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World Cup "FIS" skis...the new marketing "ploy" ?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

As I have written many times, Italians are fond of GS and GS-like (Race carver or whatever) skis...

These are quite different from the skis used in racing, which have had thier sidecut progressively decreased and their turn radius corrispetively hightened...

But today I was skiing and hapened to noticed a pair of Rossignol 9x (GS) with "WorldCup" and "FIS"

stamped on them...

Well, the shape looked to me "normal"; I had the opportunity to have in my hands, last week, a pair of P60-FIS in 186 and of RACE Tiger-FIS in 195 and these, I remember, were quite "straight" compared to these Rossi 9X I saw today , those last two were quite obviously "true" (but what this owrd means, taken by itself, I wonder?) racing skis...

Is it the new marketing ploy, to name "FIS" skis to make them more appealing to the racewannabes of the GP (General Public), or have we turned round, I mean, are GS-replicas going to abandon the curvy

shapes of the past years and approach the official FIS race skis dimensions?

 

post #2 of 14

FIS dimensions have changed.  They used to have a fairly long radius, then they came down and then they most recently went back up to 27, I think.  I'll let someone else put in the exact data and dates.  Maybe the 9X you saw were from a couple of years ago or were they current?  Maybe women's GS from two years ago?  Maybe Junior?

post #3 of 14

The irony is that FIS only puts restrictions on how skis can perform--like capping the horsepower a race car engine can put out. Non-FIS-compliant skis can--at least in theory--perform better than a FIS-Compliant-World Cup race-stock ski (although there are safety reasons for the restrictions which may make sense to consider).

 

Still, recreational skiers should recognize that, unlike racers, they are not restricted in their equipment choices.

 

Nevertheless, the aura surrounding equipment intended for competing at the highest levels (even if it's just cosmetics!) is surely marketable. The "GS" skis that most skiers can buy may hardly resemble the skis actually used in World Cup competition, but if they say "FIS" on them, and have similar graphics, people will buy.

 

Best regards,

Bob

post #4 of 14

Last I knew the restrictions for GS skis at the FIS level were 185cm min.,  65mm underfoot min. and 27 meter radius min.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

 

Maybe the 9X you saw were from a couple of years ago or were they current?  Maybe women's GS from two years ago?  Maybe Junior?

 

Not sure, the topsheets looked still shiny new, this season or last at the most. Surely younger than the P60 and RaceTigers I saw earlier
 

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

 

The irony is that FIS only puts restrictions on how skis can perform--like capping the horsepower a race car engine can put out. Non-FIS-compliant skis can--at least in theory--perform better than a FIS-Compliant-World Cup race-stock ski (although there are safety reasons for the restrictions which may make sense to consider).

 

Still, recreational skiers should recognize that, unlike racers, they are not restricted in their equipment choices.

 

Nevertheless, the aura surrounding equipment intended for competing at the highest levels (even if it's just cosmetics!) is surely marketable. The "GS" skis that most skiers can buy may hardly resemble the skis actually used in World Cup competition, but if they say "FIS" on them, and have similar graphics, people will buy.

 

Best regards,

Bob

Bob, you read my mind. That's exactly what I wanted to say and how the thoughts formed in my mind!
 

post #7 of 14

Real FIS-approved WC GS ski - The RADICAL RX WORLD CUP IBox

 

http://www.rossignol.com/NO/radical-rx-world-cup-ibox_RA8DV01_product_ski-men-skis-race.html

 

  • Sizes : 181-186-191
  • Radius : >27m
  • Structure : Fibro-metal rectangular
  • Absorption : VAS 100
  • Core : WOOD
  • Heel Piece : AXIAL² Worldcup 200 MFX

 

The cheater GS - RADICAL R9X WORLD CUP OVERSIZE

 

http://www.rossignol.com/NO/radical-r9x-world-cup-oversize_RA8BC01_product_ski-men-skis-race.html

 

  • Sizes : 160-170-180
  • Sidecut : 124-80-112
  • Radius : T.170:15m
  • Structure : Fibro-metal rectangular
  • Absorption : VAS 100
  • Core : WOOD
  • Heel Piece : AXIAL² 140 Ti Tpi²

 

They both say WC, but only the 1st is FIS-legal. The 2nd is the same ski as the CX80 in the States, but sticks to the WC markings and top sheet to appeal to the European market.

post #8 of 14

I bought a pair of 188 Fischer WC GS skis that is an 04 leftover from DSW skis in Denver. I paid 150 bucks for them.

 

The radius is >21 meters. The were FIS legal at the time (or so I was told) but not now. Works perfect for me because I ski masters races that are non-fis so I didn't want a >27 radius ski anyway.

 

They are brand new and look shiny but they are an older ski.

 

I see a lot of skis that say WC or WorldCup on them that are obviously not but I would think that if it says FIS on it it would mean it is an FIS legal ski.

 

 

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Yes, but my line of thought was, while extremely well expressed (better than my first post, I don't know, Bob must be a "distance mind reader" , a magician) by Bob :

1)Manufacturer have overused the "World Cup" putting it almost on every ski they could think of

2)Since 1 is true, will they now start to put FIS on skis as well (just to sell skis to the GP) or

3)Will FIS "branded" skis really comply with the FIS regulations, marking a return to  more skinny skis

   (at least in the GS-like, race-replica, skis segment) ?

 

 

post #10 of 14

There are two things... One is World cup name... Many companies have skis or line of skis called World Cup something. Normally they are top of the line skis, and they are sort of "replicas" of real racing skis. I guess we all know this means they have same graphics, but that's all what is similar with real racing skis.

Second thing with Rossi is this FIS Compliant "stamp" about 20-30cm infront of binding. This might or might not be marketing trick, but it definitely says this particular ski is FIS compliant. So if ski has this FIS compliant graphics on, it's normally race stock ski, and normally you can't really get this skis in stores. Now I have no idea if this graphics is necessary or not, but obviously for Rossi it is :)

post #11 of 14


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

 

The irony is that FIS only puts restrictions on how skis can perform--like capping the horsepower a race car engine can put out. Non-FIS-compliant skis can--at least in theory--perform better than a FIS-Compliant-World Cup race-stock ski (although there are safety reasons for the restrictions which may make sense to consider).

 


 

The FIS regulations just set minimums for radius & length for the various events.  This changes certain performance characteristics, but I don't see that this translates to a cap on overall performance, measured as the fastest times through a race course.

 

WC racers are skiing as fast or faster than ever, even within current ski dimension regulations.

post #12 of 14

IMO there's a weird amount of overreaction in this thread to a very mundane event. Rossi, and most other manufacturers I know, has been making "racing" versions of its WC skis for years and years. They are meant to resemble their real WC skis, just like M3's are meant to call up images of racing versions that are not street legal. Go look at a Blizzard GS and GSR or  Head WC iSpeed and iSpeed. Subtly different graphic pattern, different binding, from a distance look about the same. 

 

Rossi called them blah blah WC racing "oversize" starting in about 04, and along with everything else that matched the WC's,  they had a little silver FIS like emblem ahead of the toepiece, only it didn't say "FIS Approved," it said "Race" or something to fill the space. Maybe this season they're just calling them blah blah WC "racing" and the little silver dooh-dah says "FIS." Or something similar. Main point is that they use similar graphics to the WC's, but are detuned, have more forgiving radii, and vastly different plates. Therefore:

 

1) They are not unsafe or somehow "faster" than FIS restricted skis. They are softer, and have less sidecut ("X" version for Rossi) or more ("S" version). They make nice recreational racing skis, or work fine as hard snow carvers. Think Head iSpeeds

 

2) No racer in his/her right mind would mistake these for FIS legal skis, and no one I know is bilking wannabes by pretending these are. No harm, no foul. 

 

3) The real way to check is to glance at the plate, not the ski. Rossi WC's, for instance, have built in plates that are higher, blockier, mostly black, and have visible metal in them. The "oversize" versions are lower, often feature similar colors to the skis, and have no visible metal.

 

4) Finally, this canard that the WC skis you see in a good shop are not "authentic." No, shop racing skis are not the hand built models that top World Cup racers use, any more than the racquets you see Nadal or Federer using can be purchased at your local pro shop. No, the Head WC iSpeed is not what Bode uses. But these skis are the models that most racers at lower levels use, and in college, and for a lot of Masters, and so forth. My impression is that some brands' competition and "store" models are pretty close, (like Stockli), while others are not (like Head).

 

But mainly, ski companies can't afford to hand build individual skis for J2's or college racers; they have batches with various flexes, often a bit stiffer than the identical appearing ski in your local slopeside shop, that can be ordered or are stocked by a few specialty shops. And when you reach club and recreational racing, including Masters, unless someone's pretty hooked up, he/she uses what a good racing shop stocks, period. So what's the "real" one here? Only skis that end up on the podium at a WC GS? Racers at any level past 3rd grade know what's what, and otherwise, who the hell cares? "Authenticity" debates, whether skis or racquets or food or cars, inevitably end up being more about our own than the object we're projecting onto.

 

Jeez, it's only a sport.


Edited by beyond - 3/10/2009 at 07:49 pm


Edited by beyond - 3/10/2009 at 07:51 pm
post #13 of 14

Good comments. I have a couple of thoughts. There is a certain segment of the ski population that has always {30+ years} been obsessed with "real" race stock skis. In today's world, the race skis used at the highest levels are not so versatile. They are the ultimate "one trick pony". Most companies, as mentioned, build a variety of race skis. The better you are, the more access to the "best" skis opens up to you. However, the 191-6cm GS, pressed to meet the needs of a male WC skier, is going to be useless for anybody who's strength, technique, and course set requirements are not up to the WC.  The best FIS level men {not juniors, necessarily} in the U.S. might be faster on the true WC ski. In fact, quite often you'll find those guys on WC skis that for one reason or another aren't being skied by a WC athlete. I say might, as some talented racers will not be as fast on them. And nobody will be as fast unless they are racing in a fast FIS set.

 

 

Regardless of whether a ski has a "FIS Compliant" sticker on it or not, the guys who are at the top of any men's FIS sanctioned GS are all on skis that are 191cm+....and most are on 193-5's. And, aside from the length, the "guts" tend to be different. 

 

My experience has been that most companies built a lot of laminated "race stock" skis, in a full range of lengths, which are pretty readily available to purchase. They are normally sold at shops that are race specific, or are "race centers", etc. These are also the stock that's sold to juniors at the fall club "rep days", to most kids at ski academies, etc. If you nose around, they can be found. They tend to be pretty uniform in flex, and performance. They are built in the "regular" factory, in large numbers.  They work real well for at least 95%+ of those racing.

 

Then you have a better grade of ski, which reps and companies call by all sorts of names: team stock, etc. Normally this stuff is what the companies provide to their very best domestic skiers, and you can't buy it unless you're one of them. A few years ago, it would have been all free. Nowadays, most athletes are paying for some of the cost. These skis might have a better base, better edges, and might be perfectly matched as far as flex. The graphics are identical. They are built in fewer lengths. Normally maybe two for the women, and one for the men. The men's tend be slightly beefier in flex, on average than the "regular" stock. These skis normally work for the skier who overpowers the regular laminated race skis. For an athlete with the skills, fitness and strength the skis should perform better. Some of it is clearly in the athlete's head. I am convinced that they are better skis, though, for the athlete who needs them. I think that you find the majority of skiers in the lower rungs of the USST system, or close, on these skis. Often an athlete will switch to a different company, as they are given access to the better skis, and find that in testing them they are faster.

 

Lastly, you have the skis that are specifically built to the racer's needs. Bode is probably the ultimate example. Who knows how many skis Head presses for Bode. It's in the hundreds a year. Often when an elite WC skier changes companies, it's to move up the ladder, and get more attention in this regard. Perhaps to be their top athlete, and get a great deal of hands-on. My experience is that these skis don't work but for the guy who has great skills.....probably sub 25 FIS points. I would assume that very few women would like trying to "race" on Lindsay Vonn's GS skis, even WC women. If they are truly tailor made for somebody who has unique needs, they are of little use to anyone else. I don't think that Tiger Woods' driver would work for me!  

 

Speed skis are a different thing altogether. An average speed skier can be screamingly fast on a fast pair of DH skis....if he can get them.

 

The distribution of race skis is one of the strangest business models going. Race reps, retail reps, race shops, non-race product shops, bickering over customer and territory "ownership."  It adds to this confusion. Most companies have their race reps distribute all of the true laminated race skis, and perhaps make other skis available to their athletes. If they are smart, they also will let any retailer sell them. Of course the pricing gets messed up, as the prices for a USSA racer are quite a bit less than MSRP for a similar ski. Adds to the confusion, I think.

 

Then of course you have all of the race carvers, the "cheater" GS skis, etc. with very similar graphics, and whatever marketing hype will sell the product. They have "race", "world cup", and whatever else is exciting plastered all over them. They aren't race skis, per se, but for most of us, they are a heck of a lot better ski. The shops are full of them. They work.

 

If you're curious about the difference, just check out the skis at the next FIS level race that you see, or go check out the GS skis of the best 18-20 year olds who ski at the local ski academy {or a NCAA D1 racer} when they are leaning against your competition building. You'll see a different looking ski. Beefy laminate construction, perhaps a different reinforced tip, a different plate, maybe a Marker 3000 binding {DIN to 30} which will never find it's way into a ski shop. Lift them....hefty. A lot of that weight is the all metal binding, and the plate.  

 

It's all different stuff, but "better"? Only for the full-time athlete who has the skills to use them, and only for the purpose for which they are intended. I rarely see the top level racers free-ski on race skis. They suck for that purpose. A full on 193-5 cm GS ski is not a "fun" ride. My son has three pairs of wide waist skis for the fun stuff. I know a number of former USST skiers and NCAA AA's now hitting the beer leagues, and they all have switched to cheater GS skis. They can't ski a FIS GS ski in that situation and either have fun, or be fast.

 

I will still free ski  a bit on the right day on a pair of 188 GS skis from a few years ago, but I really prefer a pair of 175 GS cheaters {which have a much more forgiving build-up}, or my 184 Stockli Stormrider XL's. I'm no elite athlete. Just my $.02.  

 

I guess that's a long-winded way of saying that there seems to be zero benefit to making more FIS dimension skis or the general public. Let alone some of the race lay-ups and laminates. Most of us just wouldn't like them. But the obsession over "race stock" will certainly continue!! Always has!!

 

 

 

post #14 of 14

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

 

The irony is that FIS only puts restrictions on how skis can perform--like capping the horsepower a race car engine can put out. Non-FIS-compliant skis can--at least in theory--perform better than a FIS-Compliant-World Cup race-stock ski (although there are safety reasons for the restrictions which may make sense to consider).

 

Still, recreational skiers should recognize that, unlike racers, they are not restricted in their equipment choices.

 

Nevertheless, the aura surrounding equipment intended for competing at the highest levels (even if it's just cosmetics!) is surely marketable. The "GS" skis that most skiers can buy may hardly resemble the skis actually used in World Cup competition, but if they say "FIS" on them, and have similar graphics, people will buy.

 

Best regards,

Bob

 

Is there a single consumer ski on market now  that is  narrower in the waist than the current FIS minimum waist?

 

(other than Anton Gliders, I mean).

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