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Would be Extremely Grateful for Some Advice

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hello all, I just found this site very recently and it is certainly jam packed with some quality info.  I would appreciate any advice that you can give me regarding the purchase of some new gear.  I thought the sport was behind me, and so I gave everything away. 

 

A little bit about me.  I'm 40 years old, 5.5 1/2 feet tall, and weigh about 170 give or take.  I'm not in the best physical shape of my life, but slowly getting back into a healthy routine, so hope to chip some of that extra weight off.

 

I started skiing when I was about 8 years old, and kept at it consistently until my 20's.  I live in Baltimore, MD, so all of my skiing has been done on East Coast slopes.  In my prime I could confidently navigate my way down any slope without much difficulty.  I went skiing last weekend, had a blast, and so I'm going to pick the sport back up (It was also the first time I skied on parabolics if you can believe it).  Plus my wife is a skier, and we want to introduce our 6 year old girls to the sport as well.

 

I'm going to Vail with some friends at the end of February, but the majority of my skiing will most likely be East Coast (unless my girls love it, and then we venture out West for family vacays).

 

Anyway, the mountains around me are small and don't offer demos, and neither do my local ski shops.  So I'm in a quandry.  Not having been skiing in a long time, I lost touch with all of the technology, and I have absolutely no idea what skis and boots I should be looking for (I have a wide foot BTW).

 

I don't even know how to classify my level of ability b/c it has been so long since I have skied on a consistent basis.  I was shaky on my first couple of runs this past weekend, but by the end of the day I had improved immensely.  I can't really see myself getting back into the bumps hardcore (but you never know).  I'm looking for something that will suit me fine regardless of the conditions (Ice, pack, or pow).  I doubt that I will be super aggressive in my skiing style anymore, but then again, who knows.

 

What gear would you all recommend?  I need skis, boots, and bindings that will suit me fine both at home and out West.  Also, my last pair of skis were 160s, but they were not parabolics so I don't even know what size ski I need.

 

Please help.  Thanks SO much!!!

post #2 of 25

Welcome to EpicSki, titleesq.  Without going too far into detail, you might consider starting out in the 80-90mm waist width range for skis.  There are several review threads for skis in this range, so try out the search function near the top of the page.  All the ski magazines have gear review issues, and you might check out the local book stores for a copy.  With the airlines making it a pain to haul skis, you might consider renting demo skis at Vail and buy a dedicated east coast ski.  And put boots at the top of your shopping list.  They come first.  Look for something with 70-90 flex rating.  That will usually put you in a 100-102mm width shell for your wide feet.

 

Renting and demo'ing skis are two different things.  Rental gear is usually pretty beat up, but demo gear is normally lightly used high end equipment that if you like it you can usually buy it and take it home right then.

post #3 of 25

Welcome to EpicSki!  I'm down in NC but ski in northern VA so know what you mean about how small the ski areas are in the Mid-Atlantic.  But they are more than enough for kids to learn and have a great time.

 

I suggest you take a look at the basic articles related to buying gear (boots and skis).  Click on Articles in the top menu bar.  This one is particularly important:

 

http://www.epicski.com/a/ski-boots-the-most-important-piece-of-gear-you-will-own

 

There are several good ski shops with boot fitters in the DC area.  I heard about the Ski Center the most.  You might also check out DCSki.com for advice about where to go shopping.  You may not need skis quite yet.

 

You might find some useful info in the Family Skiing sub-forum under Resorts for your girls.

 

I'm on older parent who started skiing again when my daughter was 4.  I took her to the Massanutten ski school.  Happily for me, she loved it from Day 1.  Also her cousin who lives in DC joined us for a few ski days over the years.  My daughter is a tween now and we spend most weekends in Jan-Feb at Massanutten.  We starting going out to Alta for her spring break when she was 7.  In my case, my husband is a non-skier.  He helps out by being the pet sitter when the two of us going off on ski trips. rolleyes.gif

post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks Spike.  I'm going to search 80-90mm waist skis ASAP!!!

 

I like your idea of not shlepping my skis all the way to Vail, and just getting a demo pair.  Thanks for that.

 

Any thoughts on boots?
 

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 

In my case, my husband is a non-skier.  He helps out by being the pet sitter when the two of us going off on ski trips. rolleyes.gif

That is AWESOME!!!!

post #6 of 25

Boots are your first priority, as they need to transfer all your movements to whatever skis you're on.  The name of the game is "boot fitter".  Without a bootfitter, it's an expensive lottery with bad odds.  Try to find one within driving distance of your home.  If you can't find a fitter, at least learn how to do a shell fit.  Here are some links:

 

http://www.epicski.com/wiki/boot-fitting-which-boot-will-work-for-me

http://www.epicski.com/a/boot-fitters-on-epicski

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/3986/epicski-index-of-boot-fitting-masters

 

As for skis, take a look at the Blizzard Bushwacker in a 166.  It's a well-regarded general purpose ski, 88mm underfoot.

post #7 of 25

There are two good bootfitters in DC at the Ski Center off Mass Ave near AU. Both named Brian.

 

For skiing the little icy hills you'll spend 90% of your time on, I'd recommend something a bit more narrow than the 80-90 ski. Something in the mid 70s to very low 80s.  Ice hold is the primary challenge and you are not going to see enough powder at Roundtop or Wisp to worry about needing width for float. I would guess that last year they got something like 3 inches of snow total. Average is probably below 20 so you'll be on machine made except for travel or 1 storm a year. I would guess Roundtop is probably closest to you and that is a nice learning hill. I'd recommend a few visits before your trip out west.

post #8 of 25

As far as boots brand doesn't matter--they're all good, the trick is fit.  They all tend to fit different shaped feet and a good bootfitter will know what brands to try. As far as stiffness, with your background, 70-90 seems a little soft, maybe 90-100.  Keep in mind the liners will pack out over about 5 days so boots that feel great in the shop may be too loose after they pack out.  Also a fitter can make a boot bigger, within limits, and softer, but not smaller or stiffer. A good fitter will usually guarantee the fit, with all necessary adjustments free,  for a period of time after purchase. 

BTW I like what you said " ... unless my girls love it . . . Right attitude.

post #9 of 25

What's even better is that he doesn't worry too much about the shopping bill for ski equipment. biggrin.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

In my case, my husband is a non-skier.  He helps out by being the pet sitter when the two of us going off on ski trips. rolleyes.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by titleesq View Post


That is AWESOME!!!!

 

After renting for a couple seasons, the first skis I bought were on the short side . . . on purpose.  I knew I'd be spending a fair amount of time going around with a little kid for a few years.  A lot easier to ski backwards with shorter skis.  Plus gave me time to get better on shaped skis.  I have always had my own boots as an adult.  First 4-buckle ones were a previous year model bought during early season sales.  Still have them and sometimes use them for oddball conditions like we are going to have this weekend with temps in the 60's at Massanutten.  By the time I was ready for good boots with more customization, I'd found a good boot fitter who was local.

 

While I take my all-mountain skis with me for trips out west, I'm quite prepared to rent demo skis if I'm lucky enough to catch fresh snow.  One one trip to Tahoe my ski buddy (family friend, his wife doesn't ski) tried to get away with regular rentals.  He has old carvers that he only takes on trips to the northeast.  He had a lot of trouble with 10+ inches of powder.  Ended up renting on mountain the day it really snowed at Squaw.

post #10 of 25
Quote:

There are two good bootfitters in DC at the Ski Center off Mass Ave near AU. Both named Brian.

 

For skiing the little icy hills you'll spend 90% of your time on, I'd recommend something a bit more narrow than the 80-90 ski. Something in the mid 70s to very low 80s.  Ice hold is the primary challenge and you are not going to see enough powder at Roundtop or Wisp to worry about needing width for float. I would guess that last year they got something like 3 inches of snow total. Average is probably below 20 so you'll be on machine made except for travel or 1 storm a year. I would guess Roundtop is probably closest to you and that is a nice learning hill. I'd recommend a few visits before your trip out west.

 

I'll agree and disagree with that advice. I live in Northern Virginia, just outside DC. I ski mostly Timberline, WV now (and occasionally Blue Knob, PA), but I've got plenty of miles at Whitetail, Liberty, Roundtop, Seven Springs, Canaan Valley, Snowshoe and Wisp. I grew up in New England and ski 10-20 days a year out West.

 

Recommendation: 1) buy boots this year (well prior to your Vail ski trip so you can use them locally to tweak the fit.) If you can afford the $$ by investing for longer term, moldable liners and custom footbeds should be considered. 2) Don't buy skis w/o demo'ing. Your situation is way too difficult to predict. And you may find that the skis you like day 1 of a trip are different than day 4. Demo skis at Vail. Demo a variety of widths. Demo skis from local ski shop demo days. Ski Center, DC just had a demo day last Friday at Whitetail. Check out Ski Center, Ski Chalet (name is changing), Princeton Sports, Alpine House (Leesburg?) for local demo days. Manufacturers show up at the demo days, so you have better selection than the local ski area/ski shop rentals.

 

I buy my boots at Ski Center, along with a lot of my other gear. Brian Eardley and Brian Beaumont (prolly effed up the spelling of both their last names, apologies to both if they read this.) Both are absolutely top notch boot fitters. Edit: Schedule an appointment for boot fitting. If you can, avoid Sat and Sun afternoons. Ski shops are very busy during those times. You'll get more of their time during non-peak hours, and you won't feel as stressed making a decision. IIRC, Ski Center is open later at least one night a week (Thurs) and maybe others. Or take an afternoon off from work.

 

As to ski widths. Skis that ski well at Vail will likely ski very well in the Mid Atlantic, depending upon where you ski in the Mid Atlantic. Personally, if you think you'll ski out West one trip a year, don't buy skis that are geared just for hard-pack conditions, cuz they'll likely suck a bit at Vail. Why ski sucky skis on vacation? Ski width advice varies a bit for the different local Mid Atlantic areas (that you'll likely ski more often than Vail.) Roundtop and Liberty are closest to Balmer, and a narrower ski will likely do a bit better at those areas (generally high traffic, mostly man-made snow.) With more sun exposure due to it's orientation, a wider ski will do better at Whitetail. Whitetail can get some pretty sloppy, mashed-potato snow in the afternoon due to the sun. For weekend trips, the western areas in the Mid Atlantic get a fair amount of snow, so a wider ski would do well there. Timberline, Canaan Valley and Snowshoe average 150-200 inches a year. Wisp, I'd guess 150 inches. Seven Springs and Hidden Valley, roughly 100-150. Blue Knob, just a bit less than the last two. Some of the areas can get a bit icy, in particular Seven Springs due to higher skier traffic and Blue Knob due to exposure, but you'll get some powder at all the places.

 

My personal daily drivers at Timberline are 90 mm Line Prophet 90's. (My previous daily driver was ~78mm Elan 666's, but I now prefer the wider skis, even on groomed runs.) My rock skis (for tree skiing when the base is low) are Salomon Pocket Rockets (90 mm.) For Western trips, my daily drivers are 98 mm underfoot (Blizzard The One's.) I ski pretty much off-piste out West, but everywhere back in the Mid Atlantic.

 

Personal recommendation: 80-90 mm underfoot, possibly even up to 95 mm. I'd strongly advise against going narrower than 80mm. YMMV. Good luck and welcome back to the sport.
 


Edited by JohnL - 1/10/13 at 6:25pm
post #11 of 25
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 

I want to thank you ALL SO MUCH for the great advice.

 

You have no idea how much I appreciate everyone's suggestions.

 

This board ROCKS!!!!!!!!!

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Recommendation: 1) buy boots this year (well prior to your Vail ski trip so you can use them locally to tweak the fit.) If you can afford the $$ by investing for longer term, moldable liners and custom footbeds should be considered. 2) Don't buy skis w/o demo'ing. Your situation is way too difficult to predict. And you may find that the skis you like day 1 of a trip are different than day 4. Demo skis at Vail. Demo a variety of widths.

 

JohnL speaks the truth.  Definitely demo out West.

 

Focus on boots first.  Then work on skis.  If at all possible I'd suggest doing some demos even locally before buying.

post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 

Just wanted to update you all as to the decision that I made and hopefully get some feedback.  I decided to take everyone's advice and head out of Baltimore into DC to get fitted at The Ski Center.  Talked to one of the Brians before I headed out, and although he couldn't fit me, but he turned me on to one of his guys who he promised me was an extremely competent bootfitter.  I have a very wide foot and ended up with the Atomic Live Fit 80.

 

I know that it was suggested that I demo first, but they were having a great deal on the Blizzard Bushwacker's, and so I got  pair of those at 166.

 

Gonna hit the slopes tomorrow, although I don't expect conditions to be good b/c it's going to be in the high 50's, BUT my girls are going to have their FIRST SKI LESSON!!!!!

 

Thoughts on gear?

 

THANKS!!

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by titleesq View Post

Thoughts on gear?

The Bushwackers are a popular ski. I don't know the boots but, if they fit, they'll be fine for getting back into the sport. My main though on gear is to use it as often as you can. I hope you and the girls have a great time. Where are you headed?

post #16 of 25

Always a bit risky to buy before demo'ing (pretty much to match skier preference to ski), but the Bushwacker's are a real safe bet. You should like them both at Vail and locally. Let us know how they turn out.

 

I assume you don't have boots and skis mounted already?

 

If your girls are gonna take a lesson, why not splurge and take one yourself? Especially once you get your new gear.

post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post

The Bushwackers are a popular ski. I don't know the boots but, if they fit, they'll be fine for getting back into the sport. My main though on gear is to use it as often as you can. I hope you and the girls have a great time. Where are you headed?


We are just heading up to Ski Liberty.  Gotta go early to make it back in time to watch the Ravens beat the Broncos!!!!

 

It's only a 45 minute trip.

post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnL View Post

Always a bit risky to buy before demo'ing (pretty much to match skier preference to ski), but the Bushwacker's are a real safe bet. You should like them both at Vail and locally. Let us know how they turn out.

 

I assume you don't have boots and skis mounted already?

 

If your girls are gonna take a lesson, why not splurge and take one yourself? Especially once you get your new gear.


Actually, since I drove all the way from B-More to DC, the folks over at Ski Center were kind enough to mount them while I waited.

 

I am most DEFINITELY taking a lesson (no ego here), just not going to do it tomorrow cause a buddy of mine is tagging along.

post #19 of 25
Quote:
Actually, since I drove all the way from B-More to DC, the folks over at Ski Center were kind enough to mount them while I waited.

 

 

That is another thing I love about the place. If you have passion for the sport, they'll definitely go out of their way to assist you when they can. I'll bet their shop is real, real busy right now.

 

Quote:
I am most DEFINITELY taking a lesson (no ego here), just not going to do it tomorrow cause a buddy of mine is tagging along.

 

Probably best to get used to the new gear a couple of days before taking a lesson. Snow will be really soft tomorrow, hit it early if you can. I'm driving out to WV early in the AM to get some turns in this weekend.

 

I try to take a clinic or lesson every few years myself to keep up on things. I'm lucky in that one of the guys in my ski house is an instructor at Timberline. I usually ski several runs a day with the instructors (and drink a beer or two afterwards.) We'll talk about ski drills, etc. a bit.

 

Go Ravens! Great ballpark and great organization. Balmer is a great city; had plenty of fun there back in the day.
 

post #20 of 25

Good luck.  Sounds like you got some great gear, modern stuff.  You'll be amazed at how well it performs compared to the old stuff. 

post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I will be sure to report back.

Thanks again everyone for some great input. What an awesome resource..
post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'm happy to report that I had a great day on the slopes.  Was amazed at how responsive the skis were, and at high speeds there was little to no chatter.  The boots were slightly uncomfortable, with a hot spot on he outsole of my left foot.  I assume that I need some time to break the liner in and that the problem will go away.

 

I spent a good deal of time tweaking my form and technique and constantly asking my ski buddies to critique me and provide feedback.

 

The BEST news is that both of my girls said they LOVED it and cannot wait to go back. 

 

To all you parents of young skiers out there, how did your kids learn to ski?  Strictly from lessons or did you supplement lessons with your own instruction?  I normally have the patience of a saint when it comes to my kids, but attempting to take both of them down the slopes at the same time was brutal for me, and by our second run I was dripping with sweat, and totally losing it b/c one of my girls didn't listen to a thing I said, kept constantly running over my skis (which would normally not be that big of a deal, but it was my first day on them), and then kept blaming me every time she fell.

 

THANKS FOR EVERYTHING GUYS!!!

post #23 of 25

Hi, I'm glad you had a great time, Skiing with little kids is stressful, but still fun ofcouse. In my opinion there are e few different approaches with the kids, all of them dependant on age and how much you folks ski as a family. I was in a similar situation 6 or 7 years ago, after not skiing for 25 yrs or so.Trying to break straight ski habbits and work on our techniqe while worrying about, and trying to contain our kids is challenging and has to be a team effort, especially on a busy weekend day or holiday. Your local mountain race team is one option and I think the best, it accompishes 2 objectives at the same time,  but requires a serious time commitment. The second best option I think are the multi day programs and clinics/day camps that most places have for kids. They are a more laid back setting, and usually have two different skill levels with different goals, kind of like long group lessons. and will explore more of the mountain and different terrain once all the kids are at the required level. Sometimes they can include lunch or a snack/hot cocoa/SUGAR. It is also fun just to take them under your wing and let them go at their own pace, but requires more patients I guess, but everytime you take your hat/helmet of you will have more gray hair, and your wife and you will no doubt start bickering at some point during the day. After a few years though they all end up being good little skiers no matter how you go about it, as long as your out there every weekend, and keep at it, the racers are obviously more advanced. I hope all that helps somewhat, they are 13 (boy) and almost 11(girl) now and try to get last chair every time we ski.

 

Now lets get to "Ski Gear Discussion" and talk about Bushwackers. I also purchased that ski last year with out demoeing, and was on the fence about size. I am 5'5",, 160sh, and about the same skill level and fitness level but went with the 173cm. I love the ski and the confidence it inspires, and it is not overly stiff so it's extremely easy to use. While deffinately being happier in soft snow making medium to large turns, its also stable in the afternoon North E.trail crud. I can't find the 166 wacker, or even the black pearl locally here in Northern NY State for demo, and am curious as to how much moderate to high speed charging stability I would have to sacrafice for more maneuvability at low speeds and tight spaces.

 

After you ski them more, and especially take them out west, can you let me know how you like that size?

 

Happy New Year to you and Family, ski safe and have fun 


Edited by vwr1vwf - 1/14/13 at 1:02pm
post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vwr1vwf View Post

Hi, I'm glad you had a great time, Skiing with little kids is stressful, but still fun ofcouse. In my opinion there are e few different approaches with the kids, all of them dependant on age and how much you folks ski as a family. I was in a similar situation 6 or 7 years ago, after not skiing for 25 yrs or so.Trying to break straight ski habbits and work on our techniqe while worrying about, and trying to contain our kids is challenging and has to be a team effort, especially on a busy weekend day or holiday. Your local mountain race team is one option and I think the best, it accompishes 2 objectives at the same time,  but requires a serious time commitment. The second best option I think are the multi day programs and clinics/day camps that most places have for kids. They are a more laid back setting, and usually have two different skill levels with different goals, kind of like long group lessons. and will explore more of the mountain and different terrain. Sometimes they can include lunch or a snack/hot cocoa/SUGAR. It is also fun just to take them under your wing and let them go at their own pace, but requires more patients I guess, but everytime you take your hat/helmet of you will have more gray hair, and your wife and you will no doubt start bickering. After a few years they all end up being good little skiers no matter how you go about it, as long as your out there every weekend, and keep at it, the racers are obviously more advanced.

 

Now lets get to "Ski Gear Discussion" and talk about Bushwackers. I also purchased that ski last year with out demoeing, and was on the fence about size. I am 5'5",, 160sh, and about the same skill level and fitness level but went with the 173cm. I love the ski and the confidence it inspires, and it is not overly stiff so it's extremely easy to use. While deffinately being happier in soft snow making medium to large turns, its also stable in the afternoon North E.trail crud. I can't find the 166 wacker, or even the black pearl locally here in Northern NY State for demo, and am curious as to how much moderate to high speed charging stability I would have to sacrafice for more maneuvability at low speeds and tight spaces.

 

After you ski them more, and take them out west, can you let me know how you like that size?

 

Happy New Year to you and Family, ski safe and have fun 


Thanks for the input.  I put both girls (6 year old twins), in a 1/2 day ski camp.  That amounted to about 2 hours of instruction.  Will do the full day next time (two 2 hour sessions), but had to get home in time for the playoff game.

 

I will keep you posted as to how the Bushwackers are doing for me!!!!

 

Take care, and have a GREAT day!!!

post #25 of 25

Woohoo!  Sounds like a great day!  I was at Massanutten in the 60 degree weather this weekend.  The snow was pretty good all things considered.  The bonus was that it turned out to be a demo weekend by a ski shop in Charlottesville.  But to your question about kids . . .

 

You'll find some useful threads about teaching kids to ski.  Here are a couple to get you started:

 

http://www.epicski.com/a/money-and-time-saving-tips-for-parents-of-young-skiers

http://www.epicski.com/t/116804/teaching-kids

 

Lots more links in this article.  But maybe wait a while before diving in that deep.

 

http://www.epicski.com/a/teaching-children-to-ski

 

Although you are obviously not a beginner, might learn something from this thread for . . . uh . . . skiers who aren't in college any more.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/114722/tips-for-beginners-over-40-or-50-or

 

The best way to search for relevant threads is to use a directed Google search like "teaching kids: epicski".

 

Have fun!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by titleesq View Post

I'm happy to report that I had a great day on the slopes.  Was amazed at how responsive the skis were, and at high speeds there was little to no chatter.  The boots were slightly uncomfortable, with a hot spot on he outsole of my left foot.  I assume that I need some time to break the liner in and that the problem will go away.

 

I spent a good deal of time tweaking my form and technique and constantly asking my ski buddies to critique me and provide feedback.

 

The BEST news is that both of my girls said they LOVED it and cannot wait to go back. 

 

To all you parents of young skiers out there, how did your kids learn to ski?  Strictly from lessons or did you supplement lessons with your own instruction?  I normally have the patience of a saint when it comes to my kids, but attempting to take both of them down the slopes at the same time was brutal for me, and by our second run I was dripping with sweat, and totally losing it b/c one of my girls didn't listen to a thing I said, kept constantly running over my skis (which would normally not be that big of a deal, but it was my first day on them), and then kept blaming me every time she fell.

 

THANKS FOR EVERYTHING GUYS!!!

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