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Starting over - Need help on Ski selection! Atomic Blackeye Ti?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

here is a comeback skier asking for input/advice/experiences on choice of skis.


Have looked around the Net and several forums, I have spotted skis like Atomic Blackeye Ti, Rossignol Avenger Z76/82, Dynastar Sultan 80 among others. Fully aware that choice of skis is very personal, I would still welcome any input on those or other candidates given the background below. Would likewise appreciate advice on preferred length.


Would of course ideally try out several demo skis, but realistically this will not happen due to practical limitations. And I need the skis rather soon...


The background is that I'm more or less starting over after about 10 years with only limited skiing due to work, family, children etc. Have used my old Head Racing SL (200 cm) or rented equipment the few times I've had the opportunity to ski. Used to be a reasonably competent skier (about level 8) with preference for powder and moguls, plus occasional guided runs. Now at 46 I intend to become more active again! Physical data: 6'0'', about 180 lbs, OK shape (but not more). Expect to ski in eastern conditions most of the time, but main events would be a yearly week or two out West or in the Alps.


As I see them today my requirements on the skis are quite contradictory - would need to find an acceptable compromise as I currently only plan to buy one pair. Here are some of my thoughts/preferences in no particular order:

* Really enjoy sking moguls. Not an expert, but the main limiting factor would be physical condition rather than technique...

* Likewise I much enjoy powder, when I am lucky enough to find it. But more careful in leaving the pistes in later years.

* Typically end up skiing groomed pistes most of the time, with or without children. Not at all as fun though!

* Mix of aggressive and more laid-back style of sking, depending on temper, snow condtions, company etc.

* Skis must be decent in hard/icy conditions, as these are quite common where I ski.


Thanks in advance for any enlightening replies!

post #2 of 7

Welcome. Will give you the two standard, but dead on replies, then some skis stuff.


1) Search. Reviews over in Gear Review forum. Especially the 80-100 threads. 

2) Buy new boots first. Even if you like your old ones. Things have changed, boots are dramatically better, and they will affect your skiing far more than one ski vs. another. Get them from a reputable fitter, not a big box store. 


Then, skis. The Blackeye is a nice ski, but probably if you were a level 8, and plan to start actually skiing regularly, you'll outgrow it. I'd suggest something in the 78-88 range, depending on how much time you will allot to east (narrower better), vs west (opposite, obviously, to a point). Now brands: Most all are good to great, vary by feel and strengths. If you liked Heads, you might try the Titan (79 mm waist), great fat hypercarver, nice ice to crud ski, fairly groomer oriented partly because you get 'em short. The Peaks (82 and 88 mm) have been dumbed down, not what the old iM's were. You can still find iM82's around, the last year had the X-mas green graphics, reasonable prices, and that's a very fine east/west ski if you put a plate on it, tune to 1/3. Stockli also makes some very smooth, damp beefy skis that'll go both ways, you might look at the XXL or VXL. My personal favs are Kastles, manage to be both light to initiate and smooth in the turn, love speed but can handle cruising easily. However, pricey. For your purposes, the MX78 would seem perfect, Dawgcatching can hook you up. PM him. The Sultan 85 will make you happier than the 80, great all arounder, not the best of the bunch on ice but better than some here for soft crud and bumps. Finally, the Atomic Crimson Ti is a widely liked ski, great grip and crud-busting, fairly beefy like the Heads, not as damp, lighter. The Salomon Enduro is said to be a very nice all-arounder too, probably feels a lot like the Crimson. Lot of other nice models, but I'm sticking to skis that are Head-ish to moderate in dampness and beef. 


Good luck. Remember, start with the boots. 

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot for the elaborate reply. I really did not put much thought into boots, as I still have two pairs (Nordica and Salomon) that I am quite happy with. But I should get out and try some new ones. What improvements would be most noticable in newer boots?


Regarding the skis I will do some more research on the models proposed. Have been a bit concerned that 80 and wider would limit the joy of the bumps...

post #4 of 7
Originally Posted by Balvar View Post

Have been a bit concerned that 80 and wider would limit the joy of the bumps...

Not at all. I suck at bumps but my best runs ever have been on a 94-waisted ski. Even my 106s are fine in bumps.

post #5 of 7

^^^^ What she said about bumps. As far as boots, since you stopped purchasing, they've become lighter, more rigid laterally, so quicker to transmit your instructions so you can take advantage of today's more reactive skis, and IMO they fit worlds better. It is now possible to find a boot more or less out of the box that will be a decent approximation of your foot shape, just take some minor dialing in. Stick in some aftermarket liners and you have a custom fit, plus warmth. 

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Will look into new boots at an appropriate store.


Glad to hear positive views on wider skis in bumps. Had gotten the impression from other threads that narrower width was rather important...

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Bought the Atomic Blackeye Ti 174cm with Neox TL12 bindings and Atomic M110 boots. Spent quite some time reading reviews and comments on skis, but unfortunately had no chance to demo. At the end I was also tempted by the K2 Rictor, but eventually decided in favour of the Atomics. My decision factors against the Rictors included that they seemed a bit heavier and a bit softer. Tried a large number of boots at a couple of serious shops before deciding.


For whoever is interested this is my first impression:

Tested everything last weekend in a smaller slope with groomed/hardpack/some ice. My overall impression was very good. The Atomics were stable, easy to turn with very good grip on the icy spots. Still they performed well and provided nice bounce out of the turns when pushed with some more aggressive skiing. The boots fit my feet very well - I hardly had to buckle them. They were solid and provided nice contact with the skis/the snow.


However, please keep in mind that:

1)  my reference base is limited to rental skis over the later years, typically Rossignol Bandits and Salomon Crossmaxes. On the boot-side my old Nordicas and Salomons are the benchmark.


2) So far I have only tested the gear in a smaller slope, where speed is naturally limited. There were no bumps, no powder, no off-piste.


None the less - Hope this short feed-back could help someone!

Edited by Balvar - 2/18/11 at 4:00pm
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