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Rockered Skis

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I have seen some discussion about rocker skis, but I don't understand what a rocker ski is? Are these the same as reverse cambered skis, and if not, how do they differ? What conditions/type of skiing are rocker skis used for?
post #2 of 23
A rocker-ed ski is a ski with negative camber, like a rocking chair. However, the term usually describes a ski with reverse camber at the tips only, or at the tips and tail. Often a rocker-ed ski has a flat cambered section under the bindings and the middle half of the ski.

A fully shaped reverse camber ski (w/o a flat section) is called (guess what) a reverse camber ski.

The Volant Spatula is a reverse-camber ski and a Dynastar Huge Trouble is a rocker-ed ski. These skis are intended for deeper snow.

Michael
post #3 of 23
Rocker is another name for reverse camber.

It makes a ski much easier and more predictable in soft snow. With traditional camber skis you have to weight them equally for them to flex equally - which isn't always possible so you end up in a situation where your left and right skis are trying to do different things. Another thing rocker does is help prevent tip-dive.

But I think the main thing it does is make turn transition and initiation easier and faster. The main reason people ned to de-weight and weight the ski during the transition and initiation of a turn is to build up enough pressure to flex the ski to start the next turn. But if the ski is already flexed that transition can be much quicker and smoother without the need for major weight changes.

I got my first set of rockered skis last year (Hellbents) and I was blown away by the performance and predictability in soft snow. And I now think that a ski with regular camber (regardless of how wide it is) is a handicap in soft snow.

IMO we will see a lot more rockered and zero-camber skis in the coming years. I think that for 50/50 all-mountain skis zero camber is the way to go, it is a good blance of hard snow grip and soft snow forgiveness. And any 110mm+ ski with regular camber is just a contradiction in terms.
post #4 of 23
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwiski View Post
...I now think that a ski with regular camber (regardless of how wide it is) is a handicap in soft snow.
KA-CHING!

Oh, and FWIW, my bet is that as rocker designs evolve, some element of tip or tip/tail rocker will creep into virtually all recreational general purpose ski designs.

I got some mighty funny looks when I skied TC slush last Sept on my Pontoons. Apparently not many rockered skis had made an appearance in that neck of the woods yet
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwiski View Post
And I now think that a ski with regular camber (regardless of how wide it is) is a handicap in soft snow.
Different strokes for different folks, but I find that a full on rockered ski gives up too much in stability. The issues you talk about cambered skis having, like needing to be weighted to initiate a turn, disappear at high speeds. For people with a more straight down the fall line and less flowy sort of style, full on full on rockered skis can feel like trying to straightline on snowblades.

Theres so many variables that I think the perfect combination is different for everyone. I love my comikazis with a rockered tip and normal camber underfoot, but I also love my traditionally cambered FFF's. No matter what, I like a mostly flat unrockered tail.
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MAGGOT View Post
Different strokes for different folks, but I find that a full on rockered ski gives up too much in stability. The issues you talk about cambered skis having, like needing to be weighted to initiate a turn, disappear at high speeds. For people with a more straight down the fall line and less flowy sort of style, full on full on rockered skis can feel like trying to straightline on snowblades.
Ditto.

Rockered skis are ideal on steeper runs and in trees where the quick turning ability really helps. I own a pair of Spats with the bindings offset 5mm, this was done in the hope that they drift towards each other at higher speeds. I still feel like I'm standing on a saucer when not turning. Reverse cambered skis are not much fun on firm snow either, worthless really.

Michael
post #8 of 23
In terms of stability in soft snow I think a long, stiff ski with slight rocker (and possibly with regular camber tail) could be the best of both worlds. When the flex already built into the tip you can make the ski stiffer than you could with a regular camber ski, and extra length also adds stability.

Rocker does make a ski feel shorter, but that means you can use longer lengths than you could with regular camber.

And I have put my money where my mouth is, I got a set of 189cm (193 actual length) K2 Obsethed with mini-rocker so I will be able to confirm or reject my ideas in the next couple of months.
post #9 of 23
The Dynastar XXL is a powder ski with almost no camber and a flat tail. Its tip is very wide and tall. It will not tip dive and is very easy to use. The 187cm size is a winner IMHO.

Michael
post #10 of 23
I ordered a pair of rockered skis for next year and am not sure about the tail...I can get it with our without tail rocker....there seems to be two very definite schools of thought on this issue. What will the primary differences be between the tail rocker or tail with small amount of camber?
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by locknload View Post
I ordered a pair of rockered skis for next year and am not sure about the tail...I can get it with our without tail rocker....there seems to be two very definite schools of thought on this issue. What will the primary differences be between the tail rocker or tail with small amount of camber?
The rockered tail helps keep the tips up, the tail sinks easily in deep snow. It's also easier to smear turns. Like Kiwiski said, the ski is fully decambered and will turn without careful weight distribution.

The primary problem with a rockered tail is the inability to carve on firm snow in transit to the deep stuff.

Michael
post #12 of 23
I am still undecided on the rockered tip / traditional tail thing. I can see it might be good in situations where you want a bit more grip. But I sort of get the feeling it might be like the skis with soft tips and stiff tails where you end up riding the tails all the time. I think I would just end up in the back seat all the time.

Quote:
For the purposes of definitions: From the Praxis Skis website HERE

Praxis Skis has been developing several different camber/rocker variations for the 2009 lineup of skis. This is in acknowledgment to the fact that a traditional cambered ski or a full continuous curves rocker ski is not always the ideal match for varying conditions, terrain and skier preferences. The following molding variations have been used to build the 2009 models.

Low Camber: A traditional full camber much like you would see on a downhill race ski. Less camber then you would see from the average industry ski. Excellent for harder snow, groomed, or skied out. Camber makes the ski very responsive edge to edge and fast to initiate a turn.

Recurve: A combination of camber and rocker that is showing some obvious benefits. A small amount of camber in the underfoot area adds life to the ski and allows for more edge grip. The tip and tail are raised up with rocker making the ski perform better in powder. The tips and tails traverse better across the surface of the snow freeing up the catch points from grabbing variable snow.

Tip Rocker: The rear 75% of the ski has a very low traditional camber and the front 25% of the ski has rocker. The Rocker in the tip increases performance in powder and variable snow. The tail having a very slight camber allows for a more traditional ride and feel.

Continuous Curves Rocker: The rocker profile has no flat spot; instead it flows from a greater curve in the tip to a lesser curve in the mid and tail sections of the ski. The result is a great powder ski.
My current thoughts are that recurve will probably win our over tip only rocker, simply because it would mean a more consistent fore/aft feeling for the ski so easier to stay centred.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwiski View Post
I am still undecided on the rockered tip / traditional tail thing. I can see it might be good in situations where you want a bit more grip. But I sort of get the feeling it might be like the skis with soft tips and stiff tails where you end up riding the tails all the time. I think I would just end up in the back seat all the time.



My current thoughts are that recurve will probably win our over tip only rocker, simply because it would mean a more consistent fore/aft feeling for the ski so easier to stay centred.
Actually the great benifit provided by rocker-ed skis is that the tips stay up easily without riding the tails. The ski shape promotes a much more upright body position. Skiing powder becomes less fatiguing and initiating turns is much easier.

I agree that the recurve looks very promising, I'll have to try a pair.

Michael
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by locknload View Post
I ordered a pair of rockered skis for next year and am not sure about the tail...I can get it with our without tail rocker....there seems to be two very definite schools of thought on this issue. What will the primary differences be between the tail rocker or tail with small amount of camber?
I've found the exact opposite to be true.I've found that skis with insubstantial tails (whether rockered or just pintailed) make it a lot harder to stay out of the backseat landing airs, and I usually stomp things, I don't think I've ever backslapped a landing in my life.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by WILDCAT View Post
Actually the great benifit provided by rocker-ed skis is that the tips stay up easily without riding the tails.
I think I'd describe that as greatly oversimplified. The fact that the ski is, to one degree or another, bent into the basic turning shape...

- reduces the tendency to tip dive - and facilitates planing to the surface, when desired, at lower speeds

- eliminates the need for radical extension/retraction technique to facilitate turns in powder

- under the right conditions makes it easier to enter a turn since you just need to roll the skis rather than deeply decamber them by pressuring the tips

- makes it vastly easier to release turns in soft snow (hence my belief that they are a ton safer than conventional skis under manky grabby conditions)

- for the same reasons the shape makes releasing a turn easier, it makes pivoted and smeared/slarved turns land somewhere between easier & possible in soft snow

- allows the possibility of a more relaxed stance under lots of conditions

Obviously this is pretty generalized. There are lots of variations on the rocker game today. As well as increasing experimentation with sidecut.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MAGGOT View Post
I've found the exact opposite to be true.I've found that skis with insubstantial tails (whether rockered or just pintailed) make it a lot harder to stay out of the backseat landing airs, and I usually stomp things, I don't think I've ever backslapped a landing in my life.
And the Swallowtail?

I think Salomon had something, but it never caught on because people just95couldn't get their mind around a "short 195" cm ski. I've enjoyed mine. No rocker, but not much shape either.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
And the Swallowtail?

I think Salomon had something, but it never caught on because people just95couldn't get their mind around a "short 195" cm ski. I've enjoyed mine. No rocker, but not much shape either.
I found that the swallowtail (had the 2007 AK Rocket Lab woodcore) took a good pilot but was a quick-yet-stable ride. The ski was easy to turn because the tail would easily sink and it was easy to bring the tips across the fall line. The 195cm length helped the ski maintain stabilty. They were also very ski-able on firm snow. The biggest problem with the AK Rocket was the low profile tip, it would really punish you if you got forward. It was a ski made for tail-gunning.

Michael
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
And the Swallowtail?

I think Salomon had something, but it never caught on because people just95couldn't get their mind around a "short 195" cm ski. I've enjoyed mine. No rocker, but not much shape either.
I love those skis, way ahead of their time in my opinion. You say no rocker, but if you look close they have very long tips, like the 193 ehps, before such a thing was common at all. The tails also rise very slightly for about 8cm if I remember correctly, very slightly, they're probably not even 1cm apart at the very end, but its enough to make a difference.

Also, they weren't just a traditional swallowtail. A trad. swallowtail is just to make the tails sink and the tips float, the ak's swallowtail, with the edge ending a bit early, along with the tiny bit of mini rocker in the tips and tails makes it so that on hardpack they are easier to ski, but in conditions where you'd be going a bit faster (corn and pow) they feel a good deal longer and more stable.

They also have a HUGE tip compared to their tail and waist. This does the same thing as a pintail, making the tips float, but I like it a lot more than a pintail. Pintails seem to screw up the balance of a ski and makes it feel weird in anything but pow, but the big oversize tip accomplishes the same thing while keeping a lot more versatility.

Freaking brilliant skis, all these somewhat unconventional (especially a few years ago) ideas just came together so perfectly.

I know you have a pair so you know all about them, I'm just thinking aloud. Didn't think that wasn't going to be that long. I do love these skis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WILDCAT View Post
I found that the swallowtail (had the 2007 AK Rocket Lab woodcore) took a good pilot but was a quick-yet-stable ride. The ski was easy to turn because the tail would easily sink and it was easy to bring the tips across the fall line. The 195cm length helped the ski maintain stabilty. They were also very ski-able on firm snow. The biggest problem with the AK Rocket was the low profile tip, it would really punish you if you got forward. It was a ski made for tail-gunning.

Michael
Are you a bigger guy? I could almost never get my tips to dive, but I'm a pretty small guy. It seems bigger guys seem to dislike these skis more than smaller folks, I guess they just overpower the tips.

Again though, I couldn't disagree with you more. Oh well, different strokes.
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MAGGOT View Post
Are you a bigger guy? I could almost never get my tips to dive, but I'm a pretty small guy. It seems bigger guys seem to dislike these skis more than smaller folks, I guess they just overpower the tips.

Again though, I couldn't disagree with you more. Oh well, different strokes.
Yes , I'm a bigger guy. The bindings were centered on the line (not the dot) and I still had a hard time keeping the tips from diving. It is a great design that skied well both in deep snow or on firm groomers.

I think time has moved on. Skis like the Dynastar XXL or the K2 Hellbents will be the trend setters for deeper snow.

Michael
post #20 of 23
I'm still on the fence with the reverse camber design. Sure, they do make certain types of snow (think deep PNW heavy pow) much more fun then it would be otherwise. But, in a deep but lighter type of Pow (CO, UT, MT, etc...), chowder, crud, and groomed there may be better tools.

Can't wait to do some head to head with my Praxis and Shaman.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by WILDCAT View Post
Yes , I'm a bigger guy. The bindings were centered on the line (not the dot) and I still had a hard time keeping the tips from diving. It is a great design that skied well both in deep snow or on firm groomers.

I think time has moved on. Skis like the Dynastar XXL or the K2 Hellbents will be the trend setters for deeper snow.

Michael
Oh, I understand now, seeing what you're comparing them to. I don't think that the ak rockets were ever meant to be a true powder ski. They're all about versatility.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by WILDCAT View Post
The Dynastar XXL is a powder ski with almost no camber and a flat tail. Its tip is very wide and tall. It will not tip dive and is very easy to use. The 187cm size is a winner IMHO.

Michael
That's odd. My 187 XXLs have a traditional profile--same as my Gots and Districts.
I wonder if they made another version?
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunValley View Post
That's odd. My 187 XXLs have a traditional profile--same as my Gots and Districts.
I wonder if they made another version?
I also consider the XXL to be traditional. But the design is very effective and easy to use IMO

Michael
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