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5 ft, 100 lbs, advanced female - please help me find new skis!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I currently have the Nordica Olympia Drive in size 146, but I find them too long and I tend to hit the tips of my skis together. I realize I may need a size 142 at most given my size (5 ft, 100 lbs, female). I am a relatively advanced skier - tend to do mostly blacks, but not very gracefully or at high speeds, although I usually make it down without falling. Not scared, but not completely comfortable either.
 
I know I should be getting advanced skis in general, but I am finding it hard to find advanced skis that are 142 or smaller. I am currently looking at the following skis and I do want to demo them but the problem is all the resorts and sales reps I contacted said that they would not have any demos in my size. I would appreciate your feedback on them or other skis you recommend, then I might just bite the bullet. For reference, I find my current skis too heavy and hard to maneuver in general, as I like to lift my skis a lot when turning or going over moguls. Also, I am looking at getting older 2011 models at a discount if possible.
 
Blizzard Viva 7.6
Rossignol Temptation 78
Atomic Cloud Nine
K2 Free Luv
 
Thanks!
 
 
Other information:
 
1. Where in the world are you skiing?
I currently live in the Northeast so I ski mostly East Coast mountains - Hunter, Killington, etc. We try to go out West once a year.
 
2. What kinds of terrain do you prefer (groomed runs, moguls, race course, park'n'pipe, trees, steeps, backcountry/sidecountry)
Mostly groomed runs. I used to enjoy moguls a lot when I used rental skis so it would be great to do them enjoyably again. I also like trees if the snow is deep enough to cover branches and rocks.
 
3. How many days a year do you ski?
10-15 days
 
4. How advanced are you as a skier?
Mostly blacks at medium confidence level, some double blacks at low confidence, blues at high confidence
 
5. What's your height and weight?
5 ft, 100 lbs
 
6. Are you looking for one ski to serve all purposes or are you adding a ski to your collection to fit a specific purpose? 
Preferably all purpose ski. Something that would also perform decently out West.
post #2 of 17

Hi, krystle.

 

I can't help you very much with recommendations on skis in that length, but I just want to really compliment you on how you asked the question.

 

You gave all the pertinent information in a clear and concise form.  NIcely done!

 

I hope you get some good feedback.

 

Just out of curiosity (and because I have a tie-in with Rossignol), have you considered the Rossi Sassy7?  It comes in a 140 but is a little wider than the skis you mentioned at 119-92-110.  It also might be hard to find at a discount, but I mention it because my wife skied on a pair last winter and thought they were really fun.

post #3 of 17

Just a comment, that if you're 5 ft, a 146 cm ski will be 3" below the top of your head, or roughly mid-forehead. That's within a reasonable range for an advanced skier on a 74 mm all-mountain carver, even in the east. 142 is getting down into the range I see for intermediates or for more dedicated slalom carvers. But you mention trees and bumps, so it doesn't seem as if you're after a dedicated carver. Also, the Drive was a highly regarded, versatile ski (they loved it at Ski Diva and various review sites), and I've seen posts by women who are 5' 2" and skied the 154. So I wonder if the reason your tips are wandering, or feeling a bit scared, is more about your center of gravity being a bit back than about the skis. Put another way, you might save yourself some money by taking a few lessons. If the issue's still there, then the spring sales beckon. biggrin.gif

post #4 of 17

I'm an older woman about your size, about 15 pounds heavier.  I learned to ski on straight skis as a teen, but had a long hiatus afterwards.  The first shaped skis I bought were K2 OneLuvs at 142.  I was only skiing on little hills in the southeast.  After improving past the intermediate stage, it was clear that they were not the best ski for me.  I'm confident skiing any black out west that isn't too narrow, no chutes or cliffs for me. Have had the Rossi Attraxion 8 at 154 for a couple seasons and love it.  With the big shovel I can float in 6-10 inches of powder if I don't feel like renting and catch a storm.  Renting demos out west, I find that I like any women's ski from Rossi or Dynastar or Blizzard.  I don't like anything from Volkl.

 

When I rent or demo, I'll take anything from the mid 150's to 160.  Depends on conditions and the level of rocker.  Really liked the Blizzard Black Pearl at 159.

 

How long have you been skiing?  Who taught you the basics?

post #5 of 17

My wife is 5'3" and 95 lbs.  Your abilities sound roughly the same but we ski in the west.  Last year, she got a pair of 153 K2 Supersticious and loves them.  These replaced a pair of K2 Lotta Luvs that she also really liked but she likes the new skis better.  I don't think the issue is your length so much but likely a technique issue.  I would echo beyond's comment above about maybe needing to be more on the front of your skis.  You could be having problems due to being in the backseat too much.  A lesson might help your skiing, making it more fun, and it might save you some money, too.  I'm going to take a wild guess and venture to say that you might be letting your hands drop and aren't keeping them up and forward.  That would lead to getting backseated and potential loss of control of the tips.  Good luck and have fun!

post #6 of 17

I would consider taking a lesson and asking the instructor what he or she notices about your technique, before investing a lot of money in a new ski (well, doing that is fun too, but you want to make sure it's the right ski!).  I'm of similar size (5'1", 105 lbs.) and a high intermediate who skis out west. I learned to ski on 146s, before skiing on Kenjas in 156 and didn't have a problem with either.  146 should be a good length on a narrower ski based on height/weight, so give a lesson a try first (and if you're thinking of something a bit wider for western use as well, you may want to even demo skis in the low to mid-150s after that lesson).  

post #7 of 17

 Hi, I think as previously posted by others that a lesson or two would help you understand why you keep crossing your tips and help increase your confidence in general.

 Then demo, demo, demo. Its fun comparing skis and if you play around with width and length you're more likely to find something that makes you want to sing.smile.gif

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
So I wonder if the reason your tips are wandering, or feeling a bit scared, is more about your center of gravity being a bit back than about the skis. Put another way, you might save yourself some money by taking a few lessons.

 

This makes me wonder ... if a person's natural stance has their weight more on the inside of their feet, wouldn't this cause the tips to draw together?

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by vickieh View Post

 

This makes me wonder ... if a person's natural stance has their weight more on the inside of their feet, wouldn't this cause the tips to draw together?

 

Maybe.  But the answer to that problem is to have your boot-fitter check and adjust the cant on your boots.  Might be worth having the fitter take a look but I would guess it's more likely to be getting too far back. 

post #10 of 17
It doesn't seem to me that the length of your skis is the likely problem. For a new skier, long skis are easier to cross, but that's not because of the ski length; it's because the skier's weight and balance and skill aren't where they need to be in order to control the skis.

Crossing tips is usually because the weight is too far back, which means the ski tips are free to wander and to cross, which they seem to love to do. This is most commonly a technique issue, and a lesson or two with a good instructor will allow you to work out whether it's something funky with your skiing or a gear issue. If it's not technique, a skilled, experienced boot fitter can tell whether there's some anatomical problem that requires boot canting or, as in my case, a completely different boot. That was a pricey fix, but getting out of a soft, forward leaning boot into a stiff upright one has meant that instead of exhausting myself climbing out of the back seat, I'm relaxing in a natural position that makes skiing easier than I imagined it could be--and I'm not even a particularly good a skier. But everybody is different, and only a master can tell what it is that you, in particular, need.

So I agree with BrownEyedGirl that the first step would be taking a lesson or two with a good instructor to work out whether you've just got some funky thing going on with your technique or your gear is throwing you off. Meanwhile, if you feel better in a shorter ski, I'd suggest renting, because if you're already able to ski the terrain you're skiing and can resolve your back seat issue, I think you're going to be sorry to have bought a ski that's too short.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by krystle920 View Post
I find my current skis too heavy and hard to maneuver in general, as I like to lift my skis a lot when turning or going over moguls.
 

 

As a veteran ski lifter (especially in bumps), I'll pile on and say that this another area where an expert coach's eye will save you a lot of leg work, speaking very literally. It is true, of course, that some ski / binding combos are lighter than others. And there is nothing wrong with preferring the lighter ones. However, if you are lifting up all that metal, wood, fiberglass, and plastic every time you make a turn on a bump run, even the lightest modern alpine ski / binding unit is going to feel "too heavy" in short order. Because I formed my lifting habit in my youth, I'm never going to lose it entirely when I'm very tired or otherwise under duress. But during the majority of the time, when I manage to keep the skis on the snow and let them work, it's just SO much nicer.

 

Note that this busybody thing that a bunch of us are doing here is not because we did not listen to your original question or that we don't think it's legit. Your post included a fair amount of information that looks like implicit dissatisfaction with certain aspects of your skiing, and we're responding to that as well as to the explicit question about skis. We've all been around the block long enough to know that a new pair of skis, however exciting and wonderful and bliss-evoking, seldom fixes technique issues. So at some level we're attempting to help you separate the two in your own mind so you can make a well-informed choice about the skis, with the right expectations about what they are and are not likely to do for you.

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

Note that this busybody thing that a bunch of us are doing here is not because we did not listen to your original question or that we don't think it's legit. Your post included a fair amount of information that looks like implicit dissatisfaction with certain aspects of your skiing, and we're responding to that as well as to the explicit question about skis. We've all been around the block long enough to know that a new pair of skis, however exciting and wonderful and bliss-evoking, seldom fixes technique issues. So at some level we're attempting to help you separate the two in your own mind so you can make a well-informed choice about the skis, with the right expectations about what they are and are not likely to do for you.
+1. Thanks for saying that, qcanoe. I'm sorry if I came across as critical. And in case I came across as someone who knows much about skiing, I'm not; I've just dealt with the issue you seem to be describing and am feeling pretty full of myself about it. It might or might not apply to you. I guess I could have said that in my post.redface.gif
post #13 of 17

{Puts on instructor hat}

The problem you're having could be technique, but it is also possible that it is boot fit issue which can contribute heavily to lack of confidence.  Your boots are the means to transmit your intention to the skis.  If you want to turn right, your feet will tip in that direction to engage the tips of the skis.  If your boots fit properly that happens instantly.  But, if your boots are too big(too long, too wide), your foot first has to move inside the boots before anything gets transmitted to the skis so there's a gap between the time your brain or reflexes or whatever says "turn right" and when you actually start to turn right.  Also, if your boots are several years old, the liners are likely packed out and that creates a sloppy fit.  So, I think the first thing you should do is locate a competent boot fitter and find out if your boots actually fit your feet.  If they do fit properly, then proceed to lessons, but if they don't fit, get new boots that do fit.  You will be amazed at the difference it makes.

{Takes off instructor hat}

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by krystle920 View Post

I am currently looking at the following skis and I do want to demo them but the problem is all the resorts and sales reps I contacted said that they would not have any demos in my size. I would appreciate your feedback on them or other skis you recommend, then I might just bite the bullet. For reference, I find my current skis too heavy and hard to maneuver in general

 

If you're concerned about the weight of the ski, K2s have a reputation for being heavy.  The Dynastar skis I've heard about and/or tried are light.  I've heard that Fischer skis are lighter than most - and I understand that their KOA series is nice.  I've never had a chance the demo them.

 

You might check with Mount Snow.  A couple of women on the SkiDiva site found a good selection of demos there over the past couple of years.  Even if you have to demo something slightly longer than your ideal, it will give you a feel for the ski's personality.  I could only demo a 146 in the Nordica Infinite and knew it was a bit short, but still got a good sense of the ski.  I bought the 154 length ... there were no surprises when I skied it the first time.

 

And if you want to do a demo trip, Sugarloaf (Maine) usually has a big demo day in the early season ... $5 registration fee, demo all you want.  

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all the advice. =)

 

Perhaps I can provide more information on my skiing technique/background. I learned how to ski in 2005/2006. I went up to Hunter a few times a year and mostly did greens with some group lessons and using 130/135 sized rental skis. I remember still doing a lot of "pizza" down the mountain. I started doing more blues/blacks in 2008 when I started hanging out with more advanced snowboarders. At first, I just stuck to the greens/blues by myself, but I eventually just taught myself how to get down from blacks relatively safely without falling much. People definitely gave me advice on keeping skis parallel and close together, but I've never become comfortable doing it. The few times I tried putting them close together i just fell so I stuck to my wider stance that made me feel more stable and in control.

 

Nowadays, my overall comfort level is very dependent on conditions. There are some perfectly groomed really steep runs where I can just almost go straight down very fast and still feel in control. There are some blue runs where I don't feel in control going fast because I'm afraid my skis will get caught in something and I'll fall. I definitely do a lot of work when I ski. It's a lot of powering my way down, lifting my skis whenever possible to go over bumps or anything that might trip me, and putting almost all my weight on the ski that's closer to the bottom of the mountain to prevent myself from sliding down when I'm sort of facing diagonally down the mountain. In terms of hitting the tips of my skis together, I brought it up because when I used rentals before, I really enjoyed going over moguls with my technique where I have to quickly switch around my skis over the bumps. Nowadays, I just tend to hit the tips in front as I do a combination of "pizza" and parallel down the mountain, which isn't ideal I know. So overall, it's probably a combination of technique with not doing parallels, having longer skis than what I can control well, and not being a "strong" person in general in terms of being able to easily carry my skis and holding myself up well.

 

As for boots, I currently have the Nordica Speedmachine 8 in size 22.5. It gets a bit sloppy and loose by the end of the day sometimes, but I'm happy with it overall. I can probably do a narrower boot in the future although I have bigger calves in general. I remember trying Salomon Idol or Divine in a store one time and it seemed to fit well.

post #16 of 17

I greatly admire your ability to self assess and technique awareness. Taking your valuable information into account and after reading how the thread has developed IMHO it sounds like-

1 - get boots checked and replace if necessary.  'gets a bit sloppy and loose by the end of the day sometimes' is a big clue. You are developed to the point you need a 'performance' rather than 'comfort' fit. Read this Wiki before you go see a bootfitter. http://www.epicski.com/f/73/ask-the-boot-guys so you will know if they know what they are doing.

2 - take a private or small group lesson with a highly qualified instructor who can diagnose strengths and weaknesses

3- demo skis after solidifying your technique

4- buy skis

Maybe I missed it in the thread but I didn't see mention of the common back seat issue for women due to their lower centre of gravity.

post #17 of 17

OK, this clarifies a lot.  I was very confused because you said you are an advanced skier but your description of your problems did not fit an "advanced" profile.  You have at least two things working against you.  First is definitely a technique issue.  You need to learn to make parallel turns, but your boots do not need to be together, shoulder width apart is fine.  You cannot correct this on your own, you need lessons, probably several because your bad habits have become pretty ingrained.  I did basically the same thing you did, taught myself to ski, but I did figure out how to do parallel turns, but over the course of 40+ years developed just about every bad habit known.  When I decided I wanted to unlearn those things, it took me 4 years of 2-3 hour sessions every Sunday for 10 weeks for 4 years plus a year of teaching and clinics.  It wasn't fun but I did it.  When you sign up for lessons tell them outright that you cannot do parallel turns and that is your priority.  If you tell them you're an advanced skier you will most likely be put with people significantly better than you and nobody will have fun.  The second issue is that your boots are too big, period.  You need to get boots that fit and the ones you have do not.  Just because you can get your feet into them doesn't mean they're the right size.  Your boots are a 100mm last and I'm guessing you need a 96 or 97mm last.  The boots will hinder your performance.  I think there is probably a third issue that also relates to technique and I would bet money on it that you ski in the back seat, hips behind your heels.  This will cause you to not have control over the skis and unless you're fairly strong and understand what is happening you won't be able to correct it.  Again this is something that a good instructor can help you with.  Also with that business of always picking up one foot.  At this point I'm not convinced you need shorter skis, but an instructor who can actually observe your skiing might think differently.

 

I realize this may come across as harsh, but it is not intended to be, just honest and it is something I would convey in person if you were my student.  I am honest with my students, I will tell them what they are doing wrong and I will also tell them what they are doing right.

 

Good luck and let us know how you progress.


Edited by mtcyclist - 11/17/12 at 9:57pm
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