First up, skis have always had sidecut. The original wooden telemark skis had about 4.25mm of sidecut depth. Later, the skiing pioneer Dick Durrance skied on boards he crafted with 7mm of sidecut depth. But it was after Bode, K2, and Elan developed modern sidecut in the early 1990s that most folks started paying attention to it. Also, we have to point out that even skis that look relatively straight these days, have quite a bit of sidecut. One mogul ski we saw a lot of at the last Olympics features tip/waist/tail dimensions of 100/66/90 and a “listed radius” of 17 meters.
So to be clear, folks have been carving (and pivoting or “swinging) turns on skis with varying degrees of sidecut forever. If you’d like a demonstration of this, check out the following video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zm_AILQq6LA That’s Bode carving short swing turns on our Peak 98—with a “listed” 25-meter radius! As you can see, he is easily transitioning from short fall line turns (on edge, not pivot turning) to GS turns. (To be clear, it’s not just Bode that can do this. We had dozens of folks out on our prototypes and they all experienced something similar. It’s easier to mix up the turn shapes.) In the same video you can see the great Franz Klammer making short turns too. Franz was of an age when turn shape was almost completely determined by how the skier chose to manipulate the ski. And while modern sidecuts help us all turn easier, skier input still matters today.
Our point, as you gleaned, is that listed sidecuts are merely suggestions. (Although some of the many hundreds of skis we test each year do seem to want to make only one turn shape unless you really force them.) But more importantly, our goal with Peak skis is to get sidecut right and wean folks off excessive dependence on what we think is too much sidecut. We do that by building skis with markedly less sidecut in the tip and tail so our skis flow through soft snow better and also “smear” (like a butter knife on toast) more easily. But at the same time, as the video above clearly shows, you can carve all manner of turn shapes on them too. We pull that off thanks to our KeyHole Technology. https://peakskis.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/KeyholeTech_WEB_1080p.mp4
Geometry matters. That’s why we are reinventing ski geometry to improve versatility and performance.