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Suggestion on Skis when getting back into the sport?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

So I haven't Alpine skied in over a decade and the last time I did I was skiing double diamonds in Deer Valley Utah. I moved from TX to Upstate NY and I never really looked into down hill as I assumed I wouldn't be too thrilled, especially after the past couple of winters we have had.. My wife and I have been doing Cross Country Skiing for the past three years. After driving by a ski resort about 40 minutes away, I wasn't expecting much, but I have to say I was impressed. So now I want to try downhill. They do have cheap night passes and I would like to get some Alpine Skis. Before I ever do anything I like to do a bit of research as my biggest fear is buyer's remorse. I am an engineer, I want to know why I am paying $x for a product, I want to know how things work. I went to a Ski store yesterday and was over whelmed by the selection of down hill skis and boots they have. The skis were a lot fatter and smaller than the long skinny ones I have been use to and the boots are a lot more flashy with their decals. The boots varied in price a lot from $150 to $500+ he said the flex is what made the biggest difference and I would most likely want a 80-90% flex. I also do question Velcro longevity. Other than that it seemed hard to see the difference between them. He started to explain that some skis were made of different materials and that camber was a little better in the east than the non-camber skis, which are better in the west. Other than that I really would like to know what other differences matter? I like moguls, though don't know how much I would do w/ my wife. I am not a speed freak or fresh powder kind of person, unless I am doing XC skiing. I understand a lot of the XC ski differences as far as metal edge, vs non. Differences between touring, standard, BC, and telemark. I would like to know a little more about donwhill skis, before I jump in. I would like to get something that is decent, w/o spending an arm and a leg. 


Thanks in advance,



post #2 of 15

Wow, brace yourself for a tidal wave of inputs.  You have a lot of basic questions and this site is full of folks with lots of expertise.  


Basically, since you last skied, technology has kept marching on and skis are now wider and shorter than back in the day.  Good news is that there are a lot of great skis out there.  I'm not an East Coast skier, but my basic inputs would be to get something with a camber (don't fall for the no camber or "this 115mm ski can rip groomers too" spiel), an early rise (for when you do start venturing off the groomers), and something narrower than a 100mm waist.


As you do your research, here are some great places to start:


Powder Mag Top Skis -- http://gear.powdermag.com/buyers-guide-2014/all-mountain-minus-100mm.html

Skis.com has great video reviews -- http://www.skis.com/video-reviews/2014-video-reviews-lander,default,pg.html


As for boots...whew, they're the most important item you'll buy, but that is certainly an item with a lot of personal preference, subjectivity, etc.  Just make sure you learn how to get a shell fit, know what your size is in Mondo sizing, and realistically assess what flex you need.  Stiffer flex seems cool, but won't help you if you can't flex the boot at all.  In addition, there's little consistency in flex ratings between brands, so you need to try on a lot of different boots.


Here's another link that can get you pointed in the right direction:


Boot Fitting 101 -- http://blistergearreview.com/gear-101/boot-fitting-101/boot-fitting-101


Hope this all helps -- good luck!


T. -- www.wasatchreport.com

post #3 of 15

The standard advice is that your boots make a far bigger difference than your skis.  it goes like this;


You are connected to your foot.

Your foot is connected to your boot.

Your boot is connected to your binding.

Your binding is connected to the ski.

Your ski is connected to the snow.


So there are 5 connections between you and the snow.  The boot-binding and binding-ski connections are standardized so the parts are basically interchangeable.   But getting a solid connection between your foot and the boot requires significant customization since no two feet are the same shape.  And if you don't have a solid connection there, you won't be able to make the ski do what you want it to.


If you have boots that fit your foot, you can rent skis and do fine.  If your boots don't fit, nothing you do will make things better. So, focus on getting a good pair of boots, expect to spend a couple of sessions with the boot fitter dialing them in.  As long as they fit well, features, flex, bells and whistles, etc. don't really matter that much.


Once you get your boots dialed in, you can demo skis (you can't really demo boots) and see what you like.

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the boot fitting information, I guess after reading that and what you guys said, that makes the most sense. Get the boot that fits the best and go from there. IS  there anything I should stay away from or avoid, construction or ability limiting skis, etc?

post #5 of 15
If you skied DD in Utah, I'd get a 100 or a 110 flex boot.

Whe nyou have a good boot that fit's, then demo skis before you buy, I lesson or two would be a good thing too.

The new skis use a different movement pattern that the old days.

As long as you listen and practise what your taught, its easy to progress and have more fun.

Clothing, I buy most of my base layers from www.sierratradingpost.com they have there own brand of Poly pro base and mid layers that work great and save you lots of money.

Also wear a thin sock when you try on boots. I ski in smartwool ultra light socks, or just liner socks from STP or www.campmor.com.

every thing you want to know is here...
post #6 of 15
Originally Posted by solarity View Post

 I also do question Velcro longevity.


Longevity?  My experience is that the velcro doesn't work even when it's new, or at least it can't hold up to the way I flex.  The velcro comes loose on the first run of the day.


These work:



I'd say budget the extra $30 and  replace the velcro straps that come with the  boot.

post #7 of 15
+ one for the booster strap. Much better design then the strap that comes on the boot. I was a non-believer until my new Lange's and the boot fitter suggested them. I have a couple of buddies with them, just never knew how good they were, now I do.
post #8 of 15
Originally Posted by solarity View Post

So I haven't Alpine skied in over a decade and the last time I did I was skiing double diamonds in Deer Valley Utah. 

I was in your same situation about ten years ago, when I got back into skiing.   I had a very long hiatus from skiing and wondered how much my abilities had faded.  I was pleasantly surprised that it was just like getting on a bike - it all came back like second-nature.  When I got back into the sport I bought my first pair of shaped ski's and didn't notice any difference going from the old straight to the new shaped ski's (other than the newer ski's were easier).  If you have good technique, and I know you do by virtue of the runs you've ski'd in the past, then you will have no trouble whatsoever getting on some new, shaped ski's.  As others have posted, get some good boots and then go demo some ski's.  It shouldn't take long to find out what strikes your fancy.  Good luck.  

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Last night I went to a Ski store and then today I went to the same stores outlet and I tried on the Dalbello Viper 90, it seemed pretty good and tight. Was a little uncomfortable at first, then it was okay. I tried a couple others. One felt like my toe was being mashed into the front and a third I felt pressure poking the side of my leg and it started to feel worst as I wore it. I think I want to go with the Dalbello, which is $229. I looked at reviews and it seemed to hit what I am looking for in a boot. Surprisingly I think I have a wider foot, though it seemed fine.


I took a look at a couple of Ski's, after talking to the guy he suggested a K2 Amp Velocity for $399 (bindings included). I am making more sense of the boots, though I still have questions about Skis. I might just go to the local mountain tomorrow and do one of their ski packages, ticket, 1.5hr lesson, and rentals for $89. They do have demos I can choose. The amp doesn't seem to get as good reviews compared to the boot. Any suggestions on Ski's? I like mogals, though don't know how much I will do with my wife. I want a ski that is not really focus on beginner to intermediate as I have the feeling/hope my experience will be like kdawg.I like the most for my money type of things, name and design/looks isn't all that important to me. IMHO the skis of now look like clown shoes compared to the old one, so I don't really care anymore :)


For poles they said they don't matter all that much and they can sell me a pair for $10.


Lastly I took a look at helmets and they had one that had headphones and close able vents built in for $60. 


I already have a nice LL Bean ski jacket that I really like and other gear that I use for XC skiing. 


What do you guys think?



post #10 of 15


What do you guys think?




I really think you should demo some advanced/expert ski's.  I don't think you will have ANY problems getting on a high-caliber ski.  Even if you're a little rusty, if won't take long finding your groove again.  Once you've demo'd some ski's, you'll have a much better perspective on where you want to go from here.  

post #11 of 15

I agree with Kdawg1966 - demo more advanced skis.  Check out the video reviews on skis.com...they don't give the K2 Amp Velocity stellar reviews.




T. - www.wasatchreport.com

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
After 6 hours of skiing, 5 different skis, and a lot of rain at end, I found out I hate the rental boots, but loved the Elan waveflex 78ti. I tested a few different skis and the 170 K2 Amp ski seemed to big and I did not like it on the bumps. Tested a couple other ones and fhe most expensive one, w/o knowing the price was my favorite. I went to the ski shop, they didn't have the 78ti, but they did have a 82 and a 14 Elan for $500. I am wondering if there is much of a difference. The guy at the demo place said the skis would be forsale mid Feb.
post #13 of 15

If you liked the 78ti, then I'd hold out for those.  Stick with the ones you know.  Glad to hear you went out and demo'ed skis!


T. - www.wasatchreport.com

post #14 of 15
You need to find a better boot fitter. You say you think you have a wide foot...any decent boot fitter will tell you what type feet you have.
Boots are the most important part. If the boot doesn't fit your foot, you will not get a great feel for the skis.

Do not buy skis until you get a boot your happy with.

The waveflex is a decent ski for a front side carver. But is that all you want to ski ?

I tend to stay way from single minded skis now. A freeride ski will do mostly anything well, some things great. That's why I love my Kendo's.

Upstate NY, I would think there must be some great boot fitters in the Whiteface area ?
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Wow, I thought this thread was dead. Maybe I shouldn't of created a new one comparing two skis. ><


I think I might go ahead and get those boots that I thought fit me the best. A couple of people told me to get the best fitting boot and if need be you can have some modification on it to make it fit even better. As far as off piste, I do have Cross Country skis that I go skiing on trails behind my house, I even ski with my dog (Skijoring). I think some parts of where I ski can be a little more difficult as the narrowness and the steepness of some hills, can make the slope more intimidating than the double diamonds I saw in Bristol Mountain. That being said we get very little powder, we will get dumped on, though the wind, warmer temps, and sun make short work of it. Things seem a bit more icy up here than what I experienced in Utah, though it isn't as bad as I thought. As I am going to be mostly stuff with my wife, I don't see to much off piste in alpine, where the speeds can be faster than cross country/Nordic. I don't think I will do bumps all that much as there are very few and my wife will most likely not like them. Though I do prefer maneuverability of speed.  It looks like Whiteface is about 6 hours away from me.


I mentioned in another post that the 78ti 168cm is "to short" for me according to Elan's website and they suggest the 176cm, which seems a bit long for what I like. The demo center does have a few more skis I want to try out, before I buy now that I look at it. The only problem is, if I buy my own boots and poles and the demo center is on the summit, then I might have to rent skis to get back down. Do these places normally put their demo centers at the summit? 


In any case here are a list of skis that they  have: http://www.bristolmountain.com/demo-center


I am thinking of going back and trying out the 12 and 14 at 168cm and the 78ti at 176cm to get good comparison. 


Lastly I learned that I should never tuck my long underwear into my socks. It feels like where the boot made contact with my long underwear my leg is bruised. 



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