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Ive been renting my whole life...need help buying gear

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have been skiing since I was 5 and I am now 18, my parents always just opted for me renting gear in order to avoid having to buy new gear whenever I grew. Now that I am going to be moving to switzerland for college, we have decided investing in skis now would be the best plan. Since I have always rented I am in no way familiar with what I really like so I figured you guys could help me out if I told you the type of skier I am.

 

I prefer bowl skiing and glade skiing mostly. Most of my skiing consists of finding little run to pop into the woods and pop back onto the trail, and hitting every single random jump I can find. I also greatly enjoy terrain parks, as well as powdery bowls.While renting skis I began to prefer twin tip skis, so I  really think I would be most comfortable buying a pair of twin tip skis. That being said, I will be in Crans-Montana which does not have nearly as much glade skiing as the colorado skiing I am used to. I think I would like to concentrate on terrain park as well as bowls while I am in switzerland.

 

I realize I have just given you a list of erratic thoughts. But any help you can lend me would be greatly appreciated, I want to make sure I buy gear that I will enjoy.

 

 

I suppose I should mention that I am in the market for boots, bindings, skis, and I suppose poles? 

post #2 of 7

Welcome to EpicSki.  Congratulations on going to Switzerland for college.  It is very important that you buy boots first, here in the US from a competent boot fitter.  From what I have read on here, boot fitters are almost as rare as a Dodo in Europe.  So, first, go the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum and read the wikis on fitting and terminology.  Then check the "Who's Who" for a fitter near you and make an appointment.  Do that now so you can then ski and get any tweaks done to the boots before you go to Europe.  Boots are the single most important piece of gear you will get for skiing, so do it right to begin with and they will last several years.  If there isn't a boot fitter listed near you, ask here and someone will be able to recommend one.

post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

Welcome to EpicSki.  Congratulations on going to Switzerland for college.  It is very important that you buy boots first, here in the US from a competent boot fitter.  From what I have read on here, boot fitters are almost as rare as a Dodo in Europe.  So, first, go the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum and read the wikis on fitting and terminology.  Then check the "Who's Who" for a fitter near you and make an appointment.  Do that now so you can then ski and get any tweaks done to the boots before you go to Europe.  Boots are the single most important piece of gear you will get for skiing, so do it right to begin with and they will last several years.  If there isn't a boot fitter listed near you, ask here and someone will be able to recommend one.

Good advice.

A pair of great-fitting boots shold be your primary concern at this point. Once you've got a decent pair of boots - and possibly a set of poles - you should be able to demo skis wherever you happen to be skiing (but I'm not sure how many shops demo skis in Switzerland). Worst case scenario - you can pick up a closeout or a used pair of skis online after you've done a bit of research on the most approriate ski for your size, style and typical skiing condions/terrain.

post #4 of 7

Hey Ryan,

 

The guys who posted above me are 100% correct about the boots. Good skiing technique starts with how your foot interacts with your boot, so a good fit is extremely helpful. That said, you aren't asking about boots. You're asking about skis, so here are some thoughts on that.

 

It sounds to me like you'll want a ski that's between 90-100mm wide underfoot. If you can find it, a nice mix of camber/early rise would also be ideal for you. These traits are going to make the ski super versatile when it comes to riding the whole mountain, from bowls to park. Having a waist in this range will give you a solid platform for park skiing, without being so wide that the ski is too cumbersome to throw tricks on. Adding that camber/early rise combo will help the ski float on the softer snow, keep it playful in the park, and allow it to still hold an edge when you're cruising the groomers.

 

The other thing you'll want to consider strongly is the flex of the ski. Do you prefer something softer, or something stiffer? In the world of park skiing, these two types of skis are used for two different approaches. A softer ski will give you more of a "surfy" feel, allowing you to learn butters and presses. On the other hand, a stiffer ski is preferable for bigger jumps and rails where you'll be landing with some force and need your ski to be there for you. Bowl skiing is also preference with this... If you prefer to rip the bowl at higher speeds, go stiff. If you like to make your way down gracefully, a softer ski could be more fun.

 

Personally, my skiing style seems pretty similar to yours. I spend my time about 50/50 between the terrain park and searching out powder stashes around the mountain. Right now, I'm riding the 2013 Kung Fujas and am really happy with how it handles the whole mountain. It has that hybrid camber/early rise combo I mentioned, and measures in at 102mm underfoot. For me, that's the perfect width for a ski that can take on anything. Without knowing the width of the rentals you've been skiing though, this ski might be too big of a step up.

 

If that's the case, you might want to check out this 2011 K2 Revival Ski Package. This ski is 90mm underfoot, a solid park ski, and this package comes with the Dalbello Boss boot, which would be perfect for your style of skiing.

 

If you have any more questions or would like some more suggestions, shoot me a private message and we can talk! Good luck with the search Ryan!

 

-Matt @ Skiessentials.com

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiessentials View Post

 you aren't asking about boots. 

 

Actually he did mention that he also needs boots, last sentence of his post.

post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

 

Actually he did mention that he also needs boots, last sentence of his post.

Fair enough, I must've looked over that last sentence. Either way, I'm glad I was able to address what appears to be his biggest concern. On that note, let me address his other two areas of interest: bindings and poles.

 

Bindings: This is always an area of mixed opinion, so it's probably worth hearing a few other opinions besides mine on this topic. If you plan to be skiing in the terrain park, one of your biggest concerns should definitely be durable. From my experience, this mostly means that you should avoid price point bindings. Typically cheaper bindings are made using mostly plastic. In the park, you're going to end up cracking these pieces. In my opinion, some of the most durable bindings are the Rossignol FKS 14, Marker Griffon, and Salomon STH 14. All of these bindings feature metal pieces and from my experiences, seem to be pretty sturdy.

 

Another idea to consider is whether or not the heel of the binding pivots laterally. From the suggestions I've listed, the only binding to do that is the Rossignol FKS 14. The benefit to a pivoting heel is that it allows your bindings to release in the event of a fall in which your heel experiences a good amount of torque. I personally ride these bindings for just that reason. Some people will argue that this leads to pre releases, but that definitely hasn't been my experience. Again, bindings are a heavily opinionated area of ski equipment.

 

Finally, it's worth knowing that Marker's Royal Family (like the Marker Griffon) claims the widest footprint of any bindings on the market. The argument here is that a wider binding will help get your power to the edges of a wider ski more effectively. In my previous post I was suggesting a ski between 90mm-100mm, which would be a perfect candidate for a wide binding like the Marker Griffon. A lot of people would argue with this claim, and seeing as I ride the Rossignol FKS 14, I can't speak from experience on this one.

 

Poles: In all honesty, poles are really the least important part of your set up. Essentially, there's three types of poles available at the moment. You have aluminum poles, carbon poles, and adjustable poles. In your case, I'd recommend with aluminum poles or possibly adjustable poles. I'd steer clear of carbon poles though, because they're pretty pricey and prone to breaking if you're skiing in the terrain park. When carbon poles break, they don't just bend. They actually shatter and you'll probably be finding invisible carbon fibers in your hands for weeks. 

 

Aluminum poles are going to be the most price effective, and probably your best bet. A decent pair of aluminum poles, such as the Salomon Brigade Team Pole, would be a solid choice. These poles are light weight and durable, and while they might get a bit banged up, they should easily last a season or two in the park.

 

In your case, you might actually consider an adjustable pole as well. Poles of this style are growing in popularity amongst freestyle oriented skiers who hit both the back bowls as well as the park. The reasoning is simple. In the park, you don't need long poles to get around, and they can actually get in the way and cause problems when you're in the middle of a trick. On the other hand, a longer pole can be of huge assistance in the backcountry where you might need a little extra help getting around. The K2 50th Anniversary Party Ski Pole would be a great choice from this category. It's light weight, very simple to adjust, and has a wide range of sizes. This pole would let you decide on the spot how long you want your poles to be.

 

Hopefully I didn't overwhelm you with this response! I know it's a lot to take in, so once again, feel free to shoot me a message if you have any questions. Good luck with your search!

 

- Matt @ Skiessentials.com

post #7 of 7

Good advice so far...I have only skied my recently purchased Head Rock N Rolls (94 mm under foot twin tip with early rise tip/tail) once and don`t do much in the park, but they seem to fit the bill of what you are looking for (and what skiessentials recommended).

 

Have a great time in Switzerland, but remember that skiing off piste there is different than here.  Going off of marked trails there is similar to back country skiing here- you are responsible for your own safety, evaluating the snow conditions, etc.  Try to get some avy training/equipment, hook up with some guides or experienced locals who know what they are doing and play it safe.

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