or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

2014 Loveland Demo Day

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Last year's demo day:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/115190/loveland-demo-day-hard-soft-crudded-groomers-salomon-enduro-xt-850-blizzard-magnum-8-0-ca-blizzard-magnum-8-5-ti-rossignol-experience-83-dynastar-outland-80-volkl-rtm-80-dynastar-cham-97-high-mountain-dynastar-cham-97-k2-sideshow

 

*Location of review: Loveland
*Runs Taken: Blue groomers with a single short pitch of ~black steepness, probably similar to EC-style runs
*Snow Conditions: snowed 1-2" throughout the entire day, groomed snow, scraped off in areas, piled up in other areas, a few minor spots of hard CO ice, but mostly soft, perhaps similar to EC conditions with back-to-back days of fresh snowfall that has been groomed down, with light snowfall throughout the day
*Demo or Purchase: Demo

Me: 5'10, 170lbs, 31 yrs/old, 29 years skiing, expert skier with an athletic, dynamic powerful style. Parents were both pro bump skiers, so strong mogul skier. Prefer damp, charging skis with good high-speed stability.

 

Quiver:

186 ON3P Billygoats (with Dynafits/Dukes)

183 Head Monster m103s (with PX14s)

183 Head Monster 82s (with FKS Race)

180 Bushwacker (with Dynafits)

 

Skis tried:

Salomon Q98 181/188
Volkl Kendo 177/184
Blizzard Kabookie 180
Blizzard Brahma 180
Armada AR VTi 178
Atomic Theory 186
Nordica Steadfast 178

 

Skis I wanted to try:

K2 Annex
Volkl Nanuq
Line Prophet 90/98

 

I went out to Loveland on Saturday to demo a bunch of midfat sticks (85-100mm) for high pressure periods without snow and possibly to use as late spring or summer touring skis.

 

Salomon Q98 181/188cm

Very silky smooth damp ski. It reminds me of a Kastle but without the energy at the end of the turn and with a little less edgehold. Could work the ski through the bumps pretty well, not too stiff, not too soft. This ski was the most damp ski I tried over the course of the day. The 181 didn't give up much at all to the 188. I would probably go with the 181... because... why not go shorter? This would make a great 6" ski, and would probably be an awesome resort powder day ski out here in CO for the masses, where large storms are infrequent, and untracked doesn't last long. I'd like to try it in uncut powder before I'm totally sold on this opinion, but the tip profile and flex feels right. If the Q105 skis like this, I think it'd be a great one-ski quiver as well.

 

Volkl Kendo 177/184
A scalpal. Everything the Mantra is. Very good precise ski. Not as damp as the Salomon, but more energy at the end of the turn. I really liked this ski. Overall, for charging hard on firm snow up to a few inches, I think this is the best ski. VERY similar to my Head 82, but a little bit stiffer and a little less damp. I can't believe how lightweight this ski is for how hard it charges. In certain situations (think a thin layer of corn), this would be the perfect ski to have at the top of a mountain in the backcountry. I'm not sure how it'd do in slightly thicker corn, or in powder, and I think it's traditional shape would make it a bit difficult in wierd crusts. Not sold on this one, but I'd love to slap some dynafits on a pair and take it around in the summer and late spring for corn harvesting. The 177 gave up very little to the 184, but really wished they made a 181.

 

Blizzard Kabookie 180
Decent ski, but nothing inspiring. Not a lot of real moguls, and no trees, so it was hard to get an idea of the benefit versus drawbacks. I preferred the Q98 and the Kendo - the tips of the others felt more confidence inspiring. More damp and stable at speed than the Bushwacker, but still not quite confidence inspiring due to the tip. It feels like a slightly beefier/damper Bushwacker with the Bushwacker's tip. It just doesn't engage all the way through the tip rocker as much as I want it to. I think some people would like it, and others would just be too off put by how the tip feels. Definitely demo it first.

 

Blizzard Brahma 180
Better than the Kabookie at speed. The tip was stiffer which allowed it to actually engage. I demo'd this one at the beginning of the day, and I really wanted to try it at the end of the day to recalibrate versus the other skis I liked, but ran out of time. I'm not totally sold on it being a contender for my attention. It still feels a bit disconnected at the tip, but I really wanted to try it back-to-back with the Kendo to see exactly what I was giving up. Given the still-slightly-disconnected tip feeling, I'm not sure if the extra weight is worth the extra dampness over the Bushwacker for my applications. I also want to try this in more 3d snow, as I think late-season afternoon spring snow would make this disconnected-feeling go away. This ski, more than any other tested, made me walk away wishing for more time on it to figure it out completely. Definitely demo it first.

 

Armada AR VTi 178

Great ski. I'm normally not an Armada guy, but this one surprised me. It had a similar snowfeel to the Kendo, with slightly softer tips and possibly tail. If you were to marry the dampness of a Head/Kastle/Volkl with the poppyness of an Armada, this is what you'd get. Great air off of moguls and rollers. I overpowered the tips at times, but I think with an adjustment of stance, I think I could avoid this problem. This ski is perfect for someone who wants something to play in the park or on terrain, but still likes to ski fast and wants the damp stability of a GS race ski. It would make mid-season high pressure days a blast at the resort. It has some dampness to rip some fast turns when you feel like it, but the poppy and playful nature really would let you play off as many terrain variations as you can find. I would love to own this for our typical January high pressure week, and possibly few days in March/April (if I wasn't hunting lines in the backcountry). I'd probably lean towards the 186, but I'm not 100% sure, as that'd be a tad long to throw tricks and really get that playful feel. I felt that this ski was made for Breckenridge's Ore Bucket trail.
 

Atomic Theory 186
Garbage for someone like me. This is an intermediate's ski. Awful stability and edgegrip at the speeds I like to ski. Too wimpy to get energy out of it, also. Terrible when landing off bumps and rollers. Great for a mellow skier, I guess, but I haven't been that since I was 10, so I'll let someone else judge it from a different perspective.

 

Nordica Steadfast 178

Not good for REALLY fast skiers, but probably pretty good for your average expert skier without a REAL race background. My biggest reservation was that it was deflecting all over the place at really high speeds. I think this ski would be great for the majority of good skiers on EpicSki, but for the bigger guys, or those that really push higher speeds, I'd skip this one. I can see a lot of versatility in this ski, but it just doesn't quite have the muster that I'd want. Like I said, probably a great ski for a lot of people here, but not for me.

 

Oh, and the new Marker Tour 12 is garbage (or the rep was). He couldn't adjust it to fit my Technica Cochise tech heels. The bottom part the heel rests on would get stuck on the tech fitting. My Dukes have no problems with this at all.

 

Oh, and I really really miss the old Head skis with the larger radii. I would have loved to demo a Head, but 16m radius is just too short.


Edited by Brian Lindahl - 11/18/13 at 3:38pm
post #2 of 9

Brian, nice reviews, appreciate the honesty, sense of pros and cons. Interesting that you found the Sollies Kastle-like. Factoring in their price point, may make them the best ski on the planet.

 

Wonder if you could directly compare the grip and handling of the Q98's and the ARVTi's. I sense that you see the ARV's as more of a bump/park/manky snow ski, which makes sense, but the Kendo reference implies they have serious grip. Yes? Comparable to the Q's? 

post #3 of 9

Great reviews, thanks.  I'd love to hear if you get a chance to follow up with any of those in the bumps... once there are some bumps to ski.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post
 

Great reviews, thanks.  I'd love to hear if you get a chance to follow up with any of those in the bumps... once there are some bumps to ski.

 

I probably won't get that opportunity, unless someone out here wants to offer me free demos... hah. There were a few bumps off to the side of the run, but they changed so radically throughout the day (went from great to pure shit), I don't think it'd be fair to compare the skis.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by beyond View Post
 

Brian, nice reviews, appreciate the honesty, sense of pros and cons. Interesting that you found the Sollies Kastle-like. Factoring in their price point, may make them the best ski on the planet.

 

Wonder if you could directly compare the grip and handling of the Q98's and the ARVTi's. I sense that you see the ARV's as more of a bump/park/manky snow ski, which makes sense, but the Kendo reference implies they have serious grip. Yes? Comparable to the Q's?

 

I don't think the Q98s are budget Kastles. They just have that same silky damp feel to them. They're missing the precision, edgehold and energy. It's been a while since I've been on a Kastle (and then, only the MX108), but I also feel that the Kastles are a bit more regressive in the tips and tails - I feel that they're a bit more easy going because of this. They bend more readily into smaller radii. If it wasn't for the precision and edgehold, I'd say that the Q98s are a higher performing ski at speed - I thought the MX108 gave up to smaller radii a bit too easily for my tastes.

 

I think you kind of misunderstood what I liked about the Q98s. I don't think they're a great "ice/morning" ski - you need a little bit of softness to get really confidence-inspiring high-speed edgehold out of it. However, if there's some softness, even a little bit, their grip is excellent. Thats why I think they make a great 6" ski. I don't think they're well-suited for a one-ski quiver out east, but they'd do fine as a one-ski quiver out west. The edgehold isn't bad, it's just not as confidence inspiring as some of the other skis I tried. They also lack the energy for fun on the shorter narrower runs out east.

 

The edgehold on the ARVTi is more confidence inspiring than the Q98. The ARVTis are pretty capable at just about everything. They're an excellent one-ski quiver. My only reservation is that I was overpowering the tips. They don't like a full-on race stance - super aggressive forward, lunging into turns kind of thing. Though they can certainly be skied very aggressively, you do need to adjust the stance a bit. I didn't get enough time on them to really get that stance dialed, but I'm pretty sure I could figure it out after a full day. While, yes, they'd be a great bump/park/mank/fun ski, they also respond well to aggressive skiing on firm groomed snow (if you back off on your stance a bit). I think they're a great all-around ski. The softer tips (and possibly tails?) give up a bit to the Kendo. The Kendo has a better tip and tail flex for a very aggressive stance. The tips don't fold when you're way out over them like the ARVTi does sometimes. I also feel it gave the Kendo better precision, and possibly better edgehold.

 

So, I guess, in summary:

 

Q98 - lacks a bit of edgehold in the firmest of snow, lacks energy, consistent tip-to-tail flex that you can really lay into, very silky smooth dampness

ARVTi - good edgehold, good energy, a little soft in the tip (and possibly tail) that doesn't really let you lay into it really hard, more of a quiet than a silky dampness

Kendo - good edgehold, good energy, stiffer tip that lets you really lay into it, more of a quiet than a silky dampness

MX108 - good edgehold, good energy, tip stiffness in between Kendo and ARVTi, so you can lay into it, but the radii tightens up pretty quick, which I didn't like as much, very silky smooth dampness

 

One thing to note, is that, despite softer tips, the ARVTi radii didn't tighten up like the MX108, which makes me think the MX108 is a bit softer in the forebody, while the ARVTi is a bit softer in the tip only. I hope that makes sense. Also, I'd want to try them again to be sure, but I think that the Kendo would bend into smaller radii a little easier than the ARVTi, but not too easily to be a detractor for me (as in the MX108).

 

I also make a distinction between silky and quiet dampness. Silky means it just seems to flow over the terrain in a very smooth fashion with very little feedback. Quiet dampness means that it gives you just enough snowfeel to understand what's going on under your feet without being annoying or getting kicked around. It's not quite as silky and doesn't quite make you think rough snow is smooth, but it quiets it enough to not be bothersome. I'm not sure which I prefer, as they both are great feelings - just different.

post #5 of 9

Nice reviews. Not surprising re: the Kabookie vs. Brahma: One being narrower and having metal, the Brahma does much better on firm snow.  I prefer the Kabookie for tree skiing and softer all-around skiing: it is also very good in new snow. Skied it in up to a foot of new last year, never wanted for anything wider.  I would compare it somewhat to something like a Fischer Watea 98 or Kastle BMX98; not the last word in hard snow hold, but a ski that really comes alive in 3-D conditions and more versatile than some of the beefed up skis out there, which are simply too much work in bumps and trees; geared more of above-the-fall-line type of skiing.  The Kabookie and the like seem to fit my style of skiing more: looking for tight trees, bumps, junky snow off-piste when it hasn't snowed much. 

post #6 of 9

About the Steadfast... I agree with you that it is not a ski to buy if you only plan to use it on groomer...But I like them a lot in bumps and trees and they have a great edge hold when you get back to groomed and carve ok ... I just skied mine today after skiing my speed course ti all morning...Ouch! 

 

My Steadfast are mounted with Marker Baron...and I regularly ask myself if they could carve better if they were with  classic alpine bindings...or maybe its because of the rocker... I guess the shock is harder after the speed course ti...

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
It's not just groomers, it'd have problems in crud too. Just too much deflection at high speeds. Enough to throw off my bump skiing also.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by mogsie View Post
 

About the Steadfast... I agree with you that it is not a ski to buy if you only plan to use it on groomer...But I like them a lot in bumps and trees and they have a great edge hold when you get back to groomed and carve ok ... I just skied mine today after skiing my speed course ti all morning...Ouch! 

 

My Steadfast are mounted with Marker Baron...and I regularly ask myself if they could carve better if they were with  classic alpine bindings...or maybe its because of the rocker... I guess the shock is harder after the speed course ti...

Probably has something to do with that weird ramp-angle binding.  My Barons never felt right on piste, when mounted on skis that were otherwise pretty good on groomers.  The steadfast is, IMO, one of the best 90mm skis on groomers that I have tried.  As close as you are going to get to a carver at that width. 

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
 

Probably has something to do with that weird ramp-angle binding.  My Barons never felt right on piste, when mounted on skis that were otherwise pretty good on groomers.  The steadfast is, IMO, one of the best 90mm skis on groomers that I have tried.  As close as you are going to get to a carver at that width. 

I think I'll try to demo another Steadfast and see if there is a difference... If so, I'll change the bindings...anyway, I already have the Hell and Back equipped with the F-12 so...

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Member Gear Reviews