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Swallow Tail vs. Rocker vs.Plain Fat Ski

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I haven't seen many swallow-tails recently but i was wondering the advantages and disadvantages of it. Also of a rocked ski and a tradition shape, camber ski.

Simple terms: What are the +/- of swallow tails, rockers, and traditional (no rocker, no swallow tail) fat skis?

(thinking of getting some powder skis if the future)

thanks
post #2 of 20
A swallow tail is basicly a traditional fat ski with the twist that the tail is cut out. This lets the tail of the ski sink in pow and tip float a bit more than a traditional ski.

Another similar design to the swallow tail that is more popular lately is called a pintail. These skis have a tail that is much narrower than the tip and only slightly wider than the midsection. And example of this is the Atomic Big Daddy 145-125-129. 
post #3 of 20
Hmmm.... I always thought that swallow tail referred to a twin forked/split tail (ie. Salomon Rocker, 1st gen Katana, ???, rather than pintail. Swallow tail allows tail to sink down in pow & lift the tips up. Rockered tips & tails work to accomplish the same thing but probably a more effective design for the same purpose.

Pintail will affect float as Tromano stated, but also has the added benefit of not locking you into a turn. You can kick out the tails when needed (ie. scrub speed, change turn shape) resulting a highly manuverable ski without the drawbacks of having to use  a lotta sidecut. And the bonus being you can still charge straight and do big turns.

I think the interesting thing is how different manufacturers have used different combinations of tip/tail rocker, regular/reverse sidecut, camber/reverse camber, etc to give you a powder ski with capabilities that are impossible with a traditional design.
post #4 of 20
I have the Solomon AK Rocket Swallowtail ski and would be the first to admit modern rocker and other designs have obliterated the swallowtail design.  Swallowtails were kind of ahead of their time in 2004, but were less than 100 mm wide and were pretty long at 195.  I think the length intimidated some people at that time.   I find they are fairly versatile and don't feel locked into a turn.  On the other hand, they get a LOT of attention that I'm not really looking for in the lift line.   Interesting ski that is very forgiving in chopped pow and really nice in the fresh.   My plan is to ski these skis enough this year to finally put them out of their misery.
post #5 of 20
This is what a swallow tail ski looks like.
post #6 of 20
The only swallow tails I've ever skied are my Sanouks and they ski a lot like a ski with rocker. This may have more to do with the fact that they are really soft with no camber so once you ski into any kind of soft snow they become rockered skis. Although they are 193cm long, you can break the tails free and make very short turns with them - just like a rockered ski. Again - I think this has more to do with the softness/lack of camber than it does with the huge swallowtail. The only thing I've really noticed about the swallow is that skins absolutely will not slip off the tails and every time you're in a lift line you get some guy saying "Omygosh! Lookee them skis!".  It gets old really fast.
post #7 of 20
I had the AK Rocket Swallowtail, mine was one of the last last made and had a wood-core. I also have a Volant Spatula, Fischer Watea 101, and Praxis Protest.

The AK Rocket Swallowtail is a great ski that rewarded a tail-gunner skiing technique in powder. The ski could turn very well in powder by sitting back and bringing the tips across the fall line. The skier could get back over the middle of the ski and accelerate once the turn was completed. The slot in the tail allowed the tails to sink and the tips to come up. The length of the ski provided great stability at higher speeds. The ski provided both quickness and stability on deep snow. On firm snow, the ski carved well and had a stable GS feel to it.

My problem is that turning the ski was like performing sit-ups. I didn't like falling back to create a turn and then pulling myself over the ski to maintain my balance. It allows fast turns, but it requires too much physical work. If I only had the legs of a 25 year-old.

Generally, I find that a rockered or reverse-reverse ski is more dependable with less effort in powder. The tips always stay up, no tail-gunning required. Turns are quick & easy, the ski produces a turn radius that mimics the reverse camber shape of the ski.

However, the  rockered or reverse-reverse ski is never as stable at higher speeds or as ski-able on firm snow as a convention sidecut ski with a swallowtail. I wonder if the swallow tail was never fully developed. If the convention sidecut ski with a swallowtail could improve stability and firm snow performance without the huge effort penalty in powder you might have the ultimate soft snow resort ski.

How about a conventional sidecut swallowtail combined with a slightly rockered tip?

Michael
Edited by WILDCAT - 9/20/09 at 8:57am
post #8 of 20
^^^^^^^^^^^^^Again - Sanouk. Seriously the most overlooked ski in history.
post #9 of 20
This thread makes me sick with envoy and covetous jealousy.  You folks are debating the intricacies of a genre of tools ideal for conditions I haven't experienced since the late 90s.  And, I don't have any plans or reserve to ski that far West or that far North until my kids (now age 6) can enjoy skiing at that level in deep snow with me.  I may get to taste some leftovers from any unlikely giant dumps that hit Western NC or Central VA, but by the time I can get there most of the goods will be groomed or tracked out because I'm 3 hours away on a clear day.


You guys are my heroes!  Still, I hate you LOL!
post #10 of 20

Thanks for another very descriptive report Wildcat. I skied the Hexcel Split-tail years ago but no diff to me. I'd like the Sanouks.

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by WILDCAT View Post

However, the  rockered or reverse-reverse ski is never as stable at higher speeds or as ski-able on firm snow as a convention sidecut ski with a swallowtail. I wonder if the swallow tail was never fully developed. If the convention sidecut ski with a swallowtail could improve stability and firm snow performance without the huge effort penalty in powder you might have the ultimate soft snow resort ski.

How about a conventional sidecut swallowtail combined with a slightly rockered tip?

 

As usual I'm just starting to learn about impulse power while the rest of the world is traveling at warp speed. Still, I'm curious, and feel compelled to ask...

 

Has anyone ever made their own swallowtail ski by cutting out a section of the tail? Seems like you could do that with a jigsaw or hacksaw, then sand smooth and seal the exposed inner edge with marine epoxy. Use railflex or some other binding system that provided for moving the effective mount point and you'd have a good test system, nay?

 

1000

post #12 of 20

Start with a ski that has fairly rigid tail - old Kilowatt frex - and do one at a time.

 

Then ask yourself  "Why do I need the outside half of the swallowtail anyway?  If I pull the inside ski back to create pressure that will help me start the next turn, there's no pressure on the outer swallowtail section of edge?"  - and wind up with a Scottybob.

 

Cutting off the outside tail half  would also seem like the obvious answer for a lift line freakishness problem.


Edited by cantunamunch - 8/2/12 at 11:17am
post #13 of 20

Scottybob, eh? I have seen a few of those out on the slopes, but never knew what they were. Danke.

 

http://www.scottybob.com/skiworks/design

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc-ski View Post

 

As usual I'm just starting to learn about impulse power while the rest of the world is traveling at warp speed. Still, I'm curious, and feel compelled to ask...

 

Has anyone ever made their own swallowtail ski by cutting out a section of the tail? Seems like you could do that with a jigsaw or hacksaw, then sand smooth and seal the exposed inner edge with marine epoxy. Use railflex or some other binding system that provided for moving the effective mount point and you'd have a good test system, nay?

 

1000


looking at the age of this thread I would say much of the information is out dated.

post #15 of 20

Always fun and sometimes enlightening to pick through the carcass of an obsoleted technology.

 

If still functional can also be economical. And personally I don't care too much about fashion.  ;-)

post #16 of 20

Praxis offers a swallow tail powder ski. I am not sure the technology is obsolete. It was never very popular or wide spread in practice. Not many people bought swallow tails even when there was more options. 

post #17 of 20

I have no reason to think that it is obsolete - but  the combination of convex bases and cleats might still do swallowtails in.

post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

Praxis offers a swallow tail powder ski. I am not sure the technology is obsolete. It was never very popular or wide spread in practice. Not many people bought swallow tails even when there was more options. 


I'm firmly of the belief that because Praxis is doing a bunch of OEM work, that it free'd them up to do a lot more "ustom" options in their own lineup. I'd be interested to see how many some of those models end up going out the door.

post #19 of 20

I've kinda moved past the renewed novelty of even basic twins.  This is my second time through the turned up tail product lifecycle.  Fact is, I can ski switch just fine with regular tails in most conditions.  And, should I find myself going backwards in deeper snow it certainly wasn't intentional!redface.gif  I don't skate well on them, clip the tops of them. 

 

I do LOVE the way turned up tails look.  It is nice to be able to back up in deep snow sometimes when getting cliffed out or hitting other back country road blocks.  I dig the rooster tails of snow behind me, but hate being behind someone else's hahahaha!  Other than that, I'm not partial to twins anymore.

post #20 of 20

*is hatching secret plans to bolt some steel-tined rake heads to the back of crgil's twin tips*

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