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Shorter skis for exam

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I recently participated in the PSIA-RM level 3 skiing clinic. One of the recommendations I received from the clinic leader was to go to some shorter skis - something about 170cm with some shape to it. In the clinic I was on Volant Machettes 183cm. I am 5'10", weigh about 165 lb. Most of the instructors I know who are training for cert have been given similar advice. The PSIA examiners and trainers I have seen recently all seem to be on some fairly short skis.

Based on this, I demoed the shortest skis I could find in stock in the demo shop, Rossi T power Cobra X in 174cm. They made it easier to make cleaner short radius turns on the groomed and in well defined bumps. The trade-off was that they seemed trickier than the "mid fat" that I am used to in deeper crud and bumps covered with 8 inches or so of wind packed sun baked powder.

I have two questions:

1. What is the rationale for recommending skis this short?

2. What would be a short list of 3 or 4 ski models to demo which could be appropriate to use in a level 3 exam situation in this shorter length?

Comments will be appreciated.

JimL
Colorado

(Hope,this is not a duplicate post - I thought I posted it a few days ago, but it never appeared in the forum. Must have clicked on the wrong button)
post #2 of 25
Interesting comment Jim. A ski can have a great impact on performance but the movement patterns you have will show up regardless of your equipment. If your on blades or some old 205cm boards your tendancy's will show up. I would think they would be testing your movement patterns in relation to the national standard not your equipment. The task you do should force you to be well rounded in any and all conditions. I don't agree that the shorter the better is always the answer, for some it is but I think you need to find a ski that your comfortable with that helps you to perform to your peak in all conditions in all turns and speeds! This can be very different for each person. I think every ski has strengths and weakness you have to find the one in the length that matches up with you. Maybe Jonathan or Bob B could better answer for the Rocky Mountain LV3 exam.
post #3 of 25
1)So you can pass thier test.

You are triing to ski to someone elses idea of perfect skiing. I rode the lift with an instructor on 170's with a lot of shape and asked him about them. He said, they were great for carving and easy for teaching but when out just skiing for himself he uses a 190 midfat.

2) not a clue.
post #4 of 25
I had a great many questions earlier this year on equipment and quite honestly was somewhat confused. I'm on my third pair of skis and am fairly satisfied. I began on a 188 Volkl G31 and found it too stiff, switched to a 173 Fischer alltrax 68 and liked the ski, however it delaminated. I'm now on a 176 Elan CRX and like it a great deal in all conditions. I'm 5'10" and weigh 200 lbs. I am teaching about 24-28 hours per week and when I get a chance take a run in medium size bumps or medium pitch cruisers. My point is that the slightly longer Elan seems to do better in bumps than the somewhat shorter Fischer. The two shorter skis were much better in all aspects than the 188 Volkl.

Hope this helps.
post #5 of 25
Though not in the same league as you 3's, but, along the same lines........

I took my Level 1 on 188 P-40 F-1's. The examiner said "short and round turns". I could give it to him but then he said "yer feet are too close"......... Grrrrrrrrr!!

Borrowed a friends T-Power Cobras in 174 a few days later and looked at my tracks. Short & round and farther apart......

Bought the Volkl SL in a 170...... Short & round and farther apart.......

I passed, but understood that I was the poor craftsman who brought the wrong tools.
post #6 of 25
Pierre eh!,

>>I can give you probably the best insight of anyone at this point. <<

I know what it's like to fail a full cert exam the first time around. It was quite a long time ago, but I remember how bad I felt.

It seems to me though from what you said in this post, is that you were judged on your equipment and not your ability. I'm sure you can make just as good of a turn on your longer skis as you can on the shorter ones. Sure, the carving radius will be shorter on the shorter ones, but what's that got to do with the mechanics of making a carved turn? I'm a big guy too, and I prefer a little longer ski than the norm these days. ( 188 ) It wasn't that long ago that we as ski pros wouldn't be caught dead on a 180.

I like the stability of a longer ski, and can lay down railroad track turns at just a slightly bigger radius, but the mechanics are the same. So I guess what I'm saying here is that IMHO, I think that your examiner, examiners, are a bit hard on participants in PSIA exams because of the equipment there riding. I think they should be looking at the way the skier mechanically makes a turn, and if it passes the criteria for a full cert exam. Not at if the skier is riding the new whoop-te-doo hot slalom ski on the market.You said it yourself, You failed the first two days and passed the last day, and only because you changed the length of your skis. Did you change your mechanics too???

What do you think, Bob????? ----------Wigs
post #7 of 25
Pierre,

I think that stinks, but I'm glad you went back and passed. It sounds to me like there is a general bias with some of your examiners. One of my best friends just pased his L3 2 weeks ago. He's fairly small, at 5'7" 135#, but he likes big sticks, and rides 2 year old, 183cm Rossi Mountain Vipers. He nailed the exam for all the right reasons, because he made the right moves, and no one made any comments about the size of his skis.

Remember, it's not the size of the ship, it's the motion of the ocean!
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Interesting comments, all. I've been trying to figure out what movement patterns would be different on the shorter ski - in other words I would think my flaws would be exposed no matter what the length. The ones I tried did make short radius turns easier to perform, but I would think that if I had been doing something goofy before, I would still be doing it.

Pierre, congrats on passing the exam. It sounds like you aced the retake. I can't think of anyone I know who passed it recently in one or even 2 attempts, but I know several who went 3 times. One swears that the short skis brought his marks up by a lot, especially in the demos.

Rusty Guy - a few people from Loveland have done some training with Chris at Eldora. Perhaps you know them. Chris planted the seed with at least one that shorter is better - he went to a 170 Atomic Beta Ride which he seems very happy with.

Wigs, I'll own up to having skied on 180's when they were in vogue during the 70's and later went as long as 205 in the 80's. I thought I was really downsizing at 183. I'm planning to be out your way for a couple of days next week. Plan on powder - it always snows when we go there.

My plan is to try to be ready for an exam by next March. I have my work cut out for me to be halfway ready by then. For now I'll try some skis in shorter lengths, but I won't buy until I am convinced that they really help me.

Jim
Colorado
post #9 of 25
Maybe they should make you instructors ski with rear entry boots and straight skis with convex bases and dull edges!
post #10 of 25
Jim H- Yes, I've "cliniced" with a couple of guys from Loveland on Mondays. In fact, last Monday Chris had a p.t. Eldora instructor by the name of Tony Sears doing demo's for the clinic while Chris talked and Tony,who is 6'0", 190 lbs., was on a pair of 160 cm Atomic 9-16's. Chris was the one who switched me to the Fischer alltrax in the 173 length.

I do think I'll be on something in the 165 cm range next year.
post #11 of 25
Pierre eh!,

Please to explain why
1) you failed with the long skis
2) the examiner said "your skis are too long and stiff". Were the turns not round enough?
3) Why did others fail with with (long!) 180's

I'm confused here and it only increases my suspicions about the ridiculous "almighty god" status of examiners. I mean does it really matter that much? Personally I think everyone should be required to ski bumps with 200 straights for such an exam.

thanks
post #12 of 25
Ah... That makes sense. Still it's absurd to me why things like that aren't made clear to those taking the exam before hand. Senseless suffering?

thanks pierre
post #13 of 25
Just a suggestion from a true non-professional in the skiing world: Could it be - MIGHT it just be - that longer skis are enjoyed because they cover up for a lot of fore/aft balance mistakes and that "shorter" skis are more demanding fore/aft but are the length on which we best can execute the requirements of a turn? Just a suggestion and a question.
post #14 of 25
Tog,

>>Ah... That makes sense. Still it's absurd to me why things like that aren't made clear to those taking the exam before hand. Senseless suffering?<<

Those guys don't care if you suffer or not! Or if you pass. When you go to a full cert exam, you better have your S together or you don't pass. You should know what they are looking for before you go, but still, even though Pierre eh! explanation is a great one, and I understand that that's the way they may do their exams in the mid west, the examiners there should be able to tell if the skier is making a dynamic turn or not regardless of the length of ski he or she is riding.--------Wigs
post #15 of 25
JimL,

>>
Wigs, I'll own up to having skied on 180's when they were in vogue during the 70's and later went as long as 205 in the 80's. I thought I was really downsizing at 183. I'm planning to be out your way for a couple of days next week. Plan on powder - it always snows when we go there. <<

Yeah, me too. Head Yahoos in a 180.

Good to hear your coming out Aspen way. I would love to go make a few turns with you,---- but---- I screwed up my leg last Sunday. Bob will remember when I broke my leg 4 years ago when we were on the CompuServe ski forum. That was a bad one. Well Bob, I broke the other one. This time it isn't nearly as bad, broke Fib, but I'm down for the rest of the season. So, Jim, I can still drink beer! If that sounds like fun and you are up Snowmass way, drop by the ski school and leave me a note on where I can give you a call. I will probably be working in the locker room next week, and you might be able to contact me there.

Not tooting my horn here, but there was a post awhile back about how many times we've fallen down in a season. Well that was the first one for me this season, and look what happened. I'm never falling down again!!! -------Wigs
post #16 of 25
oboe,

>>Just a suggestion from a true non-professional in the skiing world: Could it be - MIGHT it just be - that longer skis are enjoyed because they cover up for a lot of fore/aft balance mistakes and that "shorter" skis are more demanding fore/aft but are the length on which we best can execute the requirements of a turn? Just a suggestion and a question.<<

This might be true on a really short ski, like the ones we teach our beginner's on, 120 to 140. But on a 160 to 170, IMHO, I don't think so. I think, skiers with a forward/aft balance problem, it would be noticeable on whatever they were skiing on.-------Wigs
post #17 of 25
Well, I repeat, I am a true non-professional and a perpetually "recovering intermediate". That said, I ski on the Rossi T-Power Cobra X in 160 cm and the K2 Mod 7/8 in 174 cm. No question about it: The 174 cm is a much more forgiving ski, fore and aft. The 160 takes no effort at all to turn, but it punishes back seat driving in the groomed and pow, and it punishes "front seat driving" in the pow. It has taught me a lot of muscle memory in fore/aft balance, while the 174 lets me get away with MURDER!! [and I LOVE it!!] I'd like to hear from others on this subject, as well. I first became interested in the "short ski" picture when encouraged to do so by Pierre, eh! and so I hope he will expand on this subject. Pierre showed me the skis he usually uses, and for a man of his size, they are SHORT. Yet, from what I've heard, he is a technically perfect wizz bang on those things and really rips. Can we have more exploration of this subject on a mechanical and biomechanical level? Thanks!
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
Wigs,

Sorry to hear you broke your leg! It would be fun to make a few turns with you - maybe next Jan or Feb. Meanwhile, beer is always good. If we're over at Snowmass we'll try to find you.

Jim
Colorado
post #19 of 25
Pierre, John, and others whom have taken PSIA exams,
in this circumstance I believe it is all in the eyes of the examiner, depending on their viewes and skiing habits/techniques/demonstrations. In the skiing portion of the exam they demo a skill and then have the examinees follow suit, it alot harder for someone with 180+ skis to follow in the tracks of someone with 160's. As for the teaching technical well that's all up to you, tho the demonstrations may be easier to illustrate with a shorter ski with a tighter turn radius.
Training for my L2 has shown me many interesting things about how the exams may go, kinda scared to see how much the exam could vary between examiners.
post #20 of 25
Bob,

>>Wigs--NO! Not another one! Ah well, I hope you had a great season up 'till now. Come to think of it, wasn't it the last run of your season when you broke your other leg too? <<

Actually no. When I did the other one, it was only 10 days into the season. And yes, I had a great season.

The leg seems to be coming along fine. It doesn't hurt much, and I can walk on it. Doc says 4 to 6 weeks. I hope so, because we're planning another Green River trip the first of May. Should be real good again this year because of the low snow pack. They won't be dumpin' so much water out of the dam. Last year we were able to wade across, and we haven't be able to do that in years. Although, I don't see myself wading across this year because of the leg. We may have a boat on this trip, so either way, the fish don't stand a chance. -----Wigs
post #21 of 25
Wigs, what a bummer! I remember when you broke the other one four years ago when we were still on Compuserve. Wasn't it early in the season during a workshop or clinic introducing you to short skis? Or don't I remember it right.

Don't let it inhibit your beer drinking. Beer is good for the bones and almost everything else. It keeps you from losing too much muscels since you can't exercise.

I haven't broken a leg skiing since 1970 in Davos, Switzerland. And I haven't fallen in years, I'm afraid to think what would happen if I did. More so now that I know about you

I skied about 50 days this season, including three weeks in the Rockies and two weeks in Europe. I took out travel insurance including medical just in case someone ran me over on the slopes. Luckily it didn't happen.

Are you in a cast? I'm surprised you can go to work...

..Ott
post #22 of 25
Pierre, did you see any candidates trying to take the exam with straight skis? Would it be even possible to pass it with straight skis even if the candidate made all the right moves and skied correctly? Bob???

And was the subject of how to TEACH students who show up with outdated equipment brought up? You have a lot of those.

I hope you can type after your operation so we at least hear from you as to how it went.

..Ott
post #23 of 25
Pierre,

>>>Much of my problem was in trying to follow turn sizes that were inappropriate for the turn radius of my skis; skidding results. Even worse was the fact that I would take my center of mass very early into that turn, long before my long stiff skis could bend into an arc. I apparently had a little stem on the outside ski to compensate; about 20% of the time.<<<

I was wondering WHY you didn't make the grade on your first attempt. I'm glad that a) you got good feedback and know exactly why, and b) you were able to fix it so easily. (those last minute changes are a kieer, Eh?)

It took me 2 tries to pass the skiing portion of my L3 also. And it was for very similar reasons. I, like you, also passed it only a month after the first try. I made my 1st attempt up at Cannon, when it was -20 deg F, and we got 3 feet of white smoke the day before the exam. I was just way too comfortable on the hill, and got lazy. So I ended up pushing the tails around too much and not guiding the skis. This was before the short ski "revolution?", and I used the same skis both times (206cm race slaloms!!). And like you, I also got good feedback after the exam and knew it would be easy to correct the problem. I just wish someone had said something to me during the 1st try, so that I wouldn't have had to do it twice. Oh well, it's all good.

One of my best friends is at Killington right this minute, taking his L3. He called yesterday before he went out on the hill and said they had 15 foot piles of snow in the parking lot and got another 6" on Saturday! I told him not to get lazy, like I did.
post #24 of 25
Ott,

>>Or don't I remember it right.<<

You got it right.

>>I haven't broken a leg skiing since 1970 in Davos, Switzerland. And I haven't fallen in years, I'm afraid to think what would happen if I did. More so now that I know about you <<

Like I said, that was the first fall for me this season, and look what happened.

>>
Are you in a cast? I'm surprised you can go to work...<<

No, I'm not in a cast. The docs up here are some of the top in the field of bones. Being the little bone in the lower leg, and not a weight bearing bone, they don't do anything and just let it heal. It's sore, but I can walk on it. The one thing I have to be really aware of is when I'm up at the local watering hole and I feel the need for some relief, I gotta' get a move on because it takes me about four times as long to get back to the head.

So I will be put to work in the locker room, ( great fun! I can hardly wait ) checking in uniforms and other meaningful activities. ---------Wigs
post #25 of 25
Spyder, regarding a variation in examiner views of what constitutes passing and what doesn't: I ski regularly with a bunch of examiners from the Midwest. One of them told me several years ago about attending the PSIA examiner college following the National Academy. In groups representing each of PSIA's divisions, they individually wrote down their evaluations of candidates in a practice exam and then compared the results. The evaluations were, in his terms, "amazingly similar." He'd expected to see a wider range of evaluations because none of the guys in each group had trained together.
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