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Soooooooooo

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'm looking to buy new skis but I've been out of the equipment scene for a while and am not exactly sure what I should be demoing at this point.  First, I live in the east and ski mostly hard packed groomers and ice, and I usually get out about 30-40 times a season.  I'm a big guy, 6'3" and 250ish pounds, 38 and this is my 36th ski season.  I raced up until university, also coached and was an instructor as well.  I thought I was a good skier until I moved out to Calgary for a few years in 2000 and started skiing big mountains 60-70 times a year.  At the end of my time out west in 2003 I was a much better skier and could comfortably handle anything on or off-piste.  Anyway, we had kids shortly after we moved back and between that and the hills around here (Ottawa) being, ummmmm, a little less exciting, I've been out of the game for a while. Still skiing 30-40 times a year, but on the kind of terrain that takes the edge off your skiing and lets you get a bit lazy.  So I'm not quite at that expert level anymore, but it wouldn't take me long to get back to it either.  I'm still skiing on my Volkl Vertigo G30s I got in 2000 or 2001, which were a great all mountain ski at the time but which are a little outdated now.  I'm looking for something that will serve me well on the ice here, but also be 'not horrible' in soft snow and western conditions as I will be making at least one trip a year west.  

 

So far, I've skied:

 

Volkl AC50s - Loved them, felt really snappy from edge to edge, no speed limit, really great in the conditions I normally ski in.

Volkl AC30s - These were just ok.  Felt a bit mushy to me, especially at low speed.  Seemed to hold a great edge at higher speeds though.

Salomon Enduro - Felt a lot like the AC30s to me.  Mushy and muddy.

Nordica Doberman Spitfire EDTs - Honestly had more fun on these than on any other pair.  I know they are probably the least versatile ski I've tried, they were a blast to rip big GS turns on the groomers here.

Fischer Watea 84s - Blah.  Felt soft.  I actually found about 8 inches of cut up crud to ski these on in addition to the normal hard pack and still wasn't too impressed.

Elan 82xti - Again, blah.  Good carver at speed but not the same liveliness that the AC50s and the Spitfires had.

Scott Method - I didn't even know Scott made skis, but these were actually kind of fun.  Twin tips but they held their edge pretty well.

 

I am sort of leaning to the AC50s at this point, but I see the reviews on them being a terrible soft snow ski.  So my question is, is it possible to find a ski that performs well in the conditions I normally ski, as well as in the softer stuff out west or is that a pipe dream?  And given the skis I've tried, and how I've felt about them, what others should I be looking at?  I'm thinking Kastle MX78s (and maybe 88s?), Blizzard 8.1s or 8.7s?  Volkl Mantras?  

 

One last thing, I know people will suggest I should probably go longer, but I've mostly been demoing in the 177 range.  My G30s are 193s.

 

Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by spackler View Post

So my question is, is it possible to find a ski that performs well in the conditions I normally ski, as well as in the softer stuff out west or is that a pipe dream?  And given the skis I've tried, and how I've felt about them, what others should I be looking at?  I'm thinking Kastle MX78s (and maybe 88s?), Blizzard 8.1s or 8.7s?  Volkl Mantras?  

 

One last thing, I know people will suggest I should probably go longer, but I've mostly been demoing in the 177 range.  My G30s are 193s.

 


Hi - Short answer is no. Longer answer is that you need to prioritize whether you want to load toward trip west, or conditions near your home, or split it. If first, and you have $$, would recommend Kastle MX98. Blizzard Atlas or Volkl Mantra would also hold up to your size, both are versatile, nimble, good grip, Mantras are a touch stiffer in back and thus less disposed to bumps, Atlas' are a touch stiffer in front and IMO slightly better all around.

 

If latter, Blizzard Magnum 8.1 or Kastle MX78's are great frontside, variable conditions skis. The Magnum 8.7 is a better AC50. Kastle MX88's would work at home in terms of grip, but would prefer big turns; would also work nicely out west except in pow over boots, they or the 8.7's might be your best compromise ski. 

 

Also you might look at Stocklis or Elans. The VXL's and Apexes are in the same ballpark as the MX88's. You can read good reviews of all of these over at Gear Reviews forum. 

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the advice, I appreciate it.  I'm definitely leaning towards getting a ski that matches the conditions I ski on most of the time, I was just hoping to find one that could at least handle, if not excel, on the western trips.  I found a local store that carries the Stocklis so I'll check those and the others out.  Thank you again.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

 

I've just had the Stockli dealer recommend me the Volkl Grizzly over the Stocklis and Blizzards (he sells them all).  Unfortunately he doesn't have any set up to demo.  Reading some of the reviews on site, I see the verdict is quite mixed on the Grizzlys.  That said, they look like they might be a good stout ski for a guy my size, with the possibility of softening the flex through the power switch in softer snow.  Any thoughts? 

post #5 of 9

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spackler View Post

Thank you for the advice, I appreciate it.  I'm definitely leaning towards getting a ski that matches the conditions I ski on most of the time, I was just hoping to find one that could at least handle, if not excel, on the western trips.  I found a local store that carries the Stocklis so I'll check those and the others out.  Thank you again.


Based on the kind of skis it sounds like you enjoy, no ski is going to "excel" on the western trips if there's a lot of fresh snow.  But handle it?  Sure.  It'll just be a little more work.  And if you really get a good dump, simply demo something else instead.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

After demo-ing a bunch more skis, I am going with the MX78s.  Unbelievable ski, I'm really impressed.  

post #7 of 9

Sp, compare Stockli's and the Kastle's??

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Unfortunately I couldn't find any Stocklis around here to demo, but I'm not sure it would have mattered anyway, the MX78s seem like everything I could want in a ski for around here.  Obviously they rip on groomers but I was surprised at how quick they could be edge to edge when I wanted to do short turns, and also how powerful they were in crappy snow.  Friday was a warm and sunny day here, around the low 40s F and at the end of the day the temperature was dropping and the mounds of corn that had been pushed around all day were starting to get heavy and a bit frozen over, the snow was getting really heavy.  The MX78s just motored through the junk with zero deflection.  Really impressed.  Picking up a pair this week as soon as I can figure out the bindings I want. Not too sure about the Marker Griffons that are sold with them.

post #9 of 9

Good choice, and an amazing ski.  I mounted the new Knee binding on Kastles this year and have been very happy.  One idea for your soft snow ski might be to bite the bullet and buy a demo as a second pair.  I picked up a pair of mantras with griffon marker mounted for $350 at the end of last season.. Current year, demo-ed perhaps 10 times.  Look and ski well... .. then again the kastle is pretty good in most conditions, and great on the groomed.   

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