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looking for some advice on skis (yeah, another one)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Sorry, this gets a bit long and talkative.

So I need some new skis.  My current skis are about 12 years old, and while they aren't in really bad shape, they are at very least well behind the technology curve and the bindings could probably use replacing and they were cheap skis to begin with.  I took a long break off with very little skiing in the in-between time going to college and finding a decent job.

 

I think I'm a fairly intermediate skier in terms of skill set.  I can't exactly charge down a steep black run but I can work my way down fairly quickly and consistently.  And on groomers I can carve reasonable well, though at this point I'm questioning whether its a true carve or some bastardization.  I'm planning on lessons this year to see where I really stand.

I'm about 5'9" and 150-155lbs.

 

Overall I'm looking for the elusive 1 quiver ski (will look at expanding it if I can consistently get to the slopes enough in a year to justify it) for the Salt Lake City and Jackson, Wy areas mostly.  I don't think I need fat ski as even in the years when I could go a lot, I never found the places to ski really deep powder.  I don't have the luxury of taking a day off to go skiing just because it snowed 2' the day before, so if I get truly fresh is just random chance.  Though with my location I'm not usually skiing bad snow, just not piles of fresh powder.  I prefer to ski bumps and trees and bowls and pretty much anything that isn't groomed.

 

The first question is ski length and width.  I think I need to be in the 175-185 length range but then I read all sorts of things about ski X skiing longer or shorter then usual and rocker lets you go shorter.  

As for width the bit of demoing I did do I liked the skinnier skies a bit more, but that was last weekend at the Canyons and they only had groomed runs open and they were pretty scrapped down and hard.  But I don't think that really tells me much as that wasn't the conditions or terrain I wanted to ski in and did nothing to show the benefits of the skies in better situations.  But in general I couldn't really tell much of a difference between most of the skies I tried, (other then the first pair I had feeling really heavy (Volk RTMs I think) but that may have been a case of my legs not really being warmed up yet) but I don't know if that was mostly due to the conditions or my ability or that there isn't a big difference between them.  And some of the difference I could pick up was there I couldn't exactly pin point what that difference was, just that I could feel it (I'm sure skill related there).  And being demos I have no idea how they compared in terms of waxing and tuning.

 

I'm thinking either the mid 80s or mid 90s versions of several skies.  My feeling is that while the 90s are going to be better for the powder, the 80s are going to be better in general situations, especially the bumps and trees where you have less room.  I'm also thinking that skinner tends to be better for carving and getting on edge in general, so if I do need to re-learn or simply refine those skills, the narrow ski might be more useful too, but I don't know how much of a difference there really is.

 

I didn't get a chance to demo the Dynastar Legends, but I did get the Rossignol E88s, Blizzard Bushwackers, and Salomon BBR 8.9s which are the primary skis I'm looking at.  Of course the Legends could be the 85 or the 94, the E98 or E88, Bushwacker or Bodacious, or BBR 7.9 or 8.9.

And for the most part they all review very highly, with only the BBRs being really hit or miss with people.  They are all closely priced.

I think they are all designed for much the same conditions.  But most reviews I see almost only talk about deep powder or craving groomers, not a whole lot talk about bumps or limited spaces.

I have a feeling the answer is probably going to be "pick up the one you can find for the best price and you'll be fine" but I just want to make sure and try to figure out which length and width.

And its not a big deal, but I don't care for the graphics on the Blizzard skis, and while it won't stop me from buying them if they are the right ski, its going to give the tie breaker to the others.  Hoping to pick them up fairly soon, as there are still some Christmas deals available and there are no demos coming up any time soon anyway and I think having consistent skis is important, and I might spend 2-3 more days (and 1/4 the price of the skis) demoing skis to find that they are all very similar and no real advantage to any one.

 

 

 

Quick questions on bindings.  Would any of these skis need a riser or lift on the binding other then what they are base?  For the most part there doesn't seem to be a lot of difference or preference for bindings, they pretty much all equal then?  Seem to run about $190-250 for reasonable bindings?  And the standard 12 bindings should be good for me, even if I progress skill wise a lot, because of my fairly low weight?

 

And since I'm here, quick pole safety question.  Do you use the straps while skiing or not?  Seems like the only reason they would be there, but I had one ski patrolled years ago say to not wear the straps while skiing in places where you could potentially get them caught on something like a tree as it could really mess up your shoulder and arm.  Not sure if they were simply paranoid or what, so I figured I would ask.

post #2 of 5

I can tell you my recent experience of buying skies, and some of it may help.  I haven't skied a lot in the past couple decades and my skis are from 1976 (200cm Hexcel's with rear-entry boots).  I didn't want to keep hearing the snickers behind my back about my equipment so I went to Crystal Mt., WA where you could demo most of the latest skis for $48.  It is REALLY worth it to demo.  My first day I demoed 4 skis but wasn't real happy with any of them.  The next week I demoed more, and finally hit on one, the Line Prophet 98 (172cm), that for me was MUCH better than all the other skis.  The funny thing is I thought wanted a much narrower ski for tight turns, but these did the job very well.  If I would have gone by reviews and what I thought I needed, I would have bought a ski that was great for the reviewer but only so-so for me.

 

I'm not trying to sell you on what I bought, but when I got home I looked up the skis I had demoed and some were top-rated but they didn't do much for me.  We don't get much powder here and maybe all the reviews are on powder (or packed powder).  I just looked up Jackson Hole and you can demo all the skis you want for 46.50 a day.  The people working at the demo shop can tell you what skies would work for you better than an online review can.  And don't feel you have to like a ski that is highly rated.  If you demo, it is a good time to at least try a fat ski.

 

Me, I'm 5'10, 170, advanced-expert.  When I demoed it was on old snow, hardpack and ice.  Besides the Prophet 98 (which I demoed in 172 and 179), I tried the Rossi Exp. 88, Rossi Exp 76, Dynastar Outland 80, Rossi Super Seven, K2 Rictor, and the Dynastar Course Ti.

 

I was discouraged after my first demo day as I knew there should be a better ski for me, but was elated when I found a ski took my skiing experience to a new level.  That can happen to you too.  I see you did demo some.  If you really can't find a ski that stands out for you, perhaps you should do a few lessons first before you make your final decision.

 

One more thing.  With the other skis I would have gone with a length close to 180, but with the Prophet 98 I went with the 172 because it was still very stable (on ice) at this length.  If we got more powder here I would have gone longer.  My point is some skis will work best longer, and some skis will work best shorter.  Length is not a hard and fast rule.  I will say there was not a massive difference when I skied it at 172 or 179, so I think I would have been happy at either length.

post #3 of 5

If your older skis are straight they are better suited for bumps then the new shaped ones. Narrow tail less leverage resistance when putting on edge making them quicker edge to edge.

post #4 of 5

I am not going to get into the specifics on what skis that you should try out.  I will leave that to others.

 

In regards to bindings...

Most bindings are not stacked.  With modern all mountain skis, it is important to get the boot closer to the deck for better snow feel. 

 

For you, a DIN 12 binding should be more than adequate.  Every binding brand has a quality model at this level.  I am partial to Markers, but I still would ski on a Look/Rossi, Salomon, or Tyrolia if I had to.

 

In regards to ski poles...

It is not a bad idea to have your straps off while in the trees for the reasons that you were told.  This practice has been done for a long time.

 

Dennis

post #5 of 5

This can be very easily simplified. First, many of your ideas are very good and you are close to home in your assumptions.

 

  • The proper width is probably mid- high 80's/low 90's stick within this range.
  • Within this range, there are skis that are hard snow biased and mixed snow biased. The difference is primarily stiffness and dampening vs flex and light weight.
  • Hard snow biased examples: Atomic Crimson Ti, Blizz Mag 8.7, Volkl Kendo.
  • Mixed snow biased models: Blizz Bushwhacker, Dynastar Sultan 85, Nordica Steadfast.
  • I suggest you stick with mixed snow biased models in the 172-180 range.
  • Specific binding models are irrelevant. A good 12 DIN is plenty and they will have the proper amount of lift as they come out of the box. I like LOOK/Sollies, but...........YMMV.

 

There are a gazzillion good skis in this range but if you were to select any of the three mixed snow skis I mentioned you will be well set.

 

SJ

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