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Gear-noob needs help. It's been a LONG time: Bonafide vs. Experience 98 vs. ? Please help.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

This is my first post here. And sadly, I'll have to start this post with an apology for how lost I'm going to sound. And probably for at least half a dozen naive-sounding statements/beliefs about skiing. Please bear with me! 

 

I've read at least 50+ threads here (not to mention other reviews + forums), including the long Blizzard Bonafide review and all the pages/comments associated with it. But I need some serious help focusing in on where to start looking. And I've been off the mountain for so long it's both sad and embarrassing. I'll try to provide as much information as possible-- and please know that I really appreciate you taking the time to help a gear-noob out. 

 

Background:

 

I'm 5' 10", ~150 lbs, 29 years old, pretty lanky though athletic. I think I'm quite a bit lighter than many of the posters here, so I have a hard time extending other posts with taller/heavier folks down to my size. I participate in a lot of sports recreationally.

 

I've been skiing since I was 6 years old, every year, until the last 5 or so during which I've been on an extended hiatus. This hiatus is what I'm trying to balance against what once was a lot of experience. I learned in the East. I've skied dozens of mountains in VT/NY/MA (Jay Peak was definitely my favorite; Stowe was pretty damn fun). I liked to ski hard and fast (my biggest equipment problem in the past-- albeit with mediocre equipment-- was being able to snap out of bindings when it shouldn't happen) and aggressively, and, at least during extensive East Coast skiing, I never encountered a route or glade that gave me any trouble at speed-- but know for sure I wasn't the most technical person on the slopes. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the more technical/snobby skiers sneered, though I could hang with all but one of my friends who raced during high school.

 

Right before I stopped skiing, I lived in San Francisco and had a friend whose parents owned a house literally at the base of Alpine Meadows in Tahoe. I used my mediocre equipment out there for a while-- though I really suffered off piste, couldn't hang with the big (at least at that time) floaty skis in the powder (not to mention I'm sure I looked silly on my toothpicks), and would be exhausted by the bottom from having to work so hard to not get bogged down off piste. That said, except for the deeper powder, nothing else at Alpine was trouble for me to take at full speed. And I loved the snow, though it was slower than back East. 

 

Previous equipment:

 

I basically rented while I was growing up. I don't know what I rented, but it probably wasn't very good. This was pre-parabolic. Back around the late late 1990s (I think, maybe 1999) I had a pair of K2 IV somethings, with that stupid piezo-electric gimmick. I can't tell you what boots/bindings. But it probably wasn't that pretty. I don't think the stuff was very good, and even after having the bindings tightened up a few times, I still occasionally had problems with bindings letting go at bomb-down-the-mountain speeds... on harder, gristly, packed down stuff. Not good. It all felt sloppy at speed, though I guess I was used to it. 

 

Where/what I will ski:

 

I just moved to Munich, Germany. So it's going to be mostly German/Austria Alps (Switzerland/France if I'm lucky). I don't entirely know what to expect from the conditions, but from what I've seen, it'll be more like West Coast USA than East Coast. Given the choice I prefer steep, un-groomed stuff, on and off piste. I'm sure I'll still go fast and aggressive. I like bowls and trees, but I also enjoy some bumps (10%) and aggressive, hard packed routes (10-20%).

 

I'm looking for a 1 ski solution, mainly for financial reasons, but also because I want to keep it simple. I don't expect to touch anything below a diamond, I don't expect to really touch any parks/features (not very good at it; not so much my thing; but sure, I'll go off a jump or two and maybe a rail), and while I like powder, I'm sure I won't ski enough of the big deep stuff to get something dedicated for that front.  

 

After reading quite a bit, my gut says to look at the various 98 options, sticking with something that still has some traditional camber because I'll still ski aggressive/fast down packed and unpacked powder, and perhaps some early lift/small rocker (which I have never tried) for those times in the deeper stuff, trees, and bumps. If I had to guess, it'd be the Bonafide at 173 or 180 (not sure what I need!), but then I wonder: should I be looking at some of the 88 options instead? 

 

Am I pointed in the total wrong direction-- at the beginning of my search?

post #2 of 13

The ski I just bought to fit your needs was an Armada TST. There is a brief review in the Member Gear Review forum and I think I linked a more thorough one over on TGR.  The TST is 102 underfoot, so about as wide as I want for an everyday ski, yet has substantial tip rocker, so I think it will still be fun up to a foot of pow.  After that I break out the big boards.  Like yourself, I was looking at the Bonafides, but think I would have gone with the wider Cochise?  I also want to buy a pair of Movement Source skis.  As your in Europe, that brand will be easier for you to find than me.  As a matter of fact, there is a perfect pair of last years Movements Sluffs for sale at http://www.telemark-pyrenees.com/en/movementsluff1011-p-8062.html in a 174.  Read up on them at http://movementskis.ch/products  Trust me, you would be very stoke on the Sluffs and they are a smokin deal. If you ever visit the TGR forums, in Gear Swap you will occasionally see someone selling a pair of Bros (made by PM Gear).  The Bros have a 99 waist like the Sluffs, but not as wide in tip and tail.  I had a pair and liked them as an every day ski, as they skied everything well.  However, my point is you can likely fine a used pair of Bros for about the same price as those new Sluffs, so just buy the sluffs.  Really.  Have a great winter.


Edited by liv2 ski - 10/4/11 at 9:32pm
post #3 of 13

Snow conditions in Eu are different from the western US (Alpine Mdws for ex) in that the snow is usually lighter in Eu. and there is not usually as much of it. I have skied in Eu. a fair bit mostly (France and Italy) and would probably choose something in the 88mm range rather than the 98mm range that I currently use as the anchor for my quiver here in Tahoe. Like the 98's there are a ton of very good skis in the 88 (ish) range. Whichever width range you choose, avoid the stiffer skis in the category. You mention the Experience 98 and it is a great ski but possibly a bit stiff for your weight. The Bonafide, Fischer Watea 98 or Dynastar Legend 94 would be better choices in that width range. Among the mid 80's skis, the Blizzard Bushwhacker, Nordica Steadfast, or Rossi Experience 88 are a few of the many excellent choices. Among mid 80's that are little more firm snow oriented, the Blizzard Magnum 8.7 and the Atomic Crimson are exceptionally good

 

It used to be a little tough to find French ski brands in the Germanic countries but that may not be the case anymore.

 

SJ

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post #4 of 13

I will agree with most of the above (especially 88 mm idea; I would take a Kastle MX88 or a Blizzard 8.7, actually), and will defer to Jim's greater experience over there, but I must have encountered unusually dense snow when I've skied (France and Switzerland). Reminds me a lot of NE snow in terms of moisture and snow cycles, except when it does come down, about 2-3X as much in a day. Not epic dumps in feet like Sierras, but not super frequent 2-4" of fluffy like you get in the Rockies either.

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys. I'm still on the line re 98 vs 88-- I've gotta do some more research. 

 

Part of the reason I was leaning Bonafide (98) over Bushwacker (88) was that in most of the reviews I've read, the conclusion was that even on hard pack and groomers, the Bonafides don't give up very much to the Bushwackers, but in the powder and off-piste, the Bonafide is a significant improvement to the Bushwacker. 

 

Or maybe I'm just overcompensating since I'm coming from the pre-fatty, pre-rocker days. 

 

I'm definitely open to more opinions... bonus points for anyone who is familiar with German (Zugspitze)/Austrian (St. Anton)/Swiss Alps conditions. But anyone else too. 

post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by justruss View Post

Thanks guys. I'm still on the line re 98 vs 88-- I've gotta do some more research. 

 

Part of the reason I was leaning Bonafide (98) over Bushwacker (88) was that in most of the reviews I've read, the conclusion was that even on hard pack and groomers, the Bonafides don't give up very much to the Bushwackers, but in the powder and off-piste, the Bonafide is a significant improvement to the Bushwacker. 

 

Or maybe I'm just overcompensating since I'm coming from the pre-fatty, pre-rocker days. 

 

I'm definitely open to more opinions... bonus points for anyone who is familiar with German (Zugspitze)/Austrian (St. Anton)/Swiss Alps conditions. But anyone else too. 


While I hesitate to go against SJ's advise, I would recommend the wider ski in a quiver of one.  Why, because I have always skied a 78-88 waist ski as my everyday driver and for my skill (or lack there off) set, they don't work well in over 6" of fresh snow. So with that said, I would buy one of the middle skis in my quiver of four.

178 Sultan 85  126/85/118  Firm days

183 Armada TST 119/132/102/123  A little fresh snow

185 Movement Source 135/94/121

196 Lhasa Pow 140-112-120  A lot of fresh snow

The Movement Sluffs I mentioned are 134/99/118. Which is right between my two skis. For the price you will not find a better ski for your needs than the Sluff. Actually, the only thing better would be if you could find it in a 183 length. wink.gif  If you felt you were going to be on firm snow mostly (groomers or packed off piste) than the Source can't be beat. Americans don't have easy access to Movement skis, hence the lack of love on this site. Read the Tech Talk reviews on TGR or Google for reviews and you will see nothing but rave reviews for Movement skis.

Just my 2 cents.


Edited by liv2 ski - 10/7/11 at 7:19am
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by justruss View Post
bonus points for anyone who is familiar with German (Zugspitze)/Austrian (St. Anton)/Swiss Alps conditions. But anyone else too. 

Closest I've been to those is Davos, but I seem to recall these things called "bumps." Not as flatten-it-into-submission-every-night, leave-bailouts-alongside as the U.S. resorts. Also this stuff called "ice," which is outlawed in the western U.S. So I'll reiterate that an 88 mm ski is gonna be faster and easier in the bumps, and carve hardpack better, than a 98 mm ski. Especially if both have "flipcore," although I can think of three or four 88's that will be nicer in bumps or on ice than any 98 mm ski, period. It's physics. So this gets down to where you expect, realistically, to be spending your time. If mostly off-piste, and you avoid dry spells between storms, then go 98. If 50/50, and you ski most days, then go 88. 
 

 

post #8 of 13

OK, my last post in this beating the dead horse conversation.  OP and Beyond, you should read this review:

http://shop.snowshepherd.co.uk/Ski-Tests-2010-/-2011/Movement-Source-Review-2012

 

Bumps?

Again this ski really does what you want it to I found that short turns through the moguls worked, taking a pretty straight line with lots of small turns is so easy as the ski is incredibly quick edge to edge feels more like my old 68cm under foot skis.

Score 8 out of 10

 

Ice? And Hard Snow

Ice! Well one day we were out early and a small section of red run which was pretty step for a red, was littered with fallen skiers and boarders with most people just side slipping because they could not get edge hold on the icy piste, the Sources were still short swinging down with edge grip and hold. Brandon Snowshepherd was on the Super Turbo’s so he just straighted it! On Hard snow they are a dream, they cut in and hold an edge really well, and the short radius makes them good fun as well.

Score 8 out 10

 

Conclusions:

Well we think the above information speaks for itself, if you have not guessed by now we really do love this ski, in fact I have to admit these are my first choice ski at the moment.

When it comes to a one quiver ski to handle everything there are a few choices out there however we feel the Movement Source is a serious contender for the title. The radius quoted of 19 m for the 185 can be shortened to about 15 m by applying more pressure to the front of the ski as we have mentioned above these skis really do work for you.

One thing worth a special mention is ski length choice, our opinion is that these skis ski shorter so we would say go one length up from normal.

post #9 of 13

though, i have not skiied europe. SJ comment regarding snow conditions seems very accurate and I would as well listen to him and get the 88mm ski. it will float much better than your prior equipemnt but can still be used on piste and bumps without much problem.

 

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

So I'm now leaning towards the 88mm ski-- and seeing as I was pretty set on the Bonafide, I'm thinking I should go with a Bushwacker. 

 

My main concern is whether the Bushwacker is going to be enough ski, at 180cm, for unleashing down on-piste, non-bump steeps?

 

Maybe someone can allay my fears on that; I figured the Bonafide's metal/stiffness would mean no speed limit... will the Bushwacker do the same? My relatively light weight (150lbs) does work to my advantage in making a less stiff ski feel stiffer. I guess I split between two styles: When I'm on steep groomers, I like to go as fast as is safe given the crowds, making arcing turns, digging my edges in, and sometimes bombing-- and can go the whole day without anyone passing me when I'm in the zone. When I'm on big/tight bumps, trees, powder, it's totally different-- I slow down and play, and even if I pushed I'd still get passed by the plenty of folks who ski that stuff faster than I do. 

 

If the snow was right, I think the Bonafide would be perfect for me: no speed limit on groomers, pretty sweet powder/play performance. From what everyone is saying, I basically need a slightly downsized version of that-- but while the Bushwacker comes close, reviews seem to indicate it's less stiff, and less built for an expert to charge on compared to the Bonafide. 

 

My head is going in circles a bit. 

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by justruss View Post

 

 

My main concern is whether the Bushwacker is going to be enough ski, at 180cm, for unleashing down on-piste, non-bump steeps?


 

My head is going in circles a bit. 


 

Why yes.......yes it is.............biggrin.gif

 

There is a reason why wider skis have found limited acceptance in Eu. The conditions there as a whole don't really demand wider. The ski that will allow you to unleash the hounds on the on piste steeps will by it's nature be less nimble in the bumps and mixed shitzchle on the Valle Blanche. IAC.....much of the current USA trend toward wider skis is based upon fantasy rather than fact. If it snows less than a foot, you don't really need anything wider than 85-90mm. Can you use it? Sure. Do you need it?.........not nohow.

 

I live in Tahoe where a 600" season is more or less normal. For me, a 95-98mm is just average. That's the width that would be my only ski if I could have only one. I also lived in the eastern US for 4 years and have skied in Eu (mostly Cham and the Dolos) where an average season is probably half of Tahoe. If I had only one ski for those places and conditions, it would be in the range of 85-90mm. Even at that, that is a wider ski than average for those areas. Of course the Eu locals may not know anything, and the US guys may know more than the Euros do about their own skiing..........then again............mebbe not.

 

FWIW.....and......YMMV

 

SJ

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post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

SJ: I'll enjoy my couple of years here in Germany, but I look forward to the day I'm living within striking distance of Tahoe/Truckee again. And when I do, maybe I can say hi in person (and buy something a little wider from you). 

 

So, last question, if you're inclined to answer: Bushwacker at 180... enough for expert go-fast mode down the steeper diamond groomers? 

post #13 of 13

Bushwhacker is adequate for what you asked but it's really a mixed conditions ski rather than a gofaster onda groomerzoomerz kinda thing. The Various models at the top end of the Blizzard Magnum series would be a better bet. Mag 8.1, Mag 8.7, or if ya wanna go badfast.....the 8.7 M-Power.

 

SJ

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Gear-noob needs help. It's been a LONG time: Bonafide vs. Experience 98 vs. ? Please help.