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Do you demo skis before buying?

Poll Results: Do you usually demo skis before buying?

 
  • 25% (10)
    usually, or always
  • 67% (27)
    sometimes, not often, or never
  • 7% (3)
    this poll is flawed, or all polls are flawed
40 Total Votes  
post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Just wondering.  Some folks buy early season based on reviews before the sellers run out of what they want.  Others can't find a demo ski in their size, or what they want is just not available on demo days.  Some buy based the salesman's advice in the shop or a friend's recommendations. Buying used goods that are a year or so old doesn't happen with a demo first.  

 

But here at Epic many posters strongly recommend demoing before buying, and some say ALWAYS demo first.  

 

So what do you do?  How has it worked out for you?

post #2 of 25

There are no demos available in central Wisconsin.  I read the reviews posted here and a few other places and the user comments of those who purchase the skis.  Based on this info I purchased a set of lightly used demo skis at the end of last season from DAWGcatching.    Due to the timing I was only able to ski them the last day of our season  and was thrilled with their performance.  A major improvement over what are now going to be my beginner level teaching skis -  the students destroy your skis.  I look forward to skiing the new ones a lot this  season - we open Friday nite  on man made snow , mother nature has not been cooperating.

 

 

post #3 of 25

Hello, I'm Krisse and I'm a shopaholic.... I do demo skis if I have the opportunity but I've never demoed skis I was thinking of buying. Usually I buy skis I find on sale or a good deal on used skis on the internet or in a sports shop.

 

Or I somehow get in my head that I WANT just those skis. I might be able to resist the urge for a while but then some little thing makes me lose my balance...like a few weeks ago an instructor told me I needed a sturdier ski. Duh, it took me about 15 minutes to go buy them.

 

With this method I've ended up with 2 pairs of skis I love, 1 pair I don't like (but keep around for a friend to ski), 1 pair I like, 2 pairs I haven't skied enough to know (a pair of touring skis I have so far only skied in resort and one pair of telemark skis - now I only need to learn telemark...) and my friend has a pair on lonely skis I rescued from a sports store for him - a few years old K2 Lotta Luvs.


Edited by Skise - 12/5/11 at 10:14am
post #4 of 25

I bought skis this year "blind" without a demo.  However, I did demo a whole bunch of other skis, so when reading reviews it gave me a baseline of perspective, if that makes sense.  So based on those reviews in combination with reviews for other skis written by the same person, my confidence level in buying them without trying them was still somewhat high.  And turned out to be correct, as I was very happy with the purchase.

post #5 of 25

When possible I demo however, I usually don't have the opportunity.  Sometimes folks make the mistake when demoing of skiing in terrain or conditions where the ski doesn't shine. Although you get an idea of how the ski performs, you won't really be able to properly assess.  If you know what you like in a ski, you can pretty much whittle down which skis are going to most likely be impressed with. I still buy and sell a lot but I am much better in knowing what I like for what use.  When in doubt, I go with what Phil suggests,  we have known and skied with each other for years and he knows what I like and how I ski. For those who can't demo, finding a person that you know how they ski is important, but ski with that person so they know your likes and how you ski. To me It's more important.

post #6 of 25

I demo'd 6 pairs of skis last season.  If I had bought based on reading and not a demo I would have ended up with skis I didn't like.  I'll always demo before buying if it's possible.

post #7 of 25

LiquidFeet, you have been around here long enough to know better. Alway's demo.

 

Thinking back I don't think I demo'ed the Volkl G30 before I bought it. but pretty much every other Volkl Freeride ski Ive owned I demoed. Not that I knew I would like it, just because it's a good thing to do as much as I ski.

 

I did buy the dynastar 4X4 without demoing it,... sold it the next day. Last year I demoed the Volkl Kendo, bought it the next day along with new ski pants and yellow jacket and Salomon Ti binding's. out the door for $1000. Aspen East Ski Shop.

 

 

post #8 of 25

I try to demo as much as I can just so I can get the feel of what is out there and how much the technology is changing. I have purchased 2 pair of skis within the past three, maybe four years blindly and solely based on the reviews from this site and from Realskiers.com. The Dynastar Contact 4x4's and the Head Monster iM78's. The Dynastar 4x4 is the best front side carver that I have ever owned. The Monster iM78 is a versatile ski that I pretty much use now for bump and glade skiing after it's been chewed up quite a bit. It's another fantastic ski. There were/are a lot of very good reviews on this site regarding these 2 skis.

 

Ski's purchased without a demo within the past five or six years:

Dynastar Contact 4x4

Head Monster iM78

Atomic SL9

Blizzard GSR Magnesium IQ

Volkl Bridge

Blizzard Bonafied

 

Skis that I have demoed and purchased within the past five or 6 years:

Salomon Equipe 10 SC

Fischer RX8's

Fischer RX9's

Head Monster iM82

Blizzard SLR Magnesium IQ

Nordica Enforcer


Edited by nikonfme - 12/6/11 at 4:54am
post #9 of 25

I always demo.  And I've found that skis that were "on the list" to demo FREQUENTLY I disliked when I got on them.  I could see buying a "sister" ski in the same line that had something that your current ski didn't have (different width or length, but same construction) but that's about it.  Frankly, I've found the difference between two lengths of the SAME SKI to be pretty noticeable.  

post #10 of 25

I've only bought skis a couple of times, but the pair of skis I bought for last season,  K2 Apache Recons  were used demos of a ski I demoed the season before.  I think I demoed 4 different skis before deciding to go with the Recons.

 

This year I plan to hit all the demo days I can and will likely be riding demo skis when I go to Tahoe, as they Recons are likely not the best ski for Tahoe conditions.  I love the Recon's on groomers, and were pretty decent in crud,  but I'd love to add another ski for bumps and the rare powder days.  

post #11 of 25

While demo day at the local hill is in doubt as there is no snow as of yet, I only purchased 1 set new, k2 apache recons, several years ago after trying different skis under a rental package at snowmass.

 

My 14 year old daughter demo her k2 true luv last season after demo days but had a hard time finding the size and had to order them out of state.  

 

My game plan this year is to pick up atomic access skis that were rentals at the end of the season.  I tried them last season for a day at snowbird and loved them.

post #12 of 25

If at all possible, demo first.

 

I have always demo'd first since 1985.  Last 2 pairs of skis I've bought, I demo'd 9 and about 6 pairs of skis, respectively.  These are two dissimilar types of skis.  One pair is slalom race ski and the other is "all mountain" (and the first all mountain ski I've liked).  I read reviews, but am not sure I trust the reviewers, especially on line.  As to ski shop salesmen, or women, do you know how well they ski, or do they know how you ski, or are they just moving inventory? 

 

Generally, I can tell in a few turns, or a run if I will like or dislike a ski, and if its in the "like" catagory, then I ski it for a few runs more.    I have also skiied with people that I know ski well, and sometimes it is just personal preference, in that they might like a ski, and I've skiied it and the ski does or does not do something I like.  Therefore, demo if possible.  I know the costs aren't the same, but don't you drive a car before you buy it? 

post #13 of 25

I never get to demo skis that I am interested in, but that is ok, as I always get a great deal on what I buy.  Rarely have I bought a ski and it just didn't work out for me, as I do a lot of review reading prior to purchases and I believe in making a ski my b!tch.  Oddly, last season I bought a pair of used 183 Bro's that just didn't feel right, so I sold them for what I paid for them.  Talking to Pat about it, he thought I should have had the skis bases stone ground, as that likely would have fixed the odd feeling I had.  Live and learn I guess.  I have read lots of other threads where a stone grind is recommended for new skis too.  Maybe I let a good pair get away.

post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 

One reason for not demoing skis before buying is difficulty of availability.  Those of you who ski at mountains which have shops at the base offering demos can demo and change skis and demo more all in one day.  There are lots of mountains here in NE which have no such shop.  You have to drive into town and rent a demo.  Then drive back to the mountain and try it out.  If you want to try another, back into the car and to the shop to change skis.  Waaaaay too much shuffling around.  What if you want to buy new skis early season before they are sold out?  Gotta buy untried.  If you depend on "demo days" at the mountain and you are a woman, forget it.  The reps don't bring that many women's skis to our mountains here in NE. 

 

Just wondering how much these concerns, or others like them, apply to Epic folks.  

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgrezmer View Post

There are no demos available in central Wisconsin.  I read the reviews posted here and a few other places and the user comments of those who purchase the skis.  Based on this info I purchased a set of lightly used demo skis at the end of last season from DAWGcatching.    Due to the timing I was only able to ski them the last day of our season  and was thrilled with their performance.  A major improvement over what are now going to be my beginner level teaching skis -  the students destroy your skis.  I look forward to skiing the new ones a lot this  season - we open Friday nite  on man made snow , mother nature has not been cooperating.

 

 


Actually some ski areas will have a "demo day" where different manufacturers will be there. Granite Peak in Wausau, WI has one late in the season (March I think) on a Saturday. They then travel to Wilmot WI the following day. I would always demo before spending big buck on race skis.

 

post #16 of 25

I'm definitely a strong believer in the demo before you buy. It's crazy how different each ski can feel. Not only that, but each individual person's style and mechanics might make one ski the best thing they've ever felt while to someone else it could be horrible. If you've got access to demo what you're looking at, do it. Guarantee it's only going to make your purchase and your future days on the hill more enjoyable!

post #17 of 25

Voted "this poll is flawed."  A Leichert scale would be really beneficial: always, almost always, usually, sometimes, occasionally, never.

 

As for me in particular, I buy skis like I buy wine.  Ideally, I'll taste the wine before buying.  But I've gotten good enough at understanding the language of wine that I can usually determine from an unbiased review or three whether it's up my alley, and I have enough experience with many wineries and vineyards that I know what their tendencies are.  So if I can get it at a reasonably valued price, I'm willing to take the risk.

post #18 of 25

9 times out of 10, I won't buy unless I demo first. The only way I do is based on the recommendation of a few trusted people, and then it has to be a really good deal.

 

Maybe it's easier for those who live in a ski town or work at the mountain, but I find selling skis a pain (packing, shipping, etc., ) and I just don't have the space in either my closet or my budget for (expensive) mistakes.

 

post #19 of 25

Never have...

 

When it comes to purchasing skis I only buy from shops who know my credibility and accept a full return if the ski does not suit me.

 

Of course I have skied on many skis of friends to get a "feel" of the brand or particular make and with today's technology and materials there is as small a difference as there is between high end bike frames.  

 

Actually I'm more concerned with historical accuracy of a brands suggested mount point and the performance of boot fit than interest in "demoing" a high end ski.

 

Edit...  Voted as poll fail

post #20 of 25

I always try to demo.  For 'everyday' teaching skis, I'm on them so much that I really have to love them in all sorts of conditions.

 

I've only bought two pairs of skis without trying that exact model.  One was a really good deal on lightly used Blizzard 8.7 Magnums, which are pretty much universally adored.  If I hated them I could have resold them for about what I paid, maybe losing $50-100 at most.  The other was a crazy deal on closeout Fischer Watea 94s.  I was able to try the next width down (84, I think?), and with that experience I felt comfortable buying the 94s.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

...There are lots of mountains here in NE which have no [on-mountiain demos].  You have to drive into town and rent a demo.  Then drive back to the mountain and try it out.  If you want to try another, back into the car and to the shop to change skis.  Waaaaay too much shuffling around.    

 

This is annoying, but I've done it a couple times.  It's not so bad if you do two half-days and swap at lunchtime.  Most shops can turn you around in 5-10 minutes, since they already have all your DIN info.  On a multi-day trip, you can stop at the shop every morning and try a different pair each day.

 

Quote:
What if you want to buy new skis early season before they are sold out?  Gotta buy untried.

 

Buying new is overrated.  (Frankly, I'd never buy new at retail prices.  I've only bought one brand-new current-year pair of skis even at pro discount pricing.)  I'd say just look for a lightly used pair, or buy last year's model for a steep discount.  If you insist on buying brand new very popular skis, you may have to pay the price for being on the cutting edge.

 

Quote:
If you depend on "demo days" at the mountain and you are a woman, forget it.  The reps don't bring that many women's skis to our mountains here in NE.

 

That I don't have any personal experience with, but I often run into similar issues with size.  I almost always want the longest length (since I'm 6'6"), and often they only have ones closer to the middle of the range.

 

Sometimes you have to just try something as similar as you can get and extrapolate.  e.g. you could try the men's/unisex version of whatever ski you're interested in, maybe go down a size.  Or if there's a softer version of the men's ski (one model down), you could try that.  If you like the feel of the ski but want it softer, the women's version may be just right.  If you hate the feel, the women's version probably won't be much different.

post #21 of 25

I definitely fall in the "demo first" category.  I'm in the process right now of trying out a bunch of different models to see which one(s) I want to "commit" to for this winter.  It's almost mind-boggling to see how much difference there is in the feel of different models and even different lengths of the same model.

 

We're lucky here at Jackson Hole because we have several shops right at the base of the ski area that offer something like 30+ different brands of skis.  If you demo during off-season times, it's super easy to make a couple of runs on one ski, zip in, change out, and be skiing another in less than fifteen minutes.

 

An even better arrangement is to demo with a friend who has the same boot sole length.  That way, you can actually swap skis mid-run.  I find that method can REALLY underscore the differences in the feel of two different skis.  I've got four friends who have essentially the same BSL as I do.  When a manufacturer shows up with a demo day, we all go out with a different model and change off without ever going back down.

post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post

I always try to demo.  For 'everyday' teaching skis, I'm on them so much that I really have to love them in all sorts of conditions.

 

I've only bought two pairs of skis without trying that exact model.  One was a really good deal on lightly used Blizzard 8.7 Magnums, which are pretty much universally adored.  If I hated them I could have resold them for about what I paid, maybe losing $50-100 at most.  The other was a crazy deal on closeout Fischer Watea 94s.  I was able to try the next width down (84, I think?), and with that experience I felt comfortable buying the 94s.
 

 

This is annoying, but I've done it a couple times.  It's not so bad if you do two half-days and swap at lunchtime.  Most shops can turn you around in 5-10 minutes, since they already have all your DIN info.  On a multi-day trip, you can stop at the shop every morning and try a different pair each day.

 

 

Buying new is overrated.  (Frankly, I'd never buy new at retail prices.  I've only bought one brand-new current-year pair of skis even at pro discount pricing.)  I'd say just look for a lightly used pair, or buy last year's model for a steep discount.  If you insist on buying brand new very popular skis, you may have to pay the price for being on the cutting edge.

 

 

That I don't have any personal experience with, but I often run into similar issues with size.  I almost always want the longest length (since I'm 6'6"), and often they only have ones closer to the middle of the range.

 

Sometimes you have to just try something as similar as you can get and extrapolate.  e.g. you could try the men's/unisex version of whatever ski you're interested in, maybe go down a size.  Or if there's a softer version of the men's ski (one model down), you could try that.  If you like the feel of the ski but want it softer, the women's version may be just right.  If you hate the feel, the women's version probably won't be much different.



That's what I try to do and not just for skis.  You can save a lot of money.  I demo'd Fischer Progressor 9+  last season and the shop wanted $900 for them new.  I waited until the summer and found them online new and still wrapped for $625.  The $275 saved helped pay for my new Vacuum boots. smile.gif

 

post #23 of 25
I only demoed my rossi S7 because I've never skied anything like it and they cost $800 at the time. It will probably be a while before I demo something with the intention of buying.
post #24 of 25

So far I've purchased three pairs of skis

First: Beginner skis, Volkl Oceanas on the reccomendation of the guy in the shop. I loved them, but was probably too new to skiing to have gotten much out of demoing if I had been able.

Second: Rossi S3Ws, bought without demoing based on many positive reviews. I love them, but have never tried anything else in this category...

Third: K2 Superfrees (will be  my Xmas present). Purchased after demoing. Don't know that I would have been drawn to these without demoing, and when I finally had a chance to demo skis was really shocked by how differnt they all felt and how I didn't particularly like some skis that I thought I really would.

In the future I would definately try to demo anything I was thinking of buying, with several others in the same category, even though so far I've been lucky.

post #25 of 25

Some folks are just more sensitive to the equipment than others. My sweet husband can hardly tell the difference and so rarely demos. I almost always demo and the one time I didn't, I ended up with skis I hated. I find that I often have a completely different experience of a ski than what i read either here or in the magazines.

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