All shaped skis offer a wider profile and an increased surface area when compared to traditional slalom skis. While the shaped skis provide an easy-to-ride slalom for a variety of ski levels, all shaped skis aren’t only designed for the big guy simply looking to get up and cruise around the lake a few times a year. Over the years, the ski companies have been trying to take the shaped ski benefits like the effortless deep-water starts, easy, smooth turns, and less tiring rides and incorporate these great features into a shaped ski suited for the intermediate and/or high-end slalom skier. So if you’re about to turn the page to check out our traditional slaloms, maybe you should think again. As you study the shaped skis, the key to buying the one that’s right for you is determining what width is right for your ability level.
Shaped Ski Characteristics and Impacts:
Wide tip and tail – creates enough surface area to make deep-water starts easy and fast with no drag
Inside radius – All shaped skis have an inside radius on at least part of their sidecut. This means that if you place a ski flat on the floor and look down at the ski, you’ll see that the outside periphery of the ski cuts in at some point.
Stabilizer Rail or V-bottom – Some companies, such as Connelly and HO, respectively, build a stabilizer rail or V-bottom design into the tip of the ski to help hold the ski steady while deep-water starting and enhance the ski’s overall stability and control behind the boat.
Huge Surface Areas – The shaped skis with the greatest surface areas, such as HO’s Radius, Connelly’s Big Daddy, O’brien’s Freecarve and KD’s Apex, allow you to ski at the slowest possible speeds to help bolster confidence and improve skills. The greater the surface area, the easier the deep-water starts and the more control you have while skiing. Learning to run the slalom course on the larger-surface-area skis is no problem, just remember to keep the speeds slow (between 22-28 mph).
Increased surface areas – Shaped skis, such as HO’s Burner in the Competition Freeride Series, Connelly’s FX, O’brien’s Synchro and KD’s Evolution, offer more of a hybrid design. They are wider than traditional slaloms, but offer the more aggressive turning capabilities of traditional skis. We would call them high-end shaped skis. For example, HO pro team riders Wade Cox and Drew Ross have both run 41 off at 34 mph on the Burner, so your speeds on these skis don’t have to be quite as slow, but you still enjoy the benefits of the shaped ski.
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