Lots of 05' Carver/Cross/bias groomed skis!Snow Conditions Used In: groomers, crud, bumps
Number of Days Used: 3 runs
Your Ability:improving (level 8?)
How Many Years Have You Been Skiing: 16
Avg. Days per Year Skiing:currently 60
Other Skis You Like:Elan S12 Fusion, Head i-GS RD, Elan SLX-T
Your Height/Weight:5 foot 9, 155lbs
Ski Make:05' Elan
Ski Model:GX Pro Fusion
Comments: Whoa! This ski is built like a full-bore race stock ski (sandwich construction, fast base, stiff flex) but with more sidecut (18m at 170cm) and the new Fusion race system (floating toe, fixed heel).
This ski is smooth, powerful, with awesome edge hold. It skis like a real race ski, just with a tighter turn radius. I would venture to say that it is every bit as demanding as a true race GS, and performs every bit as well. Except for the tight turn radius, I couln't tell the difference. I compared it back to back with the Volkl P60 Race Stock, Head i-GS RD, and Blizzard Sigma RS Magnesium (all in lengths of 180 or over) and the Elan was every bit as powerful as any of these skis. I would say that if you love to ski fast and are a racer/ex-racer, but want a slightly smaller turn radius for free skiing (dodging others on the slope, skiing narrow trails at certain mountains, where a full 21m GS ski isn't as practical) then this is your ski. NOT the ski for anyone who doesn't have good skills (if you don't like or can't handle a 21m GS ski, you won't like this one either-look at more of the recreational cross skis, such as the Elan S12/Volkl 5 star). No bumps, a handful in crud. Awesome ski!
Ski Make:05' Head
Ski Model:i-XRC Sandwich
Very similiar ski to the GX Pro, but I thought it was not quite as smooth as the aformentioned. Still stable and powerful, but not as nice as the GX Pro (may have been the lack of Fusion system). Similiar (crappy) performance in bumps and crud to the GX Pro. If I had not skied the GX already, I would have been thrilled with the i-XRC SW. That isn't to say that it isn't a great ski!
Ski Make:05' Elan
Ski Model:S12 Fusion
Well, this is my ski, so I am partial to it. Still an excellent ride for all conditions. Great carver, reasonable stability at almost any speed. Handles bumps and crud well, probably the best choice possible (for me) as a one-quiver ski. Still, though, the GX was soooo much more powerful and stable-I guess that is what a quiver is for! Great choice for anyone who wants top-notch on-piste performance without giving up much on the backside.
Ski Make:05' Elan
Ski Model:SX Pro Fusion
This was a turny (go figure) consumer-friendly SL ski with the Fusion race system. I owned the SLX-T in a 155, so it was a good comparison. I found the SX Pro to be a stiff, demanding, high-performance ski. I acutally prefer the SLX-T because it can be opened up more in big arcs. The SX Pro is strictly for short turns, and very tiring. You can't let the ski run, or you will go down. No relaxing. This ski will work for many SL racers out there-nice smooth exit to the turn and great edgehold. Very stiff flex, I had trouble generating alot of rebound. Not a rec ski, at least not in 155.
Ski Make:05' Fischer
I don't know what it is about the RX8, it just doesn't seem like a "wow" ski after skiing some of the other offerings in this category. It is a good carver, but not as stable or versatile as the S12 or i-XRC (cap version). Seems more "locked in" to one turn radius than other skis in the genre. It was a handful in crud and bumps. My brother skied it as well, and drew the same conclusion. It is a solid ski, but not my first choice in this category.
Ski Make:05' Blizzard
Ski Model:Sigma SXP
Very versatile "cross" ski with dimensions of 114/65/100 and a turn radius of 14m. It was a great ski in crud and bumps. Quick and light, good float. Unfortunately, high-speed stability was lacking. Versatile turn shape. If you are looking for a solid carver that is versatile, this could be your ski. If you ski your carver at GS speeds, look elsewhere (Blizzard also has the X-Cross Ti which is their competition-level cross ski next year-113/67/99 with basically a vertical sidewall-comes in lengths up to 184.)
Ski Make:05' Head
Ski Model:i-XRC 1100
New shape for 05', very nice ski. Powerful carver, but not as beefy as the i-XRC SW above. Decent in bumps and crud, stable at most any speed. You could lay it over and hold a great edge, as well as generating some power from the turn. This is a great carver, perhaps not quite as versatile as the S12 Fusion, but every bit the equal on groomed snow. Another great ski that will be getting lots of glowing reviews in the coming year.
Ski Make:05' Nordica
Ski Model:Speedmachine 14
New model for this season. Not being one that is familiar with Nordica's line, I wanted to check this ski out. What a great ski! It was mounted with a Marker system that utilizes the piston in front of the toepiece. Good looking ski. The first thing I noticed was that the ski was very stable and damp, moreso probably than all of the other cap skis tested in this category (this obviously excludes the GX Pro and i-XRC SW). It was a powerful, stable carver. The ski really liked to run. Surprisingly, the ski was decent in the bumps for such a powerful ski. I had it in a steep, icy bump run, and it held it's own. Not the ideal bump ski, but manageable. I liked the feel on the groomers more than my S12's-it just was more damp and stable, really felt like a race ski (but with some versatility). This was a really, really nice ski-if I lived in the East and needed a powerful but somewhat versatile ski, it would be on the top of my list.
Ski Make:05' K2
Ski Model:Apache Crossfire
This is basically the revamped (new tip and graphics, new MOD construction, similiar to what Elan is doing with Express) version of the XT. This was another ski that didn't stand out, didn't jump up and make you take notice. Solid carver, seemed versatile enough, but not overly energetic, stable, or with superior edge hold. Quick enough for most any condition, but I prefer more stability. Still, if you don't ski at very high speeds, but want a solid carver with versatility, it is worth a look. I personally think that the S12 Fusion is as versatile but has more power/stability at speed.
Overall, I would rate the skis for stability on groomers/power/edgehold as follows (1 being best):
1) Elan GX Pro Fusion
2) Head i-XRC SW
3) Nordica (Kastle) Speedmachine 14
4) tie: Head i-XRC 1100/Elan S12 Fusion
6) K2 Crossfire Apache
7) tie: Fischer RX8/Blizzard SXP
The other important rating for this category (in my mind) is versatility in crud/pow/bumps-here is how I scored the skis:
1) Elan S12 Fusion
2) Blizzard SXP
3) K2 Crossfire Apache
4) tie: Head i-XRC 1100/Nordica Speedmachine 14
5) Fischer RX8
6) tie: Elan GX Pro Fusion/Head i-XRC SW
Best overall ski for me? Either the Nordica Speedmachine 14 or Elan S12 Fusion (Nordica if I place a premium on on-piste performance, S12 for more versatility). If I have a quiver, I buy the Elan GX Pro Fusion and a versatile midfat (Elan Mantis 662, or 666 Fusion if I am getting the 05'). Lots of nice skis next year-they keep getting better and better!