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Why hard snow chatter?/Supercross TI

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Greetings all,
My first post after lurking about for a year or so. Thanks to all for so much valuable information.

My problem: I recently bought some used 2001 model Head Cyber SuperCross TI skis in 180cm. Purchased for Western trips and rare softer snow days locally (Minnesota). I tried them out on a very nice hard snow day and was quite impressed with them, however... When doing aggressive, short radius cross-under turns, they would consistantly chatter in the last half of the turn. I felt the chatter right under my heel. I tried adjusting my weight forward and back, but no help. I could also get chatter in the last half of a fast GS turn if I edged and loaded very aggressively. Turn initiation and the first half is great. Lower load GS turns are great. Is this chatter problem me, the skis, or the tune?

Me: I'm 52, 6'1", 195lbs, skied for 20 years, currently ski 40 days a year including two Western trips per season with my family. I ski Atomic BetaRace 9.20 (190cm) in GS race league and Dynastar STc slaloms (172cm) for local fun. Neither of these chatter except on abused race courses. I'd guess I'm a level 7, knocking on 8. I work hard on technique and love hard snow carving. Just got the shape slaloms last year, so the short, cross-under turn is fairly new to me. It's become my favorite however. I don't alway carve a clean arc because I still get occasional 'surprise' rebound from the ski tail. I'm workin' on it.

The Skis: I chose to go with the Heads in a 180 (instead of 190) because they are stiff and fairly wide among mid-fats. I wanted a turny ski (thus shorter) because I can't always go fast when sking with my family. I wanted some level of hard snow capability. My TIs carve beautifully if not loaded too much. Perhaps this is simply the limit of the ski. Perhaps the limit for this length in the ski. MikeB and TomB, your opinion, as you've skied these?

The Tune: The Heads are tuned with 1 degree base bevel and 2 degree edge bevel. I tune all my skis with the 'Beast' tools. The Tognar site lists factory tune for Head as 0-1 base and 0-2 edge; not alot of guidance here. I can't find a 'Head' factory tech site to ask. Anyone have any theories on what causes a ski to chatter on smooth hard snow? Advice on a change to tuning? More edge or less? Change of technique? Maybe boot or binding compliance?
Thanks for your help
Dick (RHN)
post #2 of 10
Skis generally chatter when they are edged too aggressively. Some skis are probably more prone to chatter than others, and a different tune might help, but I not sure what the best tune would be. Try skiing lighter on your edges, and progressively working up to a higher edge, rather than grabbing the whole edge all at once. Also, try skiing with relaxed feet and ankles. Sometimes soft feet can absorb rather than reinforce chatter. In a race course, a little bit of washing out or skidding from too little edge is faster (and easier to correct) than chatter from too much edge. The fastest racers learn to feel for just enough edge to get the job done.

post #3 of 10
From what I remember, the SuperCorss TIs are not very stiff torsionally. This will create chatter from an aggressive skier on hard snow. Especially somebody who weighs 195 lbs. I am not sure you can avoid this. If you detune them a little and skid your tails (I cannot believe I am saying this ) the chatter will go away. But then you lose that nice ability to hold a carve in a longer turn.

Get yourself some nice SL skis for local hills and enjoy the TIs out West where they will float nicely and bust through crud like hell. Good luck!
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your kind reply. I fear I had moments of recognition in your message. I am edging more aggressively this year than I ever have. Now, I must learn to be more subtle in application of aggression. I know GS turns well. Things happen slowly so you can tip in more edge and back off as needed. Short radius turns are such brief bursts of force, there's less opportunity for correction during the turn. You are saying that I may need to modifiy my turn shape to pressure the ski less abruptly ("... lighter on your edges, and progressively working up to a higher edge..."). I will try it.
Your reply also suggests to me that the edge may be more forgiving with a 1 and 1 bevel. I think this will help as the chatter was still very grippy. The ski continued to turn aggressively without washing out. I may have to try rolling the ski slightly off edge during the last half of the turn, to see if this reduces chatter. I feel like I ski with relaxed feet and ankles, however, when the chatter starts, I stiffen like a board. My instinct is to roll in more edge. Guess you can't always trust instinct. "Just enough edge to get the job done" is skill level for me to work toward. In summary, a little ski fixin',a lot of skier fixin'.
Thanks, Dick
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm hoping torsional stiffness is not the problem. I selected the SuperCross TI as kind of a Bandit XX on Viagra. Certainly, a mid-fat will be compromised a bit because of that width underfoot. I'm hoping with a little detuning of the edge bevel, I can get rid of chatter without resorting to windshield wiper turns. I have a little technique polishing to do as well.
Totally agree about the SL skies for the local hills. My local favorite has an edema-inducing 475 vertical feet. When I got my first set of shape SL skies last year, they transformed the place. Now, I'm panting at the bottom of the hill. I get in 35 turns where I used to get 10. My legs are rubble after four hours of hard sking. Modern short SLs are the answer for 'little hill' Midwestern skiers who want to ski hard. Just love em. I was hoping, however, that I could leave them home for the Western trips, and just carry one ski. I think the TIs will get better with a little ski/skier work. Thanks for your help.
post #6 of 10
Originally posted by RHN:

Short radius turns are such brief bursts of force, there's less opportunity for correction during the turn... I may need to modifiy my turn shape to pressure the ski less abruptly ("... lighter on your edges, and progressively working up to a higher edge...").

Try this to develop a smoother turn shape and more progressive edging in short turns. Do some smooth GS turns too fast on a not too steep trail (whatever fast and not too steep mean to you). Once you get to a slightly uncomfortable speed, gradually shorten your turn radius. Make each successive turn a little shorter that the last. When your turn shape breaks down (either because the tails washout or because of chatter), go back to longer turns and start over. The idea is to take the GS movement pattern and turn shape and bring them to your short turns.

If you try it, let me know how it works out.

Good luck

post #7 of 10
the ski is engaging too early in the turn. If they are wider than you are accustomed to under the foot and your molars are getting rattled loose try under canting your set up. The wider the platform under the foot , especially in hard snow the quicker the edge will engage . Try playing with duct tape on the heel only of the binding until the chatter goes away or is negligable. Best of luck, Greg
post #8 of 10
I haven't had any problems with chatter on my Ti's, no matter how fast I go. I ski very aggresively, however I also weigh only 160 lbs and am on 190's. On the other hand, the Ti's are a bit wider than 'carving' skis, so it might explain what you've experienced with them.
post #9 of 10
sounds to me like bad timing on your movements

properly engaged, properly timed edge control should not produce chatter, even if you are mesomorphic

sounds like you are rushing the turn finish -- pushing the tail to engage & move before you have translated the force from beneath your foot toward the tail

slow one-footed turns on a green slope w/hardpack surface should teach you the timing needed to finish the turn with power and not chatter... I'll bet it's your input and not the ski's deficiency
post #10 of 10
RHN: What JohnDownling & TomB said in the first two posts nailed the answer square on the head.
If you want to get rid of the chatter you will need to change the way you ski (and ruin your fun) or change the ski. The new Head I.C. 200/300 or Fischer Sceneo 500 will probably do it but will also do your pocketbook a good dent too. :
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