Slalom carving skis for a carving learner

Grizz111

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Hi,

I'm looking for proper carving skis with regards to my skill level.

I basically started skiing when I was 9 or 10 (I'm 30 now), and was skiing every year for 7-10 days in the alps. I stopped skiing some 8-9 years ago. I was able to get on the blue and reds without any problems, black runs were a little more challenging, but I was able to get down them.
The issue is that I never learned proper carving technique. I'm able to get down really fast without crashing or making mistakes, but the techinque had almost nothing to do with carving. I'm not sure what that old skiing technique is called, but it it basically more like slashing and skidding than carving.

Last year I went skiing for 2 days after a long pause with intent to try to get a feel for a carving. I rented some pair of all mountain elan amphibio skis and started rolling them on the edges, but I wasn't managing to create secure feeling and trust in the skis. However once I started to speed up a bit I managed to recreate that feeling that people describe where you basically have to almost start falling and the skis will catch you.
It was definitely a bit of revelation and in those 2 days it definitely clicked with me a bit.

3 weeks ago I went skiing again, but this time I decided to try two different pure slalom skis: Fischer race SC 160cm from 2006, and after that Fischer worldcup SL 158cm (in the pictures)

The difference of Worldcup SL compared to elans is substantial:
- It feels like edges hold much better than on the amphibios, there was much more skidding with those elans even when you do a great turn. On the SC when I did a great turn the skis felt almost cemented into the snow. It sort of gave me more confidence that I won't slip or skid or anything.
- In general it felt like it was much more stable than elans. I'm not sure how to describe it properly, but elans and all the previous skis that I owned would give a feeling that I lost control at higher speeds.
- It feels like its much more difficult to control speed when carving. You sort of keep accelerating all the time. At the moment I feel most comfortable on faster blue runs where you get high enough of the speed to properly carve, but always in control. On steeper red runs it feels like it's difficult to control the speed so I end up trying to loose some speed by cutting the turns shorter with skidding.
- The skis exit turns extremely fast to the point that if you are not concentrated the outside ski almost sling shots from under you end you end up on your tails.

The difference between the SC and SL was not that large, in general SC felt somewhat easier to skid and a bit slower. It also wasn't that grippy on the edges. But I kinda feel like SL forced me to keep thinking about the form much more than the SC which resulted in better technique.

In general, I'm still lacking a lot in proper body form and technique when carving, but so far the feeling is incredible when I manage to make proper turns. I'm missing consistency, I can link lots of good turns on properly groomed pistes, but in case of the icy or run down pistes I lose form and revert to old skidding on some turns.

Anyways I only ski on groomers and I really want to improve the technique as much as possible. Plan is to get at least 10-15 more ski days this season and some hours with the coach.

Which brings me to my question, what would be the ideal ski for my scenario. I'm looking for pure slalom ski, but I'm not sure how stiff it should be. I'm 6ft and 165 lbs (184cm and 75kg).
So far I'm mostly looking for Redster S9 or Redster S7, or some Fischer equivalent to them. But considering the low experence with carving and weight I'm not sure if those skis would be a bit too much for me. I'm also not sure about the ideal length for me. I know in the old days you mostly went for the skis that are up to your nose, and a bit longer than that if you're experienced, but it feels that for carving rules are a bit different now.

Skis in question:

IMG_4063.jpeg
 

oldschoolskier

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Look for a soft rated mens ski. I'll second the boots, being on a FIS rated race ski you definitely need a good stiff boot to transfer the energy to the ski. In your case, about 130 should be good with proper fit.
 

slowrider

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A professional tune will truly make those SL rip.
 
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Grizz111

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Look for a soft rated mens ski. I'll second the boots, being on a FIS rated race ski you definitely need a good stiff boot to transfer the energy to the ski. In your case, about 130 should be good with proper fit.
Yup, I will also be buying boots.
What sort of stiffness do you have in mind. I want to avoid buying too stiff ski that will be too punishing, but then again, I only tried those two slalom skis from the photo which are pretty stiff.

Also I want to clarify that my goal is not to be as fast as possible but to curve at smooth comfortable speed with good technique that I can keep improving.
 

Tom K.

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@Grizz111 consider the tune of the two you skied. It wouldn't be much of a surprise to learn that the SLs had a racy tune like 0.5/3, while the SCs had a more typical recreational tune of 1/2. That could explain some of the performance differences you described.

Have fun with the carving, it's a blast!
 

KevinF

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Yup, I will also be buying boots.
What sort of stiffness do you have in mind. I want to avoid buying too stiff ski that will be too punishing, but then again, I only tried those two slalom skis from the photo which are pretty stiff.

Also I want to clarify that my goal is not to be as fast as possible but to curve at smooth comfortable speed with good technique that I can keep improving.

Boot stiffness is an area where 100 people will give you 100 different answers. There is a school of thought that boots should be "uber stiff" so that you get immediate feedback on any mistakes, etc. Note that the stiffer the boot, the more perfectly the boot needs to be setup to match your geometry, etc.

That is, a boot that is "too stiff" and incorectly setup can prevent you from ever getting into a balanced stance -- ie., you can't move enough to get balanced due to lack of strength, lack of ankle mobility, etc. Conversely, if that same boot is holding you in a balanced stance then it becomes difficult to get out of balance.

The stiffer the boot, the more precisely it needs to be setup and dialing that setup in can take some time and effort.
 

oldschoolskier

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Yup, I will also be buying boots.
What sort of stiffness do you have in mind. I want to avoid buying too stiff ski that will be too punishing, but then again, I only tried those two slalom skis from the photo which are pretty stiff.

Also I want to clarify that my goal is not to be as fast as possible but to curve at smooth comfortable speed with good technique that I can keep improving.
Given your size and wt, something between 120 to 130 should be fine. Remember a stiff boot can always be made softer, but a soft boot can never be made stiffer.

Stiffness translates how quickly and accurately a ski responds, you are looking at a high performance ski, so to make it perform even at good learning speeds they need input.

Second, boot fit is gold, go to a good shop and get them fitted.
 

Tony S

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It feels like its much more difficult to control speed when carving. You sort of keep accelerating all the time. At the moment I feel most comfortable on faster blue runs where you get high enough of the speed to properly carve, but always in control. On steeper red runs it feels like it's difficult to control the speed so I end up trying to loose some speed by cutting the turns shorter with skidding.
Totally. Don't even think about carving on red runs until it's all second nature to you. You'll just end up defensive, which is not where you want to be. Start on easy runs and keep going back there whenever you're feeling "off".
 
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Grizz111

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Alright, I just rented both skis and the boots, hopefully for the last time. I'm going on a skiing for 3 days this weekend. After I return I'm gonna get fitted shoes and skis.
I rented Redster S9 165cm to try it out. The shoes are atomic hawx, but only with flex index 100, they didn't have any stiffer sadly :/

I hope the skis won't be too stiff and too much to handle. I'm going with a guy that skied semi professionally so hopefully I'll manage to improve form a bit in those few days.
 

LiquidFeet

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Alright, I just rented both skis and the boots, hopefully for the last time. I'm going on a skiing for 3 days this weekend. After I return I'm gonna get fitted shoes and skis.
I rented Redster S9 165cm to try it out. The shoes are atomic hawx, but only with flex index 100, they didn't have any stiffer sadly :/

I hope the skis won't be too stiff and too much to handle. I'm going with a guy that skied semi professionally so hopefully I'll manage to improve form a bit in those few days.
Report back!
We like to call them "boots" not shoes.
 

slowrider

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Remember they're 165 SL skis. They like to turn all the time.
 
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Grizz111

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I'm back, I skied on them for 3 days. First two days the conditions were not that great unfortunutely, entire ski resort was like a hive and pistes were in really bad condition early in the morning. The third day was ideal, pistes were in great conditions and I managed to do some carving.

In general I managed to improve a bit, but there is definitely a lot more room for improvement.
- I'm still a bit unstable and upper body is a bit too rigid.
- I tend to end up too far back which makes the skis loose grip, I think I need to be more forward in the turns.
- One mistake that I kept doing is being afraid of the speed. It seems that the faster I go, I become more stable and small mistakes don't throw you of the balance that easily. On the other hand, carving with higher speed really takes the toll on the legs. The shorter the turns, the more burn I feel in them.
- I can link several good turns, but I'm still missing consistency.
- And biggest issue of all is, I still don't trust the skis all that much and there is no reason for that. Lots of times when I become uncomfortable with the speed I tend to shorten the turns and skid the tails a bit to loose the speed. But if I just stay on the edges and keep the speed, or even go faster it's actually is more safe and stable than trying to break a bit to loose the excess speed. In general speed is your friend, but the brain wants me to slow down :ogbiggrin:

Regarding the skis, I really liked them a lot. From all those skis above, the SL 158cm where the grippiest and snappiest. They really turn like crazy, but they had the tendency to catapult you up and back on the tails if you are not ready (which happens often). Good thing about that is that you immediately know you messed up the turn a bit, but it requires a lot of concentration and good timing. The SC 160cm kinda felt less stable compared to the SL and maybe a bit less grippy and with less rebound, but much easier to skid and better in pistes that weren't pristine. But then again, SL's were completely new and SC's are 15 years old so it's a bit difficult to honestly compare them.

The redster S9 165cm is somewhere in between. They grip really well, and they feel the most stable at speed. At one point I really pushed myself to stay on edges when I would usually try to skid to slow down a bit. And the skiis were surprisingly smooth, it almost feels like they're more stable at higher speeds than on slower. They aren't as snappy and punishing as the SL, they're more similar to SC.

However I'm still completely new to carving and this is just a subjective feeling, in reality it's most likely that all those skies are at most 10% different from each other.

Now, I'm most likely gonna buy them as soon as I find some discount somewhere. One thing that I still must decide on is the length. What would you suggest, 160cm or 165cm based on my height, weight and skill level? I'm 6ft and 165 lbs (184cm and 75kg).
Also, what whould be equivalent skis to redster S9 from other manufacturers in case I don't find this one at good price point?

All in all this was the most fun skiing I had so far, this carving is really a crazy thing even if I'm still far from being solid at it. Here are the two clips from the weekend. On first one I'm mostly trying to do some shorter turns and on second one a bit wider. It's a relatively slow hill and some higher speed would definitely be better, but I have no other recordings sadly ogsmile. I do speed up a bit towards the end of the piste.


 

KingGrump

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I'm back, I skied on them for 3 days. First two days the conditions were not that great unfortunutely, entire ski resort was like a hive and pistes were in really bad condition early in the morning. The third day was ideal, pistes were in great conditions and I managed to do some carving.

In general I managed to improve a bit, but there is definitely a lot more room for improvement.
- I'm still a bit unstable and upper body is a bit too rigid.
- I tend to end up too far back which makes the skis loose grip, I think I need to be more forward in the turns.
- One mistake that I kept doing is being afraid of the speed. It seems that the faster I go, I become more stable and small mistakes don't throw you of the balance that easily. On the other hand, carving with higher speed really takes the toll on the legs. The shorter the turns, the more burn I feel in them.
- I can link several good turns, but I'm still missing consistency.
- And biggest issue of all is, I still don't trust the skis all that much and there is no reason for that. Lots of times when I become uncomfortable with the speed I tend to shorten the turns and skid the tails a bit to loose the speed. But if I just stay on the edges and keep the speed, or even go faster it's actually is more safe and stable than trying to break a bit to loose the excess speed. In general speed is your friend, but the brain wants me to slow down :ogbiggrin:

Regarding the skis, I really liked them a lot. From all those skis above, the SL 158cm where the grippiest and snappiest. They really turn like crazy, but they had the tendency to catapult you up and back on the tails if you are not ready (which happens often). Good thing about that is that you immediately know you messed up the turn a bit, but it requires a lot of concentration and good timing. The SC 160cm kinda felt less stable compared to the SL and maybe a bit less grippy and with less rebound, but much easier to skid and better in pistes that weren't pristine. But then again, SL's were completely new and SC's are 15 years old so it's a bit difficult to honestly compare them.

The redster S9 165cm is somewhere in between. They grip really well, and they feel the most stable at speed. At one point I really pushed myself to stay on edges when I would usually try to skid to slow down a bit. And the skiis were surprisingly smooth, it almost feels like they're more stable at higher speeds than on slower. They aren't as snappy and punishing as the SL, they're more similar to SC.

However I'm still completely new to carving and this is just a subjective feeling, in reality it's most likely that all those skies are at most 10% different from each other.

Now, I'm most likely gonna buy them as soon as I find some discount somewhere. One thing that I still must decide on is the length. What would you suggest, 160cm or 165cm based on my height, weight and skill level? I'm 6ft and 165 lbs (184cm and 75kg).
Also, what whould be equivalent skis to redster S9 from other manufacturers in case I don't find this one at good price point?

All in all this was the most fun skiing I had so far, this carving is really a crazy thing even if I'm still far from being solid at it. Here are the two clips from the weekend. On first one I'm mostly trying to do some shorter turns and on second one a bit wider. It's a relatively slow hill and some higher speed would definitely be better, but I have no other recordings sadly ogsmile. I do speed up a bit towards the end of the piste.



Sorry, this is going to sound harsh.

I do like your mental attitude. :thumb: After looking at the video, I would say you need a more complete understanding of turn dynamics.
A lesson with a good instructor would move you much further along in your quest.
Skis are your least worries at this time.
 

LiquidFeet

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Sorry, this is going to sound harsh.

I do like your mental attitude. :thumb: After looking at the video, I would say you need a more complete understanding of turn dynamics.
A lesson with a good instructor would move you much further along in your quest.
Skis are your least worries at this time.
Second this. The advice you need can sound more harsh than this post from Mr. Grump. People may step up and give it. With your grit and ambitious energy, you'll get there.

In short: you need some coaching on how to initiate a carved turn, and some help getting centered over your skis. You could probably also use a list of "do not do's". These are hard to get on your own. Most skiers need good eyes watching and providing immediate feedback until they "get it."
 

Tony S

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Sensible posts above.

The good news here is that the OP will probably be thrilled with any of a number of narrow-ish groomer-ish ski models, provided they are full of life and frequently tuned - i.e., not 15 years old. They all ski basic carved turns reasonably well.

@Grizz111 what is your current "daily driver" ski? Make, model, year, length, most recent full tune-up?
 
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