I have heard all sorts of stuff on early rise and rockered skis. Which are not the same thing. More comments as well on fat skis. Not all of them informative. Found the article below and thought it worth pasting in and repeating.
Rockered, fat skis have changed the game completely. That isn't hype just a new act of life.
The new technology has opened up an immense amount of new terrain to skiers all the while making it easier to ski what use to be terrible conditions. I know that all sounds like wishful thinking. It's not.
I still have Rando and Mtneering skis that aren't going anywhere. But I'll guarantee you will see and hear more on this subject if you spend any time on skis during the winter months.
If you think fat and rocker are "out there" check these puppies out!
The Case for Fatter, Rockered Skis
by Jonathan Ellsworth
I spend a lot of days skiing on some fairly long (185-192cm), pretty wide (100-120mm) planks, and almost every time out these skis tend to draw responses from other skiers. Typically, the comments run something like: "man, those skis are huge, you must be a good skier to handle those things."
My reply: "Actually, these make skiing easier. And safer...."
After countless conversations like this, usually carried out on the chairlift, it appears that the case for wider, rockered skis still needs to be made. So here goes:
(1) In many conditions, fatter, rockered skis are easier to ski than conventionally shaped, skinnier skis (think waist widths of 65-85mm). This fact leads directly to the second point.
(2) Because these skis are easier to ski, they are easier to control, and improved control means safer skiing.
Skinny skis certainly have their place, it's just that this place is primarily in the Olympic games, for skiers wearing those skin tight body suits. To be fair, it can be fun to pull out a pair of 68mm bump skis and spend an afternoon running zipperlines. And I know a few skiers around New Mexico who enjoy their thin slalom skis on groomed runs when fresh snow hasn't been seen for days. (Personally, on days when I know I'll only be skiing bumps, I take out a non-rockered, 78mm ski.)
The problem, however, is that these skis work well only for their designated purposes - mogul runs and groomers - and often become terrible tools when used for other applications, like skiing powder, tracked powder, or chopped up heavy crud.
Skinny skis sink. Since they lack the surface area to float and to allow the tips to rise above or near the top of the snow, the skier is left with one of two options: ski fast, or ski in the backseat.
First option: Ski very fast. You'll need to ski fast enough to get the tips to plane above the snow (just as a water skier needs enough speed to get up out of the water). The problem is that a tool like this (skinny skis) that only works when it is skied really fast should only be used by advanced or expert skiers who are skilled enough and confident enough to shred terrain at mach-looney speeds. The irony, however, is that most of the skiers who are good enough to pull this off have already embraced the wider, rockered skis that are easier to ski, while many intermediate and beginner skiers are still struggling on their skinnier, outdated setups, unaware that their skis are making the sport very, very, difficult for them.
Second option: Get in the backseat. If you lack the confidence or the experience to ski fast, the only way to make it down the mountain is to lean back on your skis to prevent the tips from diving under the snow and catapulting you over the front of your skis. (Sounds like fun!) Of course, the problem here is that leaning back makes it very difficult to turn, since skis are designed to turn by applying forward pressure to the front edges of the ski. Even worse, weighting the tails of the ski forces the skis to rocket out from beneath you, pushing you even farther into the backseat and causing you to go even faster. (Super fun!) So now you are leaning way back, picking up more and more speed, and becoming less and less able to turn. (Gaining speed while losing control = Good times for sure!)
It seems pretty obvious that there is nothing especially fun or safe about the above scenario.
Wider skis provide the additional surface area to keep you from getting bogged down in deeper or heavier snow, allowing you to ski - and turn - at speeds within your comfort range. Rockered skis - skis with shovels, tips, and sometimes tails that begin to rise earlier than traditional skis (picture the legs of a rocking chair) - also diminish the likelihood of tip dive, allowing you to ski in a more centered or slightly forward position, still weighting the front of your skis and maintaining your ability to turn. These skis tend to get their tips caught or "hooked" less by grabby snow, further increasing your ability to turn when you want, and not when you don't - no more sudden crashes or face plants due to "catching an edge." (This is all starting to sound pretty good, no?)
If you have been a bit puzzled or intimidated by wider, rockered skis, don't be. These ski shapes are not just some passing trend, they are key design improvements that have taken ski engineering to the next level. If you like to ski, you owe it to yourself to try some out. Snow conditions that you previously struggled through will become much less tricky. You will be able to ski faster and turn quicker, with more control and more confidence. And this is when skiing really gets fun."
Jonathan Ellsworth does a great gear blog (along the lines of Cold Thistle reviews) @ Blister Gear Reviews and retail ski sales and demo outlet, Whiteroom, where I found this article.
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