Hi, Geoff! Looks like you're fairly new here. You've come to the right place, as many who post here are just like you, and many others who post here are professionals, instructors, and/or true experts. I'm one of the people more like you - we're sort of at the middle of the mountain, so to speak, and we want to get to the top. Someome already mentioned lessons and that's right on. But you came here asking about skis.
First, some sales people or others will tell you to buy a ski that you'll "grow into". Balderdash! While some skis will surely suit you even as you get better and better, you'll go nowhere on a ski that you haven't yet "grown into". Choose a ski that works NOW.
It has been my very great pleasure, and avocation actually, to demo skis continually. Although I just bought a new pair of skis with which I am in love, I will continue to demo skis every chance I get. So I've been on a few pairs of skis, and I believe I've found some that you can enjoy right now - but they also will be great when you become an expert. I know this because even though they work really well for me, experts also love them and choose them.
My criteria for selecting these skis are (1) You can enjoy them right now as an intermediate. (2) You can continue to enjoy them as a true expert. (3) They are capable of helping you both on groomed slopes and in ungroomed snow such as powder, crud, bumps or trees. Here they are:Dynastar Intuitiv 71 -
This is a new, mid season introduction from Dynastar. For a person of your size and skills, the 167 cm length is all you'll need. These are the favorite skis of Stu Campbell, the instruction editor of Ski Magazine. He weighs about 190, is a primo instructor, and he skis them in the next longer length, 175 cm. Here are their positive charactaristics: Smooooth, and solid at any speed, including very fast. You will feel amazingly more confident going fast on these skis. They turn easily, both short turns and long turns. They turn easily at both slow speed and fast speeds. They are wide enough to handle natural snow, although obviously not at the same level as an all out freeride ski - but they're versatile. About the only "negatives", and I even hesitate to call them that, are that they are not super quick edge to edge, and they do not handle deep, heavy snow as well as some of the wider skis - but these really may be less important considerations at your level. Do not be surprised if the Dynastar Intuitiv 71 is named Ski of the Year. The feeling of these skis on snow is just luxurious.Salomon Crossmax Pilot 10 -
These are a new breed of skis in which the bindings and skis come as a set. No holes need to be drilled in the skis to attach the bindings. Each ski has two axles that go through the ski from left to right - one to attach the toe piece and one to attach the heel piece. The result is that the bindings do not inhibit the free flexing of the ski. Although they are marketed as basically an expert ski for groomed, most people I know who've tried them say that they do fine off piste as well. One of the moderators of this site, dchan
, calls them his "Superman skis". Your best bet is the 170 cm length. You will not need longer, which also would not be as nimble; and shorter will feel unsteady to you. I loved these skis from the instant I got off the lift. Why didn't I buy them? Because I wanted a pair of skis more biased to go off piste. If I were to be skiing 20% or even 30% off piste and 70% to 80% on groomed, I'd want these skis. Because I did not give these skis the same "wringing out" that I gave to the others mentioned in this post, I'd better just stop right here.Rossignol Bandit XX -
OK, these are what I bought. Why? Because: (1) They are smooth and stable as a rock at high speed. (2) They are 74 mm under foot, and the width and stiffness let them bust through any kind of snow. (3) They are probably some of the quickest turning skis I've been on (4) Even though they're marketed for 50% off piste, 50% on piste, they actually do very well on groomed slopes - better than I would expect a ski of this sort to do. (5) They are lively and quick edge to edge - more than the Dynastar Intuitiv 71, but not more than the Salomon Crossmax Pilot 10 [although they feel livelier and crisper than the Crossmax Pilot 10]. (6) If I had to have just one pair of skis to do everything, forever, the Bandit XX would be it. These are true expert skis - but I, Mr. Mediocre himself, have a blast with them. They will be exactly the same next season as they are this season - no changes. Try finding them to buy right now - they're sold out. Wonder why?
Your length and mine in the Bandit XX is 170 cm. Rossignol will say you should go longer - please don't. The 170 is all the ski you will need, and a lot more fun for a skier at your level - and, I believe, even for true experts. Experts who have skied the previous model of Bandit XX frequently ski this 2002 model a size shorter than the previous model. I first tried the 177 and hated it - but I love the 170. The 170 cm won't let you down.
Use the "search" feature to locate reviews of these skis on this "Consumer Gear Reviews" forum. Also, use the search feature on other forums on this site as well to learn more about these three models.
I'll be very interested in learning what you decide and what progress you make, so please keep in touch - both on EpicSki and at my direct e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org[ April 19, 2002, 06:56 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]