What is the best type of ski for a 15 offer -- mid-level or high end?

TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 551 Crazy Baller
edited November 2015 in Technique & Theory
I recently posted that I had decided to move from a high-end ski (2014 Connelly Prophecy) to a mid-level ski (2015 Radar Senate Alloy) in order to give me a more stable, forgiving platform on which to develop fundamental course skiing skills. I had become tired of the hard falls that I partially attributed to being on a ski that was designed for someone beyond my ability level. My theory was that if I was on a ski that was more stable and forgiving I could focus more on developing proper technique and improve my confidence, thus improving my skills. I was therefore surprised at how many people responded to my post with the opposite experience -- beginning course skiers improving by jumping on a super high performance ski.

This poll question therefore assumes a beginning course skier has access to both a mid-level ski like the Senate and a top-level ski like the Prophecy (or Vapor or V-Type or Quest, etc.), so price is not a factor being considered at this point. Rather, if a beginning course skier running 15 off (18.5M) at 28-32 mph and wanting to improve, would you recommend using the mid-level ski or the high performance ski?

What is the best type of ski for a 15 offer -- mid-level or high end? 69 votes

I would put the beginning course skier on a top-of-the-line ski if available.
17%
A_BjhughesskialexkfennelllundbergbananaronThe_MSaussiemcbkreisALPJrRivvyjerrym 12 votes
I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
82%
HortonmopowpowdislandWeappaLZywicki1Chef23Cam[Deleted User]Than_BoganAliMattPGarnToddLBulldogcamjamlottawattaraljackskiWBLskierdbski 57 votes
chrisroddy
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Comments

  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,998 Mega Baller
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    There are definitely two schools of thought... Ski the best gear you can vs. ski gear suitable for your level.

    I think the first adage is applicable once a skier is competent in the course. Top-of-the-line doesn't have to equate to radical. However, often they are very responsive which can rock a beginner's world a bit. For a true beginner on slalom, I would look for stability, predictability, and somewhat forgiving ski models.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • RazorRoss3RazorRoss3 Posts: 1,420 Mega Baller
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    Probably the mid level but I don't think what is in the water is as important as what the skier is doing on top of it. At that level you just want something that isn't too squirrelly under your feet.
    Horton
  • lcgordonlcgordon Posts: 282 Baller
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    Another question if somebody has a mid level ski when would you recommending them changing?
  • TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 551 Crazy Baller
    @lcgordon I'm curious about that, too. I am expecting to take the Senate up to 28 off at 34 mph, but I wonder if I would be better off switching to a high performance ski before that point.
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,821 Mega Baller
    edited November 2015
    I would put the beginning course skier on a top-of-the-line ski if available.
    Top level ski with a size up in added length if budget is not a concern.
  • lcgordonlcgordon Posts: 282 Baller
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    @TallSkinnyGuy I am getting into 36mph now and have ran it once. 36 and 34 are a big difference so I may need to before 28off.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 7,043 Mega Baller
    edited November 2015
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    It depends on the details. I think in "most" cases I'd go for the mid-range ski, with the main reason being that I want people to learn at the slowest speed they can tolerate, and mid-level ski usually is more comfortable at such slow speeds.

    But I wouldn't hesitate to put someone on any of the "historically user-friendly" high-end skis like D3 or Radar if I thought that would suit them.

    I know VERY little about the current Prophecy, but the one report I did hear made it sound like it was pretty hard to ride with technical flaws. So if that holds true for most, I definitely wouldn't but a beginner on it. I would totally put a beginner on a Denali -- and I just might with my older daughter sometime next season -- but in truth that would be as much to find out what happens as because I'm confident it would work.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
    Horton
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,590 Mega Baller
    edited November 2015
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    Beginner to me is not running the course. Once you get up to running 32mph you could go up. But it depends on the ski like @kfennell says. Also, I'd say if you go to a high end ski and you're on the border of size go up. I'm on a 2015 vapor lithium 67" weight 175lb. This is the easiest ski I've every been on as far as stability. I'm 15off 34 some. Got to 4 ball 22off today. Also depends what your comparing it to. One of my partners was on a 10 year old KD. He went to a used Strada and saw immediate improvement at 28 to 32 mph.
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 479 Solid Baller
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    In my mind, a beginner would be anyone skiing below their maximum boat speed at 15-off or long-line.

    My reason for recommending a mid-level ski is because they ride a bit higher in the water and the tail sinks less at low speeds. Most people at the beginner level tend to be slower at most points throughout the course, which allows the tail to sink, which then in-turn necessitates tail-riding. In my mind, anything that keeps a beginner skier in a more neutral position is a positive.

    In my somewhat limited experience the mid-level skis are also smoother and more forgiving. I've also heard that many are very serviceable into shorter line lengths (up to maybe 35-off). I just think they are a better, and more affordable, platform on which to learn the sport.

    In the end, while I think that a beginner might learn a little faster on an intermediate ski, I have no direct proof. I think a motivated beginner will make great progress no matter what ski they choose. However, I'm fairly confident that they will be more consistent and have more fun out on the water with a mid-level ski.
    gsm_peter
  • Orlando76Orlando76 Posts: 1,292 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    You really need a third option, as I think it depends on the skier. As mentioned before, in my mind a beginner isn't running the course and maybe buy a high end course ski but a lil larger.
  • TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 551 Crazy Baller
    It seems like a high end course ski that is a little longer would handle the slower speeds better than a shorter ski but will still be not as stable and forgiving as a mid-level ski. That is really what this poll/thread is about -- is skill development enhanced better with a mid-level ski that is more stable and forgiving or with a high-level ski that provides higher performance (faster, etc.). It seems likely that there would be unique situations but what would be best for the average developing skier?

    Personally, I can consistently run -15/28 mph and most of the time run -15/30 mph. I can usually get deep into -15/32 mph and have run it once but am not even close to feeling like I could try 34 mph. My goal is to someday run a full pass at -28/34 mph. Am I more likely to reach that goal more quickly by using a stable, forgiving mid-level ski like the Senate Alloy or by using a fast, nimble high end ski?
  • mopowpowmopowpow Posts: 318 Baller
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    Years ago I learned to ski the course on an HO Burner, it allowed me to slow the boat down more than a conventional sized ski. I did have trouble running anything faster than 30 mph on it. When I was ready to try 32 mph on a more frequent basis, I went to a forgiving ski - D3.
  • slowslow Posts: 559 Crazy Baller
    I learned on a Phantom Truth. I took 5 years off my life
    Horton
  • WaternutWaternut Posts: 1,517 Crazy Baller
    edited November 2015
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    I recommend a mid-level ski to anyone getting in the sport but honestly that's not what I did. I stayed with high-end ski's from 28mph, 15off to 34mph, 35off so take this with a grain of salt.

    Ultimately, I don't think it matters what ski you're on so long as it's setup and appropriately sized for what you're doing. If you're on the mid-upper weight limit of a 36mph ski and you're still working your way up to speed, you should be going up an extra size to compensate. I realize money is no option to the original poster but it really comes down to how often you plan to buy a different ski. I've owned 7 ski's in the last 4-5 years and all were high end ski's with the exception of my first one which was too small but all were the appropriate size for the time at which they were purchased.
  • chris55chris55 Posts: 420 Crazy Baller
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    I definitly recommend a mid-level at the begining just to get the right stance and the feeling. The when feeling comfy at 32mph I will suggest a change.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    I think the key is having enough support for running slow speeds when learning in the course. If you are running a high end speed of the right size to run 34 or 36 mph it likely won't have enough support to make mistakes on at 28 mph. I high end ski in a bigger size or a mid range ski will have more support at the slower speeds and won't tend to dump you if you make mistakes as quickly.

    I would tend to agree with the folks that say when you hit max speed it might be time to look at a higher end ski. That said a ski like the Senate will be provide more support at 28 mph but still is very capable of running 34 mph. I ran 34/28 on the Burner that someone referenced above but I was returning to skiing and had run 36/32 when I was younger on old school skis. For most people progressing I think a ski as wide as a Burner would have problems over 30 mph.
    Mark Shaffer
  • aupatkingaupatking Posts: 1,787 Mega Baller
    edited November 2015
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    While I say I would put a new course skier on a mid-level ski, top-of-the-line skis in mid and wide formats may accomplish some of what you're after as well. Maintaining characteristics at speed, especially low speed, is the main issue. A ski that is designed specifically for that, will most often outperform one that is not.
    Just an example, but when I first started skiing the course after a full year off from an injury and subsequent surgeries, I started back on an extremely user friendly, high-end A1 (High end for its time). At 30 MPH, the ski was set up wrong, and difficult to control. I went ahead and bumped the speed up to 32 and ran my first pass with ease.
    I do think there are advantages of width, over just getting a high performance ski at the next length.
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,417 Mega Baller
    I would put the beginning course skier on a top-of-the-line ski if available.
    The physical size and athletic ability also come into play. Large heavier skier, for sure Senate C, thin athletic guy or gal, top line ski wouldn't be something to hold them back.
    OldboyIIandjulesMISkier
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 874 Mega Baller
    edited November 2015
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    I think the poll misses an important dimension: shape vs materials.

    I think a 26-32mph skier benefits from a mid-level shape - something meant to support the skier at slower speeds. But for course skiers, I think there is significant benefit to getting a fairly stiff layup using higher-end materials.

    Radar and HO have helped expose this nuance by offering the same shape in different layups. I can't comment to the latest models—maybe the current Senate Alloy is great—but my brother had a plain Senate from a few years back and another one of our ski partners had a Senate C, and the difference was night-and-day. The carbon layup took way less energy and got the skier wider and earlier with significantly less effort. The regular senate felt slow in the course. I've come to the (over-simplified) opinion that non-carbon skis are for free-skiing.
    aupatkingWaternutOrlando76Horton
  • Bill22Bill22 Posts: 1,766 Mega Baller
    edited November 2015
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    Connelly has the V and Carbon V. Also they have a ski with the same shape but a little wider (Apex or something).
  • brodybrody Posts: 357 Solid Baller
    The intermediate ski is designed for an intermediate level skier, they will progress faster without developing bad habits or frustrations. Then progress to a high level ski
  • ricski39ricski39 Posts: 80 Baller
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    I agree with @brody, the stability that an intermediate ski offers a 15' off level skier is immeasurable in my humble opinion. I know that when I'm in my glide before turning in for my gates my ski will give a little "shimmy" from side to side. High end skis like to be on one edge or the other and are less forgiving than something like a Radar Senate if you're not nice and stacked over your front foot.
  • art90notchart90notch Posts: 50 Baller
    edited November 2015
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    Well, being a beginner skier who just learned to slalom this summer I would say definitely use a mid-level to start running the course. I went from a Theory making a couple balls in the course while maintaining decent form with few bad habits to an A1. I made a few more balls with the A1, but felt my skiing getting worse. I have since moved to an S2 and having only ridden it once, it seems to suit my skill level and style very well. In my mind, there is more value in maintaining/perfecting your technique on a mid-level before moving up to a top line ski. That being said, I'm a beginner and don't really know any better..
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 721 Crazy Baller
    Sometimes, few rides on high level ski imediatelly shows all bad habbits gained on the more forgiving ski.
    Unregistered
    wtrskiorOrlando76
  • crashmancrashman Posts: 722 Crazy Baller
    edited November 2015
    I went to a 2014 graphite vapor this year at -15 32-33mph and -22 30mph. I found it to be far more forgiving than either the 2010 (non-carbon) senate or the (non-carbon) Vice that I had been on previously. I didn't have a single hard fall this year on it and I skied a lot this year. Part of it is that I'm getting better but also I think the newer shapes (or at least the Vapor) are becoming more forgiving.
    slalom addiction triggering irrational behavior
    Bill22
  • TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 551 Crazy Baller
    @crashman Sounds like you are going to need to change your forum name.
    crashman
  • gsm_petergsm_peter Posts: 841 Crazy Baller
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    I learned on a Theory. Pb 4 at 34 mph.
    Changed to the standard Senate and ski much more consistent now.
    Have tried more advanced skis but they are holding me back.
    Life is too short not to enjoy every day!
  • Bill22Bill22 Posts: 1,766 Mega Baller
    I would put the beginning course skier on a mid-level ski.
    @crashman I am glad to hear you say that the Vapor shape is forgiving for a beginner. I just got a 2015 Vapor lithium, my season is over and I have not been on it yet. I wanted a Graphite closeout or demo but a used lithium was only $50 more (so it was a no brainier). I would not call myself a beginner but an intermediate level, I can make [email protected] and getting into -22.

    After I ordered it I thought maybe it was more high performance than I was ready for. I was on a 2012 Senate C.
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,821 Mega Baller
    I would put the beginning course skier on a top-of-the-line ski if available.
    One of my ski buds who a mens 8 skier moved to a 2014 HO Superlite TX this year. His average has improved by almost 2 full passes up to a consistent deep 35 off. He's run it 8 to 10 times.
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