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Flotation: length vs. width?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

For the past few years I have been spending a fair amount of time on a pair of Blizzard Titan Cronus (173 cm @ 125/88/111). Great ride in most all conditions - except serious hardpack and ice, which I am quite accustomed to as a Mainer.

 

I got a pair of Hart Pulses (180 cm @ 124/77/110) last year which I was not able to ski following a crash on Valentine's Day that put me out for the rest of the season. But I got them mounted up with VIST plates/bindings and will be ready to go this year.

 

I plan to get out west this year and would plan to bring one of these. I may not have the chance to use the Pulses in anything deep to do a back to back comparison with the Titan's before I go. So I am wondering, in general, whether a longer ski gives better flotation (if that is the right word) than a shorter one that is wider. The Harts are 7cm longer but 11 cm narrower at the waist. I do understand that the stiffness of the ski, materials, geometry and assembly can make a substantial difference. But these skis, I think, are pretty close in some respects - both wood core and no metal top. And they are on the soft side, I think. But the geometry is quite different. The Harts have considerably more side cut, which I assume means that the Titans may have more overall surface area.

 

So just on the numbers, which would have a better pedigree in the deep?

 

Would particularly like to hear from someone who has skied the Pulses in the deep.

 

Thoughts?

Thanks,

David

post #2 of 21

Suggest you hit the link to Physics Man's Radius Calculator at top of this forum page, download the spreadsheet, plug in some numbers. Fun, and you'll discover that the surface area, related to float, increases far faster as width increases than as length increases. 

post #3 of 21

I tried to plug numbers in for a BarHopper 129/102/120 and it won't let me keep the 120?  As soon as I click to the next box it replaces my 120 with #### and cycles back to the 188 length.  ???

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Suggest you hit the link to Physics Man's Radius Calculator at top of this forum page, download the spreadsheet, plug in some numbers. Fun, and you'll discover that the surface area, related to float, increases far faster as width increases than as length increases. 



Will give that a go. Thanks.

post #5 of 21

This is simple. All other things being somewhat equal, when it comes to "float"... Length means nothing. Width means everything. Oversimplified. But the easy way to think about it. 

 

This does not address some of the stability implications of length. Or, for that matter, camber. But at the end of the day, a 1cm change in width typically has a surface area impact as great as a 15 cm (or even more) change in length. Think about it...

 

For my two cents - if you use the word "deep" and are talking about skis under  110 or 115 or at the waist, you might want to reevaluate one side of the equation or another.

post #6 of 21



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

 

 

For my two cents - if you use the word "deep" and are talking about skis under  110 or 115 or at the waist, you might want to reevaluate one side of the equation or another.

Unless of course you actually LIKE being somewhat down in the snow, rather than on top of it.  Or you need something somewhat floaty, but also have to ski something hardpack to get back to the lift line.  I'd have a hard time justifying a 120+ ski for sure because rarely do I get all powder, all the time.  Usually the ski is going to have to multi-task.

 

post #7 of 21

The Blizzards have about 25% more foot print area and therefore should float at a lower speed.  Since they are wider under foot and have less side cut they should provide better side/side stability.  As for flex, you want the softer ski so it will bend easily when pressure is applied.  This helps the ski plane back up to the surface and when the ski is banked (I have a hard time saying "on edge" when talking about powder skiing) a bent ski will be easier to turn.

 

That said, which one skis better will depend on how you ski.  If you ski in the back seat when on groomed snow then you will appreciate the longer ski in the soft snow.  If you are a well balanced and dynamic skiier on the front side then you probably won't notice the difference in these skis on the back side.  I ski 187 Salomon X-Screams and 167 Fischer RX-8s here in Colorado.  The Salomons have more foot print area and less side cut.  They are easier to ski when I'm in the treeless bowls where I often find wind blown and packed snow over the light stuff.  The longer ski gives me a bit more leverage to handle the fore/aft accelerations produced when skiing through variable snow conditions.  On the other hand, the shorter RX-8s ski just as well in all other conditions and I like the shorter length and lower swing weight when skiing through the trees.

 

If I were you I would budget to rent skis for half the time you are out here in the west and plan to demo skis (and maybe one day of lessons.)  Ski rental should be a small cost relative to the cost of the whole trip.  Bring which ever skis you like best on soft snow because you'll think even our hard snow is soft.  If it doesn't snow while you are here then you can spend the money you set aside for rental on beers and drown your sorrow.

 

post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMoritz View Post

The Blizzards have about 25% more foot print area and therefore should float at a lower speed.  Since they are wider under foot and have less side cut they should provide better side/side stability.  As for flex, you want the softer ski so it will bend easily when pressure is applied.  This helps the ski plane back up to the surface and when the ski is banked (I have a hard time saying "on edge" when talking about powder skiing) a bent ski will be easier to turn.

 

That said, which one skis better will depend on how you ski.  If you ski in the back seat when on groomed snow then you will appreciate the longer ski in the soft snow.  If you are a well balanced and dynamic skiier on the front side then you probably won't notice the difference in these skis on the back side.  I ski 187 Salomon X-Screams and 167 Fischer RX-8s here in Colorado.  The Salomons have more foot print area and less side cut.  They are easier to ski when I'm in the treeless bowls where I often find wind blown and packed snow over the light stuff.  The longer ski gives me a bit more leverage to handle the fore/aft accelerations produced when skiing through variable snow conditions.  On the other hand, the shorter RX-8s ski just as well in all other conditions and I like the shorter length and lower swing weight when skiing through the trees.

 

If I were you I would budget to rent skis for half the time you are out here in the west and plan to demo skis (and maybe one day of lessons.)  Ski rental should be a small cost relative to the cost of the whole trip.  Bring which ever skis you like best on soft snow because you'll think even our hard snow is soft.  If it doesn't snow while you are here then you can spend the money you set aside for rental on beers and drown your sorrow.

Splendid answer. Obliged for that.

David

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMoritz View Post

The Blizzards have about 25% more foot print area and therefore should float at a lower speed.  


Are you comparing the Titan and the Pulse? If so, I am curious how you arrive at this? They look to me to have almost the same surface area.

 

The rental suggestion has its merits though...

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post

 

I plan to get out west this year and would plan to bring one of these.


Where out west? You may not need a huge ski for alot of resort areas.

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post




Where out west? You may not need a huge ski for alot of resort areas.


Vail, most likely. Was there two years ago. No big snow. In fact, night we got there, local channel was positively gushing about the 1" that had fallen that day. Not a good omen. But as the week progressed we got some boot top height snow. The Titan's were great in that. Week after that (early March) was at Deer Valley. Boring except for the Daly Bowl/Chutes - high pucker factor for me, particularly with the drop in factor. Spring conditions, as I would describe it. Again, Titans were teriffic. Damn, those are good skis.

David


Edited by deliberate1 - 9/3/10 at 8:29pm
post #12 of 21

If you like them -- I would just take the Titans. If you get deep snow rent something bigger. $.02

post #13 of 21

Take the Blizzards. I ski my Cronus 180s in anything up to 6-8 inches.

And ++ on the demo demo demo

 

post #14 of 21

Yep, you are on the right track.  Don't waste your time on an 88 mm waist if you happen to hit a real powder day.  Bring your Blizzards, you already like them anyway.  Spindrift is right, width floats more than length, but I think length is about as important for skiing deeper powder.  That is because your fore/aft stability goes out the window if your skis are too short, especially if you ski aggressively.  Less sidecut tends to equal better powder performance as well- another mark for the Blizzards.

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

I tried to plug numbers in for a BarHopper 129/102/120 and it won't let me keep the 120?  As soon as I click to the next box it replaces my 120 with #### and cycles back to the 188 length.  ???


Just ignore the ####. Because PM has protected the spreadsheet you simply can't make the column wide enough to show a 3 digit number plus one decimal. This was created before skis broke the 3 digit width barrier. The numbers to the right will still reflect your area and sidecut.
 

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post

For the past few years I have been spending a fair amount of time on a pair of Blizzard Titan Cronus (173 cm @ 125/88/111). Great ride in most all conditions - except serious hardpack and ice, which I am quite accustomed to as a Mainer.

 

I got a pair of Hart Pulses (180 cm @ 124/77/110) last year which I was not able to ski following a crash on Valentine's Day that put me out for the rest of the season. But I got them mounted up with VIST plates/bindings and will be ready to go this year.

 

I plan to get out west this year and would plan to bring one of these. I may not have the chance to use the Pulses in anything deep to do a back to back comparison with the Titan's before I go. So I am wondering, in general, whether a longer ski gives better flotation (if that is the right word) than a shorter one that is wider. The Harts are 7cm longer but 11 cm narrower at the waist. I do understand that the stiffness of the ski, materials, geometry and assembly can make a substantial difference. But these skis, I think, are pretty close in some respects - both wood core and no metal top. And they are on the soft side, I think. But the geometry is quite different. The Harts have considerably more side cut, which I assume means that the Titans may have more overall surface area.

 

So just on the numbers, which would have a better pedigree in the deep?

 

Would particularly like to hear from someone who has skied the Pulses in the deep.

 

Thoughts?

Thanks,

David


According to PM's calculator, the Blizzards have a slight edge in 1695 sq cm over the hart's 1626 sq cm. The width under foot will affect how much you can punch the middle of the ski to decamber it and make it stick into the snow for speed control. If both skis will bend easily when pressed you'll be better served by the Blizzard.

 

Surface area is support on the snow. It isn't the only factor, but it is significant. Length does matter as adding more length adds more surface area, all other measurements being the same. The affect of adding 10 mm in width, however,  is far more beneficial than adding 10 cm of length. You pretty much can't by a ski long enough today to overcome the advantage of width unless you spring for some 215 DHs.

 

I'd recommend you bring the Blizzards and rent a true powder ski if the snow comes down deep. Give a shout when you are out if you'd like to hook up at Vail, BC or Breck.

 

MR
 

post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hiplainsdrifter View Post

Yep, you are on the right track.  Don't waste your time on an 88 mm waist if you happen to hit a real powder day.  Bring your Blizzards, you already like them anyway.  Spindrift is right, width floats more than length, but I think length is about as important for skiing deeper powder.  That is because your fore/aft stability goes out the window if your skis are too short, especially if you ski aggressively.  Less sidecut tends to equal better powder performance as well- another mark for the Blizzards.

Forgive what may seem like a silly question, but what, in your mind, constitutes "a real powder day" ? As a Mainer, that can mean binding height ice sluff.

Seriously though, I like the idea of the demo thing - say if more than a foot of fresh, or are we talking more like two feet (have a hard time imaging that). 

I typically ski a 174cm in a carving ski (VIST/Phoenix) which has more surface contact than the Titans. I am 177 lbs and 5" 9 and ski aggressively in my native environment. I have 45 years experience on ice and hard, but precious little in "real powder" and would not want to blow the day struggling with ill-suited demo ski. So what would you suggest  - perhaps just in generic geometric terms - length/width - for a relative powder virgin like myself. Thanks.

David
 

post #18 of 21

David, anything more than a foot is going to be unknown terrain for you if you haven't skied that kind of snow before, especially if it's Rockies light powder, so it's not going to really matter that much for the first hour or so. Take your Blizzards for the trip,  and if it snows more than a foot demo something in the range of 100 underfoot and a 180 length. After a few runs, go back to the shop and swap out for something; by then you'll have a better idea of what you want to try in the snow. There's no magic answer, and it sounds like you have more than enough experience to be able to start moving toward the skis that really work for you after a few runs. Best of luck with it, and let us all know how it goes.

post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post



 

I'd recommend you bring the Blizzards and rent a true powder ski if the snow comes down deep. Give a shout when you are out if you'd like to hook up at Vail, BC or Breck.

 

MR
 

MR, I will most certainly do that. Two years ago my wife and I traveled from Maine to Vail fro the first time. Skied with other Bears - Bazzer, Old Boot, Lady Salina, Vail SnoPro. Really made the trip a great experience. Will be in touch.

David
 

post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimintokyo View Post

David, anything more than a foot is going to be unknown terrain for you if you haven't skied that kind of snow before, especially if it's Rockies light powder, so it's not going to really matter that much for the first hour or so. Take your Blizzards for the trip,  and if it snows more than a foot demo something in the range of 100 underfoot and a 180 length. After a few runs, go back to the shop and swap out for something; by then you'll have a better idea of what you want to try in the snow. There's no magic answer, and it sounds like you have more than enough experience to be able to start moving toward the skis that really work for you after a few runs. Best of luck with it, and let us all know how it goes.


Sensible advice. Much obliged for that.

David

post #21 of 21



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post


 

Forgive what may seem like a silly question, but what, in your mind, constitutes "a real powder day" ? As a Mainer, that can mean binding height ice sluff.

Seriously though, I like the idea of the demo thing - say if more than a foot of fresh, or are we talking more like two feet (have a hard time imaging that). 

I typically ski a 174cm in a carving ski (VIST/Phoenix) which has more surface contact than the Titans. I am 177 lbs and 5" 9 and ski aggressively in my native environment. I have 45 years experience on ice and hard, but precious little in "real powder" and would not want to blow the day struggling with ill-suited demo ski. So what would you suggest  - perhaps just in generic geometric terms - length/width - for a relative powder virgin like myself. Thanks.

David
 


Actually, what I would consider a 'real powder day' is rarely encountered at a resort, in the west or otherwise.  Usually good powder skiing at a resort requires somewhere in the vicinity of 2-3 ft. of fresh.  When I skied just alpine (intermediate), I thought I knew how to ski powder.  Then, I learned to tele and started getting into the backcountry.  I got schooled for quite a while before I started to pick up good powder technique.  I ski 95 percent backcountry now, and in Wyoming, especially pre-March, you can have several feet of fresh on top of several feet of semi-consolidated powder, maybe with a few buried crusts and depth hoar layers.  Basically, the snowpack is soft from top to bottom.  This means that you can't edge hard to punch through the powder to the harder stuff underneath, like you can on most resort powder days.  Learning powder skiing technique is actually more important, but a wider (100 mm +) ski will probably help.  A few tips if you get lucky:  really avoid skidding the end of your turns.  Try to just tip your skis on edge and let them come around at your own speed.  Your tips should point down the fall line a lot more.  This might feel weird, but remember that the powder is slowing you down, and you aren't actually skiing that fast.  Keeping your weight centered is huge.  If you throw your weight onto your uphill ski (or anywhere else), you will probably lose your balance as you decelerate rapidly in deeper powder when turning hard.
 

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