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The effective edge length of a rocker ski is variable, i.e. the more powerful a ski is ridden and the tighter the turns are executed, the edge has a more dominant role in stability and grip. As a consequence a rockered ski can be chosen up to 10 cm longer than its cambered equivalent.
Functionality of a rocker ski
When a skier puts weight on a traditional cambered ski, the entire length of the ski contacts the slope. On a rocker ski only the middle section makes contact when the ski is flat. The term rocker refers solely to the curve of the ski and the reverse camber that results from it. Unlike a traditionally cambered ski, the rocker ski is not ‘tensioned’ at all. From a technical point of view, the rocker is in fact really a reverse camber.
But does a reverse camber alone lead to good or even excellent skiing performance? Völkl’s answer is a clear “no”. For top performance a reverse camber ski needs adjustment in the flex line, the side cut and even the length. The extent of the rocker and type also play a major role in performance and skier experience. As you can imagine a tip rocker ski with 2-3 mm of early rise tip will have very different characteristics compared to a full rocker model with 20 mm of tip and tail rise.
A cambered ski is bent “into shape” by the weight of the skier, forming an arc that dictates this ski’s ideal turning radius. The rockered ski is already formed in the curved shape, making turns easier to initiate as there is no need to first flex-load the ski into shape. This is a decisive benefit for the less experienced skiers as it makes the transition into the edged position significantly smoother. A skilled skier, more used to the counter pressure of a traditional camber ski may be intrigued at how much easier it is to initiate the turns. The edge actually adapts to the environment. The greater the edge angle and the steeper the carving angle, the effective edge angle elongates for increased stability and grip.