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Knee width to ski width

 Poster: A snowHead
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In full geek mode after being bored with Brexit, @mikepow kindly put up a video of a ski geek claiming that if you are on hardpack and skiing on skis wider than the top of your tibia head that you will strain your knee joint when you put the skis on a high edge angle

Does this make sense and Is this true?


http://youtube.com/v/7LCo8CLn6I0&feature=share
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Seem to recall that Smallzookeeper reckoned that the relevant width was the width of your boot. Not sure how different those would be in practice or which would be the right one.

Anyways... I do notice some knee pain if I ski very wide skis on hardpack. Up to 100-105mm is ok for me but wider not so much. Not a big fan of much wider than 105ish on hardpack anyway but sometimes you get caught out with your ski selection
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@skimottaret, I mentioned on the other thread that I can't get my head around why tibial head width would matter... anyone got an idea?
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@under a new name, I can see it in the sense that there will be a moment created at the knee joint (which isn't rigid laterally) even if you are skiing stacked with the femur in line with the tib fib you will get a moment at the edge of the tibial plateau if the ski width is wider.
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@Arno, [geek mode] can't see boot width making any difference other than it would roughly indicate how wide your foot is. The pressure is still applied through the ski edge which is fairly rigidly attached to your foot through the boot and footbed when you apply pressure.

Even if you had super wide feet and the distance between the centre of your big toe and little toe was the same as your ski waist you would still be putting rotational pressure on the knee joint when you tip the skis onto the edge [geek mode off] Toofy Grin
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I'll just take that as saying it takes a lot of leg strength to get a ski over, in and biting on real hardpack (or worse). The wider the ski, the more effort required (at least how I find it - and with my skinny-ish (and buggered, sore) knees and weedy girly muscles, I'll stick to low 70s waists in those conditions.
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g wrote:
The wider the ski, the more effort required
..that answers the question I was just typing in.

The further the engaged edge is away from where the force is being applied (through the boot), the more rotational force is required, I'd guess.

I'm a snowboarder, and if you try to ride a very wide snowboard on hardpack with relatively small feet, it's really hard to do it because you're working at
the same disadvantage on that sticking out edge. The problem is two-fold: (1) you have to apply additional force to hold the edge in place;
(2) it's harder to balance on it than normal, because of the mechanics of the set-up.
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Quote:


@skimottaret, I mentioned on the other thread that I can't get my head around why tibial head width would matter... anyone got an idea?


From an engineering perspective. As long as the line of forces are acting inside the width of the Tibia (more or less as obviously the tibia is not a square edged piece of bone) they'll be compressive on both sides of the knee and unlikely to do any damage. Once the line of forces start acting outside the width of the tibia they'll be compressive on one side but tensile on the other which will put strain on the ligaments with an increased risk of pain and/or failure.
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This ties in with the 'Rocker' thread.

Long winded but bear with me. Have to set the scene.

To my understanding wider platform skis have been designed to allow for the maximum surface area to be in contact with unconsolidated snow, resulting in more 'float' and less penetration into the snowpack.

The end result is to make soft snow skiing easier and more consistent.

Skis with tip and/or tail rocker have been designed to:

1. lessen the tips diving too far below the snow surface which could cause the classic 'over the handlebars' double ejection in powder move, and

2. make turn initiation easier in both unconsolidated snow and also in crud and on groomed runs.


With 'rocker', more ski is 'off the ground' which reduces the effective edge length.

The consumer has been told to size up to mitigate this, and in soft snow conditions this provides the double whammy of increasing surface area and making soft snow skiing even easier.

Manufacturer's ploy? I'll let you decide.

But unless you've just won the lottery, stepping out of a heli or cat and only skiing soft snow is not the reality for the vast majority of skiers who own or rent rockered 'fat' skis.

To get to and from the soft snow they will experience a myriad of snow conditions which the ski was NOT designed for.

So on groomed runs the skier now has a wide platform ski which is easily pivoted but doesn't take and hold an edge as well as a ski designed for piste conditions.

Additionally because the skis are longer than they usually ski on (for piste conditions) the skier experiences greater acceleration at the start of the turn.

Put these factors together and what we see is a skier uncomfortable with a larger ski with greater acceleration at the start of the turn on firm snow.

Whilst the rockered shape allows for easier pivoting, most skiers have either forgone/forgotten pivoting for the mistaken belief that they are carving every turn, or have never really been taught it.

Bigger ski which feels unwieldy + uncomfortable acceleration + edges not really biting into the piste =

a) stem christie where the downhill ski is pushed into the snow surface to act as a brake

b) slight hockey stop move at the start of the turn to kill the speed, then 'park & ride' across the slope, then repeat.


What both of these actions have in common is the downhill knee 'dropping' inside the plane of the downhill ski which results in unnecessary and unwanted pressure & strain on the knee joint.

So poor technique on the wrong equipment for the conditions may well be more of an issue that just width underfoot.

But for most it may be at the root of the problem.

To be fair, I've never heard of anyone blowing a knee on blades.
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@Mike Pow, good comments. The first time I skied properly fat skis with had a tip rocker I hated them on piste, the adjustments I had to make essentially involved skiing badly in order to have control over speed and line: big, ugly pivots, stop-start turns, asymmetric turns especially on chambers, just horrible. Off piste they were great, but the snow was so benign (I was in Niseko) that any ski would have been suitable. After a couple of days I switched to a smaller ski, 90mm underfoot with a traditional chamber, and had more fun on piste between off-piste areas and probably had more fun off-piste as I was getting in to the wonderful snow rather more than I was on the fat skis. In a perfect world we'd have a range of skis making it easier to match ski type to the terrain and conditions that we choose to ski.
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@mikepow

As a fan of skinny skis how much experience do you have in skiing properly wide ones?

Nothing you've written isn't logical, although I'd dispute manufacturer's ploy as most trad ski companies had to be dragged kicking and screaming toward the world of wider skis and rocker and 5 point and carbon by indies and upstarts.

Sure there are lots of hacks on wide skis and undoubtably if you are on a wider ski you are occasionally on terrain that really isn't well matched ( the worst ime being early morning refrozen groomers)

But if you ski somewhere where wideish skis are the default daily driver for locals like a Squaw or a Chamonix then you see plenty of talented capable people effectively carving them all over. (looking back at my tracks always dissuades me I'm at this level - pretty hard not to get some rotation with the tails)
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Yup, living next to the Atomic factory I see a lot of Bents about, at 120mm they are far from ideal for the pistes, but most users seem to be locals and they can carve them on piste properly and at high speed, but many of the youngsters come from a racing background and are highly skilled.
Once the powder fest is over then people then drop back to their piste skis. I find that if I am doing a lot of long piste runs on mine I don't half get some thigh burn, but that is more my level of fitness letting me down. My knees are fine and I am over 50.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
@mikepow

As a fan of skinny skis how much experience do you have in skiing properly wide ones?

Nothing you've written isn't logical, although I'd dispute manufacturer's ploy as most trad ski companies had to be dragged kicking and screaming toward the world of wider skis and rocker and 5 point and carbon by indies and upstarts.

Sure there are lots of hacks on wide skis and undoubtably if you are on a wider ski you are occasionally on terrain that really isn't well matched ( the worst ime being early morning refrozen groomers)

But if you ski somewhere where wideish skis are the default daily driver for locals like a Squaw or a Chamonix then you see plenty of talented capable people effectively carving them all over. (looking back at my tracks always dissuades me I'm at this level - pretty hard not to get some rotation with the tails)


Got on the wide ski train early, having at the time (1999) the biggest ski out there, the Volkl G4 (198cm, 118-88-112) Smile

Loved it.

Then over time migrated from that to all-mountain mid-fat skis (went through my instructor training in Western Canada and the Western US).

On to a slalom ski when I was teaching at Keystone Resort, Colorado (Salomon Streetracer, 170cm 125-66-110).

Brought that to Hokkaido and skied it in all conditions and all terrain until I snapped it skiing Kurodake.

Then Movement Jam (175cm, something like 131-85-116) and been on a variety of centre-mounted twin tips since (173-177cm, 113-118 in the tip, 79-86 in the waist).

I did a head to head comparison with my twin tips and the Line Mr Pollard's Opus (vid below) and got them and enjoyed them and felt I could ski them on and off the piste. But as @robrar mentioned above I felt there was something missing being on the powder not in the powder and haven't felt the need to ski a wider platform since.


http://youtube.com/v/-IGa5Yo3Ydk

If I was younger and wanted to jump off stuff and/or skied the majority of my time in soft snow which isn't as good as Hokkaido's then I would certainly be on a wider platform.

I would still go twin tip, but something in the 120-128 tip and 88-95 waist range.

And yes you certainly see seasoned skiers / seasonaires ripping all over the mountain on wider platforms.

I was thinking more about the 1-2 week recreational skier who's taken the technology option over the instruction option relying on muscular strength and bravado to get down.

But this is the group which appears to suffer the broken knees most in my experience.
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rob@rar wrote:
@Mike Pow, good comments. The first time I skied properly fat skis with had a tip rocker I hated them on piste, the adjustments I had to make essentially involved skiing badly in order to have control over speed and line: big, ugly pivots, stop-start turns, asymmetric turns especially on chambers, just horrible. Off piste they were great, but the snow was so benign (I was in Niseko) that any ski would have been suitable. After a couple of days I switched to a smaller ski, 90mm underfoot with a traditional chamber, and had more fun on piste between off-piste areas and probably had more fun off-piste as I was getting in to the wonderful snow rather more than I was on the fat skis. In a perfect world we'd have a range of skis making it easier to match ski type to the terrain and conditions that we choose to ski.


Aren't you just describing skis you aren't dialled into properly? I can't believe with more time and a flexible style someone with your ability wouldn't have been able to get the best from them (which doesn't mean they's be as good as dedicated piste skis on a piste) . The way you describe them it's like you'd been parachuted onto an alien object like a snowboard.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Aren't you just describing skis you aren't dialled into properly? I can't believe with more time and a flexible style someone with your ability wouldn't have been able to get the best from them (which doesn't mean they's be as good as dedicated piste skis on a piste) . The way you describe them it's like you'd been parachuted onto an alien object like a snowboard.
No, I don't think so. I'm describing skis in situations in which they aren't designed for optimum performance. Time to work out what adaptions you need to make no doubt are important, but the more specialist a ski is the more you need to make compromises when it is well outside its niche. My ability, for what it is, doesn't change when I switch to a different pair of skis, and the only way I could manage those fat, rockered skis on piste was to make changes which, in my opinion, moved me away from good skiing to less good skiing. I don't think it was a case that I hadn't got them dialled in, its just that the changes I was able to make for a ski outside of its niche made me a scruffy skier. The same applies if I'm skiing really demanding off piste snow on a slalom-like or a cheater-GS type ski.


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Fri 5-04-19 17:42; edited 1 time in total
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rob@rar wrote:
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Aren't you just describing skis you aren't dialled into properly? I can't believe with more time and a flexible style someone with your ability wouldn't have been able to get the best from them (which doesn't mean they's be as good as dedicated piste skis on a piste) . The way you describe them it's like you'd been parachuted onto an alien object like a snowboard.
No, I don't think so. I'm describing skis in situations in which they aren't designed for optimum performance. Time to work out what adaptions you need to make no doubt are important, but the more specialist a ski is the more you need to make compromises when it is well outside its niche. My ability, for what it is, doesn't change when I switch to a different pair of skis, and the only way I could manage those fat, rockered skis on piste was to make changes which, in my opinion, moved me away from good skiing to less good skiing. I don't think it was a case that I hadn't got them dialled in, its just that the changes I was able to make for a ski outside of its niche made me a scruffy skier. The same applies if I'm skiing really demanding off piste skis on a slalom-like or a cheater-GS ski.


Yeah, you just have a higher standard you hold yourself too. Me - scruffy skiing is part of the package. I just call it versatility to make myself feel better and define good skiing as something that leaves me with a smile on my face.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Yeah, you just have a higher standard you hold yourself too. Me - scruffy skiing is part of the package. I just call it versatility to make myself feel better and define good skiing as something that leaves me with a smile on my face.
I think the absolute level of ski ability is a bit irrelevant. I know I ski better and smile harder when I'm on the right skis for the job in hand. In my particular example, the off-piste snow was so lovely to ski and the on-piste performance was so compromised when I was on 115mm fat, rockered skis the overall experience was improved by switching to a ski with traditional camber and 90mm. If the conditons had been different, perhaps with wind or rain crust, heavy powder, or general manque the rockered skis might have been the optimum choice.

I'm not saying that fat skis = bad, skinny skis = good. Just that skis are designed with a purpose in mind, and the more niche a ski is the more the performance is compromised when you take it outside of that niche. In this particular thread the example quoted is if you spend a lot of time on firm snow with skis significantly wider than your ski boot or knee joint you'll probably end up with sore legs and overly-tired frown muscles.
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rob@rar wrote:
..... if you spend a lot of time on firm snow with skis significantly wider than your ski boot or knee joint you'll probably end up with sore legs and overly-tired frown muscles.


For the next thread entitled 'why do my legs/quads/thighs hurt', can I quote you on this? Toofy Grin
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@rob@rar, I think you're probably right - I just have a hard time imagining that Japanese piste conditions are so firm that a wider ski won't penetrate to the extent that you can ski it with tactics better than combat skiing.


I also find that realskiers/ Jackson Hogan are not exactly neutral on the topic given that they have a longstanding history of reactionary opinion against wider skis. Yep it's self evidently true that powder skis are going to be a pain on hard snow. Does he really need to to a PSA on that?
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Out yesterday on my 98mm (I think) Bonafides for the first time with some Cham locals and when the fresh started going a bit heavy again a first for me I thought something a bit wider would help with the keeping up... Shocked
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