>...Tom, I agree with 97% of what you said...
Rats! That only makes me as good as good 'ol SCSA, wherever he may be...
>...IMO, a skier who is skiing on 165-170 needs to have a very exquisite fore-aft and left-right balance...
I understand what you are saying and fully agree that good fore-aft balance is needed. The distinction that I was trying to convey in my sentence was that I consider 155-160 cm to be ultra-short, and IMHO, this is the catagory which needs the best fore-aft balance. OTOH, I was putting 165-170 into the more moderate length catagory which didn't need quite such refined skills. To accomodate your suggestion, I modified my middle category to 165-175 rather than 165-170.
>...catch and release at the tips and tails...is, to me, a
> symptom of a skier who has not enough fore-aft balance
> sensibility as to be able to move his/her weight in such a way
> as to avoid the phenomena...
Actually, until an experience earlier this year, I would probably have agreed with you. Now, I'm not so sure, and think that for critical situations, its better to have both technique (your suggestion) and equipment (my suggestion) working in your favor.
On one run, my daughter (on her board, not skis) wanted to go down a very steep groomed trail which had refrozen into ice skating rink levels of smoothness and hardness. Her snowboarding is not as good as her skiing, and she found herself in over her head, and had to slowly sideslip her way down. She asked me to stay uphill from her to protect her from people who were falling and sliding by us. I was on my 170 Atomic 9.16's (which were in great tune).
When I was actually skiing, the 9.16's were absolutely wonderful, and were carving up this terrain like a knife. Probably, they were one of the best skis I could possibly have had on my feet for skiing this trail. However, once I switched into pure sideslip mode (to go as slow as she was going), they turned horrible on me. With zero forward velocity, and very low sideways velocity, I simply couldn't stop them from catching and releasing. If I did not concentrate, the catching and releasing tended to alternate between the tips and tails, but if I *did* concentrate on fore-aft balance, I could at least make the tips and tails catch and release in unison.
To experiment a bit further with this phenomena while actually skiing (instead of nearly stopped & just sideslipping), I let her get ahead of me a bit, and did a couple of old school jump turns (ie, no carving involved at all). Used in this mode, the 9.16's still acted pretty much the same way. Once again, they were much poorer at highly defensive skiing than many other skis I own including both modern (but less deeply sidecut) shaped skis (eg, p40's, Stormriders, even Enemy TT's), as well as any number of 20 year old stiff, straight skis I used to ride.
If the instability I experienced happened in serious "no-fall" terrain, it could make for real problems. This (and similar experiences I have heard from other people) is the reason that I said many people might prefer a more predictable, tolerant, skiddable ski for critical conditions than a more high strung (but high performance) carving machine.
Just my $0.02,
Tom / PM[ March 17, 2003, 07:20 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]