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Never raced shaped skis - returning to the sport

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I was on an adult GS league in the mid 90's and occasionally raced Nastar as a kid. I am returning to racing after a 15 year hiatus. I can ski very well, I am not an intermediate by any stretch of the imagination.

I raced nastar last Sunday on extremely dull all mountain demos with no wax and a broken boot (see avatar) and was .2 from bronze by my third run. Not a great feat, but good for after a 15 year gap. I plan to race twice a week the rest of this year and picking up again next winter.

I need skis. I will be racing short, tight nastar courses mainly. For training they set up a longer true GS course, but the mountain is very small, maybe 3-400 vertical feet. We aren't talking extended high speed runs. I want skis that work well in both situations.

Basically the resort here is useless for anything but training and gates, so i'm not worried about bump performance, powder performance, etc. Pure 100% groomed and racing. If a ski fits my needs that also works in those areas, great, but i'm assuming that if I go out west i'll buy another pair of skis for that kind of skiing.

Last thing is I'm really cheap, I'd rather get a good enough ski two years old than a new ski that is the best thing for $800-1500. What is available out there on ebay used or leftover stock that I can get for sub $500 with bindings? I don't want to get a ski that is useless and I can't keep using it as I get better. I know, hard requests to fill.

On one hand I think a bigger radius would be better training, on the other hand, why not cheat if nastar lets you. I won't be doing any FIS stuff that I can see.

What length do I need? My straight GS skis were 195's I am 5'11" and 150lb, as I said pretty strong skier, tad out of practice but its coming back extremely quickly.

some skis that I am looking at:
dynastar speed course comp 66 2007 176 or 182 cm
volkl GS IPT racetiger 170-175cm (figure this is a sub-optimal binding setup?)
dynastar speed course pro - 187cm


post #2 of 15
Cheater GS-17-19 M radius, 170-180 cm long should be just about right for your height and weight. If you go longer or bigger radius you'll skid 'em unless your technique and strength are above average. I'm an Atomic guy, but any major brand should be fine. Lottsa stuff on Ebay.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips.

I've always had atomic GS skis with marker bindings. I like the atomics because they let you know when you screw up, lots of useful feedback.

I'm not looking for what is easiest, but what is best. There is nothing to do where I am skiing but practice, so the more my skis make me work the better, heh. I want to know when i'm not doing it right.

Trying to find race stock skis with a cheater radius is proving hard, and I hate to buy a consumer level ski and have it make things easier for me...

take care,

post #4 of 15
 fw, I wouldn't worry about getting race stock in a cheater length or radius.  Simply get something off the shelf and race 'em!  

As far as ski-binding setups, most of them are systems these days, as most of the brands have vertical integration of all the components.  As an example, Atomic race skis (even at the race stock/race room level) only take Atomic bindings, Rossignol skis take Rossignol (or Look) bindings, Head skis take Head (rebadged Tyrolia) bindings, et al.  

I was also a Marker devotée (the MRR with race springs, mounted on Derbyflex, then on 210cm Atomic race stock GS skis), but that kind of mix-and-match setup just isn't seen these days.  The integration of plates with pre-drilled binding mounts makes the whole system work far better than it did years ago.

If you liked the Atomics of 15 years ago, you'll likely find current Heads, Stöckli or Fischer skis to be analogous in terms of feedback.  The modern Atomics and Salomons (both owned by Amer) have a different vibe than the old models - not that it's bad, it's just different.  If you can, demo some racing skis and find what works for you.  Also note that the "cheater radius" GS skis are often marketed as "race carvers" - just a tip to keep you from getting lost in the sea of modern skis.

Good luck!
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice so far!

I'm leaning toward a stockli laser gs from a few years ago, 171 or 182 cm Everyone that skis this one seems to love it. Radius is 21m or so, not FIS but not classic cheater, right in the middle.

I was originally leaning towards the fischer rc4, but people tend to report it as too stiff for a lighter person. Radius is firmly cheater at 17m.

take care,

post #6 of 15
It might be too late in the season now, but it you can still find some year old slalom skis on ebay, grab them.  Should be able to get skis and bindings for under $400.  Right now you need to learn to link arc to arc carved turns through the NASTAR course and slalom skis will let you do that more easily. A >21 meter GS race ski will make carving arc to arc very difficult at this point in your learning, and you'll end up skidding and pivoting.  If you can link clean arc to arc carves, you'll put a gold in your pocket, without even having to push the line that much.   Trust me, go with slaloms.  

Some of the guys suggested cheater GS skis.  Not a bad idea.  Their radius will be down in the 17 meter area.  You won't find them as cheap on Ebay, though, as you will real slalom race skis.  
post #7 of 15
Interesting comments guys. I don't want to highjack but I am in a similar boat. Raced three days a week in the 90's and always scored gold in NASTAR. Now, years later, I'm a solid silver racer. I'm skiing twintip freeride stuff with AT bindings and was looking for a cheap NASTAR ski. You guys have provided me with some options.

I did do OK on my 203 cm Rossi 4S's in the retro day race at Ragged. I tried to get into my Omesofts but the modern DIN sole won't fit in the old Look N77 heelpiece.

Good Luck fastwraith!
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well, as a follow up...

I ended up buying 175cm Fischer rc4 world cup rc skis. 16m radius, wood core GS cheater race ski. Found some brand new on clearance. I wanted the 180 but they sold out, the 175 is probably better for me at my current skill level anyway, my eyes are always bigger than my stomach as they say. Turns out the very stiff rc4 is the race stock one, this one is consumer and the flex is reasonable. No way to demo last years skis in missouri that I can think of. Stores here don't carry anything race oriented at all.

Spent $600 for the pair with bindings, exceeded my budget by $100, but I got a good deal on boots so the overall expenditure was lower than planned anway :)

I very seriously considered stockli laser cross pro's and atomic gs12's but decided I wanted a true cheater GS ski instead of a cross ski, and couldn't find cheater radius gs12's at a decent price. We do some full GS stuff here, and I didn't want to be blasting a slalom at high speed. Maybe an unfounded fear, but I couldn't get over it enough to hit the buy button.

My second outing I moved up and almost every run was bronze, 1.4(ish) seconds from silver. This was on really old rental skis that had never been tuned, you could see the fur on the bases, haha. Can't wait to try this with shaped skis that are waxed and have sharp edges!

take care,

Edited by fastwraith - 2/9/10 at 8:57am
post #9 of 15
After running a few gs races on my 1st shaped skis---23m radius 191 cm Rossi Vipers---and trying to ski them old school stylee with lots of outside ski pressure and foot steering which felt wrong on so many levels I decide to try it on a pair of Dynastar Speed Sl's, 14m radius !63 cm. What a difference! The arc to arc carving was there but the speed was WAAAYY too much for such dinky skis and I fought to catch up with them all the way down. However, the seed was sown and this season I'll be trying it out on a pair of 21m 185 Salomons with a Hangl plate and Marker bindings---I cant wait! Also tried the Vipers in a super g and the radius felt great. Stick with it---old school to new school is worth the effort when you feel the solid platform under both feet and the smooth roll of both skis from turn to turn---and its FAAAST!
post #10 of 15
By the way---is that a Technica Tx on your foot!
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the encouragement Old School SL!

I am curious to see how I do with good shaped skis. i tend to be a carver more than a skidder, at least I think I am. Good sharp fast shaped skis will tell me for sure I guess, haha. As much as I wanted the 180's I guess the 175's may be a bit easier to master. Once I do so, then next time i'll get some 183+ Skis!

The boot is a nordica NR980 late 80's early 90's stiff as heck race boot. Since I hadn't found new boots yet I drilled holes along the crack and stitched it up with zip ties, so they are still in use, believe it or not. Have new boots coming this afternoon, but new boots is the hardest thing to do, especially when the current ones fit absolutely perfectly in every way

Thanks again to everyone!
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

I had a solid mid bronze handicap (44.31 hcp.) with rental skis, and broken boots. Went out with new boots and my new skis and went from 1-2 sec short of silver , to 1-2 seconds short of gold (32.31 hcp.) Ended up #1 out of 11 overall handicap for my resort & age in the bronze division and thus qualified for Nastar nationals.

Going to nationals sounds like fun, and lift tickets are half off, and lodging is discounted, so why not! (well other than the need to spend money to do it.)

Thanks for the help! Learning to carve the course instead of skid it has been a lot of fun! It now feels like what I always thought it should feel like. Only problem is I keep wanting to take a line where I clip the gate with my upper arm or shoulder. Had really sore deltoids all weekend, that kinda smarts without pads!

take care,

post #13 of 15
fw -

Great job!

What boots did you end up getting?
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

I ended up with Salomon Falcon CS Pro. I have a very small ankle, low arch, and wide forefoot. (quack quack)

The CS stuff worked great so far. I don't think they would have fit otherwise. They made my forefoot numb just sitting on the couch till I took the heat gun to them. Being 5'11" I really like how tall the cuff is. Much lower chance for shin bangs. Atomic was the next best fit by the numbers, but the cuff was very short, and i didn't think that would work with my pysique.

I got a good deal on these, so if they work out great but aren't stiff enough I can go with the X3 CS. Basically the same shell but in a stiffer plastic with a stiffer liner & booster strap.

It seems like once I get them dialed in they will be much better than my old boots, time will tell!

thanks again!

post #15 of 15
If you or any other readers are still looking for a year or two ago's models - I have shopped and purchased from alsskibarn.com and Denver Wholesale Skis' eBay shop.

Decent deals on mostly last years or a few or several years' ago equipment.

For your arm protection, Spyder makes a padded undershirt with soft, light pads where you need 'em on the arms, elbows, sides and back.  The "soft" pads stiffen up when they are impacted - so provide good protection when you smack a pole.  I bought a shirt after the first day that I started getting bruises on my arms - and haven't bruised since, except for the one day where I forgot to wear my shirt - which reminded me of why I bought it in the first place.
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