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Back Seat Blues

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  • Back Seat Blues

    Since there hasn't been enough discussion of binding activity and its
    effects, maybe someone can help me understand why my new skis are
    kicking my butt all over the hill?

    Here's the background: Last year I bought a pair of 170 Vector BC's,
    mounted them with Switchback X1's with boot center on the line, and
    have been skiing myself silly on them. On this rig I finally began to
    become comfortable making tele turns, and a season on them has left
    me somewhat confident.

    I've been so happy with them that as my only tele rig, it seemed like
    a non-fishscale, longer pair of the same skis for the resort would be
    great, and save the bases for more appropriate use. So a week ago I
    bought a pair of 180 Vectors, mounted a pair of Switchback X2's with
    boot center on the line, and got to go try them out.

    Prior to mounting the new skis, I tried the old ones for a few days
    with the more active bindings; those skis are mounted on inserts, so
    swapping took very little time and presented no wear and tear on the
    skis. I found that I somewhat prefer the X1's, as the transition is
    easier with the less active bindings, and decided that the more active
    ones would be more to my liking on the longer skis. With either
    binding, I found I preferred the more upright of the two ski modes in
    my T2's for nearly all downhill skiing, with the more forward position
    useful for aggressive paralleling only.

    On the new skis, 10cm longer (and SO slippery!) I can't get forward
    enough unless I put the boots in the forward position, and even then
    paralleling is iffy. Also, I find that getting through the transition
    to the tele position is tough, and that hitting bumps just a little
    wrong can put me in what I've come to call purgatory, an unbalanced
    condition between parallel and tele.

    It feels like the tails are edging so aggressively that I almost can't initiate a turn. Then, when a turn doesn't get underway as expected, I get thrown in the back seat.

    So whats wrong, what should I do to correct my technique and/ or my
    gear? I've gotten two short-ish days on them so far and feel very much
    out of control, and miss the comfort of uprightish stance in my

  • #2
    If you put inserts in the new skis, I'd try them with the X1's. Personally, I can switch between T1 and T2 boots and skis of somewhat varying dimensions (not all mine: Voile Vector BC 180 cm, BD Current 184 cm, Praxis BC 180 cm, and Praxis Woo Test 187 cm), but one (of the many) things I cannot do successfully is switch between the X1's and the X2's. Like you, I prefer the X1's, esp. in difficult terrain where I tend to stay low.


    • #3
      What kind of snow / terrain do you want to ski? If its BC and soft, I would follow your preference for sole surfing in an upright stance. Every time I tried to embrace stiffer tele-gear in order to better ski variable conditions, I hated the lower stance / leg skiing vs the upright, ankle skiing of lighter boots / neutral bindings. But for resort / steep / firm snow I would learn the lower stance (or better yet go fixed heel).


      • #4
        Well this is perplexing. Part of what you say sounds like the mount is to far back but then the tails would not edge so aggressively. Usually this sounds like a different ramp angle on the binding or forward lean on the boots but all these are the same. I would put both length skis together and line up the boot center lines and see if something looks off.


        • #5
          Yoyo, You seem to understand that using a more verticle cuff lock is a more muscularly efficient stance to ski in. The problem is that a skier's lower leg angle determins where their hips will be in their stance since knees only articulate one way....

          Below is a diagram of 3 rows of stick figures with 3 different shin angles.

          Click image for larger version

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          the first row of figures show a skier with a proper SHIN ANGLE and that skier is in the "stacked position" (well centered) regardless of how much he compresses his legs.

          The second row of figures shows a skier with insuffient forward SHIN ANGLE. His hips are in the back seat which means he can't drive pressure to the forward edges of his skis. It's very hard to ski that way... as you well know.

          The third row of figures has too much forward SHIN ANGLE. The only thing really wrong with this position is that it isn't very energy efficient to maintain a greater knee bend in all positions. With excessive forward shin angle, bending the knee more moves the skier's hips backward into a "stacked position" at the cost of adopting a less efficient stance.

          There's actually 2 common solutions and 1 not so common solution to correct this problem.

          1) you can ski with your boot cuff locked in a more forward position (as you know) and have a less efficient stance, but it will move your hips out of the back seat.

          2) you can leave your boot cuff locked in the more upright position and shim the heel of binding up to increase the angle of lean of the upright locked postion. (I did this to my NTN freedom bindings to adjust this same situation you are having)

          3) you can disassemble your boot cuff lock bars and weld the current holes and drill holes on the lock bar in a location that is inbetween the the existing 2 holes that don't appeal to you.

          personally, I suggest shimming the heel because it's easy and removable if you don't like the change. Here's a picture of the shims I make for my NTN freedom heels out of 3/16" polycarbonate.

          Click image for larger version

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          I hope that helps you out...
          Last edited by tele.skier; 10 March 2014, 06:59 PM.
          the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile


          • #6
            New skis are the wrong match. You are too light? And the more active (Voile "aggressive" flex) is keeping you from breaking your bellows plus with the skis not behaving - it all falls apart. But the difficulty in parallel suggests ... too light ... insufficient tip pressure. (Though maybe the waxless base slows it all down enough ...).

            Do the Vectors have as much tip and tail rise as the picture suggests?


            Length (cm) 160 170 180
            Tip Width (mm) 115 118 121
            Waist (mm) 92 94 96
            Tail Width (mm) 104 107 110
            Radius (m) 20 21.7 23
            Pair Weight (lbs.oz./kg) 5lbs.8oz/2.48kg 6lbs/2.72kg 6lbs.14oz./3.12kg
            Suggested Skier Weight Range (lbs-kg) 90-140


            • #7
              Aren't the X2 cartridges stiffer? Maybe you can swap then with the BCs?

              Also take a look at your mount, you should be centered on the ski with the same relative proportions fore/aft as your shorter skis.

              The non BC vectors are also a heavier construction, so they may take more effort to flex and they'll have a larger TR. For sure the bindings will ski differently with a more aggressive pivot point.

              If the mount is "correct", then maybe you just need more time to feel out the longer skis?

              You eed some confidence building days on the new gear. Your back seating is probably due more to a change in your technique as a result of being uncomfortable.

              How about some hero days on groomers, practice momomarks, carving exercises, see where that gets you.
              Last edited by Nurse Ben; 10 March 2014, 09:58 PM.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Nurse Ben
                Aren't the X2 cartridges stiffer? Maybe you can swap then with the BCs?
                Yes, 25% stiffer and it's possible to swap them unless you've got very large boots b/c the hardwires are shorter on the X2.

                Originally posted by Nurse Ben
                The non BC vectors are also a heavier construction, so they may take more effort to flex and they'll have a larger TR.
                I don't know what you mean by "heavier construction," but the Vectors and the Vector BCs weigh the same at each length.

                I agree that it makes sense to check the mounts. Voile recommends tele boot center on the line, AT or tele, and they provide a chart for where that line should be, so it's easy to verify:


                • #9
                  I could have swore I saw a blurb somewhere about the BC version having a lighter build, but I couldn't find it foe looking, so it must have been my imagination.

                  10 cm can feel like a lot, but being as he has the set up mounted, well it probably would be best to just learn to ski it.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Yoyo
                    It feels like the tails are edging so aggressively that I almost can't initiate a turn. Then, when a turn doesn't get underway as expected, I get thrown in the back seat.
                    I could be misunderstanding you but I'm going to suggest you should mount the bindings BACK 1 cm from the factory recommended boot center mark. I mounted as you did initially. I wouldn't describe the results the same way you would, but that's probably because my tele technique is different, so the results were different, but the solution might be the same. What I noticed was my Vector BC's had too much tail. So I moved 'em back. 1 cm did the trick. Now they ski great.

                    One other suggestion. It sounds like you're doing the classic tele 2-step. There's nothing wrong with the 2-step, unless it is your only method for initiating a tele turn. Better to have a few tricks you can rely on. Consider initiating the turn, not by stepping forward in to the turn, but by stepping back and weighting the new uphill foot before it crosses the fall line. When done right it yields a confidence in your rear ski that adds stability to the tele turn.

                    ain't no turn like tele!


                    • #11
                      Ive got the BC version of the ski, same bindings, same boots. I would assume they ski similar. These skis don't like to be skied in the backseat period. So, IMO, you arn't driving your knees foreward and keeping your weight foreward and the skis are behaving as you state. Your bindings are more active and require more deliberate effort to get that pressure on the boot tongues. WTBS, your bindings arn't that active and your bindings are mounted in the right place. You just need to practice being aggressive with that foreward pressure and you will be skiiing those easially in short order.

                      Voile Vectors/X2/T2 Eco with proper knee bend and cuff pressure.

                      Click image for larger version

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                      "Just say no to groomed snow"


                      • #12
                        The Vector in 180 length is a pretty stiff ski through the camber zone. T2's may be a bit underpowered for that ski, especially if you are a lightweight skier using them on firm snow. Vectors come alive and become playful in anything soft though. The larger turn radius of the longer length is probably a factor, too.


                        • #13
                          I think the last few answers have been good, even with Dostie and Quadzilla offering opposite solutions.

                          Based on your description, I think moving bindings back as Dostie suggested AND skiing with a more forward posture with ankles flexing as Quad suggested is where you will find the sweet spot on those skis... unless your T2s are just not enough boot and I was also thinking as I was reading the thread of suggesting that the Vector in a 180 might be at or a little beyond the ability of the T2 to drive. On a softer ski it happens around 100mm so it is not out of the realm of possibility that simply upgrading to a T1 or Push could make enough difference.

                          I also have experienced a stiffer ski (ON3P Vicik) being hard to handle in the tail with a best alpine location mount and when I moved back the skis became a lot more predictable and consistent all the way through the turn whereas before they were super easy to initiate but hard to handle because there seemed to be so much tail.


                          • #14
                            Try de-tuning them as you get them figured out...


                            • #15
                              Well, I've ski the 180 cm Vectors with T2 Eco boots and am no powerhouse, but I think it's plenty o' boot for the job. I've also tried them with T1s and while the greater stiffness and higher cuff add a fair amount of stability to the mix, they also take some of the fun away from having a floppy heel in the first place. Opinions will vary on that one.