Originally Posted by garylk
With regard to ski width and skiing on ice, sometimes it's the skill of the skier, sometimes the ski, often a combination. As a general rule, narrower skis will be better on ice.
I think that equipment makes a difference only if you are using correct form. If someone is standing on the tails and skidding turns, the choice of ski will not really offer much practical benefit on ice. The skier will still be sliding and slipping, instead of gripping.
This is something I have figured out through my own experience and misfortunes over the years. When I get hesitant and pull back on ice sheets, I might as well be on a 2 by 4 at that point. What's under my feet is not going to help much if I am not standing in the right place and making early edge engagement. The ice doesn't care if I am on a finely tuned race ski with razor sharp edges--quick pivots to turn, while skiing on the tails, will make me slide.
I would guess that if you took someone who always skis in the backseat and skids turns, and handed them an 80mm ski with a poor tune and a stiff 66mm ski with razor sharp edges and a race tune, they would probably get into more trouble with the latter as it would be easier to catch an edge, the stiffness of the ski would make pivoting difficult, and there would be less of a platform to balance on.
I certainly am not the most proficient on ice but the success and confidence I have gained in this area only came from changing techniques and patterns. New equipment never did a thing to increase my proficiency on true ice. Stiffer skis just made things worse, for the reasons noted above.
For me, skiing ice has been mostly a head-game and success involved having the confidence to do what I do when it's not icey--let the edges do the work. if I revert to my old patterns of pulling back when the speed picks up, and skiing in the backseat, I might as well have just pulled a ski from the rack at random
When someone wants to know how this or that ski handles on ice, just from my own modest experience I can provide some input. Without even knowing the model under question, if you are not going to be using proper form, the answer is -- like a bull in a china shop.