First time poster on this great board.
Since post is long:
- Looking for new ski
- Demoed Sultan 85 and Volkl Kendo and described the experience
- Looking for length advice
I'm 41, 6ft 190lb recreational skier - exclusively daytrips to Blue Mountain Ontario, with one week trip to Mt Tremblant Quebec. It has been a standard schedule for last 5 years and on average I accumulate little over 10 ski days per season.
Unless something unexpected happens I don’t see this pattern changing over next several years except for potential replacement of Mt Tremblant with Lake Placid, Stowe or similar ski resort within driving distance from Toronto.
As far as my skiing ability - I spend most of the day on black and double black runs and ski them in control. I guess I'm an intermediate skier, or maybe a bit above. I have dialed-in boots in right size and very happy with them.
My current skis are Head Cyber ic200 (predecessor dimensions-wise of classic Head supershapes) 177 in length. They are heavy skis with Tyrolia CP 13 plate. I find them OK on hard groomers - very easy to carve, damp (I like) and stable. However last spring on Mt Tremblant, conditions were on a warm side and snow was soft and slushy with large soft bumps forming as the day progressed. In those conditions, on steeper parts of the runs I found my skis very "hooky" and difficult to force them in any turn tighter than their native radius, causing me to gain too much speed and be out of control - forcing me to stop.
Having that experience and the fact skis are 8 years old, I’m currently looking to buy new pair of skis.
Besides spending quite a bit of time reading this board and online reviews, decided to demo two pairs – Dynastar Sultan 85 in 172 and Volkl Kendo 177. No other lengths were available.
It was extremely cold day and snow was typical hardpack. I liked Kendo very much from the first run. They were confidence inspiring and made black runs feel like blue ones. I noticed I could easily skid/slide a turn in a narrow corridor down the hill and control the speed any way I like. As the day progressed and some runs became a bit uneven with snow piles and small bumps – I was still able to make my turns through them and around them as I wanted. On short very steep parts of double blacks underfoot section of my inside ski was grabbing and chattering but after couple of runs I started to pay attention to weight loading downhill ski more and it was fine afterwards (I guess change in waist – and my skiing ability). Further down the run, where slope opens up I was really enjoying how stable the ski was carving fast long and medium arcs.
Personally, what I liked the best was the ability to introduce a degree of skid or slide into a turn while maintaining a narrow corridor down the hill. Also, doing quick short turns were much easier then on my Heads – however that day snow was ideal for that type of exercise.
At one point I ventured into moguls – that are I believe maintained for that purpose. Only recently they have started to intrigue me to consciously think about skiing them. Those were very dense, high, almost ice hard bumps. I definitely do not have the knowledge to zip through them, but I have enough skill to carefully get in and out. Anyway, Kendos did not magically made me a mogul skier.
Mid day switched to Sultans 85. No problem making any kind of turns, also skid/slide easily. On steeper double black section inside (uphill) ski chattered as well until I corrected the weight load proving it was the skier not the ski. However further down the slope, when I wanted to pick the speed up, the skis felt really unstable (comparing to Kendo though) and had me actually actively concentrating on balance. They felt as if they were very short. I had the same feeling when going through smallish snow piles and occasional mild bumps. I also took them into that mogul dedicated slope. I believe they were tad more maneuverable then Kendos, but based on my skill it was again more surviving than skiing.
Sultans wanted to go on edge and follow their native radius (rail) much more than Kendos, which initiated turns based on my input only. Comparing to my old Heads both skided/slided much more easily which I really found so much fun – with Kendos especially. For my type of skiing midfat waist was definitely not a burden on a small hill with hard-packed snow like the Blue. In a matter of fact I enjoyed variety of turns much more than on my narrow waist and small radius Heads.
Sultans were much heavier than Kendos. Kendos were on the other side much more damp and stable. It could be that 172 Sultans were too short for me.
If I had to choose one pair based on that day experience – it would have been the Kendo – without much thinking.
Hopefully these ski impressions can help someone.
Now, couple of questions from my side.
I really wanted but can’t find a local place to demo Kendo in 170. Just want to find out if the ski is even more maneuverable without losing much stability. This is based on some posts I have found stating that stiff skis when shorter are easier to ride in bumps and glades. Mind you, I know for real trees you would want longer, wider, softer…, but trees I’m talking about (encountered in 2 above mentioned resorts) are usually well skied off hard snow where paths looks like bob-sleight runs. Also reality is I will more than likely venture there only occasionally in next couple of years. Bumps – I’d like to up my skills to be able to ski them confidently – but can’t say going into bumps is the priority for me when going skiing.
If 170 is easier in bumps and hard snow glades over 177 I would opt for shorter providing I do not noticeably loose stability in reasonable speed. If OTOH bumps and glades are not noticeably easier to (learn how to) ski on 170 than on 177, I’d then opt for 177.
Any suggestion about Kendo length for me or even some other skis as alternative is greatly appreciated.