Sturtevant's Demo Day at Crystal Mountain, Washington, Saturday March 29. We had powder and crud on the hill, but little firm snow.
I'm 58 years old, 155 pounds, and ski with a hard-charging style. I like to carve my turns, even in powder. My favorite skis are usually damp, metal and wood, cambered with a little tip rocker, and have lots of sidecut. Like my current quiver: Head Supershape Magnums, Salomon Enduro 850s, and Head Rev 105s.
Fischer Motive 95, 186cm-- They're more nimble than any ski I've been on that's this long and wide. They have medium stiffness, full camber, a little bit of tip rocker, and a damp feel (as if they are the classic metal and wood combo, which they might be). They have a round flex-- as opposed to being stiffer underfoot with softer and/or rockered tip and tail such as the wide skis by Rossi, Head (the new series that includes Venturi, Collective, etc.), Atomics and Salomons, which functionally are like "5-point designs". In my analysis, having a round flex implies that in a turn on firm snow the edge engages for pretty much the whole length of the ski. I didn't have any firm snow to test them on, but in my three runs they felt precise in their steering, as if they were torsionally stiff without being longitudinally stiff. And I could steer them through rough crud as if I were steering a carving ski on piste (but with more up-and-down, of course). At this point, if I had only one pair of skis, I'd choose these.
Line Supernatural 100, 184cm-- The Line folks said they're a blend of the Influence 105 and the Prophet 98, and I think that's exactly right. They're softer than the burly Influence 105, stiffer than the playful and nimble Prophet, and are otherwise similar. They have my favorite collection of traits: medium stiffness (actually, "medium plus" would be more accurate), full camber, a round flex (and thus a long effective edge), a little tip rocker, and they have that damp, metal-and-wood feel. They have great edge grip and I could roar through rough crud (and we have a lot of that in the PNW). These are similar to the Motive 95, but a skosh stiffer. They're a little more stable at speed in rough snow than the Motives, but not as nimble. And they're my VERY close second place for a One Ski Quiver (Western USA version).
Kastle FX 94, 186cm-- These are mind-bogglingly smooth and damp. They're stiffer than the above skis so I couldn't bend them as much. I was arcing GS turns in steep, rough crud at speeds that aren't healthy for a 58-year-old. They're too much ski for me, so it's too bad I didn't get a chance to ski them in the 176cm length, nor try the BMX 98's. I really like damp skis, so Kastle is likely to have a great one for me.
Head Rev 98, 184cm-- Rats. They didn't bring any. I'm thrilled by my Rev 105's, so I figure that Rev 98's could be a candidate for my favorite OSQ. They had the 98's in 177cm, but I don't want a ski that short. I prefer skis that are longer and softer, as opposed to shorter and stiffer.
K2 Annex 98, 184cm-- They're amiable and easy, which is appealing in tight places and tough conditions, but somehow they aren't exciting. It feels like they're an opposite of the Fischer Motive 98s--they seem to ski sort of sloppy and easy, as opposed to precise. They have similar dimensions and overall stiffness, but perhaps their tips and tails are torsionally soft, I dunno. There wasn't any firm snow so I didn't get a clear sense of what portion of their edges engage on firm snow. I think they have medium stiffness in the center section with soft tips and tails. It might have been interesting to try them in the 191cm length.
Nordica NRGy 100, 177cm-- Not my ski. They are stiffer and shorter than I like. Lightweight and not very damp.
I also demoed some skis at Crystal a week earlier when there wasn't much soft snow.
Dynastar Cham 97, 184cm-- Whee! On piste these feel like GS skis with a cadillac ride. Smooth, powerful and very damp. I loved how they crushed the chunky old snow. There was no skiable snow off piste, so I never got a chance to find out how their very rockered tips and their rockered tail feel. They're too much ski for me, and rather than go shorter, I'd like to try the Cham 97 High Mountain which are supposed to be less stiff.
Blizzard Bonafide, 187cm and 180cm-- The specs and reputation of the Bonafide drew my interest, but the skis didn't click with me. If you've read what I wrote above, you'll surely predict that the Bonafide is stiffer than I like. While that's true, what really bugs me is how little engagement with the snow they have when nearly flat on the snow-- they have some camber, but not much. But they sure felt terrific at high speeds and high edge angles. As with the Chams, I didn't have an opportunity to try them in crud or powder. And I'd still like to try the Kabookie, the softer version of the Bonafide.
How well you are able to ski is related to how hard you are willing to fall.
Edited by crudmaster - 4/1/14 at 7:50am