Originally Posted by tjcars2007
I have been a very active skiier since the age of 8. I have been skiiing for 45 years. I would consider myself a relaxed expert.
However I have neglected to purchase new skiis since 1983 as I love my Rossignol Fp Comps (83 or so). Yes, I have purchased new boots and binding over the years.
I ski perhaps 10-15 days a year now and I would like to re-equip myself with more modern equipment. Since I ski northeast hard pack most of the time, I enjoy a salomn type sidecut. Quick turning skiis. I would also like boots that are no longer as stiff but still perform with the feel and percision of a racing boot..
Where should I start with this.....HELP!!
Welcome to Epic. You have come to the right place. But your question is the ski equivalent of "what is the meaning of life" or "what is the best wine." May I suggest you spend a bit of time gong through the ski gear discussion and member review sections to find out what is out there. You will discover there are consensuses. Keep track of what looks interesting and then have fun demoing a few of your top candidates.
Now that I have given you the generic answer, I owe you something to get you started - something a bit unique.
I am 4 years north of 50 and began my skiing passion perhaps on the same day as you. I live and ski in Maine and am no stranger to hardpacked conditions or the need to have the right tool for those conditions.
A "relaxed expert" is an elegant term that will co-opt if you don't mind.
I started my search for modern gear about 5-6 years ago. Have gone through a few of the major manufacturers along the way - Elan, Volkl, Blizzard, and a smaller one - VIST. After spending too much money along the way, I have found what I regard as the perfect ski for the average Maine day - hard/ice/pkdpdr. It is the Hart Phoenix.
The dimensions begin the story: 116/66/101
This is no deep powder board. It is, rather, a fast running, quick turning, stable, confidence building scalpel. It has the characteristics of a racing ski in this respect without the unforgiving qualities. I ski this ski all day. And every day it makes me smile. Perhaps you remember this name from the old days. Did you have a pair of the Hart Javelin XXL's in 1969 (205cm) like I did? Unlike those, the Phoenix is made in Italy in a factory that produces some of the best European skis that rarely if ever make it to the US. The Blossom factory produces skis under its own top sheet, and for Spoilt, VIST and others. If you want to look into this deeper, you will find that you can buy the exact same ski as the Phoenix with a VIST top sheet for a few bucks south of $2000. I should also say that if you have questions about the Phoenix, as I did, I emailed the company and struck up a conversation with the people who run it. They are very nice folks. And I think this adds somehow to the ownership experience. I am 175lbs, 5'9 and ski the 174cm. I use the VIST binding system which is brilliant. A plate is mounted on the ski. The bindings clip onto the plate. You can move the bindings forward or back along the plate to fine tune to taste. And you need only one set of bindings for any in your ski quiver that have this plate. The elevation from the plate also gives you more leverage in turns. That is a whole other topic. Simply put, I have ended my search for the my hard/pkd pow ski. It deserves a look.
As for boots. These are even more personal. Bottom line (mostly) whatever fits the best. You may hear a chorus of people telling you that the right boots are more critical than the "right" ski. True that. There are two approaches. You can burn through a bunch of money like I did, trying different boots and learning along the way. Or, you could find a great boot fitter in your area (or elsewhere ) and get it right the first time. You see, the boot off the rack is just the "canvas." A good fitter will get you comfortable and centered on the skis - mostly through footbeds or shell work. Minor adjustments can make all the difference in the world. I was having a lot of quad burn in my new boots (Nordica Doberman 130 Pro's - highly recommended if they fit you - medium stiff "plug-style" boot). My fitter put a 5mm plate under the boot toe to counteract the ramp angle of the binding that was tilting me forward causing my quads to fire. Voila. No more quad pain. My suggestion. Get the boots FIRST. Then go play with skis.
Finally, listen to Lady Salina's advice. I know her. She is a wise woman. You may be coming to this new generation of equipment with old skills. I did until I went to a ski camp two years ago. On the first run where they cull you out, one of the instructors (a Brit) told me "You ski so beautifully - in that passe style." I am thinking of that as an epitaph. Five days later, under the watchful eye of Rick Schnellman ("Your Ski Coach") I no longer ski in that "passe style." And I am having the most fun ever. Simply put, you will not be able to get the full measure of of your gear until you learn how to use it as it was designed to be used. I learned that the hard way. My first pair of shaped skis were Volkl Superstar 6's. I fought the skis and the skis won - massive quad cramps from trying to foot steer a ski stiff as steel girders.
So my advice:
1. Get the boots done right first
2. Take a few lessons so you will know how to demo skis (check out Rick Schnellman's series of training DVD's that are a great self teaching tool. I own them - http://www.yourskicoach.com/YourSkiCoach/About_Rick_Schnellmann.html)
3. Then demo skis
This is not how I did it - but should have when I was in exactly your situation a few years back. And I have never skied better, easier or have had more fun as I am right now.
Hope this helps. Feel free to pm me if you like.
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