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Help making first all mountain ski purchase

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I am about to buy my first pair of skis in the next couple of weeks. I have always rented or demoed skis when skiing in Utah in the past, but my aunt and uncle recently bought a place in Taos New Mexico which has finally pushed me to get my own stuff.

 

The main features I am looking for in a ski are the ability to quickly and easily maneuver when turning on steeper runs, stability and forgiveness at high speeds when carving (if there is something that helps to reduce fatigue here too that would be awesome), and something appropriate for being on groomed trails ~75% of the time. It think I should be looking at all mountain skis, and I am stuck trying to figure out how to find the right trade off with ski features, length, width, etc. Once I figure out what skis I am looking for I will then make sure I find the right boots and bindings too. I don’t want to spend more than I need to on the entire setup, but I also can go north of $1,500 if there is a good reason to.

 

I am a 5’ 10’’ 180 lbs male with and athletic build, but I am 27 now and losing some strength and endurance due to lack of time to exercise. I would consider myself an advanced skier. I love going fast on long groomed blacks and blues, can handle the bumps alright but I can be pretty stiff and stubborn when changing directions at times, I will do an occasional double black (admittedly I am so slow on these and just do it every once in a while for the challenge), and I spend ~25% of my time off trail in the trees. I started skiing as a kid ~20 years ago, so I have a lot of experience but my form is by no means perfect. In the past I used to be more ambitious and strong enough to handle the speed of long carving turns, but now I find myself skidding a lot more when on the steeper runs to keep things in control.

 

With the little bit of research I have done the Atomic Blackeye TI, RTI 84 & 80, Rossignol Experience 88 & 83 seem fairly relevant to what I am looking for. Does anyone have input on ski length & width, particular products & brands, etc. that I should be focusing on. Unfortunately I will not have time to demo, so I am going to have to rely on what I can learn online and eventually head to a local shop in Houston to make my final decision.

 

I hope I have provided enough detail. Thanks in advance for the help!!!

post #2 of 11

Welcome to Epic.  Unfortunately you have the order of things a bit mixed up.  Boots first, everything else after that.  Go to the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum and read the wikis about fitting and terminology, check the list of boot fitters for one near you and then make an appointment with that person.  If there isn't anyone listed near you ask us and somebody will be able to recommend a competent experienced fitter.  With properly fitted boots, I can ski pretty much any ski and have a good time.  With poorly fitted boots, it doesn't matter how good the ski is, I'm going to have trouble and not much fun.  The boot is the "communication device between you and the ski.  If the boots are too big the skis won't respond when you want them to, not something you want to happen in the trees.  Do the boots right and you''ll save money on both boots and skis.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

That is a very good point. I had actually already read a similar comment you had made on someone else’s post about boot importance before skis. I absolutely plan to spend plenty of time picking out the right boots. I figured I would ease my way into my first post with skis though because I had originally started researching about them and further up the learning curve. I will simultaneously be focusing on skis and boots, but I don't want to deter this particular thread too much from skis.

 

Thanks again on the point about the boots. Do you happen to have any advice on this particular thread about skis?

post #4 of 11

Regarding your ski options, there are two important sub-genres within the expansive all-mountain category which I will generalize here as "88's" and "98's", or skis with this measurement at the waist. Both will deliver versatile performance, with this important caveat: the 98's (in general) can carve better than the 88's can float.  Put another way, "you can't fake fat," but you can find 98's that will carve an arc like a GS ski. If you're going to be living in a western resort and have any appetite for 3D conditions, you'll be happiest on a 98.  If you want to retain strong carving behavior on firm snow at speed, look for a square sidewall and metal laminates, although a couple of brands, notably Nordica and Atomic, are making solid skis without the metal. 

But as noted elsewhere, start with the boots and be prepared for a fit more exacting than anything available in the rental world. 

post #5 of 11

It seems like the OP is looking for a more forgiving ski. The E98 is many things, but it does need to be driven to work as designed. 

post #6 of 11

wider, much wider

post #7 of 11

I'm a member of the "wide ski" movement as well. Personally I believe a great all-mountain ski is going to be in the 100-110mm waist range. Which a lot of that stems from the fact that I want a ski that will perform really great in the pow and still be able to cut up the crud and rail on the groomers. I love the 2012 Line Sir Francis Bacons for that, they ski'd amazingly when I demo'd them last Feb. Ice, crud, pow, bumps, trees, they seriously blew my mind as being able to handle it all. The great thing about the new "wide" all-mountain ski is that the technology is getting so good that the skis can perform better than most people imagine in all conditions. 

 

There is a crazy amount of new skis coming out in the all-mountain niche, from both the big brands and also boutique brands. Which I think is great for you because it means your options are wide open! 

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

It seems like the OP is looking for a more forgiving ski. The E98 is many things, but it does need to be driven to work as designed. 



Yeah. It is probably pretty wide for a ski designed for 75% on groomers, too.  I would recommend checking out the Sultan 85 from Dynastar; that is a solid all-mountain ski, a bit more reserved, and with solid performance all-around, off piste or on.  I also skied the Peak 90 from Head yesterday, and it also was a bit more relaxing; great on trail or off.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

I think this discussion is heading the right direction. I like JacksonNV’s point that you can’t make up for floatability as much as you can carving ability. However, markojp touches on the aspect that is really the most important to me which is a “forgiving ski.” I realize that the trend now is wider is better for a number of reasons (I am going to refer to this as “versatility”), but the best way I can describe what is most important to me is I want to make sure I find the most forgiving ski on the trail that is still as versatile as possible off trail. I am willing to give up some forgiveness if I can materially gain on the versatility side, but I don’t want to get the point of diminishing returns on what I can gain by losing forgiveness. Said another way, I am looking for the best of both worlds, but I need the best on the forgiveness side and want as good as I can get on the versatility side.

 

As SkiersRealm mentioned, there are a lot of options in the all-mountain niche. I am having a hard time filtering through all of this info that is new to me, so I am hoping to get a little more perspective from you guys to help narrow the field to a few targeted options based on the particular balance of features I am looking for.

 

Keep the comments rolling, and thanks for the help so far.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post



Yeah. It is probably pretty wide for a ski designed for 75% on groomers, too.  I would recommend checking out the Sultan 85 from Dynastar; that is a solid all-mountain ski, a bit more reserved, and with solid performance all-around, off piste or on.  I also skied the Peak 90 from Head yesterday, and it also was a bit more relaxing; great on trail or off.

 

Thanks dawgcatching. These sound exactly like the type of options I am looking for. I must have not refreshed my browser before I posted my previous comment which was asking for recommendations with this exact criteria in mind. I will look into the Sultan 85 and the Peak 90.

Does anyone else know of or have experience with other similar options?

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger1016 View Post

That is a very good point. I had actually already read a similar comment you had made on someone else’s post about boot importance before skis. I absolutely plan to spend plenty of time picking out the right boots. I figured I would ease my way into my first post with skis though because I had originally started researching about them and further up the learning curve. I will simultaneously be focusing on skis and boots, but I don't want to deter this particular thread too much from skis.

 

Thanks again on the point about the boots. Do you happen to have any advice on this particular thread about skis?


if money is no object = then focus hard on boots, make the best decision you can and demo skis until you find the sweet pr.; then buy.

 

if you have a budget = focus hard on boots, make the best decision you can, then based on what dinars you have remaining, ask again about ski & binding combos in your price range

 

everyone puts way more days on their boots than they do any pr of skis...

some, like me, only allow their boots to be ripped from their hands, after much lamentation, and the shells have blown apart...

skis come and go...

boots are forever... (or at least alotta days...)  boots which aren;t right can physically hurt and maim you for all your future days - less chance of that these days, but it can still happen.

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