“We’ve found with GPS that any time you bend the ski above the fall line,
you’re accelerating, and below the fall line, you’re slowing down. So you
have to have a soft tip at the heart of the turn at the apex. It can’t just fold;
it has to have the integrity to make that bend. If you can’t bend the ski at the
top of the turn, you’re just playing catch up.”
Matches are not found on a chart
Coaches, technicians, and even ski-shop owners have a very good idea of
what kinds of skis fit with what size and style of skier. Some advise putting
lighter skiers on skis with wood cores, for example, and heavier skiers on
boards with more metal for torsional stability and control.
“You could say wood core is great for light skiers, but a lot of those Iso cores
are really lightweight and snappy,” Bacca says. “They should try a couple
pairs, three to four on the same day in the same conditions. One thing that’s
definitely a mistake is to try one ski one day and the next day — when maybe
it’s slushy or icy — a different ski. That’s like comparing apples to oranges.”
The good news? “Everyone makes a good ski,” says Carey. “When skis are
tuned differently, they’ll feel differently. Being on winter snow is important
— the snow you’ll be on when they’re racing.”
Sometimes the right feel is obvious immediately to the racer and coach,
other times the observation period needs to be longer. High quality as race
stock skis are these days, none of them feel the same, and an adjustment
window is necessary.
“There are so many skis that are so similar, you could get a good feel in
a day,” Agee says. “Once you get past the newness of it, it goes back to that
thing that if you’re a good enough athlete, you’re going to adapt. That’s the
ultimate moral. You can’t really go wrong.”
GEAR - TESTING TIPS
-Try each setup in the same conditions as the others to which you’re
-Try each in multiple conditions to simulate whatever you’ll be facing
during race season
-If you’re lucky enough to have access to testing glide time on a
course, take the average of multiple runs in an environment that’s as
unchanging and controllable as possible.
-Make sure someone who is very familiar with your race style and form
watches you ski and provides feedback on a new setup.
-If the boot is the right size, feels good and works well with a ski,
adjustments can always be made to ramp angle, heel space, etc.