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MasterFit Buyer's Guide available FREE for a limited time

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#1
I know this may sound like an ad (it's not), but for a limited time, the Winter 2021 edition of the Masterfit Buyer’s Guide is available as a free download at https://masterfitinc.com/buyersguide. The guide provides reviews and analysis of the upcoming season’s new gear. It's edited by Steve Cohen (publisher), co-founder of Masterfit University and former editor of SKI magazine; Jackson Hogen (ski test program director) creator of realskiers.com and a former product manager at major ski equipment brands; Mark Ellling (boot test program director), education director of the Masterfit University Bootfitter Training Centers and a master bootfitter in Bend, OR; Iseult Devlin (editor), certified level 2 PSIA instructor and former editor of Skiing Magazine and Sue Yarworth (art director), graphic designer and PSIA level 2 Alpine instructor.

The ski testing team includes 6 men and 18 women (more women than men!) with a combined 600 years of experience. The boot testing team totals 39 skiers – 27 men and 12 women – with a combined 975 years of experience.

I'm not sure how long it's available for free, but you might want to get it now while the getting's good!
 

Abbi

Angel Diva
#4
It was nice to see a 69-year-old woman on the boot testing list! Not that she couldn’t ski circles around me every minute of every day..... :ski2:
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
There are explanations of how the terms "Power" and "Finesse" are used to describe skiers and skis in this document. I find these definitions thought-provoking. Jackson Hogan wrote them. Comments?

At Realskiers.com we use the terms “Power” and “Finesse” to describe two distinctly different skier styles and the skis that are best suited to them. A Power skier is technically proficient, comfortable at high speed, and able to ski well in all conditions. Finesse skiers don’t apply as much force to each turn, tend to skid rather than carve, prefer comfort to speed, and generally avoid conditions which challenge their more limited skill set.

Power skis’ primal characteristics include a tenacious connection to the snow throughout the turn, the ability to stay connected at high speed. and an emphasis on precision over ease. Finesse skis are more responsive at slower speeds, have a large sweetspot and are easy to drift, which makes them preferable for skiers for whom technique isn’t as important as comfort.

Some ski models are made for highly skilled skiers who are capable of extending their feet far out from under them in order to set their skis at a hih edge angle. These skiers are comfortable at speed and capable of varying pressure, stance, and degree of edging to handle any terrain. We classify these skiers as Power skiers.

Finesse skiers may have a very polished skill set, but they don't generally exert as much force, ski as fast, or attempt to set as high an edge as Power skiers. Their preferred skis might be softer flexing, less cambered, and more forgiving.
 
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WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
^^^^
There are explanations of how the terms "Power" and "Finesse" are used to describe skiers and skis in this document. I find these definitions thought-provoking. Jackson Hogan wrote them. Comments?
^^^^
Hmmmm I instinctively equate power with force and finesse with balance and lightness.

aka I can turn a horse by jerking a rein to one side or gently shifting body weight and applying light leg and hand to guide. I also think you can have both power and finesse. Neither are exclusive of each other.

You can be a very powerful skier that has the ability to harness that power thru fine movements and balance. They are the most beautiful to watch. Fluidity of movement and ability to use power with out extra exertion is the ultimate goal in any sport.

So yes this is thought provoking because its an overly dumbed down explanation of who may want a specific ski with a condescending reference to finesse skiers not being technically advanced.
I don't know who the author is. Its their definition "at Realskiers.com" so I guess they can make up what ever they want, but its not my definition. They seem to be mixing levels of skiing with types of ski styles.
 
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Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#7
Yeah...i'm a little more opposite. Power...muscle. Finese- technical, harness the energy, enough effort, smooth...

In ski reviews I've always looked for the finesse skier. I'm not muscling my way around a turn.
 
#8
I'm not sure the use of the word "finesse" is doing what the author wants it to. Like @WaterGirl mentioned, finesse and power aren't mutually exclusive, and neither implies any particular skill level. It almost reads as though the author wanted to find a "nice" term to describe the behavior of skiers he considers less-skilled. It feels as though he believes that to be a highly skilled skier necessarily implies that one will be hard-charging all the time.

Was this an example of Mansplaining? I don't know who the author is.
I honestly had the exact same instinctive reaction! The author doesn't mention gender at all, but the piece somehow manages to come across as feeling extremely gendered anyway.
 

WaterGirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
I honestly had the exact same instinctive reaction! The author doesn't mention gender at all, but the piece somehow manages to come across as feeling extremely gendered anyway.
I edited my post to take out that part, but yes, my knee jerk reaction was mansplaining ;0
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
I asked the question because I read gender into it, along with some evaluative baggage. But then I wondered if the dichotomy fit how manufacturers build skis. IF Power on one end and Finesse on the other end of a continuum is a good way to measure ski performance, then the terms may be legitimate. Perhaps manufacturers do think that way too, or perhaps the choice of words could have been better.

The non-gendered description parts had to do with one type of skier who puts skis up on high edge at speed (and the assumption that goes along with that is that the skis are carving arc-to-arc, thus bent under serious stress). Those skiers are going to need stiff cambered skis. Those skiers also ski on off-piste terrain that's dangerous and quite challenging. Skis for them to use need to be composed in a way that supports what they do on that terrain.

The other skier types, those who skid their turns will want and need less torsionally stiff skis that support that skidding and that allow them to get into and out of those turns easily without catching an edge. Those skiers should avoid the dangerous/difficult terrain the others will be on, so the skis they will need for their off-piste skiing will also need to be built differently.

In other words, the real difference is intermediate vs expert. Jackson Hogan, who wrote the descriptions, knows not to identify skis as expert or intermediate. There's a judgment implied in calling skiers "intermediate" and many who are consider themselves as experts" despite not being able to ski all terrain at speed on any day despite conditions du jour. Skis labelled "intermediate" would not sell as well and people with no business being on "expert" skis would buy them.

Jackson Hogan (I tend to like his approach to ski gear and he has always had a good approach to talking about women's gear) had to find other words to describe skis and skier's needs, and the ski industry already has Power and Finesse in its vocabulary. I wish he had not included in his descriptions the word "comfort" or describe Finesse skiers as those who avoid challenges. Those two things he could have avoided.
 
#12
Mr. Blizzard has always criticized his brothers' "power" skiing style. He calls it "bombing down the mountain." He likes to say they don't have the finesse that he and his sister have. But both he and his sister have no shortage of power or speed. (And he has no shortage of ego when it comes to his skiing!) Both excellent ski racers in the old days, and very fast, but can be spotted easily on the mountain due to their playful turns, excellent control, adaptability, and simply beautiful skiing.

This seems unrelated to the definitions in the manual.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
My experience tells me that the major differences in the "two" types of skis are longitudinal and torsional flex, tail shape, and camber.

Generalized ski type #1
Stiffer skis for groomer skiing (stiff across and along the length of the ski) bear up well when they are bent under high pressure. They don't twist along their length nor bend and unbend like a wobbling diving board when the snow is not smooth. These skis instill confidence in charging speedsters who know how to get them on edge and engage them in the snow, something that many skiers don't know how to do. If such a ski has a flat tail with sharp pointed corners, that's useful for holding onto the carve untill the very end of a turn which is also good if the skier knows what to do with the end of the turn. Such a skier needs to know how to let go of that turn decisively. This is something people who know how to carve on hard snow can do but it's not not something most recreational skiers are familiar with. Strong camber presses the tip and tail into the snow so the whole edged ski engages, an essential quality in skis making carved turns.

Put an intermediate skier on such a ski, on hard snow, and those tips and tails are going to catch and throw those skiers around.

Short-cut terms are called for in marketing. Should this type of groomer (front-side) ski be called an "Expert" ski? Or a "Power" ski? Or something else? What word would guide the right skier towards this ski while repelling the wrong skier - without judgement and without gender implications?

Do most recreational skiers want to think and read and talk about tail shape, longitudinal and torsional stiffness, and camber when they choose a ski? Or do they want a short-cut description that matches what they think about themselves as skiers? Marketers think people prefer simple descriptions, so that's what they give them. Those other factors are rarely described in ads for skis.

Generalized ski type #2:
Soft skis easily bend, like a diving board the long way, under low pressure. The pressure the ski feels will be low when the ski is kept flattish, when the skier is traveling slowly, and/or when the ski is edged but the skier has not engaged it in a carve. That bend helps the ski create round turns for the skier, so it's a good quality for that skier. A stiffer ski will not bend, forcing the skier to rotate the ski manually through the turn, which is not so good. Rounded off tails on this type of ski, that are turned up, let go of the turn when it's over, rather than sending the skier off towards the side of the trail in a runaway traverse. Such a tail is important if a skier is a bit aft in their stance. (That tail is also useful if a skier capable of carving chooses to make most turns skidded in order to control speed on crowded slopes, so rounded tails will be found on all kinds of skis, a big sign that the qualities of the generalized two types of skis get blended a lot.) A ski that twists at tip and tail when they are under light pressure, (it's not torsionally stiff), and that has softer or less camber, will allow its tip and tail to smear across the snow in a skidded turn. That's good for these skiers because the alternative gets ugly. Such skis can take off on their own, throwing the skier down on the snow, if the skier's precision is off. Terms you might hear describing this quality are "forgiving" and "large sweet spot." Basically, if a skier is imperfect at staying centered, the ski tail doesn't catch and send them for a joy ride.

These comments are about groomer skiing. I'm a New England skier well-versed in hard snow technique. I am not familiar with how the division of all skis into two types, or a blend of two types on a spectrum, works for fat off-piste skis meant to be used in fresh ungroomed snow.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
All that said, I'll be using a limp noodle of a ski (Salomon 1080, torsionally nill, twin-tips) for bump skiing next time I get on bumps. And I'll also us a competition bump ski refurbished with new bindings that I recently found inexpensive on eBay. These are two entirely different types of skis. If the two generalizations can be usefully applied to these skis, one is a finesse ski and the other is a power ski. Does that then define me as one or the other? Nope.

I want to see which ski does what, and how I can take advantage of each's special characteristics. I suspect after some time on both I'll put one away. I think that if I can lift my skill level enough, it will be the comp bump ski that I'll love. If not, I'll make maximum use of the soft twin-tip. Caution and comfort will not come into play one bit in my choice for using either of these skis. Their performance on bumps will be the decider.

Skis are tools, not identity signals.
 

Hammie

Diva in Training
#15
I took a look at this, and I have to say that the whole thing is pretty sexist. Every introduction to the ski sections makes some mention of women being different or less skilled than men; in "all mountain west" skis, they say that this category is great for an all purpose ski for men, but women can only handle them in specific conditions or their "on-trail aptitude suffers" - no mention of skill set or anything other than gender as a distinguishing reason why. In the copy, women are called women, ladies, girls, and lasses (ugh) while men are... men.

The author has done a massive disservice to all of the people (men and women alike) who tested skis by writing such gendered nonsense as introductions. Someone who thinks I'm incapable of skillfully skiing a Black Pearl 97 down a groomer because I'm female is not someone I'm going to take any advice or recommendations from.

I also took a quick look at realskiers.com, and was somehow completely unsurprised to see that they used a term that is a slur against Inuit people on their landing page to make a joke.
 

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