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The "team skis" vs the shop skis

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

My friend and me got to a little argue with each other another day.

He said that the professional skiers (world cup) have different skis than the "ordinary guys"

I kinda disagree with him. So the question is: Are the skis that professionals or the ski teams use any different than the top of the line skis from sports store?

post #2 of 27

Yes, they aren't even close.  

post #3 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

 

Yes, they aren't even close.  

 

I have no idea about this subject either, so, then why can't we buy these team skis that are better than the best skis currently available to us?

post #4 of 27

Because you wouldn't like them and they would be extremely expensive.  

post #5 of 27

Why don't you ask SierraJim?

 

http://starthaus.com/?display=speed_ski_sale

post #6 of 27

It depends on the skier, the brand and the sports store.

 

If you're talking about the very top racers, who win or contend for crystal globes, they may have highly customized skis built for them.

 

Lower-level World Cup racers just have ordinary race stock skis. There may be multiple versions of a particular model of race stock ski, though they all look the same cosmetically. These generally are not on sale in run-of-the-mill sports shops, but are available from reps. Depending on the brand, they may be available on the rack at some shops or (more commonly) some shops may be able to order them for buyers. Exactly who reps will sell to, and whose orders they will place through shops, also depends on the brand. In some cases, it's going to be limited to people who meet certain standards, in others it might be open to all USSA racers, and in others they'll sell to anyone.

 

Race stock skis also turn up on eBay, at some online retailers, in race-club classified ads and other random places from time to time. Sometimes they're unusued skis with old cosmetics, sometimes they're used (perhaps only slightly used) skis that a racer has no further use for. While you're unlikely to find Lindsey Vonn selling extra skis on eBay, if you looked at the right auction at the right time a few years ago, you could pick up some from her now husband.

 

When it comes to speed skis, the story's a bit different. The best DH skis are most definitely reserved for the very best racers. In some cases, the basic ski may be years old, and may have "belonged" to some other racer previously. All speed skis are essential race stock, since they're not a consumer product at all.

 

These skis aren't generally available because there's really no good reason they should be. A GS ski designed for a top level racer, for example, is designed to do things (including complying with rules, as well as making turns of a type and at speeds) that has little to do with what even an expert free skier does. While there's probably some disagreement here, I'd also argue that they're not really the right ski for a more casual (ordinary Junior, Masters or beer league) racer either.

post #7 of 27

sjjohnston hit the nail (for racing) pretty much on the head.  What about the freeride and freestyle guys?  Well, it depends.  There are a lot of those guys who are using production skis, there are a lot who are using race room versions of production skis.  The first change a lot of guys make is the base material, some guys request different edges, some even go as far as different flexes.  Quite frankly, the lower level pros are most likely using production skis.  They guys who've been at it a long time get the goods.

 

I recently ran into a guy a few years older than me who spent a few years in the middle of the world cup pack but got into design.  After his race career ended he took up ski mountaineering.  These days he skis but no competition but he still has prototype skis, he still has race room production skis.  Why?  Because he helps test the skis being produced. 

 

The OP asked why he couln't buy them...most all true race room skis are hand made, they are brutally unforgiving so most consumers don't want them, and they are extremely pricey

post #8 of 27

Race stock skis and "normal" production skis are completely different skis. They have same graphics and model name, but that's only similarity.

Now to skis for top WC skiers and a bit worse skiers. Things are not that much different as someone might imagine. Some top skier like Palander, Matt or Kostelic don't get any different skis from Fischer, then some Europa cup racer. Only difference is, that these 3 guys get unlimited number of skis, and they choose their 5, 10, 20 pairs of skis out of this batch. Rest of batch goes to lower placed skiers which they choose their skis out of this and hand rest of batch down the chain. All racing service skis are made by hand. Well not literally but layers are put into models by hand, quality control is better, stiffness is measured more accurately and pairs of skis are chosen more accurately based on stiffness. So when out of factory, skis which for example Matt has, are exactly same as those which I have, just that they didn't like them, they were too slow for whatever reason, they were too soft or too stiff for their likeness etc etc. and so they skipped them and skis went down the chain. Same thing goes for alpine or for xc skis.

PS: One more thing... noone of regular people will most likely never buy such skis, and certainly not skis coming from racers. Ebay or no ebay, you will never get Lindsey's skis, simply because she can't sell them. Nowadays all skis are "rented" (I know this is not proper word, but I don't know right word in English for this, but I still hope you guys know what I mean) to skiers and on end of season or end of contract they need to give them back. Years ago, we got skis from factories, and on the end of season/contract/carrier skis were ours. Then obviously factories realized they lose quite few potential customers this way (I guess it's not to hard to understand everyone were selling at least some skis after end of season ;)), so they changed their rules. So nowadays skis are not from racers anymore, but they remain property of company, so skiers can't sell them anymore.

post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 

So basically they are different, but the lower end of racers just wont get the "real deal" skis? The other argument was that he knows a junior racer. And the racer he knows, said that he is getting the "real pro skis" for lots cheaper than the top of the line skis that are in the shop. I found that quite hard to believe.

 

But basically I found the answer, thanks guys! Greetings from Estonia!

 

post #10 of 27

I don't know how it's somewhere else, but in most of Europe it's pretty normal for racers (also low level racers) to get race stock skis cheaper then normal people get normal, non-race stock skis. There is different pricing for racing service equipment for clubs and for everyone else. Ok normally racing service stuff is not sold to others then to teams and clubs anyway, but you can still find this stuff in regular stores from time to time.

post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by primoz View Post

 

I don't know how it's somewhere else, but in most of Europe it's pretty normal for racers (also low level racers) to get race stock skis cheaper then normal people get normal, non-race stock skis. There is different pricing for racing service equipment for clubs and for everyone else. Ok normally racing service stuff is not sold to others then to teams and clubs anyway, but you can still find this stuff in regular stores from time to time.

 

Here's my take on how this works in Norway at least.... there are a few shops that cater to club racers. Club members generally get a 25% discount on racing skis and bindings. There are lots of demos available at race meets and club hills in March/April for the next season's skis and I guess 80-90% of the orders for race stock skis are placed in April for delivery around September - the pre-order discounts may even be better than 25%. In addition, these shops "overstock" a little compared to the pre-orders so they have a small number of race stock skis in the shops come autumn time. But race stock isn't their main "over the counter" business so relying on them to have exactly what you want in December is a flawed plan. They may be able to order, but factory availablity becomes an issue as the main production runs will be over and the focus is already shifting to the next season's models.

post #12 of 27

Example from the past: K2 VO Slalom. "Race Stock" ski from the regular 712. The consumer "Race Stock"  VO Slalom had a "Race Flex" in the low 20's. like 22-23/24 range. The "Race Stock version (R in the serial number) had a "Race Flex" from 24-25. Phil Mahre got a "Race Flex" of over 26. That shows you 3 versions a VO "race stock" ski. 

 

With Tiger Wood's 140MPH swing speed, he isn't using "off the shelf" Nike irons or woods. A Nascar Race car might say Taurus, Lumina or Camry and other that having 4 tires and a motor they have very little in common with the one in your garage. 


Edited by Philpug - 2/27/2009 at 01:44 pm
post #13 of 27

One thing to consider before searching out a true 'race stock' ski, they are built to go fast. Period.

 

There is no warranty and they aren't built to last.

 

... oh, and 'Epic' has a pair of Lindsey Vonn's SG skis, so they can be bought.

post #14 of 27

The "rented" concept is only for speed skis though, right? I ski with (well, behind) a former World Cup slalom skier sometimes, and she still appears to have the Dynastars she used on the circuit (though they may be her training skis, not really sure).

 

Also, since we're on the subject, does anyone know how and if the skis that sponsored freeskiers use differ from those available commercially? I've always maintained that these guys must have some skis more tailored to icy couloir work than those sold by their sponsors.

post #15 of 27

Prickly nowadays it's about all skis not just speed skis. Few years ago (less then 10) you got skis and you could keep all of them. But for last few years, everything goes back. Sure they keep few pairs after they quit, but not all 20, 50 or 100 of them :)

post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post

 

One thing to consider before searching out a true 'race stock' ski, they are built to go fast. Period.

 

There is no warranty and they aren't built to last.

 

... oh, and 'Epic' has a pair of Lindsey Vonn's SG skis, so they can be bought.

 

A friend of mine had two pairs of Julia Mancuso GS skis...

 

It ends up trickleling down eventually

post #17 of 27

Good, accurate info here.

Also, I beleive I read that the top-level Supercross skiers actually ski race stock GS skis with that year's supercross ski graphics instead of the race GS graphics.

 

post #18 of 27

I'll agree that the various notes above (so far as I know) are accurate.

 

At the very tip-top, some racers (Benni Raich, e.g.) get custom-built skis, others (most, probably) just pick the ones they like best out of batches of relatively "ordinary" race stock skis. Depends on the company, the racer and how he likes to work.

 

As for the dribbling out: I've definitely seen Word Cup-level US Ski Team racers selling skis, though usually pretty privately. Indeed, I just saw an ad for some SG skis yesterday. Presumably if they're relatively discreet about it, the manufacturers don't crack down on them. They also sell various other bits of swag that they get more of than they can use (coats, gloves, etc.)

post #19 of 27

Dare we open the can of worms between true "race stock" skis that the WC guys have and what most citizen racers can purchase which may be labeled as "race stock".....

 

post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJB View Post

 

Dare we open the can of worms between true "race stock" skis that the WC guys have and what most citizen racers can purchase which may be labeled as "race stock".....

 

 

Why I don't think there is a can at all..

 

I have trained in the summer  around the US and AUT ski teams, riden the chair with Hermann and watched techs playing with a bunch of different boards. Not to say that they aren't custom made but I assure you that most skis aren't that ridiculously different, maybe only the top 2-3 guys per given manu have an impact on the construction.

 

Speed skis is a different thing, they are the same as we get, only they are faster or slower.

post #21 of 27

As for pricing, my understanding is:

 

Absurdly good racers get paid significant money by the companies to use their skis.

 

Extremely good racers get free skis, valuable support and, sometimes, modest payments.

 

Run-of-the-mill sponsored racers, who are very good or at least very promising, get a reasonable number of skis (2 pairs per event, I think?) for free or for a fairly modest sum.

 

Plain ordinary racers (at least in the case of some companies, or maybe it's just some reps) can buy skis at a pretty good discount, akin to pro-form prices.

 

From what I've heard, the line between the penultimate and the last category has moved up quite a bit in recent years, or the penultimate category has essentially vanished for some brands.

post #22 of 27

My daughter used hand-me-downs from Libby Ludlow for SG one season.  My daughter's coach had been a US Ski Team coach prior to coming here and he brought some of those type of skis along.  At the end of the season, we turned them back in and had a different set the next season.  I don't know their heritage.

post #23 of 27

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SJB View Post

 

Dare we open the can of worms between true "race stock" skis that the WC guys have and what most citizen racers can purchase which may be labeled as "race stock".....

 

There are only so many things that can be different....  Pretty much every ski that a world cupper is skiing on, as well as most "race stock" skis are simply a  sandwich of metal/wood/metal....    Flexes certainly can be different, but they are pretty damn similar.  I guarantee world cup skiers aren't on any type of magic, secret skis....  they're just stiff.

post #24 of 27

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruke View Post

 

Why don't you ask SierraJim?

 

http://starthaus.com/?display=speed_ski_sale

 

mmhhm  SG skis

post #25 of 27


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by U.P. Racer View Post

 

 

There are only so many things that can be different....  Pretty much every ski that a world cupper is skiing on, as well as most "race stock" skis are simply a  sandwich of metal/wood/metal....    Flexes certainly can be different, but they are pretty damn similar.  I guarantee world cup skiers aren't on any type of magic, secret skis....  they're just stiff.


 

Not magic, not necessarily secret, but very personalized for the top seed, so still different from even the regular race stock. 

post #26 of 27

lots of good TRUE info here about race skis.

 

but for the freeriders companies will make what those guys want as well.

 

Have you guys ever seen a woodcored sidewall blue top sheet pocket rocket?

 

well I have and I am sure other companies do/ have done this in the past.

post #27 of 27

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mogulmuncher View Post

 


 


 

Not magic, not necessarily secret, but very personalized for the top seed, so still different from even the regular race stock. 

 

I bet they aren't as different as you might think....

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