or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Women's Equipment

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Several instructors, patrollers, and myself were discussing equipment at a recent patrol-training seminar. During the discussion a female instructor mentioned she was going to purchase a new pair of ladies skis. I suggested her skiing ability was beyond a ladies ski and at the least she should demo the skis this December while she plays in Colorado.

This of course led to discussion on all “women’s” equipment. I explained that in general it was my understanding many women’s skis are really for the less aggressive skier and the difference is more the thickness of the gel coat to “soften” the ski and not normally a core design. More aggressive skiing women, unless they are very slight such as the lady instructor I recommended to demo junior race skis and boots, should ski on conventional equipment. In actuality a women’s boot is shorter because the typical length of a women’s tib/fib is shorter. By shortening the height of the boot it allows the larger calf of the lower leg to be “out” of the boot similar to a man’s boot, which is just the opposite. This also will change the stiffness making the boot softer because there is less material to flex but also will lessen the responsiveness of the boot because it is shorter.

Then we started talking about bindings. One of our more powerful lady patroller/instructors loves her bindings because she can move them forward into a “women’s” position. I voiced my understanding, based on an hour plus with HH and his study at Winter Park, it has never been fully proved that mounting a binding more forward for a women does anything but make them think, which is important, the relocation improves their skiing. I believe HH told me they studied hundred’s of ladies to come up with these facts. In fact in a seminar I attended at the “Bird” conducted by HH he became to say the least very vocal on the subject and discussed the topic very “openly” with a couple of ladies. The instructor was adamant the forward position was MUCH better than centered. Of course, and I did not mention it, the bindings could be miss mounted also.

Now all this sounds very nice and since I am a little bit of a salesperson I can probably convince even most learned pro’s what I said is correct. My question is it really correct? Possibly there are several schools of thought and I would like to hear them. At least then I, along with others, can make a better-educated decision. Each year I have the responsibility of recommending and fitting many of our guests and a few of our students and I would like to do the best I can for them.

Thank you for your responses in advance and have a GREAT day! :

JC
post #2 of 13
Last season I obtained a pair of Stockli AXC's to use as a "road ski". They were to just "live" in the back of my truck for use on race days when I couldn't make it to the hill to pick up my regular gear.

The fellow I got them from is pretty big .... 230 or so, I'm kinda small at 168. The short of this is that the ski was OK, but I still never felt quite right on it. After a discussion similiar to this one (some Volkl models have a "race" mount center mark), I decided to spend a few runs playing with adjusting the forward position on the demo binding. I went from having a ski that I never quite liked to having quite a bit of fun.

I've got to imagine that this could easily reflect the different CG/CM effect of the binding on any skier, more pronounced among women.
post #3 of 13
John,

As my K2 district sales rep wrote in a note to his pro reps about the T9 Spire:

"Can the old adage that women's skis are fluff. This one will outski most skis out there."

This one could have a few guys buying.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by nolo:
John,

As my K2 district sales rep wrote in a note to his pro reps about the T9 Spire:

"Can the old adage that women's skis are fluff. This one will outski most skis out there."

This one could have a few guys buying.
nolo - Sounds good but why? I here the same thing about some other women's skis and yet when I ask why? seldom do I here a reply.

On mounting a binding or moving it forward a ladies CG is really not that much different. I would suspect the ski or the orginla mounting more than the gender. Actually it could be the skier couldn't it?

Have a GREAT day! Snow is around the corner for you!

JC
post #5 of 13
Read on, John:

"The new Spire is the best women's performance ski on the market. The T9X is also a great ski, one level down. The narrower waist but high sidecut gives it great perfromance on hard snow and the wide tip and softer flex allow it to ski well in all conditions. Metal laminate construction gives it the performance needed for expert level women."

This ski is very sexy! Not for the wallflower.

I don't know what the other brands have in their line-up for strong women skiers, but they all probably have competition for the Spire and T9X that give them a run for their money.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
In actuality a women’s boot is shorter because the typical length of a women’s tib/fib is shorter. By shortening the height of the boot it allows the larger calf of the lower leg to be “out” of the boot similar to a man’s boot, which is just the opposite. This also will change the stiffness making the boot softer because there is less material to flex but also will lessen the responsiveness of the boot because it is shorter.
John,

My understanding of the difference in a woman's boot is not quite that. Greg at GMOL or some of the other shop owners can probably answer better but it's not the whole boot that is shorter but more the "spoiler" or back of the boot that is cut or carved out a little to allow more space for the calf muscle.

This would not really make the boot that much softer. Now the MFG may make the boot softer for other reasons but it's not the "shorter boot" that is the cause of the softer boot.

And of course there's color which I have other opinions about but will not go there.

dchan
post #7 of 13
3 or 4 years ago K2 and Dynastar made womens midfats (waist in the mid 70's mm). Now womens skis are all skinny (<72mm). What happened? Why no phats for women? Does it just not matter in soft snow or do most women just ski hardpack so the phattie market isn't there?

Personally, the more I play around with different ski binding positions, the less theories I have. 'Tis a dark art indeed...

[ October 07, 2002, 11:43 AM: Message edited by: mary ]
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally posted by mary:
3 or 4 years ago K2 and Dynastar made womens midfats (waist in the mid 70's mm). Now womens skis are all skinny (<72mm). What happened? Why no phats for women? Does it just not matter in soft snow or do most women just ski hardpack so the phattie market isn't there?

I don't get this either. I'd demo a womens-specific ski if it had at least an 82mm waist. That's about as skinny as I'm willing to go these days.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by altagirl:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by mary:
3 or 4 years ago K2 and Dynastar made womens midfats (waist in the mid 70's mm). Now womens skis are all skinny (<72mm). What happened? Why no phats for women? Does it just not matter in soft snow or do most women just ski hardpack so the phattie market isn't there?

I don't get this either. I'd demo a womens-specific ski if it had at least an 82mm waist. That's about as skinny as I'm willing to go these days.</font>[/quote]I just purchased a pair of skis @ 81mm to give it a try. They also are mfgd. in varied flex. It will be interesting.

I agree that womens boots are shortened only in the calf area. I happen to have a short tib/fib but have found a womens boot too soft. I believe most strong women skiers still revert to a "mans" boot.

I agree with "black art" on mounting bindings period. One year a mfg. uses the toe and the next year the running surface. Beats me. I think on my new skis marked for toe alignment I will use the running surface. That way anyone trying the skis will be in the same position approximately.

I would be interested in hearing the mfgs. techniques of building women's equipment versus men's. Sometimes I think they short side women as the weaker sex and hype for sales. Then when a woman purchases the equipment they are dissapointed in the performance and can't understand why? Personally I believe decent women skiers can ski on most all mountain skis and strong women skiers can handle all the so called expert skis. However it is nice that at least the mfg. are saying the recognize the woman skier. After all if they quit so do the families!

Have a GREAT day! (73) days until we ski I hope!

JC
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally posted by John Cole:

I just purchased a pair of skis @ 81mm to give it a try. They also are mfgd. in varied flex. It will be interesting.
The Machete Sin has an 81mm waist, but you lost me on the "varied flex" comment. What ski did you buy?

[ October 07, 2002, 07:58 PM: Message edited by: mary ]
post #11 of 13
You know the real issue? It's the skier, stupid! This gender crap is getting in the way! There are lighter weight men who might actually enjoy a so-called "women's ski" more, but they won't - because it's labled a "women's ski." There are women who can take a, excuse the expression, "men's ski" and ski the asses off most men.

My wife had skis, boots and those high delta bindings "especially for women" - she HATED them! She said that she felt as though she were skiing in "high heels", to use her exact words. After replacing the bindings with some that had a lot less delta, she felt much better.

Is it possible - IS IT POSSIBLE??!!!! - that we can consign political correctness to the garbage pail where it belongs, and look to INDIVIDUALS?? SOME women benefit from those "female specific" features - but so do SOME males!

Can we describe skiers in terms of weight, build, and other factors that really make a difference rather than over generalizing about gender? PLEASE???!!!!
post #12 of 13
My view on womans specific gear varies from boots to skis.

I had problems with boots until they started making women's models. Prior to that I could never get a boot that held me firm around the ankle. Everyone has different shaped ankles, calves and feet - I have narrow ankles compared to my calves so need a womans boot to get sufficient contact in the boot. Some woman who have different shaped ankles and calves may not find the womans model suit.

I bought Nordica Next 7.0 which suits me. Also has a soft/hard setting, even on soft they are not too soft. Guess the softness depends on the level of boot you buy.

Skis are a different story. I did quite a bit of demoing this year. The only womans specific skis I demoed were the K2 T9X (I think?) and I did not like it at all, could not wait to take them off - it could have been the tune though. My favourites were Atomic Beta Ride 11.20, 10.20, and the Bandit X, in that order. Also enjoyed the K2 Enemy in the shorter length. Would prefer something fatter to the Bandit X so tried the Bandit XX (170cm), but it just a bit much ski for me. Would love to try a Bandit XXL (Womans XX) if I could find one to demo because I expect it would be softer, but generally I prefer the non-specific womans models. I found on most demo days here they did not have the shorter lengths for the woman to try which is a pain. I got the impression they were all catering to the male market, or tall woman. Makes it difficult to chose cause the length can affect things so much - at my height the behaviour difference between a 160cm and 170cm is a lot.

I am 163cm tall and had to demo most skis on 170cm or higher, some were only in 180cm. The only skis I did not want to take off and get back on my own skis were the Atomic Beta Ride 11.20 in 170cm, they are top of my list so far, as usual they did not have 160cm for me to try. Tried out grum's 10.20 in 180cm on a powder day, did not want to give them back either.

My current ski is a Bandit X but they have only just made it through this season. Going to have to get the credit card out for next season though - and I have decided that I won't be looking at any womans model skis except Bandit XXL. And I will probably buy a ski longer than me at 170cm.
post #13 of 13
The rationale for women's skis was many womens' lighter weight, and the different arrangement of their centre of mass. some companies addressed this in various ways, saying they designed the flex patterns with this morphology in mind. But then they'd say teh skis were good for lightweight men, too. hum.
I always seemed to overpower women's skis, and prefer to have a larger range of skis to choose from anyway. I'm heavy.

As for women's boots, I think these are necessary. I have had so many women in my novice classes who are in agony, and you have a look and the boot is chopping their calf muscle in half. I advise them to return to the rental shop and ask for boots that will accommodate teh bigger, lower muscle.
My women's boots are a pain! The shaft is lower, but when they did my foam liners, they got men's ones. And they aren't wide enough in teh forefoot, but are way too big in the heel. And they are too soft.

I have tried moving bindings forward when on demos, and don't really like the result. the skis get a bit squirrly and unstable.

Raising the heel a bit, whether by in-boot heel lifts or elevated heel pieces on bindings, can be beneficial for some women, I think.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion