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Keep my R:EX or buy a Stormrider VXL or Kendo?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I am a 5'9", 64-yr-old, 230 lb, 20-year backcountry skier who switched from tele to AT 2 years ago.  My AT skis are Dynafit 7 Summits (178 cm, 80 mm waist for firm snow) with Comfort bindings, Dynafit Manaslus (187 cm, 95 mm waist for soft snow) with vertical AT bindings, and, remounted from my Tele days, Atomic R:EX (184 cm, 84 mm waist, now with Fritschi Freeride bindings for lift-served).  I skied 110 days backcountry this season and 1 day lift-served, during which I felt my R:EX carved short- to medium-radius turns on the groomed snow well but seemed a little squirrely at longer radius turns and faster speeds.  I'm anticipating doing considerably more lift-served because my grandkids are starting to get good (and, of course, very fast); I kept up with the 7-year old one day this year, but just barely because he straight lines it and my Atomics seemed a little unpredictable at speed.  I have always felt my Atomics were short for me, but ironically I don't feel the same way about the Dynafit 7 summits on partially defrosted corn snow.  I enjoy my 187 Manaslus and the two former skis are the only skis I've had under 187; I've never considered a 190 cm to be  long for me.


I'm looking for a ski primarily for skiing the groomers and adjacent off-piste with the grandkids but also with opportunity to do some sidecountry as well; skiing would be fast on piste, moderate in the sidecountry.  The oldest is zipping the blues and the occasional blacks, loves the trees, and probably will be taking lessons and doing more blacks and trees next year.  So my big question: should I get my R:EX professionally tuned to see if their performance improves with tuning or should I consider taking advantage of summer prices and buying something like a Volkl Kendo or a Stockli Stormrider VXL?  If I get a new ski should I stick to the low 180s or high 180s-191?  Mount with the Freerides or with a Marker Touring binder (or dump the touring and have to get new boots too?).  I ski the Atomics with 4-buckle Polyurethane Zzero boots.


Thanks in advance for sage advice; sorry if this is boring.  I have spent considerable time searching and reviewing the posts about the Kendo, VXL, MX88, and other skis on this site and others.  From my reading, and my experience, I really need some advice from bigger guys.


p.s.: skis would be used primarily in western Washington at White Pass, Crystal, and Mt. Baker.

Edited by Andy Carey - 7/17/11 at 3:48pm
post #2 of 7

I am very familiar with your setup, and being 220 lbs and having skied several pairs of 10EXs (virtually the same ski) for AT (191 cm) and area skiing (198 cm), and R:EXs for area skiing (184 cm).  IMO the R:EX is an excellent all-mountain ski.  I do not think the length is too short for you.


It was not clear if you are using AT boots with the Fritchi Freeride bindings, but those binding jack you way up off the ski, and combined with a softer AT boot and a tip to tail sharp edge might explain the shaky control at speed and hesitance to make longer radius turns.  I  would suggest getting them tuned (1 degree bottom and 3 degree side bevel), and dulling the tips and and tails back a ways. The R:EXs have a pretty pronounced sidecut at the ends that requires some dulling to make them smooth in bigger radius turns.  As you probably know, by adjusting the toe screws down you can use the Freerides with alpine boots, which would probably give you a better grip on the situation.


I found the R:EXs to be fantastic at carving almost any radius turn on hard snow, as well as being a great curd and soft snow ski.  I loved mine in the bumps, but like you I have the weight to easily bend them.  IMO their only weak point was their low profile tips, which required some finesse in deep snow to keep them from diving.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks a bunch!  Makes sense to me.  I loved the R:EX when I first got them and I did wonder if the set up was now suboptimal.  I'll have the skis tuned.  I am using a AT 4-buckle + power strap boot (Zzero4 PU, which Dynafit states is their most downhill orient touring boot, many find it stiff but it is soft and flexible to me; I even tore a rivet out of the cuff).  The Freeride plus binding seems kind of clunky too, without the boot to ski tightness I feel with my Dynafit Verticals.  So I'll first have the skis tuned, then see if I need a Alpine boot or one of the bigger cross-over AT boots, and if I actually start skiing lift-served a bunch, maybe go for a whole new setup.smile.gif


The squirrelyness at higher speed/longer turns that I felt was a tendency for the tip to float or hook, so detuning definitely should help.  I normally tune my own skis for bc, but I'll get a shop to do it for these, maybe even a stone-grinding at this point.

post #4 of 7

One more thought, I also ski some 4-buckle Dynafit Zzeros for AT.  They have an unlocked, and two locked positions.  The R:EXs would probably ski better with your boots on the forward locked position.  You need to lean into them before you lock them.  I find mine ski best with them in the forward locked position with the top two buckles set kind of loose to give them some modulation in the flex.  If you are not already using the max forward lean locked position, it will probably help with the tip float issue.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have, on occasion, use the max lean in the bc on some real steeps; I'll certainly try it with the Atomics on the groomed. Thanks!

post #6 of 7

FWIW, I find the upright locked position to be too upright, and the forward looked position to be too forward.  Through experimentation I have found that locked forward with loose top two buckles to actually ski better than with the buckles clamped tight, at least for me.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Ended up buying 191 cm 2011 Volkl Mantras (because they had an old man with a white beard and mustache on them) and new boot--the Dynafit Zzero crossover AT/Alpine boot (interchangeable toe and heel blocks) and Marker Squires (I wanted to make some concession to light weight).  Then I blew my knee climbing and hiking.  Been recuperating.  Went downhill skiing for the first time Saturday.  22 inches of new, but settled, powder on the groomed runs, chopped up snow off piste, and powder in the trees.  Just trying my knee out so I stayed on blue runs.  


Man, those mantras ski the groomed and chopped like a hot knife thru cool butter!  So easy to turn--short turns, medium radius turns, long radius turns.  Very stable, more stable as speed increases.  Sliced right thru the newly forming moguls, but turned sharp enough to ski the fairly small moguls (no big moguls yet).  Kind of dead in low angle low density powder, tho.


@mudfoot: I tuned my R-EX (spent about and hour and a half) and hoped to ski them also Saturday with the Zzeros, but the area was so crowded we had to park about 1.5 miles down the hwy and switching skis would have been a PITA.

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