turn does provide guidance to the skis and work quite well except with longer skis or difficult snow conditions......You may be trying to hold the speed down and turn tighter than these skis want to go.
Thanks Pierre. I think you may be on to it. I hit the slopes the past few days and paid attention for your points and hands are up and out front, but my upper body is rotating somewhat. I know I have a bad habit of trying to turn longer, wider skis tighter then the ski wants (painfully obvious with 183 Gotamas). I plan to take some lessons next week to get this sorted out. Thanks again.
post #6 of 7

Another possibility you are feeling the skis need more tip pressure could be either the bindings mounting position on the ski or the varius delta angles created by the different bindings on the skis. These two parameters are important elements in the fore/aft alignment plane and affect your balance point and the sweet spot on the ski causing you to make the kind of adaptations you mentioned above. It may very well have nothing to do with the actual ski length.

Moving the binding farther forward on the ski will improve the negative attributes you highlighted above. Also, take note what the stand height differential on your personal favorite skis is and try to recreate this on the demos or any future ski you purchase. This dimension can be derived by subtracting the thickness of the toe piece at the AFD from the heel thickness where the boot heel rests. Both of these parameters are key elements in how a particular ski will handle on the snow and dictate where you need to stand to optimize turnability and performance. You can also experiment with changing this "delta" angle quite easily with various thickness shims made of thin cardboard or bontex insole shims found at any reputable ski boot fitting shop. Cutting and placing a piece of this material (don't go any thicker than 3mm to allow good binding function) between your boot sole and the binding at the toe or the heel will change the Delta angle and change your balance point over the ski. With a little experimentation you may find a better position than you are currently skiing. If so, this can be permanently modified on your boot or binding by a shop. Once you find this optimum position be aware of recreating as soon as you buy new skis and bindings so that this variable is removed from customizing the equipment for your personal needs. In general it's a good idea to stick with the same bindings on all your skis so that any needed adjustments can be done on the boots and you can step in any of your skiis and be right on.

good luck!
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks Bud. I did have a conversation with Lou (Lou's Performance Ski) on this and he felt I should look at technique or conditioning first.

So, I took a lesson and the instructor pointed out near the end of the day that my hips are rotating, always in the same direction - the left hip rotates back. She said she new something wasn't right, but it took her quite a while to determine what is was:

Obviously this is throwing me out of balance and removing tip pressure from the left ski. She gave me some practice drills and I have to also work with my athletic therapist as I have a hip/pelvis disorder that I think is causing/contributing to this. Best of all I bought new skis the day before the lesson and it snowed 20cms that night! I should either buy new skis or take lessons more often

More lessons are a given...and well, to be honest, so are more skis.:
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