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First carving ski after 20+ years on long skinnys

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi all


This forum is informative and enjoyable to read so, thanks, and here goes....first post!


I have been researcing reviews and talking to ski shops regarding buying my first ever real set of carvers. (Expl.- I have not skied regularly for some years but plan to do more.)


I am 5' 6" and weigh approx 150lbs. Age 56. Reasonably fit and vigourous when skiing. Skiing level is advanced. Bindings set light and hardly ever release. Love to turn. No racing though. Also do lots of waterskiing on a high end edge to edge concave slalom ski.


Love to ski the whole mountain in all conditions except ice. Got new boots recently (Salomon Impact 880)


My instinct is to go for a slalom/carver/performance ski but the shop people are pushing me toward a soft flexing ski (typically an intermediate/advanced ski. I am resisting this advice because I have tried rentals and intermediate shaped skis and they feel vague and dont seem to be interested in holding any consistent line.


Way back when I always liked 190-200cm slalom style skis (eg Fischer RC4 Vacuum or Volkl Renn tiger)


I have had a few days on a OLD pair of Salomon Axendo 8 190cm. which are a very early carver/shaped ski. I can have quite a bit of fun on these - They certainly are easier to ski than old skinny skis but hopefully theres better options out there. Also I recently tried briefly a pair of Atomic GS Race skis not sure what length but approx 170 from memory - I liked those bacause they felt predictable and stable and went where I told them, although they felt a tiny bit "sticky" (might just have needed waxing?). These would likely have been 2004-2006 vintage.I had no problems initiating turns on these.


Snow here is quite variable. Usually hardpack, chopped up, spring powder, and sometimes very nice spring snow. Hardly ever deep powder. Two favourite runs are Big Mama and Bluff Face at porters ski area if anyone knows that place (closest to ChCh NZ)


Presently I am inclined to get something a few years old in good cond. eg 4 yrs old Volkl 5 star 168cm is on offer at a giveaway price. I am keen on these...


All comments gratefully taken on board - Cheers!





post #2 of 12

Balderick, if I read you correctly it seems that the carving technique itself is no problem for you, and that you like to ski reasonably fast and everywhere on the mountain. If that is correct a softer ski is probably not your best choice, in my experience they get "flappy" at a certain speed ( even if it's the lateral stiffness that's most important in a carving ski ).


This season I was on Nordica Spitfire EDT pro, a high end carver (HEC), in various lengths. My favorite lenght was 164 if memory serves me. That's the shortest ski I've ever skied. I'm 179 cm and 75 kg.


A pure race ski is fun, but nowhere near as versatile as a high end carver, like the Völkl 5 star.


I bumped into (litteraly) a neighbour on the local bus this spring, he's a former WC skier and Olympic gold medal winner in slalom. I'm an inquisitive person, so I asked him what ski he skied these days, was he still on graded race skies? He stated that he still got more skies thrown at him than he could ever use ( race skies and others ), but only used race skies if he was skiing gates. For everything else he skied HEC for their versatility. The way he explained it was the a race ski only had "one turn", whereas on a HEC he could have various turns and more fun skiing.


The Völkl 5 star got excellent reviews; if they have enough base and edges left and you get them for a good price, I'd give them a try. As an added bonus you may experience that skiing icy conditions is more fun and easy. Get them stoneground if necessary, waxed and bevel/sharpen the edges.


On the news here (Oslo) this morning they reported a massive snowfall in Whakapapa, hopefully Porters will also get enough to open soon.


Have fun!




post #3 of 12

Fischer WC SC.


post #4 of 12

Dont know Porters, but I do know Hutt, Craigeburn etc real well.  Not so sure I would go for the 5 Stars.  They are VERY stiff espeically at 150lbs, I owned a pair and didnt think much of them.


Mid-fats have come a long way, my daily driver is 88mm underfoot, and carves perfect pencil lines with no problem, plus is a little nicer to ski on wind effected snow which the south island gets tons of.  I would be looking for somthing in the 70 or 80 under foot range, you will be amazed.  Can carve the groomed easy, or just handle the off-piste with ease as well.

post #5 of 12

Kastle mx 78

whatever size is just below the 176

post #6 of 12

Welcome to Epic. ^^^^ What he said, and that would be the 168 cm length. $$ but wonderful. Suggest you look in Gear Reviews section for Dawcatching's reviews of narrower (70-80-ish) skis. I'm also fairly light, like to turn, like these: Stockli CLX, Blizzard 7.6 or 8.1 in 167, Fischer Motive 84 in 170, Salomon Tornado Ti in whatever is around 168-170. Each of these, in their own way, will be precise enough on edge, wide enough for light pow, supple enough for bumps. I'd advise against a true rec racer (sorry Ghost) unless you actually want an on-piste ski and ski ice. And while the 5* is a classic cross design (not all that stiff; my wife loves hers), it's a bit dated. Current Volkls have always seemed to me to favor beefier skiers, although i hear the 2012's are more tractable for light folks. 

post #7 of 12

Haven't seen Kastle skis here for sale in NZ. What about Dynastar Legend Sultan 85? Think they might still be the trick. If you're skiing Big Mama and Bluff Face regularly then the Legend 94 would be the go. Those are some quite big lines for the ski fields here.

post #8 of 12

Head Peak 78 PRO's, Dynastar Contact 80's or the 4x4's, Volkl RC30's as they were all sold over here so you might find some in the shops or on Trademe second hand?

New Stuff - Peak 84's , Nordica Fire arrow 80's, Volkl RTM 80 or 84's, Fisher Watea 80 somethings would be interesting too if you are more off piste at Porters on good snow.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the responses. I have gone for the 5 Stars (can't resist the price and figure a cheap uncertainty is better than an expensive one) From the discussion, I gather there is a lot of personal preference involved and its always hard to picture how someone else feels on a ski, but at the same time a few tried and true-isms often seem to appear. My intention is to feel my way on the 5 stars for a few days and see where we go from there. Thanks again everyone for the warm and welcoming reception - Will report back with how it went. All the best and for you folks from Southern Hemisphere - Have a great season!

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

OK first day under the belt on the Volkl 5 star supersports. Went for Mt. Cheeseman as a southerly had stripped out whatever Porters had and Hutt was shiney and not fun by all accounts. We knew it would be busy so got up there early. Cheeseman has relatively short runs but good terrain variety with sunny and shaded faces and different slopes. The first few runs were on moderately hard groomed snow so a bit of clatter and chatter and not easy to feel the skis edges/radius etc. Soon softened though and by end of day I decided that these skis are exactly what I had hoped for. On easy snow they are happiest if you let them run faster rather than slower-they then felt smooth and responsive and allowed me to develop a good rythm of linked turns. On the steeper runs they will happily skid the turn then as the slope eases they seemed to almost "coach" me into more of a flowing linking up of what felt more like carved turns. On a few occasions they almost seemed to turn themselves. One pleasant surprise - They are very stable when flat on their bases at speed compared to the slalom skis I have used in the past.


Variable snow: The snow on the steeper runs was what I would call it typical ungroomed club snow and  I would say they handled sudden changes in depth/crust/firm quite well. Very hard frozen rubbish not so good but would anything be?


I know this probably sounds a bit odd, but  I almost feel as though the skis are teaching me how they want to be skied?


Definitely pleased with my purchase and looking forward to the next time up the hill. Not great here in Canterbury yet but early days...I hear the Aussies and Mt Ruapehu and Turoa are having a ripper though?




post #11 of 12

Glad to hear the 5stars seem to be a good ski for you. You stated that there was clatter and chatter on moderately hard groomed snow, that surprises me a little. Did you do anything to the edges after you bought them, bevel and sharpening? Do you give them enough edge when initiating the turns?


Normally a HEC like yours like hard-pack, hence my questions. If you've got the carving technique down pat you should see "pencil-like" tracks behind you (preferrably after you've stopped) and more trench-like, deeper tracks on the softer snow.


Happy Skiing!

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi MadMads


Thanks for feedback


Re the chatter and clatter I was really talking about frozen rubbish on top of (and stuck to) hard groomed snow. I don't think it was any reflection on the skis more me being a pussy who likes soft comfy snow...

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