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Old December 15th 04, 09:43 PM
Chris Cline
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Hi Bruce-
As another RSN'er mentioned to you in your previous
thread about the no-wax bases, you really DO need to
get out to the shops more ;- )

Or more accurately, you should have done so about 10
years ago.

XC skis have been evolving in several directions since
then, one of which is the shorter/wider/curvier
direction you're discussing.

These skis have been developed precisely because they
DO like to turn, at least better than the
straighter/longer skis. But you're right-- they're
relatively terrible at going straight, especially on
somewhat slick and uneven surfaces such as
groomed/packed snowmobile trails. They're also slow--
no glide, and only partly because of the no wax base.
The other big reason is because they are also cambered
like an alpine ski. In other words, it's an XC ski
that lets you get out away from the ski area (free
heel, light weight, etc), but you pay in terms of that
easy touring (kick-n-glide) ability.

If you look long enough/hard enough, you will see skis
of current design (~5 years or so) that can be placed
all along the continuum from narrow, straight, fast
classic ski to fatter/wider (really wide)/shaped
downhill ski. The trick is to pick where you want to
be along that continuum-- you will, unfortunately,
never find a ski that can do it all.

For what it sounds (to me) like you're looking for,
I'd focus on a ski that is:
1) somewhat wider (but not too wide to fit into a
groomed ski track, if you want to tour at groomed
nordic centers),
2) has a little bit of side-cut (about 6-8 mm
difference between shovel and waist, which is 2-3 mm
of "waist" per side),
3) has an identifiable double camber, but not a super
stiff, high camber (to keep the no-wax pattern out of
the snow at least a little bit while you're gliding,
but to not be too hard to climb with)
4) and of course has a metal edge, at least 3/4

I'm not as familiar with ski selections as I used to
be when I worked at retail stores, but I know they're
out there.

Actually, if you find a good ski, let me know, because
that's a hole in my quiver that I'm looking to fill (I
NEED that 8th pair of skis-- really!)

Chris Cline

--- "Bruce W.1" wrote:

In a local XC ski rental shop here in the midwest
I've seen a new style
of XC ski which looks a lot like an alpine ski.
It's shorter, wider,
and has tapered sides.

This thread has its origin in a previous thread
about modifying wax type
skis, but that's another topic.

At issue here is the tapered sides of the new skis,
and their shorter

It has always bothered me that traditional XC skis
don't like to turn.
Tapered sides would fix this problem. Is there any
disadvantage to
this? On a hard packed surface I'm sure they are
more difficult to keep
straight. In a groomed track there's probably
little difference because
of the sidewalls of the track. But how do they
handle on virgin powder?

The other issue is length. A shorter and wider ski
is easier to turn,
which would be good on twisting/turning trails. A
shorter length would
be more dangerous when crossing a frozen lake, I
would think anyway.
But when trying to stay on top of crusty snow (with
a powder base),
would a shorter/wider ski be more or less likely to
punch thru the
surface, assuming it has the same surface area as a
longer and more
narrow ski?

And why this departure from traditional XC ski
designs? Are these
short/wide skis really only meant for groomed and
packed surfaces, like
skating skis? And would they be suitable for
backcountry usage?

Thanks for your help.

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