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Thoughts on forgiving ski's


Waternut
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Wanted to get opinions from people on forgiving ski's. Seems like everyone talks about the flagship ski's but the ski's one or two steps down don't get a lot of publicity.

 

Background on me... I'm on a 2013 D3 Quest and I ski 34mph and can usually get into 32off and occasionally can run pretty deep into 35off on a good day. However, on my bad days, I struggle with 28off and I feel like that's because I'm skiing lazy or scared and giving up my edge too early and just get further and further down course...so I quit skiing lazy and start to over-ski. Funny thing is, when I have those bad days where I struggle at 28off or even 22off, I can often run 32off on the first attempt like it was nothing. Go figure...

 

Anyway, my thoughts are centered around me being a generally inconsistent skier. I really like my D3 Quest but wondering if a less aggressive ski might actually be the ticket for me.

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@Waternut‌

The Quest is actually quite a forgiving ski among performance skis, but "forgiving" shouldn't be confused with "stable." If you go down most manufacturers' ski lineup, you'll get into more "stable" skis that are heavier, wider, and designed around easier deep water starts, low-effort big lake rec skiing, less nervousness while the ski is ridden flat, and other things that you are well beyond as a skier capable of running -32. Assuming your ski is set up properly, you probably just need to be in the right head space to ride it at the edge of your capabilities.

 

Mental state is a huge factor for an adult with a well formed sense of self-preservation. I speak from experience on this as a race car driver who dominated during my youth only to be run over by the next generation as I've aged, despite a vast disparity in experience.

 

Slalom skiing too, is a total head trip. I'm constantly amazed at what a fine line there is between skiing brilliantly one day then sucking the next, despite being on the same ski at the same lake behind the same boat and driver. Once we are fit and the ski is properly set up, 95% of this sport is mental, and the rest is in our heads.

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@waternut I agree with @skijay 100% on this one. For -32 and beyond you are on the level of ski you should be. Lower ski's won't help you. Sounds like you are just at a plateau you just need to work through. Everyone hits them at one point. -28 and longer is different than -32 and shorter. -28 and longer the line pulls down course off the ball. At -32 the line is starting to pull you in off the ball. It's different. -32 is one of the easiest passes because of that when skied correctly. Don't ski junk passes, make sure every pass has a purpose, work on your keys and it will come.
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@waternut I believe we learn (consciously and unconsciously) every pass. A junk pass is a pass skied with no purpose or goal. Say you go run 50 -22's, just go run them. You just grooved everything good and everything bad in them and didn't progress. Super easy passes are fine as long as you are trying to do something. Easy ones are often the best ones to try a radical change with. Until this year I only skied weekends, so I understand for you each pass is a precious and valuable thing. Write down beforehand what you want to do and write down afterword how it went. Review your log now and again. Currently for me it is up on the boat for the gate, sliding in for the gate and moving the ski out at the white water for every buoy.
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@Waternut Inconsistency can also be a symptom of a ski being too sensitive in tip-engagement for a given technique. You very likely have an accurately measured setup on your ski, but no one setup is ideal for everyone. When reviewing video of your skiing, is the water break usually under your front foot through most of the pre-turn, then does it move abruptly towards the tip as you turn at the ball on your off-side? Does the tip sometimes bite hard here and other times not enough?
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@skijay The most recent video I have wasn't very good but typically the water breaks under my arch during the pullout for the gates and maybe around my toes or just slightly ahead of my toes right before turning around the buoys. Since the last video I've added a few thousandths of depth to my fin to help calm down a bit of tip bite that has been going on for the last 5-6 sets. I do make slight tweaks to my fin or bindings and will say that over time, I'm finding what works best for me but I try not to be too quick and make sure it wasn't a bad day or week.
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I didn't want to get into setup here @jdk99‌ because the topic is about forgiving skis, but I guess all the forgiveness can be drained out of a ski if it's not set up properly, so I'll come at it from this angle. What I was digging at with @Waternut‌ was his pre-turn technique and an indication of tip over-sensitivity which is a common cause if inconsistency.

 

There are basically three main tip behaviors moving from the pre-turn through the cut:

  1. tip-high from early in the pre-turn through the finish after the ball,

  2. tip-high in the pre-turn followed by lots of tip-engagement at the ball to turn, and

  3. tip-low from early in the pre-turn through the finish after the ball.

 

You can find all three techniques at the top of the sport. All three work fine with stock numbers, but each works best with a tweaked fin setup. I suspect we're dealing with the second case here, both from what you've shared and because it's the most common technique throughout the greater skiing population.

 

Case #2 requires a very precise move to drop just the right amount of ski tip into the water at the ball. Too much tip will bite too hard. Not enough tip will make the ski turn like a bus, and just right will make you think your ski is working fine so all the inconsistency must be your fault--not very confidence inspiring.

 

The further forward the leading edge of your fin is on your ski, the easier it is to engage more tip. So to reduce tip-sensitivity for case #2, move the fin's leading edge back. This new fin placement will require more effort to engage tip, but it will also be harder to engage too much tip. It will also make the tip tend to ride higher everywhere else in the pass too, but it will cut back on the random tip-biting.

 

Techniques #1 and #3, on the other hand, can work really well with very sensitive tip-engagement settings. This is just one of the reasons it's folly to diagnose ski handling issues without video, so the following is a blindass guess @Waternut. I suspect you would have more success reducing tip-bite by moving back the front of the fin than by making it deeper. If you can tell the tail is sliding out too much in your video (the tail drifts out from underneath you at the finish of your off-side, followed by a wheelie before dropping back into the cut), move the whole fin back. If the tail is tracking through turns like it's on rails, shorten the fin maintaining the same DFT.

 

The best fix over the long term would be to work on technique that maintains a more consistent tip attitude throughout the pre-turn and the turn at the ball. I hope this helps =)

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@skijay I don't really know about tail drifting at the turn but I definitely have a bad habit of doing a wheelie real quick out of the turn right before dropping back in for the cut. My original plan was to move the whole fin back a few thousandths but after looking at all of the pros and cons of each, I decided that dropping the fin a little would likely fix some root causes rather than bandaid the pass ending problems. The verdict is still out on that one. I've only skied a couple sets on it so far. I feel happier with my skiing now but I still make stupid mistakes and the results could be a fluke.

 

I know I definitely have my technique issues I need to work out and after multiple work trips this summer, I'm just getting back into the groove. This is why I didn't want to post a video where technique issues were very evident even though the problems I'm experiencing are the same.

 

I appreciate everyone's insight and it sounds like I'm on a pretty good ski for me but have a few things both technique and setup related to work out. Ultimately, my thoughts about dropping back to a lower end ski to help out with consistency have been bunked.

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29.8, 0.749 (slot), 6.923, 2.510, 7° wing....this is coming from 2.505 depth where it was overturning pretty hard on both sides or doing a big wheelie. Looking back at my fin setting history, I did move the fin back earlier in the year by 0.005 and noted that the ski bounced/chattered on my offside turns.
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I too have problems with the Quest - I Ski very inconsistent on this ski - I usually ski very consistent (coming from an old D3 custom). I also feel that i need to "overski" the quest (pull harder longer etc.).

I tried the Helix and voila - back to normal :) - I can "feel" the ski again and feel small fin adjustments.

I believe that a ski is forgiving for some but not for others (if the skis "DNA" is not right).

Maybe a ski like the Helix is "less forgiving" in theory but if it is easier to correct a lazy turn or short pull - and you feel that the ski react as you want it to react - then (I believe) a very "loose unforgivable" ski - FEELS more forgiving(=predictable).

I just can't ski the Quest - I have tried (and vasted) the whole 2014 season. If the ski does not work good after 3 sessions - then don't by it.

 

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@sfriis‌ Since your old ski works well and you are a long term skier, this sounds like a setup issue. It certainly sounds frustrating! It may be awkward, but if you really want to get any meaningful feedback on setup, or technique for that matter, it's essential that you post some video.
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