Originally Posted by slantybard
I have over 15 years of snowboarding experience but my kids and wife ski and I have decided to pick up skiing. I now have 6 days of skiing experience (including several full day lessons) and am comfortable on blue runs (not moguls) and venturing onto blacks now. I have really enjoyed the switch and am surprised at how much fun I am having skiing!
Some important information about me that might help with suggestions are:
- I spend 90% of my time on Whistler/Blackcomb with occasional trips to the BC interior or Mt. Baker
- I spend about 40 days a year on the mountain with my family
- I am looking to start with an all-mountain ski
- I will be spending most of my time on the trails for the next year or so with some tree skiing. I want to learn to do moguls properly (the bane of my boarding life!). I am not a terrain park, racer, or extreme snow person but I will be pushing my comfort level and increasing my skill.
- I like being able to make quicker turns for the narrow steeper areas
- I am 5' 8" tall and weigh 140 lbs
I have spent quite a bit of time on the internet and there seems to be such a huge range of options ranging from such skis as the volkl mantras, rossi experience, atomic ritual, salomon enduro 800, blizzard bonafides as suggestions from googling and ski reviews. Unfortunately, I don't have any previous experience to help me in narrowing down a range of skis to demo. Furthermore, given my lighter weight and shorter height combined with the newer tips of skis changing the contact length, I find it confusing to choose a length of ski to try as well. I have 2 places with good reputations for helping newer skiers, but I also wanted to start out with some solid suggestions from others and heard that this is a good place to ask questions like mine.
Hey slantybard. Welcome to the wonderful world of skiing where two boards are always better than one.
This can be a pretty good place to get advice. . . . when people actually pay attention to the original question and the OP's self description. I'll toss my 2 cents into this thread because I've have some extensive experience on some of the skis in question and I think that the advice could be better tuned to where you are as a skier.
The list that you have accumulated looks on first blush like a pretty good list for a Whistler skier - and it reads a bit like the greatest hits of EpicSki. However, I think that most of the choices are off base for where you are at as a skier this and next season because (a) your level - at 6 days on skis, even as an experience boarder you are going to be an intermediate at best for a season (b) your goals - mostly groomers, with an aspiration to venture off piste and figuring out bump skiing (you've got to figure out bumps before you can ski safely in the trees), (c) your size - at 5'8, 140, you are built like a pro cyclist - but you are focusing on dampish skis that for the most part include metal - why?
Think of it this way. I am an experienced skier with two days on a snowboard. I can pilot a board down easy groomers and in the snowboard progression I am about a week of solid boarding away from being able to competently get down most groomed terrain. Which is probably where you are on skis. I have plenty of on-mountain experience - but that only translates to boarding somewhat. Would you recommend for me a stiff, powerful carving board - I am mostly going to be on the groomers, right? No. You'd recommend something more forgiving that would get me down groomers OK and allow me to improve. Same with your case on skis. Your list is way too focused on skis appropriate for your boarding level rather than your skiing level. As for lengths, read MTcyclist's post. He is on-point. Use that as a gauge for whether you are getting good advice at a shop (as opposed to being bro-bahed).
Bonafide. I own the Bones (at 185#, 5'11" I ski them in 180). I now have 25+ days on them in all kinds of conditions and I think that they are just great - in general the hype for a very good ski is justified. Nevertheless, having skied many skis in the class over the last year, I think that the hype for the Bone - which on this board stretches the limits of credibility - is leading a bunch of folks who would be much happier on something else to purchase it, or assume it would be just perfect. While the Bonafide is a great blend of capabilities and is a great tool for going from hard snow to soft snow and back (which where I live we do in a single run), it is not a particularly good choice for a mostly groomers, intermediate skier. Nor is it a particularly great choice for a lightweight skier (expert or not). The Bone has 2 sheets of metal, full vertical sidewalls, classic laminate construction. It is a somewhat stiff, damp ski, that notwithstanding its rocker shape rides with a fairly traditional, directional feel. It requires a strong pilot and some girth to really enjoy it. Also, because of the stiffness and the width, the Bone it is not a particularly great bump ski. It is workable if you are decent in tight spaces, but it will not help you improve in the bumps, and if you aren't aren't comfortable in bumps to begin with it will chuck you around and make you worse. Also, while it is solid on the groomers (a great choice for a skier who optimizes for off-piste but wants reasonable piste performance), there are far better choices for a skier optimizing for groomers first. In total, the package represents a reasonable collection of trade offs and I think that the Bones are awesome for a lot of skiers. I strongly endorse them for the right skier, in the right terrain. But they are suboptimal for others, and I think that it is a bummer for a lot of folks buying into the hype machine when there are better, less heralded tools out there that map more closely to the reality of most skiers. Demo if you must find out what the fuss is about, don't go longer than 173 at your size, but it is likely way to much ski for you at this point and I think you'd be far better served on something a click more narrow, a click softer and more compliant. In Blizzard's line, the Bushwacker makes more sense on paper.
Ritual. This is an interesting ski that is starting to get better reviews this year (for whatever reason, it was somewhat ignored by the hype machine last year). I'd characterize the Ritual as feeling light and crisp, but still very solid and stiff. The stiffness comes from the metal spine that is laid into the wood core (for some weight savings). It also has solid edge grip from the sidewall under foot (Atomic's "step-down sidewall"). The Ritual has a quicker, lighter feel than the Bonafide, but it is still a fairly stiff and solid ski. Another that I don't think is the best choice for an intermediate as the light snow feel belies the ski's power. And it is too stiff at 103mm underfoot to be great in the bumps unless you are already bringing skills to the table. From what I've seen, the Ritual appeals to skiers who like a lighter feeling ski with a bit of pop but still want stiffness and stability to power through chopped up snow, deeper soft snow and to grip on firmer surfaces. Personally, I favor the feel of the Bonafide (which is why I bought them) because I like the heavier, more damp, smooth feel that you get from traditional metal laminate construction, rather than the sharp, crisp feel of the Ritual. But the Ritual is a worthy choice, IMO. I have two friends who are riding the Ritual as a daily driver this year, they love it, but both are far from intermediates. One is an industry pro, the other is an experienced all mountain skier. Mtcyclist found the Alibi "meh" relative to the Ritual, but that makes sense. Mtcyclist probably had more days on skis in the last two weeks than you've had in a lifetime. So you have to take that into account. If you like the idea of the Vantage construction, for you, the Alibi at 98 underfoot and maybe a tad softer might be a better choice with a wider performance band. But for where you are at, at 140#, the Theory (same shape, at 95 without the metal) might be better yet. Also, at your size, at 6 days in, 182 in the Ritual is crazy-talk. That's poor advice from someone who hasn't been on the ski. 174 would be plenty of ski at your size. 182 is the size that I'd ski it - and I am way fatter than you are. As my buddy, the industry pro, put it when it comes to ski length . . . "I just try to go with what works and keep my ego out of it."
But I'd scratch the Bonafide, Ritual, E98, Mantra all off your list. Too demanding for an intermediate - even coming over as an experienced boarder.
What would I go with? Skis that you will like a lot next season - and the seasons after that. Skis that are a bit more compliant than most of those on your list, but still can be loved as you progress (which you will rapidly). I mentioned the Alibi and the Theory. If you like Atomic, I'd strongly consider the Access (a great, easy flexing, under-rated ski that is a killer value, decent on groomers and great in soft snow). I was also super-impressed at a recent demo day with The Ski (I rode the white one, a snappy all-mountain ski optimized for being great in bumps, but still pretty solid and fun on groomers - I think it would be easy to ski initially and would give back even more as you got better and more confident). Or the Prophet 90 (a great ski for an intermediate to go to advanced on - great all around for a western mountain). I also think that he suggestion of the Soul Rider is a very good one. That is a super fun, easy to ski directional twin that is way better on groomers than you'd expect for a ski with that shape and construction and is great in bumps and terrain features (that you are probably accustomed to seeking out). Plus, as a boarder, I think that you'd appreciate the jibby, launch everything in sight, feel - the Soul Rider is the ski of choice for a friend who is both a solid boarder and skier - and having been on it, I get why he likes it when he rides two sticks. It probably sounds crazy, but the 177 Soul Rider might be a click too long. I found the 177 to be great at my size (which surprised me). You could do it, but at 140# you might want even a size smaller.
And there are others. Tons of great choices. But, rather than focus on magazine reviews and online discussion, I'd find a shop you trust and see what they recommend. . . knowing that you are a boarder, but just getting started on skis. I think that what you'll find is that there are a lot of great skis for where you are at that maybe don't get a ton of love on chat boards, but would make a lot more sense at your size and stage.
Good luck, have fun and let us know how it works out.