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back to skiing and are these puny little boards good for anything other than groomed runs?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Ok I know there are other posts on this topic and I think I've read through most of them, but I still need some perspective from those of you that have already been through this. Most of what I've read has been about the transition is how to carve on groomed snow, which has never been my thing.  New to the forum.


Skiing has been a big part of my life ages 2-35, but now coming back at 42 after a too long stint in SoCal I have new equipment and of course shaped skis.  Used to be bumps in the 80's, short stints as an instructor and ski patrol, then some ski mountaineering to get to the glacier steeps when I moved from Boise to the NW and couldn't find decent zipper lines, then just all mountain skiing.  Spent a season in France and thought I had gone to heaven when I discovered Le Grave, even though it was a bad snow year.  Now back in Boise and today was my first on new Nordica Nitrous 178s at Bogus.  Nice day with about 8 inches of day old snow already tracked pretty heavily.


Now I've never been a gear-head, been cheap, and haven't paid much attention to the skis.  They all pretty much did their thing, some better than others, usually didn't last too long anyway.  Used to mostly ski Dynastars 200 cm, but also had a pair of Hagen 220s.  I probably over-skied most equipment so the subtleties haven't mattered much.  Hadn't skied shorter than 195 as an adult.  Last pair I bought had been Volante Machetes at 200 -- skied mainly Mt Baker on them, some up at Blackcomb.  I liked them for hard driving off-piste work but didn't think much about it.  Snapped them down in SoCal overshooting one of these newfangled snowboard ramps and landing on the flats.


So I didn't have much choice but to get the little shaped skis (the Nordica Nitrous 178), though apparently they are my size at about 6' and 185 lbs.  Skied pretty lame today.  Felt like I was skiing on blades without much stability.  Occasionally I had some decent linked fairly tight turns, but didn't feel the pop that I'm used to with a ski flexing out of a tight radius on hard snow.  They were relatively well behaved on the groomed, but in the very forgiving fresh stuff off piste I didn't feel like I had much of anything to work with.


I do have a question I'm trying to get to.  Off piste I'm used to skiing fairly fast, usually weight on both skis on softer snow, relying on fairly strong tail up unweighting often followed by driving my knees/ jamming my shovels into the terrain to create a resistance point that I can use to change course.  I think I developed that in the bumps and used a more extreme, slower version when skiing steep challenging conditions.  Sometimes at slower speeds, either for the fun or to get out of a jam, my tips would stay jammed on the snow and my tails would arc through a lazy 30 degrees to a new heading.   Sorry for the lack of technical description here.  This has worked well for me, allowing (what feels like) grace on challenging conditions.  But I can not imagine I can do anything like this with my short tips.  Also, a fast banked turn mostly in the air, pivoting around a pole plant, to quickly alter course -- I'm not back there yet -- but I can't imagine having the stabilizing weight to pull me back to center.  I also wonder about grip with such a short edge on a hard packed 45 degree couloir.  I guess I'll know before I get back to those.


Another thing -- I tried to get into a few little bump lines initiating with a wedelen or two to get into the zipper, and no go.  Felt like I was glued to the snow and every time I missed the line.  Clearly that isn't going to work, and least not the way I was used to.  Of course, having hardly skied for 5 years some of this could just be due to my weak legs and fuzzy mind, but I could always slide into at least the first bit of the line.


Now to tell the truth, I've never been much of a technical skier, I just get too lazy on the groomed runs for tight radius turns and usually end up doing poor man's super GS, which are of course carved if not beautifully.  So I do look forward to learning how to craft consistent nice slalom turns -- its about time, I suppose, and should help me on the glaze ice when I make it back to the alps (that was the one condition on which those french really seemed to beat us western skiers).  I'll have faith and reread the forums about carving on shaped skis.  But what about stability on what I've always considered the real mountain?  Any hope there?  I don't see much about it, and frankly, I don't see other skiers pushing the off-piste boundaries as much as I used to.  Is this because of the puny skis, or because so many youngsters are snowboarding the easier path to the black diamonds (not that there is anything wrong with that), or because, you know, back in the day we were all something else.








post #2 of 15

you have answered all your own questions already. go with your gut.

post #3 of 15
post #4 of 15
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

you have answered all your own questions already. go with your gut.


+2.  Start long, stay long.  I hate short boards too because I never learned to ski them fast.  I'm not going to bother now unless I find a compelling reason.

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys.  These aren't exactly the answers I was expecting, but good to hear.


I guess one point I might be missing is that skis are more specialized now, and back in the day I could force most straight skis through most conditions, now the differences between skis are more pronounced.  I used to usually just ski 95% of the time on my favorite pair and not worry about it.  Maybe that is one of the big differences that I'll have to get used to.


Stormriders, huh?  Don't know anything about them but they look like they'd do the trick.


Well, I'm somewhat committed to my puny skis for a bit anyway.  I did pick up an old pair of Nordica next 9.0s at 190 cm at the ski swap.  I don't know anything about them (what is this with Nordica making skis now), but they feel solid and might keep that spark alive.

post #6 of 15

Originally Posted by Ridahoan View Post


  Of course, having hardly skied for 5 years some of this could just be due to my weak legs and fuzzy mind... back in the day we were all something else.





post #7 of 15


I guess one point I might be missing is that skis are more specialized now, and back in the day I could force most straight skis through most conditions, now the differences between skis are more pronounced.

You aren't kidding!  In the old days I always had one, maybe 2 pairs of skis.  Right now I've got a mind boggling 7 pair in the rotation, but it is fun!


Keep the 178's & take a lesson one day when you're bored.  Some tweaks in your technique will open up new avenues on the new skis.


Get something bigger & burlier with less sidecut for the all mountain skiing.



post #8 of 15

With a little modern technique you can get more out of the Nordicas.  Did you get Notrous Ti or nitrous CA ?

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

They are the CA.  Got them on sale last spring, choice was somewhat limited. Reviewers seem to think they are a decent all mountain ski.


Yeah, I'll try to learn the new-- and am looking forward to it.  Just that in the local ski shops I haven't seen any big skis, and the sales staff always says no such thing now don't worry your little head.  I think getting a long pair with less sidecut makes sense.  If I'm not careful though I'll just end up skiing those, as it seems strange to me to head back to the lodge to swap skis.


post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hey Ghost,

Did you have a reason for those particular Stockli, the DP?  They are cheaper, long, and sound like beasts.  You've got me interested in Stockli so I'm looking at some of the others as well from Denver Wholesale.  


In general, what about stiffness in these or other skis in which they still make a 200 cm or so?  Are they just engineered for giants?  I do seem to ski fast but off piste not nearly as fast as on groomers,  wonder if at 185lbs I could get them to come around.

post #11 of 15

I'm afraid the  Nordica Hot Rod Nitrous CA will never be stable at speed, no matter how many lessons you take, and they will never give you the bite your looking for.  They are just too soft and forgiving.  Maybe you can trade up to a TI version.  Either that or get used to skiing slowly. 

post #12 of 15
I think that you need to give yourself some time on the new skis. They do require an adjustment of your technique to get the most out of the new shapes. Mostly you need to stop muscleing the ski and let the natural shape of the ski do the work for you. Finess is the word now. On groomed runs, roll your ankles, put the ski on edge and let it turn for you. They don't like to run flat like the old days and don't take well to over muscleing. If you try running flat, most will feel a bit squirrely, but roll them up on edge and instant stability. In softer snow you can run them flat and they will blast through broken snow and crud. It will take a little bit of time for you to get the "feeling" of the new skis but it will come and you will be a convert. At your size unless you are going BIG MOUNTAIN all the time, a 177 or 184 should be all the ski you need.

FWIW I skied the HR Nitrous in a 170 for 3 seasons including 3 trips out west and they performed well for me if a bit sedate, but they never let me down. My current all mountain ski is the Volkl AC 30 170. I am 5'9" and 195 and have been a die hard for almost 40 years. I was once a shape ski hold out but no longer.

Embrace the future or be left behind.

Rick G
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

Ok.  Today is bright and I'm heading up again.  I always needed to learn to enjoy skiing slowly anyhow, and more so now that I'm in the 40's.  So I'll stick with these at least a dozen times before I look for something that warms my heart.


Probably need a good converted skier to follow for a day or two.  Kind of ironic.  Got out of instructing long ago as I couldn't stand sync skiing with a bunch of slow moving guys in their 40's.


Thanks guys.

post #14 of 15
Use that old instructor charm and find an instructor in the lift line to ride the lift with and pick his brain on the way up an perhaps a run down the hill..

Good luck.

Rick G
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

To wrap up this thread after my dozen days on the Nordica Hot Rod Ca 178cm:


Yep, mostly it was my fuzzy head and weak legs.  I have learned to enjoy these skis quite a bit on groomed runs, which makes skiing more enjoyable because the groomers have always been (well, since the age of 13 or so) either to tuck, or simply a way to get to more challenging runs.  I can feel the engineering underfoot -- I can't compare it to other modern skis -- but I am very impressed with their ability to hold an edge and carve despite their length.  On the local hill, with only 1800' vertical, I haven't found their speed limit on groomers but that's fine, not really looking for it.


I still have a bit to go with the finesse -- on the steepest runs on hard snow will chatter on left ski, not the right, so can't blame the ski now can I.  I'm probably more tenuous on the left.


The integrated bindings ( N EXP 2S XBI CT binding ), on the other hand, have pre-released four times, even on groomed higher speed hard carves.  That rather defeats the purpose of a carving ski.  The last time was on DIN 9, so they'll be moved up again.  Elasticity in uneven terrain is the  -- click, uh oh, stomp heel down -- variety, if you're lucky.  But that's always been a problem for me except on Looks.  I was hoping binding technology had moved up equally with the skis.


Off piste I'm still struggling a bit, although yesterday the chair appreciated my double click --  front flip, landing on boots, chagrined, as the middle of my carve was trapped in a bump trough.  Should never have had the mid- ski down there. As long as I take it easy seems manageable, but I am used to relying on my shovels to feel the slope and initiate turns while the rest of the ski is off the snow (yeah, I know extension is good but the easier way is often to stay up above the bumps, let the shovel take the bruising).


I'm still not 100% on the short ski wagon though for faster off-piste jamming.  I've waded through as much previous discussion as I could, and I now accept that indeed short skis can be wondrous little beasts as far as holding an edge and stability ON the snow.  But I haven't seen any discussion regarding the vertical dimension.  Maybe it's just buried in all the rest, or maybe its that most advanced skiers here are racers or taught by racers, and figure that if your skis are not on the snow at all times it's your fault.


Turn quickly down any steep uneven terrain and you will be off the snow most of the time (unless its really deep).  Here, isn't length important?  Length allows one to get the shovel down on the snow, absorbing shock and initiating turns, while the mid ski is still in the air.  Take the extreme -- I can't imagine jamming such terrain on blades, mainly due to the fact I would be in the air all the time except when landing to edge, at which point I would go head over heels.  For a given distance above the snow, a longer ski allows the shovel to be down on the snow with a less extreme angle.


Maybe I should open a new thread about this.  This is not all for the sake of argument -- right now I'm debating between the 178 and 188cm 08 Stockli XXXL, which I won't be able to demo.






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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › back to skiing and are these puny little boards good for anything other than groomed runs?