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Anyone else impressed with how versatile "All-mountain" skis have become?

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 

So, this is mostly directed at "all-mountain skis", you know, the ones 75-95mm or so.  Not "big-mountain" or "freeride-lite" but true 50/50 skis, frontside and back.  Aside from a few overzealous internet forum posters, most of us realize that 75mm skis don't float as well as 115's, and big-mountain skis don't carve like race skis.  Hence, the all-mountain ski, which gets a lot of derision from some quarters as skis meant to be mediocre in a wide range of conditions.  

 

With the current batch of "all-mountain" skis coming up though, I have found this to be pretty far from the truth. In fact, these supposedly "mediocre" skis are pretty damn good in crud, on groomers, hard snow, and bumps.  No longer are all sub 85mm skis considered "carvers", nor are all 90mm+ skis for off-piste only.  I can remember only a few years ago, struggling with "wide carvers" like the Volkl AC40, Grizzly and Fischer Big Heat that weren't exactly adept at a wide range of conditions.  

 

This ski category is of particular interest to me. As an ex-racer, and a fairly athletic skier, I like the precision and power of a narrower ski.  The execution and energy harnessed from a perfect turn on hard snow is particularly addicting. With that said, even on a "groomer" day, I might only ski 3 or 4 groomer runs. The rest of the time, I am off searching for good off-piste tree skiing, bumps, or open bowls.  With my shortened ski days, I rarely want to trudge back to the car and get a new pair.  

 

Anyone else notice this phenomenon?  This applies to many skis I have skied in the past 2 years, not just a few.  Better in off-piste conditions, way better in bumps, no loss of groomer performance.  Thoughts?  

post #2 of 68

Absolutely true of the Auras.  When I bought them, I intended a compliment to my frontside skis.  I live in San Diego and ski Big Bear every weekend - translate groomer unless it actually snowing.  I figured the Aura for my traveling ski.  Last year's strange weather patterns meant changing conditions throughout the day and I actually ended up skiing the Aura a lot more than my Attiva AC3s.  On the few powder days I enjoyed (1 local and 2  Mammoth), the Auras rocked.  I was actually feeling guilty for ignoring my old faithfuls in favor of the new generation.

post #3 of 68

What worries me is how bad, obsolete, outdated, and restricting my current equipment will be in five years, considering how piss-poor 2007's best skis are by today's 2013 all-mountain standards.

 

I mean, how comprehensive and balling will our skiing be in 2020?  2030? 

 

How much better can skis possibly get?

post #4 of 68

The first time I really found super-versatile all mountain skis were the old Dynastar 8000's and Mythic Riders.

 

Worked fine on least coast "packed powder (aka glare ice), but also could find there way through SLC powder with reasonable aplomb. Today, I'm still shocked at how my MX108's can rail on groomers, yet also float through the pow.

 

I remember someone's signature, something about being equally crappy in all conditions, and remembering thinking apparently they hadn't tried a good all mountain.

post #5 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlugBootBlues View Post

What worries me is how bad, obsolete, outdated, and restricting my current equipment will be in five years, considering how piss-poor 2007's best skis are by today's 2013 all-mountain standards.

 

I mean, how comprehensive and balling will our skiing be in 2020?  2030? 

 

How much better can skis possibly get?

I hear you...and Dawg, you're right, they are not mediocre anymore...But at the same time, when I begin my day carving with my Salomon Mustang: boy the feeling they can get me!!! After a couple of run, I may change for my Kendo (to go play in glades and moguls) wich can also carve (I can have a lot of fun on groomed with those too) but it will never be the same than a specialized ski. For me, it is like 2 differents sports in one and it double my pleasure!

So I do make the trip back to the car...

My conclusion? 2 years ago, I began my search for my 1-ski squiver and I now own too much skis...

post #6 of 68

I agree.  My old Volkl Supersport Allstars were sold to me as "All mountain" skis.  What a joke that is compared to my Nordica Steadfasts or actually even my Icelantic Shamans.  I skied the Steadfasts in powder, bumps, trees, steeps, and groomers at Red Lodge Mountain last season and they never let me down, just provided an enormous amount of fun.


Edited by mtcyclist - 11/13/12 at 9:10pm
post #7 of 68

LOL.  My 15 yo son is skiing dad's old allsports  due to a sudden growth spurt last year.   The only time he didn't like them was in thigh deep powder.  They skied all lesser powder just fine.  I bought him Bushwackers which he will receive for Christmas.  In the meantime, we are torturing him with the "best made ever skis" so why would you want something new BS.  So much fun torturing the kid! 

post #8 of 68

Unfortunately, Scott, one of the major arguments against your conclusion about all mountain skis is that rocker has started to creep into the discussion. Rocker may have some benefit in truly deep powder specific skis in order to keep the tips floating, but from my experience, it has no place on anything else. More and more of these all mountain skis in the category that you speak of are coming through with some kind of rocker. I have demoed a handful of these skis over the last season or two, and some of them are just down right awful on any groomed surface. I actually bought a pair, thinking I would grow into them, but no such luck, I ended up having to sell them. I found myself constantly leaning into and over the tongues of my boots trying to engage the tips. They require a certain technique to ski them, and it is exactly that kind of technique that I spent countless hours in lessons and camps trying to rid myself of. The reason why shaped skis were so successful when they arrived on the scene was one word - efficiency. They moved the contact point of the skis more towards the tip and the tail of the ski, so there was more surface area in contact with the snow. This, and the increased sidecut made the skis  so much more efficient that they were able to ski them in much shorter lengths with more control. There is little doubt today that this was the biggest advance in the ski industry since they did away with leather boots and wooden skis. Rocker, on the other hand, is a step in the opposite direction. The contact point is moved back towards the center of the ski, the tips and tails are not in contact with the snow at all. The surface area of the ski as well as the camber is decreased, requiring the skis to be skied in longer lengths. The physics of the rocker technology are exactly the opposite of the principles that made shaped skis so successful. You can't have it both ways. If the technology behind shaped skis was such a huge success, than the rocker designs can't be anything more than a step in the opposite direction. As I said, rocker may have some use in truly deep snow, and there's no doubt it makes the skis easier to pivot, for the same reason that it's always easier to start your turns on the top of a bump in a mogul field, simply because the only part of the ski that's in contact with the snow is directly under the binding, the tips and tails are in the air. This makes it very easy to twist and pivot into the next turn, but that's not the kind of skiing that I aspire to. That's why when I'm looking at all mountain designs these days, I'm looking at something like the Kastle MX 88 or something in the Head lineup. Kastle has resisted the hype, and chosen not to put rocker into anything short of their big mountain designs, while Head has managed to fit the rocker name into their product  without truly buying in to the shortfalls of the design. I read in one of the ski test mags that the Kastle MX 88 took first place in their mixed snow category, which the editors found somewhat puzzling, considering that it has no rocker. I don't take much stock in what I read in the ski mags, but I found it interesting, none the less. 

So Scott, in getting back to your original question, I think there are some all mountain skis out there today that are far superior to anything we even  thought was possible a few years ago. And I think that there are others out there that are down right awful. I guess it comes down to who's skiing them.

post #9 of 68

There are so many skis out there that belie their dimensions and if you look at the numbers, they shouldn't be as good as they are. There are some 80something waisted skis that are great at eating up soft snow and some 90something skis that kill it on hard snow. It is amazing how many skis of the past 5 years have not help up to the test of time with quite a few mentioned here. wink.gif

post #10 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac View Post

Unfortunately, Scott, one of the major arguments against your conclusion about all mountain skis is that rocker has started to creep into the discussion. Rocker may have some benefit in truly deep powder specific skis in order to keep the tips floating, but from my experience, it has no place on anything else. More and more of these all mountain skis in the category that you speak of are coming through with some kind of rocker. I have demoed a handful of these skis over the last season or two, and some of them are just down right awful on any groomed surface.

This is one of the problems that is happening of late, "Rocker" is being blanketed (as a TERM) all over the industry. Yes, we are seeing more "early rise" or "extended tip profile" in this all mountain segment but little "rocker" except with the one manufacturer that has been mentioned a few times already here, Volkl. In this segment (and IMHO every segment except a true full reverse camber powder ski) should have camber underfoot. I DO think that some early rise in the tip and many cases in the tail, does help the versatility of the ski. At slower, more upright skiing ,the ski can feel lighter and easier to ski, as the ski gets up more on edge, there is more contact for more control. With the early rise, the tip gets up on bumps better and also in mixed conditions.

 

As far as some being "awful on mixed conditions", I think there will always be a percentage of a ski crop every year that just are not as good as the others. Right now with manufacturers trying to figure out how to incorporate this into there sksi isn't as bad as it was 15 years ago when "parabolic" (another mis used word like "rocker") skis were hitting the market. I will say there are less "awful" designs now that there was then. 

post #11 of 68

all this BUT I think the right rocker profile can provide superior performance in these conditions. again, there is still a fundamental misunderstanding of "rocker"; its nothing more than a term like sidecut.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

This is one of the problems that is happening of late, "Rocker" is being blanketed (as a TERM) all over the industry. Yes, we are seeing more "early rise" or "extended tip profile" in this all mountain segment but little "rocker" except with the one manufacturer that has been mentioned a few times already here, Volkl. In this segment (and IMHO every segment except a true full reverse camber powder ski) should have camber underfoot. I DO think that some early rise in the tip and many cases in the tail, does help the versatility of the ski. At slower, more upright skiing ,the ski can feel lighter and easier to ski, as the ski gets up more on edge, there is more contact for more control. With the early rise, the tip gets up on bumps better and also in mixed conditions.

 

As far as some being "awful on mixed conditions", I think there will always be a percentage of a ski crop every year that just are not as good as the others. Right now with manufacturers trying to figure out how to incorporate this into there sksi isn't as bad as it was 15 years ago when "parabolic" (another mis used word like "rocker") skis were hitting the market. I will say there are less "awful" designs now that there was then. 

post #12 of 68

Well, dawg,

 

I just mounted up a new pair of Head Rock n Roll 95's (180cm) and will test out it's true all mountain versatility and superiority in a few short weeks...

post #13 of 68

I have not skied the Katana (just an example typical of many others), roughly 110mm waist, should be in the segment 'all mountain'. but looking at it from the edge, it has no camber, pretty flat if not very slightly rockered, ELP I think. What is the effect of this when skiing on skier packed snow? Is there a loss of liveliness and rebound? Grip at the tip and tail? Is this is a ski whose design as an all-mountain stick has been ruined?

 

I continue to be impressed with my (previous-model-new) Legend Pro Riders as a true frontside/backside performer. classic and reliable. fast and smooth.

post #14 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlugBootBlues View Post

What worries me is how bad, obsolete, outdated, and restricting my current equipment will be in five years, considering how piss-poor 2007's best skis are by today's 2013 all-mountain standards.

 

I mean, how comprehensive and balling will our skiing be in 2020?  2030? 

 

How much better can skis possibly get?

 

 

Sorry but a skis is always as good as it was. Nothing more or less.

post #15 of 68

You guys probably just cost me some money.

I've been skiing my old red Volkl AC-4s for all around skis.

I thought they were pretty good and that Volkl lost their way after they made these.

They have a soft tip, stiffer tail and a 82 mm waist.

Guess I'll have to demo some newer stuff for my travel quiver.

post #16 of 68

Its what we do! beercheer.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by dakine View Post

You guys probably just cost me some money.

I've been skiing my old red Volkl AC-4s for all around skis.

I thought they were pretty good and that Volkl lost their way after they made these.

They have a soft tip, stiffer tail and a 82 mm waist.

Guess I'll have to demo some newer stuff for my travel quiver.

post #17 of 68

you may have skied the life out of them by now anyway.

 

I think the last good ski Volkl made was NOT a cap ski. The AC series was a move toward mass production with methods for highest profits. The AC series IS the "lost" path, IMO, of course.

 

For a while it was: if you like what Volkl has stood for, buy a Stockli or______________fill in your favorite sandwich construction high performance ski.

post #18 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

Its what we do! beercheer.gif

 

Yup, we love to help people spend their money.  Good thing this isn't a sports car forum, then we'd be talking about some "real" money.biggrin.gif

post #19 of 68

Have any of the manufacturers started messing around with the waist locations on skis yet, AGAIN?  That was the rage long ago for adjusting for changes in pressuring the skis, and it worked pretty well.   That seems like it could be effective and interesting with the early rise tips or rockers.

 

Having gotten totally lost in the ski technology maze this may have already been done.  Did I miss it? th_dunno-1[1].gif

post #20 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac View Post

Unfortunately, Scott, one of the major arguments against your conclusion about all mountain skis is that rocker has started to creep into the discussion. Rocker may have some benefit in truly deep powder specific skis in order to keep the tips floating, but from my experience, it has no place on anything else.

 

While I could only make it a couple of sentences through the monoparagraph, that was enough.

 

My Kastle MX108's have early rise, and they'll burn your legs to a toast within a couple of runs on groomers. Likewise one of Phil's cheapo picks and another one in my quiver, the Atomic Access with a lot of tip rocker is supremely versatile.

 

You need to keep trying.

post #21 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

This is one of the problems that is happening of late, "Rocker" is being blanketed (as a TERM) all over the industry. Yes, we are seeing more "early rise" or "extended tip profile" in this all mountain segment but little "rocker" except with the one manufacturer that has been mentioned a few times already here, Volkl. In this segment (and IMHO every segment except a true full reverse camber powder ski) should have camber underfoot. I DO think that some early rise in the tip and many cases in the tail, does help the versatility of the ski. At slower, more upright skiing ,the ski can feel lighter and easier to ski, as the ski gets up more on edge, there is more contact for more control. With the early rise, the tip gets up on bumps better and also in mixed conditions.

 

As far as some being "awful on mixed conditions", I think there will always be a percentage of a ski crop every year that just are not as good as the others. Right now with manufacturers trying to figure out how to incorporate this into there sksi isn't as bad as it was 15 years ago when "parabolic" (another mis used word like "rocker") skis were hitting the market. I will say there are less "awful" designs now that there was then. 

 
icon14.gif
post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam View Post

Well, dawg,

 

I just mounted up a new pair of Head Rock n Roll 95's (180cm) and will test out it's true all mountain versatility and superiority in a few short weeks...

 

You won't be disappointed. One of the better skis I tried last season.

post #23 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakine View Post

You guys probably just cost me some money.

I've been skiing my old red Volkl AC-4s for all around skis.

I thought they were pretty good and that Volkl lost their way after they made these.

They have a soft tip, stiffer tail and a 82 mm waist.

Guess I'll have to demo some newer stuff for my travel quiver.

Skied a similar version of this ski years ago, I think the ones I tried might have been green? Possibly 84 in the waist? Those skis were radical back them. One of the first "wider" all mountain skis I tried. Skied them at Cannon in NH on those narrow icy windblown trails. Those things were like a freight train making GS turns coming down those twisty trails. And I agree with you, Volkl seemed to go into a funk shortly after that.

post #24 of 68

They softened the tip of the red ones and made them less like a wide GS ski.

post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post

 

While I could only make it a couple of sentences through the monoparagraph, that was enough.

 

My Kastle MX108's have early rise, and they'll burn your legs to a toast within a couple of runs on groomers. Likewise one of Phil's cheapo picks and another one in my quiver, the Atomic Access with a lot of tip rocker is supremely versatile.

 

You need to keep trying.

 

Can't say that I've tried the MX108. Don't really have much use for them here in New England. Maybe they're a better ski for Florida. Maybe you ought to read all of what I had to say before you pass judgement. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, I think that's what Dawg was looking for. Of course, some people will only hear what they want to hear.  But I'm not going to go along with what's popular just to be one of the crowd. My opinions are based on my own experience. I could care less about what's popular, or what's "in", or what the ski industry wants you to think. Their main objective is to sell skis. Some of their ideas are good, some aren't. But if they can talk everyone into buying them without the benefit of a little common sense, regardless of whether they're better or not, then they've accomplished their goal.

post #26 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam View Post

Well, dawg,

 

I just mounted up a new pair of Head Rock n Roll 95's (180cm) and will test out it's true all mountain versatility and superiority in a few short weeks...

That is one of the skis I had in mind when posting this! Even my friend Chris (who is an excellent technical skier, and very picky when it comes to frontside skis) was skiing his R&R's most of his days last year.  He basically relegated his old Peak 78's and Supershapes to rock-ski duty.  

post #27 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

I have not skied the Katana (just an example typical of many others), roughly 110mm waist, should be in the segment 'all mountain'. but looking at it from the edge, it has no camber, pretty flat if not very slightly rockered, ELP I think. What is the effect of this when skiing on skier packed snow? Is there a loss of liveliness and rebound? Grip at the tip and tail? Is this is a ski whose design as an all-mountain stick has been ruined?

 

I continue to be impressed with my (previous-model-new) Legend Pro Riders as a true frontside/backside performer. classic and reliable. fast and smooth.

I like the Katana, but not what I would consider in any way "all-mountain".  Big-mountain, backside, sure.  Do I want to ski crowded groomers on it?  Ice?  Bumps?  Not really.  An all-mountain ski has to do all of these things pretty well. It is fun at warp speed on groomers, but that doesn't fly on a weekend at a resort, and bumps are simply painful. I can still feel the reverberation on my old fracture line in my tibia from an icy bump run! 

post #28 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

 

Yup, we love to help people spend their money.  Good thing this isn't a sports car forum, then we'd be talking about some "real" money.biggrin.gif

yeah, but those of us cheapies would be picking up nearly new parts for next to nothing as well on the buy/sell forum!  Lots of "I just need to get it out of my garage and say I sold it for something to keep the wife happy" sales I see. 

post #29 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac View Post

 

 I could care less about what's popular, or what's "in", or what the ski industry wants you to think. Their main objective is to sell skis. Some of their ideas are good, some aren't. But if they can talk everyone into buying them without the benefit of a little common sense, regardless of whether they're better or not, then they've accomplished their goal.

 

This is off topic, but still interesting. A lot of truth to your statement, unfortunately.  Reps who are one year dissing a design are wholly embracing it the next when their brand adopts it.  Instead, they start dissing the other brand next door that doesn't have the same technology.  The thing with skis is that performance is so subjective.  98% of skiers aren't skilled enough to take advantage of minor changes year to year, or often even discern a difference, but it is supposed to be better, so it probably is, right?  This is totally unlike the bike industry.  Companies come out with new bikes: they are lighter, ride better, descend more confidently, suspension works more smoothly: this is obvious from weekend warriors to 60-year olds riding weekend centuries to Cat 1 guys like me, racing with legit pros.  Reps don't have to "sell" new bikes: the bikes rise and fall on their own merit. We couldn't keep the Cannondale Super Six EVO in stock this year, for good reason.  It is a ridiculously smooth bike, makes any bad chip-seal feel like new asphalt, and is crazy light.  Maybe because pedaling a bike is the same no matter your skill, people tend to notice changes in the machine more; there is more feedback.  Skis are so skill and height/weight/fitness dependent, that you get much more varying results from gear changes.  Not to mention snow changes (everyone loves a ski on a good powder day) and it can just throw perceptions way off.  

 

Skis are getting way better, performance wise.  The main consideration for the casual skier is ease of use, though, not top-end performance, but skis are very easy to ski now. 

post #30 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

That is one of the skis I had in mind when posting this! Even my friend Chris (who is an excellent technical skier, and very picky when it comes to frontside skis) was skiing his R&R's most of his days last year.  He basically relegated his old Peak 78's and Supershapes to rock-ski duty.  

Is the 95 Rock and Roll significantly different to the 94 from 2011/12? Cant see much difference on the specs??

 

Loved my R&R 94s this southern hemisphere season, found them much more versatile than my Monsters im78, helped me explore more advanced terrain with confidence.

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