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Ex-racer needs new skis 25 years later.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Greetings!

 

I haven't bought a pair of skis since the late 80s.  I've rented parabolic skis in Colorado and British Columbia, but the rental selection, even at the top of their list, generally doesn't have that much variety, and they typically have "all-mountain" types of skis to suit just about everyone.

 

I'm finally looking to get a new pair of skis, but I'm really uncertain as to what to get.  I raced slalom in high school, and beyond what I learned on as a kid, I've never had anything but dedicated slalom skis.

 

I'll never run gates again, and I've slowed down since then, but I'm wondering if I should stick with the stiffness and characteristics of a racing ski, since that's what I've always had, or if I should go with something different.  GS?  All-mountain? What Rossignol calls "on-piste"?    I suspect I'll always want a quicker, stiffer ski, but I really don't have much experience with modern skis.  I'm still using my 200cm Rossignol 4SKs, and they work just fine for me, but I'm sure that 25 years of technology advancement should be able to get me something that will be noticeably better.

 

So, what's the thinking here?  Do people who used to race and are used to stiff racing skis generally move into something more "all-around" when they get older, or do they stay with what they're used to?  Am I limiting myself to racing skis for vanity or at least no good reason, and is another type of ski better for me now?  Is the difference in shape and design so much different now that I would probably love even all-around skis compared to the racing skis of the late 80s?

 

I'm in my 40s, am 195 pounds, six feet, and I'm still a pretty aggressive skier.  I ski a bit in Minnesota where it's generally icy, but I travel out west as well.  I don't do moguls or powder very much, and am pretty much a hardpack, groomed trail skier these days.  I'd say my speeds are average for advanced skiers, but I do like to turn a lot.  In my head I think I'm always running gates, at least in terms of the frequency of my turns, but my speed is much lower.

 

Any perspective anyone can offer would be very helpful.  Thanks!

post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMN View Post
 

Greetings!

 

I haven't bought a pair of skis since the late 80s.  I've rented parabolic skis in Colorado and British Columbia, but the rental selection, even at the top of their list, generally doesn't have that much variety, and they typically have "all-mountain" types of skis to suit just about everyone.

 

I'm finally looking to get a new pair of skis, but I'm really uncertain as to what to get.  I raced slalom in high school, and beyond what I learned on as a kid, I've never had anything but dedicated slalom skis.

 

I'll never run gates again, and I've slowed down since then, but I'm wondering if I should stick with the stiffness and characteristics of a racing ski, since that's what I've always had, or if I should go with something different.  GS?  All-mountain? What Rossignol calls "on-piste"?    I suspect I'll always want a quicker, stiffer ski, but I really don't have much experience with modern skis.  I'm still using my 200cm Rossignol 4SKs, and they work just fine for me, but I'm sure that 25 years of technology advancement should be able to get me something that will be noticeably better.

 

So, what's the thinking here?  Do people who used to race and are used to stiff racing skis generally move into something more "all-around" when they get older, or do they stay with what they're used to?  Am I limiting myself to racing skis for vanity or at least no good reason, and is another type of ski better for me now?  Is the difference in shape and design so much different now that I would probably love even all-around skis compared to the racing skis of the late 80s?

 

I'm in my 40s, am 195 pounds, six feet, and I'm still a pretty aggressive skier.  I ski a bit in Minnesota where it's generally icy, but I travel out west as well.  I don't do moguls or powder very much, and am pretty much a hardpack, groomed trail skier these days.  I'd say my speeds are average for advanced skiers, but I do like to turn a lot.  In my head I think I'm always running gates, at least in terms of the frequency of my turns, but my speed is much lower.

 

Any perspective anyone can offer would be very helpful.  Thanks!

Welcome to EpicSki!  Where have you been in the west lately?

 

Did you happen to notice this thread with a similar question?  Might give you some ideas.

http://www.epicski.com/t/125802/looking-for-my-first-parabolic-skis-for-mi

post #3 of 13

I was in the same boat, this season, picking up skiing again after 25 years (I used to race back in the 80's, slalom). I ended up with a 179cm K2 AMP Charger which was a decent all around ski. But, once I was back on snow, I found some adult racing leagues (skichallenge.com - Minnesota area) and have really enjoyed getting back into the fun races. I did end up with three pairs of skis (actively selling the K2;s). if you like tooling around on hard pack, want something flexible to use almost anywhere, here in the Midwest, a slalom ski (165 cm) is a good choice. If you head out west, something like a Head i.Speed (175 to 180) would be a good all rounder. Everyone will have perspective, but this is what I have found to work at 6'1" and 220 in my 40's.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Marznc, recently I have skied Whistler and most of the Summit County resorts in Colorado.  I rented all of those times, and got what were described as "all-mountain" skis, which is what they seemed like to me; okay at everything, but not great at anything in particular.  Regarding the thread you linked, the person there seemed to be thinking that an all-around ski was what he wanted, and his racing experience was more GS than slalom.  Some good responses in that thread, but if I were to clarify my question at all, it would be to ask whether it's common for former slalom racers to stick with slalom skis when they quit racing, or are they typically better served by going to something more "all-around," like on-piste.  Maybe it's a dumb question, and the real answer is "everyone is different," but that's kind of where I'm at.

 

HeavyH2O, is the iSpeed a GS ski?  It sounds like you stuck with racing skis rather than going to an on-piste or all-mountain ski.  What was it about the longer GS ski that you liked better for out west?  I was looking at 177 for my next size, assuming it was either a GS or on-piste ski (which seems short compared to my 200s!).  Do you think that's about right?


Thanks you guys!

post #5 of 13

The Head i.Speed is a cheater GS ski which means that it turns relatively tightly, much like an all mountain ski but not quite as wide and more comfortable edge to edge than the wider waist on all mountain skis. Personally, I am really liking my Atomic Redster SL's. A very fun ski for the smaller hills here in MN. Out west, the cheater GS was a great balance of speed and stability. Of course, I usually stick to on-piste groomers. The new sizing was the biggest item to get used to. A 165cm slalom is a bit of a norm (I used to have 207 cm Dynamic VR27 Equipe) and GS skis are nicely sized around 175 to 185cm. Out here, if you had to choose a single pair of skis with an occasional visit out west, a cheater GS (shorter radius) at about 175cm is a good balance, IMHO.  

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Excellent, thanks!  I'm having a hard time figuring out the specs that most cheater GS skis have, as the manufacturer websites don't typically use that term.  What would you say the waist and radius averages are compared to a "standard" GS or all-mountain ski?  And is there a term they use that means essentially the same thing?

 

Thanks again!

post #7 of 13

I'll make the same recommendation to you that I made to the person looking for their first pair of shaped skis: Nordica Fire Arrow 84 EDT, 176cm.  If you're in the Twin Cities area you should be able to find a shop that has a pair to demo.  It won't feel like a slalom ski, but it is very quick, has no speed limit and will definitely reward you for good technique and it will be a hell of a lot more versatile than a cheater GS ski.  I've skied it in the trees where there was 8-9" of very soft snow and it was good, very quick.  It is a frontside biased ski, very heavily frontside biased probably, and has really tenacious edge hold and great rebound out of a turn.  Give them a try, I think you might like them.  They are not for beginners or even intermediates, it is an advanced to expert ski.

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

That looks like an interesting ski; I just checked it out on their website.  Looks like I've got some options to check out!

 

Thanks!

post #9 of 13
Sounds like something like a Head Supershape or Fischer Progressor would be what you are looking for. Several models in each series and a number of reviews and threads here on each. A little searching will turn them up.
post #10 of 13

FIFY

Quote:

Originally Posted by JimH View Post

Sounds like something like a Head Worldcup Rebels i.SL RD: 117/66/100 - 13m @ 165cm (for smaller hills) or World Cup Rebels i.Speed (for >500 ft vertical),  or Fischer WC SC or RC Prol would be what you are looking for.

Also may want to check out the member reviews from realskiers.com.

post #11 of 13

@DavidMN 

length wise for your height: 
- FIS GS 180-190 radius between 23and30m will be relatively similar to your old skis. but much better edge hold, stiffness and carving ability.

- front side skis 170-180 medium underfoot <23m radius at the beginning they will feel "short" but one you get them going they are stable and fun. You just need to get used to carving them.
- FIS SL 165 12m radius. these will be very snappy, lots of "spring". quite unstable at medium-high speeds. They are very fun if you want to rip down the slope with big angles without going +60mph. It will take some time to get use to them.

- all mountain 170-180 100mm underfoot. these will be somewhat softer (depending on model) still good edge hold and relatively easy. it will take a bit to get used to the wide underfoot on groomers.

- freeride/powder 190 +100mm underfoot. soft wide skis for surfing the pow. I don't really see a need for them unless you plan on skiing a lot of big mountain.

 

Now, i think the best for you is to go and demo each family of skis and find out what fits your needs best.
Keep in mind that all of these skis are made with carving in mind, so you won't find the same "feel" as your old ones.

I don't know how you ski, if it's still "old school" or if you picked up carving quickly, but that also influences what skis will fit you best.

 

Given that you seem to turn a lot, without racing down the hill, I would probably aim at a front side/cheater GS ski. And maybe a FS SL later on.

post #12 of 13

I think jzamp is spot on. I ended up with all of the above, actually. FIS SL (Atomic Redster), Cheater GS (HEAD i.Speed), 23M FIS GS (Volkl Racetiger) and 27M FIS GS (Volkl Racetiger). Driving all of them, on the midwest hills, the cheater GS is my current favorite. I gave my all mountains away to a friend (the K2 AMP Charger) which was very easy to ski but did not feel as crisp as I would like.   

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

Excellent info, everyone.  Thank you very much!

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