EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Are Wider Skis More Stable and Faster?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Are Wider Skis More Stable and Faster?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Had the opportunity to ski on a the following:
  • Blizzard 8.1 (81) waist and their Supersonics (73 waist)
  • Kastle 78 (78 waist), Kastle 88 (88 waist) and Kastle Rx (70 waist)
The ski conditions were mixed powder to hard pack groomed. In all cases the wider ski always performed better - they were more stable through some powder to fast paced runs on hard pack or ice. I always thought the narrower waist skis were faster and easier to handle on fast hard pack conditions, but did not personally feel that at all. Am I doing something wrong or is it true that wide waist skis are more stable and faster due to the surface area on the snow.
post #2 of 20
Stiffness and ski length also factor in.

Plus, the tune of the ski and wax is going to be a big factor in how fast the skis will run or how fast you are willing to ski them.
post #3 of 20
All other things being equal, and in the ordinary ski-width range:
- wider will generally be slower;
- whether wider is more stable depends on what you mean by "stable." For example, slow to initiate a turn is consistent with one definition of stable.

All other things are never equal.

The skis you tried didn't cover that big a range of widths.
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post
- whether wider is more stable depends on what you mean by "stable."

I agree. I was skiing my enforcers (98 waist) for two days and then switched to some RC4's (64 waist) on the 3rd morning.

At first the RC4's felt like toothpicks just standing in the lift line and getting off the lift, so if you asked me then I would have said the enforcers were more stable.

But then I took some laps and remembered why I like stiff, 'skinny' GS skis. At high speed they were definitely more 'stable' than the enforcers. I can go a little faster on the RC4's than the enforcers (given the same conditions) but the difference is that when I'm going mach speed on the RC4's it's very comfortable and smooth and I'm not really thinking about stability. When I go that fast on the enforcers I am definitely more aware of staying centered and keeping the ski on edge.

When going slow and just 'messing' around though, I like a fatter ski and think that feels more stable.
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlG View Post
... is it true that wide waist skis are more stable and faster due to the surface area on the snow.
They may feel more stable to you, but I'm willing to bet that's more a function or your perception than anything inherent about wider skis. It may be simply that the wider platform gives you more of a feeling of security (stability) and with that you're willing to go faster.

To truly test the question of width versus speed and stability, however, I would argue that you should look to the skiers whose livelihoods (and lives) depend on speed and stability. That would be World Cup downhillers. They're all on skis with waist widths in the mid 60's.

No wide skis here:

post #6 of 20
Quote:
When going slow and just 'messing' around though, I like a fatter ski and think that feels more stable.
Makes sense; a wider ski would (generally) be slower to respond, so it wouldn't be as squirrelly/'unstable' at low speeds.

With everything else being equal, wider skis have more mass, so they won't get deflected as much by uneven terrain, crud, etc. They should also be slower edge-to-edge. They will have more flotation in powder as well, because of the larger surface area on the base. When running flat, I would expect a narrower ski (with less surface area touching the snow) to have a higher top speed. On edge, it would depend more on the sidecut.

Of course, most 'wide' skis have significantly different construction than 'narrow' skis.

While on vacation recently, my skis got there a day late. I skied the first day on Head Monster 78s (78mm waist), then the rest of the trip on my Dynastar Contact LTDs (72mm waist). The Monsters were noticeably worse for me on really hard snow/ice in terms of 'stability' and being able to hold an edge securely. YMMV.
post #7 of 20
A narrow waisted ski will initiate a turn faster since it takes less time/effort to change the edge. This quick edge-to-edge feature is why racers are all on narrow skis.

A wider ski will provide more float in the soft stuff. Since race courses are hardpack, you don't see wide skis on the race course.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post
When running flat, I would expect a narrower ski (with less surface area touching the snow) to have a higher top speed.
Sliding friction is equal to the weight times the co-efficient of friction. It's independent of the surface area touching the snow. So you'd expect wrong.

I agree with the rest of what you say.
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

Originally Posted by Matthias99
When running flat, I would expect a narrower ski (with less surface area touching the snow) to have a higher top speed.


I don't see much surface area hitting the snow here!!!
post #10 of 20
Wide skis are generally much less nervous and have a larger balance platform. This does not neccesarily equate to stability, however. Like Bob Peters stated, the sense of forgiveness this gives the users can easily be equated to a perceived sense of stability-- whether real or imagined.

In general, an unstable ski will tend to do things you don't want it to do or have not commanded it to do, in the environment in which you are using it. It has little to do with width.

In general, instability usually shows up at higher speeds, in moguls, in heavy crud etc...depending on the ski.

For instance, my RX8 is very very stable on groomers, even at hgiher speeds. It does what you ask of it when you ask it. Once you take it into heavy crud, it becomes very unstable and the tips tend to wander and the ski will do things you dont want it too. It becomes hard to manage(at least for me).

A ski like the K2 Pontoon will be extremely stable on deep powder but take it on a steep icey run and it too will become unstable and will like to slide and wander around, do its own thing without a lot of input, and will be quite difficult to manage.

If you are finding you are spending more time thinking about what the skis are doing rather than what you are doing or should be doing, you are on a ski that is unstable for the conditions you currently find yourself in.

...
I would also add that there are no unstable skis --whether wide or thin. Skis become unstable, they are not inherently unstable. A beginner rental ski appropriate for the skiers height and weight will be perfetly stable up until about 10-15 mph, when it's performance and control begins to break down. In reviews,IMO, instability should be noted as something that appears under certain conditions and performance windows, not as an inherent property of the ski.
post #11 of 20
What are the dementions for Speed Sking Ski's

They look kinda fat, and strait and LOOONG

DH ski's Very long. so given that in Down Hill they are on very hard snow, but have to make quick turns and matain high edge angles. Skinny STIFF and LONG makes sence.

If you are skiing on softer chewed up snow at DH like speeds. A Stiff Long Fatter ski is going to be more stable (Off a race course)
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTT View Post
What are the dementions for Speed Sking Ski's
Perhaps it depends upon just how demented the skier is.
post #13 of 20
hmm.... does bode miller ski on wide or skinny skis?

And for stability i think wider skis are more stable but harder to get on egge making them slwer
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post
Sliding friction is equal to the weight times the co-efficient of friction. It's independent of the surface area touching the snow. So you'd expect wrong.
For well-behaved, smooth, solid surfaces, maybe.

The amount of force generated is proportional to the surface area, pressure on that area, and coefficient of friction. However, given a fixed amount of weight, the surface area and pressure are inversely proportional, so that factor tends to be a constant as you pointed out.

The "coefficient of friction" of skis sliding on a thin sheet of pressurized liquid water on top of unstable snow and ice is much more complicated, however. My understanding is that this behaves nonlinearly as the pressure and surface area change, so wider skis (with the same pressure*area constant) will actually be slower. And then it's probably completely different again when you're skiing in deep powder.
post #15 of 20
Yeah, in a first-order analysis, friction is independent of surface area.

When you take secondary effects into account, all bets are off. The simplest example is deep powder where a wide ski will float on the top and be faster than a skinny ski that sinks.

And then there's jayhawkskier's observation that when setting an edge on hardpack there ain't much surface contact regardless of the width.
post #16 of 20
Based on the fact that I own two pairs of skis, same length, same manufacturer, same series, main difference is width, what I've found out is that the wider ski is slower. This is based on how fast I get down a cat track here and if I pass or get passed. I am the waxing technician for my skis, so I know they are waxed the same, have the same bevel, etc.

Skis are the Outlaws and Recons. I am sure many would agree that the main difference between these skis is width.

100% of the time, the Outlaws do not pass as many people as the Recons do. The Recons are skinnier.

My daughter has the same experience in her different widths of skis, but there we are comparing race skis to powder skis and they are totally different types of ski, so I don't think the comparison is as valid. Also the race skis probably have more wax impregnated in them at this point.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTT View Post
What are the dementions for Speed Sking Ski's

They look kinda fat, and strait and LOOONG
I am too lazy to go out into my garage at the moment and measure, but I recall the dimensions on my 240cm Atomic Speed skis to be 90something-low80something-upper80something.

They are pretty damn straight as you can get this side of a 2x4. (but they're about as stiff as a 2x4).
post #18 of 20
I took my GPS and straightlined, or as near to straight as you can do = rapidly switching edges in bananana turns, down a small hill. One ski was 165 cm Fischer WC SC; the other was an old 208 cm Kästle SG (which didn't need the carving-banana-turn-wheedl'n). After the first run on the Kästle failed to beat the prior run's GPS indicated top speed on the WC SC I brought the Kästles into the lodge for a wax. Later it still seemed slow. When I got home and looked at the track logs, to my surprise both skis reached the same top speed.

In other words, the difference in ski length makes very little difference to your top speed when compared to how well you tuck and other aerodynamics.

The more stable skis will seem slower, possibly suckering you into skiing faster, but if you set out to reach top speed you will reach the same top speed, at least if you are on a small not too steep hill where top speed is around 60 mph.
post #19 of 20
It seems to me that if you ski on edges, then edge geometry, and polish have much to do with speed.  (All things being equal)  The less polished edge will be slower.  Are you trying for a speed record, or just having fun?   For speed you need a good tune, and daily hot scrape, and waxing.  No matter how wide, or narrow, if it's not flat, tuned by hand, fine polished edges, waxed like 40 times over, and has the right grind for the conditions, it's not going to be as fast as it could be.  Less side cut turns less, (fat, or narrow), but is faster because it's not trying to turn so much when you put it on edge. 
post #20 of 20
I'm with Bob Peters on this one.  If wider skis were in any way faster - even if only the tiniest amount - then the racing fraternity would all be on them.  Lots of things to take into consideration, but ultimately a heck of a lot of research over a lot of years has gone into getting down the hill as quickly as possible, and the mid-to-upper-60's is the width of choice for most events.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Are Wider Skis More Stable and Faster?