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First foray into FREERIDE skis. Suggestions? (I'm already overwhelmed looking just at Volkl)

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 

In the last six years, I've gone from a Salomon X-Scream, to Salomon Guns, to, most recently Volkl AC40's.

I'm an advanced skiier, spend all day almost exclusively on steep mogul fields.  5'10'', 168 lbs.  50+ days/ year.

 

Everytime I get a new ski, I see how my previous ski was limiting.

The X-Screams were too long and the tails dug in.  The Guns were flimsy.

The AC40's have been fast, solid, maneuverable. 

What it the drawback of my AC40's?  I'm at a loss.

 

I have this thought that getting something in the FREERIDE genre will open things up for me.

Something with a larger waiste. I was thinking I could find something that handles looser snow and fresh better, but is still zippy.

 

So I demoed a Mantra, but I found it didn't float all that well, and further it felt lifeless and boring next to my AC40.

 

Part of me wants to go bigger, like the Shiro. 

But wouldn't that be even more lifeless?  Would the floatation make up for it?

Part of me wants to go smaller like the Bridge. Would it float enough?  Could I use it everyday?

Or do I need camber, like in the Katana or Kendo?  But they couldn't turn as wonderfully as my AC40.

I'm drawn to rocker.  But perhaps for no good reason.

 

Maybe just because its so different than the AC40, 

but I keep thinking Shiro, fully rockered, wide waiste...  

 

But then, I think Bridge again.

Its wider than the AC40, and different (fully rockered), should be quick and fun and float well.

 

And of course there brands other than Volkl, but I'm overwhelmed just looking at Volkls for now.

Line, Blizzard, K2, Salomon are other lines I've looked into.

 

Maybe I should upgrade to the RTM 84, 

but something inside is telling me to get a FREERIDE style ski.

 

Shiro or Bridge?

Or split the difference and go Gotama?

Too many options and I'm just looking in Volkl.  

Help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 55

Ok I'll bite.

 

First, read the reviews here. If you aren't wed to Volkls but are just looking there because you're familiar with the product line, you will find plenty of threads about Volkl skis here. 

 

Second, demo if you are that uncertain about what you really want. Specifically, if you are looking for a freeride/all mountain experience, plan to demo the Blizzard Flipcore series. Everyone in the entire world can't be wrong.

 

Bottom line from a guy who doesn't own but regularly fantasizes-- if you are going to switch your ski genre, at least demo a couple so you know what you are getting into. Especially if there isn't anything you don't like or can't do on your AC40s as it is.

post #3 of 55



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by keniski View Post

 

Bottom line from a guy who doesn't own but regularly fantasizes-- if you are going to switch your ski genre, at least demo a couple so you know what you are getting into. Especially if there isn't anything you don't like or can't do on your AC40s as it is.



+1.

 

It sounds like you don't really know what you want at the moment. Either you want a mid-fat ski with a short turn radius or you want a full-blown powder ski, or maybe something in the middle, or maybe nothing at all. No one knows.

 

So, demo the Blizzards, demo the Prophet 98, demo fun-shapes like the S7 or Bent Chetler (or S3 for a narrower version), try the Atomic Access. Once you get an idea of what different types of wider skis can do, you'll get an idea of what you want and you can narrow your search from there.

 

post #4 of 55

If you spend your time almost exclusively in moguls, I don't get why you'd want to go to something as fat as the shiro.  Not that fat skis can't be skied in bumps, not at all, but they're usually not the best tool for the job.  I haven't skied the AC40's, but from everything I've read there probably are better tools for skiing bumps.  However I don't think I'd put the shiro or something like it at the top of my list.  I also fully agree with this point of view:

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by keniski View Post

Bottom line from a guy who doesn't own but regularly fantasizes-- if you are going to switch your ski genre, at least demo a couple so you know what you are getting into. Especially if there isn't anything you don't like or can't do on your AC40s as it is.


Now, if you don't actually want this ski for skiing "almost exclusively on steep mogul fields" but are looking to branch out in your skiing into different terrain, then that's a whole different story.

post #5 of 55

Based on what I've read about the Shiro and what you're saying, I don't think that would be a good fit at all for what you're after.

 

The kendo at 88mm isn't going to float anywhere near the same as a ski around 100mm or higher (especially not like the Katana, for example), but I will say it absolutely rips on groomers considering its width and the early rise helps it along in the powder better than I anticipated.

 

It sounds like you definitely need to demo several different skis in the freeride category to get a better feel for what you really want out of one.

post #6 of 55

Freeride skis are made for freeride skiing off piste. They are not really built for carving groomers of zipperlining the bumps on the front side of the mountain. Some are more capable of those things than others, but I wouldn't pick any freeride ski if I was spending all day on the groomers or in the bumps. So... Why do you want a freeride ski?

 

Are you looking for a ski to replace the AC40 for front side use and some how you incorrectly think that a freeride ski will work well in moguls? Or do you want a ski that is built specifically for use on the backside? Or do you want 1 ski to handle both jobs?

 

 

post #7 of 55

Take the AC40 off the list.

post #8 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by skimoguls View Post

I'm an advanced skiier, spend all day almost exclusively on steep mogul fields

 


If you are going to keep doing this, stop listening to that voice, and get the RTM84s. If you are going to change it up and ski other parts of the mountain, then you should start listening.

post #9 of 55

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post

Take the AC40 off the list.


FWIW, the AC40 isn't on the list, it's what he's currently skiing and enjoying.

post #10 of 55
Thread Starter 

 

Thanks for all your thoughtful replies - its been a most excellent read, and its nice to hear other people's opinions and first thoughts.  
 
I went in and read maybe a dozen Volkl threads, I had read only a couple before that, and reading in volume helped a bunch.  
 
I've thought a lot about how I portrayed my skiing as "almost exclusively mogul fields", and I think I should qualify that.  I wouldn't describe myself as exclusively straight line zippering front side mogul fields, as much as I can be found I'm in natural rolling terrain, glades and trees that have moguls in them.  In my AC40's I sometimes scream down the groomers, but that is not at all my favorite way to ski.  I find that kinda boring.  This is why I'm interested in the FREERIDE skis.
 
My AC40s, I think do very well in the these rolling glady steep mogully type of terrain.  How I ski this terrain probably has a lot to do with the AC40 I'm on.  I like to go fast and aggressively through the steep and tricky and narrow spots I find.  I do get some air, but its mostly to get over a poorly placed mogul, or just to give myself a fun rhythm shift.  Airborne is ok, but I prefer the feeling of dropping quickly down a run while riding a solid edge.  I love accelerating through my turns.  If I had to describe the skiing sensation I'm addicted to, its like being on a roller coaster, zipping in and out of trees, dropping quickly, popping in and out of the brush.  I enjoy finding lines that others don't ski because they are kinda tricky, I focus on those runs, and I try to master them.  I love shooting by people who are stopped looking down something steep and tricky.
 
I'm leaning BRIDGE now.  at least for the moment ;)
post #11 of 55

Based on what you've recently described about yourself, the Bridge does sound good, I'm just not sure it would be as good in moguls as you'd like. Nevertheless it's a great ski but I think also take a look at the Kendo's. They would work well for everything you said you liked to ski, in a more manageable size for skiing moguls, but also with that Freeride aspect you're looking for. Hope this helped, and good luck finding your ski's.

post #12 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by skimoguls View Post

I've thought a lot about how I portrayed my skiing as "almost exclusively mogul fields", and I think I should qualify that.  I wouldn't describe myself as exclusively straight line zippering front side mogul fields, as much as I can be found I'm in natural rolling terrain, glades and trees that have moguls in them.  In my AC40's I sometimes scream down the groomers, but that is not at all my favorite way to ski.  I find that kinda boring.  This is why I'm interested in the FREERIDE skis.
 
My AC40s, I think do very well in the these rolling glady steep mogully type of terrain.  How I ski this terrain probably has a lot to do with the AC40 I'm on.  I like to go fast and aggressively through the steep and tricky and narrow spots I find.  I do get some air, but its mostly to get over a poorly placed mogul, or just to give myself a fun rhythm shift.  Airborne is ok, but I prefer the feeling of dropping quickly down a run while riding a solid edge.  I love accelerating through my turns.  If I had to describe the skiing sensation I'm addicted to, its like being on a roller coaster, zipping in and out of trees, dropping quickly, popping in and out of the brush.  I enjoy finding lines that others don't ski because they are kinda tricky, I focus on those runs, and I try to master them.  I love shooting by people who are stopped looking down something steep and tricky.


Sounds to me like you should look into a short turning  ~SL radius midfat / all mountain ski something like the salomon BBR.

 

post #13 of 55

Are you sure the BBR wouldn't stab right into the face of a mogul?  wink.gif

 

Kidding, of course.  Those things are crazy looking - I'm curious to demo them just to see how they ride.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post


Sounds to me like you should look into a short turning  ~SL radius midfat / all mountain ski something like the salomon BBR.

 



 

post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaytierney View Post

Are you sure the BBR wouldn't stab right into the face of a mogul?  wink.gif

 

Kidding, of course.  Those things are crazy looking - I'm curious to demo them just to see how they ride.
 



 



I truly just think it's an over-hyped ski, which in reality is nothing spectacular. From what I've read about them confirms my thought.

post #15 of 55

+2 (or three or four) on the demo recommendation...

 

Your traipse across the Volkl line illustrates your confusion, it seems as though you could love or hate any of them.

 

I skied the Kendo this past year, it seemed lifeless to me, particularly on groomers, and not all that loverly in 12+ inches either.  That experience alone was enough to keep me from seeking any time on the Mantra, its big brother.  It sounds like you want something moderately exciting, your best chance of that with Volkl is probably the RTM 84, they seem Fischer C-Line-ish (read: Progressor 1000 or Motive 84-88).  Dawgcatching has some nice reviews of the 2011 Motive 84/Progressor 10 that might interest you. He's about 10 lbs. lighter than you, I'm about 10 lbs. heavier than you, same height.

 

In the end, I went with the Kastle MX88 (thanks, Dawg).  Wow.  It was sufficient in bumps, epic on boilerplate/groomers, and giggly in 12-18 inches of pow (no really; I literally found myself giggling... don't tell anyone).  If you want something a little softer snow-oriented than that, the Blizzard Bonafide at 98mm and sufficiently rockered/yet has traditional camber underfoot (I also skied that, it was fantastico) would be perfect.

 

I also skied the BBR, I thought it was lively, but had no ass in the tail; I didn't like it at all.  It felt like an auto-turn crutch for the advancing intermediate.

post #16 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by skimoguls View Post

 

Thanks for all your thoughtful replies - its been a most excellent read, and its nice to hear other people's opinions and first thoughts.  
 
I went in and read maybe a dozen Volkl threads, I had read only a couple before that, and reading in volume helped a bunch.  
 
I've thought a lot about how I portrayed my skiing as "almost exclusively mogul fields", and I think I should qualify that.  I wouldn't describe myself as exclusively straight line zippering front side mogul fields, as much as I can be found I'm in natural rolling terrain, glades and trees that have moguls in them.  In my AC40's I sometimes scream down the groomers, but that is not at all my favorite way to ski.  I find that kinda boring.  This is why I'm interested in the FREERIDE skis.
 
My AC40s, I think do very well in the these rolling glady steep mogully type of terrain.  How I ski this terrain probably has a lot to do with the AC40 I'm on.  I like to go fast and aggressively through the steep and tricky and narrow spots I find.  I do get some air, but its mostly to get over a poorly placed mogul, or just to give myself a fun rhythm shift.  Airborne is ok, but I prefer the feeling of dropping quickly down a run while riding a solid edge.  I love accelerating through my turns.  If I had to describe the skiing sensation I'm addicted to, its like being on a roller coaster, zipping in and out of trees, dropping quickly, popping in and out of the brush.  I enjoy finding lines that others don't ski because they are kinda tricky, I focus on those runs, and I try to master them.  I love shooting by people who are stopped looking down something steep and tricky.
 
I'm leaning BRIDGE now.  at least for the moment ;)



In this case, I think you want a mid-fat (95-105 mm) with a short turn radius (18 or under). A wider, straighter ski would be great in open powder, but it would be a bit tedious for you in the tight spots you find in the trees and moguls.

 

You might like the Prophet 98 or something with a similar width and turn radius.

 

post #17 of 55

I don't understand the immediate turn towards Volkl. There is so much more out there. Not saying anything negative, but at least broaden your horizons.

post #18 of 55

Just read your comments, and thought I'd throw in some thoughts.  I've skied the Volkl AC4, then the 40, then the 50 (about 110 days on each).  They are all awesome skis, but do have some limitations that you won't feel until you try something else.  I always thought the AC's could handle everything - but I didn't ski anything else for comparison.  Then I went to the Nordica enforcer for powder days - they were better in powder but not crud, and gave a rough ride in wetter snow conditions.  Then I demoed the Line Prophet 100 at the end of last season and WOW!  Try this ski if you want to stick with a traditional cut ie. no rockers.  I also tried the Volkl Bridge.  If you like the AC40 I don't think you will like this one.  It just doesn't have a big engine like the AC 40/50.  Rockered skis are all the rage right now, but try before you buy - they aren't for everyone.  I also think you wouldn't go too far wrong with the new RTM84 - its sounds like it will be an awesome ski.

post #19 of 55
Thread Starter 

Thank you to everyone who gave some input.  

Really enjoyed mulling over all the options.

 

Today I bought the Kendo.

I got a screaming deal on a 2011 model that was new in the box.

Next step is to mount it.  So, I'm open to advice on that, as I've never had to mount a ski before.

 

Going with the Kendo my logic was that I really have my best days dicing through tight spots, trees and bumps on steeps

and this seems to be where the Kendo excels. I know I'll miss aspects of my AC40, but I have a feeling

I didn't need all that horsepower for where I like to ski and I'll probably be more daring without it.

I'm a bit remiss I didn't decide to get a bigger powdery ski, but I know I'll be able to make do for now.

If this Kendo works out, next step will be to get a powder exclusive ski.  I think part of deciding on the Kendo

was setting me up to get a fat ski later, instead of compromising now and getting a midfat.

 

 

 

 

 

post #20 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by skimoguls View Post

Thank you to everyone who gave some input.  

Really enjoyed mulling over all the options.

 

Today I bought the Kendo.

I got a screaming deal on a 2011 model that was new in the box.

Next step is to mount it.  So, I'm open to advice on that, as I've never had to mount a ski before.

 

Going with the Kendo my logic was that I really have my best days dicing through tight spots, trees and bumps on steeps

and this seems to be where the Kendo excels. I know I'll miss aspects of my AC40, but I have a feeling

I didn't need all that horsepower for where I like to ski and I'll probably be more daring without it.

I'm a bit remiss I didn't decide to get a bigger powdery ski, but I know I'll be able to make do for now.

If this Kendo works out, next step will be to get a powder exclusive ski.  I think part of deciding on the Kendo

was setting me up to get a fat ski later, instead of compromising now and getting a midfat.

 

 

 

 

 


I doubt you'll miss the AC40.

 

post #21 of 55

Good luck with the Kendo! Keep us posted with your thoughts when you've got some time on them.

post #22 of 55
Thread Starter 

Ok, I got bindings, now I have a boot decision to make.

 

I don't necessarily expect anyone to answer my thread at this point, but I need to flush this out for myself anyway, so I'm going to type it out anyway.

 

Bindings:  I searched for threads on bindings, and decided on the Marker Griffon bindings (for my new Kendos).  Feel free to let me know if you think I made the right choice, because I haven't mounted them yet.

 

Boots:  I went to mount them tonight and the guy in the shop said the heel of my boot was too worn to use it to mount them.  Is that common?  I ski alot and the boots are five seasons old, so maybe he's telling the truth and not just trying to sell me new boots?

 

So, I sat down to try on boots again.  I thought I knew the boot I wanted, from sitting down earlier in the week, this years Lange RS 130 Wide.  I had liked the Lange RS 130, I had liked the flex, liked the fit, but it was a touch too narrow in the forefoot, so I was holding out until they got in the Lange RS 130 Wide in a couple weeks.  I made that decision after sitting down with two different guys in two different shops, and I thought this boot was the most comfortable and well suited for my foot.   Well, this guy told me I was crazy for wanting such a stiff flex.  Said there was no reason for it with 'today's skis'.  He put me in a Lange RX 110,the RX being Lange's Free Ski line instead of the RS Race line.  It felt soft to me, and I pointed out that I didn't have 'today's ski' but instead had a ski that didn't have any rocker and was all camber, pointing to my 2012 Kendos.  He then conceded a bit and put me in the Lange RX 120 and said there was no reason to go stiffer than that.

 

Then he had me put on my old boot, on the other foot to compare, Technica Ventos, 6 years old, and told me they were worn out, that the shell was blown out, insole worn out, etc etc.  Thats probably true.

 

Further he said his first choice for me was the Salomon X3-120, a Salomon Racing boot.  This confused me because he was just talking me out of the Lange Racing boot in favor of a Free Ski boot.  The Salomon X3-120 he gave a strong pitch for it being the best boot to go with alongside doing a custom melting of the boot to fit my foot for an extra $130.  

 

I'm very confused on boots now, and am probably will buy the next one anyone tells me to.   I think I like a stiffer boot, I think I like the Lange RS 130 Wide, but this guy has me thinking I might be way off.  And is the Salomon X3-120 indeed the perfect boot to melt to my foot, is that the way to go?  I kind of like the way the Lange fits, more upright, relaxed, and the Salomon has me in a much more aggressive stance.  Not sure which way to go on this one?

 

I need to read more on boots now.   So frustrating. 

 

 

 

 

post #23 of 55
Thread Starter 

The right ski length:  

I'm 5'10''  169lbs, and I went with the Kendo at 177cm.  

Buyers remorse says, should I have gone with the 170cms, since thats what my AC40's were.

But, I am quieting that voice and telling myself I made the right decision.

I'm telling myself I could ski either, and it will be okay.

 

 

 

 

post #24 of 55
Thread Starter 

Ok, after reading more "which is the right boot" threads, 

I've decided I'll just go to a smaller shop when its not busy and trust what I end up with and trust the boot fitter.

 

I had sat down four different times with four different boot fitters (from larger shops) and they all told me something different.

It was getting me dizzy.

post #25 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by skimoguls View Post

In the last six years, I've gone from a Salomon X-Scream, to Salomon Guns, to, most recently Volkl AC40's.

I'm an advanced skiier, spend all day almost exclusively on steep mogul fields.  5'10'', 168 lbs.  50+ days/ year.

 

Everytime I get a new ski, I see how my previous ski was limiting.

The X-Screams were too long and the tails dug in.  The Guns were flimsy.

The AC40's have been fast, solid, maneuverable. 

What it the drawback of my AC40's?  I'm at a loss.

 

I have this thought that getting something in the FREERIDE genre will open things up for me.

Something with a larger waiste. I was thinking I could find something that handles looser snow and fresh better, but is still zippy.

 

So I demoed a Mantra, but I found it didn't float all that well, and further it felt lifeless and boring next to my AC40.

 

Part of me wants to go bigger, like the Shiro. 

But wouldn't that be even more lifeless?  Would the floatation make up for it?

Part of me wants to go smaller like the Bridge. Would it float enough?  Could I use it everyday?

Or do I need camber, like in the Katana or Kendo?  But they couldn't turn as wonderfully as my AC40.

I'm drawn to rocker.  But perhaps for no good reason.

 

Maybe just because its so different than the AC40, 

but I keep thinking Shiro, fully rockered, wide waiste...  

 

But then, I think Bridge again.

Its wider than the AC40, and different (fully rockered), should be quick and fun and float well.

 

And of course there brands other than Volkl, but I'm overwhelmed just looking at Volkls for now.

Line, Blizzard, K2, Salomon are other lines I've looked into.

 

Maybe I should upgrade to the RTM 84, 

but something inside is telling me to get a FREERIDE style ski.

 

Shiro or Bridge?

Or split the difference and go Gotama?

Too many options and I'm just looking in Volkl.  

Help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



hop on the rocker train. you wont regret it

 

post #26 of 55

I'm 5' 10.5" and 165 - 170 pounds.  I have the 177 kendo and the length is perfect - I'm really glad I did not get anything shorter.  So take that for what it's worth.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skimoguls View Post

The right ski length:  

I'm 5'10''  169lbs, and I went with the Kendo at 177cm.  

Buyers remorse says, should I have gone with the 170cms, since thats what my AC40's were.

But, I am quieting that voice and telling myself I made the right decision.

I'm telling myself I could ski either, and it will be okay.

 

 

 

 



 

post #27 of 55

Chill about the skis. They're a great all-purpose ski that you'll love in tight spots. And 177 is fine. I weigh 165 and ski that genre in high 170's. The AC40's (which I owned) I skied in 170 cuz they were beefy wide carvers. The Kendo is something different.

 

Your binding is fine too. All good.

 

Boots: First, if you want to hit a lot of bumps and trees, and weigh what you do, why are you looking for a 120-130+ flex boot? That range is great for carving turns on ice or in gates, but seriously, you'll murder your shins in the bumps. Suggest something in the 100-110 range. You can go a bit higher if you choose a cabrio design like Dalbello or Full Tilt. But the kind of terrain you seem to want to open up will reward a boot with more ability to absorb shocks, flex forward as you change speeds, not transmit every tiny body movement directly to the ski tip. Second, don't choose a boot based on the forefoot fit. Go for a secure, snug ankle and heel pocket, plus sufficient instep height. A good fitter can always adjust the front half of the boot to fit your foot. 

post #28 of 55

Those are some fairly broad generalizations about boot flex and terrain.  If's worth pointing out that most of the top freeskiers who stomp big-ass jumps have a 120-130 flex boot.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Boots: First, if you want to hit a lot of bumps and trees, and weigh what you do, why are you looking for a 120-130+ flex boot? That range is great for carving turns on ice or in gates, but seriously, you'll murder your shins in the bumps. Suggest something in the 100-110 range. You can go a bit higher if you choose a cabrio design like Dalbello or Full Tilt. But the kind of terrain you seem to want to open up will reward a boot with more ability to absorb shocks, flex forward as you change speeds, not transmit every tiny body movement directly to the ski tip.



 

post #29 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post

Those are some fairly broad generalizations about boot flex and terrain.  If's worth pointing out that most of the top freeskiers who stomp big-ass jumps have a 120-130 flex boot.
 


Yep. And it's also worth pointing out that far as we know, OP doesn't make his living stomping big ass jumps as the camera rolls. Or that many of those top freeriders (or bump freaks) are wearing cabrios that flex differently. For the rest of us mortals who are in the 25th percentile of weight, doing freeride sidebounds/backcountry moves in a traditional 120-130 flex boot on a 88 mm ski will pretty much reduce us to thinking about the fireplace in the lodge. OK, maybe except for you. wink.gif

 

post #30 of 55

Fair enough.  And yeah, no big stomps for me.  But what about a boot that's categorized as a freeride boot with a 120-130 flex?  You're saying you have to weigh over 200 pounds or they'll murder your shins skiing in the trees and on bumps?  I've just seen a lot of evidence from "regular" advanced skiers (putting the movie stars aside) that seems to contradict that.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › First foray into FREERIDE skis. Suggestions? (I'm already overwhelmed looking just at Volkl)