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SL Ski Stiffness

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
This is hard to quantify, let alone get actual data, but how would you rank the following brands for 165cm FIS legal SL ski stiffness?  The order below is my guess from stiffest to softest.  I'm focusing on perceived on hill stiffest/edgehold.  I know things vary from year to year and length to length, but I'm looking for the general idea.

Atomic
Nordica
Head
Fischer
Volkl
Rossignol/Dynastar
random small brands

Also, is the order the same for GS?
post #2 of 22
Put Fischer near the bottom.


Nordica and Blizzard near the top.
HEAD
Volkl.
Elan
Rossy/Dyn
Atomic
Goode
(space)
(space)
Put Fischer at the bottom.

I've been on all these but not with yourquestion in mind.  Also, you did not ask for preference.  Just stiffness.  How come?  If you email me of Fbook me personally I will give you a
preference list.

EJ Levy
 

post #3 of 22
Hey!  Who was that masked man .... ???? 

I'd tend to put Stockli down somewhere on the softer side.
post #4 of 22
So the french are making stiffer skis than the Austrians now?  What's the world coming to.?
post #5 of 22
"FIS legal" .... ??? are you talking ... off the shelf as in "branded" legal, race stock or race room ?? 
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hmm, I thought race stock and race room were the same thing.  I mean like what one would buy at Race Stock Sports or Ski Depot.  Stuff that actually meets FIS regulations rather than cheater skis or short lengths of legal skis.
post #7 of 22
Ask the man up in Jay at the Depot and you may find that mixed bag.

Off the shelf to the general consumer can sure be legal if it meets the criteria .... that ain't magic.

Now is the off the rack ski as stiff and has it got the same layers as a "Race Stock"

Know a factory rep and get your hands on some race room stash??

Andy from Whiteface may know the same rep my kid met but is Andy being handed the same ski .. no way!
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
So how do you know if you truly have a race stock or just a consumer model if the have the same length, sidecut, topsheet, plate, etc?  Do you just assume that if it feels stiff it automatically has to be race stock?  I thought consumer was just the cheater sidecut skis with the gimmicky plates, etc and the non regulation lengths of the real deal.
post #9 of 22
Look at the dimensions for that discipline and they had to be marked on the ski.  Length and radius had to conform.
post #10 of 22
I had to look at the original post again to confirm we're talking about slalom skis here.

There's no radius restriction for slalom skis. Never has been. Just length (and width and standheight). Thus there's no such thing as a "cheater" sidecut on a slalom ski, and neither the radius nor the dimensions have to be marked on the topsheet, though they typically are. Note also that only the radius needs to be marked on skis for any event, not the dimensions, though - again - they typically are. However, at least in race-stock skis, the dimensions may or may not be accurate.

"Race stock" isn't entirely a unified or clearly defined concept, as it could include anything from GS skis a rep delivers to a decent J2 up to highly specialized DH skis in a stable from which Didier Cuche draws from event to event. It varies with the brand, but most race-stock skis have a sticker with flex numbers, or some sort of indication that they are officially-designated-super-cool boards.
post #11 of 22
For the brands I have actually skied, all on 165cm FIS stock, here's how I would rank them:

Head:  Really stiff, too stiff for me personally.
...
Atomic, Fischer:  Very similar to each other, still very stiff but a noticeable notch down from Head.
...
Dynastar:  Quite a bit softer than Atomics.
Rossi:  A little softer than Dynastar.
post #12 of 22
That's about right, and I'd also put Nordica up near the top in stiffness also.  Some thoughts, going back to the OP:

- Just because a ski is longitudinally stiff doesn't mean it will hold better.  It's only one part of the overall ski design, but in general, a stiffer ski will be harder to bend into an arc, a softer ski will be easier...so how stiff a ski each of us should use is more of a how much do you weigh and how much force can you apply to the ski issue. 

- Torsional stiffness has a lot to do with how well a ski will hold.  Go ski something like a 180 all mountain ski with a GSish radius (19 or 20), then go ski a race stock GS ski in a 183...on hard snow or ice.  The GS ski will stick like glue, the all mountain ski won't. 

- There is, as somebody pointed out, race stock, and there is race stock.  First of all, to be even considered race stock, a ski generally has to be FIS legal...for somebody.  For example, I don't ski a men's Atomic FIS legal GS ski, I ski a 184 Doubledeck, which is FIS legal for women.  All my race skis are Atomic race stock, and they all have flex numbers inked on the tails, from my 165 D2 SLs all the way through my 210 Super Gs. 

I *think* the way Atomic race stock works is like this:

- For the top guys, like Svindal and Benni Raich, I think Atomic custom makes skis, especially for speed events.  If you look at Svindal, he's gigantic, at 6' 5" and something like 225 pounds, so it makes sense that he needs a beefier ski than even the other guys on the WC.  Also, for speed events for the Euro classics especially, I think there is a small set of DH skis that don't get used elsewhere.  As in, soft snow bases, hard snow bases, different sidecuts for more or less turny courses, and so forth.  I think most of the WC guys are using something like a 217 or 218 for most DHs; I wouldn't surprised if at Wengen, some of them, such as Svindal, are on something as big as a 223, which you don't see much any more. 

- I've found Atomic's manufacturing quality and base/edge finishing to be very good and very consistent over the last few seasons.  Especially for tech skis, I think what Atomic does is make a bunch of skis, flex test them all, then match up skis that have the same length/sidecut/construction into pairs according to differences in the flex pattern, then stamp the serial numbers on each pair. 

Then they have a pile o' 165 SLs, for example, in 4 or 5 different flex patterns.  So they then let all their sponsored racers who are just below Svindal and Benni go pick out whatever skis they want to use to start the season, or for summer testing, or whatever.  During the season, the major manufacturers are always experimenting with concepts that are newer/better/faster, so these new variations get introduced into the WC ski pools as well.  Example, D2 race skis were only available to guys like me this year, but a lot of the Atomic sponsored racers were actively using them last season.

- Then Atomic takes whatever numbers of flex/marked race stock skis they figure they can sell in North America, and sends 'em on over to selected Atomic dealers...and I cruise in with my credit card, flex skis, and pick out what I hope are going to be winners on the Masters race circuit...



Quote:
Originally Posted by mogulmuncher View Post

For the brands I have actually skied, all on 165cm FIS stock, here's how I would rank them:

Head:  Really stiff, too stiff for me personally.
...
Atomic, Fischer:  Very similar to each other, still very stiff but a noticeable notch down from Head.
...
Dynastar:  Quite a bit softer than Atomics.
Rossi:  A little softer than Dynastar.
 
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mogulmuncher View Post

For the brands I have actually skied, all on 165cm FIS stock, here's how I would rank them:

Head:  Really stiff, too stiff for me personally.
...
Atomic, Fischer:  Very similar to each other, still very stiff but a noticeable notch down from Head.
...
Dynastar:  Quite a bit softer than Atomics.
Rossi:  A little softer than Dynastar.
  I would also put the Volkl up there with the Atomic/Fischer as a general category.  As to Head, the last version I skied was the 05 RD.  Didn't find it that much stiffer, just a bit "dead".  The new ones may be way different though.  i would put Salomon in below this group as well.  For Rossignol, no personal experience but a lot of the guys i race with say the new ones are a whole lot stiffer than in the past. 

HOWEVER, i think SR55 got much closer to the mark.  (Perceived) Stiffness is only one part of it.  I have found in SL skis it comes down much more to individual style and preference.  After a lot of trial and error I have found  Salomon to work best for me in SL.  However i also like the Nordica.  Yet I couldn't get the Volkl or Head to work for me at all.  So go figure.......   In GS I find it is easier to make a range of brands work OK .

Then of course consider the difference of  going to a 155 version (OK for masters) and moving the mounting point about and...... you start to get the picture...... and realize why i keep confusing myself with Sl skis!!
post #14 of 22
I have found Fischer Race Stock slaloms the stiffest  (at least under foot) of the Race Stock slaloms I have skied. Damn near had my filings  shaken out on these!!!!

In order of longitudinal stiffness IMHO

Fischer  (R u guys skiing on the same Race Stock Fischers i am?)
Atomic   (Much stiffer then my i.SL Rd's)
Head
Stockli
Edited by Atomicman - 1/12/10 at 8:43pm
post #15 of 22
I have a pair of Nordica Doberman SLR race stock skis that came from the Nordica rep in Ontario.

They are stamped "TIP-WAIST-TAIL: R&D", "LENGTH 165CM" and "RADIUS: R&D". The flex numbers, which are identical, are marked by hand in permanent marker on each ski.

The skis have a World Cup X-3 14mm aluminum race plate. The race plate will tend to stiffen a ski significantly as well as allow the skier to increase the edge pressure. The bindings are Marker Comp 16.0 with DIN release settings of 6-16. This combination puts the toe and heel of the boot 43mm and 49mm above the ski base.

The edges are 1.5mm wide measured across the base, which are slightly narrower than the typical edges of a high-performance carving ski. My understanding is that most race stock skis have narrower edges to increase the area of the base, which can be faster with proper wax than bare steel. How minute can this get???

This ski feels stiffer than previous Elan and Rossignol SL skis I used. But I really like them - the edgehold is superb.
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
So the general consensus seems to approximately be:

Head
Nordica
Blizzard
Atomic
Fischer
Volkl
Elan
Dynastar/Rossignol
Stockli
Salomon

Just out of curiosity, is this the general order for GS skis?  And yes, I realize the limitations of "stiffness" in determining many things and what longitudinal and torsional stiffness affect. Nor do I simply want the stiffest or softest.  I can't demo, so I'm limited to the few skis I own and what my friends will let me try to determine which brand will work best for me and everyone's individual needs are so different that brand preferences can only be taken with a grain of salt.  Plus I have "Silver" team sponsorship with Rossignol through Cornell, a friend that knows a Fischer rep, and used deals combined with a college budget influencing my final decision.
post #17 of 22
For Volkl it really depends on what you get. Stores alone can sell three different versions of Volkl SL skis; the consumer model with an intergrated binding, a "racestock" flat ski with a die cut base (for the past three years this is indicated by a Tiger/white base near the tip), and a WC stock ski that has a die cut base that only says Volkl in white base material. The WC stock skis are pretty damn stiff, I have had a handful of pairs and would say they are about the same as the Nordicas that I am currently on. Stoecklis have always been soft for me, so have Dynastar, Rossis, and Elans. Never really got into the Atomic stuff, and I know they have SEVERAL different flex patterns available. Can't vouch for Fischer or Salomon. That said, I'd put them in this order:

Volkl/Nordica
Rosignol
Dynastar/Elan
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjp5 View Post

So the general consensus seems to approximately be:

Head
Nordica
Blizzard
Atomic
Fischer
Volkl
Elan
Dynastar/Rossignol
Stockli
Salomon

Just out of curiosity, is this the general order for GS skis?  And yes, I realize the limitations of "stiffness" in determining many things and what longitudinal and torsional stiffness affect. Nor do I simply want the stiffest or softest.  I can't demo, so I'm limited to the few skis I own and what my friends will let me try to determine which brand will work best for me and everyone's individual needs are so different that brand preferences can only be taken with a grain of salt.  Plus I have "Silver" team sponsorship with Rossignol through Cornell, a friend that knows a Fischer rep, and used deals combined with a college budget influencing my final decision.

If you race for Cornel, I'd talk to Bruce. I think he has a line on Volkl that you may want to check out.
post #19 of 22
Does this general order apply to Jr race skis as well? (say for a J3 or a hard skiing J4)
 
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjp5 View Post

So the general consensus seems to approximately be:

Head
Nordica
Blizzard
Atomic
Fischer
Volkl
Elan
Dynastar/Rossignol
Stockli
Salomon

Just out of curiosity, is this the general order for GS skis?  And yes, I realize the limitations of "stiffness" in determining many things and what longitudinal and torsional stiffness affect. Nor do I simply want the stiffest or softest.  I can't demo, so I'm limited to the few skis I own and what my friends will let me try to determine which brand will work best for me and everyone's individual needs are so different that brand preferences can only be taken with a grain of salt.  Plus I have "Silver" team sponsorship with Rossignol through Cornell, a friend that knows a Fischer rep, and used deals combined with a college budget influencing my final decision.

If you are trying out different brands, make sure you actually try them in gates.  Soemtimes the characteristics there are significantly different from just cranking out turns free skiing.  For example my Head RDs felt great outside the course but as soon as I got in gates I found them unworkable for me.  After much trial and error that is where i have now got back to a position where I am quicker on a "softer" ski. .

For GS skis I have not seen such a big difference that I would necessarily attribute to stiffness.  From my experience (Fischer, Blizzard, Atomic, Elan, Salomon, Dynastar, Volkl) they all have different characteristics but (IMHO) the net impact is less immediately apparent in the course than for a SL ski. 
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post

(R u guys skiing on the same Race Stock Fischers i am?)
 

Don't know for sure, and it is a reasonable question.

With very well established race programs in the Collingwood/Escarpment area, we are fortunate to have pretty good access to quality race stock.  Having said that, there are still to some extent "tiers" in race stock, and I think SR55's description fits pretty well.  I know the Atomics & Fischers I've skied on are very good team skis, the Heads I don't know as much about.  The Rossis I know are not what M. Janyk skis on.
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotsSkier View Post

If you are trying out different brands, make sure you actually try them in gates.  Soemtimes the characteristics there are significantly different from just cranking out turns free skiing. 
 

+1

This fits my experience with the Head skis.  I could free ski them okay, I couldn't bend them in the race course.
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