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Moving from soft to stiff skis

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
My first pair of skis were Volkl RTM 74, I've been using them in the past 5 years (I had the opportunity to ski for only one week per season), now I am the point where I have very little control with it on red slopes with high speed, it is really wobbly. Also I'll ski almost every weekend from now on. Therefore I decided to step up the game, and I rented a Stoeckli Laser AX (with the intention to try before I buy it), hit the slopes with them yesterday, and it was a shocking experience, she is not forgiving at all (I expected that, just not to this extent), which revealed that probably I have to re-learn a few things, this time properly/differently.

My question is: where/how should I start the improvement? Should I stick to blue/green slopes until I am more comfortable with Laser AX, or I should try to survive on the red slopes, while re-learning? What should I do differently? I know it might be hard to describe with words, but I few key notes would be really helpful. My most frequent issue was that the edges got stuck quite frequently on turns. I try to analyze how I do turns, and I think I'm doing it using momentum with a slight jump like move, with Laser AX this worked poorly, and not at all when I tried it with slower speeds (which occurred more and more because I got intimidated as only really bumpy red slopes were open and gradually I lost self-confidence). I am really determined to work on my technique, rather than getting back to a forgiving pair of skiis. Every advice is appreciated, thank you in advance!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@m1klos, Völkl RTM is not a 'soft' ski! I use a pair of five year old Rtm 81s and hoon around on everything from off piste to hard ice on them. I think from what you describe there is something basic wrong with your technique and you would benefit most from getting some lessons.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@m1klos, agree with @Steilhang and sounds like technique which is normal for the stage you are at and park the idea of new skis for the time being and invest money on quality lessons. It may just be a few tweaks that someone can help you iron out in a session or two which you can the work on. Skiis flapping about could be that you are not setting/ engaging your edges correctly which could be caused by the ‘jump
Like’ move your describe.
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Have you had your edges done in those 5 years? (I.e. have you just gone from blunt skis to sharp edges?)
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Stoeckli are renouned for being on the performance end of the spectrum so the AX is likely like a detuned FIS SL ski.

Put a good edge tune on your RTMs and work on technique which doesn't involve lifting skis from the ground to turn ( fine if you get a little rebound "pop" from one tight turn to another or are jumping into stivot turns but they are both slightly more advanced techniques/ consequences)
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There should not be any "Jump like" moves going on.

Have you had any lessons, at all?

Skiing can't be self taught.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I had a similar experience when I first moved to a properly stiff ski. My solution was to go back to my softer skis and keep on improving my skills.

Stiff skis perform best when they are under load all the time. You need to be tipping them on to their edges, and bending them as much as you can. The more you can do that, the more they will reward you with grip and stability. If you are tipping and bending the ski a lot you are probably going to be skiing relatively quickly, so your skills and psychology need to support that. If your skiing skills mean that you are trying to steer more of your turns with rotation / skidding / twisting / scraping a stiff ski will be much harder work, and can easily feel like it has a life of its own.

If you have a little pop or jump at the start of each turn you are doing the opposite of tipping the ski on ti its edge, so you are unlikely to be getting much grip in the first part of the turn. Not much edge and not much grip means the ski won't be bending, consequently you'll have to add something else to the ski to make it turn, which will have to be twisting. That's going to make a stiff ski much harder work, and it will probably feel much less secure than you are used to.

In terms of what to do, I'd suggest a lesson with a good instructor who could say whether there are any particular weaknesses in your fundamental technique. If not, then build up your experience of your stiffer skis on gentle terrain as that is more likely to allow you to use them well, rather than developing 'survival technique' which you probably do on steeper terrain.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Defo get lessons and work on drills as Rob recommends. I just swapped my old battered Atomic SL12 slalom skis for a pair of Dobermann FIS race SLs. I love them to bits but they are a little unforgiving, they demand precision constantly and by god they rebound like a catapult when you load them Madeye-Smiley
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Thanks for all the replies, they were really helpful, they made me realize that I need a teacher to identify the issues I have in my technique, and then based on that the next steps can be decided. I did have lessons initially, but I advanced on my own after that, it totally makes sense to have lessons again.
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@m1klos, I ski full seasons and still do practice drills and have lessons. They really help me and the more I do the more I realise that I still have a lot to learn. Over in Austria at the moment the pistes are fairly empty and you really notice the local ski racers doing practice drills, they just look so smooth.
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Quote:

If you have a little pop or jump at the start of each turn you are doing the opposite of tipping the ski on ti its edge, so you are unlikely to be getting much grip in the first part of the turn. Not much edge and not much grip means the ski won't be bending, consequently you'll have to add something else to the ski to make it turn, which will have to be twisting.

That's a brilliant explanation...
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
pam w wrote:
Quote:

If you have a little pop or jump at the start of each turn you are doing the opposite of tipping the ski on ti its edge, so you are unlikely to be getting much grip in the first part of the turn. Not much edge and not much grip means the ski won't be bending, consequently you'll have to add something else to the ski to make it turn, which will have to be twisting.

That's a brilliant explanation...
Rob's so good with words, he's always super-clear, even to someone like me who doesn't even have the basics of physics at her disposal. One of many reasons I enjoy his tuition. Very Happy
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@m1klos, I think there are two issues here, the first is why did the RTMs get 'wobbly' at high speed? and the second is why were you unable to ski the Laser AXs? I've no idea about the second question, but the Stoeckli has the reputation for being a ski suitable for all levels that can afford it. This might indicate that the problem is with your technique and others like @rob@rar are best placed to advise.

However the first question reminded me of a problem I had last year. My boots. If you read the top post of the page linked below, it sounds like the same problems you experienced on the RTMs, everything fine at slower speeds and then as the steepness and the speeds increase, the forces are greater and what seemed like a good boot fit suddenly has the skis breaking free all over the place. The solution for me was to get additional ankle pieces so that my feet were locked into the boot under high stress and after that, no more problems.

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=20110&start=840

I spent a week on the RTM 78s last year and they coped easily with high speeds on steep, choppy pistes. If anything they were on the dull side of damp. I would be surprised if you had got too good for your skis, unless they are very short perhaps. Don't throw them away just yet. Smile
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Penry, it is difficult to determine how big role the boot (Atomic Waymaker 80) had in lack of control with RTM 74, but I was never under the impression they weren't snug enough. I'll definitely change boots to one with somewhat higher flex (with a bootfitter), but first things first: getting a teacher to figure out the issues with my technique. I already got some good pointers here, and the comment of @rob@rar was of surgical precision in uncovering one of the key issues.
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