Originally Posted by qcanoe
Sounds like you are trying ease your way into adjusting to shaped skis by starting out with skis that are slightly shorter than your pencil skis but still (much) longer than typically be recommended for someone your size. I did the same thing about ten years ago. In hindsight, it was a misguided decision and slowed down my transition a lot. I don't understand why you wouldn't want to go directly to a size whose flex and other aspects engineers have gone to great trouble to tweak out for someone your size. For an all-mountain ski, that would almost certainly not be "188 or 190." I'll leave it to the pros to recommend a size for you, but I would have thought something no more than 180, and at your weight probably more like 175 or even less, depending on the ski. If you get out there on a ski that was built for someone who weighs 250lbs, it's going to be lot harder to get it to bend and behave as it was meant to do. If you are worried about getting a ski with too tight a turn preference, I say look for one with less sidecut, not one that's too long. My two cents.
Actually there were a couple of consideration. Foremost was how much effect a 10 year layoff from skiing might have on my skills, balance, feel for the snow. That's been answered. Second would be the merits of the new 'short' ski over the traditional longer straight ski. I think I have a pretty good idea of the benefits of both.
Honestly, in prior days I never had a concern that my skis weren;t doing what I wanted them to.
That said, there will be the time when I'm facing an incredibly long mogul field on a seriosuly steep pitch. That will be the time when definitions will be fully realised. Right now on a not really difficult hill with not really difficult conditions, both old and new worked fine.
And not to get into a full blown discussion about ski design, ski companies talk about 'skier weight', but that's just a simple way to define a complex idea. A Ski really doesn;t react just to 'weight' /mass. It reacts to the energy/force you put into it, which is both mass and acceleration (turning) and the energy which comes from terrain changes it goes over. So a 165 Lb skier, sking faster on steep terrain can put more force into a ski than a 250 lb slower skier on a more mellow slope.
Skis don;t scribe some predetermined arc. They are much more variable than that. They are not just a rigid board scribing the circle of their sidecut. They have torsional qualities which in combination with the longitudinal flex (along different sections of the ski length, as well as overall flex) allow a sizeable variance in how they 'carve' a turn. This is where the 'engineering' of ski design meets the 'art'. And why one skier praises a ski, while another loathes.
Originally Posted by qcanoe
mdf, I think you and I making essentially the same suggestion to moreoutdoor. My comments were not in response to anything you said. I was responding to 165lb moreoutdoors' statement that that he wanted to try "some 'shapers' in 188 or 190, especially any noted as more demanding". It appears to me that HE is contemplating a kind of "step program" transition from longer to shorter, and I'm arguing that I don't think that makes sense, because a way-too-long modern ski is not in any way "between" a pencil ski that is (or was) the right length for the skier and a modern ski that is the right length. So, if you're used to skiing on 200cm pencil skis, and a good length for you on a modern ski is 175cm (just say), it doesn't AT ALL follow that a 190cm modern ski makes a useful stepping stone. Put another way, the guy who really belongs on the 190cm modern ski was probably skiing 215s back in the day.
I'm not looking for a stepping stone, at least not anymore. I have my requirements for a ski, much of which is still fullfilled by the 'straights' I have. But I know there will be a day (prolly in 2 weeks) when I'm standing on a pitch and wishing I wasn't working quite as hard.
I know that new 'Straights' are not a consideration for any future purchase. But on the other hand I don't want to be forced into a narrower skiing style and experience than I had and currently again hope to enjoy. I'll trade a little speed stability for a little easier turning. But I'm not gonna completely hamper one major aspect, just because someone says I should be on a 175 cm ski.
Based on the K2 Axis in 181, a 188 would certainly not have been too much to handle.
Why a 5 yr old ski? Because based on budget, I'm not about to spend $700 or more on a new model.
A 'modern' ski with less sidecut? I've done a lot of reading of specs recently, and other than a very few pure race skis (and not many of those) I really haven't found anything considered a 'carver' which has much more than a 20 meter radius cut - most have much more sidecut.
My 'straights' vary, based on calculations, from 40 to 52 meter radii. So something prolly closer to 30 might be an ideal ski. If anyone knows of one, which isn;t also $700+ rubles, lemme know, I'm very interested. For now the K2 Axis I have is fine to bop around on. In the end, after buying a bunch of used skis, I'll prolly have spent close to that $700 (some of which will come back as I re-sell), but will also have gotten a hell of an education.
Now none of what I've said should be construed to mean anything in 10 inches or more of powder.
Powder is a whole different game, and given I don;t spend my whole piggy bank on this 'shaper', I may be able to also finance a real powder ski. Now that would be worth it !!!
Anyway, Thanks a bunch to all who contributed to this thread, it's had the cogs going quite a bit, and helped me make, what I think, is a successful re-entry with eventual move to what I might see as MY modern ski.
Anyone plan on being up at Mammoth Jan 8 thru 10, ping me and maybe we can hookup. I can always use further enlightenment. It is, after all, the journey not the destination that counts.