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Thread: New Race Skis (warning- Long blog)

  1. #21
    Congrats on the win Jamie

  2. #22
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    Lots of good posts here from everyone regarding opinions on ski length, radius, etc.. I am one too that has been struggling the last few years on what the "perfect" ski would be. I agree with a lot of IN racer's comments with regard to the reality that many racers ARE doing very well on Slalom oriented skis and cleaning house in Nastar competitions. However, I also believe that there are people doing well and can improve on longer skis with a greater turn radius as some of the posts here have stated. I suspect these individuals are skiing steeper and longer hills than what we ski in Indiana. Here are my beliefs... When I go to Colorado, Utah, etc.. and free ski on my 18m skis I absolutely love them and even wish I had a longer ski. When free skiing in the midwest, I often wish I had a shorter ski. The difference here is obviously the difference in vertical pitch and skiing speed. Sometimes just when we start turning our skis on a midwest hill, the run is then over!(No Fair) We all know that with the shaped ski era Nastar courses have been set somewhat tighter and turnier than the old days in the 80's and early 90's. I was very surprised how tight the 2012 Nastar Nationals pacesetter course was set. AJ, Jake, Ted and the crew probably thought it was a Pro style slalom to them. Personally, I enjoy the tighter courses a little better especially on shorter hills. I think that the Nastar hills in Breck, PC, and Keystone are really poor, and I will attest that 3 Nastar hills in Indiana/Ohio are much more challenging. I still can't believe Nastar hills in Indiana and Ohio would be better than these 3 high profile Colorado venues but its a fact! When I race these flatter hills out west, I wish I had a slalom ski because you can't reach the speeds necessary to properly "work" a true GS ski. The last time I was at Keystone the gates were very tight and the hill extremely flat(my back yard has more pitch!) I consider myself an "ok" racer and I found it impossible to turn my skis quick enough to be on the correct line. I noticed the faster racers were on shorter(165/170) skis and making it look easy. When I race at Telluride and Deer Valley(my two favorite Nastar venues) I wish I had 185-188 20/23mm skis. At these race hills, you can definitely generate the speed necessary to correctly work and arc the ski. I think one has to buy a ski that matches not only their ability, but more importantly their home Nastar hills characteristics. To me knowing your individual potential skiing speed at your home course is one thing that is over looked from ski shop advice on buying race skis. I think that longer skis(185 plus) can definitely make one a better skier, but you have to have the proper terrain, ability, and skiing days for it to be beneficial. I also believe that the flex of ski boots is very important in achieving the true potential of the ski. When I was younger I always had the stiffest boot possible. I bought new boots last year(130) and immediately had them cut down in a ski shop to more like a 120. I quickly noticed that I could initiate my turns better as well as work the tails. A softer feel will take some time to get used to but I think it will help me in the long run. What I am trying to say here is that stiff boots and a high radius ski on flat terrain don't match. The tricky part for some is that a racer might have to ski on a shorter ski due to their ski area limitations, when in fact they "should" be on a longer ski based on their ability, height, weight, etc.. Mating these two variables together will always be a fun an interesting challenge!

  3. #23
    Senior Member bigrig's Avatar
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    I would say there is no right answer for everyone. As stated in previous comments the right ski length is determined by hill pitch, boot, coarse set, and most importantly skier ability. I personally don't race Nastar on any ski less than 183cm nor less than a 19m radius no matter what the hill/course. But when I have gone to other nastar venus or pacesetter trials I use a 190cm/27m ski.

    What I have found is that a shorter/small radius skis (<16m) becomes slower for my skiing style. The turn becomes too tight, especially at the bottom 1/3 of turn. Plus I can't stand a course or a ski that alows one to tuck the entire course. A longer/longer radi ski makes you work for it more. You have to know race line better and your transition between turns has to be explosive and quick to make up for the lack of radius.

  4. #24
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    I've tested Fischer and Head "cheaters" and 23 meter Fischer GS skis and 27 meter Head GS skis back to back on a variety of NASTAR courses over the last few seasons and am consistently between 1/2 and 1 second faster on GS skis than cheaters. Interestingly the difference between 23 meter skis and 27 meter skis was negligible though. The cheaters are more fun to ski and seem to finish the turn for you - I think that's what makes them slower (the auto-turning - not the fun). There is no denying that the cheaters will grant you more lattitude in line selection and ability to "catch up" if you get late but "catching up" means turning sharper which slows you down. I've been skiing on Head 188cm the last two seasons and only when encountering crazy-tight course sets do I regret it. Usually as the course deterioates I'm happier and happier with these skis.

    I tell everyone who asks me that if you are a 15 NASTAR handicap or less you will most likely be faster on a real GS ski than a cheater. I also say if you are a one ski quiver person you should stick with the cheater since they are lots more fun for all-around skiing than a GS ski.

  5. #25
    Senior Member jclose8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeracer161 View Post
    I've tested Fischer and Head "cheaters" and 23 meter Fischer GS skis and 27 meter Head GS skis back to back on a variety of NASTAR courses over the last few seasons and am consistently between 1/2 and 1 second faster on GS skis than cheaters. Interestingly the difference between 23 meter skis and 27 meter skis was negligible though. The cheaters are more fun to ski and seem to finish the turn for you - I think that's what makes them slower (the auto-turning - not the fun). There is no denying that the cheaters will grant you more lattitude in line selection and ability to "catch up" if you get late but "catching up" means turning sharper which slows you down. I've been skiing on Head 188cm the last two seasons and only when encountering crazy-tight course sets do I regret it. Usually as the course deterioates I'm happier and happier with these skis.

    I tell everyone who asks me that if you are a 15 NASTAR handicap or less you will most likely be faster on a real GS ski than a cheater. I also say if you are a one ski quiver person you should stick with the cheater since they are lots more fun for all-around skiing than a GS ski.
    Man, that's a great post. I have done a lot of that testing as well. I'm always much slower on cheaters, but I've had the same experience between 182 and 186 race stock skis... about the same.

    Also, I've tested Slalom skis on Nastar and it's like a different sport. WAAAY slower. I would say that if you are for some reason faster on Slalom skis, you are probably doing a few things wrong and could benefit from some race instruction. Some small tweaks to line and technique could allow you to make huge strides on some cheater GS's rather than SL's.
    OREDOCK BREWING COMPANY SKI BUMS
    http://ore-dock.com/

  6. #26
    I agree that 23+ meter skis are faster, as long as you have a modicum of technique.

    I agree with one previous poster that cheaters feel more "fun," and are easier to ski. However, real GS skis are indeed faster.

    My lowest handicap of the season was on a 25 meter ski, and that day that ended up being several tenths faster than on my cheater ski (I was able to test both back-to-back).

    A few times I didn't bring the GS ski because my mind was still thinking it'd be too much, but the fact is it was consistently faster than the cheaters. Also, it holds better on ice, and is more stable.

    I feel that for a true NASTAR set (18 to 22 meter gates, and perhaps less), these skis don't allow too much room for error. However, if there isn't a ton of offset then it probably would work out pretty well.

    I believed that 21-23 meters would be a happy medium for most situations. But I've found it to be tough to actually find skis with those radii (one is for junior-adult hybrids, and the other is often actually 25 in appropriate lengths).

  7. #27
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    Pro style slalom

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpine28 View Post
    I was very surprised how tight the 2012 Nastar Nationals pacesetter course was set. AJ, Jake, Ted and the crew probably thought it was a Pro style slalom to them. Personally, I enjoy the tighter courses a little better especially on shorter hills.
    I checked out Ted Ligety's skis after he set the pace on the Platinum and Gold courses at the 2012 Nationals in Winter Park. They looked like damn short slalom skis to me (165 cm Head FIS Slalom was my best guess). He seemed to ski straight at the gates, destroying each one as he went past, FAST! I heard the gate offset on those courses was on the order of 14m-16m.

  8. #28
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    The length and radius of Ligety's skis was discussed in another Forum thread [h=3]NASTAR Nationals Diary 2012[/h]The impression was that Ted's skis were longer than the ones you saw. From that thread:
    "I asked Ted what his ski radius was when he was standing in the finish area chattin with AJ just after his pace setting run on Lower Hughes, and he replied "These are my FIS skis." Nothing more specific."
    BobHarwood replied: "So about the same as AJ...somewhere around a 28m radius, I'd guess."
    There is a photo of Ligety holding his skis revealing their longer length (on the NASTAR site), but who knows how that relates to what you surmised about their apparent shorter length. In light of the discussion on this link, I'd place my bets on him skiing a longer ski.

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