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2017 HO VTX Safety???


jakecuz23
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Hello, long time skier and reader, first time poster.

I am looking at upgrading from a 2014 Syndicate A3 to a 2017 VTX. I have heard great things about the ski's preformance, but I am unsure of the ski's durability. A close friend of mine had a failure on his 2017 GT and shattered both of his ankles. I am afraid of that happening with the binding spines of the VTX. Is the VTX a safe ski? Are they any reports of them failing? Why did HO stop making that design in the pro and alpha? I know @Horton has some experience with this ski and would be thrilled for his input.

 

Thanks!!!

Go green!

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VTX is a great ski. Just like every new ski we build, we try to make it compliment the ski we are carrying over so we have two different feeling skis in the product line. In the case of VTX, we needed a compliment to the VTR, which was a high-riding/shallower concave design. VTX had a deeper concave/wider tail to shut down sooner at the buoy. As far as the top contours go, VTX has a pretty radical look, but we didn't have any increase in breakage with this ski. As @UWSkier alluded, all skis have the potential to break.

 

Athlete feedback was the primary driver for moving back to more flat top designs.

Sam Avaiusini - HO Sports Company - Director of Inside Sales and Business Operations

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As a person that is fortunate to talk to a lot of skiers each year, I rarely hear of a ski break (unrelated to air travel, that is), much less fail catastrophicly. I’m sure that it can happen, but I’m also pretty sure that you are far more likely to be injured due to a binding failure/malfunction/improper use/improper adjustment than a ski failure. And to be specific, I have not heard of any issues with any 2017 HO, Connelly, Radar or Mapple.

 

Lpskier

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I have never broken a ski. Maybe 10 years ago it happened more but I do not think is is a common issue any more.

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About Horton

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I've only snapped one slalom ski - no injury. Broken several others but none of these caused a high energy fall. This from one who thinks that if the ski I'm building doesn't break, I remove material until it does break (I always overbuild between the feet so I hopefully will never break there). I have built some very weird feeling skis. I have snapped a few trick skis. Never have I felt that a ski issue was particularly unsafe. For me, even high energy falls are usually reasonably safe. If you are unlucky or inattentive, you have a better chance of injury.

 

A broken ski is not a guarantee of serious injury.

 

And factory skis rarely break. Ever.

 

Eric

 

P.S. I loved my old VTX - my last factory ski. It inspired my design focus. @savaiusini probably wishes I hadn't said that...

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My experience is somewhat different, I have had four skis break. The last one in 2017, snapped in half at 3@38 luckily I was not hurt. A member of my ski club broke two last year, and a ski partner (5 years ago) broken three in a year, one during 1st week of use. Some mfg apear to have more issues than others but almost all brands seem to experience occasional failures.
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VTX is out there for over three years now, never heard of any issues or failures, in fact I’ve never seen any broken HO ski in over 20 years that I ski. I ski a brand that focuses more on performance than durability and over the years (not lately) I have seen some skis breaking but personally never broke one.

Focus on the performance aspects of the ski, by the way I have seen a thread here few years ago of a broken ski, don’t know exactly the circumstances maybe it was improper use but it was a A3 and I liked the A3 :)

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John, The two that a skier at our lake broke this year were not of the same brand of the ski I use. In general I believe there are fewer skis breaking now than 10 years ago, but this is anecdotal at best. Personally I have broken EPs, KD, Goode and HO skis, maybe I should go back to D3, haven't broken one of their skis, yet.

 

How a company supports the skier, if and when a ski breaks should be a significant factor of what ski to buy.

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Leave your black ski in the sun at my lake in the summer and it will delaminate. Picking it up will burn your hands. Abuse can cause any brand to break. Inspect your ski frequently.

 

Note that even if the ski doesn't fail, the resin can get soft enough to move and change things. Your wonderful ski isn't so good anymore with some flattening and warping.

 

Prevent your ski breakdown with primer white!

 

Eric

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@BraceMaker This is exactly what we do at here at HO. We have a process where every new shape/layup get's tested for break strength and deflection. Obviously we take broken skis very seriously and always try to learn from them. When you consider the number of skis we put into the market, it really doesn't happen often at all, but as a skier it can be pretty alarming.

 

Generally, it's a no questions asked policy here...

Sam Avaiusini - HO Sports Company - Director of Inside Sales and Business Operations

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@savaiusini so I figured some degree of finite analysis and destructive testing... but more so it's a question if there is a non destructive way to bring a ski to a deflection beyond the physically possible for a skier to do, but not destructive and to perform that a few times a season.

 

The example being if you weld yourself a boom hoist for your shop you can call it 4k pound safe by hoisting say 6k lbs. Very unlikely to fail at 4k if it made 6. But then again you might want to check it periodically to make sure...

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1) What is a realistic load on a ski? "4k pound" is way over any load I've put on a ski. Slalom lines rated at ~700 pounds break - after they are sun damaged.

 

2) What is a realistic load test? While water might be incompressible, it's quite pliant in the real world ski loading. Putting a ski on blocks and pushing down in the middle is not a good simulation for the real world. Slapping a ski on the water (or ground) might be realistic for jumpers or tricks but not slalom (as well as being a bit difficult to quantify).

 

3) What is the failure mode? Overload? Impact? Shock? Degradation? Abuse? Overheating? And most common for me, binding pullout.

 

Lighter skis perform better (at some things - like those that matter in top buoy count) so careful load engineering is critical. Just throwing extra material at a ski in an abundance of caution will make a mediocre ski. Analyzing failures is critical - both to avoid the failures and make a better product. I'm not sure FEA can adequately simulate what goes on in a ski. Got to do a little building and breaking. There's still a lot of art and feel to make a performance ski.

 

To be sure, testing with imperfect tests will indicate defects in workmanship and materials before a new ski gets out. Tests might also catch hidden damage on an old ski.

 

Realistically, factories do a great job of designing skis, specifying the right materials, building them properly and maintaining quality standards. Keep your ski out of the sun and inspect it frequently and you should be fine.

 

Don't worry, I don't sell my skis.

 

Eric

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@eleeski I have no quantitative figures. 15' 32 mph 260 lb vs cp over turning @1 ball who knows? Maybe take skis that work well and failure test them?

 

@AdamCord probably has the best modeling of when failure does/doesnt occur.

 

 

I'd just expect there to be some idea other than a guy feel, this is from my perspective where generally we arent engineering we are overbuilding. But for a non custom product one could get a design parameter that took weight, speed, line length into consideration and says go no go.

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Fatigue failure i think is the more likely culprit if you rule out defective materials or construction- which the static load test above would catch.

 

The ski experiences significant flexing as you hit the wakes, so this type of cyclic loading over years will weaken the structure. Both metals and composite materials are subject to this.

 

Watch a video in slow motion and you will be surprised by how much the ski flexes as you hit the wakes.

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@Jmoski Composites fail in millions of cycles due to fatigue. Slalom skis don't see millions of cycles. Testing of old skis doesn't show softening. Old skis aren't usually retired due to breaking.

 

Sun damage, both from the heat and UV weakens skis. At least at my extreme heat lake.

 

@BraceMaker Take a ski that broke and stress test a similar ski to get a baseline. My personal test for my new skis is to block them and gently stand in the middle.

 

Eric

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@eleski - good points, especially regarding UV rays & heat doing damage to the ski. I personally have never seen a ski break, but there maybe more cycles flexing the ski than we realize, problem is I doubt it’s ever been measured.

 

A good example I have seen though was the 3D printed heel cups on some hard shell binding plates, they simply didn’t hold up over time. I had one catastrophically fail after a single season of use, no UV or salt exposure.

 

It would be interesting to rig a ski with a set of transducers to measure the stress, strain and amount of deflection a ski experiences on a single pass.

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