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Looking for my first pair of real skis [northeast intermediate]

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Last winter I bought old rental gear from Wachusett Mountain. This year I'm looking to buy my first real boots and skis. Yes, I know boots are more important, but here I'm just asking about skis. I'm planning on going to a local ski shop to have boots fitted, so I'll just take what they think works. I might buy skis from them too, but I just got junk mail from Wachusett saying they have a labor day sale with demo skis 50% off.


I'll star with the 5 questions:

1. In the icy slushy east

2. I stick to groomed runs

3. Ski about a dozen times a year

4. Intermediate, level 5 or 6

5. 5'7" 130lb


What I currently have: the old rental gear are Head Alien skis, length 150, radius 13.1, dimensions 107.8 68.6 96.0.


How I ski: I tend to be fast, about an average of 25mph, go only on blacks if there's powder-ish (and those are Wachusett blacks, which are really blues on other mountains in the east). I enjoy carving.


What I'm looking for: I'm not quite looking for specific models of skis to be recommended, but more like a type, length and dimensions, because I'll have to rely on something the shop has. I'm looking for what might be called an all mountain carver. Last year was a great year, and we got some powder days. I found that when I hit the powder, I lost a lot of speed and was almost falling forward. I want to try to not do that so much, but also still have carving skis. So maybe skis with a radius of 15ish and waist width in the low 70s. I'm also not sure about the length. I'm wondering if they should be a bit more than 150. I don't mind skis that are a few years old. For budget, I dunno...$600 with bindings?

post #2 of 15

For sizing, it's really going to depend on what ski you go with, but generally speaking for an all-mountain carver, something in the 75-80mm waist range, I'd stick in the 165cm range.  Going longer will give you more speed, larger turns, shorter will be easier to handle, but a bit slower.


I'm a big fan of going slightly wider these days, gives you much greater versatility.  You say you can ski any blacks at Wachusett, if you keep skiing there, you're going to get bored and want to jump in the trees or bumps to test your skills over time and thats where slightly wider is going to give you a more fun ride, yet still work great on groomers.  I'd say look in the 75-80mm waist range.


I've skied many of the models in both the Salomon Enduro series and Volkl RTM series.  Own a pair of RTM 84's, which would be too much a ski for you, but don't shy away from the 75, it's a great little ski for on-piste in New England.  Same with the Enduro 750.  Both claim to have "rocker" but it is so slight, you're not going to notice it.


Not too familiar with other brands when it comes to narrower waists.

post #3 of 15

He's never going to get into the trees at WaWa because it is not allowed. I'm glad that you've come to terms with the idea that you need boots first and foremost. That aside, let's talk skis...


First off, I would avoid a 50% MSRP demo from Wachusett. Better deals can be had. Almost any ski shop will give you 50% MSRP for any 2013 model year skis that they have left in stock right now. I start buying skis when the price drops to 50% MSRP, often for less than that. $600 with bindings will buy you some great skis -- that's probably more than you need to spend.


If you're looking for an online deal, check out levelninesports.com. Their descriptions are honest and they have some great prices. You'll see a lot of people talk about the Start Haus blemish sale and that certainly is another good option. But I'd start with a visit to my local shops to see what is in stock. I live in the Merrimack Valley so PM me if you're looking for some tips on where to look in that area.


I've tried both the RTM and Enduro skis and I was not a fan. While it's not the right time of year, everyone will tell you to demo before you buy. The Wachusett shop is actually one of the best places around to do that. Pick a slow period and just go through the racks trying everything you want. I did that I ended up loving the Rossignol Experience 88 which I did not expect to like -- so I went and bought a pair elsewhere from a shop that I know bargains.


As for length, look for something in the 160s at your size.

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestions.


I have read a lot of people saying demo before you buy. Unfortunately I've never done that, but I have a couple reasons for not wanting to do it, which I could easily be completely wrong about. First is wanting to take advantage of the pre-season sales. Second, and this is where I may be wrong, is the fact that I have almost nothing to compare to. If I buy skis that are the dimensions you guys are suggesting and based off my original ideas, what is there to hate? I may sound very naive....


...which may only mean I need more information. What makes a ski work the way it does besides length, dimensions, radius, and rocker/camber? What does the material have an effect on? Anything else?

post #5 of 15

bliz1978 brings up a great point on the Rossi 88's.  I never actually skied the 88's but have skied the 98's and loved them for a front side ski.  I preferred the RTM 84's for more versatility, i.e. when skiing trees in deeper crud, found the RTM's performed better.  I've heard great things about the 88's though.


Re: Wachusett, grew up skiing there, no one follows the rules, ha!  Actually some decent stuff off Ropers Road (when Ropers is open), just got to be careful you don't go too far skiers right or you'll end up off the backside of the mountain, not easy to get back.


Re: demo, you can find yourself a demo day and test out a few pairs of skis, thats your best bet so you have something to compare to.  You'll notice a difference pretty quickly if you can get on 3-4 different skis in a day.  Not as easy to find on-mountain shops on the east that allow you to constantly switch out models during the day, but it's common out west, that's where I've done a bulk of my ski testing.  If you can wait and get to a demo it's well worth it over the long run.  You're going to get many years on a brand new set-up, so don't rush the decision, have done that before and been disappointed.

post #6 of 15

Just buy a pair of Brahmas. You're definitely the right level and size; no other ski will come close for the east. I can hear the gold medals dropping softly into the snow as I write...Or is that the distant sound of credit card swipes? 

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

levelninesports.com has pretty amazing prices. Are those skis used or new? If they're new, why so cheap?

post #8 of 15

New. Cheap because a) it's time to clear out unsold inventory and b) they didn't sell that well last year or were overproduced. The best skis of any given year seldom end up in warehouses come August. But that doesn't mean they don't have some decent skis, just not the best sellers...

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

So that means if I were to wait till winter so I can demo and buy them at levelninesports.com, they might be gone or not nearly as cheap?

post #10 of 15
Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post

So that means if I were to wait till winter so I can demo and buy them at levelninesports.com, they might be gone or not nearly as cheap?


Age old problem, when you can demo them is when they tend to cost the more.


and with levelNine yeah the sell out


Same with Starthaus's Nordica Blem Sale


Best to try and make an informed choice so...


PM philpug @ starthaus

post #11 of 15
Here are my own personal guidelines that I use when I purchase skis for myself.  BTW I too ski mostly frontside groomed terrain.
First of all, for better edge hold on hard (iced) surfaces typical of the northeast and because they go faster, I prefer longer skis.  The longer the edges, the better handling on icy surfaces.  I also personnally prefer skis with no rocker.  Where I ski we rarely get powder, we mostly get hard groomed or icy surfaces.  So no rocker means more of the edges along the skis are in contact with the snow/ice, thus more edge hold.  I really hate the feeling when I start skidding on ice in a high speed turn, so I am willing to trade a little manoeuvrability for stability on ice.
I always buy wood core skis with at least one titanium layer for stiffness.  Again, stiffness helps the ski better hold an edge on iced terrain.  And the bindings that come with the ski must go up to at least a DIN 10.
I too would say go with something in the 75-80mm waist range.  The thinner waist means faster skis but harder to initiate turns.
For length, I am 5'8 and I ski with 172-176cm skis.  I also have 165cm skis, but I don't use those when it's icy because they skid more.  But the shorter skis are great when it's not icy, they allow me to have fun with shorter radius turns and in the moguls.
Also, I personnally am always looking for skis with a turn radius between 13 and 18 meters, that's the best in my case as the runs at my mountain aren't too wide.  I'd say a ski with a 15 meters turn diameter is about perfect for me.  I personnally love cheater GS skis, i.e. GS skis that have a shorter radius than true FIS GS race skis.  I have race skis also, but I keep those for the days when I really want to rip at full speed and when my energy levels are high.  In other words, race skis such as the Atomic Race D2 GS are nice skis when you feel like giving them a good workout, but they are not the skis I'd choose if I had only one pair.  I also have Salomon 24 hours (172 cm) and Atomic Edge GS (176cm) skis, which are versatile, capable of high speed on iced terrain, skiing in fresh powder, moguls, or anything you throw at them really.
Popular skis at the mountain with my fellow ski patrollers include the Nordica Fire Arrow, Elan Amphibios, and several others.
As others have said, 600$ will get you a pretty good pair of skis that will last several years and allow you to progress to a higher level.
I have also found that the more expensive skis that I own seem to have edges made of better steel, they stay sharp longer.
Also, even if you purchase a new pair of skis, don't get rid of the old one.  You'll need them to ski the WROD, or in the rocks in springtime.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

Spent some time on levelninesports.com, and found 3 I'm interested in:


Rossignol Experience 78
Head REV 80
Head REV 75


I don't see the size I want (around 160) for any of them so I might have to look on other sites. But anyway, the one I'm least interested in is the REV 75. The radius of 11m is a little smaller than what I want. As far as the REV 80 or Experience 78, I'm really not sure. They seem fairly similar. The Experience 78 might have more rocker.



post #13 of 15

The E78 and the REV 80 are both nice skis to get going on. I wouldn't get hung up on length; at your size and level a 163, for instance, would be fine in a ski of that genre. If you want something lighter and livelier (both of these are fairly damp and at least middleweights, although very maneuverable), you might look at a Fischer in the low 80's or if you're wanting something a bit more challenging but with a bigger upside as you get better, a Blizzard 8.0 CA. You might also keep an eye out for the carbon version of the Rossi Avenger 82; it's still around new although no longer made, and a great east coast ski for lighter folks. 

post #14 of 15
If you plan to improve maybe get rev 80 pro, a bit stiffer but still very easy to manage, better on ice and leave room for improvement. Personally though I think if you plan to stick with eastern groomer 80 mm is too wide, 70~75 is plenty.

Don't get me wrong, rev 80 pro can handle eastern hardpack fine, but it feels unnecessarily wide when the surface is hard enough that I can't stab my pole deep enough to stand it up.
post #15 of 15

80 is a perfectly fine width for the hardpack. I am a New England skier and my ice skis are 78 under foot with two layers of metal.


This leads up to the Rev 80 vs Rev 80 Pro question. Paying the extra money for the Pro means that you get a ski with metal in it. A ski with metal is stiffer and built for generally higher speeds. If it gets very steep and icy you'll want this so you can get really aggressive and rip into the hardpack. If you're just cruising then don't worry about it.


I understand the idea of buying a more advanced ski to leave room for improvement, but in my experience you'll just want new skis with different strengths at this point anyways.


As far as length goes, pick your ideal length and go +/- 5 cm. Some skis only come in 10 cm length increments.

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