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Rental skis - too many compromises?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

For some years I had problems with getting my fore/aft balance sorted out while skiing. It was undoubtedly a good part down to technique, but also to do with my boots and my anatomy (skinny calves, etc). It's been better in the last couple of years and I no longer feel, in general, that I'm struggling to get out of the back seat most of the time.


The problem is that it can still be thrown out by the 'wrong' ski setup. I have my own skis, but I live in Britain and generally fly to the Alps to ski. In the last few years, the airlines have introduced such high charges for ski carriage that it works out more economical to hire skis in the resort, so that's what I've been doing.  Unfortunately, this introduces another couple of variables into the equation that I have no control over, namely binding delta and mount position, and my experience is that these can have quite a marked effect. By this point, I'm trying to juggle with a tricky equation of boot forward lean, boot internal ramp angle, binding delta and mount position, and I'm tempted to throw up my hands in despair.


Now, sometimes the mounting position is determined by some kind of rail binding and a good rental place might be persuaded to move it back or forward a little (although I've never tried). But there's nothing I can do to change the binding delta. (Or is there? Is these something I can do inside the boots, for example, to counteract a too high binding delta?).


Given that I have to get what I'm given in terms of tuning (edge angles set for scraping intermediates, for example), I'm wondering whether there are inevitably just too many compromises involved with rental skis for me ever to be able to ski really well on them? Or are all these little adjustments of angle, etc., just the icing on the cake? Is it possible that a good skier can learn to compensate for most of these things without significant compromises in performance? I used to be interested in audiophile hi-fi, but there came a point when I became sceptical that all these little things like cables, etc., could make anything like the huge differences which were assigned to them, otherwise the whole enterprise was effectively so precarious that achieving top quality sound with a combination of all the constituent parts working together would be just pot luck. I am sometimes reminded of that when it comes to skiing.

post #2 of 4

Are you also renting boots?  I don't know about Europe but here in the US, unless you're renting demo skis, rental skis are generally just about the cheapest skis made, tuned once or twice a season and have very low end bindings.  It might be cheaper to rent than pay the airlines what they want but that isn't something I would do.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

No, I have my own boots and always take them with me. The rental skis vary from place to place but you can often get high end skis, very well looked after (last year in Italy I was renting some Rossignol CX80s which looked pretty new to me - although that place was unusual in tuning its skis properly for more serious skiers, as it was in the Monte Rosa ski area).

post #4 of 4

There's no perfect solution.  Having been across the pond a few times to ski, I feel your pain on the baggage charges.


If you find you really need your skis/bindings dialed in (e.g. mount position, ramp angle, etc.) to ski well, you're probably going to need your own skis to be happy.


I've generally found that, as long as you are getting "demos" or "high-performance rentals", etc., the skis are in about as good shape as you can expect for rental gear.  Most rental bindings would offer some fore/aft adjustment, if you can convince the rental technician to do it.  You're probably out of luck with the ramp angle, though.  Conceivably you could shim the front or back of your boots (between the boot and binding) -- but I don't recommend this, as it can interfere with proper release of the bindings in a crash.

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