Switching Monoskis - a review of the DynAccess Torque 2 monoski
Over the last 25 years I have raced on every monoski ever built. Skiing technique as well as monoskis have developed immensely over these years. Many times I have reached the limit of what a sled can do. Fortunately, this has often coincided with the introduction of new and improved sleds. This happened again this last season when I switched to a DynAccess Torque 2.
The DynAccess Torque monoskis (Torque 1 and Torque 2) were developed by a very strong engineering team. They design their sleds the way advanced vehicles are designed, using suspension geometries, frame stiffnesses, springs and shocks tailored to the specific needs, just as done for racecars or dirt bikes. There are some very special requirements on advanced racing monoskis, such as:
- VERY STIFF FRAME so all body motion translates directly into ski motion.
This allows a very quick turn-in, excellent edge hook-up, precise control of the turn shape while in the turn, and a snappy exit. It also reduces any tendency of "flutter" at high speeds. Flutter is a phenomonon where forces from the snow-ski are coupled with flex of the frame; it is avoided by having a very stiff frame,
- A SUSPENSION GEOMETRY that is tailored for the mass distribution of the skier and the stiffness of the snow-ski.
A well designed suspension geometry will drastically reduce or eliminate foot-bounce and other problems which lead to poor edge control and loss of speed,
- A SPRING that can be exactly matched to the skiers weight, skiing agreesiveness, snow conditions, and discipline.
It is key to match spring rate (usually measure in lbs/in) to body mass; a light skier needs a soft spring and a heavy skier needs a stiff spring. I change my spring rate for every event as well as snow conditions, using a stiffer spring in tech and a softer spring in speed,
- A SHOCK ABSORBER that is tailored for monoski applications.
Shocks for motorcycles (road or dirt) and mountain bikes are not optimal since the micro-terrain for those is absorbed by their pneumatic rubber tires. On monoskis there are no tires and all micro-terrain is directly transmitted to the shock and then to the skier. DynAccess early on assembled a suspension team, including multiple engineers from Penske Racing Shocks, and they developed a special monoski shock with outstanding properties.
Apart from these requirements the monoski should naturally have sufficient adjustability
to fit the skier comfortably, be very strong and durable, have large bearing surfaces, a strong seat bucket, etc. Regarding adjustments, the strong footrest and center of gravity
(moving forwards or back on the snow-ski) are the two major requirements. The added bonus of ride height adjustability makes it possible for every rider to find their optimal height.
So how does the Torque 2 ski? The first thing that struck me is that it is higher than any other monoski in the Paralympic circuit. One would think that this would make it unstable, but that is not the case as anybody who had demo'd it has learnt. The height makes it possible to angulate the monoski further than any other ski.
We often video tape our training runs and studying my runs frame-by-frame it is seen that I often angulate more than 70 degrees. My bucket hits the snow between 73 and 74 degrees. A more angulated turn is faster with less energy loss. Further, the height makes getting on a chairlift very easy. For most chairlifts I only need to push myself up 1/2" or so.
After the height, the next thing I noticed when I started skiing the Torque 2 is its quick response.
Other reviews have said that it turns on a dime and it is certainly true. The connection between my body and the snow-ski is very precise. As soon as I make a turn initiation with my upper body the ski responds. In most other monoskis there is a delay while the frame flexes. Such a delay is lost time and lost energy. The Torque 2 is the quickest ski edge-to-edge that I have ever skied.
The third thing is the firm hook-up and edge control
. There is no tendency to lose an edge even in very high-G turns. This is the result of suspension geometry, frame stiffness, and the unique shock. The Torque 2 will carve better than any other monoski.
Fourth, the shock swallows a lot of terrain.
As mentioned the shock was specifically developed for monoskis and the shock curves are quite unique. During my first training camp with the Torque 2, twelve days in Vail in October 2013, there were a lot of hard ruts in the race courses and all my team mates remarked extensively over how hard it was. I could see the ruts but not feel them. The Torque 2 just ate the terrain. The suspension would keep the snow-ski firmly planted on the bumpy snow and transmit only a nice even pressure to my body.
There is a lot more to be said about the monoski, and I am still learning how to push it farther. I just spent five days with DynAccess' chief engineer tweaking my ride. During these five days, we did run after run after run, tweaking spring rate, ride height, rebound damping, high and low speed compression damping, center of gravity location, etc. At the end of these days I had a monoski that would turn quicker, give me better shape control through the turn, release energy in a more controlled fashion exiting the turn, and providing a more stable run at high speeds. The Torque 2 is the only monoski on which I have not reached its limits.
I only wish DynAccess would have been around years ago. Monoskiing would be light-years ahead of where it is today. Thank you DynAccess I love my new Torque 2.
Paralympic Champion, World Champion, World Cup Champion, X Games Champion,
156 Wins and counting, 82 MPH Fastest Clocked Speed, Syncro Ski World Champion
Monoskier to Drop into Corbet's
AND Satisfied DynAccess Customer