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Martin Bartalsky talks about the GT-R


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A lot of brain power went into the development of Connelly’s new flagship ski, the GT-R. Among the masterminds involved, pro team skier Martin Bartalsky played a pivotal part in guiding the GT-R’s evolution. Check out what he has to say about it.

1. You were part of the testing process for the development of the GT-R. What were you hoping to achieve with the new ski?

I liked the GT a lot, but after some modifications, I found that I preferred more grip under my feet. With more grip, you are able to load the ski easier out of the turn and get to the other side quicker. Grip adds to the support and stability of the ski as well, which is important when you get in trouble and need to rely on the ski to be there for you. Grip is what we were hoping to achieve with the GT-R, and we got it.

2. How exactly where you involved in the overall development of the GT-R?

Doug got me involved during the early stages of the GT-R’s development. I rode a few different models and sent notes back and forth with Doug. He then ultimately decided which one would be the stock ski. I was in love with the finished product from the very beginning and knew it was going to be special after the very first set on it. 

3. What was changed from last year’s GT in order to make a ski for 2019 that is on a whole new level?

The GT-R is noticeably different out of the box. The tip and tail are thicker and the side edge angle has been changed. While it has many of the great characteristics of the GT, the added grip creates incredible room in the course. The GT-R is definitely an improved ride.

4. What are some things people should know about the different ways to setup their GT-R and how to maximize its efficiency for their style?

I recommend that the skiers try all stock setups to find out which one makes them feel more comfortable before fine-tuning. They should know immediately which one they prefer. 

The short and deep set up brings the tip out and drops the tail deeper in the water, making both turns very symmetric. The ski loads easily and holds a ton of angle through the wakes and gets side to side very easily. When you are in trouble this set up makes the ski pretty much bulletproof. The short and deep set up works great for me when I let the ski do its thing without pushing it too hard. 

With the long and shallow settings, the ski rides flatter on the water and is more engaged. It also does not sit as deep and as a result glides easier and carries more speed. However, the turns are not as effortless and thus the turning radius is larger. With long/shallow, you definitely put in more effort to grab the angle through the wakes in order to create the room in the course. I personally like to push the ski hard myself, so this combination works better for me.

5. What is your favorite aspect about the GT-R?

I love the grip under my feet. The GT-R is truly the best ski I have ever ridden. It lets you load early with a ton of angle through the wakes, which creates the speed and lots of room. The ski is incredibly stable and predictable. I love absolutely everything about the it. 

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@jcamp Doug Cannon is the guy at Connelly who handles all R&D for skis.

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Grip in this context, I believe, is referring to its ability to grab and hold angle ... the dichotomy here is that typically you wouldn't describe a ski that rides deep and grabs a lot of angle as fast -- but in the case of the GT-R you get the best of both worlds...both grippy angle but still get the speed out of the turn and into the wakes. I hope this makes sense and I'm not just reiterating the slogan lol
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Hey guys, I apologize for the delay. This real life thing has been keeping me busy. Let me try to explain the grip in a different way (hopefully will make more sense).

 

By "grip" I mean the traction and the "connection" between the ski and the water. Let's compare it to skiing on warmer or cold water. 90 degree water always creates more "connection", while the ski on the 50 degree water feels "loose". Too much or too little connection does not work, there has to be a balance. Let's compare to standing on the ice vs concrete. If you stand on the ice, you can slide around easily, but if you want to take off, you don't have the "grip". You can take off on the concrete a lot faster, but you can't slide around at all if needed. The ski needs some slide to be able to turn and finish the turn.

 

The grip translates into the connection with the water. If the ski is too loose (not enough grip), you can't find the connection out of the turn to be able to load the ski to create the angle and speed needed. Too much grip results in the ski being "stuck". Every ski needs a balance of grip and slide. Connection with the water also results in a very safe feeling and consistency.

 

Now let's make it simple again. The GT was great, but I thought the nose of the ski was slightly too connected vs the tail of the ski that was a bit "loose" (not enough connection). As mentioned earlier, when this balance is achieved, you can load the ski effortlessly right out of the buoy. You end up being in a strong position which allows you to create lots of angle which gets you to the other side a lot quicker. You end up being earlier with a tight line. The GTR is very well balanced. This is the only ski I have ever skied on that worked on 90 or 55 degree water without a change in set up. I personally felt the balance the very first set on the new ski. The GTR is pretty incredible and definitely worth a try.

 

Hopefully I did not confuse you guys more. If I did, please ask more questions and I will do my best to answer.

 

Martin

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@Martin thanks for all this detailed description about how the new GT-R feels. I especially appreciate how you describe the difference in feel between long and shallow versus short and deep. I was wondering if you could provide numbers for these setups. I’m specifically interested in numbers for the 67 inch. Thanks in advance!
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@kc i would start with the numbers posted. I personally like the fin a bit further forward on the GT and GTR. I personally liked the ski short/deep at 6.86 2.495 0.76 the most. I ride the ski on the long/shallow side of the spectrum with some minor tweaks. My depth is 2.462.

 

@Deanoski yes, the depth ads grip but when you take the length out you are not adding any fin area. It's really a personal preference. The ski has more grip even with 2.456 depth.

 

@ALPJr this is the most consistent ski I have ridden for sure skiing on waters 50-90 degrees. I used to live in Louisiana and always struggled with cold waters. I have lived in Utah for the past three years, and this is the first ski that I don't touch the fin when the water drops in the fall or spring. Feels very balanced and I don't feel like there is a need for changing the fin.

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@scotchipman Seriously?

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@scotchipman on the GT/GTR I found it to be about 0.15 difference and when I talk DTF I always use flat numbers. I'm not sure if there is a real conversion. Ddt I mentioned 0.76 was 0.775 with my slot. The official numbers are with flat so I always convert not to confuse anyone.
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@scotchipman i was referring to ski companies posted numbers. I know lots of pros use the slot for a reference and I use it too but like @Martin stated, there really is no conversion that can translate. If you move the dft the same conversion doesn’t really translate even on the same ski. Great reference tool though to see how far you actually move consistently.
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I had the honor to ski with the GOAT once. Part way through my set, he made a DFT adjustment. I saw how he stood the ski up, tail up, fin facing him. Then, measured DFT with firm thumb pressure against the caliper, just above the fin.

Since then, I find measuring DFT like this gives me pretty consistent readings. No slot caliper.

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