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Change in Skis and Skiing

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Just some notes on a recent change in skis. I recently acquired a pair of 175 Salomon Pocket Rockets and started skiing them in addition to my 183 Volant Ti Powers. I liked the Rockets from the start but didn't really master (take full advantage of) the ski until after almost 2 weeks of skiing. The shorter Rockets with a more centered mounting really required me to find a more centered position all the time. (I did mount the bindings 1.5 cm back from the manufacturer's suggested mounting location as their location is supposedly chosen as a compromise between jibbing and free skiing whereas I am definitely a plain old ordinary free skier).
Breakthrough with them really came when I had the pleasure of skiing with (chasing) a friend who happens to be a world class skier in and out of bounds at Jackson Hole. By the end of my trip I was skiing equal or better on every type of terrain with them (as compared to the Volants) except for carving on steep hard pack where I couldn't produce the increased angulation required for a wide ski such as this to create the needed edge angles. It was a bit surprising to find my bump skiing actually improving with a 90 mm waisted ski as compared to a sk with a 73 mm waist (although the Rockets are 8 cm shorter).

On the last day I switched skis with my daughter to let her demo the Rockets and was back on the Volants. It was a real chore to try and master them again. It seems that the design of this ski (a mounting position that is quite far back) produces very different sensations and requires considerable stance accommodation. Even though I have skied these (or the very similarly shaped Power Karve) for over 3 years now I never got really comfortable on them for the whole day.

The shorter skis have helped me to find a more centered stance (at least dynamically) while the width has given me improved lateral stability (I know, it's a cheat!). This really shows up when I land after my small little jumps off of bumps, risers, and sidewalls or when skiing switch (just about the extent of my "jibbing").

I didn't really expect to learn such lessons from switching skis but I am pleased with the outcome. Perhaps I am just inexperienced in this respect, but I was also surprised with how long it took me to really get comfortable with this ski and take good advantage of its capabilities. It's a lucky thing I liked it well enough off the bat to make the switch. Interestingly, my friend was also on a pair of Rockets even though he is sponsored by another ski manufacturer!

As an aside, I think that this ski truly represents another significant advance in ski technology and versatility (especially for relatively fat skis) like the K2 Four and the Volant Power Karves did for the far ends of the fledgling "midfat" category back a few years ago.
post #2 of 14


Hard to imagine a 90 mm waist being quick, but that's great. I guess one of these days I'll have to try something else for my quiver -- but I really love my Heads.

I know you've been doing some training with HH. Do you think maybe your skills have improved as well?

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 06, 2002 10:43 PM: Message edited 1 time, by SCSA ]</font>
post #3 of 14
Why would any helpful equipment be considered "a cheat"? It's not like you get in a cage and let it take you down the slope.

Personally, with joints rapidly falling into the ancient category and muscles that just can't do what they did 40 or 50 years ago, I'm glad for all the help I can get. I KNOW the improvement in my skiing over the last 10 years has come with gear that lets me do things with less effort. The wonder is that there's so much less pain after a day of skiing.

Now if they could only make performance boots more comfortable.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Certainly my time in Harald's early season instructor camps the past couple of years has been extremely helpful. This year my 16 year old son also attended and definitely made some clear advancements (he's already quite a good skier). In terms of the Rockets I don't think Harald would be too enthusiastic. One of his favorite sayings to me has been "the only thing holding you back at this point is your skis." By this he means that the "wide" waisted Ti Powers don't allow me to create the same edge angles that a narrower waisted ski would. The rockets are only wider!

However, your question brings up an interesting issue that has been discussed many times here and elsewhere. There are many ways for us to work on and improve our skiing. While at this point I know a reasonable amount about how to approach the things I'd like to work on, this last trip was a great reminder of the advantages of a diverse approach. Again, the things I've worked on in Harald's camps have been very useful and certainly carry over to other terrain. However, my limited time in these camps on hard packed early season slopes by no means does it all for me. My time on new skis was a tremendous learning experience which I don't think has ended. I expect that these skis have more to teach me and I am really looking forward to my next opportunity on them. Finally, the day I spent skiing behind (like a said, really chasing) a pro-skier friend at JH (thank goodness my son could keep up better and stay a little closer giving my daughter and I more chance to keep them in sight!) evoked a huge breakthrough making me really link together things I do for short periods for continuous turns through bumps, crud, powder, steeps, and narrow chutes. Like my son said, I was skiing as fast as and linking turns like he normally does when we ski together and he stepped it up yet another level trying to keep up.

As a final note to this story - the day after this experience we spent hiking in the back country, climbing a couple of peaks and skiing a tremendous diversity of terrain including steep chutes, powder, crud, breakable crust, hard packed bumpy run-outs, etc. and all of us (my son and daughter) were clearly the better for the previous day's experience. On our last day we were "taking it easy" skiing the in bounds terrain at JH and met up with another friend who is on the PSIA tele demo-team. Once again our skiing jumped back up a few notches skiing with this level of skier (didn't really matter that he was teleing - rhythm, balance, speed, and attitude are the critical issues here I think - not specific technique). It was another great reminder that it often takes some sort of external motivation (skiing with great skiers is one of the best!) to ski agressively and really move towards the next level.

I hope my discussion of these experiences are of some use to others.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

I don't really worry about cheating with ski technology. As you can tell we skied (and hiked) asome pretty diverse terrain. These skis allowed me to handle steep chutes (where the short length is very handy) powder, crud, bumps, dense trees, and groomed. In our back country exploits, not all of the powder was nice, light, and consistent as it hadn't snowed in any great amounts for well over a week. These skis were tremendous in their ability to allow me to tackle such diverse terrain and snow (perhaps my favorite part of skiing). On the last day we took a run down the JH Hobacks over semi crusted crud. With these skis it was actually a blast. Given my desire to ski diverse terrain and snow conditions I will never really feel apologetic about this new choice of skis.

A side note: We are really becoming more and more attracted to the back country. Our next move is to get a hold of some of the new Diamir Freeride bindings (and some wide skins) for the Rockets to give us even more versatility in exploring terrain and snow.
post #6 of 14
Hi Si,
sounds like a great trip. I'm surprised on your Pocket rocket info and maybe I should ski on the ski again with a different mounting point. In testing all the new skis last year for a shop and giving them my feedback forms, the pocket rocket was my lowest rated fat ski. It seemed to made of mostly air. Anyway, maybe I won't totally right it off yet. (eski also had troubles with it). Sounds like your skiing great, if you come out to tahoe, maybe we can make some turns.
cheers, Holiday
PS pm me on diamir info
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks Holiday,

I sent you a PM about the bindings and some further comments on the Rockets. I don't expect that they are necessarily a ski for everyone but they are a unique combo of soft tip and tail, stability, and shape (not to mention jibbing capabilities which I know next to nothing about).

Just so people don't get confused let me clarify that my exuberance should not be misinterpreted to mean I am a pro or even an expert skier. I'm just an advanced skier who gets by on and loves to ski diverse terrain and conditions.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 08, 2002 08:34 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Si ]</font>
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Given Holiday's comments I thought I'd throw in a few excerts from other reviews. I'm doint this in the Instruction Forum because I'm interested to hear people's comments about stance and balance on wider skis like this.

From Skiing:

Tester Talk:
"Rigid and quick." "Makes powerful turns as long as you're centered on the ski." "Tail sinks in deep snow." "Can make six turns where most skis make three."

Finding center can be elusive.

Interesting comment. It took me about a week to really get centered on this ski. Is this just becuase these are typically skied in shorter lengths? I don't think so, I've skied other short skis and not experienced this. I think it's a combination of shortness and mounting point.

From Ski:

All testers noted the need for a wider stance on the Rocket, with the reward being "surprising quickness edge to edge, and amazing agility," said Carmichael. In sum, it's a short-turn shredder for skiers who get into big, deep, tight spots and still want flotation.

I too needed a wider stance to start with. With time, however, I was starting to comfortably bring my skis closer together more and more.

From Peter Keelty:

Salomon took the attributes of wide deep snow skis, twin tip tricksters, flexible bumps and crud models, welded a severe sidecut to the mix and ended up with a phenomenal ride that can do it all but really excels in deeps and rough snow.

No arguments here.

From Telemark Pyrenees:

Guaranteed to be in demand this winter, the Pocket Rocket combines the best attributes of all-mountain and
new-school skis to make the ultimate go-anywhere do-anything jump-anything boards. Short wide and light, with a
smooth even flex, the Pocket Rocket promises to be lots of fun. While their width demands a wider than usual stance,
these make excellent telemark skis - a friend of ours mounted a demo pair with tele bindings last winter and we cannot
get him off them!!

For those of you taking these to the back country.
post #9 of 14
Good observations Si! There's a great saying, something to the effect of:

"The best teacher of horsemanship is...the horse!"

(The actual saying is better than that, as I recall--wish I could remember it!)

Keep it up!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks Bob,

I'm starting to think about skis as different types of musical instruments. I'm kind of at the stage where I can learn to play a song on one instrument if I have enough time. But each time I switch I've got to spend time relearning the song on the new instrument. Ah, if only I was the maestro who could create beautiful music instantly with any instrument of choice. What a time I could have choosing what song to play with each ski!

You know it's getting late when you start making analogies like these!
post #11 of 14
Skiing is much more like dancing than like football!!!
post #12 of 14
Holiday, what did you and eski think of the AK Rocket? I might get a chance to try the Pilot Rocket soon.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Is Salomon coming out with a Pilot Rocket or are you refering to the difference between the old AK and new Pocket Rockets?
post #14 of 14
Si: They are coming out with the Pilot Rocket. My area rep. has one now. I was referring to the Pocket Rocket and the AK Rocket.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 09, 2002 04:23 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Lucky ]</font>
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