Me: Level 8.5 skier, 175 pounds, 6'2", based out of Stowe
Current ski: 174cm Blizzard 8.5ti. Mine are on their last legs, and unfortunately, Blizzard isn't making it anymore.
Spent the weekend at the Stowe Toys Demo Center trying a couple different things. Stowe's gotten a foot or so in the past week, so things were fairly soft by New England standards, but you didn't have to look far to find ice lurking underneath.
- Volkl Kendo, 177cm: First ski I tried. I liked it. Good grip on groomers, easily adaptable to a variety of turn shapes, and it skied bumps pretty well. I liked it; it seemed to handle tight spaces as well as wide-open spaces equally well. I'd be happy on this.
- Rossignol Experience 88, 178cm: Despite all the great reviews this seems to get, I didn't really like it that much. It felt very ponderous in bumps. It felt like money cranking out medium radius turns on groomers, but any deviation from that felt like far too much work. I had tried this on a demo day back in December in the 170cm length and liked it more then, but certainly didn't love it. I thought that the longer length would be the ticket, but I guess not.
- K2 Rictor 90, 178cm: I don't think you can do anything wrong on this ski. The sweet spot seems to extend from the tip to the tail. It won't launch you out of a turn on the groomers, but there's still some energy there. In moguls, it's simply amazing. I could drive the tips down the backside and back up the next bump without worrying about getting too far back or forward and having the ski do something funky. Very, very predictable. I think I skied every bump run on Mt. Mansfield before the day was out. I didn't want to give this back.
- Blizzard Bushwacker, 180cm: Tried this on Sunday (others were on Saturday). Four or five inches of super dry fluff had fallen overnight. It felt pretty magical on groomers, gripping really well on the hardpack underneath and easily changing turn shapes. Not a bad bump ski, although very different from the Volkl and K2 above. The tip is vague and a good deal softer; it felt like it was messing with my timing a bit in that the first hint of a push-back from the bump simply wasn't there. I thought maybe my legs were still fried from Saturday, so I hopped back on the K2's after a few runs and found that my timing was back.