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All mountain ski reccs for returning alpine skier

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I need a new pair of skis.  I’m 53 years-old, 6 feet, 175 pounds, aerobically fit, and fall into the level 7 definition I found in a PSIA ski skills list (although I’m avoiding large, hard moguls these days).  I skied alpine a ton as a youth, but have mostly been touring, telemarking, and skate skiing for the past 20 years and only in the past two years have returned to alpine gear as my son has gotten hooked on alpine skiing.  I ski exclusively in the Rockies, every weekend at our small local area in the Snowy Range of southeast Wyoming (not much vertical), about 5 days at Steamboat (2 hours away), and a day or two at Jackson (and hopefully Targhee this season).  Keeping the boy outfitted and both of us in ski passes has me being a “one ski quiver” type of guy, and a couple hundred dollars saved on this purchase means something to me.  I’ve skied the last two seasons on the Salomon X Wing Fury (2009) at the 177 length (ski details are here).  In short, it was advertised as an all mountain ski (128-85-111) and the various ski rag descriptions make it sound like what I’d like, but I’ve grown to almost loathe it: light (it’s not), forgiving (if you hit the backseat it’s all over, no recovery), holds the edge on hard snow (it skitters a lot when I’m trying to drive it).  I learned to ski in the ‘70s, so anything modern works well for me in powder, but I did better on harder snow when I was a lame-ass telemarker using skinny-virtually-n-sidecut skis.  So, what is the choice ski for someone who will ski powder if it’s there (absolutely preferred), will search for it once it’s skied off, is old enough not to want to smack a tree (so goes into Shadows at Steamboat only if the powder is deep enough), likes to keep the speed in check, makes more turns per linear distance than most anyone on the slope (or so says my 15 year-old nemesis) and skis each and every day the area is open and I’m not working and the boy isn’t in school?  I’m thinking a light, quick, forgiving ski and one that stays that way -- one that doesn’t need to have me on my best day to have it ski well.  The things I’ve been reading about the Rossignol Soul 7 have me drooling, but I wonder if I could be just as happy on the more affordable Rossi Smash 7 or the 4FRNT Cody.  I’m also don’t require the newest ski so would be willing (almost preferable) to pick up an older model if it fits the bill -- was thinking Rossi S3, but am worried that it’s tips and tails would be too floppy for an old schooler like me.  I’m also concerned about what length ski in an all mountain/free ski I should be using.  I need to be able to chase the boy through the bumps and trees and size seems to matter there – it’s not all 12” of powder or fast groomers.  Oh… the boots.  I’m going to be using a new pair of Full Tilt Classics this year (packed out the liners and had to hold pieces of the tongue in place as I buckled up the old Raichles from last year – yeah, I’m one of those guys).  Any advice and all ideas appreciated!

post #2 of 5

Wow, what a great lead in........

First of all, I'm happy for you that you're upgrading your boots.  Hopefully the Full Tilts will help you with the transition from your Raichle's

FlexonPhil may have some good input on that. 


It seems that you're looking for a good all mountain ski with a bit of a off piste bias.  Am I correct? 


If this is the case, the Soul 7 may be a bit too powder bias. 

The Smash7 at 92 under foot will be a lot more viable as a one ski quiver. 


If budget is a concern to you, you may want to check out some of the options in the Start Haus Nordica Blem sale. 





There's a thread about it here. 



The Soul Rider is more playful and forgiving than the Xwing  97mm under foot


The Enforcer is a bit more aggressive and can take you all over the mountain 98mm under foot


The Steadfast is a bit narrower than the Enforcer and has a great following for an all mountain ski that rips groomers and stands up to heading off piste. 90mm under foot


post #3 of 5
Perhaps the Salomon Q-series would work very well for you. Relatively inexpensive, great value for money and an entire range to choose from. They ski very pretty: not too demanding, but versatile and fun, both on and off trail.
Edited by Cheizz - 8/27/13 at 1:24pm
post #4 of 5

If you're looking for a ski that's capable of powder, but has a bias for the groomers, you might want to consider the K2 Hardside. Truth is, they didn't seem to sell very well, so there are deals to be had, especially on the 2011s.


I spent all last season (mostly Copper and WP) on a pair I picked up for a song (I'm 6'2", 275, so some of my beefs with them might not apply to you.). Like you, I've skied for years (30+) but spent the 7 years before not skiing due to geography and kids.



Quick turning on groomers.

Decent performance in powder.

Cheap (under $400).



Chatter at speed (30 MPH+).

Poor ice performance.

Not as good as others in mixed snow (they don't telegraph the transition as well as some I've skied in the past).


I could also share my list of skis to avoid (based on my demo experiences last season), but that list would be long and dull.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

I figured I'd write a followup on my ski decision -- not a review as I've only gotten in a couple of short runs due to having to hike for my turns -- but WOW!  First ski run of the season on relatively difficult snow and I throw off 6 of the best linked turns off my life -- Powder 8 championship quality for sure (well, maybe not exactly that good, but good for me).  As the picture shows, I ended up not being able to resist the allure of the Rossignol Soul 7 skis, and the ski + binding deal from www.aspenskiandboard.com/ was too good to resist.  The boy and I post-holed up a 400 foot vertical pitch in the Medicine Bow mountains of southeast Wyoming (~10,950 ft at our high point) and got in a couple of runs -- variable snow depending on the sun and wind exposure.  I was really interested in the light weight feature of the Soul 7 and I can attest to it being so and it was nice to have for the hike up the hill.  Can't wait for the lift-served season to start!




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