Like many people who post on this site, every fall I go through the same process of trying to decide what skis to buy for the next season. I have to admit, though, that researching and buying skis is fun and trying out new skis is even more fun. There are so many choices of really excellent equipment which makes the process even better and harder. Unfortunately, demoing skis isn’t always an option.
Last year my new skis were 185 JJ’s and I completely love these. I can ski the JJs with big traditional turns in deep powder one minute and then surf the next. These skis are incredibly freedom promoting, especially in the right conditions, and are great for tree skiing and bumps in soft snow. They are OK on soft groomers but hard pack, frozen crud and icy conditions do not get along with the JJs IMHO. Not always a good everyday ski in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Other skis in my “quiver” include some 165 Atomic SLs and 183 Rossi GS skis that I use on days when confined to the man-made snow race oriented hill that my kids ski at for practice or when there has been no snow for a month. I also have a pair of 194 Movement Source, which are good bomber ski but are rather beat-up, and a pair of 178 Scott Missions which are my play-in-the-bump skis for slow, foggy, crappy days, but these are beat-up too, and will be my early season rock skis. My back country ski is the Manaslu.
The skis that I’m considering are varied and include the Rossi Experience 98 or Kastle MX 98, something like the Elan Olympus Mons, the Line Influence 105, or the DPS 105. All of these skis have different characteristics. Based on reviews and the ski build, the Rossi seems to be a refined Mantra-like ski (Mantra was one of my favourite skis), more for front side carving but with qualities that make it a fast, all-around charging tool. The Kastle and Line seem to be good all-around skis, with perhaps less edge hold than the Rossi but possibly more versatile. On the other hand, something like an Elan Olympus Mons, which seems to be a bit softer and more oriented to powder and soft snow days, would probably be less refined on hard and groomed snow. The DPS is reported to be a snappy, powerful and fast ski with great edge hold, but I’m not sure of the bump-ability. When considering that I both like fast carving and tend to gravitate to bump skiing, and want a ski that can be decent in some powder, this is a more difficult decision. Buying more than one ski isn’t an option given the wife factorJ
I ski 80 to 100 days per year, mostly in the Canadian Rockies (Lake Louise, Sunshine, Fernie, Revelstoke, Castle, Panorama, and Kicking Horse). I like fast open bowls, bumps, tree skiing, and groomed GS and SL skiing, although the purpose of this ski will not be all day groomers. Same age peers (I’m 53) say that I’m a fast and aggressive skier in most conditions and on most aspects of ski hills, and fit for my age. I generally can’t keep up with my FIS level kids or their coaches when free skiing, but I’m not far behind, unless they ski something with too much risk, then I find another route. I do not venture into extreme gnarly chutes or cliffs, and my form sometimes goes to s..t when the conditions are variable ice/break through crust.
The question is how to decide as I’m split on what I want in a ski this year? Thoughts, comments and alternatives would be most welcome!