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What's the truth? Female specific skis...Really "female" skis or

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
What do you think about the new "female" skis? Are they:

1) Truly "female" specific skis?

2) Simply lighter models of other skis with the binding "center" line moved forward?

3) A manufacturs marketing scheme now being followed by all the major mfrs?

4) Both #2 & #3?

5) Regardless, is it a good idea or does it just muddy the pond of ski decision for women a little more?

:
post #2 of 22
No 4

[ November 25, 2002, 10:42 PM: Message edited by: kiwiski ]
post #3 of 22
A woman ski (or boot, or clothes) is a great starting point, but just a starting point.
Are ladies shaped different then men, sure, but are ALL ladies shaped the same, NO. Do ladies who are shaped the same, ski the same, again NO.
So, just because a ski has a W on it don't buy it, but don't just rule out the non-W skis too.
Females in general need a softer ski (they are lighter, not as strong) and a 1cm forward mounting point (you can get ANY ski mounted this way), and a lighter ski (again less agressiveness and less strenght)
Find a shop that knows what they are doing (not a big box $99 last years old crap) and talk to them, Also try demoing skis from the shop or from the local hill.
Also I'm not quite sure what the difference between a true female ski is and a ski with a lighter swing weight and a center mounting point are.
post #4 of 22
I thought women's skis were marketed specifically towards beginner/intermediate levels. All the reps said if they're strong skiers, put them on uni-sex skis.

Regards,
MelloBoy
post #5 of 22
nolo is a PSIA Examiner, an excellent skier, and I believe she skis on female specific skis. I'd like her point of view on this.
post #6 of 22
I have a friend who has the Volkl 20-20s. She loves them in certain conditions (bumps, anything where the lightness and easy flex is an advantage) but says they can be chattery/unstable at high speeds and she prefers her Blizzard Titans in other conditions. (The Titans are her off-piste ski.) But with the Titans she sometimes has trouble flexing it enough and feels a little thrown around, particularly in bumps. (She's an excellent bump skier.) She's about 5'2" (don't know her weight, but she's pretty light).

Personally, I'm not really motivated to try a women's ski - I'm about 5'9" and have no trouble flexing my G41s. From what I've heard, women's skis are more appropriate for shorter/lighter people in general (with the exception of the mounting point issue).

Just a thought - but what's the structural difference between a women's ski and a telemark ski? Aren't tele skis generally the same as alpine skis, but lighter and softer? Is it just the mounting point? (which would in my mind amount to differences for marketing purposes only...)
post #7 of 22
Thanks for the invite, Oboe.

1. In my view, it ain't a women's ski unless women designed it. K2's line-up of women's skis, the T9s, were designed by some of my friends, all excellent skiers, all sizes.

2. I don't know about other lines than K2. I have skied the Spire and the X and they are the best skis I have ever been on (previously I was on the Mod-X and the Merlin VI SL). The Spire especially, with its narrow waist, is the quickest turning ski I've tried. It's a GREAT ski. I just love it. These two skis have the same geometry and construction, one waisted 64 cm and the other 70 cm.

3. They left the metal layer out of the women's skis. Fine with me!

4. The difference between tele and alpine skis is the weight and stiffness. Same footprint, different materials. If you ski the BC the tele model is for you. If you tele lift-served terrain, put your 3-pins on alpine boards.
post #8 of 22
as I have heard it from several ski shops, some Womens skis are just slightly easier flexing than unisex/mens skis, and have a differrent color scheme. If you're a lighter/smaller guy then womens skis would work fine.

I'm 150, just started intermediate skiing, and only ski the local mountains with the occasional long distance ski trip. I found last year's atomic 8.18's on sale for a ncie price. I ski 160-170's and they only had the men's 8.18's in 180+, but they had the womens in 170. So that's what I got, had them mounted in the men's position (both mounting positions were marked which leads me to believe that this is the same flex as the "men's" version)

I flexed both skis, and the flex wasn't noticeably differrent at all. I placed them both on the ground, and pushed slightly in the middle and both felt the same.

I guess it depends on the ski, but as for construction, the women's matched up exactly to the men's skis specs in terms of tip-sidecut widths.
post #9 of 22
I have a suspicion that some "female specific" skis actually do have a different construction, some may have a different sidecut [though not most], and of course there's that forward mounting position. I also have a suspicion that some OTHER "female specific" skis are mainly marketing gimmics, and which is which, I don't know, but I trust nolo completely as to the K2's.

But I do have a problem with the designation by gender. Some women are strong, or heavy, or have smaller hips, or any combination of that. Some men have bigger butts and/or thighs than they have chests and shoulders, or are lighter - whatever. I wonder if a disservice is done by categorizing.

In boots, there does seem to be a female specific foot shape, I'm told.

nolo is in junior competition boots, notwithstanding her great skiing talent and experience. Considering my weight and not-so-hot skiing talents, I also am skiing much better, thank you, in junior competition boots. I'm sure that many women would not like a ski labeled female and would more enjoy the "regular" version. Also, I am sure that some men would be much happier on some skis that happen to have a female label but would rather not risk the embarrassment.

Why can't we just have skis with certain charactaristics and leave off the genderization? This is a question, not a rhetorical statement.
post #10 of 22
From the feed back I have gotten from women who I have sold W skiis , they have noticed a difference . It has been a mixture of clients from intermediates to ski instructors.The only skiis I push as Women designate are Volkl 20/20 ,head lights and this years elan Wisper. I choose these because they had different contruction from the neutral gender skis.I believe a strong women skier would have no problem with a neutral gender ski(all non women designate)as long as the mounting is changed for hip angulation , which brings up Tyrolia rail system as an excellant way to prove moveing the mount helps the fairer sex.A lot of skis only differentiate by color and the moved mount position.I did have a w - specific ski in a 180 that did not sell and was marked down so low a guy bought it even with the caveat that it was ladies , but he said he could ski any thing , he brought it back 2 days later . I am going up for a special demo at Purgatory on Monday for 2 days and will try a couple the W skiis and give feed back, if any one wants to know. Usally demo is a one day affair buit this this years that I have already demoed last March so I will sacrafice a couple of runs. PS still no spell cker?
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by oboe:

But I do have a problem with the designation by gender. Some women are strong, or heavy, or have smaller hips, or any combination of that. Some men have bigger butts and/or thighs than they have chests and shoulders, or are lighter - whatever. Why can't we just have skis with certain charactaristics and leave off the genderization? This is a question, not a rhetorical statement.[/QB]
OBOE: The answer: MONEY, MONEY......did I mention MONEY.
post #12 of 22
FFF, did you ever consider that it might be money? OK, then, so you don't think it's money.
post #13 of 22
It has gotten past being just a pink variation of a low level ski. Womens skis now run the full product line (except race), because they sell. Sell? see above: money. But it is worth the money with all things being equal. Differences: as mentioned, centerline is moved up. Also, flex is different. Because of womens lower center of gravity, the ski will flex different in that the flex is softer 1/3 closer to the toe piece vs. 1/3 closer to the tip. I hope I conveyed that thought right.
post #14 of 22
Market segmentation is to be expected. This is a good thing for women, if indeed the ski is designed to optimize women's performance and not just to appeal to the female aesthetic.

I'm interpreting much of what I read on this thread as conditioned responses based on cultural beliefes that women are The Second Sex: women and their gear are inherently inferior to men and their gear. It's a form of guilt by association: I don't want to be a woman so I don't like anything built for women.

Well, I've changed my tune. I don't need to be one of the boys. I'll kick butt on my women's skis as easily as I do on my men's skis.

It's not the plane, it's the pilot. Long live Amelia Earhart and Carly Fiorina.
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
And yet another ski company jumps on the dollar wagon. Dynastar now has a line of women "specific" skis.
post #16 of 22
I would have thought that manufacturers would be better off marketing "lighter" versions of their skis for those who are lighter (either women or men) and those who simply do not wish to be on a ski that is too stiff. Head has the "Lightening" versions, which are just that. I find that this approach gives the right message.

But if marketing trends show that women's specific lines make business sense then why not?
post #17 of 22
I absolutely agree. Why not have lighter skis designed for lighter people, and both male/female mounting points marked on all skis. How hard would that be?

And if they're really serious that they're making performance women's skis - why no fat skis for women?
post #18 of 22
You're probably not considering the K2 T9 version ofthe Axis to be fat - it's "only" 70 mm under foot. So what do you mean by fat?

But, altagirl, your ideas are perfect - "lite" skis for lighter skiers, male and female mounting points on all skis. Brilliant! I vote YES!
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by Phil Pugliese:
Because of womens lower center of gravity, the ski will flex different in that the flex is softer 1/3 closer to the toe piece vs. 1/3 closer to the tip. I hope I conveyed that thought right.
Huh?

Typo - a thought poorly written
Thinko - a thought poorly expressed

Sorry, I couldn't resist . Phil, help me, what are you trying to say?

As for pink vs. blue skis, AltaGirl, you're my hero. I think you've hit the nail on the head. Bravo!

Speaking of the brand I know best, Volkl does differentiate in their construction of women's skis, with one exception - the Carver Motion. Other than mounting points, it is the same ski in both pink and blue versions. The bindings, however, are not the same. But, I would also mention that the Carver Motion is a high(er) skill level ski where any gender distinction should be invisible.

Let's start the revolution now! AltaGirl, lead on
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
I hope you all receive cheques from the ski manufacturers for your marketing ideas on how to bring their gender/body specific skis to market! It seems like not too many of you are really getting fooled.
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by oboe:
You're probably not considering the K2 T9 version ofthe Axis to be fat - it's "only" 70 mm under foot. So what do you mean by fat?
Considering the magazine ski reviews all had different definitions of fat skis, I guess there really isn't an answer to that. But looking at how wide many manufacturers are going underfoot these days (107 is the biggest I can think of with the Big Daddy) it just seems that there is a much more limited range for women's skis - like the marketing types think even the expert women they're trying to sell to lately don't ski off-piste or in powder? (I do understand that it's an even smaller market segment, so they probably wouldn't want to make a separate ski for it.)

My personal preferences for width? My everyday fat skis are 83mm, and my really fat powder only skis are 106mm underfoot. I have a pair of 70mm skis, but lately they only come out once or twice a year if it's icy and I'll be skiing mostly groomers. They're okay off piste (I guess), but they certainly don't make it any easier.
post #22 of 22
I don't buy into much of the woman's ski 'hype'. I agree with Altagirl and TomB. There are many many different skis out there and many many different skiers to be matched with them. Very few manufacturers adjust their sidecuts for woman although some might adjust mounting indcators. Phil P had a point with lower centre of mass and altered flex profile which would apply to lots of woman (not all and lots of men too). Some years ago Volkl had centre lines on the ski adjusted to varying boot sizes (don't know if they still do it). This could explain woman's mounting point as many woman (not all) have smaller feet. This also plays into Atomics lack of centre lines on race skis. They should be mounted off of the toe (mid chord) but with Atomic skis you're only double checking any ways. I tend towards recommending skis to woman as is appropriate to the woman, be it a 'light' ski a model more appropriate or a beefier ski for a beefier strong woman. The whole massive under the foot thing is a very small market segment and new. Atomic has the Sugar Daddy in smaller lengths intended for women. Dyanastar Little Big Fats come quite small and are soft for smaller lighter woman. Dyanastar also has a built in ramp angle on their woman's skis. This is ass backwards. I think it's born of putting heel lifts into boots which has a totally opposite affect. Ramp angle in the binding is the bain of small footed woman and men as it tends to put them in the back seat and eats up flexion in the leg. I'm tired, I'm sure I'll get a chance to respond to someone on this.
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