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Can a lightweight finesse skier find happiness on chargers? Reviews of the Cochise 185 and the Stormrider 95 183

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Skis: 185 Cochise with Look Pivot 14's, 183 Stockli Stormrider 95 with Mojo 15's. Everybody in the universe knows all about the Cochise's. Flipcore and all that. The Stormriders are, surprisingly, Stocklis with real, albeit mild, front and rear rocker; 220 mm in front, 120 mm in back.

 

Me: Advanced old guy, 6', 165 lbs, technical style, bad knees, deep into Masters' racing, currently working on letting my bases see uphill. Also enjoy trees, trying to keep up with my kids in terrain parks, and steep tight places. Mostly like moderate speeds off the course, but strongly believe you can rip without being a "power" skier. 

 

Other skis I like: I'm mainly a Kastle guy (RX12's, MX88's, FX94's, BMX98's), also have owned and enjoyed some Stocklis (Xl's, SS's, CX's, Rotors), and Blizzards (G-Powers, Titan Atlas's, Titan 9's, Ones, Cronus's). Race on Rossi's, also like the S7 and Super7. So smooth seems a theme here. 

 

Place/conditions: Several weeks at Lake Louise, Canada and Killington VT. Everything from 10" of overnight fresh to scratchy hardpack with bumps. 

 

Executive summary: Was prepared to love both these, based on reviews and previous demos. In fact, was looking forward to hurling a changeup at the Start Haus crew by championing a Blizzie flipcore. wink.gif But at the end of the day, the Cochise's were puzzling, wonderful at some things, meh at others, and oddly picky about style. The Stormriders, OTOH, were weirdly nimble and forgiving for a Stockli, but just lighter than a 99 passenger school bus. Obviously, YMMV. And probably will. 

 

Specifics: In steep untracked powder up to my boot tops, the Cochise's were unusually quick, easy to initiate, although not particularly fast to plane. Not a powder ski, after all. They preferred a neutral stance, and tended to dive if I applied tip pressure. The Stormriders were predictable, smoother than the Cochises, and unfazed by changes in consistency or terrain underneath, but not as quick or light from edge to edge. Obviously, less float, but pretty decent at coming up at speed.

 

In steep chop, trees here and there, and piles of light crud, the Cochise's were superb - think "turn," and they did - as long as I stayed neutral or even a touch on the heels, and let the ski do the work. Preferably with some rotary initiation and a slide finish. For a ski with very low splay and mild rocker, these felt like they had a ton of rocker in the tail. They were happy at speed, not so happy if I tried to force a traditional up-on-the-edge-right-now turn in response to a feature. "Just go for it," they seemed to be saying, "and stop trying to be refined."    

 

The Stormriders liked a more traditional style of entry, with more edge angle. If given same, they were - to borrow Real Skier's phrase - a fullback with the moves of a halfback. Or I could just forget about turning and demolish anything in their path. If I mounted a flashlight on the tips, Stormrider 95's would work well after closing in place of a groomer on steeper pitches. Yet they were quicker and more fun in this terrain than my old, lamented MX98's, similar length. 

 

In consolidated crud with firm bumps a few inches underneath, the Cochises began to get very particular about turn style. They wanted to be skied with low angles, with plenty of sliding and smearing. More new school than I expected, more than than say a pair of S7's that behave predictably except for fore-aft balance points. The Stormriders continued to just smash through lumpy or bumpy terrain, rather than come up, and preferred a more traditional entry and exit. They pivoted and slid respectably, but these are not a new school ski, and they could act their weight if you tried to goof on them. "Just pick a line and forget about the conditions," they said. "We'll get you through."

 

On hardpack with scattered ruts and crud, the Cochises felt uncertain. Thinking that this was a problem of F=M x a - after all, everyone agrees these like speed - I let them run. Not a solution; as the speed increased the tip and tail felt less stable, and as I increased edge angle for stability, the skis became harsh underfoot. Playing with my COM didn't noticeably help. To my surprise, then, they didn't charge in an enjoyable way, whether with front pressure or neutral, well up on edge or flat. Weird. I don't blame the ski; just not a design I can work with at speed, I guess.  

 

On the Stormriders, I kept pace with some coaches freeskiing a closed course sans gates on FIS spec GS skis. The GPS said 52 mph, and these felt nowhere near their speed limit. But after a half day, tipping them on edge began to feel like my knees were hauling logs. By contrast, the Cochises always felt light and quick, even if they didn't really reward getting up there. 

 

Conclusions: The Cochise is a really nice ski that just didn't work for me in enough ways. If I only wanted a ski for steep new chop and crud, this would be the best out there IMO. But for me, it's a big mountain ski that's happiest maching at low edge angles and neutral COM, which is counterintuitive to what my body knows about going fast. It seems to have one turn shape it prefers. I like to work a ski into a variety of turn shapes. As beefy as it was, I could do this on the Stockli. I could not on the Blizzard. 

 

Thought about it some, tried to channel Sierra Jim, checked Fri Flyt flex charts, came to the conclusion that 1) Blizzies all tend to have relatively more longitudinal stiffness in front than many other brands, which probably helps them smash crud, but may make a rockered design less pliant initiating to decent edge angles unless you really mash the fronts. Which I'm too light and technical to do to a ski 2 cm above my head. (Although I have no issues with FIS WC GS skis of similar length, so th_dunno-1[1].gif ) By contrast, the Stormriders felt like they were somewhat softer in the tips and tails than earlier iterations although just as beefy in the middle.

 

2) I have a hunch Cochises (and prolly Bones etc.) are very stiff laterally, compared to their longitudinal flex and to comparable brands. This may make them seem harsh, rather than damp, on edge if you're lighter. Marshalolson said something like this about the carbon design on Wailer 99's, drawing a contrast between skis that are stiffer when running flat and skis that are stiffer when on edge. This also may reflect a comment SJ made a year or so back, about balancing longitudinal and torsional resistance to bending. IMHO, the Cochise likely doesn't squirm enough on edge for lighter skiers. eek.gif  I'd be interested in the new all wood version except that reviewers tend to say the woodies are just as stiff, just lighter. 

 

The Stormrider 95 is a great ski that mostly did work for me as a finesse skier, and it manages to marry Stockli smoothness with actual, not marketing, rocker. But they weigh over a half pound per ski more than the not-light MX88. Which at my size makes for hard work after a few hours of variable snow. So if you want to, ah, storm through anything, even hardpack, at silly speeds, and still be able to wiggle through bumps or trees, this is your ski. Just remember to eat your third desert and then hit the gym for a quick 10 sets of squats at 400 lbs. 

 

Out. 

post #2 of 23

You are 6 feet and only 165??? Boy, do I feel fat in comparison... Nice reviews, interesting analysis.

post #3 of 23

Excellent review - love the detail.  Thanks!

post #4 of 23

Interesting reviews.  With the Cochise it sounds like you really wanted the ski to have some camber, which a number of folks have said about it.  Try next year's Nordica El Capo when you get a chance - I bet you like it more.

post #5 of 23

At 165#, some of the charger model skis in the mid 180's may be too stiff. Dynastar and Rossignol, for example, engineer a completely different ski for each length. At the mid 180 length, the ski becomes thicker under the boot and has thicker metal or more layers, is stiffer throughout than the 176 models. I'd say, if you want a 185+ ski, don't buy one of the stiffer models. You are a unique physique, as Alex refers to, so no rule of ski length relative to height is going to be valid.

post #6 of 23

Beyond, ever spend any time on a BMX108? I am guessing you might fall between sizes and likely would appreciate the BMX118 in 183 more but wonder how your feedback would compare to these two skis?  I have read your feedback on the BMX98 so it seems a logical choice for you to consider a BMX108 over a Cochise right off the bat but there has been a lot of hype on that ski so I can also appreciate your interest in it. I'd guess much like Dawgcatching that an Elan 1010 in 183 would be money for you in this category and am always surprised at how few people ski this superb ski.

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

^^^^ Chris, You have it right; I was hoping the 185 Cochise would be a more maneuverable 188 BMX108. And it was, just didn't hit the marks in other areas. I should take a look at the 118 in 183, for sure, although that's a bit wide for a big mountain ride. I owned a 183 Elan 1010, and was pretty pleased with it; not a whoop and shout ski but a very reliable and versatile one. 

 

Alex and Dave, yeah I'm light for my length, and it seems like wider skis for lighter guys are all about smearing or sliding into a huck. Eg, light tall guys are all under 30 and wear floppy pants. The skis that have a smoothness and shape I like are beefy enough that I should be on a 175-something, but that length feels too short at speed in choppy variable soft snow. Didn't know that thickness increases with length, always figured it was just the added force required at the tip. Interesting. Suspect the answer for me is to go long with a moderate flexing design.

 

The new Soul 7 may be the answer if it's more stable at speed (never had rear wheelie issues with the S7), but that's a big if for the design. The current Sollie R2 115 also seems to have the same honeycomb concept; saw several good skiers on them in Canada, not clear how they'd handle packed snow or speed, though, which IMO has to be part of the package for a <110 ski. Also intrigued about Stockli's new Stormriders, have heard they are lighter and now go up to 107. Hmmm. 

 

The other approach is to go to Folsom and say, "I'm in your hands. Design me a 110-ish charger in 183 cm that I can bend but will hold up at speed. p.s. it needs to levitate on demand..." biggrin.gif

post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

^^^^ Chris, You have it right; I was hoping the 185 Cochise would be a more maneuverable 188 BMX108. And it was, just didn't hit the marks in other areas. I should take a look at the 118 in 183, for sure, although that's a bit wide for a big mountain ride. I owned a 183 Elan 1010, and was pretty pleased with it; not a whoop and shout ski but a very reliable and versatile one. 

 

Alex and Dave, yeah I'm light for my length, and it seems like wider skis for lighter guys are all about smearing or sliding into a huck. Eg, light tall guys are all under 30 and wear floppy pants. The skis that have a smoothness and shape I like are beefy enough that I should be on a 175-something, but that length feels too short at speed in choppy variable soft snow. Didn't know that thickness increases with length, always figured it was just the added force required at the tip. Interesting. Suspect the answer for me is to go long with a moderate flexing design.

 

The new Soul 7 may be the answer if it's more stable at speed (never had rear wheelie issues with the S7), but that's a big if for the design. The current Sollie R2 115 also seems to have the same honeycomb concept; saw several good skiers on them in Canada, not clear how they'd handle packed snow or speed, though, which IMO has to be part of the package for a <110 ski. Also intrigued about Stockli's new Stormriders, have heard they are lighter and now go up to 107. Hmmm. 

 

The other approach is to go to Folsom and say, "I'm in your hands. Design me a 110-ish charger in 183 cm that I can bend but will hold up at speed. p.s. it needs to levitate on demand..." biggrin.gif

I'm curious if you've had the opportunity to ski the DPS Wailer 112 RPCs?  Dramatically different construction and shape compared to the traditional charger, but curious how they would factor into your evaluation.  I've not skied those, but my impression is your goals for a charger seem to be what they had in mind when they designed that ski. 

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 

Interesting suggestion, I have not. I owned the 112RP Pure, best dedicated tree ski for major pow that I could even conceive of. But not happy in other conditions I face routinely, such as bumpy ice or heavy stiff crud. At speed in variable snow, could get quite lively. If I lived at Steamboat, might be my one ski quiver. The RPC is said to be more of a fall line charger, and even stiffer. Could work if they can figure out how to damp 'em a bit more. Which DPS says it has this year. 

post #10 of 23

Beyond, I see you've owned (or own) an FX-94.  How would it compare to the Stormrider-95?

I've considered both in the recent past, and lately I've been toying with the idea of the FX-94 again. 

Which is better for tight spots and trees, yet stiff (not too stiff, tho) enough to slice through chunky crud?  I've been thinking the FX-94 looks promising.

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

Sounds like you're describing the FX94. Own it. Also own a Stormrider 95. Both exceptional skis, both very smooth and refined but otherwise reaally different. FX is light, low swing weight, the ticket for trees, bumps, chutes, anyplace where there's softer snow and you want precise handling. Very easy to bring around or put up on edge. At higher speeds in crud it can get a little deviated at lower edge angles, but not to the extent it loses traction, and it's good but not great on ice. It's a traditional camber ski that feels easy enough at initiation that you think it has a bit of early rise. The Stormrider really does have early rise, it is surprisingly maneuverable, but not quick edge to edge, and is the sort of steeps ski that I'd trust in a no-fall zone. But its strength is arcing at speed in variable or difficult snow, from ice to heavy chop. At 183 it feels a bit long and heavy to really dance through trees. Hope this helps. 

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Sounds like you're describing the FX94. Own it. Also own a Stormrider 95. Both exceptional skis, both very smooth and refined but otherwise reaally different. FX is light, low swing weight, the ticket for trees, bumps, chutes, anyplace where there's softer snow and you want precise handling. Very easy to bring around or put up on edge. At higher speeds in crud it can get a little deviated at lower edge angles, but not to the extent it loses traction, and it's good but not great on ice. It's a traditional camber ski that feels easy enough at initiation that you think it has a bit of early rise. The Stormrider really does have early rise, it is surprisingly maneuverable, but not quick edge to edge, and is the sort of steeps ski that I'd trust in a no-fall zone. But its strength is arcing at speed in variable or difficult snow, from ice to heavy chop. At 183 it feels a bit long and heavy to really dance through trees. Hope this helps. 

 

Yeah, Thanks, I believe it does.

The bolded is the most important, as the trees are my preferred playground.  I still like to hit our bowls, though, and in the days after a storm, they get pretty chunky.  It's a "soft" chunky, but enough to cause my current soft snow softer ski to tip-fold when it hits random pushed up piles of snow...not baby moguls yet, more like "fetus moguls."  I was thinking the FX-94 might fit the bill as a nimble and fun tree/tight spot ski that's just stiff enough to generally slice through the cut-up left-over mounds and chunks of snow of the soft(ish) variety in the week or so after a storm.  All of this at what is usually moderate speeds.

It sounds as if you're saying the FX-94 could be tailor-made for that role.  Would that be an accurate take on your post?

post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 

Yes.

post #14 of 23

A Stormrider in a 183cm length is a big ski. I'm thinking that at 165lbs. the next shorter length would be more fun, and still rip. Charger skis don't have to be up-sized to be fast and stable, as the construction is usually stiff and damp.

post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 

Well, the 183 is plenty maneuverable for me, and reasonably quick edge to edge, just gawdawful heavy getting there. Problem with going down to a 174 is that's mid-forehead for me. And this is a ski with real early rise. The flex will be a function of the cross sectional area, so not much change there, and it would still be damp, cuz that's the construction, but the stability, eg, tracking, will vary with the length relative to my height. It might be more fun in tight places for sure, and would go from super-heavyweight to light-heavyweight, but I think it also would lose some of that planted feel at speed, which is the point of the exercise for a charger, IMO. The new Stormriders might be a solution; apparently lighter and very nimble, but same smoothness, according to Dawg and SJ. 

post #16 of 23

There is skill involved in riding a ski which is too long for someone, no doubt. There is also skill involved in riding the right size ski at high speed.

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

There is skill involved in riding a ski which is too long for someone, no doubt. There is also skill involved in riding the right size ski at high speed.


So just dial up the get'r done mode.biggrin.gif I thought you skied the design parameters. I must be doing it wrong.

post #18 of 23
I concur with the observations on the 95 and that applies to a guy at 6'2" 230 lbs (winter weight). I am using the same length.

The one comment that stuck out was the speed and interpretation of how fast you are going. They seem to be going fast but feel like a third less. I noticed this on the laser sx as well. The vxl by contrast is fast and feels as fast as it is traveling. I don't have as many days on the 95 as I would like, although march looks like it will deliver ideal conditions again this year. I did find that after a couple of days on the 95, my skiing on the vxl (original version) seemed to go up a several notches.

My local shop says they have the line in right now for viewing. I am headed over today to have a gander. Mostly interested in the weight which I found (as you did) to be a little on the portly side in all but the softer and softer steeper conditions. For example the laser sx (previous version) and original vxl with the same binding weigh close the same ( but my measurement this morning suggests 6 oz per ski or almost the same difference between the vxl and 95....) where the 95 is a 1/2 lb more per ski. (albeit using my trusty park tool bike scale). Sx: 6lbs 4 oz with griffon. Vxl 6lbs 12 oz with Griff. 95: 7lbs 6oz with griff. The width plus half pound per ski feels heavier, but I could attribute this in part to my high degree of familiarity with 87 as a width vs 95.

tw
post #19 of 23

Tristram - where do you ski at usually?

post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post


So just dial up the get'r done mode.biggrin.gif I thought you skied the design parameters. I must be doing it wrong.


I was just saying that people set up gear for stability at speed, when it is compensating for not being able to control the ski at speed.

 

Skiing the design parameters in my case could be taking the 178cm S7's out with all the big boys on first lap. No, they don't feel classically stable at that speed, but they don't screw up either.

post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tristram View Post

I concur with the observations on the 95 and that applies to a guy at 6'2" 230 lbs (winter weight). I am using the same length.

The one comment that stuck out was the speed and interpretation of how fast you are going. They seem to be going fast but feel like a third less. I noticed this on the laser sx as well. The vxl by contrast is fast and feels as fast as it is traveling. I don't have as many days on the 95 as I would like, although march looks like it will deliver ideal conditions again this year. I did find that after a couple of days on the 95, my skiing on the vxl (original version) seemed to go up a several notches.

My local shop says they have the line in right now for viewing. I am headed over today to have a gander. Mostly interested in the weight which I found (as you did) to be a little on the portly side in all but the softer and softer steeper conditions. For example the laser sx (previous version) and original vxl with the same binding weigh close the same ( but my measurement this morning suggests 6 oz per ski or almost the same difference between the vxl and 95....) where the 95 is a 1/2 lb more per ski. (albeit using my trusty park tool bike scale). Sx: 6lbs 4 oz with griffon. Vxl 6lbs 12 oz with Griff. 95: 7lbs 6oz with griff. The width plus half pound per ski feels heavier, but I could attribute this in part to my high degree of familiarity with 87 as a width vs 95.

tw

Useful data. Yeah, the 95's feel as if they're traveling 10 mph slower than they are. I'm on the fence about keeping them; would love to get some weights on the new ones. Stockli's brochure, which I posted on another thread, gives lavish descriptions of their new construction, but (of course) no weights, even for the 100, which they claim to be made for touring. I'm honestly perplexed why makers are so allergic to including weight along with dimensions. Not like they don't know. th_dunno-1[1].gif

 

Dave, agree that some folks gravitate to overly stiff skis because the ski covers their weak mechanics. But others honestly like them for stability at speed, which IMO is a legit design parameter, not just a function of personal skill set. Neither of these skis are particularly hard to control, as I noted in my review. Both are quick and maneuverable. But one's very heavy (different parameter), and the other's a one trick pony (for lightweight moi). It's a nice trick in some settings, not so nice in others.

 

The old aphorism about skiing soft snow skis longer and softer prolly holds here, although rocker stirs all the old rules up a bit, and modern chargers seem to be al things to all people. But as an example, I've skied on both the 178 and 188 S7. It doesn't miraculously change its characteristics when it gets 10 cm longer. Still wonderful in tight spaces, still floppy feeling front in crud at speed, still that odd shift in COM has you transition from groomers to soft. A bit calmer at 188, especially in deeper snow, but not a different animal. I could enjoy both, although the 188 better suits my mission. 

 

So if my mission indicates a go-for-it charger at least at head height (183 cm), then answer IMO is not to go shorter, but to go to another model or brand. Flex is largely a function of cross sectional area and construction, not length, and at 6' and a neoclassical style, skiing boot-top fast in a length that ends at one of my many forehead lines feels like too much nervousness. Go the other extreme: I've been surprised how I can tear on a WC SL, even in light crud (and keep in mind that elite skiers have been clocked freesking over 60 mph on them; these are stiff skis). You may have had the same experience. IMO, great fun; good for the reflexes. But that doesn't mean I'm gonna want a 160 cm Icelantic for my steep chutes charger - Note to owners, am sure it's a superb tree ski or sidecountry tool - cuz just not interested in spending that much effort to manage my COM and not overpressure the tips when I'm supposed to be enjoying the snowflakes and speed. 

 

Thus, reviews were meant to plumb connection between skier size/style and ski beef. I'd say that what I've learned is to not assume very much. Because I thought the Stockli would be a monster, which it wasn't, and I thought the Cochise would be a natural fit, which it wasn't. All part of my constant effort to keep the United States strong by singlehandedly supporting ski dealers everywhere...wink.gif

post #22 of 23

Setting up your gear for stability at speed is more than flex, including length, shape, construction, and profile. I just think that usually, setting stuff up that way is a huge tradeoff, giving up maneuverability and quickness in the bargain. I ski lengths much longer than I am tall, but I'm me, heh heh. outside the bell curve a bit at 160cm.  

 

One exception would be skiing powder and cut up powder at over 50mph. A 190 something ski is the preferred tool for that particular situation, fore and aft balance needed. But that's not generally considered finessing the run.

post #23 of 23
Noodler. Apologies for the delayed response. I ski whistler pretty much exclusively, at least the last several years.

Beyond. I took out the SR 107 in 183. Weight on my trusty park tool bike scale: 7 lbs 12 oz (if I remember correctly) soloman binding system.

I went to Whistler hoping that some of the previous weeks snow remained.....it was largely skied out and rain had hardened the surfaces mid mountain.

Quick observations: this is an incredible ski. Period. Very easy. Edge to edge requires a bit more time than I am used to, however very maneuverable. I found myself centered and carving easily on softish groomers. Almost effortless. The skis are fast, and feel fast if you point them down like the vxl. Tips flap a little but do not chatter. While heavier than the 95 they ski lighter.

I found the 183 very good but on some tougher hard moguls, for which my skills seem less suited, I found the width a little more challenging. This may not be an issue for a more skilled pilot in these conditions.

They carve easily on hard surfaces. Edge grip is excellent. On the one section of softish cut up snow, they sailed beautifully almost effortlessly. On the vxl I would have to dance, these are point and shoot.

From the very first run they felt remarkable.

The 95 for demo is too short as is the 100, but considering the design, I could easily consider the new 95 in a longer length as a hybrid powder machine at whistler. The 107 is fantastic, but not sure it is going to be what I need. Frankly I love the 95 width, and I suppose if my nearly new old 95s will go, I will grab a pair of new 95s.

tw
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