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What is faster: 165cm or 155cm slaloms? Why?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
This is a question I have had for awhile. I am curious to see if the new 165cm skis (for men) are as fast or faster than the 155-160cm length men were using last season. I heard that when testing the new shapes, some were surprised to see that the 165's were comparable to last year's skis. It seems logical, if the turn radius of both lengths is identical.

What different technique will evolve as a result of the longer ski requirements? Will they have to be skiied differently? Are lighter racers (men) going to be at a disadvantage because they have to use the longer ski, which might be faster for only the bigger racers? Or do you see this as an issue, that an adult racer of any size and good skill can be fast on the 165's?
post #2 of 17
I think the shorter skis must be faster, or otherwise there would be no need to have a minimum length. A race coach once told me longer skis were theoretically faster, but that it was easier too avoid mistakes with short skis.
I think the answer is that that short radius skis are faster in slalom, but long skis with a short radius are too difficult to control.

Regards, John
post #3 of 17
Originally posted by John Dowling:
I think the answer is that that short radius skis are faster in slalom, but long skis with a short radius are too difficult to control.

Regards, John[/QB]
Is it just me or is no one making a bit of sense at this forum these days?

Do people just type the most inane things they can in an effort to hear the keys click?
post #4 of 17
Originally posted by Rusty Guy:

Do people just type the most inane things they can in an effort to hear the keys click?[/QB]
Only you Rusty.

No its just the long awaited beginning of the season has us all a little crazy. Of course you lucky dogs in Colorado are already skiing so naturally a little silliness in understandable!
post #5 of 17
Pick any size you want, it still comes down to pilot skill.
post #6 of 17
Personally, I'm going with a new pair of last years slalom 156cm skis. I think the 165 slalom ski designs won't be figured out until after this worldcup season.
post #7 of 17
I'll try and go back to the Ski Racing archives later for a refresher on just why they changed the rules and the specific logic.

This was all about the time of the a lot of slinging about sidecut and dangers (Bode swore off speed events).

Damned "past my 50's" memory attack.
post #8 of 17
In all honesty, i have heard that the 165cm skis are going to be faster. Alot of WC guys found this out last year and were actually skiing on 160cm skis instead of 155cm skis. What the bigger guys found with these skis was that their fore-aft stability was increased tremendously with the longer skis, therefore making them much smoother, and thus faster in the course. The ski companies would adjust the radius of the skis so that both the 155 and the 160 and now the 165 will all turn at roughly the same radius. Of course in order to bend a ski this big you have to be a very aggressive or a very big person. I was looking at a pair of 165cm Elan SLX Race T's yesterday and they are not a ski that someone at my size could ski on and be comfortable on. I'm sure that i could ski on them and make them work, but the shorter 155cm skis are just so much easier for the average athlete.
post #9 of 17
All other things being equal, I'm going to go with Nord on this one. Once they fine tune the longer skis they will be as fast if not faster than the shorter skis. More than a few of the WC skiers were near 165cm already last season, so I expect that it won't be a huge issue.

I'm sticking with slaloms in the 160cm range. I don't race FIS and don't ever expect to.
post #10 of 17
Will course setting apapt to the skis, or will the skiers adapt to the course setting?

The reigning overall World Cup SL Champ skied on 165's throughout his entire 03 campaign....
post #11 of 17
SL skis reached such short lengths because they provide the only way to carve through today's tight SL courses. So indeed they are "faster" than longer skis that needed to skid many of the turns.

Basically, to carve through tight SL courses, SL skis need a deep sidecut. But if you want to avoid huge tips and tails, you need to make them very short. Racers find that 150-155cm skis do very well in those tight SL courses. Not because "they are fast", but because their side cut allows them to carve the turns with minimal skidding. It is the lack of skidding that gives most of the speed advantage.

If the SL courses remain the same, then longer skis must have wider tips and tails to keep the same turning radius. This may require even more torsional rigidity to hold an edge. For many people this will make it more difficult to control the ski. But I doubt that 165cm skis will be slower if they can still carve the SL courses like their 155cm counterparts.

There are no absolutes here because SL courses can vary so much. In the end technique will reign supreme. But in general having minimum lengths does have the potential to penalize very light and short skiers who may be more comfortable (and perform better) on shorter skis.
post #12 of 17
My understanding on the limitation was for safety, Same as the need for limiting height of risers. The mechanics of the height I undersood but never understood how too short of a ski might create a safety issue unless it has to do with stability at the speeds they are generating.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Regarding safety-it may be that the shorter ski will tend to toss you in the backseat, which, if you go down at an angle, can be an ACL killer. I tweaked my knee running SL on my 155's on boilerplate last year (no fall, no unusual twist, just torque generated in my knee)-a patellar tendon strain, but I developed tendonitis as a result. That is why I am considering the 165's-I am only 155 lbs though, the 155 is probably the correct size for a smaller guy like me.
post #14 of 17
The safety issue would be the impetus. Too many guys not just being tossed into the backseat but right out of the back seat. Not much ski back there to give support. In the extreme it would be like carving a snow blade on the steeps. You're probably going to fall backwards. Too many top skiers were DNF from backwards falls not to mention injuries.

What many of these discussions of ski length miss is the specialization of the skis. As someone mentioned there is a lot of room in FIS regulations for variation in course setting. As the skis evolved to shorter with more aggressive side cuts the offset of gates evolved to increase the demands. Now that the skis have new limits imposed the course setting will evolve to match it.

Bottom line is the new skis will be faster in the courses that are going to start being set. They might not have done as well in the courses that were set last year.

Much is said about the short skis of modern slalom and then applied to day to day skiing. In my mind modern slalom skiing at world cup is kind of ugly skiing when you watch those guys warm up. It is athletic, exciting, strong and functional (in a specialized way) but it is ugly in my mind. The technique is not effective for bumps, powder, high speeds or extreme steeps. Neither are the skis in many (not all) cases. But damn it works in that highly specialized field of WC slalom. So do the skis.

[ November 22, 2003, 09:50 AM: Message edited by: L7 ]
post #15 of 17
I would think the 165's would bre faster.

In the gates, if it is very tight course, then a shorter ski might be better.

The women racers have been on 150-155's, and if they get too far in the back seat, they are quickly on their butts with a DQ. There isn't very much of the ski left behind the heel portion of the binding.

This season, I believe the minimum ski length for women via FIS rulings is longer.
post #16 of 17
Re: getting back on the shorter skis. I watched a video of Mario Matt, I think, get totally launched into the backseat on the short skis and yet he was able to pull them back under him while in the air and, ultimately win the race. Fantastic act of athleticism!

I think perhaps the racers are learning to work the ski fore and aft on these comparatively short skis and so possibly the slightly longer length mandated by FIS will not be a hindrance at all. Bob Barnes posted a photomontage sequence of Bode Miller some time back that showed quite a bit of fore/aft movement. Miller definitely seemed to be moving out of the strictly centered stance to play loose (and fast). This even reminded me a bit of Killy back in his heyday.
post #17 of 17
None of this makes a lot of difference unless you're racing FIS. The length rules won't apply until next year for USSA. As I understand it there's only one FIS Masters race in this country this year.
As far as juniors go, the protest procedure is so involved and expensive there probably aren't going to be many. What I was told when I did my TD update last week is that kids that aren't on the podium don't need to worry.
As far as courses go, there have been a lot of 15 meter sets the last couple years. The sets usually reflect what the skis will do and how the racers use them.
Most of the time trial comparisons I've seen show the longer skis to do better in the ruts.
Lastly, as far as I've seen they're only making two lengths, 155 for women and 165 for men.
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