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Demo / Review (Kung fujas, Rossignol S3, Volkl Bridge, Atomic Access) + need suggestions

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

 

Hey guys, first post here but I hope a nice review will be well received. I have been looking into getting some ~100mm all mountain / big mountain skis for a couple of weeks, and I really needed to demo a few to narrow it down. Conveniently I live in Denver, so I hopped over to keystone today and tried out a couple skis I had been eyeing (rephrase, I tried out the skis they had in demos....)


Anyways, I got to try out the 4 skis listed in the title. I passed up on demoing the Volkl Mantra b/c I have skied one before and it was too stiff, chattery, and un-playful for me. No fresh snow today, but everything I tried was ~100mm under waist and had at the very least an early rise tip, so I figured they would all be plenty good for me in powder. What I really wanted to find out was how they held up on the groomers, b/c even though I love skiing powder, I also love bombing a groomer, and I can't afford to have multiple skis in my quiver at the moment. Therefore, I need a mid-fat powder / all mountain ski that will hold an edge on cord, and plow through some afternoon chop at high speeds. Here's the lowdown: 

BTW I am 5'9" 145, and consider myself to be a fairly aggressive skier.

I started with the Kung Fujas in a 179 b/c I was the most stoked on them. My enthusiasm may have influenced this first trial. However, I went back at the end of the day and tried them once more to be sure. THEY KICK ASS. They were the widest ski I demo'd (at 105mm), so as a result their turn initiation was a little slower / required more effort. However, I could still easily make tight quick turns. Let me say now that these ski fairly short. I was a bit worried that the 179 might be long for me, but I had no trouble controlling these, and was truly glad I had the 179 and not a bit shorter. This is undoubtedly due to the tip and tail rocker. I was very impressed with how well they held up at high speeds. I was cutting HARD, across chopped up groomers, and they still blasted through it. I know people say this is a flexible ski, and it is, but also keep in mind that I am 5'9", 145 lbs, and I was demoing a 179, and this ski has some GIRTH to it. Therefore, I don't think my small size could overpower this ski like some others who may say it's too flexible. If you are heavier, you may have this problem. That said, the rockered tips and tailed flapped a bit at speed, but surprisingly this did not affect their ability to hold an edge at all. Also, they did wobble and give just a bit when I hit some chop at speed, but when you consider how well this is supposed to ski pow, this is a negligible downside. Let's put it this way, I bombed it and never felt like I couldn't trust the ski.

Next I tried the Volkl Bridge in a 171. Granted, this is a bit shorter, but I could still tell that it was an instant NO. Although it's advertised as being able to ski the hard stuff, the ELP full rocker is not the way to go. Also, this ski is much thinner (not referring to the width (~95mm), but the thickness of the sidewall). Combine the full rocker with a lightweight thin ski, and it felt like skiing on a piece of cardboard. This thing was squirrelly as SH*T. Having the tip and tail elevated that much off the slope, I couldn't keep the skis from moving all around under me. Definitely not the way to go if you want to hit the groomers at all. Therefore, I'm steering clear of the new Gotama and Katana with their ELP as well. (This was really why I tried the bridge, b/c I was interested in the Goat but they didn't have one in demo. So I just tried this to get a feel for the ELP rocker).

Next I tried the ski that impressed me the most, even more than the Kung Fujas. We are talking about the Rossignol S3 in a 178. This thing was basically the kung fujas with just a tad more stiffness, and a little thinner in the waist (98mm). It had the same girth to it, allowing it to hold a solid edge (no chatter), and power through chopped up groomers. This ski handled everything I could throw at it. In addition, this ski is 98mm under waist, as opposed to the Kung Fujas 105mm, so this allowed it to be quicker edge to edge, and the tail not being as wide allowed for better turn initiation. With tip and tail rocker, I can also assume it will also hold it's own on powder. The Kung Fujas may be slightly better than it on powder though, and this could tip the scale back and make them basically even.

Finally, I tried the Atomic Access (100mm) in a 171. This one doesn't ski too much shorter, b/c all it has is an early rise tip. This one is "thin" like the Bridge, and therefore got pretty chattery when hitting chop at speeds. Overall I felt sort of neutral about this ski. It just didn't seem to shine in any aspect. If you're not getting rockered tips and tails, then why sacrifice stability on groomers? IMO this ski doesn't do anything better than the Kung Fujas or the S3.

So, the takeaway is that I love the S3, but I really don't want to pay for a brand new set up! I was hoping that a last years model w/ bindings might pop up on ebay for ~500, but I'm thinking that might be a long shot. So, I may need to expand my options a bit. I'm looking for something with tip and tail rocker and camber under foot, ~100mm, and with similar flex / girth of the S3. Any suggestions would be great

 

Here's a couple I'm interested in but didn't get to demo:

 

Dynastar Slicer
Salomon Shogun
Blizzard The One
2008 Seth Ski or pre-117mm obsethed

 

Any advice on how these stack up to the S3 (flex / playfulness, power / stability, etc)?


Thanks,
Dylan

 

post #2 of 20
Thread Starter 

Bump

post #3 of 20
If you're an aggressive skier, then even at your weight I'm surprised you're demo-ing 100mm-ish skis in low 170s lengths, especially since these all have tip rise and some tail rise as well. Some of the squirrely-ness you experienced with some ofthe skis may just be that you're skiing them 10cm too short. Fwiw, I'm 5'9" 165 and I ski a 187 bonafide (am sure I coil happily ski the 180 too but probably not the 173, especially off-piste), used to ski a 180 Titan Argos with no tip rise and a lot of beefiness. And my pow skis are all 186+. Just food for thought.

Give the bonafide 180 a ride and maybe Kastle bmx98 and/or fx 94 and/or lx92 (altho pricey).
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hey thanks I agree that the atomic and the Blend were too short, but this was the only size they had to try the ski in. I still got a feel for the construction of the ski though, and these were just too thin and chattery.

 

I'm wondering if I should start a new thread for the ski comparisons... I think the long review is scaring people away before they get to the part I'm most interested in hearing about!

 

 

post #5 of 20

With the large amount of rocker in the tip and tail on the S3's, I'd argue that they would be as good or better then the Kung Fujas in powder. Strangely enough I'm only 110lbs and I found the S3's quite soft when I demoed them, I also thought the Kung Fujas were of the softer side, but stiffer then the S3's. Both the Blizzard "The One" and the Slicer are significantly softer then both the K2 or the Rossi, so I don't think you'd want to go that way. On the other hand the Shougun might be a perfect ski for your style and what you're looking for in a ski.

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice tsk. I actually felt the opposite, that the S3 was slightly stiffer than the Kung Fujas. They were similar though. I'm surprised that you say the Slicer is softer than the S3. I've read reviews that say exactly the opposite. Here's a quote from the link below:

 

"On the S3 vs. Slicer, I think the review covered both pretty well but generally, the Slicer is stiffer, more stable, but less playful. Keep in mind the lengths were different. SJ"

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/92748/western-daily-drivers-in-the-90-100mm-range

 

Also, this review makes the Blizzard One out to be an aggressive, powerful ski. Not a soft playful ski:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/99802/killer-98s-2011-dynastar-6th-sense-slicer-blizzard-the-one-fischer-watea-98

 

Can you elaborate on why you say that the Blizzard One and the Dynastar Slicer are super soft? Did you demo all of these skis?

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

post #7 of 20

Didn't demo or test either the One or the Slicer but just flexing them in shop they have seem to have a very soft flex, all relative of course. Mainly based on what you said about being an agressive skier I think there are better option for you then either of those. Refering back to the S3's and Kung Fujas, I might have made it sound like I thought the S3's was soft, the KF's stiff. That's not the case, underfoot stiffness I found relatively similar, the main difference was in the tip and tail, I thought the S3's had a just soft progress flex in the tip and tail compared to the KF's.

 

Back to the Slicers and the One's. The Slicer has a very soft flex compared to other 98mm waisted ski's, much softer then the "The One's", as you can see from Dawg's reviews he says "aside from being a bit too relaxing for some tastes, which isn’t a real weakness.  Just as many people want a predicable, relaxing all-mountain ski that is a true jack-of-all-trades." Dawg, like me, if quite lightweight, so coming from him saying it's a relaxing, easy to ski ski I think it wouldn't be close to what your looking for, even though you two are almost identical weight.

 

Regarding the "The One's", again my impress has only been from hand flexing the ski and what I've read about it, Flex-wise I would say it's similar to the S3, but softer throughout. Again this isn't a bad thing depending on what you're looking for. From Dawg's review I personally (again from only Hand flexing the ski) cannot see how people thought it was too aggressive, from other reviews I have read they make it out to be a fairly easy to ski, ski that excels in crud and tree skiing.

 

Again this is only from what I have read, only other thing I could think of is that they have softened up this years models, which give me a different impress then what people have tested. Althought I don't think it's too likely.

 

Also you have to remember that flex isn't necessarily the best judge of how a ski will handle. A good example of this is the current ObSethed @ 117mm underfoot, flex wise the ski is very soft. But many people praise it's stability and ability to charge fast, big mountain lines.

 

From what you said about your experience with the Mantra's however have me thinking you might want to look more towards something with a moderate flex, that way you have some of the playful/liveliness that you're looking for that you didn't find in the Mantra, however something that can also allow you to do aggressive on. My concern I had with the Kung Fujas, similar to that with the S3's, I found that the soft flexing tips on both ski's hindered their performance on hardpack snow. That being said based on what I've read about your impressions on these ski's you didn't seem to find this problem. Playful, yet aggressive, Shogun again comes to mind, the "The One" might work well for this, definitely (in my opinion) will be lively enough for what you're looking for, only concern would be it's stability when you quote "bomb down groomers". The Slicer, simpily to soft. The Seth, pre 117mm @ 105mm I believe, I think would be to soft snow orientated and would give you the crud and hardpack performance that you're really looking for. The Blizzard Bonafide I think would be a good option also.

 

If I missed anything just let me know, lol!
 

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks again tsk. I'm still a bit confused about the flex of the Slicer b/c I have read several places that it is stiffer, less playful, and more geared towards groomers. I may have to walk into a ski shop and flex one for myself haha.

 

I heard you throw around the word "lively" a good bit, and I've tried to figure out exactly what this means but I'm having a bit of trouble. I think it means that you can feel all the bumps, vs. a damp ski that smoothes your ride. What are the advantages of a lively ski? I don't know if lively is what I want... I don't mind feeling bumps, but one thing that I absolutely hate in a ski is "chatter". This is why I hated the Atomic Access, Volkl Bridge, and Volkl Mantra. They just felt thin, stiff, and chattery under foot. I feel like a lot of this has to do with the thickness of the edge of the ski, and also the stiffness, correct?  In comparison, the S3 and Kung Fujas felt very solid and forgiving under my feet if you know what I mean. Does lively = chattery?

 

This is important b/c I am now pretty interested in the Shogun, but I never got to demo it (and I'm not paying 50 bucks again). Therefore, I'm nervous that the Shogun will be chattery, instead of smooth. How would you compare the ride of the Shogun to the S3?

 

Thanks!

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

One more question. Why does Rossignol designate the S3 as a level 3 out of 5 skill level? I liked it, but I don't want to be buying a beginner ski....

post #10 of 20

The S3 is very easy to ski and I think that is why it carries the lower designation.  I know a few strong skies who love it.  I have the S7 and love it.  I wouldn't worry too much about a number on a website.  If you tried it and it works for you, it's a good ski.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcobb View Post

One more question. Why does Rossignol designate the S3 as a level 3 out of 5 skill level? I liked it, but I don't want to be buying a beginner ski....



 

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk94 View Post

Didn't demo or test either the One or the Slicer but just flexing them in shop they have seem to have a very soft flex, all relative of course. Mainly based on what you said about being an agressive skier I think there are better option for you then either of those. Refering back to the S3's and Kung Fujas, I might have made it sound like I thought the S3's was soft, the KF's stiff. That's not the case, underfoot stiffness I found relatively similar, the main difference was in the tip and tail, I thought the S3's had a just soft progress flex in the tip and tail compared to the KF's.

 

Back to the Slicers and the One's. The Slicer has a very soft flex compared to other 98mm waisted ski's, much softer then the "The One's", as you can see from Dawg's reviews he says "aside from being a bit too relaxing for some tastes, which isn’t a real weakness.  Just as many people want a predicable, relaxing all-mountain ski that is a true jack-of-all-trades." Dawg, like me, if quite lightweight, so coming from him saying it's a relaxing, easy to ski ski I think it wouldn't be close to what your looking for, even though you two are almost identical weight.

 

Regarding the "The One's", again my impress has only been from hand flexing the ski and what I've read about it, Flex-wise I would say it's similar to the S3, but softer throughout. Again this isn't a bad thing depending on what you're looking for. From Dawg's review I personally (again from only Hand flexing the ski) cannot see how people thought it was too aggressive, from other reviews I have read they make it out to be a fairly easy to ski, ski that excels in crud and tree skiing.

 

Again this is only from what I have read, only other thing I could think of is that they have softened up this years models, which give me a different impress then what people have tested. Althought I don't think it's too likely.

 

Also you have to remember that flex isn't necessarily the best judge of how a ski will handle. A good example of this is the current ObSethed @ 117mm underfoot, flex wise the ski is very soft. But many people praise it's stability and ability to charge fast, big mountain lines.

 

From what you said about your experience with the Mantra's however have me thinking you might want to look more towards something with a moderate flex, that way you have some of the playful/liveliness that you're looking for that you didn't find in the Mantra, however something that can also allow you to do aggressive on. My concern I had with the Kung Fujas, similar to that with the S3's, I found that the soft flexing tips on both ski's hindered their performance on hardpack snow. That being said based on what I've read about your impressions on these ski's you didn't seem to find this problem. Playful, yet aggressive, Shogun again comes to mind, the "The One" might work well for this, definitely (in my opinion) will be lively enough for what you're looking for, only concern would be it's stability when you quote "bomb down groomers". The Slicer, simpily to soft. The Seth, pre 117mm @ 105mm I believe, I think would be to soft snow orientated and would give you the crud and hardpack performance that you're really looking for. The Blizzard Bonafide I think would be a good option also.

 

If I missed anything just let me know, lol!
 


Hand flexing only conveys the tip to tail stiffness and doesn't tell you much about torsional stiffness (which matters primarily in terms of the ski holding an edge)... The ones are soft tip to tail but stiff in torsion. They re a very playful ski and ski great in powder and carve very well on groomers and do great in most crud type snow. In particularly bad crud they tend to get worked more than a metal laminate / sandwich ski would. (none of the other skis in this thread are metal laminate e.g. head im88)

 

post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post


Hand flexing only conveys the tip to tail stiffness and doesn't tell you much about torsional stiffness (which matters primarily in terms of the ski holding an edge)... The ones are soft tip to tail but stiff in torsion. They re a very playful ski and ski great in powder and carve very well on groomers and do great in most crud type snow. In particularly bad crud they tend to get worked more than a metal laminate / sandwich ski would. (none of the other skis in this thread are metal laminate e.g. head im88)

 



You can easily hand flex the torsional rigidity of a ski. While even is a torsionally stiff ski has a very soft tip, it won't hold very well on hard snow. Same as a stiff flexing ski with no torsional stiffness won't hold very well either.

 

Edit: I never said anywhere these ski's were torsionally soft, like The One, most of them are pretty stiff torsionally. But I don't think torsionally stiffness is what he's worried or needs to worry about. He want's a ski that will hold up to higher speed's and not chatter, which is why I don't think something like The One or the Slicer would be a good choice for him.


Edited by tsk94 - 12/5/11 at 8:37am
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcobb View Post

Thanks again tsk. I'm still a bit confused about the flex of the Slicer b/c I have read several places that it is stiffer, less playful, and more geared towards groomers. I may have to walk into a ski shop and flex one for myself haha.

 

I heard you throw around the word "lively" a good bit, and I've tried to figure out exactly what this means but I'm having a bit of trouble. I think it means that you can feel all the bumps, vs. a damp ski that smoothes your ride. What are the advantages of a lively ski? I don't know if lively is what I want... I don't mind feeling bumps, but one thing that I absolutely hate in a ski is "chatter". This is why I hated the Atomic Access, Volkl Bridge, and Volkl Mantra. They just felt thin, stiff, and chattery under foot. I feel like a lot of this has to do with the thickness of the edge of the ski, and also the stiffness, correct?  In comparison, the S3 and Kung Fujas felt very solid and forgiving under my feet if you know what I mean. Does lively = chattery?

 

This is important b/c I am now pretty interested in the Shogun, but I never got to demo it (and I'm not paying 50 bucks again). Therefore, I'm nervous that the Shogun will be chattery, instead of smooth. How would you compare the ride of the Shogun to the S3?

 

Thanks!


For the Slicer, the only thing I can think of like I mentioned before was that the flex has been softened on this years, which is the only one I've flexed, and it is surprising soft.

 

Generally, lively ski's have a moderate or softer flex, combined with the construction of the ski (Carbon Fibre instead of Metal, or like in the Shogun's case Bamboo) creates a ski that gives a lot of feedback. This is different then a damp ski. A damp ski will obviously dampening the ride and will seem to transition from a variety of terrain without much change in feel underfoot. Again their is advantages to both. Again, generally, a lively ski, like the Bridge, will chatter more on hard snow and at high speed. Damp ski's will be more stable and transition much smoother from varying snow conditions. By no means does lively = chattery, but definitely more likely then a stiffer, or damp ski. Again depends on what you're looking for.

 

As far as the Shogun goes I think it still is one of the best options for what you're looking for. Compared to the S3 it will be a more smooth ride, slightly more damp, will absorb bumps and changing snow conditions much better, but also will the bambo layer under the topsheet have a decent amount of "life" or responsiveness to the ski. I don't think the Slicer would be what you're looking for, I think it would get throw around a lot more then any of the ski's you test, and have a lower speed limit then even the Bridge.

 

Hope this helps a bit :P

 

post #14 of 20

having owned a slicer i can tell you this, it seems less longitudinally stiff than it really is.  It seems that way due to the "springblade construction" which results in the ski being quite flexible at the tip and tail for some pop on take off and absorption on landing.  The true stiffness of the slicer is found between its contact points on the snow; the part of the ski that is under the traditional camber.  If handflexed, it does feel like a noodle (but look at where its bending, mostly tip and tail i betcha) but it aint that noodley when skiied in my experience.

 

dave

post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hmm thanks mcdave that makes sense. I went in to christy sports today to hand flex some skis haha. They didn't have the slicer, but I was able to compare the Rossi S3 to the Salomon Shogun. The shogun is definitely stiffer, but I don't know if this is a good thing. I wish I had been able to demo this ski. The thing is, I liked the Rossi S3, and thought it held up just fine on the groomers. So do I even need to go stiffer? Does the Shogun sacrifice playfulness, bump skiing, and/or tree skiing for a stiffer, better carver? 

 

Also, I would like a ski that can hit some small cliffs (10 ft.). Is a the softer S3 or the stiffer Shogun tail better for this? Basically I want a ski that can do everything, with an emphasis on powder play and tight trees / bumps. Do you think the Rossi S3 or the Shogun would be the best fit?

 

I found a good deal on a last years Rossi S3, and I am really tempted to just get it. Problem is I don't want to be wondering if I should have gotten the Shogun instead!!

post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcobb View Post

Hmm thanks mcdave that makes sense. I went in to christy sports today to hand flex some skis haha. They didn't have the slicer, but I was able to compare the Rossi S3 to the Salomon Shogun. The shogun is definitely stiffer, but I don't know if this is a good thing. I wish I had been able to demo this ski. The thing is, I liked the Rossi S3, and thought it held up just fine on the groomers. So do I even need to go stiffer? Does the Shogun sacrifice playfulness, bump skiing, and/or tree skiing for a stiffer, better carver? 

 

Also, I would like a ski that can hit some small cliffs (10 ft.). Is a the softer S3 or the stiffer Shogun tail better for this? Basically I want a ski that can do everything, with an emphasis on powder play and tight trees / bumps. Do you think the Rossi S3 or the Shogun would be the best fit?

 

I found a good deal on a last years Rossi S3, and I am really tempted to just get it. Problem is I don't want to be wondering if I should have gotten the Shogun instead!!


Go for the S3's, you've demoed them and you liked them. And they will perform better in bumps and tight trees then the Shoguns. Off small jumps the Shogun would be slightly better.

 

That being said just go for the deal.

 

post #17 of 20

It's the archer not the arrow.

post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 

Wise words teton! Well, I like to have arrows that shoot straight haha. Anyways, I am pleased because I finally ended my search. I found a pair of 10/11 Rossi S3s with Salomon STH 14 Driver bindings, brand new on craigslist. I could only talk him down to 595, but it'll still be a good bit cheaper than buying new, which looks like my only other option for S3s at this point. I'm stoked to get them in some FRESH! I will post an update once I do.

 

Thanks for all the help

post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

It's the archer not the arrow.



but a skilled archer picks the best arrows

post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcobb View Post

Wise words teton! Well, I like to have arrows that shoot straight haha. Anyways, I am pleased because I finally ended my search. I found a pair of 10/11 Rossi S3s with Salomon STH 14 Driver bindings, brand new on craigslist. I could only talk him down to 595, but it'll still be a good bit cheaper than buying new, which looks like my only other option for S3s at this point. I'm stoked to get them in some FRESH! I will post an update once I do.

 

Thanks for all the help



Enjoy the skis! ski.gif

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