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A tale of 3 Stocklis.....FIS GS 183/30 & 188/30 and Laser SX 190/27

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Skis Tested

Stockli WC GS 183 >30

Stockli WC GS 188 >30

Stockli Laser SX 190 >27

All mounted with Atomic race plate and Salomon (Atomic) X16 Bindings, tuned at 0.5/3

 

 

Tester stats; 59 y/o; 165#, 5'8", 50-100days/year, experienced masters racer

 

Test Conditions;  (very) Early morning hardpack

 

Following up on my recent tests of the new FIS women’s GS skis,

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/127452/is-30-the-new-23-short-reviews-of-new-fis-women-s-gs-skis-from-atomic-volkl-head-and-fischer

 

 SJ and Philpug made available a trio of Stocklis to try for comparison.  By a lucky chance Mt Rose was doing a 6.30 early load for the top 20 season pass-holders so there was at least a chance of getting some hard snow to put them to the test.  Was going to be interesting as I was A Stockli virgin!  Incidentally all the test skis from Starthaus came with an excellent 0.5/3 tune, which checked out on my bevel meter.

 

Stockli WC GS 188>30

On the lift at 6.34 am with this ski first.  Now I am used to early loads but normally I am toting gates or setting up rope lines for training so not too much chance to enjoy the empty mountain. In this instance though, nothing to do but enjoy an empty hill  (well, not quite empty, there were just 3 of us on the hill for the first hour!).  Pointing them down the hill and letting them rip, a few things immediately became apparent.  These skis were beautifully damped and gave a smooth ride even over frozen groomer tracks, they hooked up and turned in easily and they stuck to the early morning hardpack/refreeze like dog crap on your shoe!.     With the mountain basically to myself I was able to really open them up and feel them out.  It was easy to vary the turn shape and the smoothness, combined with tenacious grip inspired huge confidence to really get them up on edge with big angles.    After a couple of runs I noticed that they were turning in almost too easily and it looked like the binding mount was quite far forward on the ski, so I moved the binding form center (4) position, back one notch to 5.  For me this felt even better, felt like I was more on the sweet spot and could really work the tip.  It smoothed the turn entry better for my taste but still hooked up great and just let me rip the hill top to bottom.  Super G turns, tight across the hill GS turns, nothing seemed to make them let go.      The guy I was skiing with kept arriving at the lift a couple of minutes after me.  Finally he asked, "How is it that you just seem to stay glued to the snow when I am sliding around and getting bumped everywhere???" 

 

Later in the morning i was able to take a few runs on a shorter 30m course.   the snow was getting softer but i was still able to simply power through and drive the ski into a good high line. 

 

So, very smooth, grippy ski.  Obviously demands good technique to roll the ski up onto a high edge to make it work but very rewarding and a great ride even on groomer marked refreeze.  Impressive. 

 

 

Stockli WC GS 183 >30

Okay,  after finding no speed limit on the 188s, how would the little sister 183s perform?  Opening them up, immediately apparent that they are very closely related.  All the same characteristics as the 188, no immediately obvious differences.  But inquiring minds (and mine!) wanted to understand whether there were any pluses/minuses  to the smaller ski so after 2 Mach speed blasts without issue, time to dig a bit deeper.  Tightening up into 20-25 m GS turns across the hill started to show a slightly different feel.  Where on the 188 you could really work the tip of the ski into the turn, I could see that I was skiing the 183 more like the previous generation 182/23.  It encouraged a slightly straighter "Z" type line down the hill rather than what I call an "inverted J" shape.  The ride was a little less smooth, slightly choppier and I felt I might be on the upper end weight limit for it at 165#.    BUT I must stress that we are talking small differences here.  It in no way felt like I was overpowering it or that I was having to slow down to allow for it and if I focused I could still easily get it into whatever turn shape I wanted.    However, looking dispassionately at the two I definitely preferred the 188.  Just that bit smoother overall with no discernable downside.  if I had not tried them back-to-back probably would not have noticed and I could comfortable race Masters GS  and/or free ski on either of them but for me the 188 has the edge in smoothness and marginally better turn shape for me.    i played with the binding position at 4 (center) then moved it back to 5 as on the 188.  5 worked better for me again.

 

Stockli Laser SX 190 >27

Not being totally au fait with the Stockli line-up I believe this is intended as the "supercross ski".  It uses the dimensions of the previous men’s FIS ski@ 190, >27.  Looking at it it is a big beefy ski, with a lot of metal in it  (SJ or PP can perhaps verify but IIRC it has an extra layer in it?).  I will be honest and say I was actually wondering to myself if I was big/strong enough to drive this ski???!!! but, no way out now!  Fortunately snow was still hard but hill was getting busy, there must have ben at least 10 people spread over the mountain!  .  So onto the test route and point them down, hoping I could bend them and turn them.    First surprise.  They moved into the turn easily without having to make any exaggerated movements!.  Second surprise:  I was comfortably driving them back and fore across the hill in gig GS and SG turns!  OK, lets see what happens when you point them down - now all that metal works for its living and really lets the ski ride over mini death cookies, groomer tracks etc. withy ease!.  A veritable freight train but unlike a freight train, and amazingly given the beefy construction, I could still change direction easily and adjust my line as required.  Almost made me feel like I would be capable of running the Rahlves Banzai if I was on these!  Amazingly easy to ski as well, not at all the hard work I had thought they might be.  If you want to really rip high-speed groomers, run a banzai/supercross course and are less concerned about running gates, this is the ski to aspire to.  I didn’t get the chance to take it into the course but my feel was that, despite the smaller radius, I would have to work a bit harder to make the gates on this than on the other 2 skis.  YMMV. 

 

Overall, this may have been my first Stockli experience but it has whetted my appetite  and hopefully will not be my last.  One of my closest rivals in Far West class 7 this year was running Stocklis and I can well understand now how he pushed me so hard.  Definitely on my short list for next season now.   Like most people I had always thought Stocklis were super expensive and well outwith the ScotsSkier race ski budget parameters.  However, looking at the inclusive price with bindings, it is actually much more competitive than I had expected.  Compared to any other top class FIS GS ski with bindings the price  delta is only of the order of ~$100.  Hmmm.  Of  course given the more limited numbers of them, supported deals other than racer price will be harder to come by.  I do fully expect to see some of them this season though on the feet of some of the really competitive U18/FIS kids.

 

So hopefully this sheds some more light on things.  I will cross-link to my other 188/30m reviews and update that thread as well.

post #2 of 10

Hi - Great reviews. Coupla questions: 

 

1) Did you get a chance to try any of the non-FIS models of the GS for comparison?

 

2) What plates did you run on the demos?

 

3) What size GS course did you demo on? (Meaning typical for the west, tighter, more open, etc.) This last question, obviously, concerns the observable fact that most of Ligety's compatriots at Solchi were not able to achieve consistently high edge angles and round turns  on >30 m skis, so tended to ski straighter lines with stivots. And presumably they're decent skiers. 

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks!

 

1  The Laser SX was a non-FIS, probably the old FIS mould.  I didn't try any of their cheaters and frankly, I am more convinced that there is no reason to.  

2  All the skis used the Atomic/Salomon race plate, not D2 but a one piece connected plate I think.    It was a new one to me,  next years Atomic plate maybe?  Seemed to work pretty well!

3 The course i ran the Stiocklis on was a 30m set.  However even in softer snow it was not an issue and I had to consciously straighten out the line.  I have skied the Volkls and Heads in 25m sets without issue.  Remember also Ted and Co are skiing the Mens FIS ski in 195/35. I haven't been on it yet and am unlikely to race on it!!! 

 

A couple of other observations.

 

As you have probably gathered by now, I am a convert to the 188/30. (and having skied 5 different brands I can say that they all ski pretty similarly, i haven't skied a bad one yet!.)  The flex on them is pretty special. Soft enough to make turn in pretty easy and (in various degrees!) buttery smooth yet not the banana board tip that you might associate with that.  Between the early rise and the construction the manufacturers have really got it dialed in.  But the flex is absolutely the key!.  One of my team-mates that I sold the Fischers I tested to was already buying a second pair and was asking whether the medium flex would be stiff enough for him(@190#.. my advice to him was to stick with it, i would hate to spoil them with a stiff flex .  (On a side note, turned out that both the Head and the Fischer 188 I tested were genuine World cup stock as opposed to regular race stock - some interesting differences in the construction - plus my buddies got the deals of the year when i sold them!!!) 

 

The 188s  really give a smooth ride, noticeably better than a 183/23 or 188/27. One of my  team mates is just coming back after a tib/fib that didn't heal properly the first time so they had to rebreak and put a new rod in.  He had been skeptical that the 188 would work for him but skied on my Atomics last friday to try them.  On Saturday he went back to his Fischer 183, and on Saturday night he called me begging to borrow the Atomics for the Sunday as it was that much easier on him!.  

Another team mate  comment was that with the 188, even if he got out of line/late below the gate he did not scrub speed as much as he was used to on a 186/27.  They seem to better hold the acceleration/momentum.

 

As you may have realized, most of my team-mates that are racing regularly have already made the decision to jump and bought some 188/30s .  My Atomic redster has been skied more by all of them than by me as i was using it as a demo!!   Maybe i should have been a salesman....  :D   Of course now i will need to switch to something else just to mess with their heads....;)

post #4 of 10

And I'm sure you will. :D Thanks for the details, will stay tuned. :popcorn

post #5 of 10
And probably some nice deals to emerge on the old hat stuff in your counting house.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

And probably some nice deals to emerge on the old hat stuff in your counting house.

 Funny you should say that........:D   Watch this space for some great deals on 183s!

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

And probably some nice deals to emerge on the old hat stuff in your counting house.

Naw, he has a whole armory devoted to once-used race stocks, you know, just up from the servant's quarters. ;)

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
 

Naw, he has a whole armory devoted to once-used race stocks, you know, just up from the servant's quarters. ;)

LOL.  The problem is you just can't find good servants these days........at least not ones that can tune race skis!  :D

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotsSkier View Post
 

LOL.  The problem is you just can't find good servants these days........at least not ones that can tune race skis!  :D


WHAT! You haven't enslaved A-man? :D 

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldschoolskier View Post
 


WHAT! You haven't enslaved A-man? :D 

I tried, but he wanted to be paid!!!   :D

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