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Thread: New Race Skis (warning- Long blog)

  1. #11
    Senior Member IN.racer's Avatar
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    My turn.

    I am assuming those that advocate "go longer you'll be faster" are racing on a course that will allow fast skid free turns on a long ski. Not all Nastar courses are set that way. (For us average racers anyway). Most are I guess but there are exceptions to every rule. My home hill is usually just about right for me to turn in some decent almost skid free runs on my 175cm 17r. Occasionally, (last Saturday comes to mind) the bottom 5 gates after the dogleg are hung out there a tad further than normal. I ran my usual 13/14 handicap in the mid 21's. Wouldn't you know it, another regular (who has never beaten me) smokes an 11 handicap and a 21.16! Of course I run again, give it all I had and pulled a 21.29 for a 12. My best for the day. I tried a higher line, I tried being rounder, I tried being more direct. The difference? The other guy was on a 170cm 14r and was able to ski a bit cleaner on the bottom. .014 seconds I could not get off him. Someone tell me, in this situation how I would get faster going to a longer ski, when the fastest guy on the hill was 5 cm shorter than me? Another similar situation occurred a few weeks ago in a league race. The top 4 guys are battling it out. I was one of them (albeit #4). The other 3 decide a few wide gates out there are causing skidding, so they jump on their shorter 170's. I'm still on my 175. I could not get within 1.4 seconds of them! They ended up running in the mid 22's. I barley got into the 23's. That's how much they improved by going shorter.

    Now before I get hammered by the "AJ and Ted and Jamie and so and so would have been faster than all of you" crowd, I did my best. There is no way for me to summon my inner Ted and ski way above my current ability at the flick of a switch. Sometimes using a ski better suited for the course set is how to get faster and sometimes that means shorter. And some may think if you need a 170cm ski to be fast at Nastar the course is set too tight. Well, maybe so but that is the way some are.

    When the clock is ticking and you're being separated by 100ths of a second, lots of variables matter. Ski length and radius and how they match the course set you are skiing that day is huge! Most of the time I am comfortable and fast on my 175. Have I ever wanted to go longer? Never. A little shorter and a tad less radius? Once in a while.

    My advice to the average Nastar racer that thinks they need a 180 to get faster is better think it over. When you get whacked by a good carver on a 170 (and it will happen) you'll know what I'm talking about.

    Last edited by IN.racer; 02-23-2013 at 02:14 PM. Reason: cannot make font bigger. don't know why.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member Racer X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IN.racer View Post
    My turn.I am assuming those that preach "go longer you'll be faster" are racing on a course that will allow fast skid free turns on a long ski. Not all Nastar courses are set that way. (For us average racers anyway). Most are I guess but there are exceptions to every rule. My home hill is usually just about right for me to turn in some decent almost skid free runs on my 175cm 17r. Occasionally, (last Saturday comes to mind) the bottom 5 gates after the dogleg are hung out there a tad further than normal. I ran my usual 13/14 handicap in the mid 21's. Wouldn't you know it, another regular who never beats me smokes like an 11 handicap and a 21.16. Of course I run again, give it all I had and pulled a 21.29 for a 12. My best for the day. I did not get any faster after that and tried my best. I tried a higher line, I tried being rounder, I tried being more direct. The difference? The other guy was on a 170cm 14 meter and was able to ski bit cleaner on the bottom. .014 seconds I could not get off him. Someone tell me, in this situation how I would get faster going to a longer ski, when the fastest guy on the hill was 5 cm shorter than me? Another similar situation occurred a few weeks ago in a league race. The top 4 guys are battling it out. I was one of them. The other 3 decide a few turns out there are causing skidding, so they jump on their shorter 170 skis. I'm stuck on my 175. I could not get within 1.4 seconds of them! They ended up running in the mid 22's. I barley got into the 23's. That's how much they improved by going shorter. Now before I get hammered by the "AJ and Ted and Jamie and so and so would have been faster then all of you" crowd, I did my best. There is no way for me to summon my inner Ted and ski way above my current ability at the flick of a switch. Sometimes, using a ski better suited for the current set is how to get faster and sometimes that means shorter. And some may think if you need a 170 cm ski to be fast at Nastar the course is set too tight. Well, maybe so but that is the way some are.When the clock is ticking and you're being separated by 100ths of a second, lots of variables matter. Ski length and radius and how it matches the course set you are skiing that day is huge! Most of the time I am comfortable and fast on my 175. Have I ever wanted to go longer? Never. A little shorter and a tad less radius? Once in a while. My advice to the average Nastar racer that thinks they need a 180 to get faster is better think it over. When you get whacked by a good carver on a 170 (and it will happen) you'll know what I'm talking about.
    Good post too -

    IN.Racer and I have skied a lot together, and have had this exact discussion on many occasions - sometimes, a shorter ski wil win out over a longer straighter ski, just due to course set - NASTAR is much more vulnerable to this just because of the course sets we sometimes encounter - much more so than USSA Masters type courses, where there seems to be more control and standardization of course sets

    - I might find that if all I raced was on Jamie's FIS hill, or only did MACC or Masters racing, I might want a longer straighter ski, but since the majority of racing I do is NASTAR, shorter sometimes does seem better.

    Good discussion though!
    Last edited by Racer X; 02-20-2013 at 04:31 AM.
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  3. #13
    Senior Member IN.racer's Avatar
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    Today was another day of fast, close racing. Top time turned in was 21.50 for a 13.46 handicap. That was turned in by me on my 175, 17.1 meter. However, another 21.50 was turned in by a guy on a 165 slalom, 12.5 meter. This came from a guy who does not own a GS ski. Next fastest was the pace setter at 21.56 on I think a 180 GS, then a 21.58 on a 170, 14 meter hybrid. Several other fast guys were in the 21.6's and 21.7's, one on a 172, 16.9 meter, and one on another 170, 14 meter.

    Conditions were soft slush scraped down to ice and huge ruts at each gate. Several big crashes as a result. Course set was just to my liking, not too turny, not too straight. I did everything I could to top my 21.50, in fact I ran it twice. I was using Zardoz heavily and skiing my best. I'm just posting this as a topic of conversation to illustrate how dang close we all are on very different skis. The fun thing about Nastar is the "run what you brung" environment. Everyone is skiing the course on the ski they feel they will be fastest on.

    The season down here is winding down fast. This weekend and hopefully next will be it until next year.
    Last edited by IN.racer; 02-24-2013 at 12:24 AM.
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  4. #14
    Senior Member jclose8's Avatar
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    Winding down? Is it seriously down there? We have been BURIED with snow the last week. Racing has kind of sucked lately because of the need for so much course work to move the snow off the course. Even when fully slipped out, the snow is still too soft because it's nothing but light natural snow right now.

    It's supposed to warm up to the low 30s this week, which should allow things to compact. In the meantime, the tree skiing has been great!

    Shaping up to be an epic month of March....
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  5. #15
    Senior Member jclose8's Avatar
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    Oh, and IN.racer.... I'm not trying to talk anyone into longer skis, just opening a discussion and maybe opening some peoples minds that it might be an option. Modern skis are pretty amazing, and some people are intimidated by the number that a length represents, or the number that the radius is marked. I'm just suggesting that some experimentation isn't necessarily a bad thing if possible.

    The point is, if an individual has the skill and ability to cleanly carve a 175 with a 17m radius through a given course, and also has the skill and ability to cleanly carve a 185 with a 24m radius, that person will be faster on the 185. No question.

    Only the individual racer can determine the limit of their ability, and the maximum ski they can handle.
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  6. #16
    Senior Member Kanakry's Avatar
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    I can't believe I didn't see this thread before.

    Midway though last year I switched from a 183 WC fischer 23M (182 25M Blizzards the year before) to the 185 Head I.speed 19M. I switched for one reason. When I make a mistake on the 23M + radius ski's I find that I never really correct that mistake and catch back up.

    I have never wished I had a shorter radius ski in any GS event, only a longer straighter ski. I have zero issues arching a World Cup ski, but if I make a mistake at the 3rd gate I will continue to be late until the finish line and never catch back up.

    I have had some of the best results I have ever had this year in GS skiing on the Head I.speed but almost every race I feel I am over turning. I feel that there are another few .10's left out there because of the ski's natural ability to want to ride that 19M line and slightly turn to much.

    Yesterday the ease of how these ski's turn played out pretty spectacular as my inside ski caught some soft snow and shot to the inside right before the gate. I ended up going though the gate and tumbling another 3-4 gates on Superbowl at Boyne.

    Granted everyone's ability is different but I am right there with Jamie thinking that the straightest ski you can ski without skidding will net you the fastest time. As stated with me the issue was always never catching back up after making a mistake where as the 19M I can still make a mistake but 99% of the time recover without major damage to time.

    Heather two years ago went from a 174 17.5M to a 175 WC 21M and vastly improved. So much so that last year at the local beer league finals she was .20+ seconds faster than me. I think she was in the top 15 overall at the event.

    This is just my honest opinion but I have never ski'd a nastar course and thought wow I would be faster on Slalom ski's.

    Jason

  7. #17
    Senior Member IN.racer's Avatar
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    Not looking for a fight. Just a friendly reply.

    No one will argue the straightest ski you can ski without skidding will always be the fastest ski. That fact goes without saying. What comes into play is the course set and who can get a 185 23 meter ski clean through a Nastar course. Not a GS course, not a Masters course, not a league race course. The vast majority of Nastar courses I see, (and there have been lots in the past 20 yrs) are set pretty tight, especially when up to race speed. Maybe not every gate, but one gate will kill your time if you have to throw them sideways to get around it. I think some areas set them that way just to keep the speeds down and keep people from tucking and going 50mph.

    I certainly don't live in snow country, and we don't get 60+ days a year on the slopes (me maybe 25) but still, the fastest racers around here are not slouches. I know it sounds odd, but putting aside your longest race ski and jumping on a little shorter one (I'm not saying slalom) is the right call in certain circumstances, even for the best racers. I think I could name on one hand the racers I know that could ski a 185 as clean and faster than a 175 in a Nastar course. One's name is AJ, one is Jamie and one is Jason. That leaves two more. I'm sure age has something to do with it too. The racers I run with are all over 45, have arthritis, bad backs and bad knees. My chances of getting stronger and faster and needing a 180+ GS ski at age 53 are nil.

    And speaking of slalom, I took mine to the hill last weekend just to run them and compare. I ran the course in them, perfect carves all the way down. I felt fast and clocked a good time. I then went to my GS, did not ski as clean and got a little loose, but still felt fast. I was a good half second faster on my GS. Not surprising to me. One guy down here races on 165 slaloms, and a couple on 170 14 meter hybrids. They push me to my limit every week. I don't know how they do it. I know I would not be that fast on those skis. Bottom line is I must not be very good. Never claimed I was actually.

    Conditions down here right now are perfect! We had two sunny days this past weekend and the course was great. Rain is moving in but should clear out in time for next weekend. Closing day is March 10. There will still be plenty of snow and all runs will be open but no one comes anymore so they shut it down.
    Last edited by IN.racer; 02-25-2013 at 11:40 PM. Reason: spelling
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  8. #18
    Senior Member jclose8's Avatar
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    OK.... Today it clicked!! Today was day one of our Spring Carnival. We were supposed to have a Downhill this morning, but we had to postpone it till tomorrow due to excessive snowfall. We got about 6 inches overnight, then it really started kicking in at about 7 am. I got to the hill at about 7:30 to set the course, then when I went to get my downhill skis off the ski rack, this is what I saw!!



    The snow on that car was less than an hour and a half's worth! We cancelled the downhill and powder skied all morning. It cleared up a little in the afternoon, and we decided to try to pull off the GS. A lot of slipping was required, but we did it.

    Anyway.... For the first time on the 186's, I fully nailed a run, and won! Same guys that I always race against in league.... I haven't actually WON a GS in YEARS. It felt great. I have no idea if this proves anything one way or another equipment-wise, but today, on that course, those skis were awesome. The coolest thing was, my wife won the overall for the women. Our names will be permanently etched together on the "Bud Cup" for 2013. Very cool.

    The DH will take place tomorrow morning. Can't wait....
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  9. #19
    Administrator patmoore's Avatar
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    Combination of the right gear and a great performance. Nicely done. Congratulations! Best of luck in the downhill.
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  10. #20
    Senior Member jclose8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patmoore View Post
    Combination of the right gear and a great performance. Nicely done. Congratulations! Best of luck in the downhill.
    Thanks Pat. By the way, we both won Sunday's DH as well!! Great weekend.

    Here is my boy hucking off a cliff on Saturday:

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