Alpine Ski Racing Equipment v. Cycling Equipment & Training Techniques

A co-worker has talked me into joining our company “ski team” which is part of a larger league that meets several times a year in N. America and every other year Europe. The only issue I’m having is figuring out what skis (GS and slalom) I need as the league seem to abide with FIS rules. I write “issue” because I last raced for a Div 1 school back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Skis have obviously come a long ways since then. Buying a “GS or slalom” ski has more variables/restrictions compared to my generation. The whole turn radius thing blows my mind as does the cost of this stuff. I’ve never had to pay for equipment so this is sort of a new experience for me.

So…I totally sympathize with those new to cycling trying to figure out what to buy or how to train. If you are interested in performance/competing you sort of want to avoid buying bottom tier yet top tier is overkill and gains are more marketing hype and not worth it for an amateur. Further, now that PM’s are common people who just need to ride a lot are splitting hairs with “450 v. 550 TSS” or not doing an event because their “FTP” is only 400W :wink: or not knowing when to start training…and on and on. Basically analysis by paralysis. They have no idea what they are doing yet, neck deep in equipment and training technique decisions that really don’t matter.

It’s funny (in a pathetic and ironic way) that I’m suffering from that same analysis by paralysis I detest in the cycling world. I feel for you new guys trying to figure out equipment, fit, training technique, and nutrition. It’s easy for me to say “ah just ride more” but, to the new guy that’s just BS and has zero context and probably not helpful at all. All I need to figure out is what ski to buy. So much more to confuse the new cyclist it’s easy for me to see why cycling will forever remain a fringe sport. I feel for you guys. Hang in there!

I can help here. I’m the parent of now former FIS level racer. If you were close, I’d even have a good deal on equipment for you. Because it’s FIS, it’s not as easy to find and is more pricey, buying new. If you can find a racer locally, they often switch equipment each season and most FIS level racers have some form of sponsorship so used equipment is reasonably priced


Good luck!

BTW my favorite GS skis were bought the year before the shape revolution (about 18 years ago?!).

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@ZeroGravity thanks! I’m in Phoenix now so no real help down here. My old coach is still the coach at Colorado and we keep in contact as well as a few former team mates. I just went to the annual fundraiser near Boulder last month. Wow has ski racing taken a turn for the worse! Pay to play for the USST devo (whatever they call it now) and B teams is insane. So sad.

@bbarrera that’s about right. My old coach sent me some Volkl Racetiger GS skis from around 2006-7 maybe? 180cm and IIRC a turn radius under 20 so the hell if I know they are legal. I think for adults it’s 22 for slalom and 30 for GS? Good lord. It used to be so easy or maybe it was just because that was my life I knew the smallest details. Derby Flex was the only game in town if that means anything to you and riser plates just became common…

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Sadly my Rossi 7Gs no longer see any action at Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, or Kirkwood. Those 210cm long boards were incredible bombing down Squaw at 60+mph and I could make them dance in the bumps. Riser plates!


Very cool…had a pair myself.

Check these out! I don’t recall why I have the 550’s but, I’m keeping them. The only piece of equipment I still have are my poles which I just found duct taped and all…lol. My technica boots were in a box for years and when I pulled them out to buckle them they exploded into many pieces.:rofl:

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OMG here is my dad rocking a pair of ROC 550s in Aspen in mid 70s:

looks like I’m on Olins and smashing the black diamonds and mogul runs at 12. My parents trashed my first pair of skis from the 70s, with name embossed, but saved my sisters and she hated skiing. Why?!

Dude, thanks for the trip down memory lane my first loves were biking and skiing. Took a long break from biking, too long. Thinking of picking up some cross-country skis this year… I’m rocking Rossi E98s at the moment and might go looking for a real GS ski.


I took a long break from cycling as well. Just a necessary casualty from chasing the career/family…

My first love was skiing. 2nd and very close was windsurfing back when windsurfing was one of the new cool sports. I evolved with the industry from the early 80’s. Recently I’ve had many business trips to Maui this summer. Each time I’d get a car, rent some gear and sail the north shore. Rusty at first then it sort of all came back and SOB if I didn’t have some of the better wave riding days ever. Some ok jumps too with back and push loops maybe 50% and forwards sloppy but, doing them off small waves. Super chicken off bigger waves as my timing was way off…

And now I’ve been back into cycling since we moved to AZ in 2003. I hate to say it but, if I was closer to CO I’d be into skiing more and if closer to water/wind I’d be kiting windsurfing or in the water. While I love to ride it’s just a chore right now for some reason…

Yup. Even though the Lake Tahoe resorts are 90-120 minutes away, family is priority 1 and so my # of days dropped to one or two for many years. Wind surfing on SF Bay was a big thing when I lived there, but was traveling all the time so only did it a few times a year. Nothing like flying down a mountain on skis or bike, playing with gravity. Or playing with the wind and flying across the water. Freedom!

Let me know if you find out anything about GS racing skis. Really miss my 210 long boards, these 188 short ones are ok but rattle a bit too much for my tastes at high speeds.

A former team mate who has stayed close to it said for GS probably find something in the 183-88 range for length and between 23-27 for the radius. He said stay away from 193/30 as we are not strong enough anymore…Fischer, Rossi, Atomic & Head all good. Volkl and a couple others mentioned as well…

now you’re really dating yourself… My dad had a pair of Rossi Roc 550’s, you’ve probably got them in 200 or 210’s too!

Funny though, when I did the club team thing in college we did not have restrictions on the skis we used, but at the time the shaped skis were just starting up (freshman year) and by my senior year, if you didn’t have shaped skis you were going to get smoked.

Compared to the life of the ski I think that they are pretty fair priced… My last pair I bought >10 years ago so amortized over the life of them not too bad. 10 year old skis are not as ancient as a 10 year old MTB.

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I think it was AJ Kitt (of all people and I might have that wrong) who was testing some really uber short shaped skis at a Rocky Mt FIS race at Vail in 1992. I remember thinking how those weren’t going to work…Shows you what I knew…:smile:

I’m actually in Tucson right now golfing.

I went through 4 pairs of skis and a pair of boots every season. Lucky he was sponsored by Lange-Dynastar, not a full ride but took a lot of the sting out of it.

FIS messed a lot of things up when they changed the turn radius just when he went from U16 to FIS. 5 pairs that year. And then they changed them again so I have 4 pairs of nearly useless GS skis and few pairs of slalom.

I used to know about in Reno that was big into masters racing and had connections with US team guys (got a couple of official skin suits and jackets through him) but I’ve lost touch.

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Thanks and I get it…the equipment is a bit insane. Sounds worse than when I was coming up…

What slalom skis do you have? Looking for a set of 165’s but, not too concerned with the radius.

Everything was Dynastar Worldcup FIS with Look SP bindings on whatever the FIS radius of the day was 5 years ago, 17m maybe. Generally for SL you want the tightest sidecut radius you can get.

FIS spec skis are stupid stiff and you have to be a pretty solid skier and you can’t let them get out from under you. They are generally not a lot of fun to ski at anything less than full gas. Slalom is a bit better than GS but they will kick you out hard if you get back on the tails at all

I’ll do some more research…

Sean Ramsden was a team mate of mine back in the early 90’s. He passed away a number of years ago but, while he was head coach for Summit County (or whatever it was called at the time) he let me train with the kids one day at Copper. He handed me a pair of 155’s. I forget the make but, they were easy to manage. The hips went back only a couple times. Line was probably a little high but, after probably close to 15 yrs not running gates it was like riding a bike. To be clear, not fast but, totally ok/doable.

Honestly I am more worried about boots. I just want a not too soft but, not too stiff, comfortable boot. Like cycling shoes this will be a tough to get right.

Boot fitting is the most important. Too stiff or too soft will be counter to everything. I’m a good but not excellent skier, 155lbs and I am on a 110 flex Lange boot now. 120-130 flex boots are too much for me now.

155 is the women’s FIS length but works for lighter skiers but if the races are following FIS rules, men go 165

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Perfect. Yep another team mate texted for boots 130 flex MAX! Slalom skis 165’s…

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Cool. Let me know if you need any more info, equipment, tuning, etc

As an aside, loving it down here, so different from home. The golf so far is great, I wish I had time to go riding as well.

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