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Advice needed - Trying to make my first new ski purchase in years...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

Hoping you can help. I'm looking for a new go-anywhere ski.

 

I'm 5'11" and weigh 175.  I ski in Australia, which is like skiing in western USA.  Limited powder, mainly groomers and chopped up off-piste.  

 

I'm a very strong skier.  I ski fast most of the time, but I don't like having to work really hard ALL the time (I know that sounds strange). I find skiing really fast easy and don't need to man-handle most skis to get what I need.  I like medium radius turns, nothing too short, but some versatility in this space would be good.

 

Skis must be able to handle crud and soft, chopped-up rubbish (my old 4x4's chewed up this stuff). Not too concerned about powder performance, we don't get much, and I'm happy to sink in deep!!

 

Years ago I owned Dynastar 4x4 powertracs, and loved them (if they weren't so old school I might still be riding them).  I then bought some Dynastar Contacts.  For the first time I found myself having to really work them to get the maximum grip.  Took some of the fun out of it, and they frankly weren't that predictable a ride.

 

Now I'm in the market for some new all-mountain planks but I won't get the chance to test anything.  Looking at these ones, but happy to consider anything:

 

 - Blizzard Brahma

 - Blizzard Bonafide (not sure its the right ski?)

 - Volkl Kendo's

 - Dynastar Powertrack 89

 

I know there's another thread going around comparing the Blizzard's and Dynastar's, but I don't weigh anything like 250 pounds.

 

What do you reckon...?  I only every own (read "ride") one set of skis.  I like to know everything my ride is capable off, and I don't swap much.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 12

Sounds to me like you're looking in the right direction with the Blizzard Brahmas or Volkl Kendos.  

post #3 of 12

Just a quick correction.  I think you mean the eastern US, rather than the western US.  We have relatively marginal snow country, typically starting with refozen manmade hardpack each morning, softening over the day to pushed-around crud with some soft bumps.  Occasionally we get a true powder day, but deep days are few and far between.

 

As an all mountain ski for a strong, fast skier of your size the Kendo is a very good call.  It's close to the top of the class in most conditions our local resorts offer up.  The Brahma is a different beast, with slight rocker in the tip and tail, and is worth a demo.  The Brahma will have a more loose engagement in tip/tail than the Kendos in hardpack conditions - some people like that, some don't - but will come into their own as the hill softens in the afternoons or in softer snow.

 

Others that I like for Australia, in no particular order:

 

Kastle MX78 or MX88 (expensive and hard to find, but my personal favourites)

Rossignol Experience 88 (solid ski, early rise in tip and tail means they're more versatile, but they lose a little energy as a result)

Elan 888 

Elan Amphibio 88Xti (or the 82Xti; damp, stable skis; spend the time to read up on the asymmetrical rocker at tip and tail)

Head Rev 85

Head Supershape Titan (more of a wide carver, but capable all over the mountain)

Volkl RTM 81 or 84 (very slight continuous rocker)

Nordica Steadfast (lighter with a more lively feel)

 

Dynastar does the Outland 87 (with early rise in tip/tail).  If you're a fast, strong skier I recommend sizing up a little with this one.

 

If you can wait a few weeks the SkiMag demo weekends are coming up in the early season.  Hotham is scheduled for 12/13 July, Thredbo is 26/27 July.  About a dozen manufacturers give you the chance to try their skis.  It's the best chance to make sure you really love what you buy.  I'll be demoing in Thredbo (fifth year in a row) and will try to be first in line for the Powertrac 89.

 

The Kendo is a very well sorted ski and will be hard to beat.  If you don't make the demo weekends it would be worth dropping some $$$ to demo some of the more rockered offerings - particularly those skis with early rise in the tail - to see which way your preferences lie.

 

Best of luck.

post #4 of 12

Why won't you get a chance to test anything? What any of us might like, you might hate.

 

If I could only own one ski for the conditions you describe, I would probably choose the Salomon Remix. At your height and weight, I wouldn't go shorter than the 179cm, but maybe even the 186. There probably aren't many here who would agree with that choice, but that's why you should demo; to find what works for you.

post #5 of 12
In Australia, the Kendo is very hard to beat for an all-mountain ski. A lot of people also like the Elans, but I feel like they don't give me enough back, if that makes any sense. Of course, YMM and probably should/would V smile.gif
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomasChalker View Post

In Australia, the Kendo is very hard to beat for an all-mountain ski. A lot of people also like the Elans, but I feel like they don't give me enough back, if that makes any sense. Of course, YMM and probably should/would V smile.gif

I've heard that its difficult to find Blizzard and Nordica in Australia.  Is that still true? 

post #7 of 12
I occasionally see Nordicas here and there, I almost never see Blizzards in NSW, I might have seen them once or twice in VIC.
post #8 of 12

If Elans are readily available, I'd recommend the Amphibio 88XTi.  

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
 

I've heard that its difficult to find Blizzard and Nordica in Australia.  Is that still true? 

 

If you're absolutely set on a Blizzard you can find a specialty retailer with a quick online search (same thing with Stockli) but they're not something you tend to see on the hill very often.  If I saw someone on a Bonafide, for instance, I would assume they'd been purchased on a ski trip to the US.  I tend to pay attention to what people are skiing, and I think I've seen two pair of Bonafides at Thredbo since they were first launched a few years back, and I've never seen the Kabookie (or anything wider) outside of the demo days.  The old Magnum 8.1 sounded like the ideal Thredbo ski.  

 

Nordica is in every store in the boot scene rather than skis - very popular boots down here - but you do see a few of their narrower carving skis out and about.

 

By and large Australia is late to the "wider is better" school of thought.  The snow we have doesn't really lend itself to that approach.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. Great discussion.

Yep, I got my Easts and Wests mixed up (I must still have been dreaming about my last Tahoe trip).

I have not ski tested in a long time so the impact of rocker variations isn't something I have experience with. Maybe I will have to wait for the Hotham test day to try out the different structures (which just means I don't have the new boards for the start of the season).

I really like the sound of the Elans (88xti) but I've read some comments about tip chatter at higher speeds. I'm sure that means really go speeds, and it sounds like a really good ski but one that might allow you to get a little lazy once in a while (which I do).

Volkl certainly know how to make a ski that gobbles up the groomers, and that's super fun, but good quality groomers don't really survive very long in Australian conditions. How good are they when the groomers get a little chopped up and softer?. I like to be able to just power through this stuff and treat it like its a nice smooth carpet. I don't want to get bounced around too much.

The blizzards to mean sound like the best all-mountain option that suits my style. I just have to decide how much time I'm going to spend off piste. My 40 year old spine has seen better days.

I loved the Remix suggestion. I hadn't thought about that one. I probably wouldn't buy it but it was a really interesting option. I'd like to test one...!
post #11 of 12

The Volkl will be very good in the afternoon chop, as will the Elan 88Xti.  The Elan will feel more solid, 'planted' and damp.  Some people - the type who prefer a more lively ski - find the Elans to feel 'leaden' and a bit dead.  Others prefer the smooth, unruffled ride they offer, disliking anything more frantic.  It's really up to each individual skier, and that's why the demo days are such a good option.  $30 for the weekend (or $20 for a single day) and all you can ski.  Last year I was on 17 different pair.  Far and away my favourite ski weekend of the year.

 

You wouldn't want to wreck your new skis in our typical early season anyway :)

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadnams View Post


I loved the Remix suggestion. I hadn't thought about that one. I probably wouldn't buy it but it was a really interesting option. I'd like to test one...!

They're super-fun and worth a try if you have a chance. The Remix (re-named from last year's Rocker2 92) rail hardpack pretty well for an all-mountain twin, but really shine in softer conditions, which might not be your mainstay.
 

 

Good luck in your quest Sir. 

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