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Am I too big for the Rossignol S3?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I know there are quite a few "which ski is best for me" threads going around and I apologize for adding to the mix. However, my situation is a bit strange in that I want to buy some new skis during the current sales (I am coming into some money next week) and I am unable to demo because of a knee injury.


For some background, I am a big, strong 50 year old male who use to ski quite a bit and had advanced-intermediate skill. I skied mostly groomers and some steeps and really liked to go fast with wide, GS-style turns. However, I haven't skied in some time since getting married and having a child. Well, the girl is now going on 11 and wants to take up skiing so I am now going to have to get back in the saddle.


I have a bad knee and two bad ankles. I am slowing down and I know I won't be lighting up anything or going super-fast or hitting icy moguls (I also have had a disc removed from neck) or doing any pipe work or jumping. I just want to cruise around, have some fun and not hurt myself. I also want to start to ski a bit of power, a bit of off-piste and learn to go through crud.


I will be skiing mostly on the wet side of the PNW (Snoqualmie area since it is easiest for the kid's lessons). We will also take a destination trip every year to the Northern Rockies for lighter powder and hopefully some sun. I need an easy ski that will get me all over the wet-snow mountains of home and the dry-snow mountains of Grand Targhee and Big Sky.


I have been told that the Rossignol S3 is perfect for this application. However, I hear it is quite soft and I am wondering if I am too big and strong for it? I'm 6'0, 225 lbs and leg press well over 500 lbs. I just want to make sure I am not going to overpower this ski and have it wash out on me even at fairly moderate (30mph) speeds.


I have also looked at the Atomic Theory.


I am not married to any ski, I just want something fun, easy, forgiving and able to ski many different conditions while handling my weight and strength. Will the S3 do it for me, or should I look elsewhere?


Thanks for your time. Great forum you have here.

post #2 of 17

Hi, I have been using it for the past 3 days in vail. Awesome ski. I am 195 lbs and the ski can handle my weight and more. It does not feel like a soft ski at all. Extremely versatile ski. Love it. I have also used the Armada TST. Good for powder but that is a soft ski. The S3 is stiffer and is stable at speed. It can carve the groomers too. Today I used it in all kinds of snow from hellish crud to deep pow, bumps, trees to groomers. It worked well. Other people were having a really tough time with the conditions on narrower skis. 

post #3 of 17

 The S3 is a fun playful ski but not the characteristics that you mentioned, especially for your size and background. I think you are right on your other option, the Atomic Theory along with MP's suggestion of the Armada TST. 

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I do want something easy, forgiving and playful that is good on groomers, can get through crud and is pretty good at moderate powder so I can start learning how to ski in varying conditions. I just know that my size and, maybe even moreso, my strength needs to be considered.


Anything else I should be looking at? The Atomic Theory is fine by me, and I'll try and track down the Armada TST. I

m hitting the end of season sales becasue I don't want to spend a ton on skis as I plan to use the bulk of my budget on a pair of custom-fit boots.

post #5 of 17

How about Atomic Access? Slightly wider, and pretty forgiving.

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Is there anything to be said for moving up in width to something 110ish for all-mountain use? Still will need to be good on groomers and in gobs of wet snow.
post #7 of 17

~110 is an awful lot of ski for an intermediate chasing the kids at Snoqualmie/Ski Acres.  I personally like a ~98 for that task (because that ski doubles as my daily driver for "real skiing"), but a ~88 might be even better for an "advanced intermediate" coming off a long hiatus mostly hitting up groomers.


You were on the right track with something more forgiving in the 85-100 range.  It seems like you are caught in the middle a bit here - you want something forgiving, and don't expect to be pushing it, but also are afraid that the ski will wash out (which may have nothing at all to do with the ski design).


Granted, the S3 is a pretty soft ski, and there are better choices for a mostly groomers skier, but that isn't necessarily bad.  You also want something to deal with off piste and our general wet/heavy conditions.  Remember, most of the chatter in places like this about the S3 being "too" soft, blah, blah is coming from aggressive experts who favor a more damp, more stiff ski.  Plenty of other really strong skiers prefer a ski like this.  Unfortunately, I think that a lot of intermediates are getting talked off really good skis because there is a bit of a testosterone factor at work.  Although I personally favor a more damp ski (full disclosure), that doesn't make it more "expert."  It is a flavor choice.  Plenty of "experts" favor light, poppy, energetic skis.  Trust the folks at one of the good shops in town - especially one that stands behind its advice.


I tend to think something more like a Prophet 90 would be the ticket for what you want, but if you want to get up in the ~100 width, I think that the recommendation of the Access is a good one.  Great all around ski for our conditions here.  Great performance in soft snow and our heavy stuff.  A fun, solidish ride in soft snow but not too much - kind of like a baby, more practical Chetler.  Decent enough on groomers (as long as you accept that there is a speed limit - one that an intermediate is not likely to hit regularly). I cooked the Access pretty good on the groomers at Crystal and it was fine.  A bit of tip bounce at high speed but nothing unnerving or unexpected for a ski with that rocker profile.  Now I wouldn't recommend it for bombing groomers all day in Sun Valley.  But at Snoqualmie or Ski Acres?  No problem.  In all, a really fun ski that isn't too much ski for an intermediate but can also be appreciated by any skier who likes a modern shape.  And a very fair price (especially with local shops at 40% off).  Appropriately, it made Phil's deals and steals list 2 years running.


Another suggestion - the Atomic Alibi.  More stout than the Access (thanks to the inlaid metal spine), slightly different shape, but still light and quick.  A more buff version of the Theory.  You wouldn't likely be too much skier for it.   And at 98, it is way more practical than a 110 for your average day up at the pass and your typical trip to a western resort.   And if you get lucky in Targee, plunk down $50, rent something really fat for the day and have fun.

post #8 of 17
Here's my $.02. You are a little shorter than me, about 30 pounds heavier, but we seem to have similar leg strength (I've got you beat by a few pounds). I don't know what kind of skiing you do, but while in Revelstoke recently, I had the chance to try out some stiffer, damp skis in place of my 192 Atomic Bentchetlers. I tested a 184 Volkl Katana and a 193 Moment Belafonte. Long story short, loved them. I was always afraid that I didn't have the chops to ski a stiffer, chargier ski, and that a soft ski was much better suited to my style. Well, it turns out I can bend them fairly easily, but they haul ass when I want them to. A 187cm Belafonte is going to be added to my quiver next year. If you can ski, look at a stiffer ski, the s3 might not have the stability you want.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

What you say makes sense. I just think I really want to try powder skiing as smoething that could expand my horizons and give me more pleasure on the mountain.


I could ski fairly well back in the day. I could pretty much take all intermediate runs at high speed (even in icy conditions) and could handle most single black diamond runs OK and could rip them a bit in hero snow. I could get down double black diamonds but never really enjoyed it since my sikills were not up to the task.


I can actually leg press 650 lbs but I know I need to slow down as I am an old, broken down ex-jock with a lot of aftermarket hardware in my joints and will probably need some more in the not-so-distant future. I know I may want to crank it every once in awhile but I am hoping I can check my ego at the door and try to keep myself healthy. biggrin.gif


Perhaps something like the Bushwhacker in 180 or maybe the Kabookie in 187 would makes ense and I could rent if I see a good powder day at Targhee or Big Sky. Maybe a Prohet 90 or even an 8.5 Ti?

post #10 of 17
Honestly, I like the one-oh category as a one ski quiver, something like the belafonte or a Cochise, especially for a big strong guy. Get used to skiing really fast everywhere!
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I have to quit overthinking this. It sounds like the Atomic Theory is just about what I need. Solid enough on groomers, wide enough for some pow and pretty good through wet/chunk/crud/etc.


Think the 186cm would be about right?

Edited by EmperorMA - 2/26/13 at 8:29am
post #12 of 17
Maybe a K2 hardside, or Line Prophet 98. Maybe even take a look at the Blizzard Bonafide.
post #13 of 17

Hi, EmperorMA.


Just to try to make things as confusing for you as possible, I'll add in my $.02.  


I'm a little taller than you and I weigh 195#, but I ski with about a 10-12# pack most of the time so we aren't all that far apart weightwise.  I have a pair of 186cm S3's that I use for all kinds of skiing here at Jackson Hole.  Yesterday, I spent the day skinning in the backcountry on them and skiing some outstanding untracked powder.  They are so fun - playful, quick, bouncy and yet they give me all the "float" I need for almost every soft-snow application.


Four days ago, before our most recent storm, I was skiing them all over the mountain inbounds.  It was mostly firm, edgeable moguls, chopped up old powder, and groomers.  In my opinion, they work great for that kind of mixed conditions.  They're predictable and solid but easy to maneuver.  No, I wouldn't choose them if I wanted to hard-charge big open faces all day, but I spend more of my time off piste in trees and narrower places and the S3 works really, really well in those conditions.


I bought the S3 mostly to be a sidecountry skinning ski that I could take out when the inbounds and near-sidecountry powder was all tracked out.  Now that I've skied them quite a bit, I find that I'm taking them more and more for days when I want to ski a wide mix of inbounds and out of bounds terrain where I can't really predict what kind of conditions I'll run across.  I'm very confident that ski can handle anything I'll encounter without having to worry about being on the "wrong" ski.


So there you have it.  I think it's a really good ski and I think you could be very happy on it for the terrain and conditions you described.  And in the interest of full disclosure, I'm an on-mountain rep for Rossignol, so you have to consider that I'm not completely objective.  


But I also AM completely satisfied with that ski.  cool.gif


Good luck with your search.

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

OK, so I went to a knowledgeable local shop and spent some time with the skis and a couple of members of the sales team. The top two recommendations they gave were the Dynastar Cham 97 and the Rossignol Experience 98. Those two were what the shop figured fit my profile, size and strength best. They gave a few alternate recommendations but were pretty adamant on these two with the Cham 97 being the clear #1 recommendation due to its better performance in powder. Whichever you consider, these are both serious skis and not exactly what I would call fogiving or playful or easy.


Their "first alternate" was skiing a Blizzard Cochise somewhat short for more maneuverability (177cm). In fact, the more they discussed that, the more they thought it would be cool to try out. Their "second alternate" was the Line Prophet 98 in 186cm. Their last "distant possibility" was the Armada TST at 183cm.


A wee bit different then what I had been thinking. They figured my size and strength and affinity for longer turns necessitated a ski with some metal in it and good stability.


Geesh. I thought this was going to be easy ..... hissyfit.gif

post #15 of 17

From your post, you want something soft, easy cruiser with speed limit and playful in powder, I don't think E98 fits the requirement.

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

Yeah, those aren't the skis I'm looking for. It is just hard for the young guys working at the shop to put a guy who is built like an NFL linebacker on a soft ski. It just won't compute with their young minds.


I'm going to narrow it down to three models and buy this weekend. Right now, here is how I'm leaning:


Atomic Theory - 186cm - I think the best overall blend when edge hold on groomers and turns at higher speed are considered. Playful and stable and forgiving with enough rocker for a little pow.

Rossignol S3 - 186cm - I like the slightly wider waist and the ski's ability in powder. Super fun ski, but may be overmatched by my weight and strength and lack of skill.

Head Rev 90 - 184cm - Probably the best frontside resort ski of them all, but not as playful as the others. Will not be as good in powder. Should be fun at speed and decent in heavy snow. I'm afraid this ski would leave me wanting a second ski to fill the quiver, and I really don't want to go that way! But this and something in a 115ish waist (Blizzard Gunsmoke!) would be nice.


I doubt I'll go with the Rev 90 but I am going to give it a shot. I honestly don't know if the Rossi or the Atomic will win in the end. My gut says Theory, my heart says S3. Of course, I can always be talked into something else. I looked at the Atomic Access but they only had a 171 and 191. I'm not sure I want to go that long and I know 171 is too short in that ski. Same goes for the Armada TST .... only had a 174 and 192 ... I think the 183 might be right in that ski.

post #17 of 17

Go with S3... never go against your heart when it comes to gear... otherwise, every time you see someone else's S3, you get jealous, and then start blaming your skis ski.gif


How much are the skis at your shop? Given the amount of discount that's out there, you might be able to swing two sets.

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