Ski Flex Questions

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E365
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Ski Flex Questions

Postby E365 » Fri Dec 01, 2006 11:35 am

I have been racing for over a decade now, but there's still confusion for me about ski flex. I've Googled a million times, but still can't find any GOOD information about it.

Warm/Cold: Companies like Atomic sell warm and cold versions of their skis that's a variation of flex, rather than base. Correct? From what I understand the warm ski makes pressure distribution more "hot". In other words, concentrating pressure over a shorter distance at the tip and tail. This is meant to reduce suction in warmer weather. Cold flexes are just the opposite. More even pressure distribution into the ground, but less ability to deal with a lot of water.

To make it more confusing, I've been told the warm vs. cold is a different base, instead of flex for some manufacturers?? (Fischer?)

I think I have the warm vs. cold sorted out, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

Stiff/Soft: This is where I'm really confused. From doing some searching, it looks like for most body weights, there are both a soft and stiff version ski that will fit. Why choose one over the other? Are there certain conditons where one will work better than the other? It almost seems like a "warm ski" would be stiff, and a "cold ski" would be soft by nature.

So it seems in some cases (Salomon, Atomic, ?) there a four different skis.

Warm/Stiff
Warm/Soft
Cold/Stiff
Cold/Soft

Please help me sort out these terms.

I of course have my skis fitted by professionals, but I like to be an informed consumer :D Thanks!

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ski flex

Postby snowhunter » Fri Dec 01, 2006 11:47 am

I am definately not an expert on this, but I do know a couple of things...
Ski base material is different on the warm and cold skis. Warmer skis have more pourus/softer base material, and colder skis have harder base material - at least that's what I have been told. As to what is more universal, I've been told when in doubt, go with the colder base. As for flex, softer snow conditions = softer flex, harder/icy track conditions, harder/stiffer flex. The combinations are because you may find soft conditions in either cold or warmer snow, and vice versa for the hard track conditions. That probably simplifies it too much, but it's a start. There will hopefully be a ski technician on this board at some point that can shed some more light on the subject. Good luck!

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Postby T^2 » Fri Dec 01, 2006 12:39 pm

From my ski shop experience back-in-the-day (before real-world pressures forced career changes), it was understood that bases remained the same across flexes and were structually manipulated in the ski itself. It's somewhat supported by an unrelated article about waxing in Cross Country Skier mag. "When ordering base material from suppliers, ski manufacturers must order it in miles of material—eliminating base material limited to specific snow conditions simply because of cost effectiveness. " http://www.crosscountryskier.com/2006-07/oct_2006_columns_kick-glide.html

Now, that might not be true in all cases, but it does make a little sense from a manufacturing standpoint. It's much easier, during the manufacturing process to manipulate a skis internal construction specific to order-runs. We were told during industry seminars that softer snow conditions required softer-flexing skis to help lift the ski up onto the snow, rather than plowing through. Colder and often hard-pack conditions called for a stiffer ski selection to asist in reducing torsional forces in order to maintain edge control.

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Postby E365 » Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:14 pm

Thanks. The soft ski, in soft snow does makes sense.

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Postby snowhunter » Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:26 pm

I still hold to the fact that there are ski companies using two different types of base material for cold and warm skis. They may have to order miles of it, but they order miles of warm base material, and miles of cold base material. I also still hold to the fact I could be wrong on this, but until somebody shows me differently, (I'm not convinced the author of that article is totally telling the whole story) I believe they use two types. Give me a little research time, and I may even prove myself wrong...

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Postby E365 » Fri Dec 01, 2006 6:20 pm

snowhunter wrote:I still hold to the fact that there are ski companies using two different types of base material for cold and warm skis. They may have to order miles of it, but they order miles of warm base material, and miles of cold base material. I also still hold to the fact I could be wrong on this, but until somebody shows me differently, (I'm not convinced the author of that article is totally telling the whole story) I believe they use two types. Give me a little research time, and I may even prove myself wrong...


I was told by GearWest that warm vs. cold in the Fischer is a different base. Whereas warm vs. cold in the Atomics is a different flex. So I guess there's no true answer. I have the Atomic 05/06 catalog that seems to back that up. I'll try to get it posted here shortly.

EDIT: here we go.

Image[/img]

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Postby snowhunter » Fri Dec 01, 2006 11:49 pm

Man, this stuff can be really confusing to the average guy... dazzling us with technology. I have raced on Atomics for years, and I was once told (by an Atomic rep.) the warm and cold also utilized different base materials. I know for sure, if anything, the warm and cold skis have different grind structure. So if the base material is the same, maybe the warm indicates a different pressure distribution and a corresponding base structure. That be my guess. I may send this question to an Atomic ski authority and try to get the real story. :?

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Postby JiMCi » Tue Dec 05, 2006 2:12 pm

snowhunter wrote:Man, this stuff can be really confusing to the average guy...
I am an average guy and may be totally wrong, but here's how I have always understood it:
• Warm (or Plus) vs. Cold: different grind for different typical snow conditions found at these temperatures. Here is how it is explained on Fischer's website: The PLUS structure with a deeper and rougher structure - ideal for warm and damp conditions... The COLD structure with a finer and smoother structure - ideal for cold and dry conditions ...

• Soft/Medium/Stiff: to be selected based on skier's weight and height. For a given length selection based on skier height, the featherweight will need a Soft ski while the heavyweight will select a Stiff ski. Kind of where you stand on the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale :wink:

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Postby E365 » Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:10 pm


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Postby E365 » Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:21 pm

I'm quite certain my old Atomics (1997/1998?) are quite soft for me. They are hard to control when the trail gets really packed and hard. They kind of "wash-out" and don't hold an edge on the hard packed trail. But, they seem to run quite well in the powder.

I did get to demo some skis today at Elm Creek (Osseo, MN) and the stiffer ones definitely made it easier to skate when the snow is firm. I skied some new Atomic World Cups that were on the stiff side for me. They tracked much straighter and held a better edge than my old soft Atomics.

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Postby snowhunter » Sat Dec 09, 2006 10:59 pm

E365 - Don't toss those old Atomics though...I have a pair from the same year (97 I think), and when the trail is soft, they are the ticket. You are right, they are squirrelly on hard or icy snow, but are very fast and track just fine in softer conditions. Had my best Birkie finish in recent years on those skis when it was snowing like a banshee during the whole race, and the snow got deep. Everyone else seemed to be struggling, and I just floated by. Wasn't in the best shape physically that year either, so the skis made a difference.

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Postby E365 » Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:36 pm

Snowhunter, are they these ones?

Image
Image

I actually am searching for some cheap pilot bindings so I can keep using them. You're right, they do seem to do great in the powder.

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Postby snowhunter » Mon Dec 11, 2006 10:59 am

Yep!! Those are the soft snow speedsters!! Mine are not slow on hard track, just hard to control. I have a collection of Birkie and other race stickers all over mine too...in fact, even raced on them last year in a race, tested faster than all the newer pairs I have collected since then. I think the new world cup skis are very nice, and might be just as good or better than these when selected/flexed right for soft snow conditions, but if you need a soft snow ski, these are a good choice.

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Postby MN Hoser » Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:28 pm

Ok, some basic ideas. Usually a stiffer ski is more stable, and stability leads to better balance and speed. The problem with a stiff ski is that it can plow in soft conditions. The problem with a soft ski, is that it's less stable and (another kind of hidden idea is) can add to suction in wet snow. Often racers are trying to pick skis to match snow.

Petex...usually petex with a higher % graphite is supposed to be a bit better in colder snow. Clear petex (no graphite) is supposed to be better in very wet snow. Harder petex (higher molecular wt) is better for colder snow, but there's a point when the petex gets so hard that it takes a long time to ski the petex in (make it smooth from skiing and waxing). The harder petex also requires more initial waxing to get the petex to hold wax. So most skis use "2000" petex, and some of the colders skis (I'm thinking Fischer), use "3000" petex. The old Peltonens, Karhus, and some others used 4000 petex. I believe the clear base is often 6000 petex were the number corresponds to increasing molecular wt. So e.g. I think the RCS Plus is a 2000 petex with a warmer grind. The RCS cold is a 3000 petex with some added graphite and a colder grind, but both are the same mold (flex). (I could easily be wrong.)

The recommended fit for the RCS 610 mold is stiffer than the recommended fit for the older skatecut, so many people will find the skatecut is better in softer snow and the newer 610 is better in harder snow, but it all depends on the stiffness of the skis compared to the skier.


JW

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Postby E365 » Fri Dec 22, 2006 10:53 pm

Alright, more questions.

What do you guys/gals know about "midflex" numbers. I recently got some RS:11's that were labeled "67/2.8" I think I have a clue about what they mean, but I'm not certain. I've also seen Salomon skis listed as percentages (110%, 115% etc.). I'd assume it deal with percent of body weight, like the first Atomic number of mine (67).

I'm still amazed that none of the manufacturer's websites even hint to any of this stuff. I know they want skis fitted by professionals, but they're selling skis, not space shuttle parts.

EDIT: I peeked at the GearWest fitting chart in their store and the Atomic flex number should be 83%-93% of your body weight. My new skis are right at 93% of my weight.


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