Product, Length/size Tested: I got to demo the following: Rossignol S86 178cm, AC30 184cm, Fischer Watea 114 176cm, Kendo 177, and AC50 177. I wish I had seen this site before the trip, none of them seemed to be what I was looking for, my choices would have been very different after reading here from all these great reviews. I have lots of questions, but I figgered I could start posting on EpicSki by trying to contribute with a review...
Environment of Conditions:
*Location of review: Big Sky, Yellowstone Club
*Runs Taken: at least 4 on each ski, some a good bit more
*Snow Conditions: Powder, crud, groomers
*Demo or Purchase: Demo
Summery (inc. Strengths & Weaknesses):
I’ve been lurking for a few weeks (hope I didn’t wear out your search button), just found this site after a trip to Big Sky (and a side trip to Yellowstone Club; I am still trying to figure out how that came about). I hadn’t skied in at least 15 years, my last pair of skis were 200cm 4SKs and Elan Comprex S’s, and some Kastle 204cm GS ski with old Marker MR turntables, nor had I ever skied out west. What a difference from Vermont and the Poconos, to say the least!
As far as my skill: Christ, who knows at this point; a lifetime ago I was alright, instructed in the Poconos (not that that means anything, but I skied a lot and benefitted from oodles of clinics).
Anything I write next needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt; I was battling way too much time away from the sport, a rather interesting change in ski design from the early 90s, and eventually food poisoning (avoid the fish burrito at Whiskey Jack’s in Big Sky’s lodge, just sayin’).
-The S86 was competent but unremarkable, skied it on groomers and some soft off-piste, although it felt more lively than any of the Volkls I skied later. They were great for the first day, which I spent remembering how to complete turns and discover neutral stance instead of charging forward like mad a century ago.
-AC30 was a victim of following my buddies into bumps and lots of fresh pow, neither of which it helped me much with; I also imagine a shorter length would have been more fair. Even so, it didn’t feel lively or particularly fun, which led me to go scurrying back to the lodge for…
-…the Watea 114s. What a blast they were, albeit in conditions created just for them. A full day of fresh powder up to my knees, they made me feel like the hero I certainly wasn’t, and yet on the groomers to and from the chutes they were nimble, lively and surprisingly s stable while GSing back to the lodge at decent speed (I didn't think to really challenge their edge holding). I suppose they were my intro to early tip rise/twin tips, which is probably why they initiated turns so easily. They were more 'fun' on groomers and crud than the…
-…Kendo. They reminded me of an old pair of K2s I had, torsionally rigid but absent of life on groomers, I blame the Mahre brothers for that comparison. The Kendos were competent, but seemed to have a disappointing speed limit and there was nothing about them that would make me crave using them again. There was also something about them that made me suspect I didn’t know how to make the most of them, probably the loose nut mounted between the bindings.
-The AC50 was… interesting. I skied it late in the day, on broken up runs that had seen a lot of traffic. They were great in that condition, very tank-like and stable. Unfortunately, I had spent most of the day snowplowing down numerous runs following my mates on snowboards, they wanted me to film them. The mind was willing but the legs were weak by then. I just didn’t do the ACs justice. I probably wouldn’t like them anyway, they were beefy but didn’t seem all that versatile
Did any of you know that snowboards are inherently slower? I know that reeeally well now. I had a belly full of following my mates with the video camera, then pushing them on flat sections as I skated, or towing them with my poles, I don’t imagine I will be that nice next time. Hell, I don’t think I had ever even ridden on a chair lift with snowboards before.
So, I am going to be able to ski a few more times this year, in Park City and perhaps even with y’all in April. I would like to nail down the lower ½ of a quiver on those trips. Through reviewing what I experienced in Montana and reading ad nauseum here, some skis I want to focus on for demo-ing are the MX78/Motive 84/Sultan 85 n’ 94, and explore going narrower with Progressor 10s or Supersonics. They seem to fit my brand of staggering down the fall line. Another ski I read about and 'connected' with but doesn't seem to be made anymore is the Head im78, I'm not sure I could demo that, though. I'm also open to other suggestions!
<Stupid question warning>… is it compulsory to use midfats for the lower ½ of a 2-ski quiver for skiing out west? I just just don’t know enough about life out there, but the 70ish carvers have a certain appeal to me, maybe I am having flashbacks of tap dancing over skied-off ice from my youth.
As far as the upper half, those Watea 114 were a lot of fun, but they don’t get much press here. I read Dawg’s review of big skis, the Huge or maybe Olympus sounds like a good bit of alright, has anyone skied them and the Watea I stumbled across?
Great site, folks; glad you’re here.
Height/Weight: 5'10", 175lbs
Average days on snow: 0-10, subject to increase...
Years Skiing: 6-15, then none for quite a while