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All-Mountain ski for AT that skis like an AC40?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Dilemma with picking a ski for this season, no time to demo (the deal is now!). 5'10", 175-180, skiing on/off for 30 years, raced a bit in college, thus I like to carve more than slide around. Just wore out a pair Volkl Supersport 6's (loved that they hold an edge like a rail), last season got a pair of AC40's from a friend that I like even more, due to their increased ability to ski variable terrain and snow depth. Yes, I'm cheap. And behind the times.

I enjoy most inbounds skiing (some of the double-EX stuff can be a bit nerve-wracking), and have lately been doing more low-angle touring just to get away from the crowds. It's time to ditch my old Black Diamond Havoc+Fritschi AT setup, and looking for a ski that will get me through any garbage backcountry snow I'm likely to find, while merely working to survive in the deep stuff. I demoed a pair of poorly-serviced Mantras last season (I thought I'd love them, but didn't), and then used a pair of 4frnt CRJs for several days, which I quite nearly hated (too much rocker for me!). Call me old-school, but I think I just like a normal-camber ski, stiff enough to pop me out of aggressive turns if I'm so inclined to ski hard. I'm willing to sacrifice some backcountry performance to be on a ski that can handle any crap snow that Colorado can throw at it, and after doing a whole bunch of reading around here and TGR, I still need help deciding.

I seem to be almost fully gravitated toward the Rossi Experience 88, but want to make sure there are not some other perfect contenders I should be considering. Bonafide? Another ride on a well-tuned Mantra? I don't want/need a full-on powder ski for CO conditions, and I feel like I'm taking my life into my hands on the Havocs on bulletproof wind crust (torsion and stiff are mutually exclusive with this tele ski).

Do you think the E88 would perform as I'm expecting, that is, a strong all-mountain ski with a tendency to carve hard snow well, but with deep snow performance at least as good as my AC40s? I know that's a low bar for soft snow, but the AC40s have worked well enough for me in 8-12", and if they didn't have a system binding I'd slap some AT bindings on and call it good.

Thanks in advance, and I look forward to the input!

post #2 of 9
Maybe the Volkl Kendo? I don't have direct experience with it but it's gotten good reviews for hard snow performance, it isn't very heavy, and it has semi-similar dimensions to the AC40 - just a little wider. You seem to like the way Volkls ski, and there have been some good prices to be found lately on Kendos. Google up some reviews and see what you think.
post #3 of 9

Good news!  It will be easy to find a much more fun ski than the AC40.  I never liked them - too stiff and unforgiving, but I did ski the AC30 for years and have a pair as rock skis and still enjoy them.


I went to the Kendo from the AC30 and love them.   The Kendo is a great do-it-all Colorado all mountain ski.  I like the E88 also.  That's a great ski too, I just have a slight preference for the Volkl feel (brainwashed?).


That said, I just bought some Nordica Steafasts as my Kendo replacement.  I even broke my own rule and bought them without demoing them because: a) they were a great deal, b) they have amazing reviews, and c) they are one of many skis in this great class (88-90 camber w/early rise) that seem to hit a wide sweet spot.  I think you could buy any of the top skis in this class and be happy.


The nice thing about the Steadfast is it's designed to be light for back/sidecountry, so it's perfect for your AT setup.   Here's the deal... don't think to much it will be gone:



I'm 5'11 180 and the 177 is what you want in the Steadfast, Kendo or E88.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Nordica! Don't they make ski boots? wink.gif

I'd considered the Kendo, but I'm thinking after skiing the Mantras that the slightly larger turning radius might have been one of the things I didn't like (seemed hard to initiate the turn, but perhaps the narrower Kendo would solve this). I've never skied the AC30, but the AC40 do indeed suck in the bumps.

I hadn't considered the Steadfast, and it actually sounds like a pretty good ski, at least for a boot-maker (JK, I said I was old-school!). Noticed a post from 10/12 listing the same $299-for-blemishes deal; how many of these things does StarHaus have? I could care less what the top sheets look like, and it may be worth a look considering I'd save $100 for this 'experiment'.

Thanks for the input, that helped a lot.

post #5 of 9

Steadfasts have been my daily driver for the past two seasons and may well be this season also. The only condition I haven't used them for is ice, mainly because when the runs turn to ice, I stay home,  I've even used them in 18-20" of powder which might be a bit much for them.  I ski mostly trees, chutes, powder and bumps, but these are also great fun carving railroad tracks down groomers on the way back to a lift.  Before I bought them I demoed the Blizzard Bushwacker and Line Prophet 90.  The Bushwacker just left me wanting something better and the Prophets felt like 2x4s.  My son uses Elan Apex or 888 depending on the year, which also has a bit of tip rocker and he really likes them.  Elan has discontinued them but I'm sure there are shops that still have some.


BTW, Nordica has been making some great skis for quite a few years.  Just take a look at the last few years of ski tests by the mags.  

post #6 of 9

I am about your size.  The 178 E88 was my go-to ski last year in Jackson Hole.  I probably put about 70 days on them.  I really liked the E88 on hardpack, bumps, crud, and up to about knee deep powder. The year before I was on the 180 E98.  The biggest difference was the E98 was better on hardpack and crud than the E88 and not as good on bumps or in powder.  Overall I prefer the E88.  


The Mantra and Nordica Enforcer are also skis that fit this category.  They ski more like the E98 than The E88.  You might also look at the Blizzard Bonified.


I looking forward to maybe using the E88 as a tele ski this season.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
TBall thanks for the heads up on the Steadfast, and the StartHaus blem deal. Reviews were close enough to other skis I was considering that I took the plunge and they arrive tomorrow. I think I'll mate them up with Marker's Tour F12 EPF, and I just need to go try on some boots (Cochise 120, Maestrale, etc.).

Then it just needs to start snowing instead of raining...

Thanks again for everyone's input, it was quite helpful!
post #8 of 9

Your welcome!  Look for me at Copper and we can compare blemishes smile.gif

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Love Copper! So many fun options there.

Did you find your blemish(es)?

It looks like my pair has one very, very small ding in the top sheet near the shovel, while the other ski's green sidewall isn't green all the way to the edge (turns black about 1/8th" from metal. Nothing much else I can see.

Not so sure about the graphics (neon green sidewall?), and hopefully they ski better than they look. Lol
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