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One Ski Quiver for the Alps

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

I recently switched back to skiing from snowboarding and I'm looking for one Ski to do it all. Here's the rundown:

 

- I ski exclusively in the Alps (Swiss Alps to be specific) --> fair share of groomers and not as much pow as in the western US

- I will be carving quite a lot on groomers, but will start venturing into the sidecountry and eventually I even want to start doing some alpine touring with them (therefore they should be light)

- About 20+ days a year

- My level is probably intermediate - advanced. But I'm not afraid to get some more challenging/advanced skis, since I feel like I'm progressing quite fast and I don't want to outgrow them too quickly. I was skiing on some Atomic Race GS 12 this season and did quite alright, even though they were a little aggressive maybe.

- I'm 5'11" and 160 lbs without skiing equipment

 

After researching quite a bit (but lacking the opportunity to demo the skis) I've come up with the following skis. I am however open to other suggestions!

 

- Nordica Hell & Back

- Nordica Steadfast

- Line Sick Day 95

- Blizzard Bushwacker

- Blizzard Kabookie

- Völkl Kendo

- Stöckli Stormrider 95

- Stöckli Stormrider 100

- Stöckli Stormrider VXL

 

So basically something between 85-100mm, with a slight rocker and skin compatibility. I'm kinda unsure about which width I should go with, since I've never skied anything wider than 70mm and therefore don't have any reference to how these wider skis feel like.

 

I will probably be demoing the three Stöckli skis on the weekend and let you know what they felt like. Are any of them comparable to any of the other skis I've mentioned?

 

 

Also, I'm looking into buying some Freeride Bindings, which are "walkable". I have the following on my radar:

- Salomon Guardian

- Marker Baron

- Marker Duke

- Marker Tour

- Fritschi Freeride Pro

 

What are your recommendations here? Especially considering that I'm a lighter skier (160 lbs), will be skiing in the resort quite a lot, but still want to save weight for touring.

 

I hope you guys can help me out here. Because without being able to demo most of these skis, it's really hard to decide on my own.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 23

No useful comments from me, but I was in Zermatt last month and aside from Stockli's all over the mountains, we saw a lot of Black Crows skis used by the AT folk there.

 

- Andy

post #3 of 23
I'm thinking the stormrider 100

with a good tune they should not ski much different then your 70mm ski.

I have no problem going from my 88mm to my 106mm skis, waiting for good snow to try out my new 119mm skis.

as you can see, IMO one skis can't do it all.


If your thinking about picking up a wider ski later on go with a 95mm now.
post #4 of 23

I skied Zermatt last weekend on Stockli Stormrider 100s.  Those things were amazing in the powder and crud.  They were really heavy (I know because I carried them to/from the mountain every day) so you really had to get up some speed to flex them on the pistes.  They want to just run, so if you're into smaller, GS and S turns, I would look elsewhere.

post #5 of 23

I'd be willing to bet that the lightest ski on your list is the Blizzard Kabookie.  Mount it with a Marker Tour (10 or 12) and go ski everything.  It is light enough for moderate length tours.  The Marker Tour will be fine as an everyday piste binding at 160lbs.  I've been skiing this set up for the past two seasons (about 8 weeks total in the Alps, on piste, off piste, & touring) and as an everyday resort ski in Vermont.  180 cm, 180 lbs.  I don't break things.  With a Tecnica Cochise 120, it is the closest thing I've found to a do-everything set up.  I drop in an Intuition liner when going on longer tours.

post #6 of 23

Hi - Welcome. Since you don't seem fazed by cost, the Stormrider 95 or 100 will be the best of the bunch, far and away. If you are fazed, the Nordica Steadfast is a fine ski for European conditions that can be toured on nicely. The Blizzies are nice skis, but not really for touring. Kendo's too heavy and planky, Line's not for touring at all, VXl ditto. 

 

Of the bindings, personally, I like the new Tyrolias, which you don't mention. The Dukes and Barons have their kinks worked out, but are really heavy and still have that irritating need to take them off to switch. The Sollies were much hyped but I note they still haven't achieved certification, far as I know, and they're also heavy and high. Meh. The Tours won't hold up for a lot of groomer work. The Frischi's a joke on groomers, and not really a modern design even for AT anymore. Keep in mind that in Europe touring tends to be longer walking for the downhill. So the longer and wider you go, the more weight and snow on your skis to haul. I'd stay at 95 or under, unless you're talking about the SR 100, which is unusually light. The Hell n Back and the other 98-100 mm skis you mention are not especially light in the sense that touring folks mean. Suggest spending some time at Wildsnow.com, where they discuss all this stuff in detail. 

 

Frankly, I'd forget your binding list, get a 16 DIN Beast, and some beefy AT boots. As secure as the rigs you mention but much lighter and safer at release. And don't neglect a good AT/avalanche/crevasse snow safety course, plus skiing with some experienced friends, or your adventures in the backcountry will have a quick and lethal conclusion. 

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thank you all your answers! I demoed the SR 95 and SR 107 yesterday. Unfortunately they didn't have SR 100. I really liked the SR 95 on the piste, but the SR 107 felt a little too "beefy" (maybe my legs were just too tired, since it was the end of a hard day.. :D).

 

Taking your advice into account and my experience with testing the SR's I feel like I can easily go with a 95 mm ski. This helped me eliminate some of the skis on my list. But I've come across two new ones aswell:

- Stöckli Stormrider 95 (3900 g @ 183 cm)

- Stöckli Stormrider 100 (3490 g @ 174 cm. I would however go with 182, therefore I guess about 3650)

- Nordica Hell & Back (3750 g @ 177 cm)

- Rossignol Soul 7 (3700 g @ 180 cm)

- Black Crows Camox (3950 @ 177 cm)

 

 

Now I have a couple of questions and would be really grateful if you could help me answer those:


- How does the SR100 compare to the 95? As far as I know its lighter than the 95. Does it sacrifice in stability and piste performance?

 

- I am a bit price concious, which is why the Stormriders are a bit expensive. Is there anything comparable, with equal versatility and with a lower price tag?

 

- Do you think the Soul 7 makes sense for my needs (see above)? Or is it too much off-piste oriented and too wide to use it effectively on piste and for touring?


- Does any of you know the Black Crows skis and can give me a feedback?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
 

Frankly, I'd forget your binding list, get a 16 DIN Beast, and some beefy AT boots. As secure as the rigs you mention but much lighter and safer at release. And don't neglect a good AT/avalanche/crevasse snow safety course, plus skiing with some experienced friends, or your adventures in the backcountry will have a quick and lethal conclusion. 

 

If you mean the Dynafit Beast 16, that one is way out of my league price-wise. What do you like about the Tyrolias? And to which binding on my list are they most equal to?

post #8 of 23

I've demo'd the SR 95 and 100 on hardpack and firm bumps (same day), and preferred the narrower feel of the 95.

 

The weight will make a difference in energy expended when you're on long tours (think multi hour/day approaches).

 

You'll have to decide which is more important to you.

post #9 of 23
Have you considered the Dynastar Cham HM (high mountain) series? For example, http://www.dynastar.com/US/US/cham-high-mountain-107_DA2K501_product_dynastar-skis-men-freeride.html
post #10 of 23

I just wanted to clarify the comment by beyond about the Blizzard Kabookie  being "not really for touring."  They are positioned in the Free Mountain Lite category (88mm, 98mm, and 108mm versions of the same construction) on the Blizzard web site and are described as:

~~Kabookie is made for hard cores where the only way up is one ski in front of the other. Made with no metal, this ski is light to climb with. Reach the Summt? Now for the fun - the Kabookie, featuring Flipcore technology will perform all day long in the side-country, or wherever you feel the need to explore.

I will agree that it is not a pure touring ski along the lines of a narrower Tua or Dynafit touring specific ski, but if you are looking for a one ski solution to alpine skiing and touring in the Alps, it is a ski that warrants being part of the discussion.

Cham HM series should be part of this discussion too.

post #11 of 23
Want a cheaper better Stormrider? There is no such thing, they are expensive for a reason. Review coming up...

As for Kabookie- there is a big marketing trend for "light" skis suitable for going uphill. Most of it marketing. The difference is metal or no metal and it comes down to feel, metal is damp, no metal is lively. Usually flex and weight are close enough not to make a difference, especially after you put a heavy Duke or Guardian on it (and you should not really put Dynafits on a resort ski).
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 

After further review, I narrowed my choice down ever more. I started looking for some deals around my area and actually found some bargains, which made me reconsider buying two skis. Especially since the "Two quiver" option would only cost like $350 more than the SR 100. So here are the options:

 

Quiver of one:

 

- Stöckli Stormrider 100 (3650 g @ 182 cm)

- Nordica Hell & Back (3750 g @ 177 cm)

 

I got rid of the Black Crows because of the general lack of reviews on the internet and me not being able to demo them. I simply don't feel like I know enough about them to pull the trigger. The Blizzard skis have too big of a turn radius for me and are a little bit on the heavier side (apparently almost 4000 g for the Kabookie @ 180, according to Blistergearreview). The Dynastar seems like a heavier option of the Soul 7 to me.

 

Quiver of two:

 

- Rossignol Experience 88 (@ 178) --> weight doesn't matter, since I would only use it in the resort for all kinds of conditions, but especially hard conditions & the occasional powder stint

- Rossignol Soul 7 (3700 g @ 180 cm) --> used for touring/freeriding and soft snow conditions in the resort

 

 

Now, some questions still remain for me:

 

- Which one of the two in the "Quiver of one" would make the better selection (i.e. versatile), given my needs (see first post)? Has anybody skied both of them?

- Do you think the Soul 7 makes sense for my needs? Or is it too much off-piste oriented and too wide, to use it effectively on piste and for touring?

 

- Do you think my "Quiver of two" makes sense, in a way that it covers a broad range?

 

- Do you think the skis in the "Quiver of one" are a good compromise to the "Quiver of two"?

post #13 of 23
If I were you, knowing what I know, I'd chose the SR95 as my everyday ski and then look for a true powder ski 119mm waist or more.

I skied my Volkl Shiro's this past weekend at Okemo VT, they did great in the soft heavy spring snow. They should be great when we get true powder.

My everyday ski is a 3 y/o Volkl Kendo, 88mm waist. A lot of high level skiers are on a 85 to 100mm waist skis here. So where you have great snow most of the time, you might want to think about going that route.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bredey View Post
 

After further review, I narrowed my choice down ever more. I started looking for some deals around my area and actually found some bargains, which made me reconsider buying two skis. Especially since the "Two quiver" option would only cost like $350 more than the SR 100. So here are the options:

 

Quiver of one:

 

- Stöckli Stormrider 100 (3650 g @ 182 cm)

- Nordica Hell & Back (3750 g @ 177 cm)

 

I got rid of the Black Crows because of the general lack of reviews on the internet and me not being able to demo them. I simply don't feel like I know enough about them to pull the trigger. The Blizzard skis have too big of a turn radius for me and are a little bit on the heavier side (apparently almost 4000 g for the Kabookie @ 180, according to Blistergearreview). The Dynastar seems like a heavier option of the Soul 7 to me.

 

Quiver of two:

 

- Rossignol Experience 88 (@ 178) --> weight doesn't matter, since I would only use it in the resort for all kinds of conditions, but especially hard conditions & the occasional powder stint

- Rossignol Soul 7 (3700 g @ 180 cm) --> used for touring/freeriding and soft snow conditions in the resort

 

 

Now, some questions still remain for me:

 

- Which one of the two in the "Quiver of one" would make the better selection (i.e. versatile), given my needs (see first post)? Has anybody skied both of them?

- Do you think the Soul 7 makes sense for my needs? Or is it too much off-piste oriented and too wide, to use it effectively on piste and for touring? Fine for off piste, not lightest touring ski around, but OK. Not great on piste. Not your 1sq in Europe, but nice if you have a carver below it.

 

- Do you think my "Quiver of two" makes sense, in a way that it covers a broad range? It doesn't cover a broad range at all. An ideal 2sq for the Alps would be a 70-something carver and a high 90's-mid100's touring ski.

 

- Do you think the skis in the "Quiver of one" are a good compromise to the "Quiver of two"? See below.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Capacity View Post

If I were you, knowing what I know, I'd chose the SR95 as my everyday ski and then look for a true powder ski 119mm waist or more. And if I were you, I'd do the same with the Stormrider 95, slap on an AT binding. But forget about the 119 waist ski that will be useful in the Alps maybe three days a season. You might find the SR95 a sufficient quiver all by itself, and if not, you'll identify the need down the line. 
 
post #15 of 23
beyond, I have never skied in the Alps, you telling me they don't get deep powder ? You wouldn't have a use for a wide ski there ?


I do agree with going with the 95mm ski and decide later on a wider ski.

I will say I do enjoy my wide skis when the spring snow get's soft, those things stay on top and go over a lot of soft crud. They are great fun in the big soft bumps.
post #16 of 23

My understanding is that the profile for snow in the Alps resembles the east coast in a good year without a freeze/thaw cycle where the freeze/thaw cycle can be mitigated by altitude more than the west coast.

 

The number of days where you're getting 12-16"+ (and therefore want a super wide ride) are few and far between.  Beyond that, the OP is only 160 pounds, so the SR95 in an appropriate length should float him pretty well.


Edited by Magi - 3/31/14 at 1:48pm
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Capacity View Post

beyond, I have never skied in the Alps, you telling me they don't get deep powder ? You wouldn't have a use for a wide ski there ?


I do agree with going with the 95mm ski and decide later on a wider ski.

I will say I do enjoy my wide skis when the spring snow get's soft, those things stay on top and go over a lot of soft crud. They are great fun in the big soft bumps.

Magi has it about right, except that they can get some brutal thaws and rain in the late winter through spring. When they get snow, it tends to be more than here, although nothing like Tahoe. A foot would be a lot. Also they don't get even regular 4"-6" snowfall at nearly the frequency as out west. (Which, along with the $, is why so many Euros ski in the Rockies.) And the snow has a moderately high water content, more like here, not as bad as the PNW. So I think of it as New England with more snow, but the same pattern of dry spells, thaws and ice. That's why touring often involves longer distances, and can be more technically demanding. Getting to soft snow or getting back, often involves some approach, and the snow itself can be variable. So Europeans prefer narrower touring skis, which we regard as weird, and plan to take the whole day. We can just slip over the backside of lift served, hike a bit, and find soft snow, cycle back. Also, we don't ski glaciers much. Europeans do. 


Edited by beyond - 3/31/14 at 11:18am
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Magi has it about right, except that they can get some brutal thaws and rain in the late winter through spring. When they get snow, it tends to be more than here, although nothing like Tahoe. A foot would be a lot. Also they don't get even regular 4"-6" snowfall at nearly the frequency as out west. (Which, along with the $, is why so many Euros ski in the Rockies.) And the snow has a moderately high water content, more like here, not as bad as the PNW. So I think of it as New England with more snow, but the same pattern of dry spells, thaws and ice. 

 



Bummer... And here I thought it was a great place from watching all those Warren Miller flicks...lol
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 

Although I haven't skied in the US yet, I would generally agree with your assessment of the Alpine snow conditions. Except for the rain, which is quite rare in the mountains, only in bad winters. It really depends at what altitude you ski at. If it gets warmer and the snow's thawing, there's usually still good snow at higher altitudes obviously (especially on glaciers).

 

I see your point about not going too wide for a one ski quiver and rather with something in the 95 mm range. The question is if the Stormrider 100 wouldn't make more sense than the 95, because of the weight savings and float. Or would you say the loss in piste performance doesn't warrant the weight gain?

 

And about the two ski quiver. I thought the Rossi Experience 88 was an excellent all-mountain carver? If I got took your advice and got a pure race carver, wouldn't my quiver lack in all-mountain performance? Like being able to ski bumps, crud, corn, end-of-day snow etc. effectively and not just flat groomers?

 

@Beyond:

 

I'm aware that I'm not going for a pure touring ski, I want a wider "free touring ski". I will use it for technically moderate one-day tours and for side/slackcountry (and obviously somewhat in the resort). So no multi-day tours or high-altitude tours. Once I get to that level, I'll get a specifc touring ski with tech bindings, but I'm not there yet ;) Does the Soul 7 still fit that profile with its width? Or would I be better off with one of the Stormriders or the Hell & Back?

post #20 of 23
post #21 of 23

Not speaking for beyond, but I would not look at the Soul 7 as a everyday ski there. I understand the NRGY100 is a good choice. But I'm still not convinced you need that wide of a ski for everyday, here or where you are. I like the ability to have my 88mm ski for most 85-90% of the conditions.

post #22 of 23

For those speculating about snow conditions in the Alps, I suggest this as a reference: http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/

 

Snowfall in the Alps tends to be underrated because most measuring stations are in resorts that can be 3,000 feet lower  than where you are usually skiing.  At typical ski elevations around 7,000 feet an average resort might get 250 inches, rather similar to a lot of places in Colorado.  The better microclimates are above 300, the best (Lech/Zurs, Andermatt) 350 - 400.

Quote:
When they get snow, it tends to be more than here, although nothing like Tahoe. A foot would be a lot. Also they don't get even regular 4"-6" snowfall at nearly the frequency as out west.  

While averages are like much of Colorado, volatility is more like the Sierra.  So yes the regular 4-6" snowfalls are not so frequent.  There is a tendency to get the snow during big dumps that shut nearly everything down.

 

The long dry spells make altitude/exposure very important for snow quality, as outlined here: http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/weather-snow/the-snow-quality-equation/ 

 

Off-piste the powder can preserve for days or even weeks with the right altitude/exposure.   Non-competitive powder is in fact a key attraction of the Alps.  Water content at a couple of higher weather stations in Switzerland (Davos and Andermatt) has been measured midwinter at a long term average of around 8%, similar to Utah.   Lower down it will be heavier.

 

Rain is no surprise elevation  related, though areas on the northern edge of the Alps that get hit by the Atlantic storms first tend to get more rain as well as more snow.

 

Quote:
That's why touring often involves longer distances, and can be more technically demanding. Getting to soft snow or getting back, often involves some approach, and the snow itself can be variable.  

This can be true, but the powder can be quite high quality.  Still, a significant proportion of your day will be on approaches or on hard-packed pistes within the resort.  That's why the one-ski quiver IS the right approach.  My 180cm Blizzard Bonafides served that role brilliantly in Zermatt this February, including on a 1,300 vertical thigh deep run on the Plateau Rosa.

 

 

 


Edited by Tony Crocker - 4/6/14 at 1:16pm
post #23 of 23
If you don't ski backwards at all (i.e. don't want twin tips), consider the Dynastar Cham 107. If you are going to be touring, go with the HM (high mountain) variant, it's lighter than the standard one. The skis have rocker tip so they'll have good float in pow and plow over crud, they have a flat pintail so you'll still have control like in a traditional camber ski, 107 is a pretty good width for an all-mountain ski, and Dynastars in general are pretty invincible, they'll carve through crud and ice like it's not there, so a good ski for the Alps.
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