Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Skiing Vital Statistics (Day 24)

I'm narcissistic enough to use a hit counter on this blog, and I notice that lately I've been getting a ton of hits from searches on skiing topics. This blog is basically to give some context for my opinions on skiing equipment.

I'm a little below average size - 5'8" and 148 lbs. There are some larger skis out there that I have trouble decambering at the speeds I like to ski, which are pretty fast. For example, the 184 Mantra is a little much unless I'm charging much faster than I'm comfortable with, and very unwieldy for me on a traverse. However, I'm pretty aggressive. I think I'm about a level 8 if you're into that, but I'm the first to admit that "can ski moguls" is not the same as "can ski moguls with style," which isn't me yet. I'm not too comfortable with air, although I'll hit smaller rollers and drop off small verticals at the tops of things. So if you're reading my blogs concerning the Public Enemy, bear in mind that I wasn't using it as a freestyle ski. If the off-piste parts of a mountain aren't frozen solid, you'll find me there. Not that I don't like piste skiing. I just prefer the challenge of rocks, trees and chutes, and of course I'm all about powder when it's available.

On snowboarding topics - I started last year snowboarding only. I made the switch during the brief period in the '90s when snowboards were better than commonly available used ski equipment in terms of sidecut shapes and flex patterns. I was never comfortable in the air on the snowboard, and I never got as aggressive as I am now on skis. I liked to ride off-piste, but if the snow got too rutted out or moguled up, I'd switch to groomers. Because I mostly rode smoother conditions, I have a pretty stiff setup that lets me carve quite well but isn't the most forgiving. I ride a Salomon Seek 160, which is a relatively narrow board with an intermediate flex, and I have the front binding turned out a lot and the rear one set back 20mm and turned in slightly. This setup lets me sink the tail in powder without having to pull up on the front binding although it requires a smoother transition to avoid skidding on firmer surfaces.

Last year's equipment blogs reflect me as a much less skilled and much less aggressive skier. I was still thinking about rolling my ankles and tossing my hips around to control my weight and engage my edges, rather than pushing with my outside foot, as I do now. The topics this really effects are my opinions on the Bandit B2s and Elan M777s. I don't know if I'd like the 777s now - they're considered to be an extremely stiff ski - but I'm sure I'd have different things to say about them. The Bandits have become an extremely easy ski for me to ski in a variety of turn shapes, but I still don't think they're that great for soft snow, especially when it gets deep, and they do get very squirrelly in crud. I also dislike the lack of feedback I get from them, and I feel like I only get a rebound out of them if I flex them a lot, like in a very tight radius turn or in moguls.

Hopefully this gives a little more context for people who are unwise enough to use my opinions to aide in choosing a ski to spend money on.

No comments: