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Big VS side cut skis for AT work

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I Ve toured on large radius skis eg 19m radius but haven’t tried with skis with a curvier side cut and smaller turn radius eg 11-15m. Anyone tried both and can comment on the pros and cons? It seems the straighter planks ( typical touring ski shape) get much harder to turn in trees and crud. Of course beyond a certain point, it bd hard to skin in a track if you have huge 145cm shovels at the front end...
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Are you saying that you are having trouble making turns in trees and crud on your current touring skis?

Everything is a compromise. Skiing in tight trees is going to mean tighter turns are required so clearly a shorter radius will help. But the question is how often do you ski tight trees and do you want to compromise your general skiing on other terrain.

Short turns in crud is difficult - so just don't do it. Ski to the conditions. Again buying skis so you can do short turns in sub-optimal conditions probably doesn't make sense.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
19m isn't huge at all. I think the Icelantic Shaman which is just about the spooniest freeride ski I've ever skied (and too turny for many people who have tried it) with 160mm shovels is 17m reference radius. Your problem isn't the radius it's either technique or width/profile of the ski. Technique trumps everything else but using the right gear for your skills and intended use can help a lot.
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Quote:

It seems the straighter planks ( typical touring ski shape) get much harder to turn in trees and crud.



I just don't think that is really true. You don't really carve skis in the trees you pivot. As a result sidecut is largely irrelevant. My best tree skiing skis are pretty straight
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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Layne wrote:
.....Skiing in tight trees is going to mean tighter turns are required so clearly a shorter radius will help......

As said above, in trees you're pivoting not carving so sidecut radius is pretty irrelevant. Camber (ie lack of it) and tip/tail rocker are waaay more relevant than sidecut. There's a reason why the majority of off-piste skis all have a radius well in to the 20's and often in to the 30's as it stops them being too turny in 3D snow (which exaggerates the sidecut) plus it gives better edge contact on steeps etc. A rockered tip, a touch of camber, 20m+ radius and an almost flat tail has become the standard design for most manufacturers freeride touring skis with the user just selecting the width underfoot they prefer.
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Oddly that profile is so different from “all- mountain” skis....
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19m isn't really a big turn radius! At the tighter end of medium really.

A tighter radius won't help in tight trees in 3D snow - if anything it will make it harder, as the more aggressive the sidecut (bigger sidecut = smaller turn radius) the harder it gets to make turns outside of that radius. Ie they can get hooky, and sliding the tips/tails in and out is harder. In that sort of terrain you pivot most of the turns, which is where rocker will help a great deal.

As you point out, big fat shovels and tails can be a pain on the skin track, if they're much wider than the track that's been set. Also on steeps with hard snow you might find you lose edge grip underfoot.

So really what you probably want in a new ski will be more tip and tail rocker (NOT twin tip though for touring), and maybe a little softer if your current skis are too much work.
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