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 03, 2012, 02:21:06 am »
Thank you both for your insightful replies.

I joined just recently -- it's actually how I found this forum, and became familiar with both Harb and Clendenin. I'm am looking at the reviews for skis that are earlier years -- 2009-2010, and 2010-2011. I'll be honest, though -- I'm not real keen on buying someone's used skis off eBay or online unless they're local and I could see that they were in great shape, but the issue about saving money on 1-2 year old models isn't lost on me if I could find the right model in new or near-new condition.

Just to clarify -- I'm not set on skis of any particular width or category/class. It's early in the game for me and I'm just doing the research to determine what other "average Joe" skiers think about the specs I've listed, and to see what the consensus is on the issue as a whole.

It's been suggested by some retailers I've spoken with that slightly wider and longer skis are proportionally no different for large people than narrower, shorter skis are for average or smaller folks. One gentleman mentioned that the difference between a 72mm waist and an 88mm waste is only 5/8-inch. That made me wonder if these so-called "mid-fats" are really all that "wide" compared to their carving specialist cousins. The other angle here is that many of these early rise designs are "supposed" to facilitate easier turn initiation and/or turns themselves. Rossignol calls their tech spec "autoturn rocker" and other manufacturers have their own names for turnability as well. Yet, if that extra 5/8ths width makes a significant difference on the hill if I'm learning to roll onto edges, then I should consider something more like the Nordica Fire Arrow 74, with it's slimmer waist. I'm not at all opposed to rethinking my selections.

Turning radius is obviously another matter, as Jbotti points out. And it's there that it goes gray for me. G-force issues notwithstanding -- the turn radii in the 180+ lengths between the 9 models of skis I listed in my post range from 16.5 degrees for the Atomic Blackeye to 24.1 degrees for the Volkl Kendo.

Having said that, though, I find it really difficult to imagine someone of my proportions actually engaging 12-14 degree carves at speed, not to mention even being cognisant of it while doing it. Turn radius seems to be another one of those phantom issues that there's no definitive answer to -- there are "race" skis with 60mm-ish waists that spec at 15+ degree turns in 170cm lengths, and yet there are some wider or longer skis that spec at the same 15 degree radius -- such as the Nordica Fire Arrow 74 in the 180cm length, according to the Nordica's website. Again, though -- how do you know you're cutting a 13 degree turn versus a 16-degree turn, and is a coach notice the difference? Don't get me wrong -- I can see that a radically tight-turning radius and a shorter ski is vital for someone skiing big moguls. But for someone like myself, am I really hampering my ability to learn to carve if I went with the Fire Arrow 74 @ 180cm versus another ski with a 68mm waist and a purported 12 degree radius at 168cm?

Jim: Speaking of ski radii and Harold Harb in the same sentence -- one of his videos starts by claiming that until one learns these very slow, methodical, parallel turns on the bottom of the hill, there's no way to execute them to any degree on the larger, steeper slopes. Clendenin, at least from what I've seen early on, seems to be more focused on bump skiing for intermediates, but according to shares the same mantra for learning the basics on carvers in the lower 70mm waist range. So I'm on board with all of that. Maybe I should look into a demo of those Nordica 74s and other skis in that class.

Update: I read LivingProof's thread, "Snow Drought and Fat Skis" with interest as it relates to my posting. It seems more and more like the more appropriate choice in ski for me is something in these slimmer waists, but again, I'm open to hear what anyone cares to share. The ski length issue is still TBD though....