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Characteristics of High-End Slalom Skis


skispray
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  • Baller

I was wondering what the characteristics of each of the top-of-the-line slalom skis are and thought starting a thread on it might be a good way to get some information. What I think would be interesting to put together is information on all of the big-name slalom skis in terms of how they ski. For example:

 

Radar Vapor (2016)

Slow or Fast: Fast (10 on a 1-10 scale)

Carve or smear: Smear (turns are more smearing than carving)

Low energy/High energy: Low energy (doesn’t make you tired)

Stable or twitchy: Stable, especially through the edge change

Oddities: Tends to blow out the tail on the offside if too much tip pressure

 

D3 (any of them)

Slow or Fast: Slow (3 on a 1-10 scale)

- note that I’m not dogging on these skis, I’m just saying they ride deep. Probably the deepest of any I know. I put 3 instead of 1 in case someone wants to rank another ski as slower/deeper riding than a D3

Carve or smear: Carve (turns continue all the way to the wake)

Low energy/High energy: High energy (makes you tired)

Stable or twitchy: Stable

Oddities: None

 

KD Platinum: Same descriptions as D3

 

I’d be interested in feedback along the lines of the above for other skis. Particularly the HO skis (Pro, Alpha, Omega), Goode, and Connelly. Anyone with experience want to weigh in? Or anyone who rides the skis I mentioned feel I messed anything up?

 

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I think this is really hard to do, because what one person feels can be so different from what another person feels, and settings can often be tuned to push a ski into a different style. Just recently, I've heard one person say the 2020 Vapor is the only ski they've been on that is faster than the c75, and a different person say the c75 is the only ski they've been on that is faster than the 2020 Vapor!

 

But there are broad generalization that perhaps most would agree upon (like both of those skis are fast!), so carry on and I wish you luck to get something useful together!

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I'd be really excited if this thread worked out, but for it to be really useful we'd have to be very careful.

1. @Horton understands how careful and consistent (and in some ways, generalizing) you have to be for comparisons to be useful. I think his reviews should be your first stop (both for reviews and how-to-properly-approach-reviews) because he's the same guy, with the same methodology, trying a whole range of skis over several years and really the only independent guy in the industry writing and publishing those results.

2. I'll caution you that a single summary for "D3 (any of them)" is getting the thread off in the wrong direction, and inviting others to make broad and unuseful generalizations. I've certainly heard knowledgeable skiers speak about meaningful differences between the EVO and NRG.

3. I worry that we all have strong biases and only a very, very few folks on this forum are careful and consistent in forming/evaluating/supporting their opinions objectively (in other words, you can expect a lot of "I've been skiing on lots of Connelly's since 1980 and I think…"). I do like that you've setup some categories that help commenters think objectively, but as @Than_Bogan points out, even different fin and binding settings may make generalizing about a particular ski almost useless.

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  • Baller

I suspect that if you built a survey such that you had skiers rank the attributes of skis that they had just completed a tournament score on. Then you could sort of divide by the skiers performance and get to what's going on.

 

Doesn't do much good if a level 2 skier states the ski is wicked fast when they score under their average on it. Similarly a level 4 who just went up 5 balls might put more weight into their feedback.

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My experience with High end skis, D3 NRG, Mapple 6.0, Denali c-75 . In a different post it has been said that the 6.0 is a fast ski. My previous Pb is on that ski. in snowmobile racing when we were checking clutching setups we would pull out a radar gun and see if it's faster or slower. I've never pulled out a radar gun on a water ski but this past weekend I beat my all-time PB on the Denali c-75 by 5 buoys. So I'm not sure how important top speed is but maybe speed management is beneficial. 1@34/-35.
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Holy crap @Skierx I like to think the Denali is good but that is ridiculous. I’m assuming there were some skier technique changes as well?

 

As far as speed, it’s a terrible way to quantify a ski. A trick ski is MUCH faster than a slalom ski, but that doesn’t mean you would want to slalom on it at 34mph. What matters is when the ski creates speed and how it does that. “Fast” or “ Slow” doesn’t convey enough.

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@AdamCord , Thanks! Slalom skiing for most of my life since age 7 . Now 49 . I've only been course skiing since 2012. So I've had many bad habits to break mostly chill riding. I've never had any formal coaching. The one coach I was planning on visiting is no longer with us. Someday I hope to get some coaching from either yourself or Caldwell. But in regards to technique there have been many changes. Mostly attributed to the Grand Unified Theory of Slalom. Aka, GUT. I have been much more efficient at applying those principles and spinning the rope around the pylon much faster and higher on the boat. But the Denali c-75 is clearly a ridiculously great ski. Fast or slow , it's Amazing!
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