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rocker...so 2017.....

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Right...I posted about the Colby's (trad camber) and had a very interesting response...'...rocker...so 2017....'. Now, I would like some views if you all are able.

We have a garage (and wardrobe, and boiler room, and eaves attic) full of skis and boards...the legacy of two kids needing stacks of gear and us having various families to the Alps who also need stacks of gear. Some of these skis are ancient...well...they go back to 2002 or so. Amongst the starters' dross and rock skis are some rather nice Lines, Volkl and Salomon. But only a couple of pairs with rocker - in this case tip rocker - some Scott Majics in 157 and 167. Now these were slated as 'rock solid stable, nimble piste skis with a bit of off piste float for minor forays'.

We indeed do minor forays, but around us, the powder isn't powder after five minutes of sun, and so our main diet in the year is: ice, ice and more ice (Zinal, St Luc), and then nice piste conditions for a bit, then more ice, and occasionally a day when you can whoop it up in some soft stuff. But only very occasionally. For those days we have some park skis - with trad camber. The thing is this. I really don't get on with the Black Majics. I am used to the vice like hooking up of Volkl piste skis, and the Majics feel like overcooked spaghetti - and want to wander off all over the place. I can transfer from one pair of skis (the Volkls do feel like a part of me...) reasonably easily but I hate the feel of the Majics. I get none of the 'they hook up much better with that tip rocker...'. Really? To me they seem to fail to hook up. I ski with a lot of forward pressure, and love tight turns all the way down the hill.

So the question is this ... what is it with rocker? I've HEARD all about it, have READ all about it, have skied with people who swear by it. But all it seems to do for me is give me 25 pc less effective edge and give me a huge flappy bit on the front of my skis which doesn't seem to do anything apart from try to throw me off my skis.....
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Are your rockered skis 20cm longer than the non-rockered ones? That should equalize the useful length.

As for the wet noodle part, it may have more to do with the skis themselves rather than just having rockers.
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@abc, thanks .... my piste Volkls trad are 152 and the Majics 167 (I am 1.7m tall but only 135 lbs and as people say, skis don’t know how tall you are) ...

The latest review is the Majics are glowing so I am wondering if I am just cr”p ... thing is, I’m not crap on my Volkl and Salomon piste skis.

See

://www.inthesnow.com/gear/scott-black-majic-2018-ski-review/
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@valais2, the rockered skis I’ve tried have just felt short and unstable to me. The new Mantra M5 is not rockered and as it is the reference ski for the category ...
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@under a new name, ...ah ha....now we're onto something.....many thanks
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under a new name wrote:
.......The new Mantra M5 is not rockered and as it is the reference ski for the category ...

Whilst the M5 now has camber underfoot it is definately rockered front and back, pretty much mirroring it's competitors. Pause at 6.25 to see the rocker/camber/rocker profile:

http://youtube.com/v/BQ5dat64b1o&t=688s
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I’m of the opinion it’s the overall design of the skis not the rockers.

I have a Volkl with rocker which grips better than the park ski (without rocker) it replaced. But it nonetheless wasn’t designed as a piste ski so won’t exactly grip “like vice”.

I’m also of the opinion rocker isn’t magic and isn’t needed. I do find it beneficial on soft snow. But if you don’t have much of soft snow anyway, you may be happier without it.
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@abc, that's really helpful...many thanks....I am not starting some kind of pendulum swing anti-rocker movement so it's good to have these carefully considered thoughts posted up, which don't fall into the shouty 'one thing not the other, black versus white' kind of comments which prevail on so many sites. Yep, we don't get much chance to have deep powder of a Canadian or Japanese kind...
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@valais2, I do find rocker helpful in the trees, also in the bumps too.

Instead of butting the bumps and getting a jolt, the ski with rocker just ride up over the mounts a lot of the time. It’s more forgiving, especially for us still learning to ski bumps properly.

As I got “better” (mind you, not “good”, just better than my pathetic self) with lots of practice in trees and moguls, I feel my reliance on the forgiveness of front rocker is now less.

Like you, I’m light for my height. So I never felt I’m lacking “float” overall. Just a bit of extra help in the front which does go a long way.
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I'd definitely go for something a bit more mod.
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I'd concur that rocker is great for off piste and especially for powder, also for slush seeing as we are in the middle of spring. My fat skis have 30% each end and I love them. But for piste I much prefer a standard ski, SLs usually. Much better turn initiation.
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@Scarpa, ...now this is interesting. Various videos and reviews say that rocker allows the skier to just tilt the ski and the ski immediately 'cuts into the turn' (their quote and emphasis).But you are saying that classic camber has better turn initiation, which is exactly what I experience. The hype is 'no hook rocker' but hooking up the tip and getting the edges in surely is exactly what I DO want to do? Is this a technique thing? Am I just so used to classic camber (and the up and down movement needed to weight the ski into an arc) that I can't get on with tip rocker skis? Thanks for any further perspectives....
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@valais2, I also am a Völkl fan, currently using mainly a five year old pair of RTM 81s, slightly rockered front and rear. I find these are great on any piste and as good as my old 90mm Mantras off piste, which I put down to the rocker. In fact the Mantras had more of a tendency to dive than the RTMs do...
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@T Bar, don’t you hate it when no-one acknowledges a perfectly good pun?
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@valais2, I find that ski choice is very personal - 1 man’s meat is another man’s poison - so I prefer to try before buying.
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My DPS Wailers are heavily rockered and cambered.

It is like cheating!

terrific in powder, exceptional at this time of year in slush (the first skis I have ever skied in slush that made it a pleasure) and very good on piste (I do mean very good....way beyond what is just acceptable).
The carve, they short turn so well, bracquage is a cinch.

Rocker? So 2017...2018...2019...!
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valais2 wrote:
The hype is 'no hook rocker' but hooking up the tip and getting the edges in surely is exactly what I DO want to do? Is this a technique thing? Am I just so used to classic camber (and the up and down movement needed to weight the ski into an arc) that I can't get on with tip rocker skis? Thanks for any further perspectives....


If rocker is making skiing harder there is surely a problem with it?

I had one pair of skis that was rockered on the front, K2 wayback touring skis, didn't like them but whether it was rocker or not I can't say, it probably was the rocker that made them very squirrely on the kind of snow we typically get. Personally I have no real issues skiing slush, or any other snow, on traditional cambered skis, thin or fat. I certainly don't want to take a rockered ski that is 20cm longer than my normal ski length just to get some grip back.
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@davidof, ...ah....that’s exactly my experience. And I have got a feeling I agree with ‘...don’t want or need that extra 20cms...’. I can see entirely that banana skis work in the wonderful neck deep fluffiness of BC and Japan - particularly in respect of avoiding diving. But on the mixed shite we have in the Valais, I do wonder.....
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valais2 wrote:
@davidof, ...ah....that’s exactly my experience. And I have got a feeling I agree with ‘...don’t want or need that extra 20cms...’. I can see entirely that banana skis work in the wonderful neck deep fluffiness of BC and Japan - particularly in respect of avoiding diving. But on the mixed shite we have in the Valais, I do wonder.....


I can't write the whole rocker thing off based on a single ski (and locally the Wayback is seen as a reference for all rounder touring skis) I didn't like.

To talk more about the Waybacks I thought maybe it was a case of skiing them a bit to get used to them so I used them in resort - where they were not too bad but off piste in variable conditions I found the turning unpredictable. Now I'm quite prepared to accept that is my fault and that if I'd gone somewhere lift served on a good powder day I could have got used to how they steer but I didn't really want a ski that was making my life harder... so I sold them. Fortunately they are so well seen I had no trouble passing them on.

Both my current skis claim some rocker but it is more marketing than anything, the actual amount is minimal and doesn't change things to any noticeable degree from my trad skis which I binned this year due to old age. The Waybacks also don't have much rocker, maybe it was just a shitty noodly chinese ski that was the issue? The fact that the local ski tourers like them doesn't mean too much as 95% of them ski like goats anyway.

So to conclude, if people like rockered skis and feel it improves their skiing that's just daisy if it does. I suspect width is a big factor, I had some 100mm trad skis that I fitted up for touring but they made skiing so easy it was no longer any challenge at all (I like a bit of a challenge, just a predictable one). I'd be happy to test some DPS Wailers some day.
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Confused conversation : Rocker can mean many things....
From full banana (on a powder ski) to subtle early tip rise (on a dedicated race ski).

It is not a simplistic case that rocker is good / bad.
Rather has it been used appropriately for purpose ski is intended ?
IMHO ski manufacturers are still discovering what rocker can do.

On powder skis rocker is a proven concept that stops tips sinking. Provides more float for less width.
On all mountain ski for harder snow the manufacturers are still experimenting.
What also makes a massive difference, in addition to rocker, is the amount of tip taper (how far back and wide is the widest part of the tip from very end of the ski).
Generally the flex of the rockered sections of the skis needs to be a little softer as well to allow tips to bend / engage when rolled on edge and weighted.

I am fan of subtle tip-rocker on all-mountain ski.
It means that you can pivot / roll skis into the next turn without out hooking up the tips.
If the rocker has been implemented properly then applying pressure to ski should still bend ski into reverse camber : giving near full effective edge length during second phase of the turn.
This is the important bit many people don't get.

K2 have some 2012 marketing videos that explain 'all terrain rocker' well!


http://youtube.com/v/548Tw-4LbqA

valais2 wrote:
Is this a technique thing? Am I just so used to classic camber (and the up and down movement needed to weight the ski into an arc) that I can't get on with tip rocker skis? Thanks for any further perspectives....


Skiing modern rockered skis does require a subtle change in technique (in answer to Valais2 above).
Dont need such active up-down unweighting as you describe.
Rather than get weight forward and driving the tip of ski you can get away with moving hips sideways / diagonally into next turn.

Lots of parallels can be drawn to the introduction of side-cut to carving skis way back in 2001.
Ski manufacturers had to learn how it worked (in different scenarios) and skiers also had to adapt their technique to the new style of skiing / technology.
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Hang on. I thought that all this rocker stuff had some contradictions (not just differences of view). Everyone says that ‘you need a ski about 20cms longer’. And indeed when I put the 167 Majics base to base, they touch way further down the ski then you might have reckoned - which suggests you need quite a bit more at the tip (my stiff as a stiff thing piste skis) are 154. But then someone has said ‘technique is different with rockered tips...you lean the ski and the tip bends into the slope sp that the whole of the edge then forms the arc-d edge - which gives you the whole of the edge as effective edge...’. BUT which is it? You can’t have it both ways - does tip rocker shorten the edge (so you need to get longer skis) or enable the whole edge to be engaged (in which case you don’t). I think this why rocker has started to ring alarm bells in my head..... I
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valais2 wrote:
@Scarpa, ...now this is interesting. Various videos and reviews say that rocker allows the skier to just tilt the ski and the ski immediately 'cuts into the turn' (their quote and emphasis).But you are saying that classic camber has better turn initiation, which is exactly what I experience. The hype is 'no hook rocker' but hooking up the tip and getting the edges in surely is exactly what I DO want to do? Is this a technique thing? Am I just so used to classic camber (and the up and down movement needed to weight the ski into an arc) that I can't get on with tip rocker skis? Thanks for any further perspectives....


I think there is a need to cut through marketing BS and think about what is going on with contact points and physics etc. Any ski a semi decent skier is going to ski, you need to get a feel for and dial into how it's particular geometry and other attributes affects the ride. So big rocker on a FIS SL ski = big mistake, big progressive rocker on a fat skis designed for 3D snow = good idea. IME even full clown shoe rocker (let's take say the old Movement Flyswatter as an example, maybe a Hellbent) is really good fun on softish pistes. You just need to remember you aren'ty skiing something 2m long and expecting it to behave as such - you ar skiing something 1m long with about 90cm of effective edge and capability to pivot and slide and spin on demand. There are many many things wrong with the ski industry when it comes to ski design and marketing which are aided and abetted by the somewhat reactionary nature of the instruction profession. There are great designs being made which without a doubt help you buy a turn and make skiing more fun in all sorts of conditions but skiers are not honest about their ability, marketeers overegg the benefits and use cases and instructors do not focus time on teaching customers to "play" with different things to get a style sympathetic with their equipment (which basically amounts to "ski feel" and self-awareness). I think most industry pros don't understand lots of stuff re equipment or at least do not ski a sufficient spectrum so what chance has Joe Punter got?
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@valais2, I have skis with a rockered tip (Atomic Storm) and full rocker (Whitedot Director) and find them lots of fun and very turny in the trees.

However, I have also spent a couple of hours on the Black Majic (probably 167, but I'm little) and my view was that they were made out of plasticine and not wide enough to be of use. It may not be you.
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valais2 wrote:
Everyone says that ‘you need a ski about 20cms longer’.


valais2 wrote:
You lean the ski and the tip bends into the slope sp that the whole of the edge then forms the arc-d edge - which gives you the whole of the edge as effective edge...’. BUT which is it?


Both : depending on circumstance / type of ski / personal preference <etc>

A rockered powder ski (say K2 poonton) is very different tool from a subtly rockered piste ski.
Two very different tools, with very different purpose and therefore amount of rocker.
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@valais2,

I tend to agree with you that I don't see any advantage in rockered skis for firm snow. I don't begin to understand how rocker is supposed to help turn initiation on piste. I don't understand why anyone has any difficulty rolling onto the edge of a full cambered trad ski.

However when you skiing IN the snow rather than on it (powder but also cut up crud) the rocker is a big help. It makes tip dive something you don't even have to think about (i.e., less need to stay centred at all times, especially when you release the skis off a lip) and in means you can just tip the skis to turn (the base profile naturally creates an arc analogous to the edge on firm snow - sure you can bend a trad ski into that arc but is happens so much quicker and easier with rocker. The other thing I find is that you can drift the tails at will rather than having to consciously get them off the arc of a trad sidecut - this is the "playfull" character that people talk about.

So I agree and disagree!
Out of choice I'd prefer to be on a trad profile for piste skiing.
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Quote:
You can’t have it both ways

@valais2, it has to be “both ways” though.

The whole point of rocker is the top and tail don’t “hook” some snow surface irregularity. It won’t grip nearly as well UNTIL the skis are tipped far enough for the rocker part to grab hold of some snow. Then, it should become useful.

So in theory, you have a variable length ski based on how far you tip the skis. I suspect probably somewhat sensitive to the for-aft weight balance too. But I’m not sure of the exact effects.

BTW, what’s so bad about a 20cm extra length? Ok, I come from the old days where my skis were quite a bit taller than me! (remember, I’m tall for my weight) My rockered Volkl is still a fair bit shorter than my old straight skis. Toofy Grin
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Part of the problem with understanding Rocker is ski length - "I ski a 170cm ski length. Period. It's the right length for me"

So that person gets on a 170cm rockered ski and finds it has 20cm less of effective edge and moans that it doesn't feel the same and doesn't engage at the same point of the tip. Well no poo-poo.

Try to get that person onto a 180 or 190 rockered ski?- no way that's too long Fuggedaboutit.

I'd argue that tip and tail rocker enable you to go longer in a ski (for occasions when the length migh be useful like flaoating pow or battering crud" without the penalty of giving up piste utility.


"Piste Rocker" is IMV largely a marketing confection with a little bit of truth to it. Just work your higher edge angles imore f you want higher perfoemcane out of such a ski.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:

"Piste Rocker" is IMV largely a marketing confection with a little bit of truth to it. Just work your higher edge angles imore f you want higher perfoemcane out of such a ski.


jedster wrote:
@valais2,
I tend to agree with you that I don't see any advantage in rockered skis for firm snow..


True : for a pure piste ski on perfect groomer there is little need for rocker.
However rocker can make an all mountain ski (say 90mm upward) more usable in variety of snow conditions.

- easier turn initiation (on piste and off).
- more float / tips don't dive.
- can skid ski sideway in tight spot / trees

the problem with this conversation is that it is trying to define what 'rocker does'.
in reality answer depends on primary purpose of the ski.
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I’ve bought a pair of Black crow daemons after hiring a pair of previous season Mantras and both are full rockered. Loved skiing both. Easy to turn, good edge hold when you get them over and in fresh snow they float so loads of fun for me
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I have a pair of Volkl 108s which have a very light rocker along the full length of the ski and off piste they allow me to ski in a manner that I think would have been out of the question for a typical holiday skier when traditionally cambered skis were all there was. Most winters I go on a single one week skiing holiday and the most days that I have ever skied in a single winter was twenty but I can ski with speed and control down 35 degree slopes in deep powder, cut up powder and other variable snow so long as it is softish matching a guides tracks or making my own through trees and over small drops*. Without the rocker present I just don’t think that I would ever manage to ski at this level. On piste they are a hoot as well as the gentle rocker allows the full ski to be engaged and carve out big arcs at speed but I’m not going to argue that they would match a good piste ski.

Amongst a certain group of skiers there seems to be quite a lot of snobbery towards rockered skis but if they can boost a one week a year skier’s ability like that and as every single competitor on the freeride world tour uses them then it seems a reasonable conclusion that by skiing traditionally cambered skis off piste you are holding yourself back. Sure, you might prefer the feel and challenge of more traditionally shaped skis off piste but rockered skis would allow you to do more and do it faster/in more control.

*I have been very lucky with conditions in the past few years, maybe in poorer sow I would be less enamoured with them
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Now this is what I call ski-ing


http://youtube.com/v/WuFHKvBZj3w
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rambotion wrote:

Amongst a certain group of dinosaur skiers there seems to be quite a lot of snobbery towards rockered skis


FIFY
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davidof wrote:
Now this is what I call ski-ing


http://youtube.com/v/WuFHKvBZj3w


Very cool! Marcus Aston is a great skier... skis Blizzard Rustler 11’s
https://www.instagram.com/p/Btbja8AAtk-/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=19yykal6n1i6e
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BobinCH wrote:
davidof wrote:
Now this is what I call ski-ing


http://youtube.com/v/WuFHKvBZj3w


Very cool! Marcus Aston is a great skier... skis Blizzard Rustler 11’s
https://www.instagram.com/p/Btbja8AAtk-/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=19yykal6n1i6e


The first section with the tip of the hat to those 70s extreme ski movies where they billy goat down a 60 degree slope like Boivin, excellent.


http://youtube.com/v/MWGBLg9ndTc

The fact that it took a quarter of a century for the Moine to be repeated is a testament to the size of Boivin's cojones.

Straight 2 meters skis are due a comeback real soon.
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@valais2, My piste skis are traditional FIS SL and GS skis and they really respond well to forcefully driving and steering with both tips as you would expect. Not very forgiving if you get it wrong and they love to be worked. My all mountain has an early rise/semi rockered front and as mentioned, my fat skis have massive rocker fore and aft. Even those are fine for carving on piste, but as others have said the style is slightly different to get the best out of them. More centrally balanced and a bit more gentleness when engaging, not banging the edges straight in.
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@Scarpa, ...this is really helpful. It suggests that I need some time away from my 'second skin' Volkls. I use so much forward pressure when I ski hard that by mid-season I have no hair on my shins and definite shin bruising from the force. It suggests that I have refined my technique for trad camber and have not adapted to rockered skis like the Majics. That suggests I need more time on the Scotts and with significantly revised style. I do indeed bang the edges right in and have a right old fun time so doing.....but I need to learn something more subtle and different it seems....

...excellent advice and insights...many thanks
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I know what you mean, my go to ski is the Nordica Doberman SL, it's just so much fun on a piste no matter what the snow conditions are.

My observations are only what I found personally with having very different skis. I had a great crash on the Bent Chetlers on an empty piste trying to make slalom style short turns bouncing into the air and landing on the opposite edges. With 120mm planks like that I ended up getting the two skis going in different directions Laughing Embarassed

I found that getting them in slushy spring snow or light fresh snow and playing around with all the different ways to turn them really gives you a feel for how they work. My rockered skis are 8cm longer than me and yet they are so nimble for forest skiing, you can spin them on a sixpence and use terrain to change direction easily. One thing I found was that off piste on the fat skis my old stiff race style boots were too uncomfortable for rough terrain, I bought a pair of slightly more upright freeride boots with a touring mode and they work brilliantly. If you are on mainly icy stuff though a stiffer boot should be fine, both my boots are 130s but the Redsters are way stiffer than the all mountain boots.
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Very interesting thread topic@valais2, and much more nuanced than first appears.

Early rockered skis I saw someone coming back on piste with what looked like the proceeds of mugging a rocking horse. Just thought they looked comically designed. Then sitting down to a very good cheese ravioli at one of my favourite terraces in the sun, pondering if it was me being of closed mind about this direction of ski.
Looking at them more seriously they seemed to be more promoted for off piste, or as they came more into more on piste skis, no real knowledge given out as to why they made things better. More the usual guff about easier, better, latest etc etc. Not very illuminating in real technical sense to describe why they should be the destination of your cash. Just seemed to be the manufacturer saying that if their competitors had them, then they too would have to produce something to avoid loss of market share.

As previous poster's observations, they can offer a very different experience depending on how they are incorporated into the ski design, and target almost completely different aims, but all under the single guise of "rockered".

I feel that mild on piste rocker offers a huge progression of ski engagement. Also it's, too me at least, a myth that such a ski "needs" to be longer to match a traditional camber. That's something often repeated and can be very misleading.

I'd more view it as the initial phase of the turn is very subtle and controllable as effectively a shorter ski with less leverage over your foot starts to engage the snow with the skier just gently rolling it to one side. Keep rolling over and the next phase of the ski out to the ends (already pre bent, mostly) starts to pick up the snow with more edge. Keep generating still more turn and the ski bends further to run the turn shape you allow it. A good ski will go through these transitions seamlessly making them feel very natural. Some of the early ones just felt weird though, guess they learnt more with each iteration and refined their target skier.

Interestingly (related to your other thread about Kastle Colby) I'm using as a general ski, Kastle XX90 the next size up from the Colby. Unlike the 80, they have a very small amount of rocker, both front and rear. Otherwise the same true twintip, with both centre mount marking and all mountain back from central. Mine I mounted AM as not really used in parks.

We've been skiing with families, kids etc. They go from those kids rat runs through troughs and pots in the trees right up to itineraries etc with absolute ease. I can't quite believe the range of operation in which they don't just cope, but are truly at home on anything I can point them at.
Not only that, they'll run absolutey flat out on clear piste and completely unfazed. I'm under no illusion that they'll compete with a specialised skis in slalom or GS etc, but they really do extend a very long way into so many areas of discipline.

Out with the pistuers before opening in Les Arcs, in March with pistes very crisp corduroy, everyone was running really fast and about 30 skiers total. Quite a few others crashed on this, nothing serious and mainly low side falls where the ski just won't bite as it's tipped into a turn. It didn't look like anyone was running race stuff that would be ideal for this. But these gave such a feel of control that you could push them right up and through that point of grip at which they start to slide, and critically bring them back in with absolutely no feeling on impending doom.

Interesting what @Scarpa, says about technique. I've come from a fairly opposite experience build to your own stated preference. Much more malleable skis on which I like the feeling of having to moderate that front end loading in order to get the ski steering as I want it.
Not a criticism of powerful high grip front end skis, I just like playing with what I call understeer ( from cars and motorcycles) and divining a way to encourage the ski to give me grip.

Those Kastle just seem to give me anything I want though (not specifically them, I'm sure others art experiencing the same with other rockered skis) and seem to offer almost any turn radius the skier asks.
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@Scarpa,
Quote:

I had a great crash on the Bent Chetlers on an empty piste trying to make slalom style short turns bouncing into the air and landing on the opposite edges. With 120mm planks like that I ended up getting the two skis going in different directions


Very Happy Nearly all my falls this season have been when trying to do short carved turns with rebound on my R108s and getting stuck on the wrong edge.
Last time I did it I asked rhetorically "not sure why that keeps happening".
My 16 year old (who skis on 89mm waist and has never skied more than 96mm) - "oh your weight is getting stuck on the inside. It must be tough, you have to open your stance to get the high edge angle because of the width then you have to move your body a long way to get through the fall line really quickly".
He wasn't wrong.
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@ski3, Having skied Kastles I think some of the wide performance envelope is down to the quality of the ski - I skied a BMX 105HP at a demo and felt it probably had the largest bandwidth of any ski in its class. Utterly reliable. You are right on the length point of course - there is no need to go much longer in a rockered ski but depending on the nature of the rocker you do need to be preared for similar length skis to "feel" different.
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