New Ski and equipment testing - when does it become excessive? Do I have commitment issues?

BoozeBooze Posts: 460 Crazy Baller
I have caught alot of flak from my fellow skier friends, particularly recently, for not sticking with a single ski (and setup) for a extended amount of time. e.g; last year I tried 6 different skis, though this year I'm down to 3...about to be 4. Note that some skis carry over from one year to the next.
I seem to have a reputation for strapping on something different nearly every day, whether it be a ski, binding, liner, fin, wing...not to mention settings. Their argument is that you cannot become one with your ski and find perfect harmony unless an extended (and undisclosed) amount of time has been spent riding it...all occurring without the distraction of other harlot skis with their empty promises of happiness and more buoys.
So I find myself conflicted, because in a way I know they have a point. (it's not the arrow it's the Indian) BUT, there are so many variables to slalom ski equipment. If you feel your ski and setup is not right and could be improved on, what are you supposed to do? It's like every ski has it's unique personality and behavior but is never just right. Now if I could condense all those traits into one ski....voila!

I guess I'm looking for feedback from other shortline tournament skiers, chasing buoys. How many skis have you tried in the last 5 years?

@Horton - obviously you've ridden many different skis in the last few years. Do you feel it has ultimately helped or hindered your performance?


  • RichardDoaneRichardDoane Posts: 4,794 Mega Baller
    it's a good thing if you can ski a consistent score on different skis, means you're doing a lot of things correctly, but smart guy keeps his boots the same
    BallOfSpray Pacific Northwest Vice President of Event Management, aka "Zappy"
  • BoozeBooze Posts: 460 Crazy Baller
    @RichardDoane - I agree with that. I used the same reflex for years, just added that variable this spring. I've settled on the new HO at this point. (though liner is still undecided).
  • RazorRoss3RazorRoss3 Posts: 1,409 Mega Baller
    It will be hard to have a good understanding of what is going right/wrong and what is consistently going right/wrong with any setup unless you've been on it for several ski days, I'd say 10 sets and that might be long enough to know if it needs some slight tweaking one way or the other. Although I might not be the best person to ask since the only change I've made in the last 2 years was to add a little more wing angle
  • JackQJackQ Posts: 459 Open or Level 9 Skier
    I only have the limited capacity ( patience) to try one new ski a year, as I am challenged with very poor on-side turns and need a ski that helps my shortcomings. I usually can make anything work on my off-side, 1,3,5. Consistency is a significant attribute I desire.

    Normally I know in 1-2 sets if I like a ski, but get lulled into.... maybe if I tweak the fin this way or that it will work. In the end I just end up frustrated. If I was a more accomplished ski tuner/adjuster I would try more, but fin tuning effectively is more of an art than a science in my opinion.
  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    @Booze -- are you having fun? Then I say test away!
    Jim Ross
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 1,150 Mega Baller
    I'm all over the place and what I've determined at least in my case is that, you know what, "it's part of the fun for me". And that is OK. I enjoy trying new stuff out. I get excited making a tweak or throwing my bindings on a new ski the night before. I almost can't wait to wake up and ski. I'm not doing it because I'm an idiot or because I think the ski is the problem. I do it because it's friggin' fun to do. For me.

    Last year I went Quest -> Vapor -> REv6. How about that? Every ski I could ski right out of the box really well right up to the limit.

    This year I tried a Syndicate Hardshell, then went back to rubber, then threw the hardshell on my trick ski. That's not all- just for the heck of it I bought a S2 on SIA from 2012, set it to stock, and skied that for the last 3 sets this week. So from a 2000.00 Goode to a 300.00 used 5 year old ski. It was FUN! I was really impressed with the old ski. Still a terrific ski. Last night I put my bindings back on the Goode but slightly back from where they were and guess what? I can't wait to try it again!

    Anyway, for me it's part of the fun and I feel like I learn or feel something new all the time by doing it. Even just switching to the S2 I realized that my work zone needed to shift to be more behind the boat, I was letting up early and the S2 for whatever reason made me realize that since it didn't draw as wide to 2/4 without working spray to spray.
  • ColeGiacopuzziColeGiacopuzzi Posts: 506 Open or Level 9 Skier
    edited June 2017
    @Booze like @RichardDoane said if you can ski consistent scores on a few skis that's awesome, but keep your boots the same, and focus on skis.

    If you're always changing equipment there is a variable changing in your skiing always, meaning you're always adapting.

    Focus on one ski for 20 sets or so and change what you need to for fin settings.

    I'm a firm believer of once everything feels good for fin settings and bindings, why change it? Its just refining your craft on that setup for that point on.

    Its always great to try different stuff, but I'd focus on that in the early spring or fall.
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 6,514 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    If a ski doesn't feel good, tweak until you get it to feel good or move on to the next. When you dial one in, keep it until something better comes along but do not sell it until you are sure its the bomb.
    Shut up and ski
  • KelvinKelvin Posts: 1,311 Mega Baller
    @MS Still longing for that Monza?
    Kelvin Kelm, Lakes of Katy, Katy Texas
  • BoozeBooze Posts: 460 Crazy Baller
    @Razorskier1 - I like the way you think
    @jhughes - yeah, lot of parallels there for me. It's fun to try new things even if it's a used ski.

    Some of those I tried were more for fun or curiosity. Some felt great at 32 but sucked at 35, so those were soon gone. Others were very good and took numerous sets (or months) to reach a verdict.
    Note: I'm back on the venerable XT. It's not the fastest stick on the track but seems to be the best compromise and yields results.

    I will admit there were some of those skis that did numerous things well and given an extended period of adjustment could have been a keeper. But it's kind of like dating a girl, how many dates does it take to determine whether to continue pursuing, or pull the plug? Imagine dating a girl that's hot and nice, but has a grating laugh, man-hands, is a masseuse but won't give me a massage, eats peas one at a time, always wears the same dress, etc.

  • bkreisbkreis Posts: 322 Baller
    @Booze tinkering is fun! as long as you enjoy it it's fantastic!! if you get upset about not skiing well..then that's a problem. but happy is happy and we ski to be happy !!!!
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,986 Mega Baller
    Very repetitive with above, but anyhow: Trying lots of skis, bindings, and fin settings, will typically not help a lot to become a better skier, but also typically not hurt. (Last season I was trying some really "out there" stuff, but then I went back to my regular setup and got right back to normal late-season scores in about a week.) So it really comes down to what you are entertained by!

    I personally have really changed, and may even change back some day. In my first 20 years or so of competitive skiing, I really didn't want to touch my equipment unless I had to. In recent years, I've become very entertained by Mad Science. I have no need to commit to either path for the future -- I'll do whichever one I feel like when the time comes!
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • jayskijayski Posts: 1,091 Mega Baller
    Lets see in the last 3 weeks I have rode a 67" VTX w/Ho syndicate hardshell/R style rear, a 68" VTX w/Ho syndicate hardshell/R style rear, then stuck a HO hard front and a franken rear toe loop w/hyperlite cut down heel cup, changed wing to a Raptor spoiler with sets at varying degrees, then a Warp w/ho hardshell/Rstyle combo, back to the original 67" VTX setup then fin back to stock fin settings...Sooner than later the Raptor wing will migrate on the 67"...Stick with one thing....not in my psyche...if you don't try something how do you know what is better? Sure you can stick to the same thing and gain buoys but do you know if your missing something that might help you gain more or make things easier? You educate yourself on the way even though failure in certain aspects is a given.

    The greatest inventions came from LOTS of failure, perseverance and not "sticking to one thing"

  • keithh2oskierkeithh2oskier Posts: 831 Crazy Baller
    I have almost never tweaked my gear for fear of making it worse but I am a firm believer that I did myself a great disservice to my skiing the last 15 years by not trying adjustments and essentially not progressing my skiing. Last year I finally broke away from my older D3 and tried a Connelly and instantly loved it. But I needed to make some small tweaks and it felt better. After sitting all winter I kept thinking about buying fin whispering but held off as I am not a tweaker. This season got off to a really slow start with taking several sets to start running 22's and 28s consistently. I wasnt even thinking about my 32's. I finally broke down and got fin whispering. I wasn't thinking about making many changes but thought it would be a good idea to at least understand what the ski can do. Still reading a bit in the evenings but I finally decided it was time for a change. In between rides last weekend I broke out my calipers and made a change. Next set, I went out and ran 3 easy 28s, and back to back 32s (first time running it this year). Had to try a 35 just for the heck of it. I am giddy.

    Moral of the story. If you don't want to be a tweaker, stay away from @SkiJay Fin Wispering. It was a lot of fun to try something new. I wont be changing skis all the time but I am all for playing with different setups.
  • lakeaustinskierlakeaustinskier Posts: 389 Crazy Baller
    If I'm in a slump sometimes trying something new will make me reassess my skiing. I'm more aware of my body position, timing etc. Helps me reset my mind. If the new ski works after several sets then I have a new girlfriend - if not, then someone else can date her. The key is making is making a fast decision to dump the ski and not lose much money.
    Ted Thomson, Austin Texas, Aquaplex
  • Mike GileMike Gile Posts: 389 Crazy Baller
    I have skied on five different skis this year and am skiing better than ever. Sometimes switching helps your balance and improves reactions.

    Do what you like and have fun with it!
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 862 Mega Baller
    edited June 2017
    Certainly there are positives to some experimentation, as others have mentioned. I've no doubt it makes you more adaptive and sensitive/aware.

    But, at the risk of being a little psychoanalytic, it's not about the skis, it's about how much we think about the skis. And the bindings. And the handles. Etc.
    @Booze I don't know you or what your ski time is like, so don't take this comment to heart if it doesn't resonate. But I do know a lot of amateur photographers and guitarists who seem to get lost in the world of equipment buying, tweaking, seeking. All their thoughts are about minutae of the equipment, and it seems not enough of their thoughts are on the fundamentals, the art, the craft. In a way, it's fine, if that's what's rewarding and gives them joy.

    If you remember your jr high introduction to the scientific method, one of the most basic ways we learn things is when we alter one variable while trying to hold everything else the same. The most frustrating, most inconsistent but also most significant, and most inexpensive variable in my skiing is me.
  • scokescoke Posts: 756 Crazy Baller
    edited June 2017
    It's like an echo chamber in here. Meaning everyone is saying and agreeing on the same thing. That's not a good thing.

    I'm going in the opposite direction and this is going to upset the apple cart:

    The statements "switch skis and still run the same buoy count! Yeah fun!" Shows exactly that the skier isn't actually drilling down, digging deep, pushing themselves and getting better. They have plateaued and will always be at that level/buoy count with that mind set. Season after season, same buoy count while having "fun". It's proven as it's shifting the personal responsibility away from accountability, working hard and improving. The gear then becomes not the focus, not deliberate practice and work. As skiing is now classified as "fun" mentally and sub consciously. It's a dead end for a tournament skier. Sorry.

    It really depends on your objective.
    If to have fun and ski at your current level, sure go for it. Tinker year after year but enjoy the plateau.

    If you want to evolve skill sets, actually get better and INCREASE scores, year after year tinkering is proven NOT to make the skier run more buoys.

    If my post offended, so be it. But If i resonated with 1 skier and they woke up, that's why I ski.
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 6,514 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    @Kelvin I never should have sold my 07 to Brian Brown. I have 2 new 06s sitting on the shelf for when my N1s crack
    Shut up and ski
  • DeanoskiDeanoski Posts: 1,083 Crazy Baller
    @ms what fin and boot setting do you use on the Monza? I have 06 67 "
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 6,514 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    @Deanoski Put the boot at 29.25, 2.522 Depth, .717 flat DFT and 6.830 tips
    I always ran it a bit deeper and shorter then stock.
    Shut up and ski
  • DeanoskiDeanoski Posts: 1,083 Crazy Baller
    @MS holy deep fin setting compared to todays ski fin #
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,825 Mega Baller
    Tinkering is half the fun. Until you have an OTF.
    boats are like girlfriends you love them however there is another one around the corner - bananaron, July 21, 2020
  • HortonHorton Posts: 31,525 Administrator
    Generally changing skis every 25 rides for the last 5 years as made me nimble and understand a lot things about ski design. I would have leaned a lot less if I did not have access so some of the smartest guys in the sport to explain stuff to me.

    I now know a lot more about things like tunnel depth and flex. Ski shape and torsional flex? Nope, still lost on that stuff.

    It has improved my on the water skills to a point and then I think it hurt me. I am currently digging my way of of a nasty slump that I think was caused by skiing on skis that I just could not make work.

    If I had skied the last 100 or 200 sets on one of my favorite skis I think I would likely be 4 or 6 balls ahead of where I am today. The ski I am on currently is pretty good and I think I know what my next two are and I can hardly wait.

    So there will be some reviews this year. I had to take a break this spring to get my skiing back under control.

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

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  • DaveDDaveD Posts: 1,031 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    For those of us that buy new skis every 5-10 years, thanks for trying all these skis and keeping the ski companies in business. :)

    If I were a higher level skier, I would spend more time trying different skis. I know that making 28off an easy pass has more to do with me than the ski. That said, I upgraded from an X5 to an ARC-S last summer and loving the upgrade.
    Ralph LeeandjulesDeanoski
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 1,150 Mega Baller
    I try enough skis and settings to say that it's worth it to try the new stuff and support the companies. I hopped back on the Rev6 this morning and the ski is so good it's ridiculous. That will end my experimentation for this year. It was fun but it's time to take down green and take a hard look at blue. Couple weeks now, I reckon.
  • Ralph LeeRalph Lee Posts: 492
    Despite his mood swings, @Horton is my hero!! Before BOS I spent most my ski life bouncing ideas and theory's off family members who had never made a full pass.

    Hats off to @Horton and everyone with more money then me, that can demo and share their thoughts
  • Deep11Deep11 Posts: 235 Solid Baller
    Hi @horton - I am curious about what a "slump" for you looks like? I am just coming back from a fractured ankle and whilst my leg is working my skill level seems to have taken a dive and I'm getting frustrated refindng those things that are essential to consistency. I seem to have lost about a pass and a half. When you hit a slump do you lose as much and what do you do to get out of it?
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