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One- or Two-Ski Quiver, Demo Guidelines for Pacific Northwest Ex-Snowboarder Apostate

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'd been skiing since I was three, but the Christmas after turning thirteen, I was rocking shoulder-length purple hair under my santa hat and falling all over the bunny slope on a snowboard. Over time, the allure of my apostasy faded.  At eighteen I quit smoking pot, after which the interminable "skates" and hikes back out of the trees were less tolerable.  At twenty-three I tore my rotator cuff in the terrain park and haven't returned.  At twenty-five the waddling and squatting required after every lift struck me as uncouth.  Last winter at age thirty, something undeniable forced me finally to get back on two planks: my four-year-old son was old enough to start.  Whether I was shaken up by memories of magic carpet rides followed by hot cocoa and Candy Land and skiing with my dad who passed away, or more practically considering that getting around the mountain with a youngster is far more convenient with skis, the time was right to return.

 

Demo Guidelines

 

I've only skied once since switching back, but this season I quit my job and started freelancing, and hope to get in 20-30 days.  After staying up till 3AM unable to pull the trigger on some skis, I'm looking for advice on how to demo and purchase a one- or two-ski quiver for my needs.  I've never demoed before and want to make the most of the opportunity.

 

By demoing at the resort desk over at least one dry day and deep day, I'm hoping to:

  • Try a variety of types in multiple conditions
  • Evaluate how much better two pair would be than one
  • Find the right ski and length combinations or very good guesses
  • Buy online at a discount

 

I always wondered how demoing could be cost-effective when there are such great deals on new blemish and used demo skis online.  If I wait to demo, those deals will probably be gone.  Here are my concerns:

  1. Is two days enough to hone in on the right decision?  I called the resort desk and they said I'm limited to three pairs in a day.
  2. Might the selection at the resort be limiting?  Might not pulling the trigger on a top-rated ski be a better choice than finding the best in a mediocre selection?
  3. What if I find a great ski in the wrong length?  Can I infer how its longer or shorter cousin will handle?
  4. How do boots play into the selection?  With soft boots in snowboarding, different boot-board combinations behave differently.  Is it similar in skiing?  Should I try out different boots too or use the same pair for a level playing field.

 

Gear

 

As if those weren’t enough questions, I’d like to talk specific gear, too!

 

Here’s some data about me.  I’m 6’2”, 175 lbs.  Almost all skiing will be at Mt. Hood Meadows in Oregon.  I was an expert snowboarder, and based on my trial run, I’ll return as an advanced skier.  Snowboarding, I went almost exclusively off-piste.  My favorite runs were in-bound hikes to Clark Canyon, where you can reach powder up to several days after a dump.  Groomers were always zero-turn affairs required to reach lifts back to the top.  That being said, I found groomers are a lot more fun on skis than boards, and I’ll be spending some time with the family, so my profile might be something like 30% groomed / 30% trees / 40% steeps / 0% park.  I don't recall seeing moguls here.

 

If I stick with one ski…

I’d probably get something near 100mm in width, with moderate camber, and an early-rise tip.  These would be 30 % on-piste / 70% off.  Based on what I’ve read, for this category something like the Nordica Hell and Back or Enforcer look good.  Can you suggest other contenders?

 

Here are some requirements:

  1. I want to choose skis with a lot of availability so I can find a clearance deals on prior-year versions online, so Blizzard e.g. is out.
  2. They have to be maneuverable, stable, fun, and not too demanding at all speeds so I can both blast downhill and help my son after a half-day lesson.
  3. They have to have good powder, crud, and tree performance on both steep and gradual slopes.

 

Questions for this category are:

  • What length should I get: 170s or 180s?

 

If I go with two skis…

The first might have a width in the 80s and full camber.  These would be 60% on-piste / 40% off, or possibly even more frontside-oriented when the snow is thin.  Maybe the Nordica Fire Arrow?  (Don’t get me wrong: I’m not set on Nordica, but I’ve read great reviews and seen the blemish deals at the Start Haus).

 

The requirements for these are the same as (1) and (2) above.

 

Questions for this category are:

  • Should I look for a particular turning radius, or skis well-suited to a variety of turns?
  • I’m not up on ski technology.  In the Pacific Northwest, with my terrain preference, is there a need for a ski this narrow?
  • What length should I get: 170s or 180s?

 

The second might have a width in the 110s, slight camber, and high-rockered tip and tail.  These would be 10% on-piste, 90% off and used when the snow is thick.  Maybe the Nordica Hell Unleashed?  Or maybe just keep my snowboard in the car smile.gif?

 

The requirements for these are the same as (1) and (3) above.

 

Questions for this category:

  • What length should I get: 180s or 190s?

 

Questions I have for all categories are:

  • What are the practical differences in all these categories between metal and no-metal?
  • Are these two-quiver choices different enough, just right, or too different?  Would I be satisfied leaving one at home rather than bringing them both in the car?
  • I've never had a "quiver," is it silly to start now with little recent skiing experience?  Should I snap up a clearance deal on a cheap all-mountain pair and then save the demoing when I might have a better idea of what to look for?

 

Sorry if that was TL; DR.  Writing it helped ease my OCD and (I hope) stop looking at reviews and specs until 3AM again tonight drool.gif.  Thanks for your help!


Edited by schismist - 8/28/13 at 2:54am
post #2 of 14
Nice blog. First, get boots from shop with experienced, well regarded bootfitter. The boots will require some tweaking (3-4 ski days at least).

The ski demos are fun, but not without good boots.
post #3 of 14

Since you're in the area, why don't you check out the fine folks at ON3P; I believe you can even go straight to the factory and visit. I think they'd be happy to talk to you. And if you searched the board, you'd find that they have a damn loyal following. Plus, you'd get to buy local...which is a good thing.

post #4 of 14

I hate to jump on the "do you have good" boots bandwagon around here....but do you?

 

If not I would suggest visiting the guys at Hillcrest. From experience they are the best in the area.

 

They also have a small demo fleet. Meadows has a pretty large demo fleet as well once the season starts up. And as mentioned ON3P manufactures out of east Portland. They are a well regarded small manufacturer with a large demo fleet of their own product.

 

You can see some reviews on their ski's in my profile.

 

FWIW I ski about 60 days a season at Meadows myself. So i am well aware of the conditions you are exposed to, and I am a former snowboarder myself.
 

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino View Post

Nice blog. First, get boots from shop with experienced, well regarded bootfitter. The boots will require some tweaking (3-4 ski days at least).

The ski demos are fun, but not without good boots.

 

Okay! I'm getting value out of this thread already.  I was talking to the demo manager at Meadows and he suggested I could break the boots in just by wearing them around the house.  Is that true?  Otherwise, I think I may have to go ahead and pull the trigger on a clearance all-mountain ski online so I have something on which to ski the 3-4 days.  And then I probably won't demo for a while anyway.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smartyiak View Post

Since you're in the area, why don't you check out the fine folks at ON3P; I believe you can even go straight to the factory and visit. I think they'd be happy to talk to you. And if you searched the board, you'd find that they have a damn loyal following. Plus, you'd get to buy local...which is a good thing.

 

I ran into ON3P in my search.  Didn't realize they were local.  I gave up on them when I ran into their website and found it down.  I imagine they can make good skis and have bad IT, but, frankly, it's not confidence-inspiring.  Maybe I'll reconsider, though.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post

 

...I would suggest visiting the guys at Hillcrest. From experience they are the best in the area.

 

Thanks for the tip.  Anyone I should ask for in particular at Hillcrest?

 

Anyone got true custom boots?  How much do they cost?  I was looking at Don Svela: http://www.skibootfitter.com/contact.html.  Or Surefoot: http://www.surefoot.com/index.php.  The fact that there aren't any prices listed is disconcerting, but I might be willing to plunge the money I save on some clearance skis into amazing boots.

post #6 of 14

Here's a little reading for you:

http://www.epicski.com/t/117234/2014-gear-105mm-and-rethinking-that-quiver-thing

 

I think SierraJim and others are spot on in that thread regarding one and two ski quivers.   That's where I'm at.  90mm for 80% of days with 6 inches or less.  I haven't decided if I'll just suffer through powder days on a 90, or keep looking for my ideal 105+.  In any case, 90 is probably a good place to start for you, especially if you might add a powder ski later.

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by schismist View Post

 

Okay! I'm getting value out of this thread already.  I was talking to the demo manager at Meadows and he suggested I could break the boots in just by wearing them around the house.  Is that true?  Otherwise, I think I may have to go ahead and pull the trigger on a clearance all-mountain ski online so I have something on which to ski the 3-4 days.  And then I probably won't demo for a while anyway.

 

 

I ran into ON3P in my search.  Didn't realize they were local.  I gave up on them when I ran into their website and found it down.  I imagine they can make good skis and have bad IT, but, frankly, it's not confidence-inspiring.  Maybe I'll reconsider, though.

 

 

Thanks for the tip.  Anyone I should ask for in particular at Hillcrest?

 

Anyone got true custom boots?  How much do they cost?  I was looking at Don Svela: http://www.skibootfitter.com/contact.html.  Or Surefoot: http://www.surefoot.com/index.php.  The fact that there aren't any prices listed is disconcerting, but I might be willing to plunge the money I save on some clearance skis into amazing boots.


ON3P has a stellar website, it's just being rebuilt for the 13/14 line, and should be up next week. Until then their catalog is here : http://www.zuzupopo.com/xe/catalog/90075

 

Ask for Gregg at Hillcrest. The best in the area In my opinion.

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

Here's a little reading for you:

http://www.epicski.com/t/117234/2014-gear-105mm-and-rethinking-that-quiver-thing

 

I think SierraJim and others are spot on in that thread regarding one and two ski quivers.   That's where I'm at.  90mm for 80% of days with 6 inches or less.  I haven't decided if I'll just suffer through powder days on a 90, or keep looking for my ideal 105+.  In any case, 90 is probably a good place to start for you, especially if you might add a powder ski later.


Sounds like from that discussion that my two-ski ideas are too different from one another, and I might be better off pushing them closer together.  But I was also reading this: http://www.epicski.com/a/powder-skis-and-skier-size.  And I concluded that if I do 90mm I'm not going to float well anyway, so I might as well go down to 80 on the narrower ski.

 

What about length for my weight (175 lbs) with no, slight, and high rocker?

post #9 of 14
I think your concept of an ~85mm ski and a ~110mm ski quiver sounds fine. I'm close to your size and ski Tahoe, which usually has dense snow, and have had skis in the 88-94, and 105-112 slots. For instance, 177 Salomon Rocker 2 90 (88) and 186 Rossi Sickle (110). I like to have skis that are different but still can get around most areas of the mountain on most days. That way, I can go from skiing with my kid to taking a few laps in more challenging areas of the hill. You can pick up one pair of each of those models for about $650 new.

For the narrow, low snow ski, I like a bit of early rise tip, and a little tail rise for release. Some people like to have a square tail and/or full camber with no rocker. See what you like. Geartrade had 4FRNT Cody's cheap a while back.

For the larger ski, I've found the low continuous early rise on tip and tail of the Sickle to be versatile and easy to handle. Lots of good skis in that category. Levelninesports has 184 Ninthward RDS skis for $229 that would fill this slot nicely. 112mm, early rise, a little camber, slight tail rise.

On the boots, you'll keep boots for as long as you can - I'd go straight to the best bootfitter near your hill and work with him/her. I've never been able to properly break in boots around the house.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

So, I bought a pair of 180cm 2013 Blizzard Bushwackers with a 88 waist for the narrow ski in the two-ski quiver.  It was only $263.99 at Derailed.  The Ninthward RDS looks tempting at the Levelninesports price, but I can't find much info on it.  The rocker seems pretty shallow for a pow ski.  Is it?  I think I'll probably get my boots and ski them in during early season on the Bushwackers and then demo some 105-115 skis once it starts dumping.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by schismist View Post

Okay! I'm getting value out of this thread already.  I was talking to the demo manager at Meadows and he suggested I could break the boots in just by wearing them around the house.  Is that true?  Otherwise, I think I may have to go ahead and pull the trigger on a clearance all-mountain ski online so I have something on which to ski the 3-4 days.  And then I probably won't demo for a while anyway.

 

In my experience, wearing them around the house is mostly useless as it's such a completely different body position and set of motions.  When you have a nice snug boot, the continual flexing and movement while skiing is actually fairly vital to your comfort.  A boot that fits well on the slopes can get uncomfortable quickly just sitting on the couch.  As I said, that's been my experience.  The only reason I wear my boots in the house is because I'm anxious to go skiing. :)

 

I see you already picked up some bushwackers.  Nice ski and will do well as the narrow end of a 2 ski quiver.  Now that you're looking at powder oriented skis for your second ski, definitely check out ON3P as ecimmortal recommended.  They've got some really nice designs, they're local, and you should be able to demo them.  They're not your only option obviously, but they're absolutely worth looking into.

post #12 of 14
Quote:

Originally Posted by schismist View Post

 

I ran into ON3P in my search.  Didn't realize they were local.  I gave up on them when I ran into their website and found it down.  I imagine they can make good skis and have bad IT, but, frankly, it's not confidence-inspiring.  Maybe I'll reconsider, though.

 

 

Just a heads up, as it appears it wasn't clear from the message on the temporary splash page we currently have up, but we pulled down our 12/13 site a few weeks ago and the 13/14 site is scheduled to go live in a couple of days.  Sorry for the confusion!

 

If you have any questions in the meantime or would like to come and check out the factory, just give us a call (503-206-5909) or shoot us an email (info@on3pskis.com).

 

Thanks!

post #13 of 14

I skied for many years at Meadows and taught my son to ski there.

 

My experience might help...or not.

 

1. Skiing with young kids is way different than skiing with your friends or alone.  You can almost consider them two distinct activities that you can base a 2-ski quiver on.

2. To keep myself entertained with the family on groomed runs a race-carver was a god-send.  A short length (<170cm) makes dealing with kids easier too.  Take a couple of lessons and learn the basics of modern carving technique and work on your technique when you are with the family, it makes it more fun.  The Bushwakers you got will let you be lazy and get around but you'll miss out on some fun and have a bit less control on icy days/runs.  Be careful on powder days with the kids, they get really bogged down at the slower speeds in soft heavy snow and can exhaust you both just digging them out.

3.  For Meadows skiing without little kids, I like a ski that has enough float to minimize bogging down (100+mm) in the untracked chowder and is snappy enough to get you out of it when skiing the cut-up crud which is often the best conditions on the mountain between 10am and Heather opening.  I prefer more of a "charger" type ski there than a "playful" one and a good crud-buster over a good powder ski there but that is just me. Speed is your friend in deep heavy snow.

4.  As you know, you'll likely spend 30+% of your time on harder snow even when trying to ski off piste only there.  You can either do what you did on your board and straight line those sections which is kind of boring or get a ski that carves OK and have a little fun going to and from. 

5.  Decent ice hold on your soft snow skis isn't a bad idea as it is often windy and you'll encounter bare spots most days.

6.  I spent an entire season skiing only Meadows demo skis.  It was fun and I learned a lot about different skis but never ended up buying anything I demoed.  Since you are looking for a deal, the 2014 skis that you'll be demoing will mostly be different in ways from the older skis you might actually want to buy.  The hardest thing is controlling for variable conditions, tune on the skis and what will probably be your rapidly advancing skill set.

7.  Buy and use powder cords.  Skis disappear in that snow and it is easy to blow out of them.  I've spent too many hours watching powder get cut up searching for a ski.

8.  Don't let "perfect" get in the way of "good enough", you'll drive yourself crazy.  Ski for a couple more years and you'll know more.

9.  Bob Olson over in Parkdale is worth the trip for boots.

10. Be very watchful of your little one on North Canyon between the top of Express and the Shooting Star cut off, young boarders trying to get enough speed to go up to the ridge makes that area really dangerous.

 

 

Have fun.

post #14 of 14

This is my first post here, I simply have to suggest the Line Sir Francis Bacons to you. I tell everyone to just try the SFB's before they buy anything, and many people have thanked me for doing so.  

 

Maybe there is a better 1 ski quiver for people that mostly do groomers, but if you are more of a freerider and like to challenge the mountain there isn't a better choice in my opinion. The SFB is the most fun i've ever had on skis and took me to another level. Early rise gives it float, it's incredibly responsive and playful, and I can put my shoulder on the ground when carving groomers still. I will say that i'm a very advanced skier, but i know people off all skill levels that swear by this ski.

 

check out some reviews.

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