or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › DEMO DAY BRIEFS: 50-50 SKIS -- 84 TO 88mm WIDE
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

DEMO DAY BRIEFS: 50-50 SKIS -- 84 TO 88mm WIDE

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'm in the hunt for a new middle ski, or daily driver. (Now that I'm over 55 and weigh only 155 pounds, my six-year-old 183cm Head Monster 82's have become too much ski for me.)

 

Sturtevant's annual demo day at Crystal Mountain-- with nearly all of the 2011-12 skis-- was a terrific opportunity to sort out the candidate skis. Among the major manufacturers, only Elan wasn't there (and even Ski Logik and Line were).

 

Eventhough La Nina has returned, we hadn't gotten much new for a week, but one could find just enough powder and crud, along with plenty of hard piste, to make quick (3 runs) but fair evaluations.

 

BLIZZARD BUSHWACKER-- 88mm wide, 180cm long, full tip rocker

I had some pretty good expectations, since all of Epic Ski has been Blizzy-this and Blizzy-that for the last few weeks. But I think, in the Bushwacker at least, they executed the tip rocker clumsily. Whether on or off piste, it feels like the ski gouges into the snow just ahead of the boot. Lean forward and it feels like the ski nearly pivots around that section of the ski. Use middle-weighting and they still feel awkward. The BWs are light, not very damp, and have very good edge grip. For me the ski itself just won't flex to an arc of a single curvature. Perhaps such a strong amount of rocker is well-suited to a wider, purely off-piste ski. Perhaps after I spend more time on skis with fully rockered tips I'll adjust my opinion. But not today.

 

HEAD PEAK 84-- 84mm wide, 177cm long, FlowRide tip

They remind me of the Monster series skis I was always so fond of. Just the right (medium) stiffness, a smooth carver, and very damp. It may not be a quick-initiating ski (in the Monster tradition) but at the bottom of a hard pitch I was able to tighten up the radius and steer some terrific tight turns. That FlowRide tip-- Head's alternative to tip rocker-- doesn't hurt the on-piste performance at all. Off piste the skis steered easily, presumably with the help of the softened tips. I think they'll bull through rough crud well, although I'm still a little dubious about soft tips for this purpose. These are the second best ski of the day.

 

ROSSIGNOL EXPERIENCE 88-- 88mm wide, 178cm long, modest tip and tail rocker

They call it "extended sidecut". What is looks like is, the shape of the ski keeps getting wider until a few inches from the (very wide) tip. What it feels like is hooky, on piste and off. At all speeds one feels the whole ski biting the snow, especially the tip and tail. It's the longitudinally stiffest ski of this collection and a strong carver. It's just soft enough to be OK off piste, but the supposed tip and tail rocker aren't evident as the ski is also hooky off piste. The rep said the Experience 83, which has significantly less sidecut, is softer. I would like to have tried it.

 

K2 AFTERSHOCK-- 86mm wide, 181cm long, very modest tip rocker

I've always loved the dampness of K2's (dampest of all manufacturers, IMO), but was always a little disappointed with the Apache series (Recon, Outlaw, Coomba et cetera) because I didn't like the flex much. They had stiffness under foot with soft tip and tail, and I prefer a rounder flex. The Aftershock, part of the A.M.P. (All Mountain Performance) series, and with "all-terrain rocker" fixes this. The ski feels calm, very predicable, steers nicely in crud and carves fine on piste. Both on piste and off, the ski's preferred turn radius felt longer than I'd like. The rocker is subtle enough such that it doesn't hurt the on-piste carving (it feels like the whole ski is on the snow) and presumably helps turn initiation off-piste, although the ski isn't quick off-piste.

 

NORDICA SIDECOUNTRY BURNER-- 84 mm wide, 178cm long, full tip rocker

Amazingly light and nimble. I could dance down rough, steep cruddy slopes. But that nimbleness also makes the ski skittery on hard snow and unstable with much speed. Quite soft, but the edges still bite well. Don't get them for laying trenches on the groomers. I think they'd be a little better with reduced tip rocker. I wish I could've tried the carbon fiber model of the Jet Fuel, also 84 mm wide. The rep says that it's not as stiff as the Jet Fuel of old.

 

And the winner is...

 

SALOMON ENDURO XT 850-- 85mm wide, 177cm long, modest tip rocker

Quick and damp. Terrific edge grip, medium stiff, and tips that seems to inuit where you want to go. Like my brother BH said, "you forget that you have skis on your feet." Salomon says they put some cushioning above the edges, and that would explain how these skis give the smoothest ride when carving on rough hard snow. They're very nimble, like the X-Wing Fury it replaces, yet very damp, quite unlike the X-Wing series. The slightly rockered tip is uncanny how it leads the turn perfectly when carving on hard piste or plunging through soft snow.

 

On two previous occasions I skied the Enduro of 2010-11 and thought it was about perfect except that it was a little too stiff. Guys in two different ski shops said that the 2011-12 model would be softened a bit, and that is what I've found. Nonetheless, the Salomon rep says that the ski has not been changed internally. So I'll just go with my experience.

 

But delivery isn't until August.   Rats-- Crystal is planning to stay open into June.

 

Couldn't demo: Elan Apex. No one in the PNW had them to demo in early March, and I contacted over 15 shops.

 

Another also-ran recently demoed: Dynastar Sultan 85. Great carving, but a little too stiff to be good off piste. They replaced it with the Legend 85 for next year, and the rep said it's not softer.


Edited by crudmaster - 3/29/11 at 11:08pm
post #2 of 10

I humbly submit that you are skiing all of these skis at least one length too long. I strongly recommend you try them in shorter lengths, they will ski completely differently. Obviously it's a question of taste, but at least worth a try. Perhaps you already did and chose to report the lengths you like. But for most folks, I believe at your weight the shorter skis would perform better in almost all respects.

Enjoy the Enduros, they were a hit at the demo day I went to as well.

post #3 of 10

I humbly submit that your ^^^^ humble submission is erroneous. Or at least, it's impossible to judge. First, Dawgcatching at 155 lbs skis the same length in these. It's not weight per se, but weight x acceleration. Most of these skis have rocker, or in Head's case, a specially softened tip. I'm 165, skied the Bushwacker in 180, would not want it a mm shorter. Even in tight trees. Second, a shorter length is always a tradeoff. A ski usually will quicken up, but lose some stability and smoothness. So better in tight places, not as good ripping. Third, most of us have a favorite length. Dawg's is in the middle-high 170's, for instance. Mine used to be the lower 170's but seems to be creeping upward (as my favorite width creeps up) (er, I mean, my skis' waists.) Maybe Crudmaster just likes somewhat longer skis. Because of, well, crud?

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

I humbly submit that your ^^^^ humble submission is erroneous. Or at least, it's impossible to judge. First, Dawgcatching at 155 lbs skis the same length in these. It's not weight per se, but weight x acceleration. Most of these skis have rocker, or in Head's case, a specially softened tip. I'm 165, skied the Bushwacker in 180, would not want it a mm shorter. Even in tight trees. Second, a shorter length is always a tradeoff. A ski usually will quicken up, but lose some stability and smoothness. So better in tight places, not as good ripping. Third, most of us have a favorite length. Dawg's is in the middle-high 170's, for instance. Mine used to be the lower 170's but seems to be creeping upward (as my favorite width creeps up) (er, I mean, my skis' waists.) Maybe Crudmaster just likes somewhat longer skis. Because of, well, crud?

 

 

well I just wanted to say steve, that I could see myself owning a 173 in the Wacker on the east coast. I bought the 180cm so I would have something that would be stable for me at any speed I could hit here but it can be a chore in some of the tighter bump lines ala MRG. the issue isnt trees I think the 180 destroys trees, but I got to ski the 173 before the 180 and the 173 had more edge grip and was also a freaking demon in bumps.

 


 

 

post #5 of 10

^^^^ Ah. Good point. (Since it was his 180 I borrowed.) Part of this is that my left knee and I have an agreement that we ski bumps methodically, and if they're too tight and firm, we go have coffee. If I skied them like Josh, or hit MRG much, I'd probably prefer the 173. Another part is that I was surprised how supple the 180 was. On edge, it skied like its length, but transitioning, it felt more like a 170. And had plenty of grip; the 173 must be a real pit bull. 

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

I humbly submit that your ^^^^ humble submission is erroneous. Or at least, it's impossible to judge. First, Dawgcatching at 155 lbs skis the same length in these. It's not weight per se, but weight x acceleration. Most of these skis have rocker, or in Head's case, a specially softened tip. I'm 165, skied the Bushwacker in 180, would not want it a mm shorter. Even in tight trees. Second, a shorter length is always a tradeoff. A ski usually will quicken up, but lose some stability and smoothness. So better in tight places, not as good ripping. Third, most of us have a favorite length. Dawg's is in the middle-high 170's, for instance. Mine used to be the lower 170's but seems to be creeping upward (as my favorite width creeps up) (er, I mean, my skis' waists.) Maybe Crudmaster just likes somewhat longer skis. Because of, well, crud?


Yup.  Like Beyond said.

 

And I say, "Longer & softer is better than shorter & stiffer."  Especially at speed.

 

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

How well you are able to ski is related to how hard you are willing to fall.

 

 

post #7 of 10

Thanks for the review. I also like a round flex; I'll demo the Enduro next season. Sturtevants didn't accept demoers anymore when I showed up on Sat frown.gif

 

Did you take the Enudro in the Northway terrain? I could you use a ski for that terrain in those conditions.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Taking the time to go out to Northway would have shortened the list of skis that I'd have time to ski on.  Since Chair 6 was closed, I skied steep powder on K2 Face, and nasty refrozen crud in The Doors.

 

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

How well you are able to ski is related to how hard you are willing to fall.

post #9 of 10

Great reviews crudmaster..

 

Like you I tried the 2011 Sal Enduro, 177, and liked it except I found it too stiff for all day skiing...kinda similar to the Volkl AC50 on groomers even with the tip rocker, and much smoother and better in soft snow.

So I am looking forward to the XT850 Enduro for next year....I'm the same weight but ~100 years older.ski.gif

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by crudmaster View Post

"Longer & softer is better than shorter & stiffer."

 

That's what she said.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Member Gear Reviews
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › DEMO DAY BRIEFS: 50-50 SKIS -- 84 TO 88mm WIDE