New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Downhill/SG skis

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I recently bought some used Atomic Downhill/SG skis (33 M radius) - about 8 years old, I believe.

I thought that it would be fun to try them out - with the idea that perhaps I might try competing in a downhill race or two at some point.

I have yet to compete - and just recently tested them out at Mammoth Mountain.

The conditions were pretty nice - and I took the skis out on some groomed, top-to-bottom runs on a midweek day without a crowd, so I was able to point them downhill and make some wide, arcing turns with them.

I have a question about how they are supposed to perform - and am wondering whether it was me, the skis, or what - but they were much more difficult and "different" from what I am used to than I expected.

First, if I was just starting at low speed, and trying to make a normal ski turn, without getting up to "speed" - they were VERY awkward and difficult to engage the tips to initiate turns, and hard to get to turn.

The skis were VERY flexible - and the tips of the ski seemed to come up off the snow at low speeds - making it difficult to turn a normal ski turn.

At high speeds, however, they were very stable - I could point them down cornice and coyote (if you know the Mt.) and make some wide, sweeping turns at higher speeds than I would normally ski - and the skis felt fine.  I never got to the point where I felt comfortable to crank them into a tighter SG type of turn, but I got some good experience skiing around on the skis.

Are downhill racing skis always so flexible? Does the tips flopping up off the snow sound right - or are have these old, used skis lost their camber? 

I'm just looking for some insight - or comments from other people who have skied on the DH/SG skis - and see whether our experiences are similar or not.

Frankly, I felt fairly disappointed in myself for feeling so clumsy on the skis - but I did have fun at high speeds, and can see that they are stable, at least at high speeds.  I just felt that the trouble initiating turns at lower speeds when just skiing around was more difficult than I expected.

Am I expecting too much?
Or is it just me?
Or the skis?
Any input? Anyone?
post #2 of 21
If they are really flopping around a ton you might have a busted core, but you should be able to feel it at high speeds if it is broken.. Does the ski feel stable? Ive been told that when ive been skiing my DH skis that my tips were flopping but the rest of the sji is really stable. As for turning at low speeds, it's a waste of time, the skis won't flex or turn until you get a little bit of speed, Once you are confident the skis are not broken, lay into them and let them turn, its a blast.
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorSkiRuns View Post

I recently bought some used Atomic Downhill/SG skis (33 M radius) - about 8 years old, I believe.

I thought that it would be fun to try them out - with the idea that perhaps I might try competing in a downhill race or two at some point.

I have a question about how they are supposed to perform - and am wondering whether it was me, the skis, or what - but they were much more difficult and "different" from what I am used to than I expected.

First, if I was just starting at low speed, and trying to make a normal ski turn, without getting up to "speed" - they were VERY awkward and difficult to engage the tips to initiate turns, and hard to get to turn.


Am I expecting too much?
Or is it just me?
Or the skis?
Any input? Anyone?

They are called SPEED skis for  a reason  .  Untill you get them really moving and lay them over they will feel like a couple of 4* 2s!!  And if you have been used to a diet of smaller radius skis they are quite a bit different.  If it is the 209 SG/DH you are using i have found them to be more useful for DH than SG.  The newer Atomic SGs tend to turn in better

Depends on what you mean by the tip "flapping" .  It may be relatively softer than you are used to at the tip but if it is structurally damaged you should be able to feel that
post #4 of 21
I'm betting it's 'just you'. 

A modern (less than 15 yr old) 'SG' ski is the real-deal, there are no 'consumer' versions as there used to be. Expecting them to do anything at lower speeds is definitely 'expecting too much'.

I find it odd that you say they are "VERY flexible...", you mean that they feel soft longitudinally if you hand flex them? That is odd.
post #5 of 21
 I just got this new car.
audi-r15-tdi.jpg

It bottoms out all the time and it's terrible trying to back up in parking lots. The mileage sucks too.

Seriously though, is there a stack of shims under your bindings by chance?
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your input. I feel better(?).

I guess "flexible" may not be the right word - they don't twist.

The main feeling I got standing on them was being flat-footed - as though the ski was pressed too flat against the ground (not enough camber built in) - so that the tips - instead of being pressed into the snow - were barely on the snow - and seemed to flop up and down against the snow.

At high speeds, I felt fine - but it seemed perhaps a bit difficult to put enouth pressure forward to press the tips into the snow for turn initiation.

It just seemed a more difficult to use than I imagined.

But the 2x4 analogy seems appropriate.

I was just surprised that I felt like more of a beginner on them than I imagined I would.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
A stack of shims no - but the bindings are mounted on a "Race Charger" plate.
I don't know whether this is part of the binding's "Fullflex" system or an optional add-on.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
They are 212 cm long.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorSkiRuns View Post

I guess "flexible" may not be the right word - they don't twist.

The main feeling I got standing on them was being flat-footed - as though the ski was pressed too flat against the ground (not enough camber built in) - so that the tips - instead of being pressed into the snow - were barely on the snow - and seemed to flop up and down against the snow.

 
sounds like a played-out ski that has lost all of it's camber, or possibly a bent ski.
post #10 of 21
 No idea what that is. But if you feel all tail and no tip, it may be something that adjusting binding delta will help. Maybe.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
OK, here's a new question:

Am I asking for trouble if I put some cork between the skis - at about the middle of the bindings - and strap the tips together and tails together - and store the skis with some tension?

Can this revive camber? Or will it just ruin the skis?

The cork is one of those made for rubbing wax on skis - an inch and a half - or two inches.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
I got the skis and bindings for about $150 - so my investment is not huge.
post #13 of 21
The cork and tension won't do a thing. Doing what you suggested only works with wood skis.

As epic implies, these skis aren't meant to be 'free skied'. They are meant to be run at high speeds. Period.

Putting the skis base to base and pinching at the toe piece should result in a straight line along the edges from tip to tail. If the edges aren't straight or there are gaps, the ski is probably damaged and has been 'straightened' after a wreck. That doesn't mean they aren't usable, it just means they are race quality any more.

The skis are 25% longer than any ski in your quiver, most likely. They will feel different because the are different. The 'floppy' tip isn't a problem, per se. When you get to speed, you are applying lots of forces on the ski and the tip is designed to 'roll with the punches', not to dig in and grab like a SL ski which would be disastrous.

As far as getting the ski to perform, you will have to get it up to speed. Then you will have to have patience as the ski is designed to take a while to turn. Tip your skis onto edge early and let the forces build up from centrifugal force, not through actively extending, as you would in GS or SL turns. Gradually release the edges at the end of the turn through reducing edge angle then transition to the next turn. Repeat. There is not an aggressive up and down or extension/flexion with speed skiing. Your upper body should be smooth and your legs need to be supple yet strong.

www.swissam.com has a number of speed camps in CO each year. We take you from never ever to racer safely.
post #14 of 21
Another thing to add, get your feet apart. I like to keep my feet about should width apart, it makes it way easier to get the edge angles you need and stay balanced. if your feet are too close together you will have to lean to get the same edge and will end up with more weight on the inside ski. You don't want a ski of this length getting away from you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

The cork and tension won't do a thing. Doing what you suggested only works with wood skis.

As epic implies, these skis aren't meant to be 'free skied'. They are meant to be run at high speeds. Period.

Putting the skis base to base and pinching at the toe piece should result in a straight line along the edges from tip to tail. If the edges aren't straight or there are gaps, the ski is probably damaged and has been 'straightened' after a wreck. That doesn't mean they aren't usable, it just means they are race quality any more.

The skis are 25% longer than any ski in your quiver, most likely. They will feel different because the are different. The 'floppy' tip isn't a problem, per se. When you get to speed, you are applying lots of forces on the ski and the tip is designed to 'roll with the punches', not to dig in and grab like a SL ski which would be disastrous.

As far as getting the ski to perform, you will have to get it up to speed. Then you will have to have patience as the ski is designed to take a while to turn. Tip your skis onto edge early and let the forces build up from centrifugal force, not through actively extending, as you would in GS or SL turns. Gradually release the edges at the end of the turn through reducing edge angle then transition to the next turn. Repeat. There is not an aggressive up and down or extension/flexion with speed skiing. Your upper body should be smooth and your legs need to be supple yet strong.

www.swissam.com has a number of speed camps in CO each year. We take you from never ever to racer safely.
 
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you all.
post #16 of 21
I had a whole response written last night and neglected to post it.

Stance is really important. Your feet need to be about hip width apart and you must maintain outside focus and outside ski pressure. As WaStraightLine points out, leaning in can be disastrous. Speed skiing is generally done with a fairly square stance; no massive counter and definately no rotation. Turns start and end with changing edge angles.



Here is a visual of carved turns on a modest pitch. Note the upper body is not bouncing up and down, the turns are started early and there is not a lot of extension to make turns happen. The majority of flexion and extension is done to absorb terrain, permitting the upper body to be smooth. There  smooth gradual edge change, outside focus, outside ski pressure, parallel shins (indicating both skis are edged similarly) and contact with the boot tongues. It is really important that your skis are doing the same thing all the time. Sequential edge changes are dangerous.

You have to realize that if you are going to ski speed skis in arced turns, you are going to go fast. Duh!  

The video is from a trail with 1000 vertical and about 1 mile long. Not much of a grade. I'm going 65 mph when I pass the camera. If you take those boards onto a steeper hill, either you are going to carve and rapidly exceed any safe speed or you are going to skid your turns and risk catching edges at high speed. Speed skis on open trails is like a race car on the highway. Dangerous. Race cars race on tracks with protection like guard rails. Ski racing is done in arenas with B-net and other safety equipment to keep you out of the trees.

Be safe.
post #17 of 21
What he said.  I was there, and this was definitely the focus for this race this weekend.  In addition, I will also say that there are some other things to think about re the gear itself:

- If they are 8 years old, I promise they are pretty straight.  I ski on all Atomic, there is a huge difference between the sidecut/dimensions of the Aero 3 skis and later and their precedessors.  The newer skis may not have any more actual sidecut (although I think they do, in many cases), but they are wider overall and have more flare at the tip.  We had a Super Combined Super G/SL on the same hill yesterday.  One of my teammates was using a 2002 Atomic 204 Super G, and it was tough for him to get the turn started.  He used my 2008 Atomic 205 Super Gs for the race, and he said it was a completely different ski...mine hooked up like a GS ski.

- Atomics are nice, because you can move the bindings all over the place very easily.  I also used an identical Atomic 205 Super G yesterday.  If I haven't been on a speed ski in a while, I'll shove the bindings all the way forward until I begin to feel where my balance point should be on a pair of big sticks, then I'll adjust accordingly.  Yesterday, in inspection/warmup, I felt like the ski was hooking up too much, so I moved them back one position...worked like a charm. 

- Check the tune.  I stick with a 1/3 (base/edge) bevel on all my skis, tech and speed, which is what Atomic recommends and works for me.  Some people run with a flat or 1/2 degree base bevel for speed, but I think some bevel is indicated.  Otherwise, the skis are on the edges too much even in a flat ski touch (you lose speed), they can be difficult to hook up, even with the sidecut/binding placement you want...and, worse of all, they can hook up and splat you when you're not expecting it.  My teammate has a pair of older 212 Atomic DH/SGs that he used for the DHs this weekend that used to be my skis.  I got them from a kid in California, who was on the US team, so they came out of the Atomic US team pool.  They had a 2/4 bevel, and that turned out to be the right answer for a huge, straight ski like that. 

Similarly, you want the side edges to be super smooth, not necessarily razor sharp, unless you're on World Cup injected ice.  Too sharp equals hooky, unpredictable skis...not a nice thing at 65 mph. 

- Finally, a 212 is a BIG ski.  Even if you get all the other items lined up right, it ain't gonna do much of anything until you're doing at least 50, and then only if you use the technical focus that MastersRacer espouses...which you should only do, as he notes, in a controlled environment, as in a fenced off, training or race course...



Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

I had a whole response written last night and neglected to post it.

Stance is really important. Your feet need to be about hip width apart and you must maintain outside focus and outside ski pressure. As WaStraightLine points out, leaning in can be disastrous. Speed skiing is generally done with a fairly square stance; no massive counter and definately no rotation. Turns start and end with changing edge angles.


Here is a visual of carved turns on a modest pitch. Note the upper body is not bouncing up and down, the turns are started early and there is not a lot of extension to make turns happen. The majority of flexion and extension is done to absorb terrain, permitting the upper body to be smooth. There  smooth gradual edge change, outside focus, outside ski pressure, parallel shins (indicating both skis are edged similarly) and contact with the boot tongues. It is really important that your skis are doing the same thing all the time. Sequential edge changes are dangerous.

You have to realize that if you are going to ski speed skis in arced turns, you are going to go fast. Duh!  

The video is from a trail with 1000 vertical and about 1 mile long. Not much of a grade. I'm going 65 mph when I pass the camera. If you take those boards onto a steeper hill, either you are going to carve and rapidly exceed any safe speed or you are going to skid your turns and risk catching edges at high speed. Speed skis on open trails is like a race car on the highway. Dangerous. Race cars race on tracks with protection like guard rails. Ski racing is done in arenas with B-net and other safety equipment to keep you out of the trees.

Be safe.
post #18 of 21
If the tips are coming off the snow it may just be that your tips are bent from use. You stated that they are older skis, and I have many slightly bent tips on DH and SG skis from extended use.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post

- Finally, a 212 is a BIG ski.  Even if you get all the other items lined up right, it ain't gonna do much of anything until you're doing at least 50, and then only if you use the technical focus that MastersRacer espouses...which you should only do, as he notes, in a controlled environment, as in a fenced off, training or race course...


I disagree. If you have the opportunity to ski mid-week when there is no one around, and you know that there is no one around, then sure, take your long boards out. With speed skiing a major key to success is having EXPERIENCE, on the skis that you are racing, with speed, and the course. A lot of kids around here don't get the chance to ski mid week, nor get the opportunity to get a closed trail for speed training, hence there is little development in speed events around here. Even if they do get a shot at speed training, mountains vary from place to place, and technical elements can be drastically different from mountain to mountain. That's why you tend to see alot of CVA/CVA graduates on the DH podiums here on the East. They win because they know the mountain and know the elements.

Anyway, the more time you have on the skis, the better off you will be on race day. I logged over 50+ miles on my speed skis this season and can now turn them like they are nothing. Didn't get much of a chance to use them though, 6 out of the 8 scheduled speed events around here got cut due to weather, and the remaining two weather became a factor during the race. Hopefully next year ends up being better year for speed skiing.

My rules for free skiing on speed skis are:

- Keep the skis on relatively wide and open runs
- Avoid trails with cross cuts, sharp/blind corners
- Know the terrain before hand. If the trail/combination of trails contain large rollers, knolls, and/or jumps, ski on the trail before hand on GS skis at a lower speed so you can get an idea of what may happen when you are blazing down the mountain at 60mph. Avoid any large terrain feature that entirely blinds your landing before you near the feature. I had an incident once at Attitash where I flew OVER a kid that was sitting 20 feet from the lip of a knoll. Thankfully I cleared the person completely. After that I never ever ever take blind jumps.
- ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings, being aware that there ARE other people on the mountain, and that the trails are not closed off for your use.
- Only take your skis out when the conditions are ideal (relatively hard snow, well groomed, decent lighting, low wind, etc). Even though you may know the terrain, poor snow conditions can change trails rather fast from run to run, and with indecent lighting you may not be able to see a change.
- Respect ski patrol and their requests. If possible, let them know ahead of time what you are doing and how you plan on going about what you are doing. I get a majority of my runs in at Mount Sunapee, and I usually let a patrol man know that I am going to be using my boards ahead of time to avoid getting yelled at later on. I usually let them know my route, how familiar I am with the route, and that I will stop under certain conditions (ie, a specific time, if more people show up on the mountain, if conditions get worse, etc). Letting them know ahead of time shows that you are a) responsible and b) that you have experience in what you are doing or have some experience.

The trails that I ski on don't have netting to stop me from the trees, and I assume the trails you ski on either. But it's a risk and liability that you have to take to get the miles under your feet. Some people think its worth it, some don't. Your choice.

Have fun on your skis, and be SAFE.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post

What he said.
^that I agree with.

- Finally, a 212 is a BIG ski.  Even if you get all the other items lined up right, it ain't gonna do much of anything until you're doing at least 50, and then only if you use the technical focus that MastersRacer espouses...which you should only do, as he notes, in a controlled environment, as in a fenced off, training or race course...

Only in a fenced off training or race course... not so much.

For quite a few years, my one and only ski which I skied often and everywhere and mostly above 50 mph (although I admit I did suck at muguls with them) was a 208 Super Giant Slalom ski (I sucked even worse in moguls with the 215s, and the 205s had a speed limit I could reach).  Mind you it was one of the older "authentic super g racing skis", one of the first generation Kästle RX National Team SG, so maybe it was one of those consumer race skis mentioned above.

First of all the radius is a LOT longer than what your ski has, and it is pretty stiff, so what I have to say might not be all that relevant, but some of the design might have filtered down to the later generations.

For what it's worth, here's my observations distilled from my somewhat related experience.

I'm surprised you didn't notice much difference. My SG skis do not like to go sideways period. The skis feel like they are on rails, all the time.  Above about 30 mph they start to feel better than 4x8s, above 45 they feel you didn't waste your money on them, above 50 mph they feel GOOD!  Below 30 mph it takes tricks to make them turn,  Tricks like skiing only on one ski, and only half of that one ski at a time, tricks like dynamically presuring the tip to get it to bend and then biting into the snow with the bent tip.

As the ski gets more worn out, I do notice a bit of tip flap after landing air off of rollers on ice, maybe an extra bounce or two, but these skis are old, and it's not too bad.  They are still pretty stable.  That brings us to the flex pattern.  The tips are deliberately softer than the rest of the ski in order to aid initiation.  The idea is the tip will start along a new path easier if it's easier to bend it, and the rest of the ski will follow along.  However, and here's the catch.  The rest of the ski is very stiff.  It needs a lot of force to bend into a decent curve.  If you are not tipping it enough and getting that edge hooked up, it will not decamber and you will be sliding along with the tips trying to dial into a turn and the ski giving a wider turn with tips flapping. 

Base Bevel:  My skis originally came with a 1/2 degree base bevel, very avant guarde at the time.  I was convinced by a ski tech to try a 1 degree base.  That made it better at sideways skiing, but it lost a little presicion and instant response when you had to make an unexpected quick turn.  A bigger base bevel gets the steel higher off the snow so it glides a little better, but I liked it better with the 1/2 degree base, so I had it brought back.  If your ski had a bigger base bevel  or was a bit detuned, it might have been a bit better at the sideways skiing, thus you could have been steering some turns with fairly flat skis. Yes I can make my skis do that, but it feels awful, and I prefer not to do it.   The last time I was forced to do the slow sideways skiing with my SG skis, I locked them up on the ski rack and switched to other skis (Now that I have a quiver I can do that!). 

Ski your speed skis where ever you want.  Just ski in control and don't hit anyone, or scare anyone! 

PS.  I've since learned that moguls are better skied at slow speeds.
post #21 of 21
Okay...two thoughts:

- I hear what people are saying about how difficult it is, if you really want to get into some speed events, to find a closed course to run on.  Yep, I will admit that I and all the other speed event skiers do what is talked about above.  That is, making some big arcs and going faster than is generally allowed if all the conditions are right...few people, clean snow, stay away from cross trails, and so forth.  I'd say this is okay if you keep it as safe as you possibly can, just remember...there ain't no B netting when you're doing this stuff, and if somebody happens to wander in your way, you're the uphill skier, and you're responsible. 

- See what I said, above, about the difference between the newer generation and last generation of speed event skis.  I can only talk about  Atomic, but what I can generally say is that with solid technique, my (current generation) 201 SGs, and even my 205 SGs, I can generally feel like even at moderate speeds, as in 35 to 40, they'll hook up and ski a lot like a long GS ski.  To me, the dividing line is about 210 and above.  I just used an Atomic 210 SG in the last RMM downhill series, and I liked the stability, longer turn radius, and glide a lot more than my 205 SGs, which I used last year.  There are lots of subtle variations; last spring, when I was looking for a "bigger" speed event ski, the guy I get my Atomics from gave me the choice of 210 SGs, with a 36 meter sidecut, which is basically a shorter men's WC SG ski, and a 210 DH, with a 39 meter sidecut, which is basically a shorter women's WC DH ski.  I went with the 210 SG, and for the Masters DH I do, it's been just fine.  But it's still a BIG ski, and I rarely take it out of the rocket box unless I'm actually doing DH training or racing...



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post



Only in a fenced off training or race course... not so much.

For quite a few years, my one and only ski which I skied often and everywhere and mostly above 50 mph (although I admit I did suck at muguls with them) was a 208 Super Giant Slalom ski (I sucked even worse in moguls with the 215s, and the 205s had a speed limit I could reach).  Mind you it was one of the older "authentic super g racing skis", one of the first generation Kästle RX National Team SG, so maybe it was one of those consumer race skis mentioned above.

First of all the radius is a LOT longer than what your ski has, and it is pretty stiff, so what I have to say might not be all that relevant, but some of the design might have filtered down to the later generations.

For what it's worth, here's my observations distilled from my somewhat related experience.

I'm surprised you didn't notice much difference. My SG skis do not like to go sideways period. The skis feel like they are on rails, all the time.  Above about 30 mph they start to feel better than 4x8s, above 45 they feel you didn't waste your money on them, above 50 mph they feel GOOD!  Below 30 mph it takes tricks to make them turn,  Tricks like skiing only on one ski, and only half of that one ski at a time, tricks like dynamically presuring the tip to get it to bend and then biting into the snow with the bent tip.

As the ski gets more worn out, I do notice a bit of tip flap after landing air off of rollers on ice, maybe an extra bounce or two, but these skis are old, and it's not too bad.  They are still pretty stable.  That brings us to the flex pattern.  The tips are deliberately softer than the rest of the ski in order to aid initiation.  The idea is the tip will start along a new path easier if it's easier to bend it, and the rest of the ski will follow along.  However, and here's the catch.  The rest of the ski is very stiff.  It needs a lot of force to bend into a decent curve.  If you are not tipping it enough and getting that edge hooked up, it will not decamber and you will be sliding along with the tips trying to dial into a turn and the ski giving a wider turn with tips flapping. 

Base Bevel:  My skis originally came with a 1/2 degree base bevel, very avant guarde at the time.  I was convinced by a ski tech to try a 1 degree base.  That made it better at sideways skiing, but it lost a little presicion and instant response when you had to make an unexpected quick turn.  A bigger base bevel gets the steel higher off the snow so it glides a little better, but I liked it better with the 1/2 degree base, so I had it brought back.  If your ski had a bigger base bevel  or was a bit detuned, it might have been a bit better at the sideways skiing, thus you could have been steering some turns with fairly flat skis. Yes I can make my skis do that, but it feels awful, and I prefer not to do it.   The last time I was forced to do the slow sideways skiing with my SG skis, I locked them up on the ski rack and switched to other skis (Now that I have a quiver I can do that!). 

Ski your speed skis where ever you want.  Just ski in control and don't hit anyone, or scare anyone! 

PS.  I've since learned that moguls are better skied at slow speeds.

 
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home