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New Skis or Lesson?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Newbie here.  Just looking through some of the threads there seems to be a lot of info here already, some of which will probably answer my question.  However, I would like to throw it out there anyway.

Just started skiing this year at 35 yrs. old.  I've picked it up pretty quick due to being athletic all my life.  I've been about 8 or 9 times this year and am going down blacks most of the time with pretty good authority.  Now that I've gotten to this point, I would like to start to go down blacks and some of the steeper blues with a little more grace, i.e., make more slalom-like turns down the steeper trails as opposed to the wider turns I'm making now.  I do stick to the fall line most of the time but I know I can carve more turns as i see others doing.

I have the Volkl AC 3Motion, it has a 72 waist and I have a 170 so the radius is 15.4, I believe.  The ski is an intermediate ski and is described as a ski good for cruising around for intermediate to advanced skiers.  I ski in the northeast: Hunter, Belleayre, Mountaincreek in Jersey for quick one day trips.

My question is, I've been looking into a buying a ski that is built mainly for carving and has a tight turning radius.  The Head Supershape really caught my eye.  However, I don't want to rush into the purchase of another ski because I'm thinking that I can do what I want on the 3motion.  It's an all-mountain ski but a low-end one so I should be able to carve tight turns on steeper terrain with it. 

Do I get a slalom ski to really hone my carving technique or do I take a lesson to try and learn to make tighter turns on steeper tracks?  Another lesson is definitely in my game plan but I don't want to bother trying to make my skis do something they aren't supposed to do.

I like my Volkls and I eventually want to ski the AC 30 but I first want to hone my carving technique on groomers.

Thanks in advance for any input!
post #2 of 4
A 72mm waist ski is a carving ski these days.  You're going to be hard-pressed to find anything short of a "real" race ski that's meaningfully narrower then 72 in this day and age.

The turning radius of a ski only helps you up to a certain point.  That is, to get a truly tight round carved turn out of a ski requires the ability to lay a ski way, way over, and that's a skill few people possess, especially once terrain gets steep.  Most people need to add a degree of steering to their turns in order to get a "short radius" turn; and , well, once you're steering -- the 15.4m radius you have is plenty short enough.  Again, the ability to be patient enough to make a short turn on steep terrain is a skill that few possess.

i.e., your skis are not what's holding you back.  Take a lesson and see where you stand.
post #3 of 4
Lessons for sure. If you've been skiing 8 or 9 times you have a lot to learn, it's great that you are enjoying the sport and you have a lifetime left to enjoy it but try to avoid associating your skill with what level trail you can negotiate. Develop some solid technique now by taking some lessons from a decent pro so that you don't have to back-track and relearn / unlearn things later. Don't get caught up thinking about equipment, it just doesn't really matter very much. Yes, I just said equipment doesn't matter very much... and I sell equipment for a living. 

Those 'quick slalom turns' you hope to make come from balance and edge control, not from different gear. 

Try to get some video of yourself skiing (you don't have to post it here) we all 'feel' like we are skiing a little different than we actually are, seeing yourself ski will help a lot at seeing what you may need help with / work on. Spend time on easier terrain arcing your skis also, if you spend all your time on expert slopes you will have a hard time learning to work with the ski. Good technique comes from muscle memory of skills that are pretty counter-intuitive, your brain naturally wants your body to resist gravity, good skiers use gravity. Time on the 'Bunny Hill' will allow you to lay down a solid foundation to build on.

I hope this doesn't come across as condescending, it was not my intent. It's hard to convey 'tone' on the internet, what I'm saying is "welcome to skiing, it's a great sport you can enjoy for the rest of your life. One of the things that keeps skiing so much fun is that there is always something new to learn, something to get better at and something to improve at. Keep at it and enjoy yourself." 
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies.  I had a chance to ski after the big snowfall in the Northeast recently and did a lot of runs on blues and greens carving as many turns as possible and found that it did help me when I went to the steeper tracks.

I think a lot of it had to due with the conditions being a little softer as opposed to the icy conditions I've been dealing with so far.  Anyways, I see it definitely is not the skis and I will go the lesson route instead of getting new skis.

Thanks again.
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