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Confusion: directly proportional to ski technology & variety of models available (long)

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

So...I've been doing my fair share of research but end up more confused the deeper I dig...could really use some help.

 

 

I need some advice regarding skis - but of the more general nature (not: "help me pick Brand x vs. y).

 

Background: 44 years old, about 5'10 (176.5cm), 160 lbs. Originally from Austria - so grew up skiing but hadn't gone in years and years...and got completely passed by by ski technology (living in Texas sure doesn't help ;-)) As far as skills are concerned - not really sure how to rate myself (sure I'm out of practice...but at least still in shape). Never was really great on powder but otherwise tackled pretty much any run (most of my skiing after school occurred on double/triple black diamonds equivalents w/ moguls)

 

Last winter my wife and I went skiing in Utah with another couple - and of course I had to rent the equipment. So I got outfitted with a "carver" that hit me at the chin or thereabouts. Now my old skis were 195cm so naturally I wasn't happy about the length - it just felt way too short - but I was told over and over again that this was just about perfect (rental places...sigh. I think the place didn't  have anything longer - lol). So we hit the slopes - and OMG: how effortless skiing has become!!!! At least as far as turning is concerned...as far as speed goes though...not so much! Going faster was pretty much impossible and the skis were all over the place and almost impossible to control. Definitely had to change my style...but still...I had a great time (BTW: due to the people I was with, had to stay on mostly blue runs with only occasional black diamonds).

 

 

 

 

Now I'm planning on going skiing again early January - but since I absolutely hated the rental skis and I'm planning on going every year, I will buy my gear. Nothing expensive, mind you...I live in Texas after all - so going skiing is a major hassle. So is buying gear...obviously there's nowhere to test equipment around here ;-)

 

So - what do I order? The only thing I know is that a TR of 13m is probably not going to get me the stability I'd like when skiing faster. But should I get a pair of GS style "sports" carvers with a waist < 70mm (thinking about 178cm length)?  It seems to me a lot of the steeper runs (which I like) don't get much attention as far as grooming is concerned (also obviously fewer people skiing there) and if it dumps, I'm likely to encounter quite a bit of soft snow and crud -- so would a  moderate "Backcountry" style ski with a waist around 80mm be a better all-around choice? 

 

 

Any insight is appreciated (and I hope I didn't waste anybody's time here)!

 

 

Thanks,

 

Bernie

 

post #2 of 21

Forget about buying skis.  Spend your money on a really good boot fitted by an expert fitter to your foot.  Then DEMO skis, don't rent them.  The rental equipment is crappy and limited.  The demo skis are the better models because they are trying to convince you to buy them.  If you find one you love, you can buy it, either right then or at the end of the season for a deep discount on a lightly used demo.  Boots are easy to travel with, skis not so much.  Any ski you buy now will be behind the curve in a few years and if you are only skiing a few times a year, you will not amortize it well.  The demos will be cheaper and far more hassle free as well as educational.

 

Have fun.

 

I will be visiting my family in Texas this Thanksgiving.  Last time it was 36 and raining the whole time.  This time I want to check out the ski shop that I saw around the corner from their house.  I'm curious about a ski shop in San Antonio.  I may also look for a fly shop.  When I get back to JH, the lifts will be running and I can start skiing everyday.

post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

Forget about buying skis.  Spend your money on a really good boot fitted by an expert fitter to your foot.  Then DEMO skis, don't rent them.  The rental equipment is crappy and limited.  The demo skis are the better models because they are trying to convince you to buy them.  If you find one you love, you can buy it, either right then or at the end of the season for a deep discount on a lightly used demo.  Boots are easy to travel with, skis not so much.  Any ski you buy now will be behind the curve in a few years and if you are only skiing a few times a year, you will not amortize it well.  The demos will be cheaper and far more hassle free as well as educational.

 

What he said!

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

I hear what you are saying. Not sure how that demo-ski thing works (you pay a fee and get to try x models for a specified time?) but I can check that out. Just doubt that it's available here in TX ;-)

 

If I was going to get skis they would be behind the curve anyways (thinking maybe 2-3 years old) - as you said no real point in spending $$$ for a couple times a year.

 

 

But humor me and give me your opinion on my original question - I'll use a (maybe not quite appropriate) analogy:

 

If coming from riding a 3-speed bicycle ("regular" old skis) a lot and if most of my future "riding" is to be done in circumstances as described (fast skiing on medium steep runs with frequent excursions to steep & therefore less groomed runs) would you recommend more of a road bike (something a step down from a Fisher RC4...maybe like a Blizzard G-Force Sonic or Rossignol Avenger) , a mountain bike (mid-fatties I'd guess), or a hybrid of sorts (Atomic Nomad Crimson)?

 

Thanks,

 

Bernie

 

(and no, I'm not actually plan on spending the $$$ on the current models...those are just examples.

post #5 of 21

Demo skis are much higher end skis than rentals.  You won't find something like a Blizzard Magnum 8.1 or an Atomic Bent Chetler in a rental fleet.  But, you can demo them.  Demo skis cost more than rental skis but when you consider the cost of a good pair of skis, you're money ahead to demo something you might actually buy.  I demoed a paid of Rossi S7 and a pair of Volkl Gotamas last season and hated both.  I also demoed a pair of Blizzard Bushwackers and really enjoyed them.  I would not have been pleased if I spent several hundred $ on the S7s or Gotamas only to have a ski I hated.

 

Obviously I ski and I also bike quite a bit, but your analogy doesn't do it for me.th_dunno-1[1].gif  Sorry

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input - I appreciate it.

 

About the analogy - I know it wasn't a good one. It used to be so easy - construction (and the look) of the skis was so similar that the only thing you really had to worry about was the size (I remember cutting older, longer skis down to use them on the really, really steep runs between moguls - good times).

 

Same is true for bikes...back then I had the choice between a 3-speed and a 10-speed, basically. 

 

Nowadays one faces a dazzling selection - skis and bikes alike. I bought a carbon road bike a while back - that decision was a lot easier then picking skis I have to say - the lack of decent hills around here makes mountain bikes less appealing ;-)

 

 

I guess I will really have to demo before figuring out what my "all around" pair is going to be...I was just hoping I could pick up an older model ski for $350 and call it a day...and worry about finding something that really "fits me" later (since this might actually never happen...would have to move first - lol)

 

 

Cheers,

 

Bernie

post #7 of 21

I can relate; I switched to modern skis about half a dozen years ago after skiing only GS and SG race skis for a couple of decades.

 

The more shapely skis (13-m radius) really want to turn, so you have to keep them on edge and turning all the time, or they will hunt for turns right and left willy-nilly.

 

Modern skis with sidecut less than about 27 m  do indeed make turning easier and are a big improvement.  The improvement is primarily in thier ease of use while making smaller turns.  A really good old school speed ski still does fine for skiing fast.

 

For what you describe, a turn radius between about 16 and 24 should be a good starting point.  The tendancy of the ski to want to turn if running flat on the snow is less pronounced for longer radii, but you also loose ease of making sl turns.

 

As to width, it depends on the hardness of the snow you ski.  If it's hardpack, then sub 70 mm is ideal, if you can sink your boot into it when walking without skis, then you probably should be looking around 80 mm.  If you want to go deeper, then 100 is ok.

 

As to stiffness, if you are going to be charging hard, you should have a stiffer ski.  However, be warned that such skis don't like it if you try and ski cautiously and slowly when conditions are difficult and the slope steep.

 

Realskiers.com has fairly good reviews to help you choose, worth the membership fee imho.

 

You would be better off renting the "demo" skis and spending your money on boots that fit, but it's nice to have your own gear and avoid the hassle of the rental line ups.  Get the boots regardless.

 

 

 

post #8 of 21

You might want to check out sierra jims post called those crazy 88's.It's a great thread and really should be the bible of what the new ski's in the 80's range can do.At your age ( respectfully ) the 80 somethings especially the hard snow bias ones would probably let you do every thing you want and be very comfortable.I'm going to be 50 next year and i just don't have the gas for the 70 waisted ski's any more. ( although between 8 am and 11 am their freeking awesome )

post #9 of 21

You would usually pay a set rate for demo skis for the day and be able to use as many as you would like that day.  There is a practical limit to this as it takes a certain amount of time to swap skis and I like to ski too much to do that much.  I will usually demo about 4 skis a day.  One advantage to the demo thing is you don't need to fly with them, which can be a huge hassle and an extra cost.  You get the advantage of having the freshly tuned "right" ski for the conditions without having to own a "quiver" and maintain them or travel with them.  Demos usually cost about $50/day.  Sometimes they are less and sometimes they can be free.  Several times a year the demo tents show up around here and anyone can take skis out for free.

 

It would be counter productive to demo skis in Texas.  It's something you usually do slope side.  The cost of the days demo is deducted from the cost of whatever ski you buy.

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks all!

 

@ ghost: I'll probably go for something with a bit larger of a turn radius to start (should be a huge improvement coming from skis with an infinite radius, rightbiggrin.gif) so I don't get frustrated with the instability at higher speeds (really: I know the rentals I had are a bad example - but it was downright exhausting to keep a straight line!)  

 

@ viking9: thanks for pointing me to the "crazy 88" threads...I enjoyed reading them. Good advice to be found.

 

@ tetonpwdrjunkie: $50 doesn't sound like much to me at all - thought it would be more expensive!

 

 

As a side note - skiing in powder must have really changed also...back then it was the same skis but and so mostly technique: keep up speed (much easier to ski steep runs), lean back so the tips stay afloat - of course, failure to do so resulted in nice summersaults - ahh...good times ;-)).

post #11 of 21

I would reccomend going wider.  83-88 is pretty much the standard for frontside or groomer skis these days especially in the west.  It used to be

that only race skis gave you stability at high speeds but these days width is your friend when it comes to speed.  Since you're in TX I would

assume that most of your trips will be to CO, UT, etc where the groomers are generally softer.  88mm wasted skis carve like a dream these days

and that extra width lets you tip the skis over farther without worrying about booting out in the softer snow.  Personally I see no need to ski on

anything narrower than 87 on a groomer day in UT. 

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by wasatchback View Post

I would reccomend going wider.  83-88 is pretty much the standard for frontside or groomer skis these days especially in the west.

I'd sorta agree, although I think there's a bias here toward better skiers. See a lot of intermediates out west on 70-somethings. And back east, see a bunch of very good skiers on race carvers routinely because while an 88 may carve hardpack surprisingly well these days, not as much fun as a quicker, stiffer carver. And fun still is a factor...
 

 

post #13 of 21

I work part time at a performance rental shop and we charge $30/day and we have demo skis that we use to help sell new model skis. We also rent performance skis that we don't sell new, but sell used. About half our fleet is current model year, for sale in the spring and half are last years skis that you can buy usually after the Xmas holidays. We allow up to 2 days of rental to go toward the price of ski purchase be it new or used. There isn't all that much mark up for skis so financially it is a better deal for the shop to rent out a ski a dozen times or so and then sell it at a used price. It can also be a good deal for the customer.

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

@ wasatchback: Dead on - Utah last time, Colorado this time. And yes, after doing some more reading, I'm considering something a little wider than what I originally thought I would / should go for.

 

@ DanoT: thanks for the insight into demos. Makes sense.

 

 

Everyone - thanks for the help. Despite the advice, I might still purchase a model that's a few years old (and fairly low $$$)...my reasoning: since I really haven't spent much time on skis in the last 15+ years, even renting various demo skis won't be all that conclusive unless I could spend significant time comparing - which I won't have. I have read so many reviews now where people describe in intricate detail how one ski handles vs. the other...which is not something I'd be able to do since I most certainly lack the technique required. Once I've had a more than a few hours on one type, I'll be in a better position to compare.

But I do think that in the end I'll be able to make any type of ski work for me...it's not the ski that makes the skier!

 

Thanks,

 

Bernie

 

 

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by beepee View Post

I hear what you are saying. Not sure how that demo-ski thing works (you pay a fee and get to try x models for a specified time?) but I can check that out. Just doubt that it's available here in TX ;-)

 

If I was going to get skis they would be behind the curve anyways (thinking maybe 2-3 years old) - as you said no real point in spending $$$ for a couple times a year.

 

 

But humor me and give me your opinion on my original question - I'll use a (maybe not quite appropriate) analogy:

 

If coming from riding a 3-speed bicycle ("regular" old skis) a lot and if most of my future "riding" is to be done in circumstances as described (fast skiing on medium steep runs with frequent excursions to steep & therefore less groomed runs) would you recommend more of a road bike (something a step down from a Fisher RC4...maybe like a Blizzard G-Force Sonic or Rossignol Avenger) , a mountain bike (mid-fatties I'd guess), or a hybrid of sorts (Atomic Nomad Crimson)?

 

Thanks,

 

Bernie

 

(and no, I'm not actually plan on spending the $$$ on the current models...those are just examples.


FWIW - when we were younger, my wife did a 500-mile road bike tour on a MTB. It wouldn't have worked the other way around. So get a mountain bike 85-90mm wide, but not a DH-bike.

 

post #16 of 21

Rentals tend to be noodles. Go for Demos. Since you are going to Colorado this time try a few based on the snow conditions and see what type/length of ski you like.Then shop around and find last years model (or a really good sale).

 

My goto ski is a mid-fat Volkl Grizzly, 89 under foot, great in most conditions especially the crud and on groomed, I even race GS with them, but they could use a little lift in the deep stuff (but that's probably just me). I'm 6' 170 lbs and they are 170cm (probably should have gone with the 177s). I also have some old Head i.C180s for slalom at 163cm.

 

Edit: If you are concerned about demo/skill issue take a lesson and have the instructor give advice, sometimes the lesson price will include demo skis and doing it at the mountain means you can go back and change them at lunch if they aren't working out. Also, talk to the shop guys about what you are trying to do when you rent the demos.

 

Spacecase

post #17 of 21

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beepee View Post

I have read so many reviews now where people describe in intricate detail how one ski handles vs. the other...which is not something I'd be able to do since I most certainly lack the technique required. Once I've had a more than a few hours on one type, I'll be in a better position to compare.


You might be surprised.  I'm personally not good at describing what I feel when I ski certain skis but I can absolutely feel it, much more than I thought I'd be able to before I started demo'ing regularly.  For a long time in my life, I didn't bother demo'ing because I figured I wouldn't be able to tell the difference in the nuances between skis.  The thing is, they aren't actually nuances; skis can feel quite different from each other in certain cases.  So, I'd definitely recommend at least some demo'ing to someone getting back into the sport.  I don't know how long your January trip is, but even in just a few days, you can demo a lot of skis without trying.  You can switch 'em out at lunch, get 2 pairs a day, and really get a feel for each pair.  That will give you a *much* better feel for what kind of ski you'll enjoy.

post #18 of 21

There are basically two broad schools of thought on ski selection:

 

1) Demo and research as much as you can, to try to find the best ski(s) for you.

 

2) Buy something that the reviews say is good and you'll get used to it.

 

#1 takes more time and money up front, but will usually get you a ski better suited to how you currently ski.  #2 is quick and dirty, and often works okay because *most* skis on the market today are actually pretty damn good.

post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post

There are basically two broad schools of thought on ski selection:

 

1) Demo and research as much as you can, to try to find the best ski(s) for you.

 

2) Buy something that the reviews say is good and you'll get used to it.

 

#1 takes more time and money up front, but will usually get you a ski better suited to how you currently ski.  #2 is quick and dirty, and often works okay because *most* skis on the market today are actually pretty damn good.


My wife went with #1 and found the best pair of skis she ever has owned-she loves them. Half way down the first run on the demo she stopped and said "now this is what I'm talking about!"

 

I went with #2 (with research) and ended up with the best pair of skis I have owned to date-perfect for me. This after demoing skis that varied from OK to "not for me".

 

Ironic in that my wife hates the demo process and I enjoy it.
 

 


Edited by Mr5150 - 10/20/11 at 1:32pm
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 

Well - I went with 2)

 

Again - I believe that pretty much anything "mainstream" I can get will be a slight wink.gif step up from my old parallel skis...

 

Based on my experience with the rental skies (and their dismal handling at even moderate speeds), my (past) style of skiing, and based on the general recommendation of this board, I decided to get a slightly wider (88mm) ski with a 21m turn radius and 178cm length.

 

I'll report back in January - couldn't fit a trip in earlier.

 

 

Bernie

 

 

PS: skies are 09 Dynastar Legend Mythic Riders....I'm sure I'm going to be very happy with them.

 

post #21 of 21

I had a pair of that very ski given to me a two seasons ago.  I skied about 60 days on them and gave them back at the end of the season.  I really wish I had kept them.  Not great, but good enough in powder.  A little stiff for moguls, but not too bad.  Really good in crud and pretty good on hardpack.  You should like them.  I wish I had kept them and sold my Jet Fuels.  For me the Mythic was a good one ski quiver for JH, although I also had a pair of Gotomas that I used on deeper days.  Last year I was given a pair of S7s....  I kept those.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beepee View Post

Well - I went with 2)

 

Again - I believe that pretty much anything "mainstream" I can get will be a slight wink.gif step up from my old parallel skis...

 

Based on my experience with the rental skies (and their dismal handling at even moderate speeds), my (past) style of skiing, and based on the general recommendation of this board, I decided to get a slightly wider (88mm) ski with a 21m turn radius and 178cm length.

 

I'll report back in January - couldn't fit a trip in earlier.

 

 

Bernie

 

 

PS: skies are 09 Dynastar Legend Mythic Riders....I'm sure I'm going to be very happy with them.

 



 

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