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All Mountain ski purchase help

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I'm 5'11" weight 200lbs, just over 50 looking to update from some old Volkl 6 Stars (yes there old but so am I).  I ski hard and love powder and the trees where ever and when ever I can find it.  I ski in VT and NH primarily at any mountain that has the best snow.  I'll like to go 30+ on the flats and enjoy tough terrain that's not trampled by the masses.  Typical day is to warm up early on a cruiser for 2-3 runs to get away from the crowds, then look for the best snow with steeps for the next 5-10 runs, maybe throw in a bump run for grins. However, the knees ain't what the used to be.  Then mellow it out for my last few runs.  I used to make it a point to ski the steepest, narliest, tightest and cliff infested runs all day from start to finish.  Still like them but too much air, crashes and age make me a bit slower paced.  Now I look for the pow dumps and go immediately after the storm to what ever mountain got the most. When I work it right I get 3-4 EPIC days per year out of about 20.  I will probably get Marker Griffon bindings unless someone has a better option?


With that, I'm checking out the following and would like some thoughts on what to go for? Here's the list with estimated cost, which is also a factor.  A couple of these below are in the same class (all mountain) but a bit more forgiving which ain't a bad idea at over 50.  Will I sacrifice edge control on with the likes of Bushwaker and Bridge versus Bonafide oand Mantra?  It's a reality in the East and I still need edge control on the hard pack.    


Love to know experiences and what you'd suggest from those that have maybe skied these boards? Thanks! McDMan


- Blizzard Bonafide - 173cm ($695)

- Volkl Mantra - 177cm (2012 - $400)

- Rossi Experience 98 - - 178cm ($650)

- Volkl Bridge - 177cm ($580)

- Kastle FX94 - 176cm ($800+ ouch!)

- Blizzard Bushwaker - 178cm (2013 - $550)

- Nordica Hell & Back - 177cm ish ($600)


BTW - not getting any younger but I still try to ski like I'm 21 even knowing my body doesn't, as much.  Any thoughts to steer me right are good!!!

post #2 of 13
I'm assuming you're keeping your skinnys to ski non-powder days on the east coast but if edge hold is still an issue those 2012 Mantras for $400 look like a real steal and would give you the best performance on hardpack. They're probably also the least forgiving of the bunch, the Blizzards do hold a nice edge but are more biased towards soft snow. And if you're made of money the Kastles are a nice balanced do everything all mountain ski although I would go for the MX98 instead. Have not been on either the Nordica or Rossi so can't comment. Really depends on for what and where you're going to be using them. Like they say demo, demo, demo. BTW, at your height and weight I would consider sizing up one length on all those skis, powder and/or all mountain skis tend to work better at slightly longer lengths.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks Cold Smoke.  From all the trade rags and online forums I've been leaning toward the Bones. 

But I like your thought on the Mantra's at that price.  I can't get them longer then 177cm because that's all they got.  Would they get squirley on me at that length when pushed?  I might be able also get the Rossi 98's at a longer length which I've hear hold a good edge and also ski well in powder and trees.  Kastle's are too dam expensive.  I'd demo more but it's a bit of a hassle and frankly I get too lazy.


I've always skied a stiffer ski like Volkl and Kastle and others more race oriented.  So in the powder I just compensated with weight shift and a more up and down movement.   Now, due to my age and stamina, in the powder and trees I want something that'll float better and be more forgiving without me having to work my ass off. 


It was really telling for me last year when I hit Stratton after hearing they got a 22" of freshies in 18 hours.  I hit it perfectly skiing the trees and their tougher pitches, they don't have many, but the powder was a little thick and my Volkl's kept diving.  So I demo'd a pair of Rossi, I believe either S3's or 98's.  I did it because I was sick of working so hard.  The rest of the day was a blast blowing through the powder at speed.  Sort of felt like I was surfing like a snowboarder heaven forbid....


So it was then that I realize that I could do a lot better than what I have.  But I also don't want to lose performance on the harder stuff when I want to cruise or cut it up.  After all New England gets more hard pack than powder.  So I'm thinking a 60/40 or even 65/35 (front side / back side) ratio between hard-groomer and powder is where I need to be.


Everyone says you have to trade off performance for versatility and compromise.  I'm trying hard not to do that if I can with only keeping one ski in the quiver.  I'll keep the Volkl's for those narly days.  But they're also long in the tooth and have been tuned to death.  So if I'm reading you correctly you'd forgo the Blizzard's (too balanced) and Kastle ($$) and go with either the Mantra (at 177cm?), Rossi 98 or Nordica assuming I can get good reports on them if I can't demo?   

post #4 of 13

I haven't skied the Nordica Hell and Back but I own and love it's little brother, Steadfast.  I have three pair of skis, 67mm waist, 110mm waist and the Steadfasts at 90mm.  I skied the Steadfasts pretty much exclusively after I bought them last year because I didn't feel I needed to ski either of the others.  I ski primarily off-piste in the trees, bumps, powder and chutes.  They're very responsive and have great edge hold on the groomers.  Call around and see if you can find someplace that has some demos.

post #5 of 13
Really modern skis are so good you probably can't go wrong with any of them, they just have slightly different strengths and weaknesses. I wouldn't say dismiss the Blizzards, I actually own the Cochise and have been on the others. The only reason I gravitated towards the Mantras (which I also have) is they would give you significantly better grip on the icy stuff and would ski the most traditional of the bunch. If you're coming off another Volkl you'll feel instantly at home. That bit of tip rocker really won't make the ski much friendlier, it's still a pretty demanding ride that requires constant attention if you don't want to get spit off. The Bones will feel different, just slightly less edge hold and carving ability than the Mantras and a little more fun in soft snow. You'll be able to tip them up and carve them or slarve them up on fresh where as the Mantras will be more of a straight carver. Rocker vs Camber. New School vs Old School. Your choice. I've heard good things about the Rossis and Nordicas but again can't comment from personal experience.

In terms of length the 177 will definitely ski a bit short for you. Not saying they'll be squirrelly, we are talking about a full wood core double metal reinforced vertical sidewall Volkl that thinks it's a race ski. But my gut tells me you'll want more float on soft snow days so the 184 would work better if you can find one.
post #6 of 13

The S3 and the E98 are two very different skis.  Sounds like you were probably on the S3 at Stratton.  Most days I am skiing an S7 or a E98.  I put at least 60 days on the E98 last season.  The E98 is a very powerful ski and is a real blast on hardpack and crud.  It's a bit stiff for moguls but will work OK.  In powder they are OK not great.  The ski likes a mid-long radius turn and likes to go fast.  You can make deep trenches on hardpack.  I would say the E98 makes a pretty good 1 quiver ski out west.  I would compare it to a Mantra or a Nordica Enforcer.

post #7 of 13

Teton, how would you say the E98 compares against the Mantra, assuming they're targeting the same goals (all-arounder, stiffer, frontside bias, etc)?  Any significant differences or more of a toss up?

post #8 of 13

Don't know about the Mantra, but the E98 is one of the favs in at the local hill ski school. Demo'd a bunch of skis last March... found a number I liked, but none more than the daily driver E98. You mention going longer than the 176. The 180 would be the call for your size, weight, and ability.

post #9 of 13

I haven't skied the Mantra.  I ski with lots of Mantra users and had direct feedback from a Mantra user that borrowed my skis for half a day.  I like the E98 but would go for the better deal between these two skis.  I skied mostly Volkl for many years and then Nordica.  Now I get better offers in other brands.  The E98 with 2 sheets of metal feels more like a Volkl than some of the Rossi offerings that I skied in the past.  Both my current skis are Rossi and both are bomber, although it's looking like my next ski might be Dynastar.  


I don't demo as much as I should, but have noted that there a very few skis that I didn't like.  The best ski I tried last year was the E98 which was good because mine got ordered before the snow fell.  IMO the bottom line is that there are very few skis out there that aren't good.  From your description you sound like a skier who would enjoy a Mantra or an E98.  IMO you will find the 177 too short.  The E98 doesn't come in a 178 like you listed, the E88 does.  Both are great skis and I demoed both.  The E98 with the metal was much more powerful and to me fun than the E88 with the basalt.  The E98 comes in 180 and thats what I use.  It would probably the a good length for you as well.  I'm 5'10' 175 lb 49 yo and skiing 100 days/yr.  There is a longer length that you might find a bargain on because not too many people went long with this ski.

post #10 of 13

I'm the same size as you, and I ski 189 4frnt Turbos as my every-day ski.  You might want to look into the 182.  A good all-over, do everything ski. 


And if you search hard enough, they're cheap.

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

In the end it was between the Nordica Hell & Back and the Blizzard Bonafides.  I went with the Bonafides because they have metal and should be a little more stable at higher speed.  It was a tough choice and thanks all for the input.  I can't demo stuff much so I gathered enough g2 and just pulled the trigger.  Griffon's on Bones sounds good to me!

post #12 of 13

I think you will be happy with the Bonafides; everyone loves them and they come in tops in a lot of tests.  You can't go wrong.   I am going with the Volkl Kendo which is very similar.  Also have a pair of Rossi S3's for corn, crud, slush, powder, bumps and trees, in which they excel.  But they're not happy on high speed groomers,  Your Bonafides will be, and they will not dive in the deeper stuff.  Don't slow down, I'm pushing 60 and I rip first chair to last chair non stop high speed.

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks Dougo... I've got a pair of thin waist Volkl's 6stars that I can bring out on the hard snow days and for going fast.  So the bones should be a real nice compliment.  If I find that they're to soft I can always sell the because they're such a hot ski right now.  But I think I'm really going to have a blast on them.  Yes, I will keep crankin my skinny ski's for some time.  Cheers Mate!

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