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Need advice on upgrading skis and boots [20 year hiatus, Washington]

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Just recently I have gotten back into snow skiing after nearly 20 years of not skiing at all. My skis are "PRE" 195's and boots are Caber rear entry things from the early 90's. I can ski on em just like I did back in the day but want to upgrade to some current technology gear without breaking the bank. Problem I don't have the first clue what to buy. I ski in Washington mostly and like a variety of terrain from groomed runs to fairly steep moguly stuff. I find myself getting fatigued and am sure that's partially due to my outdated equipment as well as my conditioning and age. (I'm 48 now not 22!) I talked to a local ski shop and think I will start by renting some at least fairly current gear that they have and will go from there. Any tips will be appreciated. Thanks,

 

David

post #2 of 14
Get boots that are fit to your feet. All of us who ski alot have great fitting boots and most with custom foot beds.

Then demo skis, may be take a few lessons on the demo's.

Some one should be able to recommend a great boot fitter in your area.
post #3 of 14

Buy boots at next September's sales.  The shops will have their full inventory of new items as well as this year's left overs, and the prices are good.  You'll have a better selection of what's right for you, not just what they have on their shelf now that fits but maybe isn't the best boot for you.

 

Sturtevant's in Bellevue as some good boot people.  Hang out and listen to what they tell others.  Find the boot salesman that sounds the most knowledgeable to you.  They should be able to look at your feet, ask about your skiing, and make suggestions of a couple of models that will be the best fit and best boot for you.

 

You want the smallest boot that fits without discomfort.  The bootfitter can make the boot bigger, but they can't make it smaller.  A full service shop includes in the price future adjustments to the boot.  We all have lumps & bumps on our feet, and the choice is either a big boot with a squishy fat liner (poor choice) or the smallest possible boot with a thin liner where the shop grinds the inside or heats the plastic and pushes it out for your best fit (good choice).  Expect to spend a couple of hours trying on boots and keeping them on for a period of time to get the feel of the fit.  Expect to make return visits to the shop for adjustments to make them your boots.

 

Forget everything you thought you knew about ski lengths and widths.  A ski that is 80 mm wide underfoot is now a narrow ski.  If you were on 195s before, you might be on 165 or 170 now.  (I used to ski 200s, and now I'm on skis ranging from 170 to 180.)  The size is relative.  In any ski line, the longer skis are stiffer.  The skis must return the energy the skier puts into them so they give the skier a good response.  The longest ski in any line is made for the biggest, strongest skier on the mountain.  I've found that I buy the next size down from the longest, and that works great for me.  I'm 6', 200#, a good skier.  My carving skis are 170; the longest of that line of skis (Head Icon TT800, 66 mm underfoot, 13 meter sidecut) is 177.  My powder skis are 180; the longest is 187.  Each length gives me back the energy from the ski that makes them work very well for me.  My preference is for a ski that isn't too wide (wide is the current fad, though) and with a lot of sidecut (hourglass figure).  A wide ski is harder to put on edge, and just silly for anyone to use if they don't get off groomers on a regular basis.  Buy used skis to start.  Or closeouts on fleabay.  My 85 mm all-mountain skis came from an Eastern Canadian shop's end of season closeout via eBay at about half price.  Post an idea of your size, weight, your previous skiing ability, and the type of snow you'll mainly ski on (either pack or Cascade Concrete), ask for something on a closeout, and you'll get some good suggestions.  Do be careful of some of the suggestions--you might get some for skis that are too long and too wide, 'cuz that's what the other person wishes they had.  Do you want a quicky recommendation based on the little I know from your posting--Head Rev 80 Pro 170 cm.  Search the interwebs for a great closeout price, maybe last year's color or a good quality demo ski or just a shop offering a closeout.  https://head.com/ski/products/skis/allride/rev-80-pro/4378/?region=eu      I have the Rev 85 and like it a lot for thin fresh snow and crud, as well as a pretty good carver even on very hard pack.  The 80 would be better on pack; I have my carvers for that.

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'm 5'8" and 180 pounds and am an intermediate skier but will go down a few diamond runs on occasion, probably more if my skis weren't so long. I ski in Washington, mostly at Stevens Pass since it's closest to me so the conditions are variable and I enjoy skiing different types of runs from the groomed to bumps and trees. I don't like skiing deep powder but that may change if I have skis that work better for it, I've found it hard to stay upright in it in the past. Thanks for the tips I will keep them in mind !

post #5 of 14

on a powder day or a forecast powder day, get to a demo shop in early or the previous afternoon and take out a pair of fat skis,  meaning 98mm+ in the waist or more (which by today's measurements is still all-mountain), with at least some rocker shape (or a mustache shape).   You can also just put your faith into the ski shop/ski tech and ask for their recommendation on the best ski for the powder conditions.

 

 

Try that on the powder day, and it may make your powder day better.  Start by finding some lower angle untouched powder and just going in a straight line down it, keeping your balance, and enjoying the floaty smooth effortless feeling.

Of course if you're skiing in thick wet Pacific "powder" then that's a different story then real coldsmoke powder.

 

 

There are a few threads here about powder and the mystery of it, and despite the hype and hope for powder, when it comes to it, beginners and intermediates actually it a horrible experience and just a lot of unbalanced falling over rather than fun.  Then techniques and tips on how to bust through that.

 


As mentioned before, boots are like Cinderella.  You just got to go to a bootfitter and talk it over with what works with your feet.  and be prepared to spend a bit more for what's right for you

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

I rented some gear and went night skiing last night and I must say overall I likey the new style skis ! The ski shop didn't have their normal rental boots in my size so I persuaded them to rent me a brand new pair of Lange RX100's. The skis were Volkl RTM 7.4 in a 170 length, specs on the ski are 103 tail, 74 waist, 118 tip radius 16.1 M. They seemed fine except for two little things I noticed and maybe it's just me and my self taught skills ( or lacking of them ). At high speeds the tips seem to get a bit unstable or wobbly even on the groomed stuff and they seem to slide on icy stuff rather than dig in and turn. Maybe they are a bit too long for my height and weight or just the wrong ski  for me and as always my skills could be lacking. At any rate I wouldn't buy them unless I could get a steal. The boots were rather disappointing, the were a bitch to get into first of all and after a few runs my toes started getting cold. The buckles were on the first notch and I was wearing fairly thin socks so I'm not sure if they were a bit too small or what, they didn't hurt me anywhere though  so I dunno . Maybe they can be fitted to me I don't know but I'm leary of buying boots that make my toes cold. I did have a blast and skied harder and better so far this year with no yard sales, only a couple little tip overs and didn't get near as sore or fatigued. Comments, tips, suggestions appreciated !

post #7 of 14
The volkl rtm series is a full rocker ski without any traditional camber. This makes it easy to turn and pivot. But id you're used to old style skiing you may feel it doesnt grip or wiggles around.

This is likely a technique issue as the ski will too easily do a pivot turn. So to control it you need to perform a smooth turn solidly with only tipped edges turn and apply pressure to lock the ski into turns without any pivot or it feels squirrelly. Especially true on ice.
But if that style of skiing is something you dont like, then perhaps start with a ski with camber profile and only tip rocker that resists the pivot turn, until you can pick up the solid precise carved turn.
Some of my friends who came from a decade break and from basic oldskis worked best from other skis from volkl like the kendo and mantra which provided the stiffness and stability they were used to.

Later once you figue out the difference between pivot and carved turn stylesyou can go back and try a full rocker ski like the rtm.

I believe you already have the advice on boots so nothing else to say there.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by raytseng View Post

The volkl rtm series is a full rocker ski without any traditional camber. This makes it easy to turn and pivot. But id you're used to old style skiing you may feel it doesnt grip or wiggles around.
 

 

Pretty sure the narrow rtm skis (including the 74) are cambered underfoot.  80 and 84 are, or at least were, full rocker.

post #9 of 14

According to Volkl the RTM 73, 75 and 75 IS have "rip rocker" and the 77, 80, 81 and 84 are full rocker.

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunya View Post
 

I rented some gear and went night skiing last night and I must say overall I likey the new style skis ! The ski shop didn't have their normal rental boots in my size so I persuaded them to rent me a brand new pair of Lange RX100's. The skis were Volkl RTM 7.4 in a 170 length, specs on the ski are 103 tail, 74 waist, 118 tip radius 16.1 M. They seemed fine except for two little things I noticed and maybe it's just me and my self taught skills ( or lacking of them ). At high speeds the tips seem to get a bit unstable or wobbly even on the groomed stuff and they seem to slide on icy stuff rather than dig in and turn. Maybe they are a bit too long for my height and weight or just the wrong ski  for me and as always my skills could be lacking. At any rate I wouldn't buy them unless I could get a steal.

David, a couple of things jump to mind:

 

1. The lack of "stability" is probably a technical issue.  Modern skis require different technique.  What is likely happening is that you are standing up and running the bases flat and trying to push the skis to turn.  You need to re-learn how to ski, how to carve on the edges.  A few lessons will do the trick.

 

2. 170 is definitely close to the right size.  Maybe even a tad short.  Not too long for you at 5'8, 180#.

 

3. For Stevens Pass, for an intermediate looking to have fun on the whole mountain and get better, I think that you want a wider ski than the Volkls you demo'd.  Something 85-95 underfoot, reasonably forgiving (i.e., not a Kendo or an old stock Mantra), is probably the right target zone.  Out here, skis under 80mm are "quiver skis" for racing and folks that enjoy having a "technical" carving ski.  Unless you are skiing exclusively the groomers off Skyline, Hogs, and Ty on super firm days, 74 underfoot is going to be too limiting and will hold you back.  If you are looking for one ski for everything (like the vast majority of folks), something in the ~88 range is probably the sweet spot for you - size it in the low-mid 170s at your height/weight.  Plenty of performance on groomers, and you will have way more fun with a wider platform in mixed conditions on the backside and 7th.  There are plenty of skis in the category that would be perfect for you - you might want to swing by the local shops and see what they have at 50% off.  You won't find better pricing and at this point, you will love anything appropriate - especially with some instruction.  I wouldn't over research it.  Rossi E88, Salomon Q90, Line Prophet 90, Head Rev 85 are just a few that might work.  Those are just a few ideas.  Or something like a Fischer Watea 88 would be a nice non-powder day Stevens ski, not too strong to manage, and you could probably find them for a song right now as they are under-loved, widely distributed and being replaced in the line next year.

 

Welcome back, get your boots sorted out and have fun.

post #11 of 14

I did the switch several years ago.  If you were a solid skier before you will be now and with the shorter lengths (and other advancements) will have a blast skiing on the new skis with the old techniques (you will feel like your 17 again).  However to take advantage and up your skiing, a little change in technique (predominately timing and stance useage) will be required.  This will not only add to your skill set, but greatly improve your skiing and fun factor on the new skis.

 

Can you learn this on your own, with a little input from friends. Yes, I did after about 16 hours of focused effort spread over 5 or 6 ski days.  Is this the easiest why of doing it.  No.   I would suggest that depending on where you ski get a private lesson or 2 with an instructor that understands both straight and shaped skis and can get you started in the right direction.  After that its all about slope time.

 

As to equipment, get something similar in application as to what you were skiing before, don't be scared of looking to the more advanced level skis as you will be used to the input levels required and the softer skis may not like it.  Boots, well, get good boots, stay on the stiffer side (again matches more to what you were skiing before so a 100 and up) but ensure you get a good fit here.  Good skis you can get cheap, good boots, spend a little extra here for the fit.

 

Otherwise, the switch is worth it to feel young again and to ski better than you ever did before.

post #12 of 14

Get after it guy!  

 

Would also recommend Sturtevant's for boots, they have good fitters.  Do that first!  (Saw that they are selling their demo skis this weekend at the Bellevue store).  If you are going to ski some more this Spring get the boots now it is a massive game changer and they are already on sale. Would not bother renting boots, just trust a certified boot fitter.

 

 With your boots remember it is all about the fit not the brand, listen to your fitter.

 

Skis have gotten nuts, they are so easy to turn, and they make some for everything. With the varied snow we get here in the PNW you want a do everything ski.  Personally prefer something in an "all mountain ski" (translates to family sedan of skis they do everything pretty well and nothing great) 90-95 waist and an early rise tip.  The brand is secondary; I like red ones.

 

Invest the most in your most important piece of equipment, YOU (says the old guy).  Spend a couple of hours every week working out and it will improve every aspect of your life, not just your skiing. You might even make more money so you ski more.

 

See you at Stevens Pass.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the input, will get the boots sorted tonight hopefully. I'll rent some skis until I settle on something or find a steal on something. As far as working out, not happening here. I ride dirt bikes, mountain bike and keep pretty active doing things outside, I'm not a gym rat. Thanks again guys, see you on the mountain !

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Pulled the trigger on a pair of Line Prophet 85 in 172 cm and also a pair of Lange RX120 boots. Skied all day Sunday and had a blast. I'm looking forward to skiing as much as I can this spring and am stoked for next year. Thanks for all the input here.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Need advice on upgrading skis and boots [20 year hiatus, Washington]