Ski Choice

by Sean Rose

Winter Paralympian

A lot of people ask me what ski should I buy?

This is such a difficult question and depends on so many scenarios for instance snow conditions and resorts, but mainly down to personal preferences; whether that's cruising or racing the groomers, slaying the terrain park, in/out the trees or preferring to be waist deep offpiste at any opportunity ..... there is a ski to suit all of these conditions but not 'One' that's great in all of them!

So, choosing a ski is a compromise if you can only buy one!

If you're in a position to do so my advice would be to buy two with different characteristics so you can decide what floats your boat in the morning or depending on the snow conditions. It also means you have a spare if you damage one, in which case saving you from sitting out of any remaining days ......

Skis can be grouped in so many ways for example; racing, piste performance, park, pipe, pow, all mountain, etc, etc... 

Most of my days were spent gate training, but didn't mean we couldn't jump into some side stash/powder on the way down on skinny race skis after a training session to have some fun.  Other sitskiers have jumped straight into all mountain or fat skis from day one and still able to carve a groomed piste.  BUT there's always a compromise for both on performance!  If I'm on fatter waisted skis there's no doubt I can ski powder better, if a sitskier is on a piste performance ski with a narrower waist there's no doubt they would be better in a race course or on hard pack snow.  Horses for courses!! THEN there's also the ability of the skier and core strength/stability to take into context.

For example I'm T8 (incomplete) SCI.  My core is limited and gets tired quick.  Holding a ski wider than say 85mm underfoot on edge on a firm groomed run is uncomfortable and takes a lot more effort by having to lean away further from the ski to keep it on edge and stop it from going flat - dinner plating.  An 80-95mm width range ski (all mountain) would be awesome for me in slightly softer condition, little bit of fresh, jumping into the side stash and off piste skiing.  On a full POW day I would stretch to say 90-105mm underfoot, but I'd not be happy back on piste with this (not saying I couldn't ski it..lol) 

My ideal quiver give or take a few m/cm/mm:

1. Piste Performance /GS type ski

 Length 175-185cm , radius 15-27m, waist width sub 75mm

2. All mountain / Powder ski:

 Length 180-185cm , radius 15-21m , waist width 85-99mm

A person with good core would get away with a wider waisted ski than above and vice-versa for someone with no core.  Someone who likes speed might prefer a longer length ski with a longer radius, if they like Slalom type turns go shorter within this range.... and so on! to That's why it's difficult to say what ski you should  buy!

What do I tend to stock to suit most of my customers?

Based on experience and an annual visit to Slide (trade ski show), I notice the current issues when buying skis for sitskiers: 

i. Most piste orientated skis tend to come with a railtrack binding system which is perfect for a stand up skier as doesn't involve any drilling or mounting of the binding to the ski, it's just a matter of sliding the toe and heel onto the track, then set to your boot size and away you go!  The issue for sitskiers is the bindings don't go high enough for most (max 12 or 14 DIN) and the railtrack is predominantly plastic.

ii. Skis that come with a race plate that take a high DIN binding are great but tend to be race type skis and too stiff for many sitskiers, especially beginners.

iii. Bare skis without a railtrack, riser or race plate tend to be more park, pipe, pow, all mountain orientated and therefore wider waisted.

The solution is to offer: 

i. Skis within a set length (149-165cm), radius (13-16m) and waist (65-75mm) 

ii. Piste skis where I can remove the railtrack system and use a jig to mount high Din bindings direct to the ski

iii. A few higher end skis with race plates to take a High Din binding

iv. Mid waisted/ flat deck skis for those a little more adventurous (170-185cm, waist 75-85mm)

iv. Be able to custom order skis for customers from a variety of manufacturers  

Bindings

by Sean Rose

Winter Paralympian

Background:

Bindings are designed for standing skiers wearing boots to release in the event of a fall or heavy load to reduce the risk of lower limb injury.  For a seated skier (mono or dual ski) the last thing we want is to pre-release from the binding when skiing, which happens due to a number of reasons i.e heavy load, hard landing, sliding into a rut sideways, heavy tip pressure, etc .....  The only time you may wish for the ski to release is in the event of a tumble or slide which may cause the ski to dig in and bend if still attached.

To combat pre-release, many sitskiers use a block and/or pin to secure the rear heel piece, which on the positive side reduces the chance of the binding pre-releasing whilst skiing, but on the other hand it won't release in a fall and could cause extra damage - worse case scenario it pulls the toe or heel piece apart damaging the ski and binding.  It's your call......

Another practise is to have toe piece guards on the boot/foot of the monoski or another method is a pin in the foot which locates in a hole drilled in the binding. Both methods vastly reducing any lateral toe release - which is a common fault in some sitski designs and footplate shapes n.b this comes standard on all Tessier sitski models and creates a whole new level of confidence!

Caution! It's worth noting that whilst using either of the methods above, even the strongest bindings will still pull apart if excessive force is applied.... usually from a big stack!

Binding solution:

Use only the strongest bindings on the market with the highest DIN settings. These tend to be race orientated and be made of metal or a mainly metal construction - but as you have probably guessed these unfortunately are most expensive! In addition, have a lateral toe piece guard on your sitski base to minimise the amount of toe releases.

What size DIN settings do I need?

This is a tough one, as some light skiers who ski quite delicately on a dual ski can use a 12 DIN binding of normal construction and be absolutely fine. However, a heavier mono skier for example racing or in the terrain park will want something say 18 DIN and above!  It's worth pointing out at this point in my experience the higher the number above 18 doesn't necessarily make it better, there are other things you need to take into consideration i.e brand, type and construction as well.

Having tried and tested the bindings Seated Sports provides I'm confident these are among the best on the market!

Summary

by Sean Rose

Winter Paralympian

Experience is the key to deciding what ski works best for you, but for those without it, I hope the information above helps.  

 

Please get in touch if you have any further questions or wish to know whats in stock?

'A new ski isn't going to make you a better skier, that comes down to mileage'