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Straight to shaped - what's the skinny?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
My current skis are old Rossis, 180cm, straight and 65mm wide.   Since I've only been skiing a dozen times in the last three decades (since I had lessons), I am going to take some advice and rent some shaped skis. 

The skis I will be renting are K2 Comanche Sports, either 163cm or 170cm (I'm 6', 190#) and 112/70/97. 

I'm about at the stage between stem christies and doing parallel turns, or at least I was 15 years ago, and I didn't do too badly last week when I went back up (well okay it wasn't pretty, but I got down the hill in one piece without using a wedge the whole time).

So, what will I need to know when I get off the chairlift using shaped skiis for the first time?  What techniques will I need to learn, what tecniques will I need to unlearn?

Thanks for any tips.
post #2 of 15
Just get off the lift and ski.  They will act very similarly.  You may want your skis a bit farther apart than you were taught, and you might might want to put them on their edges a bit more, but otherwise, just ski.  (And buy some new gear before too long)
post #3 of 15

You will be amazed when you get on shaped skis how much easier to turn. My advice just use the techniques you already know. The only difference is you will be able to execute these techniques much much easier on the shaped skis then the straight. Also maybe consider taking some lessons. Lessons always help

This article I found might help!
http://www.therusty.com/shape_ski_article.htm

Good luck have fun!!!

post #4 of 15
The rentals are a good match for your size. Tip&Rip.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier232 View Post


This article I found might help!
http://www.therusty.com/shape_ski_article.htm


Thanks skier, that's exactly what I was looking for!

Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post
The rentals are a good match for your size. Tip&Rip.

Thanks slider, but which ones, the 163s or 170s?
post #6 of 15
I'd go 170 at your size.  You will quickly adjust to the extra few inches.

Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnycat View Post




Thanks slider, but which ones, the 163s or 170s?
post #7 of 15
Cough up the few extra bucks and take a lesson, even if it is a group lesson .... like Level 2 or something close to that.

Skiing is much easier now ...... light years easier ..... but a lesson is critical and no, I don't teach anymore but it will speed up the process of getting you back up to speed.

That shaped ski is turned by subtle movements (edging), and .... don't argue with me dang it, just do it.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, old "bootstrap ethic" and all that stuff but you don't (for the most part like slowing for a lift line), need the wedge, christe, plow or anything resembling it.

  Am I clear recruit ...now drop and gimmie 10 ..... 10 nice smooth carved turns with the edges please ..
post #8 of 15
Spend a few dollars and take a couple of adult group lessons, 1 intermediate and one advanced intermediate.  The main difference with the new style skis is where you balance and how you turn your legs and feet.  A qualified professional instructor can easily aid you in the transition to a shaped ski. Your boots must fit tight around your foot and ankle. Only your foot and your sock go in the boot.  Good luck and have fun.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeC View Post

I'd go 170 at your size.  You will quickly adjust to the extra few inches.

Mike

 



 




Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post

Cough up the few extra bucks and take a lesson, even if it is a group lesson .... like Level 2 or something close to that.

Skiing is much easier now ...... light years easier ..... but a lesson is critical and no, I don't teach anymore but it will speed up the process of getting you back up to speed.

That shaped ski is turned by subtle movements (edging), and .... don't argue with me dang it, just do it.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, old "bootstrap ethic" and all that stuff but you don't (for the most part like slowing for a lift line), need the wedge, christe, plow or anything resembling it.

  Am I clear recruit ...now drop and gimmie 10 ..... 10 nice smooth carved turns with the edges please ..
 




Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Wells View Post

Spend a few dollars and take a couple of adult group lessons, 1 intermediate and one advanced intermediate.  The main difference with the new style skis is where you balance and how you turn your legs and feet.  A qualified professional instructor can easily aid you in the transition to a shaped ski. Your boots must fit tight around your foot and ankle. Only your foot and your sock go in the boot.  Good luck and have fun.
 

Go with the 163 length, take a lesson tell the instructor you were formerly on straight skis and are wanting to learn with shaped skis. The technique is totally different - much easier to learn. But the shaped skis can be skied just like the old straight skis - BUT WHY?
post #10 of 15
Go with the 170 cm length.

Here's a free  "lesson":

A ski that is decambered into a curve and tipped onto it's left edges, say looking like this from above ")", will cut a turn to the left.  A ski that is decambered into a curve and tipped onto it's right edges, say looking like this from above "(" will cut a turn to the right.  It's always been that way, but it seems that a large percentage of the skiing public including instructors (97%? )  didn't realize this and thought it necessary to twist the skis into a new direction.

The snow-plow turn is just a stepping stone to get you used to balancing with forces acting on a ski's edge. The stem-Christie, is just a stepping stone to get you into a position with curved edged skis turning you at the end of a turn.  Ski fast enough and you should realize that all you have to do is bend the tips of the skis and tip them, and drop the stemming!  Spend too much time at the stem-Christie phase and you may never un-learn that stem.  Of course, some people don't have balance skills and need to ski in a gliding wedge for a while, but that's another kettle of fish with it's own problems.

The only difference between the new more shapely skis and the old straight skis is that with the new skis having greater side cut, tilting the ski on a hard snow surface by itself is enough to decamber the ski by an amount that will initiate a strong turn.  With less shapely skis (aka "straight" though they were not really straight), you needed a few extra tricks to get the curve into the ski at lower speeds.  The only trick that was really needed was to bend the tips with forward weight bias in conjunction with tipping, but twisting an untilted ski seemed easier for some.  Hence, the twisting the ski into a new direction referred to above came into being, and spawned generations of skiers stuck at a plateau who would never learn to carve a proper turn
.

All you need to do is tip the skis.  If you're not comfortable with that, go ahead and use a stem-christie until you get the feel of riding tipped skis, but if it takes more than a couple of hours, you need some lessons.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks Ghost, that makes good sense to me.  Part of the problem I had this last time was a fear of going too fast, so I ended up limiting myself to scraping and hard maneuvering to stay in control. 

I'm also in less than perfect shape, so my quads were burning from pretty much the first run, probably from all the extra work I was doing.

Now, at one time, in the mid-nineties, I was comfortable going faster, and IIRC was able to pretty much just lean from side to side when skiing down a run.

Different story now, though, 15 years later.  I think once I go up a few more times and get comfortable, and more confident, the speed will pick back up. 

Thanks again. 
post #12 of 15
Carving good turns will get you going pretty fast.  Going fast on some of the beginner rental skis they give you these days can be a very scary thing to do.  Rent a demonstrator ski with a higher speed limit.  Ski the slow line.   If you have to, put the brakes on now and again.   A short radius ski will make it easier for you to turn more uphill and thus limit your speed a bit.
post #13 of 15
My short answer for questions of straight-v-shape is that a straight ski you steer then edge, a shaped ski you edge then steer. I also find that shaped skis are a bit more sensitive to fore/aft balance issues since the the shape of the ski does more of the work, making where the ski flexes a bigger issue then on straights.  

When you say your quads are sore My first guess is that you are skiing on your heels, add the thought that you are concerned with speed and I'm positive you're skiing on your heels. Think about it, to stop while walking you do it by rocking back on your heels. Now slide down the hill. Want to slow down? Your heads first thought is "dig in the heels". On skis that means the tips come up, you pick up speed, and your head says "dig in your heels". A pretty vicious cycle is now set. Every time you rock back on your heels your quads have to hold you up instead of your skeleton, and if your quads are holding you up they're not available to control the ski. No wonder you're tired.

I would suggest trying the shorter of the skis (I routinely ski on our rental 120s, they're a hoot) but even the longer ski will be easier to turn then your old ones once you learn to stay ahead of your feet on them. I would even more strongly suggest the lesson, not because I'm an instructor, but rather because learning something new means that if you're doing it right it will feel weird, and if you don't know where right is, it can take weeks to get to the point a good instructor can get you to in hours.    
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks Dave, that is probably what I was doing.  There's a lot going on to remember when you haven't been out there for awhile.  I'll pay some attention to my balance next time out, and try to stay more on the balls of my feet. 
post #15 of 15
#1 thing to know:  the shaped skis will turn much easier than you are used to.  If you try to turn like you are used to doing you will probably over-turn.  Easy does it - the very first turn I did on shaped skis they turned so fast I did a faceplant. The guy I was skiing with turned 180 degrees and faced straight uphill.

So, find a gentle pitch and try to make the subtlest, least direction-changing turn you can.  You'll be surprised at how just thinking "turn" makes them come around.

Lessons are a good idea. Lito's book "Breakthrough on the New Skis" is pretty good too.
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