Originally Posted by Pete Schweaty
"So I'd argue for something more like the Rossi E98, which has nearly the float but will crush crud and carve better, also better ski to get better on."
NOW that sounds like the type of ski I"m looking for.
Someone also asked me if I planned on taking additional lessons. HELL YES. Can I say that on air? Oh well.
Rossi 98 or Rossi 88? Read the review of the 98 on Blister and it sound awesome but I was wondering how the ski performs going slow and will it let you skid turns? For example in big bumps.
Pete, I am from the neighborhood, so I'll give my 2 cents because it seems like you might be taking an ill-advised turn.
First off, I think Beyond's first post is spot on - it is definitely reality check time.
I have no idea what a L7 or L8 actually means, but when I hear "I like the front side a lot," and "learning bumps, crud and powder" to me, especially around here, that means intermediate skier. And that isn't a bad thing - I am not sure why everyone is afraid of saying the dreaded "I" word - but it does mean that you should be honest and understand that a ski that gets a hot review on Blister, or a ski that an experienced on-mountain pro at Crystal uses as his daily driver might not be exactly right for you. And their objective reviews, while absolutely valid and accurate on their face, might be totally meaningless as applied to you. . . regardless of how glowing they may be. Bottom line, I'd never recommend the E98 to an intermediate skier, definitely not at Crystal, even if your weight qualifies you. There is more to bending ski and shaping a turn than sheer mass.
I know Crystal well and of the 98 class skis, I can't think of a worse choice than the E98 for an intermediate trying to improve his game on that mountain. The E98 sits squarely at the "strong" end of the spectrum of the pack of 98s and along with the Bonafide and the Mantra, it is a pretty demanding ski. It might make you very sad. It carves beautifully and powerfully for a 98 underfoot, it is the 98mm ski for the former racer, but it is a ton of ski and you need to bring some technical game to use it as an all-arounder at a place like Crystal. I get why instructors love it - you can take it anywhere and have enough platform and power for slipping in a run or two of free skiing, but it is also traditional enough and technical enough that you can carve it and do demos while teaching. But it is not an optimal choice for intermediates trying to open up the whole mountain. If it appeals because the reviews say it rips groomers (it does), that is only one aspect and in your case there are many better, more manageable skis for that task. So I'd be worried that a ski like the E98 will pin you to the groomers even more - I think that there are better, more efficient, more fun ways to improve than suffering through a period of "growing into your skis" because you bought something that the Blister guys raved about and thought was great for them, in Taos or wherever.
So where do you really ski at Crystal? What is the reality of your current ski day? There isn't a ton of classic "front side" Sun Valley-style skiing. Are you spending most of your day on the old Chair 5 runs (Forest Queen), Lucky Shot, etc. . . or do you regularly ski off Chair 6 and Northway? Assume you hop off Rex or the Gondola and you are heading to the Green Valley chair, where do you go next? Straight down Green Valley Bowl (hint, hit the north-facing side where the snow is better) or do you hit the 2-cat wide groomer strip by the Green Valley chair? If you ski through the bumps in the bowl, do you ski it fluidly, top to bottom or is it more turn, turn, slip, pause (or some variant of that pattern). You mentioned that you like to "dip into the trees." Which trees? Bear Pits? Or the trees skiers' right of lower CMAC? Those distinctions are meaningful.
It sounds like you want to raise your game, so rather than recommend an uber strong ski, I think that you should pick something on the more forgiving end of the scale that will take you further than you have gone before. In the 98 class there are tons of options that will be way higher performing all-mountain than what you have, but won't punish every mistake, jerk you around in bumps or make you "sad." The P98 is one contender. And the Solli Q98 sounds like another (but I haven't tried it). Another that you might not have considered is the Nordica Soul Rider. That would be a great ski to get you more into off-piste, it would be fun and easy in the bumps and you still get a 97mm ski that carves better than you'd expect (177 would be fine and fun at your height). And you can find great deals prior year models.
I know it will sound like a broken record, and I am not going to restate my last post in these parts, but for all of the same reasons, I think that you should seriously consider the Soul 7. It is getting great reviews, so you have the mass-appeal factor covered, but the Soul 7 is a high performing Rossi that would also work well for an intermediate, all-mountain at a place like Crystal. It has a high top end, but it is also really easy to ski. And it doesn't sound like you are really blasting around, so I wouldn't worry that the ski feels somewhat light. That is feature, not a bug. And having demo'd it in heavy slush, I think it would do just fine in crud and chopped up powder, which is what you mostly see inbounds at Crystal after 11am on a weekend. The only days it wouldn't work really well at Crystal would be firm, firm, icy. The Soul 7 skis short, but here I'd calibrate for your height and level and go with the 180. It will be incredibly easy to manage at that length (better a tad shorter in bumps and trees for a rising intermediate) and stable enough because it doesn't sound like you are bombing down the fall line.
I hope that helps. Good luck and have a great season.