Shaped Skis
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Roger Z
December 17, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Well, after skiing on straight edge skis for 28 years, on Wednesday I took my first turns on curved skis- my new Volkl 5 Stars.

Let's start with the cons: they're not as fast.

And with that, let's go to the pros: wow. What a difference in terms of performance! I'm not ready to say that they're better so much that they're just completely different. The first thing I noticed shimmying around the beginner runs was that all you have to do is stand on one of the skis and you automatically start turning. In the flats or when you want to speed, all you have to do is transfer your weight from ski to ski to make broad, arcing GS skis.

I found my 168s to be stable enough at faster speeds for my preferences, so no complaints about the skis chattering. They're probably more stable than the 7S Rossis I just came off of- and don't chatter as much in the chunky ice that we hit in a place or two.

The next thing I found was how the entire edge under your boots grip in on a tight turn. It causes a nice spring back and man does it set the edge. The amount of sliding going into a curve has probably been reduced 50% or more: as you as you put the weight down, 168 cm of edge sets into the snow and you're making a perfectly arced turn across the hill.

The third thing I discovered- toward the end of the day- is how to hit the sweet spot. Man, is that spot different on a shaped ski! Instead of the vertical spring back, I found that when you come over the edge pretty high (you really have to get more angle on these skis to hit the sweet spot), the entire edge grips the snow and you "spring" forward through the turn. That was absolutely incredible- I LOVE the way these skis feel when you're powering along with them. The spring feels much more natural with the turn, and reduces the amount of vertical you need to spring back with in order to initiate the next turn.

I'm heading up to Wisp on Monday and Tuesday and am hoping to push them in steeper terrain and perhaps some moguls. I'm looking forward to seeing how they react on some more variable terrain- certainly Devil's Drop will provice some good action if nothing else does.

Can't wait to go out to Park City in March. I feel very confident and in control in these skis and am looking forward to chomping up some chute skiing and- hopefully- some powder fields with 'em. I think I'll be skiing better than ever before by the end of the trip, thanks to these skis.
Crush
December 17, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,000 posts
Rodger Z - only one word ... "yup!" Be careful in bumps tho ... in pow more than 6" deep take lots of Ibuprofen beforehand lol.
snowcone
December 17, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002 🔗
589 posts
Crush ... took my new Attiva 5 stars out today for the first time and about all I can say is WOW! I swear those skis are black magic. Remember my kvetching about 'Z' sking? .. well these babies just haul you across that fall line like gangbusters. I found that I couldn't Z ski on them, they just wont let you ... and they are fast! I'm not comfortable on short radius turns with them yet but I found myself doing my normal runs in big GS turns and much faster than ever before. I'm really stoked about these skis! As soon as we came in for lunch I called Ski Center to hold a pair for my kid ... she is a real hot rodder and is going to have a ball.

I am really looking forward to SLC next month .. can't wait to let loose on some of the super corduroy at DV and Snowbasin.

Roger Z ... enjoy your 5 stars. There are fast but maybe not in the way you are used to skiing. You can slingshot those skis for amazing acceleration.
Crush
December 17, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,000 posts
Snow - AWESOME! I knew you'd dial in on 'em! Yeah they make perrrrfect C-shaped turns if you let 'em ! 4 short radius I find they need a steady pilot ... just pull both feet back hard under you and flip your knees/hips side-to-side and they will snake around. Hey we'll lay railroad tracks all over DV!!!!

See ya in a month or so!
SkiBumMSP
December 19, 2005
Member since 12/8/2004 🔗
224 posts
Quote:

Well, after skiing on straight edge skis for 28 years, on Wednesday I took my first turns on curved skis- my new Volkl 5 Stars.

Let's start with the cons: they're not as fast.





This will be my second season on mine! I absolutely love these skis! As for as fast as they can get - my 182s get plenty fast enough for my needs!

One thing that I really liked was just how well they cut through the crud that we typically have around here, especially in the spring.

You'll have no problem laying down some nice turns with these.
JohnL
December 20, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
Roger Z,

Welcome to the Dark Side! What took you so long?

Quote:

Can't wait to go out to Park City in March. I feel very confident and in control in these skis and am looking forward to chomping up some chute skiing and- hopefully- some powder fields with 'em. I think I'll be skiing better than ever before by the end of the trip, thanks to these skis.






As great as your 5 Stars are, you'll find that mid-fats (or better yet 90+ in the waist) will enable you to push the ripping envelope off-piste in the West. But that's why you're going to school, to pay for your future new toys.

As you've noticed, you need a lot less up-down and fore-aft motion in your skiing on shaped skis. You stay a lot more centered on your skis (but not static.) Use too much old school technique and you can over-turn your skis (or just have wasted motion.)

You can also use your inside leg more during turns since the "shape" of the skis allows greater carving without having to put all your weight on the downhill ski.

Only thing I'm not sure I agree with is the sweet spot being at a higher edge angle. If anything, shaped skis have a much larger sweet spot. You can reach higher edge angles with them (unless you boot out), but you can carve on them at lower edge angles. This carving at lower edge angles is one reason why shaped skis make turning easier for intermediates.
KevR
December 20, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
I was taught in the "old" days to initiate turns with a stem-chrisie. in the new days, i was taught to lead the turn with what becomes the inside ski through the turn... thus two skis are fully utilized through the turn in the new world order of shaped skis...
I don't think i really learned how to ski well until shapers came out, and of course i'm hardly an expert now by any stretch...
Still, I can't imagine the old ways really ... it almost hurts to think about it.

skier219
December 27, 2005
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Here's one more "con" to warn you about -- shaped skis have a much greater tendency to hook up and turn at low speeds when you're not paying attention. This will be most obvious in spring snow, but can happen anytime. Basically, if you're skiing relaxed on the flats of the skis, they will react to irregularities in the snow about ten times more than straight skis. It usually hapopens when you're cruising a connector trail adjusting your hat or zippers and not paying attention, suddenly you'll do a hard turn and crash.

Every shape ski I have tried has exhibited this behavior at one time or another, and I have heard other people relate this as well! Fortunately, the fix is simple -- always keep the edges lightly engaged (which may mean skiing in a very slight snow plow instead of on the flats).

Craig
Roy
December 30, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
Quote:

Fortunately, the fix is simple -- always keep the edges lightly engaged (which may mean skiing in a very slight snow plow instead of on the flats).





I'd have to disagree skier. I ski on a pair of K2 Axis X and have learned that you don't always have the edge engaged. On spring corn you are better off skiing on the flats. You can't get a clean edge as the corn (especially as it begins to move into death cookies) is moving with you.

You need to learn edging and flats and adjust your skiing to the condition of the snow.
Shadow
December 30, 2005
Member since 01/22/2005 🔗
22 posts
Roger Z, I have a set of first generation 5 Stars and I found a marked improvement in my skiing. You're correct. They are awesome! In fact I've reserved a replacement set at Ski Center! I found that they hold great on ice and are wonderful on groomed runs. I've had them in shalow powder and they are okay but they're not nearly as good as midfats. Have a blast!
skier219
December 31, 2005
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Quote:

Quote:

Fortunately, the fix is simple -- always keep the edges lightly engaged (which may mean skiing in a very slight snow plow instead of on the flats).





I'd have to disagree skier. I ski on a pair of K2 Axis X and have learned that you don't always have the edge engaged. On spring corn you are better off skiing on the flats. You can't get a clean edge as the corn (especially as it begins to move into death cookies) is moving with you.

You need to learn edging and flats and adjust your skiing to the condition of the snow.





I have a pair of Axis X as well, and it's certainly not as bad as some shaped skis in terms of hooking/darting in crud. But the Axis doesn't have a super agressive sidecut and is generally a very forgiving ski. My other skis are Fischer RX-8 and they need to always have an edge engaged in crud. Same for Volkl 6-stars I skied on several times. I guess I should clarify my comments to pertain to narrow-waisted carving skis.

ALso, I would not say corn snow is a problem -- it's crud and wet snow/slush where I notice the issue.

The latest generation of mid-fats (Head Monster iM77, Elan M666, Dynastar 8000, etc...) are supposed to be quite good in crud. I am hoping to demo a pair (with suitable snow) soon.
Roy
January 1, 2006
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
I agree that the Axis X is a very forgiving ski. If you can ever ski the Axis XT (not sure if the Apache has an equivalent), it is phenominal in the slush and crud. The tip is much bigger than the X and just scoops all the slush out of the way.
JohnL
January 1, 2006
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
Quote:

which may mean skiing in a very slight snow plow instead of on the flats




How do you ski in a very slight snow plow in crud snow?

I've never met a shaped ski that wasn't infinitely better and more stable in crud snow (even when unedged) than any straight ski I've skied in my life. The extra width makes a huge difference in crud. I'm not getting your point, but maybe we have different skiing styles.

Vokl 6-Stars require true expert-level skills to be skied well in crud. They are demanding skis, and problems with technique that don't show up on groomed runs will show up off-piste. They don't have much margin for error. Supposedly, the RX-8's are great in crud. The RX-9's are a different story... Did you ski the 6-Stars or RX-8's in too long a length? The days of 200cm lengths, or even 180cm lengths for most skis and skiers are long past.

I have noticed that many shaped skis (primarily short skier cross skis) get a bit "squirrely" underfoot compared to straight skis when skiing traverses at high speed. But I've never noticed any hooking.
skier219
January 1, 2006
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Originally, I was saying that you'd want slight edge pressure in cases where you'd normally ski on your flats (such as at the bottom of a run, on a catwalk, etc). Those are situations where shaped skis will react to irregularities because of the larger shovel (and this is even worse on narrow waisted skis). With some edge pressure, I agree with you that shaped skis are geenrally better than straight skis.

RX-8 and 6-star are very similar, and I have noticed both skis are a bit darty in crud unless you make deliberate gorilla turns (where the outside ski "plows" a path for both skis). I'm on 180cm in the RX-8, but I am 6-1 and 225 lbs. Generally, I have to get the largest size in any ski. I'm looking at 180-186cm midfats.

While the RX-8 has a very wide tip (115mm) it's the narrow 66mm waist that really dooms it in softer snow. The tips and tails hook up nicely, but that waist sinks like a stone.

Craig
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