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2011 AC30 or Blizzard Magnum 8.1? or wait for 2012 Volkl RTM?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

So Im looking for a new set of skis, havent really demo'd anything yet this season, got a late start (injury). I would put myself as a level 7, I ski mostly groomers (at pretty fast speed but big carves), but I am looking to get more comfy with off-piste, bumps, glades, etc next few seasons. I'd put that at about an 80/20 but looking to go more 60/40. Almost 90% of my skiing is in the northeast, and when I go out west I usually just rent/demo a wider all/big mountain ski. I ski about 10-15 days a year if Im lucky, some years only a weekend or two. I'm 6'1 195 lbs btw. I usually ski a 177ish size.

 

So yes I know, here goes the question beat to death here. I'm kinda narrowed down btwn the AC30 or Blizzard Magnum 8.1, as Ive heard great things about both these skis if you're a primary groomer skiier but occasionally venture off into other terran. Other skis I'm also considering would be AC50 (maybe too stiff), Kendo, Sultan 80/85, Kastle MX78. Feel free to throw out other suggestions for me too. I'm going to prolly do a few demo days btwn now and presidents week and then decide.

 

I've been calling a few shops in the NE, and EVERYONE seems to carry and praise the volkl line but hardly anyone has blizzards, any reason for that (considering they get quite alot of praise here and are the possible AC30/50 killer)?? The shop I was in this weekend almost basically said "everyone" is skiing a Volkl this season, they're hands down the best and anything else would be cutting yourself short. Found that a bit narrow-minded rolleyes.gif

 

So my ultimate question would also then be since the 2012 lineups were recently introduced, to jump on an AC30 / Blizzard Magnum 2011 sale OR wait for the new RTM 80/84 from Volkl for 2012? What enhancements are made and are they worth waiting a year and paying the extra buck? Anything I'd be losing out on by not going with the well-established AC line? Your thoughts, thanks.

post #2 of 18

I have been skiing an AC 30 for about 4 years here on the east coast.  I used to love it.  Until I got the Volkl Mantra.  Now I strictly ski on the Mantra!  Much more versatile.  Skis groomer great but loves powder, crud and all the other conditions the east can offer.  The Mantra can rip big GS turns and handle speed but loves to venture off-piste. 

 

Have fun shopping!

post #3 of 18

Used to like Volkls (724 Pro, AC3, AC4) until I skied a Stockli.  I'd be hard pressed to get on a Volkl these days.  Just spent a hard pack 2 week in Tahoe; a friend skied his Bliz 8.1 exclusively and then took it off piste the day after I left when it started to snow again (not enough snow for the phats yet).  It rips, he loves it.  I spent the 2 weeks on a Stockli Stormrider XXL, which dispite being 4 years old, is still IMO one of the most versitile 80mm skis around.  Of the skis that you have mentioned, try to demo the Kastle MX78.

 

BTW, I'm similar weight & height (183cm / 93 kg - 6' / 190 lbs) and most of my skis have gotten longer in recent years.  Go 178cm or thereabouts. Any shorter will be a chore off piste and less stable at speed on piste.

post #4 of 18

Used to like anything but Kastle, until I saw a Kastle... Go with the MX78's, it will change your life.  Well maybe not that much but it will be an amazing ski.  If your looking to go more off groomed check out the FX line up, there's even one for sale http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/99672/kastle-fx94-176cm-- though the fact that it was mounted for tele does somewhat concern me

 

94 is def a wide ski so it really is more of an off-piste ski than the 78.  I'm not sure how much more though given that I've never skied them on groomed snow, I'll hopefully be demoing them tomorrow on some nice hard packed stuff (if the roads don't get closed mad.gif) but I'm sure someone around here has skied both the 78 and 94's on groomed

post #5 of 18

I would wait for the RTM.  I can't wait to see what that ski will turn out like.

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by NycMtnir View Post

So Im looking for a new set of skis, havent really demo'd anything yet this season, got a late start (injury). I would put myself as a level 7, I ski mostly groomers (at pretty fast speed but big carves), but I am looking to get more comfy with off-piste, bumps, glades, etc next few seasons. I'd put that at about an 80/20 but looking to go more 60/40. Almost 90% of my skiing is in the northeast, and when I go out west I usually just rent/demo a wider all/big mountain ski. I ski about 10-15 days a year if Im lucky, some years only a weekend or two. I'm 6'1 195 lbs btw. I usually ski a 177ish size.

 

So yes I know, here goes the question beat to death here. I'm kinda narrowed down btwn the AC30 or Blizzard Magnum 8.1, as Ive heard great things about both these skis if you're a primary groomer skiier but occasionally venture off into other terran. Other skis I'm also considering would be AC50 (maybe too stiff), Kendo, Sultan 80/85, Kastle MX78. Feel free to throw out other suggestions for me too. I'm going to prolly do a few demo days btwn now and presidents week and then decide.

 

I've been calling a few shops in the NE, and EVERYONE seems to carry and praise the volkl line but hardly anyone has blizzards, any reason for that (considering they get quite alot of praise here and are the possible AC30/50 killer)?? The shop I was in this weekend almost basically said "everyone" is skiing a Volkl this season, they're hands down the best and anything else would be cutting yourself short. Found that a bit narrow-minded rolleyes.gif

 


Uh yeah....okay, whatever.  Volkl makes good skis, so do around 10 other companies though.  Blizzard's are a tougher sell than Volkl, in the same way that Trek sells alot more Remedys than Turner sells 5-Spots.  Doesn't mean they are better, just an easier sell (disclaimer, I sell both Trek and Turner, and love both models, but I bet you Trek sells more Remedy 9's than Turner sells frames in an entire year).

 

With regards to your question: the 8.1 and 8.7 are exceptional skis.  Don't overlook them, and I would take them over an AC30 or AC50 right now, without question.  The Kastle, well they are special skis. The MX78 may be the best frontside ski yet conceived.  Also expensive and hard to find; we are down to 184's only, and could have sold an additional 8 pair if we had them.  

 

Sultan 85's: a bit softer, more forgiving, feels like a tighter turning ski, good edge hold, more relaxed than the 8.1.  Another ski worth considering, if you like the 8.1 and 8.7, is the Elan 82Xti.  Wicked edgehold, very powerful, stable and smooth.  Motive 84 from Fischer is lighter on the snow, snappier, good edge hold, great off-piste performance in bumps and tight spots.  Atomic Crimson ti is definitely worth a look as well, as is the Stockli VXL if you can go up with your budget a bit.  The Stockli is a special ski, both on and off-piste.  

Last but not least is the Blizzard M-Power 8.7.  Better edge hold than the standard 8.7, smoother, a very powerful, yet fairly forgiving ride (it is quite stiff, better weigh more than I do to get the most out of it). The AC50 is along the lines of the 8.7, although can feel a bit too stiff at times, more like a wide race ski than an all-mountain adaptable carver. 

post #7 of 18

If you are buying current (2010-11) models, the Blizzis are more versatile than the comparable Volkls. If you decide to wait for the 2012 RTM.................I would strongly suggest that you demo one before buying. The feedback coming off the hill at the SIA demo that just finished today @ Winter Park was mixed (to say the least) on the RTM.

 

SJ

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedbacks guys. It seems the Blizzies def get alot of love around here, and as the Volkl "killer" if I may say. I am going to demo all three in the next week or so, the 8.1, AC30 and try to find a spot that has the MX78 for demo just to say I've skiied them. I think the 94 (mx/lx94) underfoot will be a bit wide on primarily groomers. And the AC50/8.7 might be stiffer than I'd like. Stokli's are a hard ski to find to demo also.

 

I went into another ski shop last week and the guy did definitely mention the Kastle brand really did their thing this year, but I must say the $1200 price tag (even with $150 off) is still well out of my budget, considering I bought new boots this season as well as a new ArcTeryx jacket. I'd like to be in the ~$800ish range.  BTW, did the MX78 change considerably from 2010 to 2011? Cuz the 2010 are at like half price right now.

 

Dawg, if the Blizzard 8.1's do feel good to me when I demo, I will most definitely be jumping onto a pair of these in the next week or two from your shop. Did they change for 2011? How is the binding in comparison to the wide ride binding on the Volkl? Also does the $150 credit does apply to the 8.1? Most likely will be the 179 size, how many of those do you still have in stock?

 

And SierraJim, thanks for letting me know that there are mixed feedbacks about the RTM right now, makes me feel more comfortable demoing skis still this season.

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

If you are buying current (2010-11) models, the Blizzis are more versatile than the comparable Volkls. If you decide to wait for the 2012 RTM.................I would strongly suggest that you demo one before buying. The feedback coming off the hill at the SIA demo that just finished today @ Winter Park was mixed (to say the least) on the RTM.

 

SJ

Do tell! smile.gif

 

post #10 of 18

Is the BMX 118 Kastle a mens or womens ski? The FX104 looks sweet also. Did Stockli have much new there at the show? The Rotor 106 has it changed at all?

post #11 of 18


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NycMtnir View Post

Thanks for the feedbacks guys. It seems the Blizzies def get alot of love around here, and as the Volkl "killer" if I may say. I am going to demo all three in the next week or so, the 8.1, AC30 and try to find a spot that has the MX78 for demo just to say I've skiied them. I think the 94 (mx/lx94) underfoot will be a bit wide on primarily groomers. And the AC50/8.7 might be stiffer than I'd like. Stokli's are a hard ski to find to demo also.

 

I went into another ski shop last week and the guy did definitely mention the Kastle brand really did their thing this year, but I must say the $1200 price tag (even with $150 off) is still well out of my budget, considering I bought new boots this season as well as a new ArcTeryx jacket. I'd like to be in the ~$800ish range.  BTW, did the MX78 change considerably from 2010 to 2011? Cuz the 2010 are at like half price right now.

 

Dawg, if the Blizzard 8.1's do feel good to me when I demo, I will most definitely be jumping onto a pair of these in the next week or two from your shop. Did they change for 2011? How is the binding in comparison to the wide ride binding on the Volkl? Also does the $150 credit does apply to the 8.1? Most likely will be the 179 size, how many of those do you still have in stock?

 

And SierraJim, thanks for letting me know that there are mixed feedbacks about the RTM right now, makes me feel more comfortable demoing skis still this season.

 

The Blizzard 7.6, 8.1, and 8.7 get early rise in the tip for next year, not a ton but just enough to make them easier to ski off groomed.  When you lay them on edge they

feel exactly the same as this year's.  If you can find a pair of this years in your size I would grab 'em.  The question is can you find them.  179 would definitely be your size.

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

The feedback coming off the hill at the SIA demo that just finished today @ Winter Park was mixed (to say the least) on the RTM.

 

SJ


 

Volkl seems to do that pretty often with their skis, you either love them or hate them (AC50, Racetiger, RTM?)

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by NycMtnir View Post

Thanks for the feedbacks guys. It seems the Blizzies def get alot of love around here, and as the Volkl "killer" if I may say. I am going to demo all three in the next week or so, the 8.1, AC30 and try to find a spot that has the MX78 for demo just to say I've skiied them. I think the 94 (mx/lx94) underfoot will be a bit wide on primarily groomers. And the AC50/8.7 might be stiffer than I'd like. Stokli's are a hard ski to find to demo also.

 

I went into another ski shop last week and the guy did definitely mention the Kastle brand really did their thing this year, but I must say the $1200 price tag (even with $150 off) is still well out of my budget, considering I bought new boots this season as well as a new ArcTeryx jacket. I'd like to be in the ~$800ish range.  BTW, did the MX78 change considerably from 2010 to 2011? Cuz the 2010 are at like half price right now.

 

Dawg, if the Blizzard 8.1's do feel good to me when I demo, I will most definitely be jumping onto a pair of these in the next week or two from your shop. Did they change for 2011? How is the binding in comparison to the wide ride binding on the Volkl? Also does the $150 credit does apply to the 8.1? Most likely will be the 179 size, how many of those do you still have in stock?

 

And SierraJim, thanks for letting me know that there are mixed feedbacks about the RTM right now, makes me feel more comfortable demoing skis still this season.


The 8.1's in 179cm we still have, yes $150 off.  I also have a pair of barely-used demos (20 runs max) that you can have for a great price if the new ones sell out.      8.1's are changing again for 2012, but the 2011 is a sweet ski, hard to say how the new skis will go with adding a bit of early rise.  

post #14 of 18

NycMtnir, I just finished my four-way 2011 ski demo comparing: Blizzard Magnum 8.1 Ti at 172 cm, versus Atomic Blackeye Ti at 176 cm, versus Nordica Hot Rod Tempest @ 170 cm, versus K2 Rictor at 174 cm.  I would have liked to try 2011 Blizzard Magnum at 179 cm but they're sold out locally.  Here's the thread:

 

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/100174/review-fischer-watea-84-vs-blizzard-magnum-8-1

 

I liked all four skis except the Nordica Hot Rod Tempest.  Each ski had its own personality.  Maybe Nordica's issues could have been addressed by moving the binding forward 1-2 cm, or by trying a longer ski, or by learning a new skiing style.  Regardless, the 170 cm Tempest didn't work well for me.

 

I did NOT demo Volkl AC50 or AC30 because the only pair of AC30s (2008) in the demo rack was too short for me.  The AC50 seemed too stiff for my skiing style and weight, per many reviews I read.

 

I ended up buying Blizzard Magnum 8.1 Ti at 172 cm.  It's a wonderful jack-of-all-trades ski.  I learned I can buy Blizzard's $75 IQ Max Slider plate that lets me put whatever binding I like on the ski without losing the undersole flex of the Magnum's integrated channel.  So if I want to convert my 2011 Blizzards to telemark skis in 10 years, for instance, or if a binding part breaks after the indemnification period, it'll just be a matter of installing the binding onto the IQ Max slider and screwing the slider onto the ski.  (I'll have it done by a certified shop.)  This seems like a win-win scenario:  flat ski upgradability with integrated binding performance.  Way to go, Blizzard!

post #15 of 18

NycMtnir, don't know if you've already decided, but for the conditions you're skiing and the level you could also consider the 2011 Salomon XW Tornado TI Powerline. I just picked up a pair and am blown away by their ability to handle very variable conditions on and off piste. If you have a chance I'd recommend you to demo them too. They come in 180 cm which should be about right for you.

 

post #16 of 18

Jim,

Demoing as you mentioned..will be a must with an RTM.  Do you remember by chance the conditions where the ..western? skiers were so-so on the RTM 84?.   HAHA..realize it's kinda like.."Where were you in Dec. x, 198x..?" ...LOL.

 

SteveD

 

post #17 of 18

I demoed the RTM and they felt to floppy for my size. 225lbs. The rockerd tip flopped around on hard groomers for me doing GS turns. If I tryed to lay them over SL the tips would fold. On a guy sub 200 they might be alot better though. A friend skis them and likes them. He,s around 180lbs though so that makes a hudge differance I guess. Someone a 150 to 160 I think is what they feel they are designed for. If I took it easy on them they held a good edge. But if your a big guy and ski hard i feel you will over power them. More a finess ski.

post #18 of 18

After a a few weeks of demoing a slew of skis in Utah last season, I've ended up purchasing the AC30's. 

 

The AC50's were also on my list of skis demoed, however, on Utah terrain (Alta, Canyons, Deer Valley), these skis were a bit much for me. They definitely want to rip. Being 5'5" 125lbs, that was a little concerning. The AC30's felt like a much better fit for the terrain. A little softer, but very comfortable.

 

Now that I'm back east and the terrain is not as steep, I would love to be back on the AC50's. The AC30's are a little more versatile, though a little slower. Since I work as an instructor, the versatility works in my favor, as well as the students. 

 

I've been happy with my skis, and wouldn't think twice about buying another pair of Volkls. 

 

The RTM's might be a nice compromise IMO.

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