Hello All! This is my first time posting in these forums - I have read all the guidelines for what information to provide, and have spent way too many hours ready through threads (wife told me she would kill me if i did not get off the ipad last night), so I thought I would jump on here and ask you experts for some advice.
This might be a long post, but I want to make sure you have all the info you need to offer up some of your golden ideas!
A bit of critical data for you:
WHERE I SKI: I am lucky enough to live in Vancouver, BC and ask such have access to 3 mountains within a 1 hour drive, as well as Whistler/Blackcomb and Big White within easily access. I have been up to Whistler this year a couple of times, and last year as well. I am at our best smaller mountain about once per week. At the end of February I will be heading out to Big White for a 5 day trip, which is largely why I want to get something new!
MY LEVEL: I like to say I am an intermediate at this point. I used to ski a lot when I was young, then took a 12 year hiatus and got back into it at the beginning of the season last year. Went up to the mountain once on rentals, remembered how much I love the sport, and bought skis the next day. I comfortably ski all blues. I can get down black runs on the big mountains like Whistler, but not with a lot of confidence. Greens are too easy.
WHAT CONDITIONS/TERRAIN: Generally speaking, I ski mostly groomers. I am starting to get off trail just a bit, and also getting more into bumps, trees, and other terrain. Sometimes I get lucky on the days I can go skiing for a full day, and its fresh snow, sometimes a bit of powder. Other times, especially when I am night skiing, it may not have snowed for a few days at all and can be quite hard and icy. Generally speaking, I just want to ski and I do not discriminate against the terrain unless it has been freeze/thaw for 10 days with no new snow (hurt myself bad last year trying that)
HOW OFTEN DO I SKI/HOW MUCH PER YEAR: Looks like on average I will get up to the mountain 25-30 times per year, or at least 25 to 30, 3-8 hour sessions of skiing.
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: I am tall and slim - 6'2" and about 175lbs +/- 5lbs depending on how busy I have been at work : ). I am in decent shape, but not longer an athlete all the time, so I feel like that area could use improvement. My legs are never rubber or sore at the end of the day - but by the end of a fast run with lots of hard turns they are certainly burning a bit.
WHY DO I FEEL THE NEED TO BUY: Honestly, I made the mistake that I think a lot of people make when they get started. I got excited, and thought "I am going to buy skis at a decent price in the beginner category so that I can learn quickly on something that is easy to ski, and then upgrade later". Part two of the mistake came when I bought at a big box store (sport chek) and took the advice of someone who probably had no business giving it to me. I wound up with the absolute bottom end atomic skis (you cannot even find them on atomic's website and I think they were specifically made for big box stores to sell as cheap beginner skis). They are honestly awesome beginner skis, super easy to ski, but I outgrew them by day 4. They are also too short - 170cm in length. They have a very short turn radius at something like 14m, and they are sloppy at speed.
My main issue with them is that I do not want to keep skiing on these super soft, too short skis, not just because they are very unstable at speed, but also because I want to keep pushing myself and learning. I also do not want to get too used to these skis because I fear that I will develop bad habits, and moving into something bigger and better will be a drastic change that I won't enjoy.
On top of that, did I mention Big White for 5 straight days of skiing!?
WHAT ARE MY CONCERNS?:
- I do not want to go too long, because I am not super heavy and I enjoy making quick/short turns, as well as long sweeping turns.
- I do not want to go too stiff, because I will be skiing some with my wife, and she likes to go slow. So I don't want to have to work too much harder to make turns while going slower (if that makes sense). Skis above 90mm waists start to intimidate me as I am used to the piddly 77.
WHAT DO I WANT TO ACHIEVE:
A slightly wider ski, looking at options around 90mm under foot. Something that I can ski at at around 180cm length (give or take a couple). Most importantly, I want something that I will literally feel comfortable with on all terrain, in all conditions. I would sacrifice powder performance for more carving/groomer/hardpack performance. Ideally by next year I want to be skiing 60-70% on piste, and 30-40% off piste, but I need something that I can actually go off-piste with so I can feel a little more comfortable doing so. Lastly, I would like something that I can ski comfortably now, that will push me to be better, that I will not outgrow too soon.
I also would like to spend no more than $500-$700 on skis, so those crazy kastle's are out!
WHAT AM I CONSIDERING:
I have looked at a lot of options - some of the skis I have been considering heavily are:
Salomon Rocker 2 90
Atomic Panic & Atomic Theory
Line Prophet 90
Rossignol experience 88 (worried they may be too stiff)
Does a wider turn radius make much of a difference?
I have heard that Salomon's quality is not as high as some of the other brands, true?
Thanks in advance all. I come to you because I feel like even the guys at the reputable shops don't care about all this information. They simply say "where do you ski?" and then proceed to tell me "you will have fun on X or Y ski?"