Skis Getting Narrower -- Did Colorado Ski Shops Not Get the Message?

Corgski

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Southern NH
Really not surprised about stores backing off narrower skis. Watching closeouts over the last year, it is clear that shops have had to work on unloading them. I doubt the store that sold me two new Curve DTXs for $250 each last year is rushing to stock up on narrower carvers. They are still available new for under $450. Until recently, Head Super Joys were available for about $350. Not unusual to get a good deal on a low demand length but in some cases the ski was available in every single size. Even the Atomic x80 and x83 must not have sold as well as one might expect. $500 has been a feasible budget for a new, near top of range carver with bindings.

Anyway, stores adjusting for this reality means the supply of cheap carvers is going to dissipate. Going to be a hard adjustment for me, I have developed unreasonable expectations on what skis should cost. I have my eye on the Fischer something something 82, not totally unreasonable at $799 but I can get a S/Max Blast for under $600 or a S/Max 12 for under $500.
 
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Ski&ride

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but its still easier to ski hardpacked on a 90mm skis, than weird 3d snow on a 70 or under carver.
Yeah, right!

If your feet is size 10, it’s still much better to be in a size 12 than in a size 6!

Just don’t touch anything near size 10!
 

Josh Matta

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Yeah, right!

If your feet is size 10, it’s still much better to be in a size 12 than in a size 6!

Just don’t touch anything near size 10!
so you can ski tight eastern trees, in wind packed snow on GS master skis? before you say yes, realize IMO video or did not happen.
 

Josh Matta

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If you guys really like narrow skis you should keep telling people how bad they are so they keep going on close out. It’s kinda of like how I am not bummed that Stowe was low on ski mags list.
 

AngryAnalyst

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so you can ski tight eastern trees, in wind packed snow on GS master skis? before you say yes, realize IMO video or did not happen.
If I can ever convince myself to pay for a lesson at Stowe, I am definitely asking for you. I sense you have quite a few spots I don’t know about. Just a warning I have dangerously wide skis.

If you guys really like narrow skis you should keep telling people how bad they are so they keep going on close out. It’s kinda of like how I am not bummed that Stowe was low on ski mags list.
By the same logic you should be happy if everyone on this site buys FIS skis. The next person who isn’t a race brat I see in the trees on those things will be the first, so if everyone has them I think conditions should be even better
 

slowrider

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Ski those discounted carvers on sunny hard snow days when no one goes. Any wet snow mid thigh or deeper on carvers is just a chore.
 

Philpug

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If you guys really like narrow skis you should keep telling people how bad they are so they keep going on close out. It’s kinda of like how I am not bummed that Stowe was low on ski mags list.
I have been saying "wagons are the new cool" since the 90's...hasn't helped sales one bit. ;) At least ski manufacturers are still making narrower skis.
 

Blue Streak

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I skied @Drahtguy Kevin’s FIS slalom skis last year, and they were more fun than a barrel of monkeys. (Where that expression comes from, I have no $&@“(;: idea).

Skied Atomic FIS slalom skis some too. They were too much fun! But my local rep had a heckuva time getting me a pair.

They are now at the top of my shopping list!
 
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Slim

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Duluth, MN
Here in northern Minnesota, our shop, the Skihut, has mostly skis in the 80-90mm range on the wall, with a fair number under that, and a smaller number in the 90-100mm range.
In town, you don’t get of trail more than twice a season. At Lutsen, 2 hours away, they have moguls and trees are skiable a few times a year. So, it definitely depends on the location.
 

martyg

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I've actually read the research on ski width, namely Seifert's manuscript (don't know if it's actually published in a journal), and the article by Zorko et al that is published in Journal of Sports Science and Medicine in 2015, that are both discussed in the Seifert lecture.

The Zorko article uses 6 male skiers between 20-30 years, from the Slovenian Demo team and competitors, using 3 skis 176cm long, 21.4m radius, similar construction, with 66mm, 88mm and 110mm width. They ran a hard snow course on a 14.5 degree slope, with 12 gates 30m apart and offset horizontally by 11m between gates. They measured knee flexion (bend), internal rotation and abduction through the turn, along with ground reaction force. The results were: ground reaction force was essentially identical for all three ski widths. In order to achieve this, knee flexion, internal rotation and abduction varied between the three ski widths, with the skiers making active adjustments to achieve the same ground reaction force. However, these adjustments "could bring the knee joint unfavorably closer to the end of the range of motion in transversal and frontal planes as well as potentially increasing the risk of degenerative knee injuries." In the discussion, it was suggested that wide skis might produce increased tension on the medial collateral ligament - the ligament on the inner side of the knee joint, and more speculatively, more risk of ligament injury in case of abrupt sudden increase in force, and increased risk of knee cartilage degenerative damage over time.

The Seifert study used one skier, Olympic Gold Medalist Debbie Armstrong, on 66mm slalom skis and 95mm wide skis and looked at activity in several muscle groups from waist to ankle, as well as knee flexion. She skied a course on a 22 degree average pitch groomed run with gates 15m apart and 4m offset, as well as free skiing. In the course, her turns were faster and with a greater edge angle on the 66mm skis. The conclusion was "Skiing wide skis substantially changes skier movements, muscle activity, and ski actions compared to narrow skis."

Both studies show that expert skiers ski differently between 66mm, 88-95mm, and 110mm skis, but they don't actually define where the boundaries between narrow, mid and wide ski are. In the Zorko study, the curves for the mid size (88mm ski) for knee flexion and abduction mostly lie close to the fat ski curves and separate from narrow ski curves while the internal rotation curve is more or less midway between them, so one could argue that 88mm is more "fat" than "narrow," as far as the knee is concerned. Without data on widths between 66 and 88mm, the best we can do is draw a line midway between the two, which would be 77mm, close to Seifert's 80mm. And finally, all this is predicated on skiing on firm, groomed snow.

One other potential issue for wide skis, as mentioned in the Zorko article, is the possible increased risk of ligament injury in case of abrupt increase in force, which may be more likely in uneven terrain, e.g. chopped up heavy snow, moguls, etc.

Since the majority of skiers are found on groomed slopes, one might therefore conclude based on this research, that the the shops should be full of 70-75mm skis. OTOH, who wants to be considered average...
Dr Seifert can clean up some of the questions that you have. He is in Austria right now, but can be reached.
 

HardDaysNight

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Park City, UT
Watch the video. Narrow is <80. And yes, there are different muscles between a 78 and an 88. Probably. At least there are between 65 and 88. Watch here.

Maybe you can find a couple of pugskiers who can tip a wide ski up and rip like they could on a narrow ski, but here's a former Olympian who is no ordinary skier who finds a pretty different performance...


Watch the video. Yes it is 55 minutes long. But it provides the experimental evidence of the things I'm saying.

Mike
This is one of the most interesting and valuable posts I’ve ever seen. Seifert’s data are fascinating and absolutely confirm your earlier comments and the observations of experienced coaches. There’s no doubt most people ski differently on wide skis; more upright, pushing skis out to an angle, more skidding. I don’t dispute that highly skilled skiers who learnt proper technique on race sticks can make 110mm skis work on groomers but even they make substantial adjustments to their movement patterns and it’s more work. For the intermediate skier, fat skis are a real impediment to progress. The reality that many of them don’t care doesn’t change that fact for those who do.

What I found most remarkable is the finding that, overall, wide skis aren’t really less work in powder. The work load is distributed differently and in a manner that’s more compatible with the movement patterns of lower skilled skiers which is what gives that impression.

Thanks once again Mike for posting this.
 

silverback

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Wasatch
yeah I said my student generally want to ski off piste, I never insist especially if that is not their plan. in fact they probably found me though here, or the ski school recommended me because they wanted to ski off piste. Off piste in the east is sketchy even for good skiers are narrow skis in packed conditions. Again I would love to see some video of someone ripping trees on masters GS skis or SL ski but it does nt exist. Please do not post a video from out west. The coverage is better there, and the snow generally more consistent with an actual harden base in say colorado.

IF someone's goal is to be good at technical skiing,then by all means I want them on something fairly narrow. The thing is at my resort we rarely get true hardpack because after freezes they grind up the top layer and make about 6 inches of loose granular. I find that stuff not very fun to ski on anything but its awful on really skinny skis. Basically I own SL and GS skis but I generally use either Ititan or Monster 83 on days with out much fresh snow because they handle the loose granular better, and do well in hardpacked off trail condition. Now here is the kicker, on those granular days if I am going to stay on groomers I would rather be on my Enforcer 93 because they feel the best on that stuff.

Again saying "east" is kind of silly. I skied 80+ days last year when I could find some sort of 3d snow to ski on. Many of those days the groomers were awful and I would never choose to ski there.

Like these days, the groomers were awful but the tree had just enough powder that a fat ski could float on it. You here that scarping? that was constant on smaller skis. We get many days like this, and I dont post or document all of them, in fact many supposed locals do not know how to follow wind.


We do not get deep snow that much but we have many days it skis bottomless if your on widers skis.

deep wind pack, a normal condition for stowe, again you will not sink in much but its awful to ski on narrow skis

or wetter heavier snow, BTW the clip at the end of this video at 1:10 how I am railing those turns on packed snow?!.1 I am on a 108mm full reverse ski? its impossible......



The thing is the skiing I like is messy, its generally does nt have clear cut lines, the snow varies from turn to turn, and there are rocks/stumps/sticks under the snow that you do not want to hit. I never see competent skiing being done on narrow skis here, and I know its pretty hard for me to do, so why would I recommend a Student ski somehting I know makes it harder.

I've never skied out East but those videos make me want to! I love that kind of skiing. If I was following Josh around in those conditions, I'd probably want my DPS 112rp's. They are super quick and the big rockered tips ride over the buried sharks. They are wide enough to float over most of the crispy base layer but will hold an edge if I hit it. If I was on my narrower skis I'd feel like being more cautious/paranoid. My 124 under foot Pescados would be good there too for similar reasons.
 

mdf

entering the Big Couloir
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Boston Suburbs
I think @Josh Matta has a great point that wide skis give you a better chance of staying off the crap under the new snow ( unplessant ic or dangerous underbrush). So I think the commonly seen "this ski is great up to 6" of snow, then switch to a wider one" is exactly backwards.
 

silverback

Getting on the lift
Skier
Posts
249
Location
Wasatch
I have been saying "wagons are the new cool" since the 90's...hasn't helped sales one bit. ;) At least ski manufacturers are still making narrower skis.
You and all the auto journalists. I'm okay ordering my narrow skis and my wagons. I hope Audi makes a go of the rs6 Avant experiment. It is their last shot at it. The tech the hot wagons need is the ability to raise the car with a switch for snow clearance.

Sorry for thread drift.
 

Josh Matta

Making fresh tracks
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3,974
I think @Josh Matta has a great point that wide skis give you a better chance of staying off the crap under the new snow ( unplessant ic or dangerous underbrush). So I think the commonly seen "this ski is great up to 6" of snow, then switch to a wider one" is exactly backwards.
the thing is any bit of softer snow I grab wider skis even like 2-3 inches of heavy. Because the underneath snow is awful and I do not want to touch it. Do you remember the gathering? 4-8 inch of dust with just little float on an awful crust, I think I was skiing my E100 over say my E93 or Brahmas because the wider ski was lessening the blow to the hardpack underneath.

Sometimes I am trying to avoid sticks/stump/rocks, some times I am just trying to avoid the shitty snow under the new snow. Again out west the hardpack underneath is normally that bad, and the snow in Colorado is generally lighter. Utah kind of ran the gambit and since they got so much more snow than anywhere I have skied you could almost always get float in utah and were never "bottom" feeding.
 

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