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Results From Loveland Demos, November 2011

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Just got back from the demos at Loveland. Wanted to try several high-end, versatile, mid-fat skis (waists 79-88) more biased toward the frontside than toward heavy, deep crud or soft, deep powder.  These skis have all been getting consistently good reviews. Conditions: cold temperatures, no new snow, hardpack, occasional boilerplate.

Me: Copper instructor, 5' 10", 165 lbs., modern technique. I'm what's called a "feeler," so my reviews are quick impressions of well-regarded/well-reviewed advanced-expert, high-performance skis. Notes were scribbled on the chairlift after a run: totally subjective! I like skis that are just "there" underneath me as a natural extension of me, whatever the condition: not so stiff that my legs are always being pounded (i.e., Volkl AC50), not so soft that they don't hold on hardpack or at speed. So, with that disclaimer, and taking into account that a 230-lb. linebacker would probably prefer skis I find to be too stiff or burly, these were my notes.  All were skied in 173-178 lengths.



Volkl RTM 80:  This ski was the biggest surprise of the day for me.  I used to ski Volkls in the G30 era but moved away as they seemed to get stiffer and burlier every year.  This was my favorite ski of the day.  Quick, responsive, with phenomenal grip.  Volkl claims it is a "full-rocker ski" and, indeed, it seems quite flat in the midsection with a smooth, continuous rise to the tips and tail.  So why is it so incredible on hardpack?  Beats me, but it is.  Conditions precluded crud or bump testing, but the rocker should allow good performance there, too.   For a relatively lightweight, high-level  skier who has a separate, deep snow ski and wants a great hardpack/bump/moderate-crud ski, this ski is definitely worth a demo .

Volkl RTM 84:  A bit wider, beefier construction and definitely a burlier ride.  Same great edgehold and more appropriate for a heavier (over 185 pounds) skier.

Dynastar Outland 80:  Very solid performer.  A bit heavier-skiing than the RTM 80 and not quite the edgehold, but a very good ski.

Salomon Enduro XT 800:  Beefy, powerful, held well on the hard snow, but I really can't imagine these dancing down fall-line bumps.

Salomon BBR 7.9:  These are certainly the most striking ski I can remember since the old Elan SCX extreme carvers.  Superwide tip, narrow tail.  Can slip a bit on boilerplate, but a nice, smooth, user-friendly ski.  Smooth, even flex.  Large tips tapped each other a few times and I'm not sure how they would be in bumps, but for an intermediate to advanced skier who wants a nice, forgiving ride with reasonable performance, these are worth a try.

Rossignol Experience 88s:  Rossi and Blizzard have been on a roll for the past few years and these are worthy additions to their line.  Versatile, nice feel on the snow. Slight early rise.  A touch firm, but certainly not burly.  Could use a bit more edgehold on hardpack, but a very, very nice ski.

 
Rossignol Experience 83s:  Similar feel to the 88s, but a bit quicker, as one would expect from their narrower waist.
 
Atomic Crimson 88:  Beefy and powerful.  Traditional camber.  A heavier skier should demo these and the Volkl RTM 84s.
 
Blizzard Bushwacker 88s:  All the good reviews are deserved.  Smooth, powerful, even flex, solid edge hold, user friendly.  My only reservation is that it isn't the quickest if you like short turns.
 
Long day, lots of skis, lots of fun. Hope this is of some use!

Edited by mike_m - 11/17/11 at 10:06am
post #2 of 21

I like your quick impression reviews. I remember them well from years past.

 

Great to see reviews of multiple skis from a single reviewer...especially one who is not as regular a poster.

 

I hope others express their gratitude as well.

post #3 of 21

In another thread, someone offered the opinion there are "no really bad skies out there". Your review added some confirmation to that premise or, at least, to the narrower, modern ski range you selected. Narrower ski reviews are not in vogue today, but, for we who ski them it's great to get the opinions. I also like the fact that snow conditions were more typical of an average day on the slopes. It is difficult to keep notes and sort it all out at the end of the day. You surfaced several skis to try and many were models not reviewed extensively. So thanks for the contribution, been looking forward to reviews of the '12 skis.

post #4 of 21

Mike, that was me icon14.gif  this positive review of the bushwhacker proves the evil empire of epic reviewers has reached beyond the boundaries of this site yet again and have amped up this reviewer...  Sorry, had to say it.   biggrin.gif  (sarcasm, its a joke, see other thread) 

 

Great quick reviews!  well-done.  

post #5 of 21


Thanks Mike...trying to recall some user names with faces- did you do the first day of the race camp at Breck before heading off to Aspen for a clinic in January?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by allan o'neil View Post

I like your quick impression reviews. I remember them well from years past.

 

Great to see reviews of multiple skis from a single reviewer...especially one who is not as regular a poster.

 

I hope others express their gratitude as well.

 


 

Did you see Noodler at LL?  Would be surprised if he wasn't there...maybe he will jump in and give us some additional words of wisdom.

 

post #6 of 21

Finn,

 

I sorta thought "no bad skis" was your hypothesis. the Blizzi was just another ski in this review. Careful what you say, segbrown patrols these threads! I also remember another Epic reviewer calling the 80's group something like " lost or unneeded". booo!mad.gif

 

Obviously, I relate to the OP type review, it's how I get to demo (many skis in a day) and the 80's group appeals to an eastern skier. I'm not a fan of overly stiff skis, need edge hold and appreciate quicker turning capability. Many in the east could find a daily driver on that list. How well each ski crosses over to crud and moguls important but that versatility needs a different day to discover. I made some notes and hope to get on some skis mike m liked.

 

I am amped that the reviews are coming in. C'mon weather, turn cold!

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

MEfree30:  Yep, Noodler was there.  I think he lives underground at Loveland and only comes out for demos!  (And yes, I was there at Breck. You have a good memory!).

 

As a general note, honestly, I think a two-ski quiver consisting of a narrower ski (78-84 waist) combined with a dedicated soft-snow ski (98-120 waist) would do the trick for most skiers--especially lighter-weight ones.  The narrower-waisted model works well on ice/hard snow, corduroy, bumps and moderate crud/fresh snow, and the wide body would be the choice for big-snow days/deep-snow mountains.  To own just one ski in the 88-98-waisted range seems to be a poor compromise as an all-terrain ski. They are too wide for skied-off groomers, short turns or bumps, and don't quite have the floatation of dedicated powder skis.

 

If you can only afford one ski, it seems to make the most sense to buy one for the conditions you'll ski most and rent for the occasional day of different conditions.

 

Think snow!

 

 


Edited by mike_m - 11/17/11 at 10:20am
post #8 of 21

Hi from NZ. Good review thanks Mike M. What length would you think a 5ft 6inch male 140lbs advanced skier would like in the RTM80? I have a Deep Soft Snow ski already so sounds ideal. I set my bindings light (4 ish) and never seem to release when I shouldn't. I would call my speed moderate-fast. I really enjoyed riding Mrs Baldricks Elan Mystic 146's on varied club snow earlier this year so I am thinking short...

 

Cheers

 

Baldrick

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hi, Baldrick!

 

They come in 166, 171 and 176 lengths.  At your weight, you would probably be most comfortable on a 166, especially if short turns and nimbleness are paramount.  I'd consider a 171 if you want added stability in longer turns at high speeds.  Either would do.

 

Do you ski Treble Cone?  I spent a fun summer training there a few years ago.  Spectacular views!

 

If you ever ski the States, look me up!

 

Cheers!

Mike

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_m View Post

Hi, Baldrick!

 

They come in 166, 171 and 176 lengths.  At your weight, you would probably be most comfortable on a 166, especially if short turns and nimbleness are paramount.  I'd consider a 171 if you want added stability in longer turns at high speeds.  Either would do.

 

Do you ski Treble Cone?  I spent a fun summer training there a few years ago.  Spectacular views!

 

If you ever ski the States, look me up!

 

Cheers!

Mike




Thanks Mike

 

Actually booked a trip to Whistler in early April 2012. Maybe next trip...

 

Agree Treble is great skiing. Had a fun 2 days there earlier this year. I guess you got over to the Matukituki side? That view is so good....

 

Cheers

post #11 of 21

Dude, that RTM 84 was one of the best skis I tried last spring.  Wicked edgehold, no speed limit. I would buy that ski......the others you reviewed: I skied several, and while I had fun on them, the RTM 84 was the only ski that left me wondering if I could take it home with me.

Full selection of 2015 skis available right now from Dawgcatching.com.  PM for current deals and discount codes: save up to 25% on mid-season deals. 

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

Dude, that RTM 84 was one of the best skis I tried last spring.  Wicked edgehold, no speed limit. I would buy that ski......the others you reviewed: I skied several, and while I had fun on them, the RTM 84 was the only ski that left me wondering if I could take it home with me.


I have to ask the question before I take delivery of my MX88's (178). I am a pretty heavy guy (225 pounds) and my only concern with the Kastles is tight trees and bumps when its hard and icy.

Generally speaking, do you guys (Mike and Dawgcatching) think the Volkl's would be easier going in those conditions?

 

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 

Both great skis.  The Volkls have rocker tips and tails, are a touch narrower and might be easier to slide around.

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_m View Post

Both great skis.  The Volkls have rocker tips and tails, are a touch narrower and might be easier to slide around.



Pretty much what I would expect. Could anyone compare their longitudinal flex?

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by allan o'neil View Post


I have to ask the question before I take delivery of my MX88's (178). I am a pretty heavy guy (225 pounds) and my only concern with the Kastles is tight trees and bumps when its hard and icy.

Generally speaking, do you guys (Mike and Dawgcatching) think the Volkl's would be easier going in those conditions?

 



I didn't take them into tight bumps or trees. The MX88 is really solid though: I can ski any bumps I want on it.  You have me by 70lbs, hard to imagine you wouldn't be able to flex the tip well on it.  I had the RTM on soft groomers, and maybe I was so impressed because I was trying almost exclusively 100mm+ skis that day, but it reminded me why I will always have a narrower, aggressive, high-end frontside ski in the quiver.  My turns on the groomer, on that ski, were as fun as any I made off the backside that day. There is something thrilling about digging trenches at big speeds, loading up the ski and getting tossed down the fall line upon release. 

 

I wouldn't read too much into the "early rise" or rocker, or whatever it is on that ski. Seemed like every other good, firm, well-built frontside ski I tried in terms of the tip, whether those frontside skis had "tip rocker" or not.  If the ski is on edge, it is a total non-issue, and what is the rocker anyways, a mm or 2?  You are flexing a ski at least that much when skiing it.  I skied a bunch of frontside skis last year (mostly on other days) and among the ones I loved, some had tip rocker, some didn't.  It meant almost nothing in terms of overall performance.  Kind of like trying to tell how a car will handle on the track based solely on the tires it is running. Flex and other factors are going to be more important.  I might be an outlier, but I wouldn't be surprised if the whole addition to "tip rocker" on frontside skis is to make the "old" model obsolete.  I skied the Blizzard 8.1 and 8.7 with (minor tip rocker), compared them to last year's (which have  none), and I wanted to say they skied slightly shorter and more nimble.  I couldn't say for sure; seemed like the same skis, more or less. That's it.  Can't really say they were better or worse, especially since none of the others were available to ski side by side.  It isn't like comparing the Kastle MX88 vs the BMX88: one has tip rocker, one doesn't, but the biggest difference is the higher-end wood core and lots of metal on the MX, and none on the BMX.  Put a tip rocker on the MX, and it won't change the ski much.  Put metal in the BMX and it becomes a whole different ski.  I have plenty of examples: the Elan Apex was no easier to turn than the Sollie Sentinel, even though one has "tip rocker" and one doesn't.  Those with a lot of rocker (like a Blizzard Bushwacker) will be exempt; they have enough rocker to actually change the characteristic of the ski. Most of the high-end frontside skis though, don't.  It is what SJ coined "marketing rocker" and really means little in terms of overall performance.  The Head Peak series has that soft flexing tip thing that does the same thing, but keeps contact with the snow; maybe it is why they are so good in bumps, but it is just making the tip softer.   Likely, Head was not the first company to try softening a tip to change the characteristics of a ski.

 

So yeah, I wouldn't worry about it.  Get the skis you want and that ski well.

Full selection of 2015 skis available right now from Dawgcatching.com.  PM for current deals and discount codes: save up to 25% on mid-season deals. 

Reply
post #16 of 21

Thanks for the detailed reply. It's always hard to be certain of your choice when there is no opportunity to demo. On the other hand, now i don't have to piss of my friendly ski shop.

post #17 of 21

Get the MX88, you will not be dissatisfied. Personally I was not as enamored with the RTM84 as some here, while it is much better than the AC50 it replaces I didn't like the full rocker at slow to med speeds and felt the ski was either on or off with no in-between. 

post #18 of 21

Be interesting to see what Head does with the Supershape line in 2012/13. They seem to be one of the only brands that still have no rocker in their front side skis this season so will they buckle and follow next year? I'm with Dawg and Phil, frontside skis+camber work just fine IMO.

post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 

I put my money where my mouth is and bought the Volkl RTM 80 in a 176 length.  Took them out on Copper's hardpack today and still can't figure how they are so damn grippy on boilerplate with virtually no camber and a slight tip and tail rocker.  They are a bit stiffer than I remembered from the Loveland demos, especially in the tail (which held tenaciously in a carve), but if I just backed off and was smooth and continuous throughout the turn, they were fine.  Can't wait to get them on soft snow, crud and bumps. 

post #20 of 21

Mike,

 

Any chance to test them in the bumps or trees yet?

 

J

post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 

Not enough coverage for trees yet, but did some medium bumps last week. No problems.  The more I ski these skis, the more I like them.  Firm but not burly, very responsive and quick.  Excellent edgehold.  So far, couldn't be happier.  You need to be on them and not lazy, but they reward a good skier in spades.

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