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Advanced Skier - First Time Buyer

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, I'm looking for my first pair of skis. I have been skiing for just over 8 years, usually around the Park City area. I ski several times a year and have always rented. I usually ski on various terrain runs, but stay around the blue/black and black slopes. I am 6'6" and 180lbs. Im looking to spend less than 600 on skis/bindings, and must stay below 800 with boots. The cheaper the better though. What do I need to look for in skis? I usually ski 188cm skis, and I have had trouble finding some that are that length on many of the websites. What do I need to look for in boots? Any suggestions? Thanks!

post #2 of 11

First, go to a good bootfitter and pay what it costs to get properly fitting boots.  Without that, the best skis will still disappoint.  Sometimes you can save money by getting fit into previous-year model boots.


Consider that your total budget is $1400.  If you spend $1000 on boots, you can still get good skis for $400 if you're not opposed to new-old-stock or used equipment.  


Sierra Trading Post has the Fischer Watea 84 in 184 for $516.  I'm not recommending that, but it's an example (probably for a smaller guy).  Without knowing where you ski, and what conditions, it's hard to recommend much.  There's a Head Joe 105 in 191 for $640, but that's pretty wide.


Over at tetongravity.com forums in the Gear Swap, someone's selling 190 Katanas for $450 + shipping.  Another example, not recommending.


If you're willing to spend more time and money to get a better outcome, continue to rent/demo skis once you get your boots.  Buy at the end of season for a discount.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice! I will try to get to a boot fitter to see what they say. I live on the east coast, so I ski a lot of the local pennsylvania places while I am home. All of the runs are groomed. The two or three times a year that I go to utah, I usually go to Deer Valley, Alta, and Park City. I try to stay on mostly groomed runs, but there is always an exception. I guess I will be wanting "All Mountain" skis?

post #4 of 11

Cool.  So I assume you're not looking for a twin-tip park ski, not a fat powder-only ski.


You'll need to budget at least $150 for bindings and maybe $40 for poles.


I've been surfing around levelninesports.com and they do have some deals, depending on what you want and can pay.  For $600 you can get the Rossi Experience 88 flat (no bindings).  The better deals seem to be on the wider skis, like the Salomon Sentinel at $389 for example.


You may also want to surf around skis.com.  Some skis come with an integral "binding system".  Typically, these are groomer skis.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

That is correct. Is it "better" to get a ski with an integrated binding? Or buy them separate? 

post #6 of 11

Tough question.  A few years ago, the integrated systems seemed to be the wave of the future.  For one thing, it forced you to buy what the ski/binding company wanted to sell you.  With the upsurge in independent ski companies, powder skis, touring, and the Blizzard Flipcore line, it looks like the pendulum is swinging back.  Still, many skis are available only one way.  So, find a ski that works and see if you even have a choice.  With your size, you should probably get an idea of what DIN range you'll need to make sure it'll all work.  Try dinsetting.com for a calculator.  To estimate your boot sole length, measure your foot in millimeters and add 40 or so.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Great! Thanks! Any other advice for a new ski buyer such as myself? I am going to try to demo what I can, but my local shops have a limited variety and I will most likely be buying online.

post #8 of 11

Also try evo.com as they tend to have good prices in their outlet section. There are currently especially good deals on bindings. You can also sometimes find something you like on O2gearshop.com for a very low price, but only order something if they show it as currently in stock. Starthaus.com had some really good deals on Nordica skis earlier this year, but I think their inventory on the super-deal stuff is now pretty low.

post #9 of 11
Xela's advice was spot-on. Poorly fitted boots will severely limit your ability to control the skis or improve your skiing; in the long run the money spent on properly fitted boots is WELL worth the investment. If all I had was $800 I'd spend 6 or 7 of it on great boots. With the rest I'd get the best banged-up demo or rental skis I could find at a ski swap, and save to get a better set next year.
post #10 of 11

To add to what others have said, if you can post your home location, you may be able to get good recommendations for a local bootfitter.

post #11 of 11

As per above.


First priority: Get some good, good-fitting boots. Worry about the rest later.


If I were you, I'd consider picking up some inexpensive skis/bindings for skiing locally around home and rent demo gear when you're out west. With demo gear, you can change skis if the conditions change from day to day on your vacation, plus you won't have to pay the airline to schlep them with you. Take your boots on the plane as carry-on - you can't rent decent boots for any price, but you can always rent good skis.

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