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New York Times: Rockered skis

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

 

http://intransit.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/16/ski-trend-rockered-skis/

 

 

Quote:
Over the last couple of seasons, expert skiers at Western resorts known for deep snow have been using some unusual-looking gear: skis that are not only very wide — now standard for powder — but skis that have noticeably upturned, almost cartoonish-looking tips and tails.

These skiers were early adopters of a ski design that is poised to dominate the retail racks. Known as rockered skis, the skis have varying degrees of reverse camber, or upward curvature, along the base (picture a rocking chair runner). As a result, they float infinitely better in powder, maneuver readily through turns and have more stability.

But it’s not just the hard-chargers at powder meccas who reap the rewards of rockered skis.

“A little bit of rocker can go a long way, and it can have great benefits for a novice skier, too,” said Tait Wardlaw, of Rossignol, the French manufacturer.

Though the rising popularity of rockered skis parallels the trend toward exploring the ungroomed, backcountry-style terrain that many ski resorts increasingly offer, they are also surprisingly versatile.

“It started out as powder technology,” said Geoff Curtis, of Marker Völkl USA, “but we knew rocker would also make skis really maneuverable.”

Ski industry veterans point to the Volant Spatula, a rockered ski designed in 2002 by the late big-mountain skier Shane McConkey, as the forerunner to today’s models. Like a water ski, the Spatula was widest underfoot; it performed fantastically in deep powder but poorly on groomed slopes. In contrast, many of today’s rockered skis retain a traditional side cut — meaning, they are narrowest underfoot — that has been slightly lengthened for easy turning.

Ski schools, too, are promoting the new skis. At Squaw Valley, a clinic introduced this winter, the Rocker Revolution ($89), helps skiers get the most out of the new skis while trying a variety of models through the resort’s demo centers, where half the fleet consists of skis with rockered features.

The next curve for rockered skis? Growth. This season, the ski company K2 became the first to put some degree of rocker in all of its skis. Next winter, Mr. Wardlaw said, 70 percent of Rossignol’s skis will be rockered. Within a year or so, he predicted, “at places like Vail, these skis won’t be the exception, they’ll be the norm.”

 

So like it or not rocker is the next big thing.

 

But for those worried about short feeling skis and little effective edge you can relax because the vast majority of rocker designs will have an incredibly subtle form of rocker combined with regular camber, rather than the cartoonish tips and tails of the powder skis.

 

The K2 website actually has a really good explanation of all their different rocker profiles for different types of skis and the effect when the ski is flat as opposed to when the ski is flexed in a turn.

 

http://k2skis.com/baseline-rocker?rocker=speed-rocker

post #2 of 23
What's this "rocker" thing you speak of? Sounds fascinating, I must learn more.

/sarcasm
post #3 of 23

Typical NY Times..........go for the fluff and ignore the important stuff........like the new rockered bindings. Now those......whoooo.......those are really gonna shake things up.

 

SJ

post #4 of 23

Screw rocker lol, ill take my 03 bandits that are stiff as iron and a beast to ski, but my technique has gone from 0-80 riding them. Still would love to try a pair of those s7's

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

.like the new rockered bindings.

 

 

Well...  the binding guys are overdue for dumping R&D investment in bindings for sub-100 skis (since the better modern rockered designs have relegated most narrower skis to the the realm of pointless anachronisms). An additional 2-3cm of design space for bindings would allow for some nice things. And be nicer to the skis too.

 

Don't worry -  the manufacturers could keep selling their current binding designs for a few more years, so there'd be no shortage of bindings for the decreasing  number of narrow antique ski designs being sold... 

 

The way I see it, modern rockered skis, mostly in the 105 to 120 realm are going to rule the world in a few years. Deservedly so. They deserve wider bindings to match.

 

popcorn.gif

 

 

 

 

(and yes, I am serious)


Edited by spindrift - 12/19/10 at 12:20am
post #6 of 23

Well said Spindrift.

100% in agreence. Bring it on.

post #7 of 23

We WILL see "Rocker compatible" ski boots (bindings too?) just as we saw shape ski compatible boots 15 years ago. Sj is always ahead of the curve. 

post #8 of 23

105-120 waisted skis will undoubtedly rule the market, but I am not so sure about "ruling the world."  I see a lot of sloppy skiing on "fun shapes."  They are way more forgiving, but IMO that does not necessarily lead to better skiing.  It is like comparing a raft to a kayak in whitewater. For a huge majority of people fat skis are simply training wheels.  Just because you are going fast and changing the direction of your skis does mean you are ruling the snow. 

 

I have nothing against fat rockers (I have some myself), but I have yet to buy off on the claim that they are a panacea for most skiers.  They are a fantastic tool, and on the feet of a good skier can do things that are literally impossible on traditional camber skis, but I see a lot of people who have jumped on the bandwagon apparently because it allows them to abandon any semblance of technique while exhibiting marginal control, especially on groomed runs where most skiing is done.

 

Maybe I'm just an old school curmudgeon, but I cannot help but feel a little "giving a gun to a monkey" syndrome with a lot of the wild skiing I have been seeing on hugely fat rockered skis that last few years.  It is certainly the trend of the future, but if that is who will be ruling the ski world I may be spending more time in the back-country.

post #9 of 23

"giving a gun to a monkey" ...lol, I like that one. I would say that applies to more than just out of control skiers on rockered designs, though.  I would say it applies to about half of the skiers on a hill on any given day, regardless of what they have on their feet. I was clocked yesterday by an out of control skier for the second time this season. I have a huge black and blue stripe going from the side of my thigh up to my waist from getting slammed to the ice after some doofus clipped the back of my skis. I am going back for more today but am wearing impact shorts. mad.gif

 

I think this is an East vs West thing. When someone who skis western big-mountain says rocker handles great on ice, ice means firm snow. Wide rocker has its place but ski the true boilerplate we had yesterday and tell me if you think everyone should be on 105 mm rockers. The first time you hit a patch of frozen cat track ribbons and feel no stability or control because you cant manage the front of the ski, you will be running to the tent as fast as you can to get a sub 80mm skis with traditional camber and razor sharp edges. Either that or you will eventually be taking a sled ride down to the trauma tent.

 

Actually, that would make a good Winter X-Games event.  They can replace the snowmobile events with Boilerplate races. Contestants have to use a 120mm rockered ski and navigate at high speed down a slope filled with frozen death cookies, deep cat tracks and areas of see-through blue ice. Exciting stuff. The carnage and blood bath would be sure to draw viewer interest like the old shovel race event.  

 

Everything has its place. Rocker provides advantages and benefits to some skiers in some conditions. But to generalize to all conditions and skiers---.reality check time.

post #10 of 23

Maybe rocker skis are just the natural progression of skiers with "snowboard envy" ;-)

 

 

Rather be skiing than snowboarding,

Nick

post #11 of 23

Do you need special grip wax for rockered cross-country skis?wink.gif

post #12 of 23
I Fing hate this argument over rocker. To be honest folks, the tastes great less filling nature of this and that other thread puts the gape in gapic. It has done nothing. All we've established is that we have a fair share of "hey you kids get off my lawn" curmudgeons, "I never had or needed metal edges your cheater!" types, "ahahahaha fkna they rox u suk go hom losers!" kiddos, "oh neat! A shiny thing I just gotta buy the shiny thing" gear heads and the "what's a rocker?" clueless.

Can we stop this insanity and debate something less futile like the existence of God, abortion, or capital punishment?

/sarcasm.
post #13 of 23

Yea, but I would honestly just not ski in those conditions. That, and it's fun trying to boot out on a fatty.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoMan View Post

 

 

I think this is an East vs West thing. When someone who skis western big-mountain says rocker handles great on ice, ice means firm snow. Wide rocker has its place but ski the true boilerplate we had yesterday and tell me if you think everyone should be on 105 mm rockers. The first time you hit a patch of frozen cat track ribbons and feel no stability or control because you cant manage the front of the ski, you will be running to the tent as fast as you can to get a sub 80mm skis with traditional camber and razor sharp edges. Either that or you will eventually be taking a sled ride down to the trauma tent.

 

Actually, that would make a good Winter X-Games event.  They can replace the snowmobile events with Boilerplate races. Contestants have to use a 120mm rockered ski and navigate at high speed down a slope filled with frozen death cookies, deep cat tracks and areas of see-through blue ice. Exciting stuff. The carnage and blood bath would be sure to draw viewer interest like the old shovel race event.  

 

Everything has its place. Rocker provides advantages and benefits to some skiers in some conditions. But to generalize to all conditions and skiers---.reality check time.

post #14 of 23

This is the "Fing" post of the season for me.  I'm printing it out banner size and hanging it on my wall.  Way to send it "Internet style" Que.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Que View Post

I Fing hate this argument over rocker. To be honest folks, the tastes great less filling nature of this and that other thread puts the gape in gapic. It has done nothing. All we've established is that we have a fair share of "hey you kids get off my lawn" curmudgeons, "I never had or needed metal edges your cheater!" types, "ahahahaha fkna they rox u suk go hom losers!" kiddos, "oh neat! A shiny thing I just gotta buy the shiny thing" gear heads and the "what's a rocker?" clueless.

Can we stop this insanity and debate something less futile like the existence of God, abortion, or capital punishment?

/sarcasm.
post #15 of 23


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Que View Post

I Fing hate this argument over rocker. To be honest folks, the tastes great less filling nature of this and that other thread puts the gape in gapic. It has done nothing. All we've established is that we have a fair share of "hey you kids get off my lawn" curmudgeons, "I never had or needed metal edges your cheater!" types, "ahahahaha fkna they rox u suk go hom losers!" kiddos, "oh neat! A shiny thing I just gotta buy the shiny thing" gear heads and the "what's a rocker?" clueless.

Can we stop this insanity and debate something less futile like the existence of God, abortion, or capital punishment?

/sarcasm.


Did the scrip for yer meds run out?????????????????

 

SJ

post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Que View Post

I Fing hate this argument over rocker. To be honest folks, the tastes great less filling nature of this and that other thread puts the gape in gapic. It has done nothing. All we've established is that we have a fair share of "hey you kids get off my lawn" curmudgeons, "I never had or needed metal edges your cheater!" types, "ahahahaha fkna they rox u suk go hom losers!" kiddos, "oh neat! A shiny thing I just gotta buy the shiny thing" gear heads and the "what's a rocker?" clueless.

Can we stop this insanity and debate something less futile like the existence of God, abortion, or capital punishment?

/sarcasm.

Sure.

 

God exists.  Abortion is murder, but mom should be allowed to choose.  Capital punishment or STAY in prison 'til you die should be the penalty for murder; It's the best way to prevent repeat offenders.  Sure some innocent's might die, but since God exists, kill 'em all and let God sort it out.biggrin.gif
 

post #17 of 23

I put a rocker on my ski boot soles with a belt grinder.  They're sooo much easier to walk in now, it makes me feel like I'm cheating. rolleyes.gif

post #18 of 23

Any else want to bet that the rocker revolution will also bring a noticable rise of injuries/collisions? Both from gapers unable to control real rocker on hard snow (collisions), when they should have been sold an early-rise ski, and from gapers feeling enabled by rocker and losing control off-piste (injuries).

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Lindahl View Post

Any else want to bet that the rocker revolution will also bring a noticable rise of injuries/collisions? Both from gapers unable to control real rocker on hard snow (collisions), when they should have been sold an early-rise ski, and from gapers feeling enabled by rocker and losing control off-piste (injuries).

 

Uhhh..... that'd be a sucker's bet.
 

post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Lindahl View Post

Any else want to bet that the rocker revolution will also bring a noticable rise of injuries/collisions? Both from gapers unable to control real rocker on hard snow (collisions), when they should have been sold an early-rise ski, and from gapers feeling enabled by rocker and losing control off-piste (injuries).



I agree with the first one but yahoo gapers ski and ride on anything. The second one it would be tougher to lose control on rockered ski off piste. they give everyone from back seat powder novices to true rippers more control off piste. also you could argue with more float that you are A. less likely to hit submerged obstacles, B. less likely to try to muscle turns, C. less likely to get a ski stuck and argued in, in a fall.

 

Id argue rockered skis are probably much safer off piste. Which FYI off piste is statically the safest place to ski on the mountain because you cant go as fast and others cant go as fast. Collision are also very unlikely off piste. Blue Groomers are the scariest runs on the mountain.

post #21 of 23


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Lindahl View Post

Any else want to bet that the rocker revolution will also bring a noticable rise of injuries/collisions? Both from gapers unable to control real rocker on hard snow (collisions), when they should have been sold an early-rise ski, and from gapers feeling enabled by rocker and losing control off-piste (injuries).



I agree with the first one but yahoo gapers ski and ride on anything. The second one it would be tougher to lose control on rockered ski off piste. they give everyone from back seat powder novices to true rippers more control off piste. also you could argue with more float that you are A. less likely to hit submerged obstacles, B. less likely to try to muscle turns, C. less likely to get a ski stuck and argued in, in a fall.

 

Id argue rockered skis are probably much safer off piste. Which FYI off piste is statically the safest place to ski on the mountain because you cant go as fast and others cant go as fast. Collision are also very unlikely off piste. Blue Groomers are the scariest runs on the mountain.



Yea, you can get away with murder with rocker.

post #22 of 23


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by karpiel View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Lindahl View Post

Any else want to bet that the rocker revolution will also bring a noticable rise of injuries/collisions? Both from gapers unable to control real rocker on hard snow (collisions), when they should have been sold an early-rise ski, and from gapers feeling enabled by rocker and losing control off-piste (injuries).



I agree with the first one but yahoo gapers ski and ride on anything. The second one it would be tougher to lose control on rockered ski off piste. they give everyone from back seat powder novices to true rippers more control off piste. also you could argue with more float that you are A. less likely to hit submerged obstacles, B. less likely to try to muscle turns, C. less likely to get a ski stuck and argued in, in a fall.

 

Id argue rockered skis are probably much safer off piste. Which FYI off piste is statically the safest place to ski on the mountain because you cant go as fast and others cant go as fast. Collision are also very unlikely off piste. Blue Groomers are the scariest runs on the mountain.



Yea, you can get away with murder with rocker.

 

sometimes little tranistions just beg for attempting murder every time!
 

post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Lindahl View Post

Any else want to bet that the rocker revolution will also bring a noticable rise of injuries/collisions? Both from gapers unable to control real rocker on hard snow (collisions), when they should have been sold an early-rise ski, and from gapers feeling enabled by rocker and losing control off-piste (injuries).



Actually, now that you mention it....I have seen more yahoos the past couple of years, basically going straight down the hill, in the back seat on a cruddy run, most always on rockers, completely out of control.  I used to see that, but it was always some idiot snowboarder. Most skiers couldn't get away with it.  But, on a wide rockered ski, you can; just sit back and let 'er rip!  That is, until they hit the moguls (wish we had more here).

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