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Experimental tech revealed!


Than_Bogan
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In a post a few weeks back, I noted that I was running the best passes of my season in late October and (as it turned out) even into the first few days of November, and that I was doing so with a "variety of experimental tech."

 

Today, I can reveal BY FAR the most important piece of that: I had the enormous privilege of being one of the first folks to ride the 2017 Denali!

 

I think everyone knows how excited I was about (what was internally known as) the 3.1, so I think it's a pretty huge thing to say that this new ski is better at everything. It's even faster (what!?), it's even less effort, it's more stable, and it works great in a large range of binding and fin settings. The space I was able to create at -35 is unprecedented for me; I rarely missed one on this ski. There was a lot of smiling from this guinea pig, I can tell you that!

 

Maybe the most telling part is that I ran the best scores of my season in a drysuit in very cold water with a Massachusetts season winding down fast. I think the best judge of the contribution of the ski is comparing actual scores relative to what you've been able to do recently. So I take it as a big deal (for the ski) that I beat my season best on the 3rd day. Then I tied that new season best on three consecutive days with a variety of settings. All of that was in far-from-ideal conditions. (I honestly can't believe I didn't get further -- it felt so good -- but the measured results were still very compelling.)

 

The Adams have done it again. Stick this on your short list of skis to try in 2017.

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@ozski Yes. :smile:

 

They actually purposely did not tell me what had changed to try to avoid biasing my feedback, but I later learned that essentially every part of the ski had been modified in some way.

 

However, holding it up near to my 3.1, there are no visually striking differences to the naked eye, so I think it could also be considered an evolution.

 

One striking thing is the factory settings will be quite different on this ski, with both the boots and the fin much further forward than has been the norm in recent years. If I understand correctly, that was a big part of the evolution of this ski. Some folks were finding "crazy" settings on the 2016 production Denali that worked great, and this new design was designed from the start to use settings like those. My favorite settings so far had the boots at 30.5" on a 66" ski and the DFT at 1.03". In recent history, those numbers would seem bonkers, but I am told they are actually not unprecedented in skiing history. But the bottom line is that not only do these numbers perform great, but they put you into a region where fairly significant changes can be made to the setup and the ski still works great. One of my few concerns about the 3.1 was that very small changes to the fin could dramatically change the performance, making tuning a challenge. This new ski is the polar opposite. Because of that, I am very optimistic that people will be able to set this ski up and experience the thrill on day one.

 

For those interested in the process: As a guinea pig, I did not experience the thrill on day one. We started with way too much "active length" (binding-to-fin distance) for my size and speed. At 31" and 0.98", the ski simply did not perform for me. But once I helped established "34 factory settings" (I may have been useful!!), I could take large steps in fin settings and screw with other crazy ideas and still have the ski feel terrific.

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@OB1 It does :). But I never had any serious asymmetry running the 3.1, so you may have to find a 2017 Denali and judge that for yourself.

 

What I can say is that this ski feels a bit different in the turns. The word the Adams keep using, which seems to be the best choice, is "connected." As a broad generalization, super-fast skis often feel a bit loose. On the 3.1, one had to learn to turn with what seemed like too much speed, but it worked (at least for me). The 2017 is different, though: Somehow it transitions very quickly from accelerating like a beast to grabbing the water for the pre-turn. That combination made every pass feel easy, with the ironic consequence that eventual failure (our sport always gets to failure!) felt very surprising!

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@Fred Lifetime best: 1 @ -39. Best score of 2016 prior to this ski: 1.5 @ -38. Best score on the 2017 Denali: 3 @ -38 (multiple times in very cold water).

 

I'm happy to answer the question (and just did!), but I wouldn't consider that to be terribly relevant. There are a lot of reasons my skiing in 2015 (on Goode) and 2016 (on Denali) was not quite at my lifetime peak, nearly all of them self-inflicted. But for about a 4 week period before I got the new ski, I focused on performance, and ran (just barely) a majority of -35s and took serious shots at -38. I wanted to be sure I had a valid basis for comparison before the new ski arrived. Once I got the new ski set up properly, I rarely missed any -35s and did measurably better at -38. (As I texted to Caldwell: My mom could run -38 on this ski! But alas I found clever ways to sabotage myself...)

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I have mounted a Leverage/Wiley's boots on a Denali, same thing as mounting boots on any ski with inserts. The Leverage had a Micro-just on, I just used a smaller size 8/32 nut for that one.

The craftsmanship of the ski is phenomenal and the stud plate does not affects ski's flex as much as bindings mounted directly with inserts.

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