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Old timer seeks recommendation for new skis

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

I'm new here, and would like recommendations for an all-mountain ski that is biased more towards off-piste rather than groomers.  Which one(s) and how long, that is the question!

 

Let me try to answer the 5 questions first:

I am a season pass holder at Mammoth Mountain, CA, so that is where almost all my skiing will be, with a few days at Heavenly,  CA thrown in.

I ski mostly off-piste, and like to ski the steeper runs at Mammoth, including the double blacks.  I love the moguls and trees.

I get to ski about 15 days a year (would like at least twice that, but wouldn’t we all?)

I have been skiing since about 1980, rate myself advanced when conditions are good, but feel like a beginner sometimes in heavy/crud conditions.

I am 5-6, 135 lb, 52 years old, who likes to pretend to be 25 again even for a short burst on a mogul run.

 

I tend to have one pair of skis for everything, and keep the same pair forever.  I was on ancient 190cm Olin Racing boards with white tops, until about 6-7 yrs ago finally got a pair of shaped skis, 156cm Salomon Scrambler 8.0.  I’ve had a lot of fun on the Salomons.  Being super short and so easy to turn, they are fabulous on the bumps and in the trees… unless the snow is heavy or deep.  I’m more of a finesse skier than a hard charger, and prefer form over speed.  I like making short, quick turns and prefer a ski with a snappy feel.  I don’t mind renting a pair of fat boards for the powder days.

 

Looking forward to some suggestions-

post #2 of 28

Welcome to EpicSki!

 

One topic you don't mention is boots.  How did you get the pair you are using now?  Do you have a ski shop that you like?  If so, have you asked them for suggestions?

 

156cm certainly is short for someone who is a good skier and 5'7".  When you rent for a powder day, what length do you get?

post #3 of 28

At mammoth main lodge you can demo the Enduro xt 850,  the Volkl RTM 84,  The Kendo and the  Rosignal 88 experience, .   ALL of these ski's have some type of rocker in the tip and some have a little tail rocker as well.  Meaning you will want to go longer as they will turn just a quick as your short skis.   I suggest renting all of them in a 171 - 178 range.  That suggestion might automatically get a bad reaction from you because you know what you like in your current ski's, however the rocker makes them all feel and ski much shorter then they are.    You can demo all of them in one day at mammoth, just go on a week day and you will have the shop all to yourself or go up in early Nov, early Dec.   All of these ski's will float better than your ski's have and you will have an easier time in heavy and crud conditions.  Also some are a little stiff but believe it or not, the early rise actually takes a somewhat stiff ski and softens it up in the bumps, really!  I flexed the XT 850 in the shop and said no way to the bumps, then tried it and well, it's a lot softer ski then it feels in the shop because of the early rise in the tip.   So there are some demo suggestions for ya. :)   

post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 

marznc: My boots are Salomon with a 100 flex, fit well, although on the 2nd day of skiing I do have to wear a slightly thicker sock to maintain a snug fit.  I have not been to a ski shop in years, so no, I haven't asked for ski suggestions.  I have not demoed skis either... when I mentioned renting powder boards, I meant that this coming season, I vow to actually rent a pair instead of struggling on my 75mm skis.  Yeah, I know, it's about time I put some thought into upgrading.  I have been reading like crazy since I found this site- the choices we have these days are amazing!

 

pdiddy: The length range you mentioned did make me raise an eyebrow, but I am open to trying out those lengths.  171-178 is still way shorter than my old-school skis, so I will certainly give them a try.  Good to know that these models are at the main lodge.  I'm sure any of these would be a lot of fun, so I will check them out. Hmm... the skis you suggest are in the 84-88 range... I'd love to try out the Kastle MX88 also if I can find them as demos, although I've seen them described as an Eastern ski- what do you think of these for Mammoth?

 

This gives me a starting point.  Thanks for the suggestions, guys.
 

post #5 of 28
Quote:

Originally Posted by pointemdown View Post

 

 I have been reading like crazy since I found this site- the choices we have these days are amazing!

Did you find this section?  Some general articles with basics about buying gear.

http://www.epicski.com/atype/9/Level_One

 

When you have a chance to demo, take out a few skis in varying lengths and widths that you would never considering buying.  Best on a free demo day, but a worthwhile investment to pay for a day of demo rental on mountain so that you can switch out after a run or two.  I learn a lot when on a ski that I find I don't like.  After several demo days, I know which brands I tend to like and which ones don't suit me.  Makes it easier to know what to rent for a powder day.  I don't ski enough out west to warrant buying powder skis that have to be lugged around an airport.

post #6 of 28

I'm a lot younger guy but was in a similar shopping situation last year.  I can't recommend demo'ing skis highly enough because you can really feel the difference from the skis from one to the next all on the same day.  I ended up with Nordica Patrons, which I had never heard of (despite lots of reading), but which the guy at the shop insisted I try.  Have fun!

post #7 of 28

I live farther south in SoCal but get to Mammoth whenever  I can.  I am female so I can't speak to men's skis but I really like an all mountain ski that can handle varied terrain.  My spring trip to Mammoth last year began with hard pack mornings to afternoon melt, followed by three days of blizzard with conditions changing from Sierra cement to nice fluffy thigh deep powder on day five.  My Volkl Aura's skied everything - trees, crud, hard pack, deep powder.  I am not a bump skier but have heard great reports about them from others.  My advice is research some of the new midfat skis because Mammoth can be a bit of everything all in the same week!  I have a friend who skis Blizzard Bonafides and loves them all over the mountain.  I'm sure the guys can advise better but  since I know Mammoth, I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in.  There are a lot of skis that can really do well in varied terrain and varied conditions.

post #8 of 28

Old timer?????  I'm 68 you little whipper-snapper.smile.gif  At your height and weight, let me suggest you try a pair of Nordica Steadfasts in a 170.  They have an early rise tip and camber.  They don't have any metal in them, except the edges, so they're pretty light.  I bought a pair last year after demoing what I could around here and they became my daily driver.  I ski primarily off-piste:  trees, powder, chutes, bumps.  When I finally have to get on a groomer to get back to a lift, they carve really well.  I'm 5'7" 145 and the 170s are perfect.  My other skis are 161 and 163  and the Steadfasts are as easy to turn as either of my other skis.  The Steadfast is 90mmm underfoot.  If you can find a place to demo them they might also have the Hell and Back which is 98mm.  Try them both.

 

Now, more important than your skis are your boots.  It sounds like your boots don't fit properly anymore and that they're pretty old.  Do yourself a huge favor.  Go to the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum and read the wikis about fitting and terminology.  Then look at the list of boot fitters.  There are three listed in California/Nevada.  If those are too far, ask and I'm sure someone can recommend a fitter in or near Mammoth.  Having boots that fit is way more important than the ski you're on.  Trust me.

post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by pointemdown View Post

marznc: My boots are Salomon with a 100 flex, fit well, although on the 2nd day of skiing I do have to wear a slightly thicker sock to maintain a snug fit.  I have not been to a ski shop in years, so no, I haven't asked for ski suggestions.  I have not demoed skis either... when I mentioned renting powder boards, I meant that this coming season, I vow to actually rent a pair instead of struggling on my 75mm skis.  Yeah, I know, it's about time I put some thought into upgrading.  I have been reading like crazy since I found this site- the choices we have these days are amazing!

 

pdiddy: The length range you mentioned did make me raise an eyebrow, but I am open to trying out those lengths.  171-178 is still way shorter than my old-school skis, so I will certainly give them a try.  Good to know that these models are at the main lodge.  I'm sure any of these would be a lot of fun, so I will check them out. Hmm... the skis you suggest are in the 84-88 range... I'd love to try out the Kastle MX88 also if I can find them as demos, although I've seen them described as an Eastern ski- what do you think of these for Mammoth?

 

This gives me a starting point.  Thanks for the suggestions, guys.
 

I have never skied the MX 88 but obviously nothing but good reviews on them, and don't buy into or be confused with the Easter/Western ski's.    I do know that a ski shop in Mammoth, ( Footloose ) did have a couple of pairs of Kastle for sale last year and they appeared to be used demo's.   You may want to call them and see if they carry Kastle this year.   Try the others I mentioned and for sure the RTM 84 and the xt 850,   also the K2 Aftershocks are at the main lodge, they are fun too and you may like them.  

post #10 of 28

If you are needing to wear thicker socks on the second day of skiing, I'm pretty sure your boots are too large.  If anything your boots should feel tighter after a day of skiing because feet sometimes swell.  

 

Might be time to go and see a good bootfitter?

 

I can't recommend the Kastle MX88 highly enough.  Fantastic ski that can handle many conditions.  Also is very user friendly and won't punish skier mistakes.

 

Another lighter weight ski that I've owned and like is the Fischer Watea 94.  It can get bumped around in crud though, since it doesn't have a bunch of metal in it for stiffness.

 

Good luck on your search,
Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by pointemdown View Post

marznc: My boots are Salomon with a 100 flex, fit well, although on the 2nd day of skiing I do have to wear a slightly thicker sock to maintain a snug fit.

 

post #11 of 28

For you more seasoned skiers, who are just returning to the sport i would suggest less sidecut and something with camber with minimal rocker/rise plus err on the longer side. The fore mentioned MX88 is a great choice and should be at the top of the list. I would add if you are demoing, I do believe Footloose is a Kastle dealer or if you make it up to Tahoe, I should be have an MX88 for you to try. Nordica Steadfast, Volkl Kendo and the Head Rev90 are a couple of more options to consider. 

post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 

Wow, great responses.  I will definitely take a closer look at the boot issue.  So many skis to try and so little time on the slopes...

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

For you more seasoned skiers, who are just returning to the sport i would suggest less sidecut and something with camber with minimal rocker/rise plus err on the longer side. The fore mentioned MX88 is a great choice and should be at the top of the list. I would add if you are demoing, I do believe Footloose is a Kastle dealer or if you make it up to Tahoe, I should be have an MX88 for you to try. Nordica Steadfast, Volkl Kendo and the Head Rev90 are a couple of more options to consider. 

 

Can you elaborate on why less sidecut and why err on the longer side?

 

I feel the wallet getting lighter... thanks for all the input everyone!

post #13 of 28

I am 66 years young. Ski mostly off piste in cascade concrete in the great pacific northwest. Demoed over twenty different all mountain skis over a two year period and wound up with Atomic Black Eye TI in 174cm. I kept coming back to these skis over and over again for their ease of turn initiation and almost unreal stick on piste.Coupled with their slightly wider rocker tip that made the float in crud and powder a real joy I was sold.

 

A hint: if you find a pair that you would like to own while demoing  ask the rental shop if there is going to be a demo sale that would include the very pair of skis that you have settled on. I found that usually the ski you love can be purchased at a substantial discount.

post #14 of 28

Kiwi 56yrs 180 lb....I'd like to add to the comments about the Nordica Steadfast...I recently bought 178cm and in a rush of blood to the head fitted them with Onyx tech bindings using them with my Black Diamond Factor boots which have interchangeable sole blocks...best ski boots I have ever had. I can't believe how these planks dance like a little slalom ski then blast through crud and deep snow. Are these skis the poor man's MX88? I bought last years model at half price...they are only 3.5 kg a pair.. 5.3 kg mounted. They have "early rise" in the tips which seems to me to be no rocker at all, this is leading me more and more to think rocker is overrrated in all mt skis. I have been on Salomon Enduro XT850....bombproof go anywhere skis...but 6.8 kg with the speed bindings...and lacking in zip...partially because of the rocker ...I'm bored with them.

Tried a mates Icelantic Shaman 173cm ... no rocker here... I am in love and buying some...if only to put on the wall and look at ..and take down and use on the right days. Just bought a pair of Majesty Dirty Bears 175cm cos I've heard great things about them, the graphics are great, and they are last years demo at a great price.

Demoed a pair of Volkl V Werx the top of the RTM line...couldn't wait to get them off and get back on the Steadfasts...yet I have had two pairs of Volkl Grizzly and love them to bits. Just sold a pair of Armada TST183 cm with Barons on...skiied them 5 times...too much sidecut too soft  so overturn and fold up in heavy snow...clumsy great rockered tips.

Hope these comments help you...Stan

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by pointemdown View Post

Wow, great responses.  I will definitely take a closer look at the boot issue.  So many skis to try and so little time on the slopes...

 

Can you elaborate on why less sidecut and why err on the longer side?

 

I feel the wallet getting lighter... thanks for all the input everyone!

No need to swing the pendulum too far. You very well have many of your old techniques that you need to work through, what I mean by less sidecut would be closer to 20M than to 15M, the shorter turn radius will be too squirly for you. Length, keep closer to head height than nose or forehead. Many of the skis discussed for you can be skied in two sizes, err on the longer of the two. 

post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanley View Post

Kiwi 56yrs 180 lb....I'd like to add to the comments about the Nordica Steadfast...I recently bought 178cm and in a rush of blood to the head fitted them with Onyx tech bindings using them with my Black Diamond Factor boots which have interchangeable sole blocks...best ski boots I have ever had. I can't believe how these planks dance like a little slalom ski then blast through crud and deep snow. Are these skis the poor man's MX88? I bought last years model at half price...they are only 3.5 kg a pair.. 5.3 kg mounted. They have "early rise" in the tips which seems to me to be no rocker at all, this is leading me more and more to think rocker is overrrated in all mt skis. I have been on Salomon Enduro XT850....bombproof go anywhere skis...but 6.8 kg with the speed bindings...and lacking in zip...partially because of the rocker ...I'm bored with them.

Tried a mates Icelantic Shaman 173cm ... no rocker here... I am in love and buying some...if only to put on the wall and look at ..and take down and use on the right days. Just bought a pair of Majesty Dirty Bears 175cm cos I've heard great things about them, the graphics are great, and they are last years demo at a great price.

Demoed a pair of Volkl V Werx the top of the RTM line...couldn't wait to get them off and get back on the Steadfasts...yet I have had two pairs of Volkl Grizzly and love them to bits. Just sold a pair of Armada TST183 cm with Barons on...skiied them 5 times...too much sidecut too soft  so overturn and fold up in heavy snow...clumsy great rockered tips.

Hope these comments help you...Stan

I haven't skied the V werks, but they are geared towards a heavier skier or a light person wanting to bomb runs.  light and stiff.  

post #17 of 28

I spent the almost the entirety of the 11/12 season (150+ days) on a pair of Blizzard Magnum 8.7s and loved 'em. They worked really well on groomers, handled moguls nicely, and were pretty solid off-piste. I taught on them, freeskied on them, backcountry skied on them, had 'em on ice, corduroy, knee deep pow, and was very pleased with them as a true "all-mountain" pair of planks.

 

I also enjoyed the Blizzard Bushwacker and have a pair of those for this upcoming season.

post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post

I spent the almost the entirety of the 11/12 season (150+ days) on a pair of Blizzard Magnum 8.7s and loved 'em. They worked really well on groomers, handled moguls nicely, and were pretty solid off-piste. I taught on them, freeskied on them, backcountry skied on them, had 'em on ice, corduroy, knee deep pow, and was very pleased with them as a true "all-mountain" pair of planks.

 

I also enjoyed the Blizzard Bushwacker and have a pair of those for this upcoming season.

I think my favorite pair are what I am wearing that day. :)   lots of great ski's to choose from.  

post #19 of 28

I read most of the responses you got, and while I agree with many, not all.  You have to sift through the specific ski suggestions and shoot for a "type" of ski rather than a specific brand.  There are so many to choose from it can be mind boggling.  If I were you, based on your initial inquiry, I would shoot for a ski in the 90 - 100mm under foot category.  Many skis in this width have enough sidecut to ski well on hard pack, but will do really well in crud and powder as well.  You'll find skis in this category will serve you well in the trees and off groom.  Most skis in this category nowadays come with some early rise in the tip, but I wouldn't go for a fully rockered ski if you want a 1 ski in the quiver ski.  In my opinion, if you are already a good skier, you don't need full rocker anyway.  Pick up a couple of early season ski magazines with a new ski guide, go right to the ski type you are looking for, and look at the top 10.  That way you narrow it down to 10 choices.  Read the specs, decide on 3 or 4, and head to the slopes to demo.  I agree that you could go longer than what you have, but I would stay in the 160 - 170 cm. range.  I think you could go longer with a full rocker, but I would stay in that range (160-70) if you are just getting an early rise (to make sure, demo the same ski in 2 lengths).  Make sure you demo with a shop that will include the demo in the price of the ski if you decide to buy from them.  I agree with the suggestion that boots are as important as any ski buy.  You ski with a boot that forward flexes at 100 - I might suggest you go even lower - to 90.  I would also dump a boot that requires extra socks in certain conditions.  A properly fitted boot should be locked down and left for the day - comfortable, but no wiggle room.  I wouldn't buy a demo ski because: 1.  you can find a similar price new in the off season or online  2.  the bindings are too heavy unless they swap out the demo binding for a regular one.

Here are some recommendations re: ski brands, based on my own experience or those of my fellow skiers:

I'm a Line ski fan.  They make a great ski in the 90 and 98 range.

A friend skis the Rossignol Experience 98 and loves them.  They also rate really high in on hill assessments.  Also comes in an 88mm.

Blizzard, Nordica, and Volkl also rate really high in ski mags.

Enough said.  Good luck in your hunt for a great one quiver ski.

post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skidel View Post

You ski with a boot that forward flexes at 100 - I might suggest you go even lower - to 90.

 

I was thinking of going the opposite direction... why do you suggest going to a softer flex?

post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by pointemdown View Post

 

I was thinking of going the opposite direction... why do you suggest going to a softer flex?

Flex is what you prefer.   I wore a race boot (lange x9) for over a decade, stiff as hell but loved it,  then tried a softer boot (impact 100's) ,  loved it.   Sure there are better boots out there, but seriously it's what fits you and what you like and of course getting a deal.  Deals are always good!     

post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by pointemdown View Post

 

I was thinking of going the opposite direction... why do you suggest going to a softer flex?

Like the other guy that replied, I used to ski on Head World cup Comps - stiff as hell and hard on my shins.  I also found that when I drove my shins into a turn I had a tendency to cause the tail of the ski to wash out.  My ski shop recommended I go softer - I went to the Dalbello Krypton pro with the old Raichle flex tongue and put on the soft tongue.  I found that I didn't overpower my edges and my shins thanked me for the softer boot.

post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
Makes sense re boot flex... I recall going through a "stiffer is better" phase, thinking a stiffer boot would help me improve, but it actually gave me less control. Thanks for the advice!

As for skis, here's my short list, not necessarily in order:
Blizzard MX88/98
Nordica Steadfast
Salomon Sentinel
Fischer Watea 84
Rossi E88
Salomon Lord

I know that these are all over the place in width and type, but now I am thinking I need at least a 2-ski quiver. I plan to demo, although I can't wait to have a wider/longer ski than my old 155cm/75mm Salomons, so if I find a cheap/used pair of any of the above, I will snap it up, then later in the season supplement it with another of a different width and type. I'm thinking 170cm (again I'm 5'6", 135 lb, advanced, ski off-piste in Mammoth). Comments?

Your input has been very helpful!
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by pointemdown View Post

Makes sense re boot flex... I recall going through a "stiffer is better" phase, thinking a stiffer boot would help me improve, but it actually gave me less control. Thanks for the advice!
As for skis, here's my short list, not necessarily in order:
Blizzard MX88/98
Nordica Steadfast
Salomon Sentinel
Fischer Watea 84
Rossi E88
Salomon Lord
I know that these are all over the place in width and type, but now I am thinking I need at least a 2-ski quiver. I plan to demo, although I can't wait to have a wider/longer ski than my old 155cm/75mm Salomons, so if I find a cheap/used pair of any of the above, I will snap it up, then later in the season supplement it with another of a different width and type. I'm thinking 170cm (again I'm 5'6", 135 lb, advanced, ski off-piste in Mammoth). Comments?
Your input has been very helpful!

Here is your chance.... Salomon Sentinel $299.00

post #25 of 28

I will suggest the same thing I always suggest... Volkl Mantra (in the lower 170's for you). I will assume several thing (reading your 1st post)... you have some sort of racing back round (major or minor matters not), you like to turn them more than running in a straight line, you can turn them & the sierra wet (not quite cement) helps the float but still need a little more to get up & out. Mantra's are Volkls "racetiger" for the everyday... rocker tip, stiff, hard-charging, crud-bashing, ice shredding, pow destroying & 98 under foot... what more could you want? They have a limited ability to forgive but are unlimited in feedback & res ponce. Only drawback (if you look at it that way)... you work them or they work you. I used to race Olin Mark VI's in the day (before I got my hands on some Elan 05's)... Olin's comp ski was wood & stiff (similar to the Elan). If you owned Olin's SL Comp... Volkl's are a perfect swap ("sensor-wood" & titanium). Also, to handle these skis on ice or hard-pack... get some boots that aren't as easy to pack-out. I had some Salomon Impact 10's (110), great feel, great fit, great flex... just not a great boot to handle a lot of power & they packed pretty fast (& I like to ski with extremely thin socks). I now use a pair of '07 Lange Comps 130 (HP fit)... the Salomon's were like putting a bench seat in a Porsche... I opted for the recaro buckets (Lange).           

post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldschool48 View Post

I will suggest the same thing I always suggest... Volkl Mantra (in the lower 170's for you). I will assume several thing (reading your 1st post)... you have some sort of racing back round (major or minor matters not), you like to turn them more than running in a straight line, you can turn them & the sierra wet (not quite cement) helps the float but still need a little more to get up & out. Mantra's are Volkls "racetiger" for the everyday... rocker tip, stiff, hard-charging, crud-bashing, ice shredding, pow destroying & 98 under foot... what more could you want? They have a limited ability to forgive but are unlimited in feedback & res ponce. Only drawback (if you look at it that way)... you work them or they work you. I used to race Olin Mark VI's in the day (before I got my hands on some Elan 05's)... Olin's comp ski was wood & stiff (similar to the Elan). If you owned Olin's SL Comp... Volkl's are a perfect swap ("sensor-wood" & titanium). Also, to handle these skis on ice or hard-pack... get some boots that aren't as easy to pack-out. I had some Salomon Impact 10's (110), great feel, great fit, great flex... just not a great boot to handle a lot of power & they packed pretty fast (& I like to ski with extremely thin socks). I now use a pair of '07 Lange Comps 130 (HP fit)... the Salomon's were like putting a bench seat in a Porsche... I opted for the recaro buckets (Lange).           


Yes, I was a wanna-be racer at one time... club and NASTAR slalom... and yes, I ski to turn. No straight-lining for me. The Olin Comp SLs were my favorite old-school skis- very responsive, snappy and held an edge very well on hardpack, great on the race course.  Great on the bumps, too, but as you said, they were demanding- lose focus and down you go.  I recall a free demo day, where a tried out a half dozen of the top skis from Rossi and others, but they could not compare in responsiveness and snap to the wood-core Comp SLs.  I recall they were stiff, but the tips and tails had good flex.

I had dismissed Volkl since a sales guy who used to race on Volkls described them as having awesome edge hold, great for racing, but lacking edge to edge quickness.  I have never skied on Volkls,but I will give them another look.

By boots "packing out", do you mean that the liner compresses too easily or prematurely?

Thanks for the info.

post #27 of 28
Your bio is like mine. Last season demoed the RTM, decided I wanted a traditional camber ski. Went with the Kendo mainly because the light weight/ good pricing and it was one of the skis I demoed that I could live with.
post #28 of 28

I'd try a Rossi Experience 88 in a 168cm.  Much better size and his early rise in the tip and tail.  This effectively shortens the ski.  Still has a tight turn radius and a snappy feel.  You could also try a Nordica Steadfast in a 170cm.  Rossi is 88mm under foot.  Nordica is 90mm under foot.  Enjoy!  :)

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