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Short, Modern Skis too Easy to Ski On: Part II

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey, all!

I originally (mistakenly) posted this in a five-year-old thread titled, "Short modern carving skis too easy to ski on?" located here: www.epicski.com/forum/thread/23001/short-modern-carving-skiis-are-too-easy-to-ski-on/0 (this was in the ski instruction and coaching forum). I thought I might get more replies if I posted this here instead.

So, here goes . . .

As an absolute beginner, I've never skied prior to the two half-days I just skied over the last two Saturdays. The first time, we were on a mixture of slush, ice, and regroomed, three-week-old snow. The second time, we were practically on solid ice (we're in Southern California). Anyway, back to the short skis thing . . . I took advantage of some end-of-season sales and here's what I got:
 
Me: 5' 7" 187 lbs.
Rossignol Axium STX '07; torsion box, wood-core: 154cm; 14R; 112/69/95.
Rossignol ROC Pure Mountain '07; wood-core: 170cm; 16R; 110/69/96.

I've only skied the 154s so far, so I'm curious to know if I'll be able to handle the 170s this coming Saturday. The 154s did seem darned easy to ski on (they come right up to my chin). But they also did seem to turn a little too easily as well. So, I'm wondering if I'll benefit from the slightly longer, slightly stiffer Rossignol 170s (top of my forehead). Also, the Axium's 14-meter radius feels kinda "tight," so it will be interesting to see if the slightly larger, 16-meter radius of the 170s will feel any "better."  Again, the 154s felt comfortable, easy, and very "manageable." After my first two or three runs down the beginner hill, I was able to start linking my turns with 'em. Plus, they were only $90 (new)! In contrast, when trying the 170cm skis on in my living room, they just "felt" long.

But, I think I may be yearning for a bit more "stability," and perhaps I may be better off with the 170s for reasons stated in previous posts in the original thread. As I cruised straight down the latter half of the slope, I felt that the 154s seemed to wander a bit and seemed a bit too susceptable to influence from previous tracks (too soft a flex?). But, remember, I'm only a beginner, so I'm not really looking for more speed (there seemed to be a hint of debate in the original thread whether longer skis actually increase speed by any significant degree).

Also, here's what I got for my GF:

Her: 5' 2" 105 lbs.
Rossignol Harmony II 2010 women's; wood-core: 146cm; 15R; 115/70/98.

I actually stumbled on this thread because I've been trying to decide if I need to get her the shorter, 138cm version of the same skis, since the 146s come just a hair above her nose (I like the Harmony IIs because they have this unique side-cut design at the tail to assist in turning).

Thinking the nose-level thing was "about right," I bought her the 146cm Harmony IIs, but she's having a terrible time wedging to a complete stop, and sometimes it just seems that her legs are too short--the 146s just seem cross their tips too easily because she just can't seem to spread her legs wide enough to form an adequate wedge. Her skill level is less than half mine, in the same amount of time, and so far, she's been extremely fearful of the whole experience of skiing. From what I've seen, I don't expect her to improve dramatically anytime soon (or anytime later), so I want the best length to accommodate her limited skill level and high level of fear. If 138cm's going to be "easier," then that's what I think may be best for her.

Interested in hearing any of your thoughts!
Edited by studio460 - 4/1/10 at 1:51am
post #2 of 18
in pure math terms
her, at 105 lbs, on 146 cm skis
would be the same
as you, at 187 lbs, on 260 cm skis...
course that may not be takin into account that she might be more athletic
ah, fear level...
I think I can arrange a ride on some 220s for you...

good troll though...
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
I wasn't trolling. Perhaps many of you, more experienced skiers are weary of this topic, but I actually I thought this was a pretty decent thread in its original form--I learned a lot from reading it. So, are you recommending the 138s for her? I said her skill level is pretty limited--she's not very athletically inclined. I was just trying to weigh the possible benefits of improved balance over the longer 146s against the improved turnability of 138s for her specific skill/fear level.
Edited by studio460 - 3/30/10 at 3:41pm
post #4 of 18
OK, not being a wise-ass... (not that I was...)

let's assume you went to a shop and she was well fitted to a nice pr of appropriate boots, done by some reasonably qualified person who knows how to fit boots...
I would then suggest having her rent skis for some series of ski days until she settles into enjoying the ski experience.
Height is less of an indicator for sizing, than weight, ability and demeanor.
consider what you note as 'easy' turning for your 186 lbs - a ski at 154
yet she's expected to have fun at 146 cm (5% shorter) - again that'd be the same as you skiing a 260 cm, using proportional weights - course that isn;t everything, but the analogy still holds more water than it spills.
hence the 'troll' label, this seems too obvious, especially considering your remarks of her 'experience' on 146s
put you on 220s (about as long as alpine skis get), you'd prolly feel as 'fearful' as her...

139 cm, for her size, if she already has some confidence and reasonable skills and may not be a regular or assertive skier.
more like 120 right now... (that'd still be like you using 220s...)
we'll all argue fine points, but as a beginner/timid novice its always good to have good fitting boots and rent for a while until you can maneuver all blue and a lot of green marked slopes/trails.
Spend a little money on lessons, which will come back in spades as she progresses quicker.
Explain things to the ski school at signup and I'm certain they'll put her in a class where the instructor will be sensitive to her needs. Instructors, as a group, want you to succeed and progress and will do backbends to make your session successful, given they're made aware of the 'issues'.
hope this helps...

EDIT: there's a TON of really good info in the Beginner Forum, chek it out... and the local (epic) instructor types all seem to like hangin out there also...
post #5 of 18
Using comparative weight and height and coming up with 220s for the guy given the girl's ski size is a pretty iffy calculation.

Studio will benefit from a longer ski like the 170. Shape skis don't like to travel a straight line. The 170 will be happier, but still not guaranteed to track straight.

Studio's GF will be happy on the 146s. Is she wedging with the tails more than 2 feet apart? When skis are on an edge they will try to turn that direction. In a wedge that means the tips are trying to cross each other. Has the girl taking lessons? If yes, she should be progressing past a wedge in short time. Even if she isn't ripping the blues (or greens even), the wedge should go away quickly under proper tutelage. Then the skis will be trying to turn the same direction which is infinitely easier to deal with, regardless of length.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
moreoutdoor:

Thanks for your detailed reply . . . yes, we spent a considerable amount of time fitting our boots. We pulled liners, measured and outlined, had our liners heat-formed, and purchased a couple pairs of Superfeet footbeds. I got Dalbellos; she got Nordicas, both, about $300 each, retail (though we got them for much less).

The weight comparison makes sense, but, I was also thinking that the weight-to-length calculation also needs a weighted coefficient, corresponding to both inseam and overall height to be more accurate. But, her legs are short. My legs are also short, hence a longer torso, so I'm thinking, shorter is still better, even with that added into the mix. But, that's the main reason I had initially responded to the original thread since I'd observed a lot of valuable discussion there on this topic. I've also read that women's bindings tend to be mounted more forward than men's, due to women's lower CM, but I forgot to ask the technician if that's actually what he did. I guess this weekend, we can try renting some shorter skis for her (though, we already own all of our own gear). Again, I just stumbled over here during a Google search--I'll definitely start checking out the beginners' forum here as well.

MastersRacer:

Thanks also for your detailed reply . . . yes, her tails are spread a bit more than two feet apart when she attempts her wedge (and when doing that, her tips are nearly crossing). She's taken one, 90-minute beginner's lesson. During our second trip, I coached her most of the day. After a couple of timid runs down the beginner slope, she was able to accomplish one right-hand, wedge-turn, but no parallel turns. Hopefully, new snowfall tomorrow will pad the slope a bit for this Saturday (if I can even talk her into going again), and make her third trip a bit more confidence-building.

So, are you saying that the GF will be happy with the 146s because of the improved balance issue (longer skis being easier to balance over)? Won't the shorter skis allow a timid skier a gentler learning curve? Again, this was discussed in more detail in the original thread (short vs. long, vis-a-vis what's best for learning). And after reading all of the posts in the original thread, I became more convinced that longer may be better, even for beginners. But, she's so darned intimidated at this point, I keep thinking--shorter. If she skis one more time, Sports Chalet will credit the purchase toward the 138s (if they can still get them).

To all:

Perhaps it would be helpful if I asked the question this way: What are the benefits of longer skis? I mean, I know you guys are probably sick of this question, but whenever anyone seems to ask it, they always seem to get the same brief answer: "Shorter is easier to turn; longer is faster." There must be more dimension to this, yes? Here's my list of pros and cons of both, from what I've learned so far--please feel free to make suggestions to clarify, or to correct any errors or omissions . . .

Short-shape skis:

+ Easier to turn.
+ Slower speed better accommodates beginners' fear.
+ Easier to skid (to reduce speed).
- Ease of turning may distract from learning proper technique.
- Less stable at higher speeds.
- Shorter ski makes CM positioning less forgiving (more difficult to balance over).

Long-shape skis:

+ Faster (a minus for beginners).
+ Increased turning effort encourages learning of proper technique.
+ Increased stability at faster speeds.
+ Longer ski affords more forgiving CM position (easier balance).
+ Better for steep, icy slopes.
- Increased speed may be intimidating for beginners.
- Harder to turn for beginners.
- More difficult to skid (to reduce speed) than shorter ski.

I am especially interested in the skid part, since I want to learn how to do that better--do I have that part right?

Thanks again for your comments! 
Edited by studio460 - 4/1/10 at 1:55am
post #7 of 18
sounds like you're both committed to having fun with skiin...
and my comments about you using 220 cm skis was a hyperbole, of course, to point out the disparity between your ski size and the GF's.
+ and - can be a good way to evaluate some things or you can make decisions on the most important objectives - which in this case is 'Fun', 'Learning' and 'Improvement'.
I'd suggest putting the 146s into the closet for now, for future consideration.
Go to the ski school, ask and discuss about their options, and also ask them what size ski GF should rent so she can progress quickly and enjoyably. They'll give you a good recommendation, given she and you give them good info.

"+ Increased turning effort encourages learning of proper technique." - there is really no correlation between bustin your ass and how much you learn... developing bads habits happens as easily as developing good.

being a beginner skier is a stressful (in a good way) and wonderful time, allow the learning and progression to happen so discouragement doesn't set in.
enjoy
post #8 of 18
moreoutdoor, I suspected hyperbole (had to look that up), but I've seen some crazy statements mistakenly accepted as fact so I had to speak up. I agree that lessons are what are needed.

When you are learning something new you can exceed your knowledge pretty quickly and what was helpful during the first lesson may not take you to the next step.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

moreoutdoor, I suspected hyperbole (had to look that up), but I've seen some crazy statements mistakenly accepted as fact so I had to speak up.
 

thanks for the tender treatment and cuttin me some slack...
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by studio460 View Post

Hey, all!

I originally (mistakenly) posted this in a five-year-old thread titled, "Short modern carving skis too easy to ski on?" located here: www.epicski.com/forum/thread/23001/short-modern-carving-skiis-are-too-easy-to-ski-on/0 (this was in the ski instruction and coaching forum). I thought I might get more replies if I posted this here instead.

So, here goes . . .

As an absolute beginner, I've never skied prior to the two half-days I just skied over the last two Saturdays. The first time, we were on a mixture of slush, ice, and regroomed, three-week-old snow. The second time, we were practically on solid ice (we're in Southern California). Anyway, back to the short skis thing . . . I took advantage of some end-of-season sales and here's what I got:
 
Me: 5' 7" 187 lbs.
Rossignol Axium STX '07; torsion box, wood-core: 154cm; 14R; 112/69/95.
Rossignol ROC Pure Mountain '07; wood-core: 170cm; 16R; 110/69/96.

I've only skied the 154s so far, so I'm curious to know if I'll be able to handle the 170s this coming Saturday. The 154s did seem darned easy to ski on (they come right up to my chin). But they also did seem to turn a little too easily as well. So, I'm wondering if I'll benefit from the slightly longer, slightly stiffer Rossignol 170s (top of my forehead). Also, the Axium's 14-meter radius feels kinda "tight," so it will be interesting to see if the slightly larger, 16-meter radius of the 170s will feel any "better."  Again, the 154s felt comfortable, easy, and very "manageable." After my first two or three runs down the beginner hill, I was able to start linking my turns with 'em. Plus, they were only $90 (new)! In contrast, when trying the 170cm skis on in my living room, they just "felt" long.

But, I think I may be yearning for a bit more "stability," and perhaps I may be better off with the 170s for reasons stated in previous posts in the original thread. As I cruised straight down the latter half of the slope, I felt that the 154s seemed to wander a bit and seemed a bit too susceptable to influence from previous tracks (too soft a flex?). But, remember, I'm only a beginner, so I'm not really looking for more speed (there seemed to be a hint of debate in the original thread whether longer skis actually increase speed by any significant degree).

Also, here's what I got for my GF:

Her: 5' 2" 105 lbs.
Rossignol Harmony II 2010 women's; wood-core: 146cm; 15R; 115/70/98.

I actually stumbled on this thread because I've been trying to decide if I need to get her the shorter, 138cm version of the same skis, since the 146s come just a hair above her nose (I like the Harmony IIs because they have this unique side-cut design at the tail to assist in turning).

Thinking the nose-level thing was "about right," I bought her the 146cm Harmony IIs, but she's having a terrible time wedging to a complete stop, and sometimes it just seems that her legs are too short--the 146s just seem cross their tips too easily because she just can't seem to spread her legs wide enough to form an adequate wedge. Her skill level is less than half mine, in the same amount of time, and so far, she's been extremely fearful of the whole experience of skiing. From what I've seen, I don't expect her to improve dramatically anytime soon (or anytime later), so I want the best length to accommodate her limited skill level and high level of fear. If 138cm's going to be "easier," then that's what I think may be best for her.

Interested in hearing any of your thoughts!

tip crossing are a sign of being back seat and nothing else(well maybe extremely knock kneed)....and why do you need to be able to wedge a stop when you wedge turn to a stop?
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by moreoutdoor View Post

in pure math terms
her, at 105 lbs, on 146 cm skis
would be the same
as you, at 187 lbs, on 260 cm skis...
course that may not be takin into account that she might be more athletic
ah, fear level...
I think I can arrange a ride on some 220s for you...

good troll though...

If you're in Goleta, suggest another math class at UCSB. Relevant calculation is weight to surface area, and surface area on a ski is mostly determined by width, not length. Go find PhysicsMan's calculator and play around with it to verify. Leg length is relevant for a few more advanced issues like lever arms working against edge in carving, but like stature, not a big deal until she's more advanced.

OP: Your own skis are a bit short for your weight, but at the price, hard to pass on. If you could get the 170's for the same price on a return, that'd be my call, but otherwise your length will be helpful for a while, concentrate on learning about your edges instead of bombing.  Your gf just needs a few lessons, not new skis. Wedging to a stop is not that easy for an adult to learn on own, let alone keeping the weight forward so she doesn't cross her tips. The length is fine, and it's a very forgiving ski. Lot of women skiers around here of her size carve on 160-somethings, ski pow on 170+. If you put her on a super short ski, it would be easier for about two trips, and then she'll want the stability of a longer ski. Alternatively, have her rent super shorts for the next time, sign her up for a lesson, and then get her back on her own skis.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
moreoutdoor, MastersRacer: Thanks again for your comments!

BushwackerinPA:

Thanks for your comment. She's still having difficulty just plain stopping (I also did notice that she is very much a back-seat driver). Also, where should her bindings be set, fore-'n'-aft? Should they be set a bit more forward, perhaps?

Beyond:

Thanks for your comment . . . yup, if nothing else, my deep-discounted, ninety-dollar, Axium 154s sure were easy. And, just so I have this straight, are you saying that she will, in fact, benefit more from a longer ski specifically because of its more forgiving CM positioning, more than she would benefit from the "easy turning" of the shorts?

Also, when using my own short skis, I was picking up way too much speed on my carved turns--I assume, because, my less-than-svelt, 187 lbs. were deforming the soft-flexed ski into a deep, short radius in the snow. I would really like to slow down by learning how to skid more effectively (a stiffer ski should help me skid easier, right?). My turns just keep pulling too many Gs for my ability level.

[Edited for brevity.]
Edited by studio460 - 4/4/10 at 2:15am
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Day Three:

Skied all day on the 170cm Rossignols today for the first time . . . awesome. I was able to edge the crap outta those things! With about half the flex of the 154cm Axiums, and a 15%-larger side-cut radius, there was less unintentional carving, and more on-demand skid. Hockey stops and ultra-tight turns were totally do-able. Snow conditions and my ability level were certainly variables, but is it likely that a significant portion of the perceived improvement can be attributed to the longer, stiffer ski? Plus, variables aside, I didn't sense any noticeable speed increase. Now, I think want an even stiffer ski!

And, thankfully, the GF finally got comfortable on her 146cm Harmony IIs today, even though Rossignol recommends the 138s for her weight. The 146s are supposed to be for women 120 lbs. and over--and she's only 105 lbs. Although, moreoutdoors' post had me a bit worried (from which both beyond and MastersRacer helped talk me down), after my own experience, I'm now thinking longer is better. Still not quite sure why . . . because longer surfaces make fore-'n'-aft balance easier to manage? Because longer, is simply more stable? Both?

Thanks, all!
Edited by studio460 - 4/4/10 at 3:02am
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by studio460 View Post

Day Three:

Skied all day on the 170cm Rossignols today for the first time . . . awesome. I was able to edge the crap outta those things! With about half the flex of the 154cm Axiums, and a 15%-larger side-cut radius, there was less unintentional carving, and more on-demand skid. Hockey stops and ultra-tight turns were totally do-able. Snow conditions and my ability level were certainly variables, but is it likely that a significant portion of the perceived improvement can be attributed to the longer, stiffer ski? Plus, variables aside, I didn't sense any noticeable speed increase. Now, I think want an even stiffer ski!

And, thankfully, the GF finally got comfortable on her 146cm Harmony IIs today, even though Rossignol recommends the 138s for her weight. The 146s are supposed to be for women 120 lbs. and over--and she's only 105 lbs. Although, moreoutdoors' post had me a bit worried (from which both beyond and MastersRacer helped talk me down), after my own experience, I'm now thinking longer is better. Still not quite sure why . . . because longer surfaces make fore-'n'-aft balance easier to manage? Because longer, is simply more stable? Both?

Thanks, all!


 

Longer means you are less likely to tip over forward or backward from being off balance.

Longer is more stable as it has more resistance to twisting because of its greater swing weight.

Longer makes it easier to manage the edge pressure as it is distributed over more edge.

Longer is less turny because it take more energy to bend the longer ski to make a smaller turn.

I'm glad you have had a great time on the 170s. Same for GF on 146s. I'm going to guess she was in less of a panic mode and not over-edging the skis.
post #15 of 18
Darn it...I had a whole post almost ready to go and now it's gone...


I'm roughly about your gf size (and trying to ski a monsterous pair of 169 fat skis) and think 146's are probably a bit much for her right now since she's just learning but I suspect correcting a few things might help her feel a little more comfortable and in control.  If she's riding in the back seat, she'll feel like she's in the fast seat and less able to control her turns or speed.  On dry land, help her practice a good, balanced stance in her boots so that she knows what she should feel like on the snow (shins into the boots, not the calves, hands out front, not behind, not bending at the waist but pushing the pelvis forward rather than backwards).  I occasionally "reset" my stance on runs if I'm just not feeling I'm where I'm supposed to be (a much needed bootfitting on might part might solve this problem for me).  I've wedged quite a bit with my daughter the last few months and this really helps with fatigue and edge control.   Sounds like she's making some progress and is having more fun.  Another lesson soon would probably help as well.  Good luck
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

Longer means you are less likely to tip over forward or backward from being off balance.

Longer is more stable as it has more resistance to twisting because of its greater swing weight.

Longer makes it easier to manage the edge pressure as it is distributed over more edge.

Longer is less turny because it take more energy to bend the longer ski to make a smaller turn.
 

MastersRacer:

Thanks! That sounds like a lot of good reasons to use longer skis. "Easier to manage edge pressure," sounds like just what I'm looking for! And, the "too turny" part seemed to be really messing me up on the shorts. Shorter skis are so commonly recommended for beginners, and now, I'm not even sure why.

mtnbikegirl:

I hate when that happens! Thank you for taking the time to re-write your post! I think you may be spot-on in diagnosing what may have been her leading impediment--I spent most of the day yesterday trying to get her out of the backseat. She made a lot of improvement. We worked on stance most of the day. She finally "got it." Thanks for your reply!
Edited by studio460 - 4/4/10 at 10:33pm
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

Longer means you are less likely to tip over forward or backward from being off balance.

Longer is more stable as it has more resistance to twisting because of its greater swing weight.

Longer makes it easier to manage the edge pressure as it is distributed over more edge.

Longer is less turny because it take more energy to bend the longer ski to make a smaller turn.

 

Longer: more difficult to ski bumps and moguls, yes?
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimski View Post




Longer: more difficult to ski bumps and moguls, yes?
 

Yes, that too. And tougher in the trees.
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