ski otter 2

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This year demoing at SIA it was a real revelation to me how good and fun some - most - of the non-FIS spec GS-like skis were, 175 to 185, r 17 to r 23. Heads, Völkls, Blizzards, Atomics, Rossis, Stöcklis, Dynastars, Fischers. I'll bet the Nordicas would have been great too if I'd had a chance at them.

@ScotsSkier , if you ever get the chance to pass on some of these, put me down as on your list, ready and willing!
 

oldschoolskier

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Bear in mind that there is often some misuse of the term cheater with GS skis. The “ cheater” GS is normally an 18-19 m radius and typically not the same quality/mix of construction as the real FIS GS ski. Recently however some people have also been using cheater to describe the ~25m masters, or “ tweener” GS skis ( for U16s) which have a much closer relationship to the real FIS ski (and are sometimes described as “FIS” skis). These are proper race skis, unlike the cheater 19m skis

While we are on this topic, watch this space for upcoming reports on some exciting new race skis......:popcorn: coming in......:rolleyes:
I think the Masters ski of today was referred to a cheater ski several years ago, and the cheater ski of today really is an ok advanced generic ski several years ago. I think of it as relabeling of terms.

As to what’s what I’ll go with your evaluations as the gospel any day.

May England live forever and Scotland a wee bit longer! ogwink:beercheer:
 

pile

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My wife is looking at some FIS slalom skis to freeski in the east (not running gates).

I see that the Head iSL RD had both a 156 and 158 cm length (as do the current year Head E-SL RD).
Is there much difference between the 156 vs the 158?
 

James

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My wife is looking at some FIS slalom skis to freeski in the east (not running gates).

I see that the Head iSL RD had both a 156 and 158 cm length (as do the current year Head E-SL RD).
Is there much difference between the 156 vs the 158?
The “shorter” versions are for lighter juniors and the longer for women. So, depends on weight and aggressiveness. Plenty of men skiing the longer versions. They’re probably the same length, never checked. Depending on brand they’re- 155/57, 156/58
 

Dakine

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I demoed some FIS slaloms but ended up on the RC4 SCs as a fun ski for crowded days or skiing with my spouse.
The FIS versions, as advertised, take too much concentration to ski for a full day.
They give up a bit in an icy slalom course but not much.
Left out of this review is the effect of tune on these skis.
A 0/4 tune is a whole lot different in feel than a 1/3 and SL skis really bring that out.
0.5/3 works for me since I don't much care for real ice due to the vibration on my old body.
 

pile

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The “shorter” versions are for lighter juniors and the longer for women. So, depends on weight and aggressiveness. Plenty of men skiing the longer versions. They’re probably the same length, never checked. Depending on brand they’re- 155/57, 156/58
Thanks James. Makes sense, I had seen some good discounts for the 156s but didn't realize they were a juniors ski (I thought the junior skis had "Team" in their name for Head). I assume the difference is primarily in the stiffness of the ski?

I demoed some FIS slaloms but ended up on the RC4 SCs as a fun ski for crowded days or skiing with my spouse.
The FIS versions, as advertised, take too much concentration to ski for a full day.
They give up a bit in an icy slalom course but not much.
Left out of this review is the effect of tune on these skis.
A 0/4 tune is a whole lot different in feel than a 1/3 and SL skis really bring that out.
0.5/3 works for me since I don't much care for real ice due to the vibration on my old body.
Totally agree about the tune playing a role, we both have ~80mm skis for most days (tuned at 1/3). I got a pair of 165 FIS SL (0.5/3 or 0.75/3, I forget) last year and really enjoyed them on the firm days here despite the extra attention needed with them.
 
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James

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but didn't realize they were a juniors ski (I thought the junior skis had "Team" in their name for Head).
Not sure I’d call them “junior”. I know I did, but they’re not the kids skis. I think they’re called “tweener”.
They’re generally for U16’s or heavy/agressive U14’s.
Junior labeled slaloms go from roughly 130cm to 150-152cm, “kids” skis. They’re often cap skis these days.

It appears a 155cm Stöckli Fis Sl is an adult ski, so it doesn’t follow that size trend.

Atomic 155cm “tweener”
————-
The 2021 Atomic Redster S9 FIS Tweener SL Race Ski is a new and highly anticipated offering from Atomic for next season. Featuring the same construction and race plate as the 157cm and 165cm Atomic slalom skis, this 155cm ski is designed specifically for developing racers who have outgrown the junior ski but are not yet ready for the full-blown FIS ski. This Tweener version is much softer in the tip, allowing for easier turn engagement. It is perfect for U14, U16 or high school racers, or that developing racer who is transitioning off a junior ski.
——————————
 
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pile

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Thanks again James, very helpful. Some of the ski companies seem a little bit cryptic with their product descriptions.

Interestingly enough on the website that you linked, they have the Head "tweener" ski as well (https://www.peakskishop.com/Head-Worldcup-Rebels-e-SL-Tweener-SL-Race-Skis-2021_p_7051.html) , which is a 151 length. Meanwhile, the "Mens/Womens" ski (https://www.peakskishop.com/Head-Worldcup-Rebels-e-SL-FIS-Skis-2021-MensWomens-FIS_p_7049.html) has both the 156 and 158 (as well as the 165).
 

Swede

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It is a bit confusing re lengths as only a couple of years ago, 155 was the womens FIS. Stöckli perhaps held onto that standard (not really familiar with their products).
Junior SL is not cap skis. They are race constructions with sandwich/sidewall and often metal layers, just like the big ones but naturally in shorter lengths (130-150ish cm) and with softer flex. They have more in common with the adult FIS skis construction-wise than the ”cheaters”. They are built to be raced in courses, which the ”cheaters” really are not. Be careful with that. They don’t hold up and it is easy to wreck your new ski. Enjoy them outside the course.
 
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ScotsSkier

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To @pile. The 156 Head is NOT a junior ski. In fact it is only in the last couple of years that Head introduced the 158. And in fact unless it has just changed, Blizzard do not ecen list a 158, just the 156 and 165. And I know several strong masters skiing the 156 Blizzard and also some who were skiing the 156 Head. You don’t tell us your wife’s height/ weight but unless she is 150+ plus and has thighs like a female WC racer, the 156 FIS Head will be plenty ski
 

Dakine

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What most folks don't understand is just how different professional athletes are from regular folks.
I don't know any WC level skiers but I do know some pro windsurfers like Matt Pritchard and one pro football player.
They operate at a level of fitness, focus and ability that you have to see in person to believe.
 

pile

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Thanks everyone for the helpful replies!

To @pile. The 156 Head is NOT a junior ski. In fact it is only in the last couple of years that Head introduced the 158. And in fact unless it has just changed, Blizzard do not ecen list a 158, just the 156 and 165. And I know several strong masters skiing the 156 Blizzard and also some who were skiing the 156 Head. You don’t tell us your wife’s height/ weight but unless she is 150+ plus and has thighs like a female WC racer, the 156 FIS Head will be plenty ski
I did leave the height/weight out before, but I understand the importance. She is a strong and aggressive skier but obviously there is a big gap to WC racers. Sounds like the 156 FIS are a good fit. Thanks again!
 

groomer

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So I’m coming from a different ability level from you folks - an advancing intermediate. Never raced and starting Masters race training classes next season (4 days/week). I have no expectation of being competitive. I just want to run gates for the challenge. After next season I’ll just follow the advice of my coach, but I have one question before that. I don’t have any race skis. I have Redster X9 WB 160s (13m radius, 75mm underfoot) for short radius carving. I’m hopeful that I can get by with those for my first season, but I don’t want to get a little talk and a $1200 surprise in December. So if you guys think I’m going to need something more from day 1 please let me know so I can try to find something affordable between seasons. Remember, I’m not an advanced skier and I’ll be focusing more on getting a clean run than a fast one. If I do need something, any recommendations? 5’10” 195#, athletic senior.
 

Dakine

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Talk to your coach but remember that used racing skis are very cheap.
If you are going to run NASTAR you can get by but the problem with such short skis for a big guy is it is really hard to recover longitudinal balance.
Real men's SL skis are limited to a minimum of 165 to help keep folks from getting hurt by falling backwards and twisting a knee.
Once you get sick of getting beat by a good 12 yo you will evolve to dedicated race skis because every 0.01 second counts.
 

groomer

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@Dakine Thank you for the response. I’m reading it as a lack of enthusiasm for my plan. I took note of your length concerns too - thanks for the warning. But if I follow OP’s advice and go direct to a FIS ski I doubt I have the skills to cope. I suspect I’m getting ahead of myself and should develop my skiing more before I dive into slalom. Sad though as it’s the one thing that really animates me. I’m more confident about beer league GS, so I might focus my attention there until I am more skilled. I appreciate the forum - you guys offer lots of knowledge and experience.
 
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ScotsSkier

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So I’m coming from a different ability level from you folks - an advancing intermediate. Never raced and starting Masters race training classes next season (4 days/week). I have no expectation of being competitive. I just want to run gates for the challenge. After next season I’ll just follow the advice of my coach, but I have one question before that. I don’t have any race skis. I have Redster X9 WB 160s (13m radius, 75mm underfoot) for short radius carving. I’m hopeful that I can get by with those for my first season, but I don’t want to get a little talk and a $1200 surprise in December. So if you guys think I’m going to need something more from day 1 please let me know so I can try to find something affordable between seasons. Remember, I’m not an advanced skier and I’ll be focusing more on getting a clean run than a fast one. If I do need something, any recommendations? 5’10” 195#, athletic senior.
You can use a wrench to pound a nail BUT it is inefficient, greatly increases the chance of bending the nail and usually leaves damage on the surface. so why would you do that when you can use a hammer ( or a nail gun)..?

let me give some advice with my coaches hat on. you are investing in coaching and want to learn to ski slalom. get a proper (FIS) slalom ski. Period!
all you are doing on a non slalom ski like the WB redster you suggest is trying to ski round the gates. You are learning nothing about technique that will transfer to the following season. Slalom is basically skiing through the gates which requires a responsive and quick edge to edge ski - aka a slalom ski. Do you need the latest and greatest at this stage? No , a decent used one will be fine. This is not just simply about getting faster, it is about leaning how to ski slalom properly so you can get faster rather than having to start leaning again the following season. And yes a 165 would be the recommendation at your size.

so, just do it. After all you wouldn’t try to run a 100m sprint in ski boots would you?

ETA. You also mentioned beer league and GS but it was not clear if you also planned to use the 160 redster for that also. While it is slightly more feasible than for slalom, I would very strongly recommend something longer and larger radius for your own safety. When a short small radius ski hooks up unexpectedly at speed there can be soem not so good consequences...
 
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groomer

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No, I don’t use the Redsters for GS. I use 180s.

I understand what you're telling me wrt doing it right or not doing it at all, and I'll follow your advice. But I'm coming to the realization that I might not be up to it yet in terms of general skiing ability, so I might have to defer my goals another season. I'm glad I came here first.

I suspect FIS skis would be too much ski for me. I've skied some Fischer WC SC 165s and they were no joke for me - it was all concentration all the time, and that was free skiing without the challenge of gates. It could only get worse on real slalom skis. I suspect a fall on a steep run would be more likely than not with my current ability, so I probably wouldn't be getting the most out of the training.

I'll get there as soon as I can though. To my eyes, slalom is what real skiing looks like.
 

James

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I suspect FIS skis would be too much ski for me. I've skied some Fischer WC SC 165s and they were no joke for me - it was all concentration all the time, and that was free skiing without the challenge of gates. It could only get worse on real slalom skis.
What were those tuned at? They could also just have been improperly setup making them very difficult to ski. Base too concave, railed, hanging burr, etc. Could you slide sideways with them on firm snow?

No, they wouldn’t be “too much”.
The idea of doing sl gates on a 75mm ski is a bad one if you’re going to go so far as commit to a season and coaching.

70mm for GS is bad enough but ok-ish.
You should be able to get a used sl set up for like $350.
 
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