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Michigan gear advice please!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hey all, I'm just returning to skiing and could use some help with my skis boots and bindings.  I'll be skiing Michigan, primarily Caberfae, Crystal and Bittersweet.  I am on a budget, I'd like to stay below 600, but 900 will be my absolute maximum wall for everything (I've been given polls).  What I am looking for is a quality pair of skis/boots/bindings that will last me a few years, will not hold me back skill level wise and will not break my wallet... and hopefully I'm not asking too much because I've definitely gotten myself addicted again this year.

 

I'm 32 years old, 6'1''  and 175 lbs with us size 11.5 feet (flat feet at that).  This was my first year skiing in 10 years, previously I'd skied from age 8-20.  Surprisingly I feel very comfortable on skis in every level of course difficulty even with the time lapse.  There are surely some snags in my form but I think that will be ironed out quickly.  I would consider myself at least an advanced skier and could see myself heading towards expert.  I love carving, moguls, speed, long runs and hitting the occasional bump... all variety.

 

 

After browsing the web I'm kind of hovering around the K2 amp photon ski's at 170cm for 599, I am a little worried that they may be more of a beginner level ski though.  For boots I see 2010 Rossignol SAS FS Ski boots for 199.95 on skis.com.  I'd like to try them on but the only local store is a discount MC sports that I'm almost afraid to purchase from.  I'm not opposed to buying outdated skis if they are at a good price either, in fact I'd love it if someone could give me feedback on the skis I mentioned or throw me some advice on potentially better and potentially cheaper skis.

 

Thanks in advance for any replies, I'll be glad to provide any more information if I've forgotten something that could be useful.

post #2 of 21
This has been brayan to death. Use the search function. But please go to a reputable bootfittter otherwise you'll be in boots 2 sizes too big. Spend ur cash on boots not skis. They by far will make thebiggest difference. Likely you should be in a 27 mondo shells perhaps 28 depending on how tightly you wear your street shoes.
post #3 of 21

Welcome. My advice: 1) Focus on boots first. Do not buy them online. Go to a decent ski shop, not big box store, you can find recs with a search here, or PM Trekchick (She's Michigander, I used to be long ago). Get something with a moderate flex, say 100, and a good fit for your foot shape.

 

2) Then two approaches to skis. One is to try demoing a few skis at a place that will apply your demo toward the purchase. Wait until March, when prices drop a bit, and get some skis that have serious grip in the 72-82 mm waist range. You might get a nice deal on a lightly used demo, in fact. K2's didn't used to have much of a rep for ice, I was never impressed, maybe it's changed. But brands that do seem to do well on ice/hardpack, popular in midwest and east, include Volkl, Blizzard, the narrower Dynastars, Nordica, Atomic, Fischer. Each brand has its own feel, which is why I recommend demos.

 

Second approach is to buy online, concentrate on last season's new ski. If you go that way, read reviews here, also Real Skiers is a good place for newer skiers, then do a Google for deals. If you go that route, recommend some of our own folks who have brick and mortar stores that sell online, they can give you excellent advice, fair deals, will stand behind their stuff. Sierra Jim, Phil, Whitehouse, Dawgcatching, several others are in this category. 

post #4 of 21

What beyond said.  Get yourself a really good well-fitting pair of boots.  Boots are by far the most important piece of gear. Do this part right. 

 

Once you have a good set of boots, you can hit the demo center - it's about $50/day to demo and you get to change out skis as often as you want so you can try many models.  This should give you an idea of what's out there and what you like.  I could rattle off some makes and models, but you're probably better off just trying them for yourself.

 

Alternatively, you could hit a ski swap and pick up a pair of used skis for $200 or so - these $200 swap skis will likely be worth almost that much next year, so you will probably be able to sell them for almost what you paid for them.  Think of it as a cheap rental while you figure out what skis you really want to buy.

 

One final thought: given where you ski, do try to resist the current fashion of ultra-wide rockered skis.  Sure, they're cool and rad and all the Real Skiers(TM) are raving about how mind-blowing they are, but there's no reason to have a wide rockered ski as your daily driver in Michigan.  Maybe as the third pair in your quiver, but definitely not as your primary ski.

post #5 of 21

What everybody else is saying. If you are skiing on a budget, the better investment is to sink the money into boots.

 

 

If your boots don't fit, the skis won't work, or you will be in too much pain to ski them. The right boots is what gets you out on the mountain.

 

Never buy a boot online, unless you have already verified that it is the PERFECT fit for you by trying it on in the store. Of course, if you spent time in the store trying boots on, you should really be trying your hardest to be buying the boots from the guys that got you in them, else the next time you come around to buy boots they may no longer be there.

 

The technology for a hard snow carver really hasn't had huge changes over the past few years, so I think you would be much better off spending $300-$400 on a set of good midlevel boots, and $150-$300 on a set of lightly used carvers.

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks all so much for your feedback.  I am taking everything said into account, I've done some shopping around this morning and am going to be putting emphasis on the boot as has been stated and restated.

 

I do have another question though.  Is 176 too tall a ski for me?  I'm 176lbs and 6'1' and skinny.  Again, my ski level is solid, I feel comfortable on the entire mountain with rentals... that have honestly tended to be lower than nose height while the avengers are almost as tall as me.  I've found a pair of Rossi Avenger 76 carbons w/ polls and bindings for about 400 and after shopping around online, that appears to be a really solid price.  

 

 

To be quite honest, a demo day is pretty much out for me after researching as the resorts in my area have very brand and selection limited.  In addition, as I'm limited in funds and in a bit of a time crunch, the 50 dollar demo fee would cut into my ski fee; as the demo skis I'm seeing aren't my choice in brand and are out of my price range, I don't think that it is a wise choice for me.

 

I'm still working on boots, and will have to head to a bigger city because the shop we do have doesn't carry half sizes.

 

edit:  I also found the same ski at a size 170 in another store (2 hours away) I'm going to bite the bullet on one of these two skis for sure, any advice?  I'm so indecisive.

post #7 of 21

I'm 6' 1', 225 lbs.

 

I wouldn't dream of skiing less than a 175, but I also have a lot more weight and also have some pretty good ski legs to muscle a ski around with.

 

I think it depends on how you are built. If you have the muscle, look in the 175-185 range. If not, I think a 170ish ski would be ok.

 

I would not look at skis under 170 for a guy over 6 feet tall.

 

Last time I was in a shop, the salesguy told me I would be find one something like 163's, saying that "nobody really skis on stuff longer than this anymore." He was about 5'7".

 

I haven't skied on a 160 since I was 12 in the early 1990's. I would straight up crush a ski like that these days.

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Respen View Post

Thanks all so much for your feedback.  I am taking everything said into account, I've done some shopping around this morning and am going to be putting emphasis on the boot as has been stated and restated.

 

I do have another question though.  Is 176 too tall a ski for me?  I'm 176lbs and 6'1' and skinny.  Again, my ski level is solid, I feel comfortable on the entire mountain with rentals... that have honestly tended to be lower than nose height while the avengers are almost as tall as me.  I've found a pair of Rossi Avenger 76 carbons w/ polls and bindings for about 400 and after shopping around online, that appears to be a really solid price.  

 

 

To be quite honest, a demo day is pretty much out for me after researching as the resorts in my area have very brand and selection limited.  In addition, as I'm limited in funds and in a bit of a time crunch, the 50 dollar demo fee would cut into my ski fee; as the demo skis I'm seeing aren't my choice in brand and are out of my price range, I don't think that it is a wise choice for me.

 

I'm still working on boots, and will have to head to a bigger city because the shop we do have doesn't carry half sizes.

 

edit:  I also found the same ski at a size 170 in another store (2 hours away) I'm going to bite the bullet on one of these two skis for sure, any advice?  I'm so indecisive.


Avenger 76 carbons are an intermediate ski that would be best for you in a 176. If they're used, that's not a great price. If they're new, it is, but either way, either length, they're not optimal for Michigan ice, trust me. The Avenger 76 Ti is basically the old Z9, a much better ski for your purposes. Alternatively, the Avenger 82 Carbon is a nice ski, even for hardpack, for lighter, less aggro skiers. Strongly suggest that you go check out Start Haus or Dawcatching online, they still have some closeouts from last year at good prices, and in all honesty, there are better skis for you, and the good prices are just starting. Don't feel like you have to buy right this second...

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Respen View Post

 

I do have another question though.  Is 176 too tall a ski for me?  I'm 176lbs and 6'1' and skinny.


176cm is definitely not too long for you.  That said, you might be happier on something shorter.  It depends on the ski and the skier, which is why I say "try before you buy".

 

For hard snow and small hills (Michigan), shorter skis with a tighter turn radius is  the way to go.  I wouldn't go any longer than 180 - for one thing, if you decide to re-sell them you'll have a hard time finding a buyer.

 

Not familiar with the Rossi Avenger, but  I've never really liked Rossis - for Michigan firm snow they don't have the edge grip that I like to see in a firm-snow ski.  Plus many of the Rossi's that I've tried were squirrelly at speed.  That said, many people swear by Rossi, and it's been a few years since I was on one, so take this with a grain of salt. I like Volkls, but Volkls are not for everybody. I've also liked more than a few offerings from Fischer, Dynastar and Atomic. 

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

I'm 6' 1', 225 lbs.


I haven't skied on a 160 since I was 12 in the early 1990's. I would straight up crush a ski like that these days.


I doubt that.  The guy I ski with regularly is 6'5" and weighs about 250 (all muscle).  He rips the firm stuff on a pair of 163 cm Volkl RaceTigers.  Short skis have changed a lot since the early 90's.

 

Now, that's not saying you would like a ski that short, but real ski like a Race Tiger would stand up to whatever you tried to throw at it.

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

For Michigan hills do you think I'd be okay biting the bullet and going with 176 skis Anachronism? I do worry about the 170's being a bit short and not being enough speed for me, while at the same time the 176's worry me because they are about the tallest I'd seen in the store and I don't want to go too tall and end up with skis I can't control.  When I used to snowboard I went overzealous on a board that was waaay too long and it ruined the season for me and I'd hate to be in those shoes again.

 

I'm not made of muscle, but I do have a skinny build especially in the shin to ankle area.  I have been working out since this fall (cardio and strength training) and was never exactly weak in the first place... as an ex smoker, my weakest point is my endurance and I'm working on that as well.  I have yet to get slightly winded or tired while skiing on the rentals I've been "assigned" (which again have been at chin height or so on average.

 

I'd love for the 176 cm skis to be the right choice as they are available at a local retailer.  In my shoes, at my weight/height and experience... what would your choice be?

 

Edit: lots of replies in the short time I wrote this reply to anach (thank you all!).  I'll be sure to read the rest as well and take those into account, but right now I really like the price point of these skis (which are new).  

 

In addition, I am in a bit of a time crunch... without getting into too much detail, if I don't spend it... another matter will consume my excess cash.

post #12 of 21

^^^^ This guy has his mind made up. rolleyes.gif Go get the 176's and enjoy. Out...

post #13 of 21

Its been a LONG time since I have skied MI- I have lived in Colorado for 28 years, so take my advice with grain of salt.

 

I don't think 176 is too tall, BUT, on shorter, harder slopes, a 170 may serve just as well. I would lean towards the taller ski before I don't think it is out of your range, and it gives you more to grow in your ability with.

 

And regarding the 6'5" guy skiing 163's, sure he could, but I'm sure you would admit that he would probably be better served by a taller ski.

 

Sure, ski technology has changed amazingly in 20 years. Back in the straight ski era, I skied 205's and really needed something around 220. My 6' 5" brother skied 230's.  I also remember spending days skiing Mary Jane (Winter Park) starting by dropping in Outhouse, and hitting every bump run in a row until I'd made my way over to the Sunnyside lift.  With 200's in a mogul field, you had to go right over the top, because the only place with enogh room to move the ski was the crest of the mogul. I cringe thinking about the hits I took back in those days...

 

There is a reason ski manufacturers don't really make 200+ cm skis anymore, but there is a reason most models of male skis have an over 180 cm entry- they still make sense for the big guys.  As a relatively big guy, I enjoy when little salesmen tell me they see no reason for skis over 160.

 

Heck, my 5'4" girlfriend rocks 158's, and could EASILY push more ski if she wanted.

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Avenger 76 carbons are an intermediate ski that would be best for you in a 176. If they're used, that's not a great price. If they're new, it is, but either way, either length, they're not optimal for Michigan ice, trust me. The Avenger 76 Ti is basically the old Z9, a much better ski for your purposes. Alternatively, the Avenger 82 Carbon is a nice ski, even for hardpack, for lighter, less aggro skiers. Strongly suggest that you go check out Start Haus or Dawcatching online, they still have some closeouts from last year at good prices, and in all honesty, there are better skis for you, and the good prices are just starting. Don't feel like you have to buy right this second...


 

Thanks for the info Beyond, the only reason I'm looking into the avenger carbons over the Ti is the price point.  The Avenger 76 Ti's are 100 bucks more retail (799) while I'm finding the carbons in the 400 range on sale locally which is slightly under my max price.  I actually did check out start haus' selection of 2010 skis which looked extensive at first but after selecting them, I'm showing that most are out of stock.  I'll take a look at Dawcatching too, but unless I'm going to be at a severe disadvantage using the carbons, I really like the reviews I've seen and the prcie point I've found.

 

Edit: lol, my mind isn't made up... I'm going to be obsessing for the week and may change my mind.  I just have a really really strong lean towards this ski.

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

 

And regarding the 6'5" guy skiing 163's, sure he could, but I'm sure you would admit that he would probably be better served by a taller ski.



For bigger mountains, sure.  That's why he's also got a pair of Mantras for when we ski the west.  (c:

 

The thing is, we're talking about 400' vertical hills here, and it's nice to be able to make more than three turns before having to get back on the lift.  A shorter, turnier ski is just more applicable to our little hills.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking bigger boards, especially for big mountain skiing on soft snow.  But I don't think that's what the OP will be doing at Crystal and the Mighty C.

 

Also, I'm not one of those no-use-for-anything-over-160 people.  I've mostly held my ground in the upper 170s, despite exhortations to go shorter - I've tried going really short, but find the really short skis too turny. 

post #16 of 21

Head to Bill and Pauls in GR or see Jim at Crystal for boots. Spend your money there!

 

Once you have boots that are properly fitted, take a day and head up to Nub's Nob for some demos. They have lots of skis available in their Technology Center with an unlimited number of changes for around $45 for the whole day. That will at least give you an idea of the type of skis you'll like and the sizes most suited to you.

post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by volklgirl View Post

Head to Bill and Pauls in GR or see Jim at Crystal for boots. Spend your money there!

 

Once you have boots that are properly fitted, take a day and head up to Nub's Nob for some demos. They have lots of skis available in their Technology Center with an unlimited number of changes for around $45 for the whole day. That will at least give you an idea of the type of skis you'll like and the sizes most suited to you.



Second on Bill and Pauls.   Just spent three days skiing with Eric (owner) at JH, then they headed to SIA.  Big smile on his face.

Skiing is in their blood.   Good folk.

post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

 

And regarding the 6'5" guy skiing 163's, sure he could, but I'm sure you would admit that he would probably be better served by a taller ski.



For bigger mountains, sure.  That's why he's also got a pair of Mantras for when we ski the west.  (c:

 

The thing is, we're talking about 400' vertical hills here, and it's nice to be able to make more than three turns before having to get back on the lift.  A shorter, turnier ski is just more applicable to our little hills.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking bigger boards, especially for big mountain skiing on soft snow.  But I don't think that's what the OP will be doing at Crystal and the Mighty C.

 

Also, I'm not one of those no-use-for-anything-over-160 people.  I've mostly held my ground in the upper 170s, despite exhortations to go shorter - I've tried going really short, but find the really short skis too turny. 


Makes sense, and I certainly see your point regarding the vert.
 

post #19 of 21

+3 for Bill and Paul's. The wife and I went there to look for new boots for her the other day. After about an hour of looking around and talking about what we like to ski and how. The sales guy told us that he would love to sell us some new boots but can't. He told us that they only had a few boots left in her size and none of them were going to do what she wanted. I applaud him for not selling her something just to make the sale. I know we will be going back when they get some more in so she can try several on.

post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 

For anyone who's curious, I did end up getting the avenger 76's in a 176... and the salesman insisted he fit me for boots even though I was sure they didn't have any in my size and was planning on taking a trip out of town.

 

I was glad he did because It turns out mondo 28.5 fit me perfectly... which is a 10.5 or so in US sizes.  If I'd have ordered online I'm sure I'd have tried 11.5's, so, well I'm glad I came here first and got a little good advice.  Anyway, I decided to go for dalbello axion 6's with an adjustable flex between 75 and 85 as they felt very very comfortable.  I almost went home with some nordica's that felt as comfortable as a regular boot... but the flex was 65 and they felt like they had a little too much play.

 

I do have a question regarding the integrated bindings, but posted it in tuning and maintenance http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/100902/binding-installation-necessary-on-integrated-bindings

post #21 of 21

Not surprised at all on the boot fitting.

 

Remember that you fit your shoes for comfort only, and usually nice and loose is nice and comfortable.

 

With a ski boot, nice and loose usually means pain and injury as your foot lacks the support it needs to keep in the right position. 

 

When in doubt, go smaller.  It is fairly easy to have a bootfitter punch out a too small boot to make it fit better, but it is not really possible to go the other direction.

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