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Philpug's 2014 Steals & Deals Winners

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

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This is year three for EpicSki's Steals & Deals Awards. As gear evolves, so should the way they are being reviewed, so I changed the classifications a little bit for 2014. When the pennies were finally counted, there is one company, Amer, who has really pushed to be the value leader in the ski world with 5 wins out of a possible 12 with Salomon and Atomic sharing the 90-100 and winning the best binding with the co-branded Sth2 13 WTR along with Atomic sweeping the Powder category. K2 is another manufacturer who swept a segment in highly contested One-Oh Something class.
 
A special thank you goes out to my favorite ski testing partner, Trekchick for her input on the Y-Chromosone selections
 
<80 Frontside:
The Head Rally is the tweener in the evolution of the Supershape series for 2014 at 76mm underfoot, Head had produced one of the most compliant technical skis for 2014. The Rally checks in at  $899 w/ PRX12 binding, while it is not the lowest of prices, it is offering performance of skis in the $999-1099 range making it sucha deal for a great frontside ski. 

 

W: 2014 Blizzard Viva 7.7 Ti Suspension IQ Woman ski $799.00
Blizzard brought their acclaimed  flip core technology down to a petite waist for this truly fun front side ski.  If you're looking for a precise turn and playful package, this ski can't be beat, especially at the price point. Great option for the technical skier that still wants versatility.
 
80-90mm:

 

M:  2014 Nordica Fire Arrow 84 Pro EVO  $799.00
While the new FireArrow 84 Pro Evo is only a slight step down in performance from the stellar FA 84 EDT, but it is a huge drop in price from the EDT's boutique level $1299 to a bargain $899 with binding. I found the 84 Pro to be an exceptional inexpensive option for someone looking for a hard snow biased mid 80mm ski. East coasters, put this one on your short list, west coasters it could be your only ski under 95mm underfoot.

W:  2014 Volkl Yumi Women's Ski  125-83-107@154cm $549.00

Volkl has brought a great ski to their women's line this year to fill the gap for those women who want to make a move from the traditional system ski and aren't quite sure they want the metal of the Kenja and Aura.  With no metal, the Yumi is priced right and leaves us ladies saying, not too soft, not too stiff, juuuust right.
 
90-100mm:

 

M: 2014 Salomon Quest Q 98 Ski   131-96-117 @172cm 499.00
The Quest 98 really surprised me on how playful it is for a 98mm ski, then I realized that Salomon took some liberties in the naming of this Quest…it is 96mm underfoot. Sure there are REAL 98's but for a lightweight skier or someone who is looking for a finesse ski in this range, it is tough to beat the Q98 at this price.

 

W: 2014 Atomic Elysian Ski  126-95-115@ 159 $499.00
Atomic has had this ski in the women's line up for a few years with no reason to change a great recipe. Ideal for a lighter weight skier who is looking for float, agility and power to head off piste, the Atomic Elysian is modest in price but not in performance. 
 
100-109mm (One-Oh-Something):

M: 2014 K2 Shreditor 102 Skis  133-102-127@177cm $549

With only 6mm of taper tip to tail, the Shreditor is almost as comfortable skiing switch as it is skiing traditional. Does this mean that you must spend a good part of your day in the park? No but the Sheditor is a blast to ski in the bumps and trees. 
 

W:  2014 K2 Remedy 102 Women Ski  133-102-127@169cm  $599
This ski is a new addition to the K2 Women's line up, taking over where the MissedBehaved left off. The Remedy 102 fits the needs of the woman who wants to charge steep lines with some fresh snow but has the ability to be the only ski in your bag when you're going on a trip and want a ski that will cover the whole mountain. 

 

 
110mm plus:

M:  2014 Atomic Blog Ski  132-110-124 @177cm $599.00
W:  2014 Atomic Millennium  130-110-122@ 169cm $599.00
Powder skis are a luxury item, manufacturers don't make a lot of them so the cost of R&D cannot be spread out as much as a mass market 80-some waisted all mountain ski so to find a big ski for under $600 is tough. Atomic scored two more winners with it's 110mm wide Blog & Millennium. Fun and playfulness are two of these twins best attributes along with a low price brings the Atomic to another winners circle here for 2014.

 

 
Boots:
 
I changed my thought process for 2014 confirming that a steal or a deal on a boot is not about solely about price but fit, so I chose a series/family of boots that offer the broadest selection of fit options. 

 

RS/RX/XT/SX Series 
Lange reinvented their image a few years back with the introduction of the blue RS series. No more "Lange Bang", no more pie shaped mold and most importantly, no more "I never fit into a Lange". The RS, RX, XT (walk/hike version) are offered in 97/102mm widths and available in flexes from ranging 80 to 140.  New for 2014 is the addition of the 102mm SX with an available flex range from 70-120.  This family of Lange boots offers the widest range of flex offerings and width options as any boot on the market. 
 
Bindings:
 

 

 2014 Salomon Sth2 WTR 13  (5-13 DIN)  $229.00
I have been a Salomon binding fan going back to the 727 from the late 70's. The new Sth2 series is the latest evolution of that binding. The Sth2 13 WTH is a mouthful of acronyms starting with Sth Stronger Than Hell, 2 Second evolution, WTR Walk To Ride and 13 showing a max DIN of 13 (with a starting DIN of 5). With that out of the way, this significantly new binding is a very important one for Salomon. The Sth2's toe is very much recognizable as a Salomon 3D Driver toe with a new modern invocation called WTR, the Walk To Ride feature has added rollers in the wings and the ability raise the toe height to be adjusted to accommodate A/T boots. The heel was taken from the new Guardian series and the first application in a hard mount binding for Salomon/Atomic. What I like that has changed for this year is the ability to adjust for boot sole lengths, an amount that has increased from 11mm to a very generous 28mm. More on this binding series... Preview/Review: 2014 Salomon Sth2 Binding Series 
 
Past winners...

 


Edited by Philpug - 10/1/13 at 4:18pm
post #2 of 13



What! No medal for the PhilPug inspired Irip Pro Model?!
Phil gets mad props for the excellant review & as he helped me design the above ski for '14!!!
post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriponsnow View Post




What! No medal for the PhilPug inspired Irip Pro Model?!
Phil gets mad props for the excellant review & as he helped me design the above ski for '14!!!

Sweet Lhasa's

post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
Bindings: 
(5-13 DIN)  $229.00


 

I have been a Salomon binding fan going back to the 727 from the late 70's. The new Sth2 series is the latest evolution of that binding. The Sth2 13 WTH is a mouthful of acronyms starting with Sth Stronger Than Hell, 2 Second evolution, WTR Walk To Ride and 13 showing a max DIN of 13 (with a starting DIN of 5). 
 

 

Phil, correction, make that 4 - 13 DIN.

 

Of course i only noticed that because i'm a designated 5.5 on the DIN chart ;) 

post #5 of 13

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by neonorchid View Post
 

Phil, correction, make that 4 - 13 DIN.

 

Of course i only noticed that because i'm a designated 5.5 on the DIN chart ;) 

 

All of the early literature says 5-13, including the Salomon info I have in my hand.  

However, I just looked at the web site and it says 4-13. 
 
Being the clever girl that I am, I walked out to the garage to check the pair I have on my WildFires and they are in deed 5-13. 
The image above has a bit too much reflection to see the low range of the din.

Edited by Trekchick - 9/17/13 at 4:12pm
post #6 of 13

Interesting TC, the pix of the binding on salomon's site show the 4 range of it, although for all i know that could just be a realistic looking computer rendering. Were yours issued stock for sale or as pre-seasson samples to demo etc.? 

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by neonorchid View Post
 

Interesting TC, the pix of the binding on salomon's site show the 4 range of it, although for all i know that could just be a realistic looking computer rendering. Were yours issued stock for sale or as pre-seasson samples to demo etc.? 

 

Interesting. Yes, their site shows a 4-13, both in the description and in the drawing. I have checked both our early production and a new pair, both are 5-13. 

post #8 of 13

Alright then, it's a min 5 DIN binding. Thank you PP and TC for the good detective work;)

 

For me that takes away some of the appeal over the Pivot 14 which also starts at 5. I'm toying with the idea of a small two ski quiver. Not something i'll do till late season deals so plenty of time to read feedback. Especially interested in how well the WTR boot compatibility feature works out with the various AT crossover boot options. 

post #9 of 13

I've always enjoyed Phil's Steals 'n Deals, thanks for doing this for the '14 season. It's so easy to get detailed reviews of equipment from the high ends of the lines, but, it's hard to find the best equipment from the lower end of a manufacturer. It's nice to see gear from suppliers that are not in the top handful of skis most reviewed, like Head and Solomon. There are many who seek the gear level in Phil's reviews so, it's a great asset.  Phil's version of Consumer Reports for ski gear is a good thing.

 

Thumbs UpThumbs Up

 

I would ask Phil to consider a slight expansion of the boot reviews to include a few "Deals and Steals" of boots that are great value but not top of line. It's nice to know Lange boots are changing, but, there must be some others worthy of note. 


Edited by Living Proof - 9/18/13 at 4:03pm
post #10 of 13

Here's a video with SierraJim on the HEAD i.Supershape Rally, for those who haven't seen it: 

 

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post
 

I've always enjoyed Phil's Steals 'n Deals, thanks for doing this for the '14 season. It's so easy to get detailed reviews of equipment from the high ends of the lines, but, it's hard to find the best equipment from the lower end of a manufacturer. It's nice to see gear from suppliers that are not in the top handful of skis most reviewed, like Head and Solomon. There are many who seek the gear level in Phil's reviews so, it's a great asset.  Phil's version of Consumer Reports for ski gear is a good thing.

 

Thumbs UpThumbs Up

 

I would ask Phil to consider a slight expansion of the boot reviews to include a few "Deals and Steals" of boots that are great value but not top of line. It's nice to know Head boots are changing, but, there must be some others worthy of note. 

 

Thanks, LP. Reviewing the boots is so subjective to the foot that will be in it. The reason I chose the Lange series was that they offered the broadest range in flex and width options in a shape that works very well. 

post #12 of 13
I would absolutely agree on the "Head Rally". The benefit of being down here in Aus is we get many of next season's skis in June as they start manufacture.

I did a couple of dropin days with the race squad this year at the end of the season. I borrowed the Rallys to do drill work and gates with (moving over from tele to alpine, so just have a paid of Head iSpeed superhapes)..

Wow.

Fun and lively. The early rise works well. It stops the ski being really grabby and allows you to slide it easily. You'll make a lot of turns this these with these skis with only a 14 meter radius. They are not a straight line high speed ski. If you want to ski fast, you need to make more rapid turns. Definitely a ski for the advanced who has a goal of being technically correct - rather than those who are good and just want to charge around and have fun.
post #13 of 13

I got a chance to demo 2 of the skis Phil included in his 2014 list.

 

Salomon Q98 @ 180

 

I found the Q98 to be a very fun ski. Turn initiation is easy, edge hold was surprisingly good for a soft snow ski, very comfortable to ski in a smaller bump run. They are not cumbersome and bulky like some other skis of similar width that I've tried....in general, I'm not a fan of wider skis as my skiing is done in the east.  I was smiling and did not want to gave them back to the rep.They may be my daily driver at this Utah Gathering.

 

 

Nordica Firearrow Pro (84 waust) @176

 

First impressions are Nordica finally tuned-down their graphics and  the squared off tip looks strange, but, on snow it's a solid mid-80's carver. It performed very well in some runs over a spectrum of conditions from loose new snow to some very hard old eastern snow underneath. Easy to initiate turns, good edge hold, stable in bumps. While I would have to ski it some more, I may give it a slight nod over the Head Rev 85 I used in last years Montana gathering.

 

 

,

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