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Is it the ski, the skier, or the tune (or lack thereof)?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Okay, here's my question. Just got a new (never before skied on) pair of Head Cyber XP 70's, in a 170 length, went out and skied them today with some very strange results. The skis were unbelievably zippy and energetic doing quick turns down the fall line in groomed snow. They performed nicely, turned on a dime, behaved beautifully. However, skiing them on slopes with deeper and slightly harder stuff - not quite Sierra concrete but definitely not nice groomed surfaces - the skis felt unmanageable. They didn't want to cut or bite into the harder snow surfaces at all.

Let me put this in context. I'm an advanced but lazy skier. For the past few seasons I've been skiing on X-Scream 9's (the softer version of the original X-Scream Series) in a 187 length, a slightly heavy ski which feels to me like a great high-speed cruising ski but has never been that zippy in fall line turns. Also skied some this last season on slightly shorter Salomon Supermountains in a 178 length, a wider but soft ski which plows through powder, crud, crust, you name it, like it wasn't even there. Neither of these two Salomons have anywhere near the quickness of the shorter Heads; the Heads also feel significantly lighter...

One final point. The Head Cyber XP70's are brand spanking new; when my local (good) ski shop in Southern Oregon mounted bindings, they told me the skis didn't need to be 'tuned' (flat-filed/ground/edges sharpened/or waxed)...as, since they were new skis, they were in good skiing shape to begin with. Are they right?

Will tuning (edge sharpening?) improve their performance in non-groomed conditions?

Is the fact that these skis are so much shorter - and LIGHTER - than the Salomons I've been skiing... mean that they'll never do well in non-groomed conditions?

From what I understand, the XP70's are a slightly stiffer version of the old (and popular) XP60's...which were the ancestor of the current generation of "intelligent" Heads, specifically the i.C160s. Theoretically, they should perform quite similarly...except for the so-called intelligence/piezo stuff.

I'm used to plowing through just about anything on both the X-Screams and the Supermountains...would like to be able to use these skis in more than simply perfect groomed conditions...

So what are my solutions? Is it the ski, the skier, or the tune (or lack thereof)? Appreciate any opinions and advice.
--Miguel :
post #2 of 18
What's your height and weight?

Normally, new skis do not need a tune. You should be able to tell by looking at them -- the edges should have been pristine and sharp, and the base should have been textured and waxed (ie, not looking dry like a bone).

Craig
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Should have mentioned it earlier. My height is 5 foot 10 1/2 inches, my weight is 175 lbs.
post #4 of 18
the only ref I can find here to Head Cyber XP70's is back in 2001, so while unused they may not be exactly new and could be badly in need of a waxing. You would have noticed if the edges were damaged.

I too have moved from xscream9s 187 to a 170 ski, but a Fischer rx6ti. These too are much more manoeverable but I have particularly noticed how far back the salomons were set up, my boot being 324. I have found them good in powder and no worse in slush (which I don't like anyway!), so haven't found their length or floatation a problem and they are great onpiste. My fischers weigh as much as the larger xscreams so they aren't any lighter as your Heads appear to be. if your Heads could be 3-4 years old, perhaps they don't have the recent so called all-mountain gizzmos of the later models (which may explain the weight)?
post #5 of 18
My *guess* is that you are not an aggressive carver. You've gone to a shorter ski, which would need to be stiffer and have a deeper sidecut to maintain the edge hold of a longer ski (this is a major generalization). If you are acustomed to lazy turns on the longer skis, you might not be edging the new shorter skis enough. You can get away with casual edging on groomed snow, but need to really carve on hardpack or in variable conditions. Try putting more energy into the skis -- ski faster and lay the edges over, see if that helps. I know we often have the tendencey to throttle it back in ungroomed conditions, but I find that's precisely the place to turn it up a notch and power through.

Now, if the skis are washing out under you when you get on them, that's another thing all together.

Craig
post #6 of 18
it's my experience that short, stiff skis with fairly short turning radius feel terrible if you try to ski it in the pivot-slip-check style of old. The cleaner you carve, the better these skis respond. Aggressively tipping with smooth new edge engagement at the top of the turns really helps. Even and steady pressuring of the edges also helps. Once ski breaks free of the carve, there just isn't a whole lot of edge to do hockey stop type braking maneuvers. Skiing aggressively does not necessarily mean skiing faster. To me, skiing aggressively means more aggressive commitment to moving your mass down the hill.
post #7 of 18
I've been skiing on a pair of Head Cyber Lites (sp?) for the last 4 years and while they have served me well, when the snow is crusty, or heavy spring stuff they just don't cut through like a heavier ski.

I'll be demo'ing to pick out a pair of ski's to replace these, which after 4 season's will become my rock ski's
post #8 of 18
Miguel,

the Salomon X-Scream Series and 9 are very easy to ski in short turns... almost ridiculously so. I think you might have some technique inefficiencies that could be improved. I skied the Series for 2 seasons and my favorite thing about it was how quick it was edge-to-edge in small turns. I know that the 9 is even easier, because it lacks the titanal sheets of the Series... making it torsionally softer, and easier to initiate a turn.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by gonzostrike:
Miguel,

the Salomon X-Scream Series and 9 are very easy to ski in short turns... almost ridiculously so. I think you might have some technique inefficiencies that could be improved.
Maybe the length of those skis are the reason for this. 187cm skis, and he was 5'11", 175lbs.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Interesting and thought-provoking replies. I stopped by the ski store today and examined the bases and state of tune with the tech - they are in excellent shape ... which means there's nothing really wrong with the 'tune'.

On the theory that my carving technique on these skis may be somewhere between sloppy and slightly lazy, I am going back to the mountain tomorrow to apply some of the suggestions here...will report back.

Miguel
post #11 of 18
Are you a straight-shooting, hard drinking, chain smoking officer of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms? If so, is the work as fun as it sounds?
post #12 of 18
blah
post #13 of 18
Well, it might actually be the tune. I am a recreational racer, which means that I'm unlike about 98% of recreational skiers in that I tune my own skis. Among racers, it is generally thought that skis are _not_ ready for skiing on when purchased new. (Don't get me started. The Swix manual for new ski prep would have me putting in many, many hours before getting them near the snow.) At a minimum, you might find out whether they have a base and side bevel. (Base and side bevel are explained here:

http://www.tognar.com/edge_tips_file...snowboard.html

essentially, a side bevel makes a sharper edge for digging into ice and hard snow.) Tognar, above, recommends a 2 degree side bevel for advanced all mountain skiers and a 2-3 degree side bevel for expert all mountain skiers, which is probably about right. (I have a 3.5 degree side bevel for my SL and GS racing skis.)

I'd think that running on skis without a side bevel would probably feel like you describe the problem above--they don't feel like the edge penetrates in steeper sections or in hard pack.

Usually, the ski shop that sells you the skis and mounts the binding, offers to give you the tune to your specification (sharpen, bevel, wax) for some modest price, and to wax the skis again. Or take it to any shop and say, "sharpen my edges, and give me a one degree base, two degree side bevel." That's a pretty modest bevel. See if they work better after that.

sfDean.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by paulwlee:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by gonzostrike:
Miguel,

the Salomon X-Scream Series and 9 are very easy to ski in short turns... almost ridiculously so. I think you might have some technique inefficiencies that could be improved.
Maybe the length of those skis are the reason for this. 187cm skis, and he was 5'11", 175lbs. </font>[/quote]Possible, but not likely. I skied 'em in 187cm, and I'm 5'10" 160 lbs.
post #15 of 18
The Volkl demo van had a bumper sticker to answer your question:

It's not the tune. YOU SUCK!

Not saying that it applies to you. Just thought it was funny and relieved the tension.
post #16 of 18
I assume your trying your skis out on Mt. Ashland. Being very familiar with the mountain and its snow my guess is you're not initiating your turns on the front of your skis. I know that if I am skiing heavy snow and I don't engage the fronts of the ski at the beginning of the turn they will have a mind of their own (especially the outside ski). Pay attention to where your weight is when you start your turns and if your trying to ski the whole ski or just the tail (something my ski buds at Mt. Ashland love to do on thier X-Scream Series).

[ March 30, 2004, 06:46 PM: Message edited by: Rio ]
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by MiguelATF:
Let me put this in context. I'm an advanced but lazy skier.
IMO, that little nugget is the key.

Skiing is an athletic endeavour. You might even break a sweat!

On hardpack, you need to absorb the side slip more. ie, flex deeper and gently to let the tails follow the tips. It may also help if you were to point your knees into the hill more as you sink into such a turn, and use more angulation instead of inclination only, as lazy skiers are known to do....

But I have not seen you ski, so I am only guessing re: your body position. And I am only guessing of what your intent actually is. If you are trying to lay down a set of rails while touching your elbow to the snow, forget it. But on hardpack, SR turns will skid, as you can overpower the edge set quite easily.


Hope this helps!
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Here's the follow-up. Went back up to my local mountain (yes, it is Mt. Ashland in Southern Oregon) today, tried out some of the suggestions given. I tried skiing more 'aggressively' - and initiating turns much more seriously with the front end of the skis - and I also gave some serious effort to carving (is the term angulation still used?) every turn aggressively. The good news is that, these skis - Head Cyber XP70's in 170 length - really like being carved. They perform excellent on groomed, on hardback with strong edging technique; they even do nicely in a few inches of powder.

Where they don't do well, still, is in extremely hard frozen icy crust or crud - the kind of snow which both of my Salomons (X-Scream 9's in 187cm, and SuperMountains in 178 cm) just power thru with the greatest of ease. Maybe this is just a metaphoric difference between apples and oranges - but in my opinion these new lighter shorter heads just don't do hard frozen crud as well. (Interestingly enough, a previous set of lonnnnggg older Salomons - SuperForce 2S in about a 193cm length - weren't great crud skis either; it's only since skiing the Scream 9's and the SuperMountains that I've actually learned to *like* skiing crud and hard junky snow.)

Also, sfdean, I couldn't resist following up your suggestion - and gave the skis a 2 degree side bevel - which certainly didn't hurt their performace in any way. I think the real interesting test, for me, in the future, is going to be how well the Head Cybers ski on ice. The X-Scream 9's were genereally good on ice, the SuperMountains were somewhere between good and adequate - and I suspect that the Cybers will do quite nicely. Just have to wait and see.

Overall, the more I ski these shorter Heads, the more I'm liking them. They feel fast, light, energetic - almost like racing skis but very easy skiing as well. I'll report in later as snow conditions change.

In the meantime, thanks for the input, everyone.

Miguel
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