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FIS limits on GS skis


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Anyone check out the turning radius of the new FIS-compliant race skis? Semis can turn tighter. A friend's prediction for 2009: FIS changes it's name to Fédération Internationale de Skid.

Giant Slalom


27 metres

185 cms – 5 cms tolerance

Giant Slalom


23 metres

180 cms – 5 cms tolerance

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ski GS is fairly wide open and mind you the radius on a ski does not translate perfectly to a board. generally for the average skier to get the same turn out of a ski as a snowboard you the radius on the ski will be bigger.

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The racers used to carve those GS skis just fine when they were 40m radius 20 years ago.

It was a totaly different technique. Only last 1/2 of the turn was carved, by that stage your line was already set to what these long radiuses could carve. Typical GS transition used to begin with a skating step combined with up-unweighing, followed by a short skid and then carved from there.

Slalom was another story, where a lot of nose loading had to be done for the ski to bend into a way smaller arc.

generally for the average skier to get the same turn out of a ski as a snowboard you the radius on the ski will be bigger.

Well, more I carve skis and board (and I often switch during the same day), more I tend to think that this is not correct. At least if one only and purely carved, which means riding the arc that side cut takes at given inclination, transitioning from edge to edge directly, without any advanced (or old time) moves in between.

The illusion of tighter turning skis comes from 2 factors:

With advanced skiers and racer - it is easier to preload the nose of the ski thus bending it in a super tight radius.

With average skiers - every turn begins with a skid, thus changing the line towards the direction of next turn. I still have to see a propper full carve performed by a recreational skier. Even myself, comming form ski racing background (only university league many years ago, though) have realised the real meaning of carved turn only after I started carving the alpine board.


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I gotta say I know a couple recreational skiers that as far as I'm concerned carve awesome. Well, one is in a highschool ski team, so he's not totally recreational, but he carves well, then once my brother booted out because he got so low. I'm not saying low is the only requirement, but they both lay down some nice lines.

The problem with comparing skis and boards I would say lies within two facts. First of all, the widths... Depending on the boards of course, a board is more than twice as wide as a ski. Just that one difference in dimensions is going to change decamberability HUGE. I could go through some calculations and figure out the extent of this difference between exact same layups except with different widths, but I've already gone way too far with this explanation and it's time to move on.

Second of all, a board on edge is using 1 edge. A skier on edge is using 2 edges. That's something that would take alot of calculations and I wouldn't know where to start.

Overall I'd say that a board and a ski could be built to react similar, but the build would be totally different.

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Carving double-footed on skis is a skill I never mastered. I'm on the outside edge, the inside ski is just along for the ride.

Two time US Olympian Doug Lewis has hammered this thought into my head on at least three different occasions. "100% of the weight on the downhill ski!" Distributing your weight is great if you're at the level of Ted Ligety, etc. but recreational ski racers at my level are best served by getting the weight where it will do the most good.

I tried an entire season of inclined turns emulating the big boys and I lost to people I usually beat. The next year I reverted styles and the results were pretty good.

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