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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Looking for a Frontside Ski: Considering Kastle MX78, Dynastar Speed Course TI, Nordica FA 84 EDT, and Blizzard G-Power
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Looking for a Frontside Ski: Considering Kastle MX78, Dynastar Speed Course TI, Nordica FA 84 EDT, and Blizzard G-Power

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

So I'm looking into buying a frontside ski to replace the CX80's that I'm skiing on now.  The CX80's are great skis, but are a bit short for me in a 170cm (I'm 6'2'' 190lbs), and aren't quite as versatile as I would like.  I'm 19 years old, a solid level 8 skier, and am a current PSIA L2 who is hoping to go for L3 in the next few years.  I want something versatile that will be able to handle bumps, trees, crud, etc., but also rip on groomers and hold on ice (I want something that I'll be able to pass my L3 on).  I primarily ski groomers and steeps, and like anyone else am faced with crud from time to time.  I also like to ski bumps/ trees occasionally, and will need to be proficient in these areas to pass L3, but I don't spend a great deal of time in them.  Most importantly, I want something that I can mix up turn styles and shapes on; I like to be able to do a lot of different things on my skis, and don't like skis that are "one-trick ponies."  I ski in VT, but will be spending this winter skiing in OH, PA, and western NY, and in Austria at the end of the season.  I've done a good deal of research and have kind of narrowed things down to the Kastle MX78 (top choice), Dynastar Speed Course TI, Nordica FA 84 EDT, and Blizzard G-Power.  I've also skied the MX78 and Speed Courses and loved them both.  Unfortunately, I've had some trouble finding any of these at a good price.  My question is, a) should I just keep waiting and looking for a deal on one of these skis, or should I start looking elsewhere?  Also, if anyone has a new or lightly used pair of one of these skis, I would love to snag them off of you.  Thanks,

 

Tyler

post #2 of 27

Well, I think you are looking at the right skis. I'm a PSIA L3 skiing out of Stowe and have gone through quite a number of "exam skis". The skis I've used for that sort of thing lately are the Kastle RX, MX78 and MX83, the Dynastar Contact 11, Head SS Magnum, Head RD SL, Volkl P60 SL and probably some others that don't come to mind right now. My ski for this year is the FA84 EDT. Anyway, I think that the 16-18ish M turn radius is where you want to be since it'll give you good med radius turns and not weird park and ride turns that you might get when doing med. radius on a slalom ski. You can make good shorts on a ski of that size and the examiner will know it is you making the turns and not the ski. The Kastle is one hell of a ski, and very versatile, the FA84 is a bit less versatile, but definitely has better ultimate grip. I wouldn't really be that enthused about skiing trees on any of these skis.

post #3 of 27

If you are a current L-2, have PSIA ID and are employed by a ski school, you should have no problem securing at least some of those skis @ courtesy discount from your local pro stocking dealer. Ask one of your supervisors or your AD what shops in your area work with pro pricing for qualified instructors. As a last resort we @ StartHaus can help you out assuming your PSIA card is current and you are employed.

 

Note: We sell to qualified instructors everyday but we are on the west coast and I'm sure that you can find somebody closer to you.

 

As far as ski choices you ask for two different things. (1) A technical ripper like the Course Pro or the Kastle. But.....(2) You want versatility in bumps, trees, and crud and that requirement mitigates #1 to some extent. I doubt that you will be given a task even at L-3 that is really all that ski specific. Some examiners might do something like that but generally, the better ones won't (they can evaluate you just fine without those types of games).

 

IAC, you can easily pass L-3 on a versatile ski with minimal tip rocker and a flattish tail such as a Head Rally or Rev 85 or possibly a Stockli Laser AR. If you really want a more technical ski, then the Kastle and the Course Pro are great choices. Oh.....and yes, you should probably be on a 176-78 ish length ski.

 

SJ

post #4 of 27

I would look into the Head i.titan @177cm. It's 78mm under foot, maybe 80 this year, but I find that its a ski you can really manipulate with some pressure. The KERS system, which may or may not be gimmicky, really does give the ski a quick release out of turns, if you want it to be quick - otherwise, its a smooth edge to edge carving ski. The titan is a bit more all mountain than the Magnum. I always skied Volkls, until two years ago when I got a pair of Head i.Speed 180cms, and was sold on Head as a great product. Worth a demo. Enjoy!

post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 

Like I said, I ski mostly groomers and steeps, so I first and foremost want something with great grip, stability and a good amount of energy.  I brought up bumps and trees just to stress that I will occasionally be mixing it up, and I'd like the ski that I eventually end up with to at least be manageable in those areas.  

 

Epic, thanks for the post.  I get the sense we are both kind of on the same page here, but thanks for letting me know that I am more or less on the right track here.

 

SJ, that's a great idea about the Pro Pricing.  I obviously know what I can get via PSIA online, but have only checked with a few shops about what you mentioned.  I will be sure to talk with some more shops in the next few days.  I also know that you can easily pass L3 on a variety of skis, but there is a certain type of ski that the majority of successful L3 candidates (at least that I know of) tend to ski on.  I'm kind of going for what Epic and I are talking about (technical frontside skis that are a blast to ski but are also competent outside of the groomers).

 

David, I actually demoed the Titans in a 170 last year and really liked them, but was left thinking that I would prefer the 177.  Unfortunately, I never could get my hands on a 177, and I also was a bit weary of their reputation as a really beefy and burly ski.  I think that I would really like that ski, but am unsure about whether or not it would be more ski than I am looking for.  

post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 

Demoed several skis at Seven Springs today.  Demoed a Speed Course Pro, FA84 EDT, V-WERKS Code, Rally, and a Hell n' Back just for kicks.  

 

Really liked the Speed Course (178cm), but it's not quite the ski I'm looking for.  Awesome GS-cheater, insane grip and stability, just not quite versatile enough for me.  Those looking for a great hybrid SL/GS ski or a nice recreational racing ski will love this ski, but it did seem to be a bit one-dimensional to me.  I think I actually liked the old version a little better, as it was more versatile with the rounded tail and the softer flex.

 

Was impressed with the FA84 (176cm), but not as much as I thought I would be.  I liked the skis in short radius turns, and they gripped quite well as they have a reputation of doing.  The skis have just the right amount of energy out of the tail, and possess a good mixture of dampness and liveliness.  They also released quite nicely (I really like the rounded tail).  One beef with the ski was that it felt like it really needed some room to run, and I often don't have that room where I ski (didn't have that room today).  A second beef was that the ski wasn't particularly quick IMO, and I found myself having to be a little more patient with these in comparison to the SC Pros (the SC Pros were very quick edge to edge).  While I had heard that the FA84's feel a lot narrower than 84mm on the snow, they didn't feel that way to me.  

 

Not a fan of the V-WERKS (178cm).  Overall, I'm just not an advocate of full rocker on frontside skis.  The one bright spot of the ski its quickness, but I think I'll always prefer a good deal of camper in my frontside skis.  For the price, so many better options.

 

Really enjoyed the Rally (170cm).  Good edge hold, very versatile, pretty stable, tons of fun.  Felt completely competent at whatever I threw at it.  This felt like the ski I am looking for.  170 definitely felt a bit short, so I was left wondering about the 177 when I returned the ski.  If the 177 isn't too burly, I think this could be a great option for me (but how can I know if I haven't been on it?).  While I loved this ski, I was left with more questions than answers after I skied this ski.

 

Lastly, I absolutely loved the Hellens (185cm).  Demoed them last year in a 177, loved them then, loved them even more now.  This is what a 98 underfoot ski should be IMO.  Just damn good at pretty much everything, and so much fun to ski.  

post #7 of 27

Your experience with the FA just goes to show how two people can have very different reactions/impressions of any given ski.  I demoed the it in a 168 last year at Snowbasin and fell in love.  Then I spent 1-1/2 days on a pair of 176s.  I thought I had rockets attached to my feet.  I skied them on groomers, in bumps and in the trees and they just ripped.  I was very impressed at how quick they were edge to edge and how responsive they were, especially in the trees, it seemed that all I had to do was think about a turn and off we went.  The only downside I found was that I needed to seriously pay attention because if my balance got a even a little off they let me know it right away and almost knocked me down a couple of times.  They are not a ski to try after a day of hard skiing when your technique is getting a little fuzzy.

post #8 of 27

I demoed the Head SS Rally last month and my impressions match yours very closely.  Great choice for what you are looking for.  As to length, there are a couple of thread here about this ski.  Do a search and read them.  May help in making a decision.

post #9 of 27

I'd look at whatever you can be the most accurate and versatile on rather that what you may perceive as delivering the highest performance outcome.

post #10 of 27

It's good to see that you've sorted out the technical vs. versatile aspect of your product search. As far as length goes, from the pure perspective of passing your level 3, the 170 will be fine and in fact, probably better. As far as actual long term usefulness for someone of your size and skiing qualifications, the 177 is the better call.

 

SJ

post #11 of 27

I don't know about the newest Heads, but when I had the Magnum in 170 I felt that it was too slalom and I wished I had the 177.

 

Which FA84 were you on? EDT or non-EDT?

post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 

I was on the EDT FA.  I actually was quite impressed with them in crud, in some widely spaced trees, and in short radius turns (I didn't expect this), I just wasn't a fan of its width (and quickness), nor its turning radius.    

 

I feel like the 177 is the better size for me in the Rally, even if it may not be quite as ideal for passing L3.  When I skied the Titans last year they definitely felt too slalomy for my liking. 

 

SJ, I agree with you about the technical vs. versatile comment, but I don't feel as if it's black and white.  I see it more as a continuum.  The Rally for example would be pretty skewed toward the "versatile" end of the spectrum, while the SC Pro would be pretty skewed towards the "technical" end of the spectrum.  The MX78's and old SC Ti's would be somewhere in between IMO.  And I loved the MX78's and the SC Ti's.  

post #13 of 27

I think it's good for your skiing to take the ski with the longer radius and make the turns fit. If the 170 felt slalomy I'd get the 177 and learn to make great short turns on it.

post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 

Good point!  Agreed.  Plus the radius on the 177 isn't very large as well.

post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastskier44 View Post
 

Good point!  Agreed.  Plus the radius on the 177 isn't very large as well.

 

So, there ya go. The 177 is the call. Don't forget that the Head system binding can be "tuned" a bit by moving your boot center fore and aft a little. Get it, tune it, and git to training.

 

Also, don't forget that going into your L-3 program can be a little intimidating sometimes. Most of us that eventually passed it didn't do so on the first go. Take the training and pre-courses for what they are.....great training opportunities. If you pass your first time out....awesome!.....but don't be bummed if you don't.

 

SJ

post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 

SJ, thanks for the advice.  I just started my Level 3 Prep Clinic yesterday and there's definitely a ton of stuff for me to work on and learn.  I'm looking forward to just learning and improving, regardless of when I end up getting the pin.

post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 

Anyone have any opinions on whether or not a Blizzi G-Power 174 would be long enough for me or not?

post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastskier44 View Post
 

Anyone have any opinions on whether or not a Blizzi G-Power 174 would be long enough for me or not?


Yeah, I think it is plenty long enough but I gotsta axe, why is this suddenly in the mix? You demoed a bunch of great skis, found the one that worked the best and three weeks later you're now wondering about something completely different?...........why? Did you demo it and love it? If so, why ask others? If not, then you are speculating or second guessing for some reason that seems unclear. Whether it was the Course Pro or the Rally.....or whatever......you could have been training for the last three weeks on the ski that you'll be evaluated on. IMO, you should get goin' and get something while they are still available.

 

Passing a L-3 exam is much more about the Indian than the arrow.

 

Not even 2 cents worth......a penny will do.......:D

 

SJ

post #19 of 27
I think someone here is selling a pair. That's probably why. smile.gif
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

So, there ya go. The 177 is the call. Don't forget that the Head system binding can be "tuned" a bit by moving your boot center fore and aft a little. Get it, tune it, and git to training.

Also, don't forget that going into your L-3 program can be a little intimidating sometimes. Most of us that eventually passed it didn't do so on the first go. Take the training and pre-courses for what they are.....great training opportunities. If you pass your first time out....awesome!.....but don't be bummed if you don't.

SJ

The bolder and underlined. In spades. I like the Titan (w13-14, 177, 15.5 radius) much better with the binding at +1-1.5. I think some of the 'neither fish nor fowl' criticisms of the ski go away, and really enjoy the versatility of the ski in both slow and fast modes. For testing/clinicing stuff, it works nicely... Better than the FA 84 EDT (176) for me, but if I weren't teaching and based at a place with some more lush groomers, I'd own the FA in a heart beat. Still might as it different enough from the Titan to nearly justify owning.
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
 


 

 

Passing a L-3 exam is much more about the Indian than the arrow.

 

Not even 2 cents worth......a penny will do.......:D

 

SJ

 

 

quite honestly I passed my L3 on a 179cm Public enemy, and won my DCL skiing tryout on a 177cm Blizzard the one. I had the fattest/longest boards at each exam. The interesting thing about both of these skis is they will not ski for you but IMO it tons easier to feather edges on rockered skis, and if your strong enough on your outside ski getting them to carve is not to hard. 

 

learn the movements, sharpen your edges and run what you brung. 

post #22 of 27
Josh, I'm sure you could pass it on some 130 K2 Missy's. most of us need at least a 150 Gotama jr.
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastskier44 View Post
 

Anyone have any opinions on whether or not a Blizzi G-Power 174 would be long enough for me or not?

Have skied the 2015 G-Power in 181 cm and was perfect for me at 208 pounds... I guess you could go either way at 190 pounds...

post #24 of 27
Thread Starter 

Jim, the G-Power was on my initial list if you scroll to the top of the page.  And I am considering it suddenly because a pair is for sale on here.  I haven't pounced on a pair of MX78's or Rally's yet because I haven't found a great deal on either yet.  I am in no rush to purchase a pair of skis either, as I am not planning on doing my Level 3 for at least another season.  Hopefully that answers all of your questions.  If I was extremely wealthy and could buy any ski that I wanted, I would already own a pair of MX78's, but unfortunately that is not the case for me right now.

 

Jim and Josh, I am completely aware that passing a L3 is 99% Indian 1% Arrow (maybe not quite that but close), but nevertheless I want to make sure that I get a ski that will not hinder me in any way when going for the L3 that is still a blast to free ski on.  Thank you for the advice though Josh.

post #25 of 27

I did notice that it was on the initial list but also that you didn't demo it. You did demo a bunch of others and found some stuff you liked. Hence the question about doing all that demoing and research on the ones you liked...........then considering buying something else.

 

IAC.....cheaper is always better I guess but Pro Form price is hard to beat and if you keep waiting for a better deal than that, you may end up empty handed.

 

SJ

post #26 of 27

Give me a ring/PM, I could definitely set you up with some of the stuff on your list at a sweet price.  

 

As far as skis go:

 

Nordica FA84: wicked carver, super stable, I love this ski.

 

MX78: a bit more quiet, refined, powerhouse at speed, easy to ski.  I also love this ski.  Very versatile: I went one season with it as my only ski, and I ski 75% off-piste. 

 

Speed Course ti: Another great ski, but a bit softer, more of a mellow carver with a good speed limit.  

 

G-Power: strongest ski here.  Can be a bear at slower speeds, but no top end. Feels more "old school" Blizzard than the 800s. 

 

Titan from Head: another solid ski, more of a narrower all-mountain ski. Blasts crud with ease, no speed limit.  

 

Another you should consider: 

 

Blizzard Power 800s: this has been one of my go-to carvers this year.  This ski is amazing.  The tip is not "aggressive" in feel, but just pulls you into the turn with total confidence.  Great grip on ice.  Big top end in stability. Easy to ski, forgiving, yet a super high performance ski. Skis true to length (I am on 174cm, would go 167cm for smaller hills).  Radius is a mis-print: it is around a 15m in 174cm, 14m in 167cm.  Pretty decent in bumps too. 

 

For carving performance and groomer duty, I would rank the 800s at the very top. For versatility, the MX78 gets the nod (FA84 always felt a little stout in bumps).  The others all fall somewhere in between.  Something like an MX78 would give you 85-90% of the groomer performance and 150% off the off-piste performance; there are some trade-offs involved, as always. 

post #27 of 27

Here are screen shots of me both doing drills on the S800 174cm and the MX78 178CM: javelin turns of course, learning how to load up that outside ski to get to actually hold on this concrete we have been skiing all season. 

 

As you can see, similar confidence on both skis. The 800s is 72mm wide, the MX78 is 78mm wide.  Snow is concrete with mid-day sugar piles. 

 

 

Blizzard Power 800s

 

 

MX78 178cm.  

 


Edited by dawgcatching - 1/29/14 at 1:32pm
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Looking for a Frontside Ski: Considering Kastle MX78, Dynastar Speed Course TI, Nordica FA 84 EDT, and Blizzard G-Power