Update! Added Movement Response-X (128/89/116), a new winner for our surface area vs weight category, and second place for the lightest ski per unit length. That should keep the Movement congregation in silent prayer of thanks for at least a few minutes. I like the look of this ski. The 19 M radius seems reasonable, it doesn’t appear too “sidecutty” and has a bit of slow rise tip rocker.
We spend quite a bit of time on this project, using real-world measurements of skis we have here in the workshop. Spreadsheet formula is fairly simple and subject to slight revisions, which I’ll make sure get updated in this chart. I did a lot of experimenting with different formulas and most arrived at the same spread of weights for the comparison of the different skis, so as I refined it was really just splitting hairs. Guest blogger Jonathan got started on this a while back, but we needed to do it where I had more skis in hand and the current ones for our Ultimate Quiver, so better we do another version. Much rounding and some estimation is involved, so don’t look at this as an exact way of comparing several similar skis. For example, the Goode and the Dynafit Cho Oyu we evaluated are only one score point different, which means they are virtually the same.
First chart is ski weight vs surface area score, the stat that skiers focused as much on downhill as the uphill should focus on. Below that you’ll find length vs weight which for the total weight fanatic is perhaps the more important stat. Click on and slowly mouse over the bars for a score number.
Second chart is length vs weight. Round our scores up or down, to something like 6,7,8,9,10,11. Anything 6 or 7 is super light, 8 or 9 delightful, and 10-11 is on the heavy side.
Third chart takes length vs weight and sorts with lightest at the top. This is the chart you’d used to pick what is simply the lightest ski, regardless of width.
Bear in mind that some brands of skis have unpredictable variations in weight/surface as well as length/weight when lengths of the same models are compared. We assume this is because sometimes a shorter ski can be built quite light as it undergoes less leverage and generally supports lighter skiers, but by the same token the shorter skis could be overbuilt if laid up and the same as a longer ski, and thus appear heavier per unit surface or length.
Again, skis within a few points of each other are virtually the same, so be careful if you tend to obsess.
We used unrolled “deployed” lengths (rounded for display, measured to several millimeter accuracy for the spreadsheet), but the lengths shown on the chart bars are the manufacturer’s stated model ‘length.’ Sometimes the two measurements are the same, sometimes they’re slightly different. All chart data is subject to revision (as are our formulas) as we verify retail ski weights, correct typos, and so forth. So if you’re tempted to try and reverse engineer what we’re doing with this, I’d suggest that would be a waste of time.
In terms of shopping for the best weight/price/performance ratio, we’re thinking the sweet spot on the chart is the score 73 to 83 range. The lighter skis are tempting but expensive, and the heavier ones may be unsuitable for folks doing much hiking, though perhaps more to the liking of aggressive skiers or those needing a plank that works well as a lift-served resort board with crossover to the BC.
We used to not concern ourselves as much with ski weight, but things have changed in the ski manufacturing world. More skis are now available that trim ounces but still might ski well. So this year’s 2013/2014 Ultimate Quiver project will more strongly consider weights of the skis, thus we had to quantify our take as an antidote to the marketing drugs those PR guys slip into our espressos.
Due to small ongoing revisions we’re not sharing our formula, but it is pretty simple. We basically just split the ski into two trapezoids based on an average of where the ski waist is located. The area of the traps is then made into a score based on ratio of weight and surface area. We compensate a bit for tip and tail shape, measure things fairly accurately with skis in hand (no catalog or magazine data, but occasional data from trusted sources), and let the spreadsheet do the calcs. Again, bear in mind that due to our estimating and averaging (as well as the fact that the same ski model will frequently vary a few grams in weight from one to the next), skis within a few score points of each other are essentially the same weight vs surface area — thus, don’t obsess.