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Transition Advice

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
New to this forum, but glad I found it. I'm re-entering skiing after an extended (9 year or so?) absence. But I'm a long time, very experienced skier (55 now; skiing since a kid). Strong, technical, athletic woman skier who skied the whole mountain. Typically on 195cm, sometimes 200 (GS style).

Here's my question: I'm sure I'll be doing some adjustments to technique on this new generation of skis. To what extent should I be picking a ski based on that? For example, should I be looking for something less technical and more forgiving than I might otherwise? At least for this first season out? Or should I assume that, with a few days on the slopes, I'll make the adjustment and be back in the saddle (so to speak)?
post #2 of 12
All I can say is I had no difficulty what so ever going from a 208 SG to a 155 to 170 cm carvers when I started renting demo skis to find a new ski. If you know how to ski you should be adapted before you get back to the lift on your first run. Don't go soft and forgiving; go one step below race.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
That's what I was hoping to hear. I've caught just a couple of threads on other forums where folks have described some problems skiing on shaped skis. Not sure of their skill level though. I'd prefer to think (but I'm willing to find out I'm wrong) that for experienced skiers, the technique changes are subtle and quickly mastered.

Thanks for the post.
post #4 of 12
Welcome to EpicSki, JDGin--and welcome back to skiing!

Lots has changed in the last decade, but some things never change! The fact is, deep-sidecut "shaped" skis are designed to carve much more easily than the old straight skis, but the outcome, and the techniques involved, are fundamentally the same. Carving once required extraordinary skill, strength, and athleticism, but the new skis do it well with far less edge angle, less pressure needed to bend them, and less speed required to generate that pressure. If you once carved well, you'll find the new skis just make it easier.

However, since it was truly the realm of experts to carve consistently on the "old" skis, very few skiers actually did it. Even advanced skiers typically used a technique more suited to creating skidded, braking turns. If your "old" habits were more of this type (and without knowing you, I'd have to say the odds are pretty good), you'll find that you need to make some real adjustments to get the most out of--or even to enjoy--today's high-performance carving skis.

Don't let that stop you, though. If you "were" a strong skier, get good skis. But I strongly encourage you to find a good instructor (and not just a "strong skiing friend") to help you connect to your new equipment, to help you identify and correct any bad habits that will slow your progress, and to smooth your transition back to the sport.

Enjoy!

Best regards,
Bob
post #5 of 12
Just one thing, you have to keep the new shapely skis on their edges, otherwise they will get all confused and go very wobbly trying to decide if you want to turn left or right - no straight- lining the hill. Almost straight-lining while alternating between left and right edges is fine though.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post
Welcome to EpicSki, JDGin--and welcome back to skiing!

Lots has changed in the last decade, but some things never change! The fact is, deep-sidecut "shaped" skis are designed to carve much more easily than the old straight skis, but the outcome, and the techniques involved, are fundamentally the same. Carving once required extraordinary skill, strength, and athleticism, but the new skis do it well with far less edge angle, less pressure needed to bend them, and less speed required to generate that pressure. If you once carved well, you'll find the new skis just make it easier.

However, since it was truly the realm of experts to carve consistently on the "old" skis, very few skiers actually did it. Even advanced skiers typically used a technique more suited to creating skidded, braking turns. If your "old" habits were more of this type (and without knowing you, I'd have to say the odds are pretty good), you'll find that you need to make some real adjustments to get the most out of--or even to enjoy--today's high-performance carving skis.

Don't let that stop you, though. If you "were" a strong skier, get good skis. But I strongly encourage you to find a good instructor (and not just a "strong skiing friend") to help you connect to your new equipment, to help you identify and correct any bad habits that will slow your progress, and to smooth your transition back to the sport.

Enjoy!

Best regards,
Bob
all the above is completely valid, good analysis.
AND, I will add this for detail on your OP question,and base it on the fact that I am your age and experience and have blended old school with new school ski technique with favorable results.
Some companies tend to design a ski that is easier to execute smearing, braking turns on, and this is a plus for many skiers. The super side cut ski (42+mm boot to toe, 30+ to tail) will "hook-up", meaning the inside edges (tails mostly) grab the snow strongly and do not break loose for smearing (scrubbing speed). This is good for shaving seconds of a GS run, or making pretty turns on blue groomers, but can be deadly in a real life situation involving steep, technical terrain.
Back on task, Dynastar has been making many models with the sidecut modified in the tail, that is: the difference between under the boot and at the tail is less great (roughly 20mm)than the typical carver (Volkl AC3 for example), (around 30mm) This formula is a great compromise, allows for old school check and platform method, and gives away little in carving performance at the same time.
post #7 of 12
JDGin,

Bob gave a great summary of what's changed -- including how it's much easier to carve now.

I took a lesson a number of years ago just after shaped skis had really taken hold. The instructor watched me while I made some turns and said, "You grew up skiing, didn't you?"

I said, "Yes. Why?"

He said, "You're working too hard! On the old skis we had to make big unweighting movements and really pressure the skis to turn. That's not needed anymore. Try a subtle down unweighting movement, roll to the new edges and your skis will carve."

Nice!

And like Ghost said, the new skis don't like straightlining. Because of the larger surface area they can be quite stable but keep them a little on edge and they'll be a lot less squirrelly.

Enjoy.

Rick

PS When I was a 140 lb. teenager I skied on 200cm Volkl Renntiger GS skis. Now I weigh 220 and ski (much better) on 175cm Head Supershapes with a 13m turn radius.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDGin View Post
New to this forum, but glad I found it. I'm re-entering skiing after an extended (9 year or so?) absence. But I'm a long time, very experienced skier (55 now; skiing since a kid). Strong, technical, athletic woman skier who skied the whole mountain. Typically on 195cm, sometimes 200 (GS style).

Here's my question: I'm sure I'll be doing some adjustments to technique on this new generation of skis. To what extent should I be picking a ski based on that? For example, should I be looking for something less technical and more forgiving than I might otherwise? At least for this first season out? Or should I assume that, with a few days on the slopes, I'll make the adjustment and be back in the saddle (so to speak)?
Hi JDGin, Welcome to EpicSki!
I made a transition from 185's to 160's with little issue. It wasn't until I took some lessons that I learned how to use the new skis like they wanted to be used.
I love it and you will too!!!
I've quoted Bob Barnes post for one main reason.......He's da Man!!!!!!
(when weems lets him )
You will never go wrong when you take the advice of fine folks like Bob and Weems!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post
Welcome to EpicSki, JDGin--and welcome back to skiing!

Lots has changed in the last decade, but some things never change! The fact is, deep-sidecut "shaped" skis are designed to carve much more easily than the old straight skis, but the outcome, and the techniques involved, are fundamentally the same. Carving once required extraordinary skill, strength, and athleticism, but the new skis do it well with far less edge angle, less pressure needed to bend them, and less speed required to generate that pressure. If you once carved well, you'll find the new skis just make it easier.

However, since it was truly the realm of experts to carve consistently on the "old" skis, very few skiers actually did it. Even advanced skiers typically used a technique more suited to creating skidded, braking turns. If your "old" habits were more of this type (and without knowing you, I'd have to say the odds are pretty good), you'll find that you need to make some real adjustments to get the most out of--or even to enjoy--today's high-performance carving skis.

Don't let that stop you, though. If you "were" a strong skier, get good skis. But I strongly encourage you to find a good instructor (and not just a "strong skiing friend") to help you connect to your new equipment, to help you identify and correct any bad habits that will slow your progress, and to smooth your transition back to the sport.

Enjoy!

Best regards,
Bob
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post
Some companies tend to design a ski that is easier to execute smearing, braking turns on, and this is a plus for many skiers. The super side cut ski (42+mm boot to toe, 30+ to tail) will "hook-up", meaning the inside edges (tails mostly) grab the snow strongly and do not break loose for smearing (scrubbing speed).

Back on task, Dynastar has been making many models with the sidecut modified in the tail, that is: the difference between under the boot and at the tail is less great (roughly 20mm)than the typical carver (Volkl AC3 for example), (around 30mm) This formula is a great compromise, allows for old school check and platform method, and gives away little in carving performance at the same time.
Excellent advice for an old guy with old style (you're three years older than me JD ). Many of the latest skis will only accept carving, or only a few turn shapes which gets old pretty fast, or do not allow you to use your old skills to full advantage.

If you learned long ago, you still have foot-swivel, smearing, tail push and all those other things that you'll continue to use, and you want a ski that will accomodate that, while allowing you to explore the latest technology. I also look immediately at the ski's tail, if it's rounded it's a first indication that it'll accept varying turn shapes.

As davluri said, Dynastars are very accomodating of the Jurrasic style (I'm 40+ years on snow), which still being instantly available for a banzai run carving all the way.

In any case, welcome back - the new skis are an absolute blast, AND - try before you buy!
post #10 of 12
All good advice. Welcome back to the sport!

Dennis
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Wow, great advice everyone. I spent some time Saturday in a local (well, semi-local) ski shop looking over a couple of skis that interest me. The more I looked at them, the more I wondered about some of the things you are now explaining to me. I was particularly thinking about how they could possibly work straight-lining a hill as I was sighting down them from the top, looking at that amazing shape built into them, and the lack of any groove on the base . . . hmmm.

So here's the lineup of skis that have made it onto my short list right now. Any thoughts of whether any of these are unsuitable? or more suitable? Not in any particular order . . .

-- Dynastar Exclusive Legend Fluid (probably in a 158). I also had one person in the shop push me hard to consider the EL Limited, precisely because it would be such a good ski for me to transition on. My concern about that is that I don't just want a transition ski. At these prices, this ski has to last me awhile. It also looks like more of a hard pack, groomer ski and I want some versatility if I can get it. Thoughts on all of that?

-- Nordica Olympia Victory (probably a 154 . . . the 162 seems on the long side). The widest underfoot. Boy does that 124 tip look wide!

-- Fischer Vision Vapor (probably the 160). Haven't been able to eyeball it, but I like everything I read about it and I like the price point on it.

As for me, I'm 5' 51/2", weight 145, and do have good technical skills, but I'm sure that, while I can carve a good turn, I also have a full set of the old bad habits too. So if anyone here has insights about these (or other) skis for my purposes, fire away!

Thanks for all of your responses . . . just the advice I was looking for.
post #12 of 12
It's not a female specific ski, but my daughter loved it - Head Supershape.

Sorry, but neither I nor anyone I know has tried the skis you listed, though I have heard good things about the Victory via reviews. You might want to look at realskier reviews for $20 bucks.
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