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Demo Skis 2014: ski reviews from the Bachelor Demo days

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

 


So, here are the remainder of the demo skis we tested this season, at least so far.  Both my thoughts and Kevin's are posted here, noted where they diverge.  This was at Bachelor, conditions were firm to loose ball bearing snow on the groomers, hardpack off-piste, icy in spots, chunky and weird in others (fog rolled in overnight), some good smoother snow too.  Challenging conditions! 

 

I posted pictures when I had a video cut of a certain ski.

 

Testers: Scott, 5 foot 9, 155lbs, skis 30-50 days a year, solid all-mountain skier.  Kevin, 6 foot 1, 195lbs, same abilities, great bump skier. 

 

The skis: carver up to 85mm. I only skied 3, should have skied  more, but due to the weird demo layout, it was hard to really get a ton of skis reviewed.  Plus, this is a fast disappearing category, although it shouldn't be.  Nothing like ripping across a fall line at 45mph and getting a few inches off the snow from rebound. 

 

Blizzard 8.5ti 174cm: even though it is the least "carver" of the bunch, it packed the most punch.  Buy this ski if you love energy, power, stability, versatility, and a modern feel.  Not for the faint of heart, it is a high level sport sedan of skis, but easy to ski. You just go really fast and get tons of rebound on it! 

 

 

AppleMark

 

 

Nordica Fire Arrow 84 EDT 176cm: compared to the 8.5ti, it is a completely different beast.  Much more GS, bigger real-world turn radius, more snow-hugging, lacking in energy, but has added stability over the 8.5ti. The 8.5ti comes across as more of a GS/SL hybrid, with all-mountain versatility. The FA 84 is a true GS carver and bump ski, heavy, rips on the groomers at speed, no worries; as fast you want to go, it will hold up.  Very predictable. I would buy this ski. 

 

Head i-Titan Rally 177cm: much more quiet than the 170cm, a really damp, smooth, powerful carver.  Lighter on the snow than the FA 84, not quite as heavy, a bit more life in the tail, a little more carving oriented than the GS feel on the FA 84.   Also a wonderful ski, for someone looking for a quick, small turn radius carver but with less pop and energy than the 8.5ti gives back. 

 

85mm+ to 100mm:  The meat of the market these days.  Tested a bunch of stuff, all different, and the width really doesn't mean much. Some felt wider, some felt narrower, than the posted lengths. 

 

ON3P Tychoon 186cm Tour: very light on the snow, easy at moderate speeds, not hooky, laterally quite soft, releases cleanly in junk snow. Too light at speed, gets roughed up in choppy snow. Not a good firm snow ski, as far as energy and fun go, compared to the others here.

 

ON3P Tychoon 186cm: regular layup, much more solid at speed. Has a lot of tip rocker for a ski this narrow, so it definitely is a off-piste ski, not an all-mountain ski. Held well in icy, firm steeps, bit of tip flap In rough snow. A step behind the Vicik at speed in rough snow.  This is rough snow in the picture: icy lumps and crunchies  just underneath that wind blown stuff on top. 

 

 

AppleMark

 

 

Head REV 98: skied in 170cm, I couldn't tell much, except that it was quick and easy. A little rough of a ride in that short of a length. It skied short, even in 170cm, I will report back when I get on the 177cm.

 

Head REV 90 177cm: smooth, easy , stable, grippy. About average for stability at speed, but so easy to ski, very big sweet spot. Super quick in steeps, generous level of forgiveness, can load up the tail and rip though. Fun ski, maybe I could use a little more length than 177cm.

 

Atomic Crimson TI 178cm: Compared to the Head, a little stiffer, a little more snow hugging, similar stability and quickness. Just a different on-snow feel. I really liked it, great in steeps and at speed.

 

Kastle FX94 176cm: the most impressive ski of the whole demo. It just fit well for how I ski. Super easy to release, all the stability in the world, so smooth in junk snow, rips bumps. Easily the most stable ski tested for the given length, as easy to ski as anything else skied here. Downside: not much groomer energy, really more suited to off-piste skiing.

 

Here it is, smooth as silk in bumps: 

 

AppleMark

 

 

Nordica Steadfast 177cm: this was a pretty stout ski, more of a groomer/GS feel than a true all-mountain ski. It did ski well in bumps, but was a touch hooky in crud, fairly demanding too. Great at speed on groomers though; outside of the sub 85mm skis above, I put it 2ndplace on the groomers.

 

Blizzard Brahma: also tested at Winter Park: pretty stout ski, pretty stiff in the tip especially. I couldn't get the sidecut working with the tip rocker well, it just didn't suit me, as it liked to pivot more than tip at the top of the turn, and the tip felt vague. It will be a good ski for a lot of people, but my skiing style and weight aren't really suited to this model.

 

Blizzard Kabookie 180cm: really solid in soft snow junk, great flex for my weight. It has a little more rocker than the Brahma, but being much softer and rounder flexing, it is married to the tip rocker more smoothly, hooks up early in the turn and really pulls you through. I love the length too. Great ski, one of the top skis here for me.

 

Fischer Hybrid 9.0 175cm: this ski is pretty stout. I skied it mostly in the “rocker off” position: it was burly, like a wide race ski. I felt myself fighting the flex and the short length on rough snow. Ripped on groomers, probably the best ski in this group for that. Stick with the Watea for off-piste skiing.

 

Nordica Hell n' Back 177cm: felt more versatile than the Steadfast, a little softer at the tip. This is a big-mountain ski, ready for plowing ahead at speed. It doesn't get shaken by speed, and felt stiffer than it's brother, the Kabookie, a touch more powerful, and a touch more demanding, as the sweet spot is relatively small for a guy my size. Performance is very high; it rips if you are on it. I had to release technically cleanly; no backseat driving on this, it is a skier's ski. Excellent GS feel on groomers, super stable, super fun, although the Soul Rider has more of a carver, energetic feel. Of the 2, this is the “big-mountain” ski for big turns and big speed, while still remaining approachable.

 

Nordica Soul Rider 177cm: I had heard great things about this ski, but it was described to me by the guy at the tent as “very new school in feel, if that is what I was looking for”. Well, that really doesn't describe me, I almost never ski backwards, and am more looking for a hard charging ski that doesn't push me around too much. Anyways, to the Soul Rider: it was sweet! Excellent carver for a 98mm ski underfoot. I was ripping all over the hill on this. Entry at the top of the turn was super clean, I could let the skis drift to set up the top of the turn, then hit it with aggressive inside leg tipping and shortening, and be right on the edges and directing the ski exactly like I wanted, not unlike a real race ski. This was easily the best carver over 90mm. Energy was outstanding! In the picture, I am getting tons of energy back out of the turn. Being a bit wider and softer, yet laterally quite stiff, it handled junky end of day groomers well. In bumps, it was solid. In crud, it was easy and playful, although I found the top end easily. As long as I kept it under control speed wise, it was fine, but this isn't a point and shoot big mountain ski. More like a playful tree and rough snow groomer ski that is super easy and handles odd snow with ease. I never did test out it's “new school” characteristics.

 

 

AppleMark

 

 

AppleMark

 

 

CRAZY Rebound for a 98mm ski! 

 

AppleMark

 

 

 

100mm+: 2 skis tested. Conditions weren't great for wide skis, couldn't tell too much, as I tend to find wide skis a lot of work on days like this.

 

Nordica Vagabond (185cm?): somewhat similar in feel to the Soul Rider, but tip was a little floppy at speed. Soft for the conditions, need to try it in softer snow, where I am getting more running length. Very glued to the snow, just like the Soul Rider, with good energy.

 

ON3P Vicik: excellent ski, much more like a Dynastar Pro Rider (versatile big-mountain ski with some beef and camber): not a soft ski with tons of rocker. I skied it in 186cm, which was a great length, and give me plenty of running surface. Very powerful at speed, it really doesn't have a speed limit, nor is it shaken up in rough, choppy snow. Held like glue once you hit the edge angle sweet spot: being wider, it take more edge angle to get it to hold, obviously. Very easy to load the tip and release out of the turn, much easier than the typical 105mm ski. Kind of lacking as a carver, couldn't trust it laying it out from my body like I could the Soul Rider, but I doubt it was designed for groomers in mind. Overall, it is a ski I would choose for an all-around soft snow stick when I want to ski fast and fairly large turns.

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 16
IIRC, you've referred to the FX94 in a186 as a bear....how about now with the 2014 changes?
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

IIRC, you've referred to the FX94 in a186 as a bear....how about now with the 2014 changes?

Hi,

 

That is a lot of ski for a guy my size, I haven't skied the 2014 in that length, and would have no need to . The current version is a little easier to initiate and release. 

post #4 of 16

Great reviews, Dawg.  Thanks.

post #5 of 16

Thanks for the reviews. I was particularly to see the Tychoon reviews alongside major manufacturer skis.

post #6 of 16

Great reviews as always Dawg, thanks!

 

One request/suggestion (if possible??): You've made it very clear that your experiences at your weight might differ from someone heavier......and on some occasions, you've given impressions from Kevin (who is much heavier) on the same ski.  In several instances, you've noted that Kevin loved a ski which you found a bit much (ie-Bonafides).  Would it be possible to post Kevin's impressions (when you test with him) on a given ski?  I find it EXTREMELY helpful to see his comments/impressions against yours, as he reflects a large consumer market that isn't lightweight.

 

Again, I LOVE your reviews, but it's kind of hard to relate to when many of us are much larger and can flex a stiffer ski that may not make a good impression on a lighter ski.  There have been a few times where you've loved a ski and I've found it noodley, because of my weight.  It's very difficult to find reviews that aren't by pros, who can handle almost any ski (unlike us mere mortals) or by a reviewer that isn't a lightweight.  No offense.

 

Many thanks, keep up the great work!

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post

Great reviews as always Dawg, thanks!

 

One request/suggestion (if possible??): You've made it very clear that your experiences at your weight might differ from someone heavier......and on some occasions, you've given impressions from Kevin (who is much heavier) on the same ski.  In several instances, you've noted that Kevin loved a ski which you found a bit much (ie-Bonafides).  Would it be possible to post Kevin's impressions (when you test with him) on a given ski?  I find it EXTREMELY helpful to see his comments/impressions against yours, as he reflects a large consumer market that isn't lightweight.

 

Again, I LOVE your reviews, but it's kind of hard to relate to when many of us are much larger and can flex a stiffer ski that may not make a good impression on a lighter ski.  There have been a few times where you've loved a ski and I've found it noodley, because of my weight.  It's very difficult to find reviews that aren't by pros, who can handle almost any ski (unlike us mere mortals) or by a reviewer that isn't a lightweight.  No offense.

 

Many thanks, keep up the great work!


Sure, in this case, they were pretty much the same, although he didn't demo as many skis. He didn't ski the Brahma (no 187 available) nor the REV 98, Crimson TI.  He thought the Steadfast was a good carver, the Hell n' Back super versatile, loved the FA 84 EDT, thought the 8.5ti had a lot of energy and needed some balls to really throw it down the fall line. I don't think he tried the ON3P stuff.

post #8 of 16

As always, much appreciated.

post #9 of 16

Thank you, Dawg.  Again, some of the most descriptive, clear reviews around. 
 

But another question (for you and others): what is a "lightweight"?  I'm 170 nekkid, so I'm not THAT far removed from you.  Clearly when you get over 200+, we're talking another range.  So is 160 -195 a different group?  "Normal"?  How much weight demarks a different class?  15 lbs?  25?

 

Anyone else got thoughts?

post #10 of 16

Personally, I don't think weight of "classes", but more of a sliding scale.  155 vs 165 isn't much.  165 vs 180 isn't too much.  But it's sorta incremental.....Dawg's 155 vs my 190 is a big deal, especially when you consider Force = Mass x Acceleration out on the slopes.  So that 40lbs or so makes even more difference when speed is taken into account.  I've lost 30lbs and I notice a difference on my skis from when I was 220lbs......I could flex my stiff GS skis more then.  I plan on losing a bit more weight this summer, so I'm even considering selling my stiff GS skis because they are getting to be a bit much the lighter I get.

 

But as an anecdotal comparison: many lighter skiers in Dawg's weight range find the Volkl Mantras rather stiff and tough to bend.  At my weight, I found the Mantra decidedly easy to drive, no problem at all.  In fact, they're downright friendly compared to my GS skis.  And since I know for a fact it's NOT that I'm a better skier, it's due to the big weight difference.

post #11 of 16

Any difference in the Blizzard 8.5ti between this season and next season?

 

I see that you got on the Atomic Crimson Ti, do you know if Atomic is bringing back the Savage Ti for 2014?  If so, what changes are in store?

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

Hi,

That is a lot of ski for a guy my size, I haven't skied the 2014 in that length, and would have no need to . The current version is a little easier to initiate and release. 

Totally understand, I should have been more descriptive. I weigh 170, and I'm on the tall side of 6'2". 180cm doesn't feel long to me, and I am getting more into a 50/50 'western groomed' / junk snow mix. I'm not hunting powder at this stage of skill building, and I ski a lot of Mary Jane so bumps are in the mix.

The FX94 has always seemed like an evolution up from the LX series (82 in my case), but I'm not dropping down to a 176 and 186 seems pushing it if the ski really stiffens a lot. Going from 172 to 180 LX82 was nothing but good...but this is a different beast. I'll demo when I can, just looking for perspective as us tall and light guys seem to get stuck in the middle...and of course I like the groomers so there is the LX92 in a 184...
post #13 of 16
Quote:
The FX94 has always seemed like an evolution up from the LX series (82 in my case), but I'm not dropping down to a 176 and 186 seems pushing it if the ski really stiffens a lot. Going from 172 to 180 LX82 was nothing but good...but this is a different beast. I'll demo when I can, just looking for perspective as us tall and light guys seem to get stuck in the middle...and of course I like the groomers so there is the LX92 in a 184...

 You may also want to consider the MX88 in a 178.  

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

Any difference in the Blizzard 8.5ti between this season and next season?

 

I see that you got on the Atomic Crimson Ti, do you know if Atomic is bringing back the Savage Ti for 2014?  If so, what changes are in store?

Hi,

 

The 8.5ti is the same, even for the graphic. 

 

No idea with the Savage Ti; we are not an Atomic dealer, sorry.

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post

Personally, I don't think weight of "classes", but more of a sliding scale.  155 vs 165 isn't much.  165 vs 180 isn't too much.  But it's sorta incremental.....Dawg's 155 vs my 190 is a big deal, especially when you consider Force = Mass x Acceleration out on the slopes.  So that 40lbs or so makes even more difference when speed is taken into account.  I've lost 30lbs and I notice a difference on my skis from when I was 220lbs......I could flex my stiff GS skis more then.  I plan on losing a bit more weight this summer, so I'm even considering selling my stiff GS skis because they are getting to be a bit much the lighter I get.

 

But as an anecdotal comparison: many lighter skiers in Dawg's weight range find the Volkl Mantras rather stiff and tough to bend.  At my weight, I found the Mantra decidedly easy to drive, no problem at all.  In fact, they're downright friendly compared to my GS skis.  And since I know for a fact it's NOT that I'm a better skier, it's due to the big weight difference.

Yeah, you are correct, the Mantra punishes me on anything but smooth snow.  It might as well be a GS race ski for how stiff it is, and I certainly don't want to ski a GS ski off-piste.  Not Volkl's fault; bigger skiers love it! 

post #16 of 16
Try being 5'10" and 145 lbs, without Dawg's legs.

Great reviews as always, Dawg.
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