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Turn radius

Sandrinjo

Certified Ski Diva
#1
Hi guys,

i’ve been wondering about something lately.
I was an advanced-expert kid skier, was in ski school/club etc but then made a 15 year break and i am really bad with ski terminology( i barely remember any terms plus it was in a different language). When i started skiing again i did not take any classes, went on the bunny hill by myself and a 10 days later i was on the black runs. I guess it is truly like riding a bike, you can’t really forget to ski. The reason why i am writing this is because what i am about to ask might seem obvious to you guys. I am wondering how much your ski turn radius impacts your skiing. I get it, short radius skis make shorter turns, long radius longer turns. But what is the actual difference between skiing short and long turn radius skis in bumps for example, or steeps, anywhere. Are long radius skis still easy to turn ?

I realized all my skis had short turn radius, and when choosing my skis now i went with my second choice only because my first choice had long turn radius and it scared me it will be different to what i am used to and that I won’t like it.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#2
Good question! But I'm afraid the answer isn't so simple. There are a lot of things that factor into a ski's performance. Radius is only one of them, so you really can't judge based on that alone. There's length, stiffness, camber, width, mount point -- all of them can make a huge difference. In general, though, you're right: the bigger the side cut, the longer the turn will be. But this can be finessed. For example, a longer sidecut ski can be made more maneuverable if it's in a shorter length.

I guess what I'm saying is don't let a long turn radius scare you. A ski's performance is a combination of factors. The best way to see if it's right is just to give it a try.
 
#3
Short radius skis can be made to turn longer, larger radius skis can be made to ski shorter turns, but so much of that depends on the construction of the ski. A lot of the professional reviews of skis will often mention if a ski has a wide range of turn shapes or is stubborn and only likes one kind of turn. I'm a turny gal and prefer my skis with a very short turn radius. But sometimes I like to ski long sweeping arcs so I look for skis that aren't too particular.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
@Sandrinjo, turn radius refers specifically to an arc-to-arc carved turn where the tail follows the tip and leaves pencil-thin tracks in hard snow.

If you want to make that type of turn, then the turn radius is very important. It tells you what turn size your ski will make if tipped on its side and barely bent... railroad tracks for instance. All skis bend, so you'll be able to bend them and make a carved turn with a shorter radius than the published one, if you know how to carve.

But turn radius doesn't tell you much about the size of turns you can make if you manually rotate the skis across the snow surface or if you get the tails to slip while the tips grip. Both of these turns will leave wide tracks on a hard snow surface.

The anatomy of some skis makes this type of turn easy; others not so much. How dramatic the camber, the tail shape and its stiffness, the torsional stiffness built into the whole ski, and the presence or absence of rocker all figure into how easily you'll be able to do pivot slips and turns with some pivoting and/or intentional slippage.

What skis do you have?
 
#5
Generally speaking I have found I can condense the arc of a carved turn a little bit beyond the stated ski's radius more easily that I can force a short radius ski to carve a wider arc than it is rated for. In bumps I never carve 100% of my turn so radius (which is usually measured by a ski in a carved turn) matters less.

Truthfully, in steeper terrain, trees or bumps, or even most groomers with other skiers on them I don't carve either as the speed would be too much.

As was mentioned earlier so much more than radius goes into ski design. I love a hand me down pair of racing skis. Designed for high speed large radius turns they actually make some of my favorite medium to short skidded turns ever!
If you can demo a bunch of skis do so. Try varying conditions too.
 

Sandrinjo

Certified Ski Diva
#6
@Sandrinjo, turn radius refers specifically to an arc-to-arc carved turn where the tail follows the tip and leaves pencil-thin tracks in hard snow.

If you want to make that type of turn, then the turn radius is very important. It tells you what turn size your ski will make if tipped on its side and barely bent... railroad tracks for instance. All skis bend, so you'll be able to bend them and make a carved turn with a shorter radius than the published one, if you know how to carve.

But turn radius doesn't tell you much about the size of turns you can make if you manually rotate the skis across the snow surface or if you get the tails to slip while the tips grip. Both of these turns will leave wide tracks on a hard snow surface.

The anatomy of some skis makes this type of turn easy; others not so much. How dramatic the camber, the tail shape and its stiffness, the torsional stiffness built into the whole ski, and the presence or absence of rocker all figure into how easily you'll be able to do pivot slips and turns with some pivoting and/or intentional slippage.

What skis do you have?
Thank you for your answer! It really did help me understand it a bit better. I used to have: k2 thrilluvit and fulluvit and now i have k2 alluvit and armada victa 87. Without considering turn radius, the only reason i kept the alluvits is because i like them in trees and bumps more then victas ( they have 12.5m turn radius and victas are 18) . I find them to be too soft and don’t really ski them anymore unless i know i will spend most of my day in the trees.

I was shopping for some wider skis and my first choice was atris birdie 169 with 20m turn radius and second pandora line 165 with 14m turn radius. I usally ski powder days with long time locals friends who know where to find untouched powder but also ski a lot of trees and at the end got scared and got pandoras.
 

Sandrinjo

Certified Ski Diva
#7
Generally speaking I have found I can condense the arc of a carved turn a little bit beyond the stated ski's radius more easily that I can force a short radius ski to carve a wider arc than it is rated for. In bumps I never carve 100% of my turn so radius (which is usually measured by a ski in a carved turn) matters less.

Truthfully, in steeper terrain, trees or bumps, or even most groomers with other skiers on them I don't carve either as the speed would be too much.

As was mentioned earlier so much more than radius goes into ski design. I love a hand me down pair of racing skis. Designed for high speed large radius turns they actually make some of my favorite medium to short skidded turns ever!
If you can demo a bunch of skis do so. Try varying conditions too.
Thank you! Yes i made a mistake of buying the new skis considering just what i do not like on my current skis without demoing. If demo days do happen this year i will for sure try to do so.
 

Sandrinjo

Certified Ski Diva
#8
Good question! But I'm afraid the answer isn't so simple. There are a lot of things that factor into a ski's performance. Radius is only one of them, so you really can't judge based on that alone. There's length, stiffness, camber, width, mount point -- all of them can make a huge difference. In general, though, you're right: the bigger the side cut, the longer the turn will be. But this can be finessed. For example, a longer sidecut ski can be made more maneuverable if it's in a shorter length.

I guess what I'm saying is don't let a long turn radius scare you. A ski's performance is a combination of factors. The best way to see if it's right is just to give it a try.
Thank you! I will definitely try to demo some skis this year as i guess the only way to fully understand is too ski it myself.
 

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