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Why are recommendations so different for same height/weight female skier as male?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Okay, I currently ski on a Dynastar Contact ST 10 (2006 sl) 158, kind of feels short at times, but good in the bumps and trees and fun and easy to feel the movement arc from toe to heel on the sweet spot.   Fun, lively ski, I enjoy.  Shortest ski I ever owned.  I also have a Volant Gravity 68, 168.  Very different feel always.  Solid smooth consistent edge that grabs and stays put.  Not alot of energy and the full edge is longer and more solid.  Like a Strong stable friend you can rely on to not drop you. Prior to this I spent about 10 years on the Fischer World Cup, RC4 Slalom of varying year, 195's.


Now, i'm looking for something to compliment my Dynastar for times I head west, but still be a good ski east, in the right conditions when I don't want to do all the turns of slalom or we had a nice dump.  Mid 70's wide, maybe a 15 to 16 M turn.  Oh, i'm 5'5", 145 ish (varies 136 to 148), In fit shape and a Level 2 CSIA ability, mostly agressive but sometimes just ski smooth and pretty.  Oh, I do really like bumps and trees.  I ski them CSIA style (feet on the ground, controlled speeds, smooth), not free style, with it's fast straighter line turns, jumps etc.  I find no moguls in the Carolina's and have only been able to hit them on ski trips north or west in the past 4 years, so I've only been in the bumps 3 times so far this year, while north, 'Visiting ontario.


Okay, now onto my question.  When at the Elan site, if i put in i'm a female advanced to expert at my height and weight it recommends female skis in a 155 to 158 radius (type depends on whether i say all mountain, racer, etc), but all radii recommend about the same short length.  If I say i'm male and that weight and height, the all mountain go up to 170 ish.  All stats the same.  K2 is closer but still recommends a bit longer if I say i'm male and leave the rest of the stats.


Why are the recommendations so extremely different?  Are women skis really necessary when you hit high end skiing?   I see fischer makes skis the same for men and women, just a graphic change.  Volkl and K2 claim to have the narrow of the side cut up to 2 cm forward and the binding can be mounted forward or not on their women's skis.  Other say a more forgiving flex pattern.  Does this mean my ski gets skied out quicker, or is it just nicer to ski at where our COM moves? 


I have concerns when I see coments like the woman's ski is 20% softer and 20% lighter.  Why such a difference if the weight and ability and height of the skier are the same?  Being around so long, women's skis were not an option in past and I always skied on a high end man's ski in a 195 to 200.  Will a woman's ski really make a difference (high end women skiers to answer please)?


Anyhow, any high end female skiers that have gone through this transition, could you offer any advice?  I'm really leary of bying anything marked for women as so much in merchandising marked women, means, pay more for inferior quality. 



post #2 of 8

with out getting really in depth yet cause I am sure people will tell me I am wrong.


Womens skis are dumb if your a good skier and dont care about graphics. there is no such thing as women specific mounting or stiffness. Just softer or more forward. some guy could benefit from skiing a 'womens' ski but most great girls would be better served by a stiffer ski. Notice I said ski not guys, not unisez, not womens.


girls/womens are often pushed into gear that is way to short for them.



If you want to see the extreme example of girls who know how to ski and buy the right skis because they arent easily swayed got to the bird or jackson. A girl your size would be skiing on a 175-180 ski as an everyday ski. If they arent they arent keeping up.




and again I want to repeat besides 'girlie' graphics if thats your thing, there is no reason to a buy a womens ski. Almost every womens ski out there, has a guy counterpart that is EXCACTLY the same.


hopefully mtnline will post his rant about this very subject right here.

post #3 of 8

Hey I told her I would spray paint her skis pink for her

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the first input.  I tend to lean to feeling your way, although, I am having an awful lot of fun with the short slalom ski, but i really feel on a bigger hill and in more snow, I'm going to want something longer for float and something with a larger turn radius.  I dont' count my turns on a 1200 verticle hill, but that's cause i ski well, I can't necessarily count that high.  On 4000 verticle, I think these skis are going to hurt.


Maybe there's a ploy behind these short, low radius skis for women.  The men really want to keep us down?  If we get worn out from the number of turn and can't go as fast as them due to ski length, they look better?

post #5 of 8

Here's the thing on women's skis:


A woman and a man of the same height and weight will have different percentages of muscle and body fat. In general, the man is stronger due to more muscle mass and less fat and is thus better able to flex a stiffer and/or longer ski even though they are the same weight. Also, men's weight is carried farther forward and higher up in their body and thus can be leveraged farther forward more easily, again, making it easier for them to flex a longer/stiffer ski.


Whether or not women's skis are for you is a very personal matter. Personally, I hate the forward mounting point of most womens skis. In fact, I mounted my Auras 3/4" back and my Lady Harts are mounted farther back than my Karmas.


Volkl merely adds strips of Balsa wood in the cores of their womens skis to make them lighter and softer. They also shorten the tip to make them easier to swing (only a concern if you're a skidder), and they set their mounting point forward. Other companies change the delta on the binding, adding a permanent heel lift to the ski, or change the turning radius a bit, but in general, it's just a softer, lighter, more forward, different graphics kind of thing.


If you're a strong skier, I'd highly recommend that you demo both unisex and women's skis to see if the softer/lighter thing is for you - it may not be, although there are some stellar women's choices out there right now that are just as spunky as the unisex version (Volkl Fuego and Aura, Nordica Firefox, and Hart Lady Twin to name a few). My current quiver of 10 consists of 8 unisex and 2 womens skis.


As always, JMHO and YMMV


post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks Volkl girl.  I see a little of the thinking of the more muscle mass on a male skier.  My body fat count tends to run very low for a female (cycling, skiing, skating golfing tend to do this) but averages prevail and at least that makes some sense to me.  I'd love to try some out, but i can't find any shops that demo the high ends skis, and hill demo days used to be alot more frequent then they seem to be now.  I'm pretty much a carver with good technique and athletic, so skidding wouldn't be a problem.  I must admit to liking pink, but not over funtion.

post #7 of 8

Lady S:


BWPA is right....................he's wrong.

VG is right........................listen to her.


As an aside............I'm a guy, been testing skis in general (50-60 on average per year) including women's models, for many years and I have a pretty fair idea of what works. I'll make a suggestion here with a reccomendation that I seldom make. There is one ski that stands out to me as the best balanced women's specific ski on todays market.


While it may not be a fit for every preference, every condition, and every skier, the Nordica Olympia Victory basically kicks the butt of very women's ski that I've been on. I just gotten done testing 2010 men's and women's skis from 70mm-90mm. There is no new magic bullet out there at this time.


A 162 is probably right.



post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks Sierra.  I've looked up the reviews, cut and radius of the nordica.  It looks like what I'm actually looking for.  The 74 mm waist, being wide enough to maybe add some float, and over 14R turn at least increasing my current 11- on the dynastar, for higher verticle hills, and a more secure ski to take off piste (the snow will draw me no matter what I'm on), when I go west for my ski trip.  It did review very well and it's nice to hear from someone that actually gets the opportunity to test alot of skis.  I've always been curious on the forward mount (a little scared of it as i have had tendencies to be too forward and something i'm often admonished to watch on course), but on the other hand, I always wondered if the forward mount would allow me to feel more secure finishing my turn farther back (the foot kick ahead) or just place me farther back on completion then the mount, making my position more correct.  I will see what I can do about giving those a test run.  I've never skied on Nordica!

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Why are recommendations so different for same height/weight female skier as male?