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Skis for my Wife, an Intermediate Skier

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Over the years, there have been a number of threads on the topic, but as ski gear changes every year to some degree, I want to make sure I am getting the most up to date information.

 

My wife is about 5'5", approximately 108 lbs, and is in her mid-thirties.  She has skied several days a season for the last six years.  She describes herself as a light blue skier.

 

While she is cautious, she is not what I would call fearful.  Her technique continues to improve.  Her skis are typically matched through about 90% of the turn, meaning there is a bit of a wedge at initiation.  She is working on continuing to generate rotary forces from her lower body rather than from her upper body, a pole touch was a new addition toward the end of last year, and she rarely has edge engagement above the fall line.

 

She generally skis on the groomed at moderate speeds, but is somewhat interested in venturing into broken snow and low-angle bumps some of the time.  Though, she thinks that this year most of her time will still be on the groomed improving her overall technique.  For the first time ever, most of her skiing this year will be in the east. 

 

She has never owned her own skis. And, she will not spend a day demoing.

 

The 2012 skis we are considering are the following:

K2 Superific

Dynastar Exclusive Active

Blizzard Viva 7.4

Nordica Drive

Volkl Luna

Atomic Affinity Pure

 

I didn't think it made sense at this point to go up a ski for some of these manufacturers, like to the Supersweet instead of the Superific. 

 

My perspective is that at this price point and skill level and given that she will not do a demo day (or days), most of the manufacturers are providing a reasonable product, and almost any of these skis would be good options. It might be better to think about it from the perspective of does it make sense to rule any of these out. 

 

I would plan to get a 2012 ski, unless I can get a great deal.  Said another way, I would be open to doing something online that was meaningfully better than a 2012 ski, so long as it was enough to make up for the lack of tunes and service from the local shop that would come with buying skis from them and some amount to cover not supporting the local shop.  I have found the 2011 Dynastar for about $180 less (today only on Evo) and the 2011 Blizzard and 2011 K2 True Luv for about $150 less than what we could get the above skis for.  As always, when it comes to stuff for my wife, I do care less about price, and more about getting the right ski.

 

With respect to length, my plan was to go somewhere between 148 and 152, erring toward the lower side.  Meaning if the options were a 146 or a 153, I would choose the 146.  But, I feel like I might be underestimating on this point.

 

My personal perspective is go with the K2, as I have found that in recent years they have produced a product that a wide range of people like, and I think that the slight rocker that they have makes a great deal of sense for this level skier.  I welcome input into which is the right ski here (or which ski(s) to rule out) and what is the right length. Thanks.

 

And, just to get this out of the way, yes, she does have well-fit boots.

 

Thanks in advance, Smiles. 

 

 

 

post #2 of 16

I don't understand at all why she won't demo any skis.  How does she think demoing skis is different from renting them?  It sounds like she is expecting you to choose her skis and many of us, including me, will say that's a bad idea.  

post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

I don't understand at all why she won't demo any skis.  How does she think demoing skis is different from renting them?


I've seen that before.   

 

One issue/difference between renting and demoing seems to be that hypothetical- she'd feel put on the spot to precisely judge between different ski types, and therefore hypothetical-she feels she'd also be evaluated, even if second hand.

 


Edited by cantunamunch - 11/29/11 at 8:33pm
post #4 of 16

SkiSmiles,

 

may help if you list where you'll primarily ski at and conditions you typically see.  I can at best offer that my spouse is 5 foot 6 inch and was worried at moving down to a 158's from 163's so it may be good to consider a bit longer at least in rentals if you have the option.

 

 

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

There are a whole host of reasons that she doesn't want to demo, including, but not limited to, that she has limited days on snow (about nine this year) and wants to focus more on technique while consistently using a ski rather than spending her limited time figuring out what is the right ski, it is not convenient for her to arrange for demos, with the exception of her first season she has been using demo skis for years and has always been reasonably happy with what she has ended up with, and the first day or so of the season she is focusing on remembering what to do and doesn't want to focus on the skis, too. 

 

For people who come at it from your perspective, perhaps it would help to think about the question differently.  Which of the list would you suggest that she demo, as even if she were to demo, it would not be practical in her particular situation to demo all the skis on the list. 

 

Smiles
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

I don't understand at all why she won't demo any skis.  How does she think demoing skis is different from renting them?  It sounds like she is expecting you to choose her skis and many of us, including me, will say that's a bad idea.  



 

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pete View Post

SkiSmiles,

 

may help if you list where you'll primarily ski at and conditions you typically see.  

 

 


I cannot offer much more than I already did: "She generally skis on the groomed at moderate speeds, but is somewhat interested in venturing into broken snow and low-angle bumps some of the time.  Though, she thinks that this year most of her time will still be on the groomed improving her overall technique.  For the first time ever, most of her skiing this year will be in the east." By east, I mean a variety of different places in the east, from a small bump up to Northern Vermont.  Skiing will almost all be January and February. 

 

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post

One issue/difference between renting and demoing seems to be that hypothetical- she'd feel put on the spot to precisely judge between different ski types, and therefore hypothetical-she feels she'd also be evaluated, even if second hand.

 


I cannot say it applies here, but it is an interesting observation.  I think what you are saying is similar to what we see when people do not want to express their views on the type of wine they like or on a particular wine.  That will sometimes happen where they do have a personal preference or opinion but they are not inclined to share it because they feel as if they will be judged because others may find what they are saying to be "objectively" wrong or they are concerned that they will not use the proper terminology or sophisticated language.  

 

Smiles. 

 

post #8 of 16

I am 5'5'' and 115 lbs. I have skis up to 177 and down to 155 (SL skis). I think the little tiny skis that women are given are a detriment to their development. There is a reason taller people use longer skis it helps with fore/aft balance.  It is not exactly the same as they are SL, but my shortest skis are the most demanding, if I get in the backseat I am in trouble on those skis. No one would put a 5'5'' 15 year old boy in a 146. She is light but not short. Any low level ski is going to be sufficiently flexible for her. But I guess if she is happy renting skis, why buy them? If she will be skiing in the east this winter, the more important feature will be a ski that is stiff enough to give good edge hold but light enough for her to bend it. She is probably not going to find that out without trying. I don't know the specific skis on your list, but my personal preference for edge hold is Atomic, Elan, Volkl, Nordica, Dynastar, K2 in that order. I haven't skied Blizzards. 

 

Do her boots fit her well? If she is renting boots, do her a favor and get good boots that fit instead of skis. I am guessing she will be a small last, does she wear a AAA street shoe? If so, try  a 95 last. She might do well to try kids' race boots.

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post

Do her boots fit her well? If she is renting boots, do her a favor and get good boots that fit instead of skis. I am guessing she will be a small last, does she wear a AAA street shoe? If so, try  a 95 last. She might do well to try kids' race boots.



Thanks. She has a well-fit junior race boot. 

 

Smiles

post #10 of 16

I bought my wife skis with a bias toward cost, versatility, and geared toward an advancing skier  because

1) She would not demo skis

2) Any decent ski was better than what she would typically rent

3) She skis maybe 5 days a year these days due to geographical and logistical issues with kids etc.

4) She was a much better skier than she realized and a better ski would actually serve her better in variable conditions

 

So instead of recommending a specific ski I would just get something that meets the following

 

At least 150cm, at least 75mm waist, Shorter radius (11-15), traditional camber, not a beginner ski, integrated binding so that if she upgrades boots, wants to play around with mounting point, or hates it and you want to sell it will be much easier than with a drilled binding, a cost that you are both comfortable with.

 

 

Look around for some of last years models with those specs gets you  a number of reasonable choices.

 

Edit: One more thing: women's specific models generate far fewer reviews. There are good models you probably cannot find a single user review on and haven't generated much buzz online. Don't let that dissuade you. Take the2011 Blizzard Viva Cross. It looks like a softer version of the Viva 7.6, Unless blizzard suddenly screwed up I'd wager its a good ski and it's bargain priced.


Edited by aschick - 11/29/11 at 11:57pm
post #11 of 16

Definitely get them longer. 146 cm would be something like 20 cm shorter than she is? Extremely short.

 

When I got my first skis I was going for 158 cm (coming from 155 cm beginner rentals) and my friend was trying to make me get 170 cm. So as a compromise I got 164 cm. Since then I've bought 4 pairs in 170 cm. I'm 5'8"-5'9" and about 130 lbs myself.

post #12 of 16

I bought my wife Dynastar Exclusive twice now and cannot say enough positive things about them. She's a good intermediate skier with ZERO aggression. Her Exclusive Actives helped her break through and has now skied the little black runs at our local ski bump. They raise the heel a bit and put her in a great position. 

 

Dynastar makes a great woman's intermediate ski - ...

post #13 of 16

I would also recommend the Dynastar Exclusives. I had the Legends when they first came out and found them to be a good all around ski. My only complaint is that it is hard to tell the differences among the many skis in their line up. Some seem to have almost identical specs.

post #14 of 16

My wife is an intermediate skier as well.  We just got her first pair of skis last year.  She had skied when she was a kid/teen, and then again when we met a few years back.  She got a good pair of boots a few seasons ago and last year she bought the Volkl Luna's and loves them.  She demo'd the Luna at Stowe and loved them.  I was on the fence between the Luna and the Estrella for her, because the Estrella was a slight step up as it had a stiffer wood core vs the composite core.  Otherwise it had the exact same dimensions.  But she had demo'd the Luna so I didn't want to mess with that, Luna it was.  She's 5'7" and about 125lbs.

 

She had become partial to the Volkl's after demoing a couple others such as the 2011 elan mystic magic and the 2011 k2 free luv. She didn't have much of an opinion on the elan's, she said the K2's were very heavy.  The Volkl's are very light weight in comparison to those two.

 

I agree that she should demo even if she doesn't know squat, a lot of places will let you apply the cost of the demo to the purchase of a new pair.  So maybe when you pick one, look for a deal like that?

post #15 of 16

Also, she preferred usually shorter lengths as well.  When she was renting, she was happier on shorter skis usually (146- 150) .  She got the Volkl's in a 151 and has never complained about the length - they have a lot of sidecut.

 

With that, she's upped her days / year from 4 to 6 to 10 last year and I think she'll out grow these in a couple years and go for something bigger.  But that level of ski (out of the one's you mentioned too) is perfect for a progressing intermediate.

post #16 of 16

I'd third the note on Dynastars Exclusives, but chose on a mix of forgiveness and my wife's style, aggressive.

 

these were the 158's she moved down to from 163 K2's. She's enjoyed them liking that they are quite stable on crud while she improved her form which was very good to begin with.  She's 5-6 and we somewhat blindly selected them without demo reviewing a Ski Canada review.  I personally liked their reviews as it covered various aspects such as weight, aggressiveness, etc.  however they did review well being a grade up from her intermediate level (4 yrs back)

 

My question on where you ski most was really east or west where from what folks write, the east typically can expect harder surface and narrower runs, but i'm midwest so .. either is an upgrade : )

 

anyhow, I've read reviews where folks don't care for a rail binding, my spouses skis haven't rails but mine and the kids do and it does help if you think these may be intermediate choice, easier to sell or use for kids. 

 

lastly, I've noted for kids, teens, they tend to adapt quickly to most any ski and trend to like based on looks or a cool factor.  I don't lean towards beginners for any skis' bought, typically a level or two up with the belief one learns quickly either by natural skills or like i must, taking a class or two (three, four ..... )

 

 

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