Author Topic: Right specs for a big, burly intermediate skier  (Read 1968 times)


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Re: Right specs for a big, burly intermediate skier
« on: January 02, 2012, 11:15:38 pm »
First, I am NOT going to ask you folks "which ski should I buy?" Frankly, I don't see how anyone can ask a complete stranger this question in a serious context. As an avid tennis player I learned the importance of demo'ing tennis rackets from that sport.
Well said.  And an excellent write-up and a pretty interesting challenge.
I'm sure that you are going to get a bunch of opinions all over the place, just as you have on other forums.
Some thoughts.
1. You're athletic, but currently unskilled.  That says the likelihood is great that the skill development skis that are best for you now will be different than the skis that bring you the most enjoyment two years from now (or less). Some ski shops do full season leases on skis (and they are often better quality skis than day rentals).  Another option is to buy prior year skis. There are often excellent deals on skis that are as good as current year. is a good collection of past year reviews. 
2. Your first priority is getting consistent speed control without relying upon the wedge and without running out of control and then throwing on the brakes with a hockey stop.  Harald Harb has posted a lot of YouTube video of some fundamental skiing principles and has some excellent books and videos.  John Clendenin is another resource (and obviously you are familiar with his material), but  I believe he specializes more with people that have been skiing for a while but that don't have clean technique (Gary, correct me here). The other mainline type of instruction is PSIA (professional ski instructors of america) that make up the snow school instructors at most hills. You need to select an approach for instruction.
3. Your second priority is skis that support your first priority.  Narrower skis make it easier to tip the skis on edge which is what makes them turn, so they make it easier to learn the correct movements.  Physicsman's calculations about surface area for float in snow are correct, but they mean nothing on groomed slopes. Groomed slopes and learning technique are about the edges and using the edges to control speed; wider skis have more surface area but get more difficult to tip on edge as they get wider.
4. Ski width.  I would normally suggest 68-72 for learning skills. (By the way, I'm just a hack skier and not an instructor or accomplished skier like many here).  Due to your size (taller, larger boot size), I would say anything less than 80 is "narrow" but that you are likely to be skiing mostly 95-105 mm waisted skis in the future once you begin to move off of groomed slopes.
5. Ski Length.  Each model of ski comes in a variety of lengths consistent with the design of the ski.  You will want to always pick the longest ski in the given model, but that may be a 190 in a powder ski, a 180 in an all-mountain ski, or a 170 in a carving ski.

I can't wait to hear what else others have to say.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 01:39:42 pm by jim-ratliff »
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