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Tuning Slalom skis for more GS speeds? - non racing application

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I am an advanced recreational skier, 5'10, about ~175lbs and have a pair of Atomic SL 11's 163cm.  I really enjoy them for my all around sking, with significant turns.  When skiing with some friends, who are more GS speed skier types, or even just going for an easy higher speed cruiser run, the ski's are not that stable.  I would rather have gotten ~170's but the price was right on these, and they are FUN!


I read somewhere that it may be possible to tune ski's so they might be more stable at higher speeds.  Would this even be possible with my ski's?  What effect would it have on their turning ability and feel?







post #2 of 21

In short no.  The main factor responsible for the instability of your skis at high speed is the radical side-cuts.   Granted if your SL skis have been tuned for competition (0*-0.5* base bevel) bringing them up to 1* will make them less grabby and will add to the perceived stability in that they will be more forgiving of less than perfect alignment or form and so less likely to inadvertently hook an edge, but that does nothing for the length of the skis and the short radius. 


Bottom line is that SL skis were made to be on edge 99% of the time, the fact that they are also a bit on the short side for your height and weight doesn't help matters either.

Edited by Richie-Rich - Fri, 06 Feb 09 19:03:10 GMT
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much for the reply.  I am thinking the ski length is most of the issue.  Even on edge at higher speeds the tips are a little washy unless I am really turning hard.  If I slow down some they will flow through wider turns well with just a little angle applied to them. Would a ~1* bevel help on flats to lift, and how much would it hurt their carving ability.


I am assuming ~170's in the same ski would be better.  A couple of years ago I had tried some fairly short radius non racing type skis that were between the 168-175 in length.  Those were much better at speed,and on long flats to a lift, but I had to be careful how much pressure I put on the edges on flowing turns. They would often try and grab to a tighter radius or wash out.



post #4 of 21

RR hit the nail on the head. A real SL ski is a one trick pony, meant to do one thing: race SL. I doesn't mean that you can't free ski it, but if you do, it would be best if your free skiing consisted of small radius carved turns {not skidded}, with a centered stance, a lot of pressure on the front of the boot, and strong skills. Watch a skilled SL racer warm up and free ski on his skis, and you'll know what I mean. As you have learned, the ski wants to turn, and turn ,and turn rather than run straight. If you're dead center in your stance, flat on the ski, they will track straight but that's hard to do. Terrain is rarely that flat and consistent. If the're on edge, the radius will pull the ski into a turn. The higher the edge angle, the more acute the turn. If you tune them with a 1 degree base bevel, they're release from turn to turn a bit easier, won't lock in as much,and be a touch more foregiving. The length, IMO, has little to do with it. All men's FIS compliant SL skis are 165's. You would likely find a short radius "cheater" GS ski to be a better compromise. Turns easily, tracks pretty well, comfortable at speed. A 175ish ski in that length would be very different.


I think the "solution" is to remember what they are built to do....turn, and turn quickly. Running a high speed SG type course on a GS ski with a lot of side cut can be pretty dangerous. Similarly, skiing in a "cruising" mode on SL skis can be pretty scary, even for skilled FIS level racers. Theskis  can hook up, and hooking up can be tough on ACL's. Not trying to talk you out of your skis, just trying to be clear that versatile free skiing {including some fun cruising} and SL laminate race skis don't match up to well, IMO. I love skiing on SL skis, but only when it's rock hard, smooth, steep and I don't want to ski particularly fast. Even then the turn shape that I'm skiing {small and round} is nothing like what the ski was built to do. All those turns are a lot of work, too!

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

Again thank you.  So much more good information.  Just to 100% nail it down, any de-tuning of the tip and tail wont' help the straight line high speed stability, or if it might help then they would want to grab to a tighter radius or wash out on cruising turns.   I would still be interested to try a set of SL 11's in a 170 length, but it sounds like they may not be the ticket was thinking about in my mind.  The SL 11's were much more smooth and progressive entering turns and through the turns, that the other skis I had tried.  How sharp the the SL 11s turn all depends on how much angle I put in, and they will skid nice if I want them too.


It sounds like I need to start a quiver.  I can get a good deal on some 171cm Atomic GS 11's with 21m radius.  Though I am bit worried that might be going to far in the other direction.  The person is not keeping them because he prefers a "quicker" ski and doesn't like them for any bumps.


I did like a pair of Voelkl AC30's I tried, but the new price is out of my range for how much I ski, and I haven't found many good used deals on them.  Would these be more in the middle between the SL and GS skis?

Edited by pkquat - Fri, 06 Feb 09 23:17:29 GMT

Edited by pkquat - Fri, 06 Feb 09 23:18:48 GMT
post #6 of 21

Go for the GS skis.  If you are used to carving hard on SL, laying into a steep angle on the a GS-sized radius is sweet.


You have to keep you SL ski slightly on edge all the time.  You can ski them fast on hard and smooth, but they could easily give you grief in deeper snow.  Do youself a favour and get either GS or SX skis for going faster.

post #7 of 21

For free skiing applications, going with the GS 11 is just going in the opposite direction. They are also designed for one thing....to race GS on rock hard courses at eye watering speeds. Getting them to do anything else requires commitment, patience, skill, and strength. While they will straight-line much better than your SLs, you're still not going to get the laid back versatility I think you're looking for. Oh, and the GSs will SUCK in the bumps.


Do some demoing to figure out what will work best for you, then look into picking up something used if budget is an issue (you can usually even buy the actual ski you demoed at the end of the year at a deep discount).


As always, JMHO and YMMV

Edited by volklgirl - Sat, 07 Feb 09 00:44:26 GMT
post #8 of 21

If you have the older 310, 412 or 614 bindings, I assume you've tried moving them forwards and back to see if that makes a difference. I don't think the Neoxes have the same ability to easily change the position of the bindings.


I had some 170 916s that I skied in the furthest back adjustment (speed setting), but they still were not anywhere near as stable in long turns as the GS11s, or as adaptable as my Rossi 9s oversizes (they can handle higher speed long turns, but don't have the kick coming out of turns the 916s had).


I think if you put a 1 degree bevel on them or detune the tips and tails they will just become wiggily at high speed.

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the posts.  This forum is awesome for information.  From what I can tell the base of the SL11's are pretty close to flat especially at the tip and the tail, and they are already wiggly at higher speeds.  I did check I can move the bindings back one more setting.  I will have to see if it helps some.


I think I will give the GS11's a shot.  If they don't work out I should be able to turn them around pretty easy.  I hope the will work "ok" in some minor bumps and a little crud.  If I run into Large bumps, I'll see how "navigating" them goes.  I don't actively seek large bumps out, unless I am on the SL11's, and then I am still working on getting the rythm down.

post #10 of 21

In response to the OP, if you're 99% of the time on the edge, and your friends are skiding on their GS skis, you'll be going faster, even if you do twice as many turns.  SL skis are very stable when they're on the edge, they just don't like gliding flat.

post #11 of 21

I agree with volklgirl, GS skis are hardly a good choice for freeskiing. I have a pair of GS race skis (Salomon Equipe 10 2V 175cm) and they only feel "safe" on edge. They might be less racy if they had a larger base bevel, but that defeats the purpose.


My SL ski (iSupershape, 165cm) is at 1deg base and 2deg side, which allows for somewhat safer "freeskiing", since it is less likely to hook up and manageable in bumps. Still, I never really ski them flat (other than in transitions).

post #12 of 21

The SL is a one trick pony, the trick being short turns.  The GS is also a bit specialized to longer turns, but you can squeeze shorter turns out of them with effort and sufficient grip and speed.  While that is a lot of fun, it is a little limiting as you don't always want to keep the hammer down, and the GS with more edge, is worse at  the sideways skiing that is required for going slowly when required.  The SX is also a one trick pony, but it's trick is between SL and GS, so you don't have to push it too far out of its operating range to do either of the other tricks.


The SX11 I tried was obviously not made for bumps (too stiff), but I didn't have any trouble getting through them without drama (and I suck at bumps).  They work a lot better in bumps than my SG skis ;).


If I were to buy one ski for hardpack conditions it would be either Atomic SX or Fisher WC RC, seeing as I'm not into bumps and don't get to ski a lot of deep snow (and have a pair of Volants for deep anyway).  If you are into bumps or mix deep off-piste and hardpack on the same outing, there are more versatile slightly bigger-waisted skis out there.

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 

Well I got the GS Skis and I will see how it works out.  If I don't care for them, I have a friend who only likes groomed runs and enjoys the speed.  The one question concern from the recent posts, is how well they will work on long higher speed flats to a lift or in a run where you are not necessarily on edge for a section?  Will a little angle or edge be sufficient so you are weaving a little?  The skis currently have a close to stock racing grind on them.  If needed, what should the base and edge be to be stable when running flat?


Lastly, have I missed the boat completely that an SL or GS ski will NEVER run flat with any ease, and I truely need an "all around" ski for this.


Thanks for all the input.

post #14 of 21

No worries.  That GS will be fine skiing to the lift.  The tendancy of the ski tips to hunt for turns when the ski is perfectly flat is due to the turn radius of the ski; the sidecut interacts with irregularities in the snow because the ski doesn't know the difference between you putting them on edge and a slight terrain irregularity/bump/hillcrest/convex surface going past one side of them.  The larger the turn radius, the less the skis will display that tendancy.


There is nothing quite like the sensation of carving at a big angle on a long radius ski.  Enjoy


BTW , you really don't need much tipping to make the SL skis behave, even less if you have less base bevel.  SL skis will never arc a gs turn though.  If you are making GS sized turns, you will like the GS skis a lot more.   Just don't expect a race ski to be good at skiing sideways.



post #15 of 21

Get a true bar, and check that your skis are flat end to end.  A little bit of base high and they will wander.  A nice wax job and some stiff boots and you will be zooming past everyone on the flats.  I love my 171 GS skis for sking corderoy, but my 183s need to be going too fast to turn well on the little mountain I usually ski at.  By the time I get going fast enough to turn them I'm at the bottom of the hill.

post #16 of 21

I have to totally disagree with this post. A 21m Gs11 store stock ski is going to be absolutely fine for free-skiing on groomers particularly in a 171. Actually this would be the perfect compliment to the SL11.


If he was talking about a Race Stock Gs11in FIS size that would be an entirely different ballgame and I would agree with you. But a 21M 171 with the consumer plate and freeflex binding is going to be a very enjoyable ski.


I also have to disagree with the comment someone made about the length. many atomic skis and I believe the old SL11 had different radius at different lengths.


i owned the 170 SL11 (consumer Stock) and it was a fabulous very smooth fast ski. I could easily ski larger radius turns and they were stable as could be.


Yes the WC men are on 165,s but the torsional stiffness and longitudinal stiffness of a true world cup slalom ski is an entirely different beast then  a 163 or 170 consumer SL ski.


If the OP can get a good deal on the 171 GS11 21M he won't be disappointed.

post #17 of 21

This is a weird thread.  GS skis are lousy for freeskiing mostly because they are too narrow for most snow, which makes them less fun than appropriately wider skis that don't grind in softer snow.  "Softer" here being anything soft enough to push a pole basket into.  Second problem is that ~27m GS skis aren't much fun on flat small hills, but no one in this thread appears to be referencing them.  You get a lot more turns for your vertical with SL skis in any case.


I ski on men's slalom skis quite a bit, and I'd never hesitate to run them straight down most hills.  They are plenty stable...better than skiboards in any case.  Turning will be sketchy at higher speeds and longer radii because they aren't meant for that, but just running them down the hill should not be scary.  If it is, tuning, technique, or alignment may be in play.


GS skis and SL skis both suck pretty bad in the bumps.  I'd take one of those 170-something "GS" skis over a real SL ski pretty much anyday though.

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

Well in a month or so I will have to let you all know how this turned out.


I also need to adjust SL11 length. I keep thinking they are 163's (long story).  They are actually 157's.  I kind of like them in shin high bumps, and they are ok in kne high bumps, but I am not a "bump skier" by any means.


The issue is going straight, or minor relaxed turns and long flats, all at higher speeds where it would be nice to relax a little.


If I get a chance in the next week or two I will have a shop verify the tune on the skis so I will have a base line.



post #19 of 21

I use SL skis for my free skiing since they suit they way I like to ski but using them like this is not without it's problems and are not great if your friends love carving big fast turns. If you pressure the ski at high speed with big edge angles chances are high they will snap round and you will get pitched - they just don't work for GS radius turns. For stability going straight with SL skis I just edge very slightly one way and then the other if they get wobbly. Works fine.


I've seen some people mention the SX series. I've skied the atomic SX10 and found the 16m radius annoying since it is neither SL nor GS and not far away from SL enough, 20+ m radius skis for GS type skiing work much better.


If these are the only skis you own I'd look at something more versetile than a GS ski unless you *must* have race ski energy and edge hold and never get off the groomed/ski in new snow. There a many skis out there with ~20m radius that carve very well.



post #20 of 21

Arc and spark...you kinda have to kill it to rock slalom skis on the hill.  And you are an asshole if you rock GS skis at a resort...at least I get funny looks.  My brother, if you choose to rock your slaloms do it in the air between turns.  Load 'em up and BOING onto the other edge..think leaper.  Get some health insurance cause you'll probably fry an ACL or two.    You can always pretend that the soccer moms and gaper kids kids are gates..mark 'em and own 'em.

post #21 of 21

are you asking how to ski bumps on a slalom ski??  Unbuckle your boots

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