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Recomendations for first pair of skis to demo...

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hello, I am looking for suggestions to start me off on the path to buying a pair of skis.

 

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!

 

I have already purchased professionally fitted boots since this was recommended as a high priority (I am so glad I switched out of rental boots!).

 

My current ski experience has been on beginner skis - salomon enduro lx 750 at 152 cm length. My instructor suggested that I now go and start trying demo skis to get an idea of what I like for the future.

 

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.

 

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

post #2 of 19

Welcome to EpicSki.  Since you didn't mention it, the ski gods mandate that I recite the mantra:  Boots first!  Seriously, I don't know about snowboarding but in skiing boots are way more important than skis.  If your boots are too big, like the majority of skiers, the skis will not do what you want when you want,  So, go to the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum, read the wikis about fitting and terminology and then check the "Who's Who" for a boot fitter near you.  I know there is at least one reputable shop in Whistler but I don't recall the name.  Get the boot part right and demoing skis will be more informative and more fun.  Your skiing is also likely to improve.

 

As for skis, based on where you ski, you probably want a ski in the 90-105mm range.  Some of the skis I've tried in that range that have impressed me are the Nordica Steadfast(90mm and my daily driver), Nordica Hell & Back and Soul Rider(both 98mm), Atomic Ritual(103mm and on my list for next season), Atomic Alibi(98mm), Salomon Quest 90(2014 model).  All of these have at least tip rocker and some also have tail rocker and they all have camber, which helps them hold an edge on harder snow.  The Steadfast has excellent edge grip, better than the Bushwacker IMO.  I demoed the Atomic Ritual and Alibi a few weeks ago and while the Alibi seemed like a nice reliable ski, it didn't impress me nearly as much as the RItual which is why I'm buying the Ritual next season.  I'm pretty close to your size if that matters.

 

Good luck and have fun.

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank-you very much for your thoughts. I did indeed get the boots first! I went to Fanatyk Co in Whistler - they were recommended by all the instructors as well as someone on the peak-2-peak gondola who films for the professional ski movies. Furthermore, they are a great bunch of professional bootfitters who took the time to make sure that I got the right boots and their customer service was really good.

 

I will keep your list of skis in mind when I go demo skis. Thank-you for your time.

post #4 of 19

mtcyclist is dead on with his recommendations.  I own the Nordica Hell and Backs and they're an amazingly playful ski that will maintain edge hold at high speed and high degree turns, but they don't make you WORK for them to perform.  On that same vein, there are a couple of other skis that you should look at as well.  Check out the Scott Crusade, Blizzard Bonafide, Atomic Charter (if they still make this one, they may have changed the name again), Fischer Watea, Line Prophet 90 and 100 (these may be a little much as an advanced beginner/intermediate).  As you demo any of the skis, try to see if you can make them adjust to the way YOU feel comfortable skiing. If you're a carver, try to make the skis carve.  If you're a slider, make them slide.  If you like to wash out the end of your turns, try to make them do that. If you find yourself fighting a ski, trash it and move on unless you recognize something you're doing wrong.  Don't settle for a ski that the manufacturer tells you is good for you.  Ski selectors on manufacturer websites, in the end, are just marketing tools.  They can get you close to what you're looking for, but even with the skis that we have suggested, there is a huge range of feel and skiability between them.  Each ski will feel different in different conditions. Good luck!  There are a ton of great skis in this range, you'll have a blast finding the right one.

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank-you for the responses.

 

I am 5' 8" (172 cm) and 140 lbs - if I demo the following skis (in no particular ranking order), which lengths should I choose:

 

1. Steadfast - I assume 170 since 178 is probably too long for me

2. Blizzard Bonafide - 166 or 173?

3. Atomic Ritual - 174 (is this getting too long for me?)

4. Hell and Back - 161 or 169?

5. Scott Crusade - I assume the 169

6. Fischer Watea 96 (170) or 88 (160 or 168)?

7. Salomon Enduro 800 - 161 or 168?

 

Any other feedback would be appreciated as well. Thank-you for your time and effort.
 

post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by slantybard View Post

Thank-you for the responses.

 

I am 5' 8" (172 cm) and 140 lbs - if I demo the following skis (in no particular ranking order), which lengths should I choose:

 

1. Steadfast - I assume 170 since 178 is probably too long for me

2. Blizzard Bonafide - 166 or 173?

3. Atomic Ritual - 174 (is this getting too long for me?)

4. Hell and Back - 161 or 169?

5. Scott Crusade - I assume the 169

6. Fischer Watea 96 (170) or 88 (160 or 168)?

7. Salomon Enduro 800 - 161 or 168?

 

Any other feedback would be appreciated as well. Thank-you for your time and effort.
 

Don't be afraid to ride these skis a little longer.  Remember, most, if not all of these skis have at least minimal rocker profiling in the tip and some have it in the tail as well.  This "allows" you to ride a ski longer than you would on a normally cambered ski.  I put that it quotes for a couple of reasons.  First, ski length, once you reach a certain ability level, comes down to individual preference and how the ski feels.  I'm 6' and my Hell and Backs are 185cm, my Crusades are 189cm, and my Bonafides are 187cm.  But, I like long high speed turns. Shorter slalom type turns would perhaps dictate a shorter ski. Also, the rocker allows you to initiate your turn a little quicker, taking some of the "longness" out of a ski. And finally, the more edge you have in the snow during a turn, the more stable you're going to be.  There are some "rule of thumb" ideas about ski size, but let your skiing dictate length. Start at what size you think is comfortable while standing in the shop or at the demo, then try the next size up, and then the next size up.  You'll find out very quickly, maybe in one run, which lengths are wrong for you, but don't be afraid of a little length. I was on a 176 Nordica Jet Fuel before all of these "side country" skis came out, but once I rode a 98-100 waisted ski at 185cm or longer, whenever I ride a shorter ski I now feel like I'm going to fall over the tips all day.  

 

One more thing to remember about length, you might find that the skis with metal construction (or any construction for that matter) ski a little softer in a longer size.  You're not a heavy guy, so in the Bonafide, for example, I would try in the 173 for sure.  Skis are like anything else, the longer they are, the more flex they will have, given that the construction is the same.

post #7 of 19

Any ski with tip rocker or early rise tip, you should be on about 170cm. My Steadfasts are 170.  On the Bonafide, try the 173.  The RItual has tip and tail rocker so 174 is not too long.  Watea 88 Enduro 800 in the 168.  

post #8 of 19

For a more specific response I'll suggest..

 

1. Steadfast:           Very playful ski with no metal, I would try the 178. Don't be intimidated by a little length, if it doesn't work, at least you'll know.

2. Bonafide:            Try the 173

3. Ritual:                 174, it's a huge jump to the 182, but I'd try it if I were you, for fun if nothing else, although I haven't ridden this ski so I don't have much info on it.

4. Hell and Back:      Exact same ski as the Steadfast, only wider.  Try the 177, you might be surprised

5. Scott Crusade:     This is such a fun and undemanding ski, I would say try it in both the 169 and the 179 if you can

6. Watea (both):       These are very similar in feel to the Steadfast and the Hell and Back.  Try the 170/168 range.  160 is too short in a rockered ski for you IMO.

7. Salomon Enduro:  This one is kind of outside of the comparison with the other skis here.  To me, it rode much more like a front side, or on-piste only, ski. I would still go a little longer, definitely        

                               not the 161.

 

Hope this helps!  

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank you mtcyclist and Gibmon323 for your further suggestions. I will use these as a starting point in trying different skis.

post #10 of 19

i am a simular hight and weight to you i own a set of hell and backs length 170 and i love them! really fun ski.

 

i would also suggest that you look at head skis perhaps the rev series the 80 or 85

post #11 of 19

I wouldn't rule out something like the Bushwacker (or the Kabookie). It might not have quite the edgehold of the metal skis, but for someone who is 6 days into the sport, it should be a lot friendlier than something like the Bonafide for learning to ski moguls and similar variable terrain. Something a bit more playful might be nice.

post #12 of 19

The Nordica Soul Rider would be a good one to try also, 97mm underfoot no metal but very stable. You could start with the 177cm because it is a full twin with early rise and camber underfoot, I would not bother with the 169 for skiing out there at your size, plus you sound aggressive and will likely progress very fast. You may also like the feel of the tail, especially in the bumps and tight places. It is very easy to ski, but itis also capable of ripping and is marketed as advanced to expert. Trust me though I could possibly be the worst skier on this forum, and it did not feel 97mm underfoot or 177cm, so I can vouch for its ease of use. The 2014 graphics are alot easier on the eyes than this years model in my opinion. I also like the Atomic Theory in 177cm 95mm underfoot. It is a little softer than the soul rider. I own the Bushwacker in 173, it is an awesome ski. That size would be perfect for you and at our weight it is good in 8 to 12 " of fresh.

 

Welcome to Epicski.

Have a great spring season

 

Rich


Edited by vwr1vwf - 3/28/13 at 4:22pm
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by slantybard View Post

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.

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the suggestions. It sounds like there are lots (almost too many) of skis I should try! I will start by finding skis from all your suggestions that are still available to demo at my local ski shops.

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by slantybard View Post

It sounds like there are lots (almost too many) of skis I should try!

 

Unfortunately that is very true, and there are even more that nobody has even mentioned.eek.gif

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 

Okay, I am going to try some skis now. I was wondering if anyone knows where you can find the nordica soul riders in the BC lower mainland, squamish, or whistler region. They don't seem to be very many nordica dealers here and the one that I have found (Fanatyk Co) only carries the steadfast, hell and back, and burner in waists smaller than 100. Further, should I be on the 166 or 177 of the soul rider given my 5'8" and 140#? I don't want to get overwhelmed by a ski I am not ready for with my experience level.

 

I don't mind waiting to try them next year, but nordica seems to be uncommon in my region.

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by slantybard View Post

Okay, I am going to try some skis now. I was wondering if anyone knows where you can find the nordica soul riders in the BC lower mainland, squamish, or whistler region. They don't seem to be very many nordica dealers here and the one that I have found (Fanatyk Co) only carries the steadfast, hell and back, and burner in waists smaller than 100. Further, should I be on the 166 or 177 of the soul rider given my 5'8" and 140#? I don't want to get overwhelmed by a ski I am not ready for with my experience level.

 

I don't mind waiting to try them next year, but nordica seems to be uncommon in my region.

 

Talk to Shayne at Fanaty ko. Long story, but just talk to him and he can arrange.

post #18 of 19

I'm within 1/2" of you and 10 pounds heavier.  My Steadfasts are 170cm.  I demoed the Soul Rider a few weeks ago and I was on the 177's which were fine for me.  Because it's a twin tip with tip rocker, the 166 could feel as short as 161-162.  While I have a pair of Icelantic Shamans that are 161 and have used them off-piste quite a bit, they only work because the shovel is 160mm and the waist is 110mm.  That isn't a length I would recommend for off-piste use for anyone my size.  So, try the 177.  The way it normally works with demos is you pay a flat fee, often about $40-50 and you can swap skis as often as you like during the day, so if 177 is just too hard to maneuver, go get something different.

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank-you everyone for your teaching and thoughts/feedback about skis. We basically changed to spring conditions up at Whistler this weekend as the freezing level is above the peaks for the past 5 or 6 days, turning last weeks good snow into cyclic slush-frozen "snow". I tried to get the long-term rental place I used the past month or so to give me a ski that is more wider/longer than the 152 cm salomon enduro 750xt I have been using. They could only give me 154 cm women's volkl attiva tierra (78mm) skis! I knew these were less flexible and less forgiving than the beginner skis I had, but I thought that I would try them anyways to see what they felt like on the "western ice" and later slush. I concluded that they were horrible for me!

 

I will be going to a reputable demo/rental place next weekend and talking to them and trying some better skis. I believe that since I am an intermediate skier (level 4), I currently need skis that are forgiving and will use suggestions from this thread and the PM's sent as a starting point as I try new skis. I will likely continue demo-ing into next season as the spring conditions are different from the winter conditions and end up purchasing skis next year.

 

Again, I really appreciate all your thoughts and help. They have made me more knowledgeable about skis and I will be able to use this when I interact with ski shops.

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