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Buying my first skis??

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

    I'm an east coaster, actually live in KY, if you want to call that east coast.  We don't see any crazy amounts of snow where I live but can drive 2-4 hours depending on where we want to go, and see some decent conditions.  I've skied at least 3 times (full day) for the last 5 years.  I started on 150cm skis and have worked up to mid 170's, usually between 74-80 waist width.  I'm already planning a trp to Breck for the winter of 2013-14 and have decided to pick up some skis before I go. 

    That being said here's where I'm at.  28 YO, 6 foot, 190#'s, very athletic, I normally warm up on a cruiser run, and stay on the blacks the rest of the day.  I'd consider myself a laid back skier, not the hardest of chargers.  I like to catch some air, I like to look for the hardest way down the run (as most the resorts close to me are pretty timid).  I'm never in the park, ever, no desire.  I'd consider myself a solid intermediate-advanced skier, eager to grow as a skier, not afraid to fall, up for most anything. 

    I've been looking at the Rossignol Experience 88's, S3's, the Salomon Lords and a host of others.  Basically I'm looking for a ski that will do "Okay" everywhere.  I understand that one ski can't do it all perfectly.  I'm wanting an all mountain ski that will bust through crud (as we have a lot of it on the east coast), still hold good on hard snow, and will float decently in light powder conditions for the normal out west ski days.  I'm nervous about buying a ski too wide, because I have no experience on wider skis.  Basically I want to end up a very solid advanced skier, capable of taking on whatever, whenever.  Take it easy on me, I'm new to the forums!!

post #2 of 16

Hi I was in a similar situation to you, wanted a ski "ok for almost everything", including crud and spring slush.


I ended up with a dynastar outland 80 pro at 178cm (a bit on the stiff side, but still no titanal reinforcement), waist is a bit in thin side of all mountains but still. It should be similar to the Experience83, similar construction and core.


So yeah, your guess on Experience 88 seems like a good one (or this year you'll have also the option of Outland 87). I've used more under light crud, and some really really icy conditions (damn, I was afraid Vanilla Ice could show up any moment), and it was doing quite ok


My other choice was an Atomic Blackeye Ti 181, but I didnt skied it much, and found it more demanding physically. Could work for you also. Its 82mm under foot.



post #3 of 16

I've got a pair of new 2013 bushwackers in 180 that would work great for you. PM me if youre interested.

post #4 of 16

Volkl RTM 84 will leave you happy all over hard to light powder

post #5 of 16
Originally Posted by Chriso10299 View Post

Volkl RTM 84 will leave you happy all over hard to light powder


Do you recommend this ski in every thread? Is it the ski you're on? Is it something you've demoed or had recommended? And what do you like about it SPECIFICALLY that would make it suitable for the original poster? 


My take? The ski you've recommended is for strong, sound skiers. The OP has skied 3 days in 5 years. The black diamonds he likes 2-4 hours from his home will be more similar to blues on his trip to Colorado which he has planned, not this upcoming season, but the following season. This ski is probably inappropriate to his experience and ability level. What I'd recommend is for the OP to invest in boots and a good series of lessons, then for skis, find something a season or two old that's still in the wrapper that will work well for the conditions he will see most days where he typically skis as well as his ability. On his trip to CO, he might think about picking up some demo skis for the week. 


If he were springing for new skis (after he got his boots sorted out), something like the Blizzard Magnum 7.4 or 7.6, the Volkl RTM 77 or 75iS, maybe the Rossi E83. The E88 is popular with strong, technically solid, lighter weight skiers  but would like a skill set that the OP probably doesn't have just yet. You can see where I'm going here with the type of ski we're looking at, no? For his trip out west, indeed, the Rossi S3 might be great for his trip as it's a pretty forgiving ski that doesn't require precise input for a 190lbs athletic intermediate skier, assuming that's his actual level, and by the end of this coming season, if he can find some they'll be heavily discounted. 

Edited by markojp - 8/23/12 at 12:26pm
post #6 of 16

For the outlands, the 80 pro is the stiffest (but works for me, because Im 6 ft but heavier). But there is the outland 80 or outland 75, since you are lighter


I thought the 87 would be a similar construction to the Experience 88, since dynastar is close to rossi, but the 87 has titanal in the core (the E88 doesnt).


Same fashion the blackeye ti has softer versions in the family (blackeye non-TI version, smoke)



Buying something more adv can slow progress, but will take longer to outgrow the ski, and vice-versa, so you will need to decide where to sacrifice and how optimistic/serious you are in becoming adv skier :)


Second problem is if you can demo. If yes, great, but if you buy now its off season, and you will get a sweet deal, but will take the decision with less information


another possibility is if you think you will want to change skis soon or are not sure which ski, you could get a used/demo/new from last season ski, so you wouldnt feel bad parting ways with it quickly, if you have to for one reason or another


lovely optimization/financial problem

post #7 of 16

OP, have to like much of what markojp is saying here. IMO, you could either go with a ski like the Magnum 7.6/Avenger 82 Basalt that was more predisposed to KY groomers and light pow/crud, or something like the Blizzard Bushwacker or next season's Outland 87 that's optimized for softer snow, taking air, bumps, but still great all-around for an athletic skier. The S3 is a great ski for out west, but IMO it's a bit off for where you live. Not enough grip, touch wide. But very versatile, forgiving. 

post #8 of 16

Welcome to Epic :)


Read lots of reviews.

Some general considerations

If you like to go fast and lay your skis over, go narrower / stiffer

  (reviews will call this frontside or carver)


If you like to do a bit of everything go a little wider 

  (often called free ride or all mountain)

  even at the same width you can find a ski that comes to life more in broken snow / 3d terrain

 while another ski does better in firmer conditions.  (bias soft vs bias hard)


 out west you can guarantee:

    more terrain

    longer runs

    higher speeds


so a bit "more" ski than you have had in the past may benefit you



Think of a ski somewhat like a car suspension:

  a ferrari is great on smooth wide open track and knifing around corners but not so good on uneven terrain


  a old school cadillac offers a plush ride and smooths out the bumps but isn't much fun in tight spaces and quick turns



So its a matter of matching your skiing preference with the right ski (FOR YOU.)


IF your trip is to only one mountain you *might* consider demoing, especially

if they will let you swap out skis during the day.  they will often put your

demo money or some portion of it toward a purchase.


As far as too wide for hardpack terrain vs too narrow for powder,

the "losses" are not symmetric:


    if you have a ski "too skinny" for powder you tend to sink and flail and struggle

    fat skis won't make you a instant powder skier, but they will make it easier


   if you have a ski that is "too fat" for the groomers, you just wont get the pop and performance of that narrower.

   but you wont flounder the same way as too skinny in powder


thats my $0.02 worth


good luck

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

   The ski resorts anywhere around were I live are very limited as to what you can demo.  The main resort I will visit this year for 2-3 days is called Snowshoe Mountain, it's in Elkins, WV.  They do offer a demo program, but don't have much to choose from as far as different lines and brands of skis.  I may have misrepresented myself a little in the opener.  I have skied at least 3-5 times a year, for the last 5 years.  Not 3 times in 5 years.  LOL,  If that was all I'd skied I wouldn't even be considering buying skis. 

    I'm wanting something of the "all mountain" nature, that's not going to be a drag on a groomer.  As far as boots go, I've been looking at the Nordica Hot Rod boots.  Any further ski and or boot ideas or opinions are greatly appreciated!! 

post #10 of 16
JR, boots.... Don't look at a particular boot until you see a good fitter. Brand isn't important, but fit is paramount. Something around 100 in the flex index for you to,start with since you weigh 190. Remember though that this number isn't a highly standardized between brands, but more of a guide for different models in one boot brand. You need the fitter to help sort out which boot will work for your foot, then help sort out alignment, etc.... You can cheap out on skis at the moment, but not with boots. Ever.smile.gif
post #11 of 16
Originally Posted by markojp View Post


Do you recommend this ski in every thread?


Short answer - yes. We had a AC 30 recommender for everything last year, not its an RTM recommender for everything. Go figure.

post #12 of 16

I would think something in the 75-85/90 mm waist, biased toward hard snow

would be about where you end up


most manufacturers will have multiple entries in that window



I would suggest skis that hit the sweet spot where you ski most (WV) 

You can always demo/rent out West if conditions warrant

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Another probably ignorant question. System or integrated vs. Flat skis? And... Can you make a system ski with an integrated binding into a flat ski? Just things I'm looking at. Seems like on places like eBay etc. you can find a system ski cheaper than a flat/open. I know the difference between the two, I'm just a little unclear on being able to change that. I like the idea of a flat ski, being in direct contact with the ski seems like you'd be much more in tune to your skis, technique etc.
post #14 of 16

System bindings, I don't know that I'd worry all too much about it one way or the other if they're on the ski you want. These things have been pretty well thought out by the manufacturers. The bigger issue once you're into things is getting the right combo of ramp angle (fore/aft rise) and boot forward lean to have a neutral balanced fore/aft stance on whatever combo you're skiing on. This goes back to the boot fitter. A good one will look at your whole boot/binding system. A bad one will make you feel like you've got a great boot that fits, pat you on the head, and send you on your way.  

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for the great info. I'd read another thread a while back and they were discussing ramp angle etc. and system skis. Kinda seems like since these skis are skis I plan on progressing with it might make sense to go flat, so everything is more tweakable. Just in case I may develop a preference or need a certain angle to be more balanced. Can a good ski tech/ shop change a system ski into a flat ski?
post #16 of 16

I'm not well informed about which ski can do what or will fill your needs.  I just haven't skied that many.  Instead, I would like to give you some things to consider that might help you decide.


You ski 3-5 times a year and next year you're planning a trip to Colorado.  I've never been to Breck, but I suspect you'll have an opportunity to participate in a demo there.  If I put my business hat on, it says, if you ski 5 times a year, your skis will last you several years.  Does it make sense to buy skis for your trip to Breck (lets say 6 days) or where you'll be skiing several years (10 days * 10 years = 100 days).  This is assuming when you get your own skis AND BOOTS FIRST, you'll want to ski more often.


In your shoes (boots), I would recommend getting something "used" along the lines of what you think you might like for this season, demoing at Breck, and then buy the skis that you'll be in at your home mountain for many years.  The mountain I work at isn't much different than yours and I'm on the east coast too (NH).  My go to ski is a WC SL race ski.  It's not the best in powder but the 2 or 3 times I have to ski powder I could deal with it.  I do have other skis that are more suited for powder but for groomers and crud, a slalom race ski works great...for me.


This year I'll be on a different ski most days.  An Elan Amphibio 14.  I've never skied it but have always liked Elans and read a ton of reviews and between threads and PM's here, and a call or two to the Rep, I got enough information to believe they are perfect for me, for my intent this season.  There are probably several skis out there that are perfect for me but for what I want to do this season, these will fit the bill and I got a great deal.


I would caution that last year I was convinced I wanted the Atomic D2 GS cheater ski for beer league racing.  In all honesty, I never took a liking to it.  Some love them and I'm sure I'm flawed but I'll take my Elan GS skis over them any day.  It isn't really fair to compare a race stock ski to a cheater race ski, but that is how I feel.  I'm going to sell the Atomics this year.  I probably should have bought the womens FIS GS D2.  Oh well.


I can't say enough about the importance of getting boots professionally fit.  Do you have to; no, but once you do, from someone that is the real deal, you'll never want anything else.  Even though I've been fitted by one of the best (GMOL), I'm going back each year for a tune up.  Things change; weight, gait, age, a surgery or three etc.  No gear is more important than your boots.  What they had to do to my boots last year, would have killed my skiing the year before.


It might be the best thing for you is to get fitted boots this year and used skis, demo skis at Breck next year and then get new skis for the following year.  Don't underestimate used skis.  There are great deals to be had but you do need to know what you're looking at.  Even if you go ten times a year, your skis will last a long time.  I ski 50-70 times a year depending on conditions and my ability to avoid an injury.  My used WC SL ski got me through last year and will easily do early and late season this year and will have plenty of life and edge.


I know this doesn't help you pick a ski, but my intent is to help you pick a plan.  Since my next post will be in "What are you drinking" I might not be clear, but that is my intent.


Have fun and welcome aboard.



Edited by L&AirC - 8/25/12 at 5:56am
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