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Best quick turning all mountain ski for northeast ice and crud?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I ski in the northeast in icy crud conditions. I ski mostly groomers and bump trails but also woods and glades. I have been using a slalom ski for the past 7 years because other skis I have tried feel sluggish compared to the edge bit and turn of a SL ski. The problem I have is I am starting to think that my race stock SL skis are too stiff for what I am using them for. My legs turn to jelly after a half day and they are stiff in the woods. I have been looking into the blizzard 8.5 and élan wave flex, any opinions on these skis? I would like to switch but I don't want to loose responsiveness and edge bite. Any suggestions? Thanks
post #2 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by harbor17 View Post

Hi everyone,

I ski in the northeast in icy crud conditions. I ski mostly groomers and bump trails but also woods and glades. I have been using a slalom ski for the past 7 years because other skis I have tried feel sluggish compared to the edge bit and turn of a SL ski. The problem I have is I am starting to think that my race stock SL skis are too stiff for what I am using them for. My legs turn to jelly after a half day and they are stiff in the woods. I have been looking into the blizzard 8.5 and élan wave flex, any opinions on these skis? I would like to switch but I don't want to loose responsiveness and edge bite. Any suggestions? Thanks

Responsiveness and edge grip in a high end ski, is mainly based on the tune.

 

Do you tune your own skis ?

 

My Volkl Kendos have a 1 and 3 tune. They have great edge hold and are very light and easy to ski. My buddy skis on Mantra's which he tunes at .5 and 3.

 

We ski Okemo every weekend. We both touch up our skis after each day. My old AC40's still a ton of camber and great edge grip, They must have about 150 day's on them. They have only been a machine on more then two times, my kendos with over 60 day's have never been on a machine.

 

You need to get to a demo day and try some skis, all the high end skis are good, some just better for you.

post #3 of 18

An SL race ski is going to be, as they say, wicked stiff.  Probably not much fun in the bumps or in tight trees.

 

Quote:
Responsiveness and edge grip in a high end ski, is mainly based on the tune.

 

Any ski that's stiff enough (especially torsionally) will grip if it has a good tune.  (Except maybe some crazy reverse cambered models.)  If a ski is too soft relative to your weight and speed, it won't grip on really hard ice even if it's sharp -- it'll skid out rather than hold a carve.  On soft or even 'packed' snow you can get away with less stiffness.

 

'Responsiveness' is a squishier concept.  The wider a ski, the further you have to lever your knees over to really get up on edge, so that tends to make them feel 'slower' on groomed slopes.  Dampening can also change how 'quick' a ski feels.

 

You're not going to find anything that still feels like an SL race ski on ice while improving significantly in the bumps and off-piste.

 

Something like the:

 

Blizzard Magnum 8.0 or 8.5

Kastle MX83 or MX88

Head Supershape Titan

 

are all 'wide carvers' that will still rip pretty good on groomers (albeit with a significantly longer natural radius than an SL race ski) but should be much better behaved off-piste.  There are lots of other options here, those are just ones I liked.

post #4 of 18

When you say "slalom ski", what exactly have you been on?  Something FIS legal, the "citizen racer" version of the FIS legal ones, something with a short turn radius, etc?

 

I've spent a little time on the Blizzard 8.5ti.  They aren't soft by any stretch of the imagination.  I think they're a good bump ski -- if you are proactive about the absorption / extension movements.  I've found the early-rise tip will engage beautifully even on rock-hard "snow" if you work the ski tip-to-tail.  If you stay "neutral", they'll work, but won't give you a "wow".

 

Skis that are great in bumps and trees are rarely money on the groomers and vice versa.  Groomer zoomer skis are known for hooking up and sending you across the hill in a carve, which is basically the last thing you want in bumps and trees.  Groomer zoomer skis also tend to be on the stiffer side to deal with the forces that a high-performance groomer turn can generate; again, stiffness isn't necessarily your friend in bumps and trees where you need the ski to bend readily in order to stay in contact with the snow.

post #5 of 18

Demo a "front side carver", something like the Fischer Progressor 900.  Will give you most of the hard snow grip of a race ski but more versatility. 

post #6 of 18

Two great all mountain skis for eastern skiing- Nordica Fire Arrow Pro and Blizzard Bonafide.  They will carve and hold just about anything and they are fun in eastern trees and glades. They also have a wide enough shovel to handle crud in the spring.

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by loafer View Post

Two great all mountain skis for eastern skiing- Nordica Fire Arrow Pro and Blizzard Bonafide.  They will carve and hold just about anything and they are fun in eastern trees and glades. They also have a wide enough shovel to handle crud in the spring.

 

 

Those are drastically different skis.  The Fire Arrow Pro is 80mm underfoot (it's another 'wide carver' like the ones I mentioned above), the Bonafide is 98mm.  Though they could make a decent two ski quiver.  If you're looking for one all-around ski for NE, I'd look more in 78-88mm widths than 98.

 

I demoed the Bonafide last year.  While it was well-behaved on groomed snow for a ski that wide, I'm not sure I'd want to actually take it out on New England-style ice/hardpack.  It's probably stiff enough for most people, but it's probably not going to inspire confidence.  It will certainly be very capable off-piste and pretty good in crud.  But it will ski VERY differently than a race slalom ski.

post #8 of 18

Merely suggesting two skis worth consideration.  I would not consider the Fire Arrow Pro a wide carver.  It has a turning radius of 14.2 m at 172cm.  It is extremely quick. Will make any size turn. Holds great on ice. Does not have a top speed limit and works very well in all but deep powder.  The Bonafide is more of a wide carver.  It has metal in it and holds extremely well. As pointed out it is 98mm under foot so it floats much better then the Fire Arrow.  It's turn shape can be easily adapted and it is also quick edge to edge. Neither are SL skis but that is the point. 

post #9 of 18
The Bushwackers are extremely versatile in the form snow arena of the northeast.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by loafer View Post

I would not consider the Fire Arrow Pro a wide carver. 

 

That's relatively wide for a 'carving' ski.  The SpeedMachines (which they don't make anymore) and the Dobermann race skis are dedicated hard snow carvers.

 

Quote:
The Bonafide is more of a wide carver.  It has metal in it and holds extremely well. As pointed out it is 98mm under foot so it floats much better then the Fire Arrow.  It's turn shape can be easily adapted and it is also quick edge to edge. Neither are SL skis but that is the point.

 

The Bonafide is a great ski, but I would not call it particularly quick on groomers, nor a 'carver'.  It's metal-reinforced and can hold an edge, but it won't perform like a Blizzard Magnum series ski on hard snow.

 

If you want a ski that goes everywhere, it's certainly an option.  A lot of people ski those (or something like them) as a one ski quiver out West.  IMO that's pretty wide for most East Coast skiing, unless you ski somewhere way up north like Jay Peak that has lots of off-piste and gets and holds enough snow to go off the trails consistently.

post #11 of 18

What about the Blizzard Brahma?  Basically an 88mm Bonafide, as I understand.  Has metal, width is more suitable to east coast, yet it's more 'freeride-oriented" than the Magnum, so it should handle the bumps and trees with aplomb, yet still stand tall on the groomers?

 

On a somewhat related note, I already have a SL 67mm ski and a 75mm GS ski for East Coast work, but they get rocked in the bumps and trees.  So I'm looking at the Bonafide to round out the quiver.  However, I'm VERY interested in the Brahma, considering it rather than the Bonafide as a 1-ski go-to quiver to do just about anything very capably.

 

Instead of specific tools that can be left wanting in other conditions, perhaps go with the Brahma as a strong multi-tool instead???

post #12 of 18

I've been very pleased with my Salomon Enduro XT 800 (~79 width, slight tip rocker) on eastern groomers and ice this year.  There hasn't been enough snow where I am for moguls yet this season, but I skied them in spring crud in the Cascades last April and they worked well in that snow too.  I'm going to the ASIA Belleayre Bumpfest this weekend, so I'll get a better sense.  (And fingers crossed on this upcoming "blizzard"!)

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Has anyone skied the head rev 80? They look like some decent skis that would fit my criteria for east coast crust and ice with some tree skiing mixed in.
post #14 of 18

My Fischer RX8 has great grip, a tight turn radius, and is great in the bumps.  If you don't mind skiing under the powder (when there is powder), it's fine in the trees too.  I would expect the Fischer Progressor 800 or 900 to ski similar to the RX8.

 

Bliz Magnum 8.0 or 8.5 would certainly be worth a demo. 

 

One of my friends loves his new Head Peak 84s for the kind of skiing you're talking about.

 

STE

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post

Skis that are great in bumps and trees are rarely money on the groomers and vice versa.  Groomer zoomer skis are known for hooking up and sending you across the hill in a carve, which is basically the last thing you want in bumps and trees.  Groomer zoomer skis also tend to be on the stiffer side to deal with the forces that a high-performance groomer turn can generate; again, stiffness isn't necessarily your friend in bumps and trees where you need the ski to bend readily in order to stay in contact with the snow.

 

Exactly. So, harbor17, you say "I would like to switch but I don't want to loose [sic] responsiveness and edge bite." You can't have your cake and eat it too. I submit that if you want a ski that's easier in trees and bumps, you do want to lose responsiveness and edge bite. Or at the very least you want to redefine it. You can lean toward one extreme or the other. Something like one of the wider Head Supershapes, leaning toward the groomer side, will still be fairly slalom-y / carve-y but a little bit easier going off piste because of the softer tips and little bit of extra width. On the other hand something like a Bushwacker is going to be way more toward the slithery end of things. Midway between are models like the Rossi E 88, which is wider than the Heads but has a more carve-y sidecut than the Bushwackers. You need to demo. Also be good to know where you ski and how big you are.

post #16 of 18

I think you should try a Blizzard Magnum 8.0, either the CA or the TI.  I'm on the 172 CA, 5'9" 170lbs, Level 8 skier.  Although it has a 17m turn radius, it does shorter turns really well as you can really bend it, it has good edge grip, and the slight rocker helps in bumps and spring skiing.  The CA has no metal (CA is Carbon) the Ti has Titanium.  I got the CA for more bump versatility, but you should demo both to see what you like.

 

One of the best skis I've ever skied for East Coast skiing.  Yes the "better" skiers ski the 8.5 or the Experience 88, but I think 80 under foot is a much better width for the East Coast.  I've skied the E88's and found them a bit slow edge to edge, but that was just me.  It's another ski you might want to try out.

post #17 of 18

harbor, do you have an opportunity to demo?

 

If you enjoy the turning radius of a SL ski but find them too stiff, try the Head Integrale 009. It's a great carver. It's also soft enough to take into eastern bumps. While I ski Whistler and the lower mainland mountains a lot, we do have lots of hardpack due to skier volume and fluctuating temperatures. I wouldn't go huge with this ski either. 170cm is long enough for me at 6', 165lbs (levels are subjective, but I'm about to take the CSIA level 3 exam). 

 

The Head Magnum's another good option. It's also more expensive. Also consider the Nordica Dobermann Spitfire EDT XBI CT. Personally, I have yet to find a ski wider than 75mm that I enjoy on piste. Anything wider takes way too much effort to put on edge.

 

I find the peak 84 is a terrible ski for carving (relative to other choices). It's too soft, and slow edge to edge. 

post #18 of 18

Very well put mate.

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