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Heavy ski/binding package vs light ski/binding package (touring not included)

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Some of my all-time favorite skis have NOT been light at all, relatively speaking.

Some skis tout weight as a consideration, with a nod toward lighness being important. (bumps proabably true for quickness)

 

I find that if you combine the weight of a heavy ski with strength of the skier, you have more power.

post #2 of 16

For what it's worth. I cannot think of any good skiers I know that consider weight a factor when choosing alpine gear, unless it is excessive. Light weight is great for throwing your skis around, which IMO is usually not necessary if you are skiing well.  Everyone needs to find equipment that suits their personality and skiing style, but I have always favored heavier damp skis because they are smoother in all conditions, and allow me to relax and let the skis do most of the work.  Light skis are fun and more energetic, but tend to be nervous.

 

Skis don't do any work (for me) unless they are on the snow, so I like a ski that lays there until I tell it to do something, as opposed to one that has too much of a mind of its own, but I am sure there are many skiers on the other end of that spectrum.  If you are in the park/pipe or spend a lot of time in the air, weight becomes much more important.


Edited by mudfoot - 10/22/10 at 11:53am
post #3 of 16

Unless you're climbing uphill, IMO "weight" by itself is not a big performance consideration.

 

Damper and stiffer skis tend to be heavier, since that usually implies metal in the construction. e.g. comparing a Nordica Mach2/Mach3 (metal) to a Jet Fuel (carbon fiber), the Jet Fuels were substantially lighter, but got way more jittery at high speeds.  The Jet Fuels also felt quicker edge-to-edge, but it's hard to say if that's because of being lighter or because of other differences in the ski construction.

post #4 of 16

I find heavier is better.  Most of my favorite skis are heavy.  I had a pair of ESS-Var bindings with a big plate which must have been made of lead.  Every ski I used them on skied great.  A couple of the skis were changed to AT setups, and even with alpine boots, never performed as well.

 

I hate lugging them around, but once on the snow I just let the ski do the work, and a heavy ski does it with more authority.

post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post

I find heavier is better.  Most of my favorite skis are heavy.  I had a pair of ESS-Var bindings with a big plate which must have been made of lead.  Every ski I used them on skied great.  A couple of the skis were changed to AT setups, and even with alpine boots, never performed as well.

 

I hate lugging them around, but once on the snow I just let the ski do the work, and a heavy ski does it with more authority.


I agree completely. 

 

I actually shy AWAY from resort skis that are advertised as being light.  IMO, heavy is good when you're skiing variable snow conditions.

 

Interestingly enough, when my wife demoed Volkl Aura's, she loved them for crud.  We bought her a pair and I made the mistake of getting light bindings for them.  She didn't like the way they skied.  I ended up swapping the NEW, light bindings for a pair of well-worn and heavy demo bindings.  She then fell back in love with the skis.

 

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the comments.

 

When I skied the first day on my brand new,( in 2010), 2008 Legend Pros, I tested them a while on long wide open blue runs on cold powder corduroy. I had the distinct feeling that they skied close to the snow, I don't know, it was a phrase that came to mind, and felt right, a combination of smooth and damp and fast.

 

The reasons that ski feels that way, that intangible quality of right in the snow could be:  long sidecut, dampening layer, metal, wood/foam core all adding up to a heavy ski with Look binders.  My very favorite skis for speed in any condition and powering through crud.

 

I don't favor a ski that feels like it is struggling to get on the snow.

Carrying them up a steep bootpack is another thing, and skiing them agressively at 3:30 some days is tough.

post #7 of 16

Alpine Skiing is a gravity sport.

post #8 of 16

I like heavier (and usually stiffer) skis, they are much better at plowing through crud and chop, and more stable at speed. I like using heavy all metal bindings to help too, as it doesn't affect swing weight, but gives a more solid feeling underfoot.

post #9 of 16

Heavier is better for me; more weight = more speed .  I don't do any trick-skiing, but if I was into spins and flips, then light weight might be better.  The only time light might be better for me is when playing a little game I like to call mogul tetris that requires fast foot speed.

post #10 of 16

I'll go devil's advocate here and argue for lighter. IMO, this question is more about style than size or skill set. I've realized over time that as I get better I evolve toward finesse. In variable snow, where I used to just blast through on Heads and Stocklis and Volkls, I now slice and dice on Kastles and Nordies and Blizzards. These are still moderately stiff skis, and moderately damp, but they're lighter and quicker edge to edge and for me seem to fit SJ's dictum from last season that skis that are well-balanced in longitudinal and lateral stiffness will just feel better. 

 

Not arguing that as we improve we should move toward lighter gear. Just saying that IMO there are three attributes of lighter setups worth considering:

 

1) if you geek out on technical skiing, with a lot of on-slope attention to edge angles and CM in space and all that other stuff, then a lighter setup may be the ticket. You better pay attention in stiff chop or you're toast. And if you do it right, then it's silly easy. Immediate reinforcement. 

 

2) Most good skiers end up, sooner or later, increasing the amount of time they spend hiking, and perhaps after that, skinning. A pound or two may not seem like much until you're hauling it up a 40 degree rock band at 11,000 feet. 

 

3) And just to stir the pot a bit, I think beefy gear can become a crutch. The gear does the work instead of your mechanics. No, not saying that everyone who uses heavy gear is lazy. Does not follow. Rather that, it can allow advanced skiers to ignore that last skill set that will get them to the next level. Consider how many skiers do not or can not bend their skis into a new radius when they carve at lower speeds. They just follow the arc of their sidecut. IMO, a heavy stiff ski allows that to happen more easily. It will also stabilize you better at speeds over your head. Which may or may not be a favor... 

post #11 of 16

Please note: "touring not included".  .

 

My knee (which ever one happens to be nagging me on any particular day) feels every pound when hiking or skating or doing other forms of uphill or horizontal ski travelling without power assist.

 

As to skills, well if you have the skills carving short turns is more interesting with the stiff heavy skis; you get to carve on just the tip and then just the tail of just one ski at a time to make those short radius turns.  However frozen crud is a lot more interesting with lighter skis. 

 

I agree that heavy feeling skis (not necessarily heavy as in actual measured mass) can prevent the development of "touch" in a skier and lead to ham-fisted-type foot work.  That's why its good to experiment with all types of skis.  I love the super light quick turn feeling of the old Solomon Equipe 10 SC, and the solid feeling of the old Atomic SX11s.  Two different, but equally good flavours.

post #12 of 16

There is certainly a weight below which the skis do not have enough mass or materials to have the mechanical properties to do what they need to do for resort skiing. But I don't think that any DH oriented skis are built so light as to be limited in this manner. This is in contrast to a metal edge touring or randonee race ski for example. So no I don't think that weight is a very good predictor of how a ski will work for resort skiing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #13 of 16

I have always preferred heavy skis with metal...  Crud busters.  The exception to this rule is my Gotomas with the Salomon Ti12 binder.  I love how light these skis feel compared to my Snow Rangers, G4s, Jet Fuel Ti, Mythic Rider w Demo Binding.  I have always felt like the mass of the skis, if properly directed, helps bust through variable snow and really grips the surface when carving.  I don't feel the weight of the skis as I like to have gravity do most of the work.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

My son attended an academy with Eric Deslauriers coaching the freeride skiers in the school (my son's team at 13 yrs old). He opened Eric's locker one day I was up there to show me how heavy his Salomon's were (Eric is a Salomon pro). He was like: "Dad, go ahead, pick them up, just lift them. It's OK, pick them up just for a second. Tell me what you think."   They were stout, trust me. This was about 2005.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

as I get better I evolve toward finesse. In variable snow, where I used to just blast through on Heads and Stocklis and Volkls, I now slice and dice on Kastles and Nordies and Blizzards.

 

  

3) And just to stir the pot a bit, I think beefy gear can become a crutch. The gear does the work instead of your mechanics. 

 

 

Interesting, I see it the other way around.  People like light skis because they can throw them around instead of getting the ski to do the work.  Whenever I hear of someone who needs high DIN in the toe I know that is just what they are doing. 

 

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post

 

 

Interesting, I see it the other way around.  People like light skis because they can throw them around instead of getting the ski to do the work.  Whenever I hear of someone who needs high DIN in the toe I know that is just what they are doing. 

 



 I ski heavy gear with a very low (7) din.      (just messin' around)  and higher dins do indicate horsing the skis (or jumping, hucking, generally sending it into orbit). It is possible to be a technical skier on heavy gear, and the obvious advantage is a smooth ride at high speeds, and a powerful ride in crud. One idea for a quiver is to be able to sellect  a ski which does the difficult things very well.   The easy things,moguls, blues, groomers etc., can be done on any ski, or as a secondary use of a ski that is a specialized ski for something else.  Like I was saying ^^^, Eric D. is fairly light and skis on very heavy gear, it's a significant insight. Where the popular skis are Mantra, Legend Pro and XXL, motherships, A-50s, Stockli Scott Schmidts, Salomon Shogun, skis like this, it shows that people are enjoying heavy gear to hit the tougher lines and conditions. And when it's scary, you want a ski that is just right for scary. And you who would slice and dice, MAKE BIGGER TURNS    

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