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Advice on first-time ski purchase for a beginner (please)

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

 

Hi everyone.
 
After wanting to go for a long, long time, this past weekend I finally managed to get out and go skiing for the first time ever. I absolutely loved it! I had a blast and am now looking to invest in some equipment. A little bit about myself – I’m 23, 5’7, ~157 lbs, athletic build, and will most likely be spending most of my time skiing in the VA/WV/MD/PA region. One of the most important points I want to make is that after being on the trails for < 3 hours, I was already starting to get comfortable on the intermediate slopes. So it seems that I will pick up the sport quickly, which is a huge relief since I was pretty worried it would take me forever to learn.
 
I already sought some initial advice on another forum and was advised that this might be a good choice for someone like myself:
 
 
(Side note – I found these for $611 total on another site – if these are the right skis for me, should I jump on them or wait until March? Hard to beat 31% off…)
 
The person said that given my quick progression, this is a good choice as it’ll allow me to advance without having to purchase a new set of skis in 1 – 2 seasons. Any thoughts on this advice and/or further suggestions?
 
TIA!
post #2 of 20

Welcome to Epic.  Unfortunately, like nearly all people new to the sport, you're trying to get the horse to push the cart instead of pull it.  What you need first are boots that fit your feet, purchased from a competent boot fitter.  Just look through other posts by people asking about first time ski purchases and you will see the same answer - buy boots first.  Go to the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum and read the wikis about fitting and terminology.  Then check the "Who's Who" to see if there is a fitter near you.  If there isn't one listed(the list if only fitters that are active on Epic), ask and someone will be able to recommend a good fitter.  Once you locate a fitter call and make an appointment.  After you get boots that actually feet your feet, demo some skis if you can and see what you like.

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

Welcome to Epic.  Unfortunately, like nearly all people new to the sport, you're trying to get the horse to push the cart instead of pull it.  What you need first are boots that fit your feet, purchased from a competent boot fitter.  Just look through other posts by people asking about first time ski purchases and you will see the same answer - buy boots first.  Go to the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum and read the wikis about fitting and terminology.  Then check the "Who's Who" to see if there is a fitter near you.  If there isn't one listed(the list if only fitters that are active on Epic), ask and someone will be able to recommend a good fitter.  Once you locate a fitter call and make an appointment.  After you get boots that actually feet your feet, demo some skis if you can and see what you like.


 

Fair enough. I did some research on bootfitters and managed to find these guys:

 

http://bootfitters.com/oldsite/shops/South_VA_Wintergreen_Freestyle.htm

 

I'm thinking about visiting them this Sunday since I'm planning on going to Wintergreen all day. How does it typically work? I go there, spend some time getting analyzed, and then purchase a boot from them @ full retail price? Is there a possibility that I won't even need a fitted boot? Reason I'm asking is because I looked at some of their prices and it looks like I can find the majority of what they're selling for 35% off on the internet. If I'm being sized and all that, then I suppose I can swallow that. Otherwise, not the place to buy. Also, I still consider myself in the early stages of my research... Just trying to get some opinions before I give them a call.

post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip Cracker View Post


 

Fair enough. I did some research on bootfitters and managed to find these guys:

 

http://bootfitters.com/oldsite/shops/South_VA_Wintergreen_Freestyle.htm

 

I'm thinking about visiting them this Sunday since I'm planning on going to Wintergreen all day. How does it typically work? I go there, spend some time getting analyzed, and then purchase a boot from them @ full retail price? Is there a possibility that I won't even need a fitted boot? Reason I'm asking is because I looked at some of their prices and it looks like I can find the majority of what they're selling for 35% off on the internet. If I'm being sized and all that, then I suppose I can swallow that. Otherwise, not the place to buy. Also, I still consider myself in the early stages of my research... Just trying to get some opinions before I give them a call.

 

Boot fitters do generally charge full retail, or at least the ones I've gone to do.  Most people do need some level of modification done to their boots before they'll be really comfortable in them.  Part of what you're getting by paying full-retail is free various adjustments.

 

i.e,. By the time you've visited your bootfitter for the various adjustments to make your new boots comfortable, you've lost any savings provided by that initial 35% discount.

 

As for what boot-fitter to visit.  I've usually had to go back to my boot-fitter three or four times to get everything "perfect", so you probably want to go to one that's reasonably convenient.
 

 

post #5 of 20

Each shop is different.  

I don't think it would be insulting to give them a call and ask them that you saw the same boots on the internet for much less.

They should get this question regularly, and I imagine it is something they have a prepared answer for.  I see it going 2 ways:

 

1) maybe they will pricematch or at least meet you halfway

2) they will explain what you getting for buying at retail from them.

 

Either way, if they have any sense of customer service, I don't think they will consider it an insult and won't hold it against you for asking.

If your feet are pretty "regular" yes, you can potentially find a pair of boots that feels pretty good off the shelf, potentially you will not need much work.

 

How did your feet feel in the rental boots?

Maybe all you need is an insole/footbed and you are set to go for awhile.  Especially if you are a beginner and maybe will plan on getting a beginner's boot now (not necessarily cheaper, just more flexible); and maybe more advanced boots later.

 

You can go to a bigger corporate sports store that still carries namebrand ski stuff to just "try stuff on" like REI or your equivilant. 

 

Conversely, if you end up with bad boots, you are your own worst enemy and have wasted both time money and days on the mountain on gear that doesn't work for you.

post #6 of 20

I'm in your same position.. I did my first ski trip this weekend out in Colorado at Eldora.  Couldn't have been better conditions after the 20"+ they got here since Thursday.  I'm from Ohio and skiing isn't very big.  We have a small local hill but it's man made snow/ice.  Anytime I get into something new I tend to immediately jump on the net and see what great deals I can find on gear. Why I'm hear, to learn more.  I would agree, get boots first as that is the part that is the link between you and your skis.  Ski boots are just like hiking boots or running shoes (if you do either of those).  You can't just order them online based on price alone and reviews or opinions.  Everyone's feet are different and what works for me won't work for you.  Also, the same shoe, in the same size, from the same company may not even fit the same.  And last thing you want to do is have an uncomfortable pair of boots you got a deal on.. I'd rather have a full retail pair of boots that feel like heaven all day long.  Put the extra coin up front and get a perfect fit instead of just an OK fit.  You're only going to need one pair.. so get the best you can for your budget.. but above all fit is king.  Service and support is worth something in my book.. so if you can find a good local shop, support them.  Hopefully they will work with you on pricing.. especially at end of year.

 

Cheers,

Hawk

post #7 of 20

Sorry.. it double posted

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the responses and advice. I've been insanely busy lately so I haven't had time to reply... but a lot has happened since I made this thread.

 

First of all, I made my Wintergreen trip this past Sunday, visited a bootfitter, and ended up buying boots. The guy was like 70 - 80 years old so I trusted whatever he had to say. Seemed very experienced and honest. Since I have a very stumpy and odd foot, he set me up with a pair of these, which are apparently the junior model, lol:

 

http://www.langeskiboots.com/US/US/rs-120-s_c_LB01210_product_men-boots-11.html

 

Mine are the "110" model, but I don't think they're any different, just last year's model but look the exact same. Also, I got them for a very good price. They retail for $600 and were mislabeled as $500. On top of that they were offering an additional 40% off that so I ended up paying $300. 

 

Anyways, apparently this is a pretty serious boot. I told him my situation and he said I should be able to handle it given that I'm advancing quickly and "pretty athletic" (or as athletic as an office dweller can get). He had to make some slight adjustments to some pressure points by modifying the shell. But, I was in them for 7.5 hours straight (yes, my body still hates me right now, posted stats below), and they felt fine. Only problem were minor pressure points on the tops of both feet, but next time I go I'll probably pay them a visit and get that adjusted.

 

Also, when I rented I asked for 165s, but they didn't have that so they gave me 170s. I was in them all day and forced myself to get used to them, that way when I ultimately end up with 165s (the size the guy who fitted me recommended) they'll feel a lot more nimble and easier to control. I hope. This boot/ski combo did take a hell of a lot of muscle though, and it took me quite awhile to get *somewhat* confident with it.

 

So now, given that I have boots, what's next? I keep reading that these are pretty aggressive so now I'm a bit concerned that they're going to narrow my choice of skis to something that I can't handle... is this a valid concern? Would a high-performance boot/intermediate ski combo work?

 

Oh and here are my stats for the day... this is an awesome app for the iPhone called Ski Tracks. I accidentally left it paused for about 1.5 hours but whatever you get the idea:

 

photo (1).PNG

post #9 of 20

Sounds like you did well with your boots, congratz! As for skis, that's another discussion. It depends a great deal on what you want to accomplish, what you like, are you intending to take lessons, where you're located, how hard you want to push, etc.  I'll leave those suggestions/answers to the experts here (I'm not one of them).

 

On a side note, I use SkiTracks as well.......and love it.  The ONLY issue I noticed is the top speed seems a bit high from what I've done.  Just sayin'.

post #10 of 20

Well, you certainly wouldn't want to be attacked by aggressive boots.wink.gif  Don't worry about it, the main thing is that they fit your feet correctly.  Good work getting boots that fit, BTW, maybe beginners don't and some end up hating skiing because of it.  As for skis, just look for some skis that are good for east coast conditions in a 160-165cm length.  I'm 5'8" and I ski on 163s and 161s, although the next ones will be 170s but they will ski shorter due to the early rise tip.  You could even go down to about 155cm.  You might want to look for a ski about 75-80mm underfoot with some camber and early rise/rocker in the tip, in which case you probably shouldn't go shorter than maybe 165 since they would ski shorter.  A Blizzard 7.6 IQ or 7.4 IQ would be good options.  Someone who lives back there can offer more and very possibly better opinions about specific skis.

post #11 of 20

your boots won't affect your ski choice.

 

You can think of it as a car analogy where your boots are the steering rack and+steering portions of the chassis; and the skis are the wheels/tires/suspension. 

If you have great boots, they're going to transfer your inputs perfectly into the skis without losing energy.  So great boots will improve your experience no matter what ski you put on it.

Along the same lines, if you have bad boots, your feet will be flopping around in them no matter if you have great skis.


What's next?  

In terms of ski gear purchases; depends on how fast you are progressing.  My advice, you may want to rent for a few more days, if you see yourself progressing quickly through and can't tell yet what you want in a ski.

 

I wouldn't rent too long skis thinking it'll be what you are growing into.  Instead I think you should  rent shorter skis until they "feel too short" and you can whip them around all over the place and you want more ski under you.

I am 5'7" 150, and also suggest something around 155-165 is just right and plenty of ski.  The sport rentals usually won't have any rocker.   If the ski does have rocker then go a little longer.  

 

Then, the next frugal step maybe considering getting a lightly used pair of demo skis at closeouts at the end of the season (or preseason) either at the shop or off the internet.  You can ask at your  shop for suggestions.  Just like your boots, skis that are 1-2 years old also should be heavily discounted compared to shiny 2012 gear, even if they are new.  


Edited by raytseng - 2/7/12 at 11:30am
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

Do you guys think these in 161s would be far too short? They have an early rise tip, but I don't know how to gauge its effect based on the level of "rise:"

 

http://www.skis.com/mens-skis-with-bindings/c1000003357/salomon-enduro-rx-800-skis-with-salomon-protrak-z-12-bindings-2012-p235047.html

post #13 of 20

Personally I'd demo and research as many skis as you can, short list a few, and then try to get one of those models at the end of season. There's nothing more annoying than buying expensive gear to find out that you could've had better, or cheaper.

Secondly, 161cm should be fine for you as you want shorter skis starting out anyway. I made the mistake of getting too long skis, and they made learning a considerable pain in the arse compared to when I used other skis, plus side of the story being that I grew into them (physically...) and they're now almost the perfect size for me.

 

 

 

Lukas

post #14 of 20

If you buy skis right now you're going to buy twice.  A 110 flex boot is plenty for a beginner.  The issue, which you have described on the first day with your new boots, is a softer ski and correspondingly shorter ski is going to feel best.  As you get your feet under you and you want to use the stability features of that boot, you are going to want more ski.  And if you go 'lot of boot, lot of ski' out of the gate, it is probably going to kick your ass.

 

Here is, at least from my own personal history, probably the most important point.  Using athleticism and a natural ability to progress quickly to muscle a sport that is about a lot of counterintuitive techniques can be a recipe for serious injury.  All it takes is one venture onto terrain or pitch that exposes your technique flaws and you'll be spending your first season's summer rehabilitating a knee.  I can't imagine you are about to get those new skis and go take a bunch of lessons...it sounds more like 'straight to the blacks'.  

 

Ski a season on demos and then you'll have a good sense of not only the skis you need but also the boots biggrin.gif

 

 

post #15 of 20

If I were in your shoes, the next frugal step depends how many ski days you have left this season?     If you're only expecting a handful, as other mentioned,  work your way through rentals and demos for now so you can progress through the more forgiving skis, before stepping into owning your own skis.   If you're going to be skiing for the next 40days straight, then yah, get some skis so you can use them this season.

 

Although I doubt the price for those new skis will drop more;  if you can make it to April/May then the "used" demo sales will come into play .  You maybe able to pick up those same enduros for another 250 off even that discounted new price.  The tradeoff is maybe 20-30days of use on them (set aside some money to get them tuned back up).  If your rental shop will allow you to apply demo rental fees towards skis, even better.  

 

If you're done for the season, you can search around for used stuff throughout the summer or pre-season for next year.

post #16 of 20
1) Having your own skis tends to feel like a big step, but it's not really doing much for your skiing at the beginning stages. Far better to spend money on boots. Far better. Not even the same universe. Boots first, fit by a very competent bootfitter to a precise fit.

2) Please try to refrain from rating your skiing by what level run you went down. The runs aren't rated as a means to tell you where you are in your skiing. What dictates your skiing ability is the type of turn you make, the lines you choose, and how you negotiate terrain and snow condition differences. Anyone can hazard their way down the nastiest Double Black Diamond in the mid-Atlantic. Anyone. It doesn't make them a double-expert. It just means they went down that pitch, grade, condition on that day. That's all it means. Someone who is interested in the quality of your skiing will look not simply at what runs you favor, but how you ski those runs. Someone who makes solid turns on Green Circles with great turn variety and manages slippery hard snow as easily as grippy carvy snow and cushy soft snow is, to me, a far better skier than someone who constantly hacks his way down a Black Diamond, linking recoveries and constantly out of balance.

3) Kindly to return to (1) and please spend your money first on boots that fit you very well... and then, on lessons. If you self-teach you're going to develop a lot of inefficient movements that will have to be un-learned later.

4) Again, start with boots!biggrin.gif
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post

1) Having your own skis tends to feel like a big step, but it's not really doing much for your skiing at the beginning stages. Far better to spend money on boots. Far better. Not even the same universe. Boots first, fit by a very competent bootfitter to a precise fit.
2) Please try to refrain from rating your skiing by what level run you went down. The runs aren't rated as a means to tell you where you are in your skiing. What dictates your skiing ability is the type of turn you make, the lines you choose, and how you negotiate terrain and snow condition differences. Anyone can hazard their way down the nastiest Double Black Diamond in the mid-Atlantic. Anyone. It doesn't make them a double-expert. It just means they went down that pitch, grade, condition on that day. That's all it means. Someone who is interested in the quality of your skiing will look not simply at what runs you favor, but how you ski those runs. Someone who makes solid turns on Green Circles with great turn variety and manages slippery hard snow as easily as grippy carvy snow and cushy soft snow is, to me, a far better skier than someone who constantly hacks his way down a Black Diamond, linking recoveries and constantly out of balance.
3) Kindly to return to (1) and please spend your money first on boots that fit you very well... and then, on lessons. If you self-teach you're going to develop a lot of inefficient movements that will have to be un-learned later.
4) Again, start with boots!biggrin.gif


post 8)  He already went to a listed bootfitter and got boots

post #18 of 20

Don't spend 600 on skis. At your level, they don't matter all that much. For skiing in the mid Atlantic I would get a carving ski maybe as wide as 75 underfoot with a turn radius of about 14-17.  New/used is not that critical, brand is not that important. Spend about 300 for something about 165 (give or take 5 does not matter much). As  you develop, you are going to want new skis in a year or 2 no matter what you get. Focus on technique. Take some lessons.

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

 As  you develop, you are going to want new skis in a year or 2 no matter what you get.


 

biggrin.gif Corrected 

post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 

Alright. I bit the bullet. Found these for 50% off, got them in 165s for $399 shipping included:

 

http://www.dynastar.com/US/US/outland-80-xt_DA1KS01_product_dynastar-skis-men-all-mountain.html

 

Where I live and with the frequency I'll be skiing, demoing a whole bunch of stuff isn't really feasible. It'll be awhile before I have the faintest clue of what I'm doing anyway so I figured I might as well take the plunge and get used to a baseline for comparison. God damn I am broke. Thanks for all the input everyone.

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