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Is very low skier weight a factor when selecting skis, boots?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am female, 44, skiing since childhood. I am 5', 6" tall and 115 pounds - pretty much a featherweight. Strong in legs & core, though, as I am an amateur bicycle racer in the off season.

I am expert in ability (very fast & agressive) on hardpack.  I am, however, a significantly more tentative skier off the groomed trails. I am (maybe) looking for new skis, boots to help me with the goal of becoming more comfortable in off-trail and, eventually, backcountry terrain. I am becoming confident in trees with light powder but my off-piste skiing is tentative in heavy snow, which is the most common condition on my home mountain. I have a terrible tendancy to lean back when I lose my confidence in the crud, then I crash. I NEVER crash on groomers, no matter what. So this is frustrating!!

My current ski is 153 cm K2 Lotta Love (119-78-105) with integrated Marker bindings. They feel short compared to my old K2 710 FOs, are definitely easier to turn but are HEAVY. I was directed toward this shorter ski length due to my low weight... they come to the bridge of my nose. My boot is a Fischer MX5 Vision (2006) which I suspect may be too stiff for my "ungroomed" goals.

Coincidentally, a friend is offering g3 skis at bargain prices (his buddy is a rep, I guess) and I am wondering about their offerings.

I do not mind having more than one ski (or boot) in my quiver.

My mindset is that mass-produced skis are likely engineered for a more normal weight-to-height body-type, which makes me 25-40 or more pounds lighter than average-weight people for my height.
 
Thanks in advance to all who reply!
post #2 of 13
for off piste skiing and fatter (and maybe a tip rocker) ski will make a huge difference for anyone.   78 is kind skinny for powder.

I'd start with that, and stop leaning back.   Maybe demo some skis and see what flexes you like and what width you like. but 150-160, 90mm would be a good starting point....

most ladies skis are a bit softer then the mans versions, but again demo some sizes and flexes and see what works for you.
post #3 of 13
I'm not quite sure what you are asking about but if it is a ski to improve your off piste skills, then here is a stab at that.

First, your tendency to sit back is not the fault of the skis you have. It is a technique problem that you need to work on. However you can get a better ski for what you want to accomplish and that will certainly help. I would say that you are on the light side of average so your weight should be considered, but won't be definitive as far as what you choose. A great ski to consider is the Nordica Nemesis. It is very wide (98mm waist) and is about medium in flex. This is a nice combo ski that works nicely in crud, shallow powder, and turns well on on groomers considering it's width. If you didn't want something quite so wide, then the K2 Payback (92mm) is a very nice choice and it is much lighter than the average K2. If you wanted a to sample something with a bit more powder specific capability, you could look at the K2 Gotback or Salomon Geisha (100mm-102mm) both of which have some tip Rocker. Remember however, that just starpping on the wider ski will not automatically cure your sitting back problem. That will take some time, work, and perhaps some coaching.

We tend to size skiers of expert ability about head high unless they stipulate that they are only going to ski groomers. For you that translates roughly to 160 (ish). One of the women that works at our shop is just about exactly your size and fitness level and her preferred lengths fall in the 160-165 range for most things.

Hope this helps.

SJ
post #4 of 13
AT 115 lbs I would look to a longer ski for off-pist, 160 to 170 cm, and I would look at skis that are on the flexible side of the range available to you.  I don't know how flexible the skis you have or the ones suggested above are, they might be fine, and they might not be fine.  The ski's weight should not be an issue; you are standing on the skis, not lifting them.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovepdx View Post

I am female, 44...I am 5', 6" tall and 115 pounds...Strong in legs & core...

...I am expert in ability (very fast & agressive)

Lost me
 
post #6 of 13
Two recommendations on technique changes for off piste:Women have different proportionality issues that may enter into the technique equation and I've read some interesting technique and gear recommendations specifically for women on both of the following sites. 

Check out:http://www.theskidiva.com/

and http://www.jeanniethoren.com/
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by mntlion View Post

for off piste skiing and fatter (and maybe a tip rocker) ski will make a huge difference for anyone.   78 is kind skinny for powder.

I'd start with that, and stop leaning back.   Maybe demo some skis and see what flexes you like and what width you like. but 150-160, 90mm would be a good starting point....

most ladies skis are a bit softer then the mans versions, but again demo some sizes and flexes and see what works for you.


 



Do you not agree with  Physicsman or do you think you must go wider?

http://www.epicski.com/wiki/powder-skis-and-skier-size

This is from the WIKI.

 

Weight (lbs.) Width of ski (mm)
100 49
120 58
140 68
160 78
189 87
200 97
220 107
240 117
260 126


Thus, if you are a little slip of a 120 lb woman, you will have the exact same float on a 58 mm wide pair of skinny boards that Mr. Average Guy (at 175 lbs.) has on his 85 mm "lite-fat" skis.

 

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonrpen View Post





Do you not agree with  Physicsman or do you think you must go wider?

http://www.epicski.com/wiki/powder-skis-and-skier-size

This is from the WIKI.

 

 

Weight (lbs.) Width of ski (mm)
100 49
120 58
140 68
160 78
189 87
200 97
220 107
240 117
260 126


Thus, if you are a little slip of a 120 lb woman, you will have the exact same float on a 58 mm wide pair of skinny boards that Mr. Average Guy (at 175 lbs.) has on his 85 mm "lite-fat" skis.

 


Physics man math is spot on but it doesnt matter. wider is easier no matter how light you are, more is better, and its easier to go wider than longer.

If anyone use that graph to justify skinnier skis they are most likely a GAPER.
post #9 of 13
Plus that graph is about surface required for float, not length appreciated for leverage when you bash into piles of tracked-out-piled up crud.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovepdx View Post

My current ski is 153 cm K2 Lotta Love ... I was directed toward this shorter ski length due to my low weight... they come to the bridge of my nose.

My mindset is that mass-produced skis are likely engineered for a more normal weight-to-height body-type, which makes me 25-40 or more pounds lighter than average-weight people for my height.
 

As for the 153s, if they come to the bridge of your nose, either you're not 5' 6" or your skis aren't 153s. My 167s come to the bridge of MY nose, and I'm only an inch (2cm) taller than your reported height. You sure they're not 163s?

Anyway, the rest of my comments assume that you are really 5' 6".

Lot of folks replying here. I suspect they're not all lightweights. I am, though not as light as you. I am 5' 7", 135lb male, 46yo. What I have found - and I think others lightweights here too, like Ski-Ra - is that skiers who are very light for their height sometimes DO have minor to moderate issues with standard ski flex and standard recommendations from people who weighed more in sixth grade than we did when we went away to college. For me, at least, going short is NOT the answer. I might end up with the right flex, but a strong, aggressive skier on boards that are below a certain relative length - say, lower lip height - is likely to find such skis unsettlingly unstable at any kind of real speed or in any kind of inconsistent slow/fast snow conditions such as shade/sun patches on a spring day, or broken up deep snow. I personally prefer skis that are the standard length for my height, but with softer than normal flex and lighter than normal weight. (For me that happens to mean - very roughly - skis in the 165 - 170 range for medium-radius hardpack skis and 170 - 175 for soft snow skis. I say this just for reference.) Consulting a really good demo shop is probably the best way to go if you come in with the explicit statement that you want to go relatively long and soft, and ask them to recommend some models that they think would be good for you. SJ's suggestion to look at women-specific models is, I'm sure, a good one. Another tack that can work is to look at a model of ski that is one notch "down level" for your ability. I.e., you might want to take a serious look at some "intermediate" skis, even if you are a stronger skier than the intended audience. Skis built for powerful expert men tend to be stiffer in both torsion and lengthwise flex than a lightweight person really needs to provide grip on hard snow, if you're skiing the ski at the right length for your height (not weight). Here's a possible example: People on this board and elsewhere are saying nice things right now about the Dynastar Sultan 85. If you were to demo that in, say, a 165, you might ALSO want to try the Sultan 80 for comparison. I have seen this model dismissed as a more of a "passive skier's ski," but I suspect, based on experience with earlier Dynastars, I would find it fine for me as a soft snow driver in my preferred length of 172. (NOTE: I have not been on either of these skis myself and am not recommending either of them, per se, but I'm using them as an example of the way that ski makers often make pairs of models with similar geometry for a specific use case, where one is aimed at stronger, faster skiers and the other at slower, more casual ones.)

Another, more minor, thing is ski weight. I often hear people say they don't think weight matters, or even that heavier is better. For me, heavy is okay if I'm skiing fast, doing clean carves on a very consistent surface, where my speed and the flex / rebound / cross-under effect of the turn are providing more than enough energy to move me and the skis around the slope. On the other hand, if I'm skiing bumps or inconsistent soft snow, I find a heavy ski quite tiring and slow to respond, and enjoy a light ski much more.

Hope this helps, and good luck!
post #11 of 13
some of the issue is just planning up to the surface of the snow.  that is where the rocker comes in. (and a softer flex)

I'm a light guy for my height (#155 and 5'10") and find a long fat SOFT ski is what I like.   188 coombacks are my daily driver.

lots of good ideas, but best (I think) is to demo and see what works for you.  Opinions are like assholes,  everyone has one ;)
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
qcanoe -- Thanks so much for your post -- I think it's hard to explain this feeling to other skiers who are "normal sized." I am going to try as you suggest -- a longer, softer, lighter-weight ski (I too feel that I fight with skis that are heavy... although they're awesome for bombing down groomers). You've nailed the experience I have in deep or inconsistent conditions, especially broken, deep snow. It's a feeling that I can't make the skis do what I know how to do elsewhere, like they have a mind of their own. Which then causes me to lose confidence and I end up in the backseat, thus feeling like I just learned to ski last week. I feel like I can't weight the center enough to do what I need the ski to do unless I have hard snow under it for resistance, to meet me halfway, know what I mean? I actually do better on steeps; I assume gravity is helping me here.

As to my height, I have always measured at 5' 5.5" to 5'6" (depending on whether I've been to the chiropractor :)  )  and my skis are marked 153 cm and measure out accordingly. Perhaps I was tilting my head funny when I marked them at bridge of the nose...

I was guided toward the shorter ski (and demo'd about 5 pairs) by a local shop that caters to women. However, I suspect my issue is less about being female and more about my lack of mass. I think the sales staff felt that shorter would help the situation (and the short ski is nice in the bumps, for sure...) but the off-trail problem has actually worsened.

And definitely fatter. Thanks for all who replied and suggested that. I am currently looking at the g3 Zest or Luscious in a 165 cm.

Jag, not sure where I "lost you." Was only trying to say that I may be skinny, but I'm not a weakling... :)
Thank you all; more specific suggestions are, of course, welcome. This is a great forum!
post #13 of 13
 Lost me; as in mind wondering off topic.

Sorry, no disrespect intended, just poor attempt at 'mind in gutter' humor.

...think I'll sit in the corner now.

bye
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