Obviously I have been fixated on skiing this spring.
For all the skiers out there riddle me this?
Skiing steeps in a controlled manner with jump turns or pedal hop turns you will generally end up side slipping some or a lot depending on snow conditions.
One of the reasons most want a stable ski there that isn't wildly side cut. And more importantly I suspect most everyone will want a "balanced" ski mount. By that I mean a ski that you can stand on in a balanced ski position and side slip with good/great edge control and not have the ski go back- ward or forward but simply straight down the fall line with very little or zero effort.
Sure, good skiers can over come a poorly mounted ski. Either mounted too far forward (stand up or if bad enough sit back) or too far back (lean forward or get on the front of your boots) and recover on every turn to a position that makes the ski neutral.
Might even be skiers out there that never use the ski in that manner or simply don't care because they have other priorities on their own mounts. Landing BIG air might be a reason for a forward mount and more ski behind you. I don't know the answer on that one, just guessing by some of the skis I have seen intended for such antics.
In this instance I am talking off piste, steep skiing. But suspect at least for me, all this transfers to every snow condition and every ski I want to use. But, I am firmly convinced that many skis make it or break it in retail sales and reviews because the damn mid sole mounting marks are off. Some times way off.
Sometimes the answers can be a lot more simple than one might first suspect.
Add in the additional ramp angle of some bindings and or the boots you are using and things can get "sideways" pretty damn fast. May be things are never really all that simple? Care to comment?
Determining the mounting position for skis, is part art and part science. When you design a ski, you come up with a theoretical centre mark (usually based on the geometry of the sidecut), but for anyone good at designing skis, this is merely a starting point. Then you need to add in all the other factors that contribute to turning a ski (stiffness profile, camberline, anticipated primary snow condition, ramp angle, etc..) and field test it by doing repeated runs with different centre positions (easily accomplished with rental bindings, where toe and heel are easily adjusted). This is where the art and experience (and unfortunately biases) of the ski designer(s) come into play. Usually we're searching for the sweet spot that suits the type of ski that's been designed for it's anticipated use.
anyhow, I totally agree that not enough focus goes into this with a lot of ski companies who'd rather put their money in to marketing, than actually doing real R and D.
Mounting skis? Simple. Match the mark on your boot to the mid sole mark on the ski*. This is what I've done professionally as a ski tech for the last 20 years and the over 8000+ pairs of skis I have mounted. The only time I don't is when a customer specifically asks for a certain mounting location.
What I do recommend is to measure from the tail of the ski to the mounting point. I've seen as much as 3/8" difference in the markings. All the ski companies I deal with provide a measurement from the tail of the ski to the mounting point.
If you are unsure you are always better off to mount a little back than forward. Ski boots hinge forward which will allow you to be in the sweet spot and balanced if you lean forward. Too far forward and you have to sit back which is a weak and uncomfortable position to ski from.
Michael Johns Repair/Butch Boutry Ski Shop
*as an example the Line Pollard Opus
is marked at -25mm from center which unless you are landing big airs backwards and is useless for most people skiing powder. We mount these 30mm back at -5.5 cm from center which is pretty much where most modern skis with early rise tip and tails are marked
Mike, good info...but then again not all that simple after all as many of the newest skis are marked to be mounted very far forward. Justb as you pointed out it aint THAT simple. I also skied a few this last winter that were mounted too far back. As much as 6cm too far back.
My point is I wouldn't trust any of the smaller new manufactures to have the mount points dialed. Sure you can adapt to anything...but a bad mount position for your own skiing style doesn't make the ski perform as well as it could. I have some more coming shortly on this very subject.
Regardless of the ski you should always measure as I pointed out, sometimes the mounting points are not in the correct place on the ski or as I pointed out the ski might be a pro model with a custom mounting point. I use the tail to midsole measurements supplied by the manufacturer. For most skiers on new early rise tip and tail skis if you measure 5 cm back from the true center of the ski and locate the midsole of the boot there you will probably be pretty happy with the position. This corresponds to the location most skis like the JJ, S7, DPS Wailer etc. recommend. Many of my clientele are very strong skiers so most prefer even slightly further back -7cm from true center as they tend to do more wide open turns and ski at higher speeds.
Regardless any tech worth his salt should never give you 6cm too far back! Nor should he give you a ski too far forward. If I get a ski I am unfamiliar with I check the location by measuring and can tell you where it is in relation to the center of the ski. Some of the small boutique companies for sure have very center mounted skis because they are directed at the free skier market. If you are dealing with a ski that is marked for a center mount 5cm back would be a good place to start for all around skiing.
I see 500 pairs of skis a season, not just what we sell (Atomic, Rossi, Line, Scott, Armada, Volkl, Stockli, Salomon, etc) I mount lots of DPS, Ski Logic, etc. as well. If you are unsure where to locate a binding you can always give us a call, as we've probably mounted one. It will at least keep you from getting out there with a ski 6cm too far back!!!!
P.S. Rule of thumb -5cm from dead center.
Let me know which skis you had too far back and forward, did you mount them or a shop? Curious. Apply the center of ski -5 cm to the mount you like I am guessing it will be close.
Sorry to be pedantic but a binding mounted 6cm back might be out of the mounting area and thus the strength of the mount for the heel screws might be quite compromised, as well the ski is getting thinner and you could pucker the base or have to use shorter screws. Worse if you have bigger feet.
Mike, great info, thank you! I very much value your experience and input. I'm in SLC for OR at the moment but will be sure to call when I get back home later in the week.
You should be the guy writing the ski portion of the blog not me. Looking forward to picking your brain on the details when I get home if you have time.
Hey Mike, Just an observation. I spent some time measuring various new DPS and Rossi & Series skis tonight. None of them were at your -5 from ski center (DPS was more than that) and the Rossis inconsistant for size and ski center. I'll try calling you this week.
You're correct, and I was wrong with the DPS. The measurement from the tail for a Wailer112 184 cm is 78 cm (to midsole mark) which puts it considerably further back. My dyslexic brain stored 87 which would be correct with the minus 5cm....Mounted probably 40 pairs of them and every customer used the mid-sole mark, and the feedback was the position is fine.
As with most rules of thumb they are not necessarily universal. That said, I think it would be best if companies used the same system as Rossi uses marking the middle of the ski and giving graduations in cm
from that point back with recommended positions marked as such.
Most of the major companies are on the money with the mounting locations. The boutique skis not so much.
Here I am whinging about poor info online....that's why I should just stay in the back of the shop and off these silly internets....
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