Need help narrowing this year’s quiver. I’m 49 years old and a 5’5” 155lb athletic/experienced male skier who got out ~ 35 days last season. Home mountain is Bristol Mountain in Western NY which has 1,100 foot vert and not a large amount of natural snow (so no tree skiing here but lots of boiler plate). Still, I am season pass holder, it’s pretty close, and with night skiing on the whole mountain I can cherry pick when I go. I pretty much try to get there whenever it snows. Current quiver is Elan WF14 (72mm and 168cm but dropped down to 160 this year) and Blizzy Bones in 173 as my soft snow ski. The Elans can function nicely for me as neutered Slalom skis which I will use as my ice skates. The Bones come out when the snow is soft(ish) and I actually ended up using them more than my Elans last season.
I really love the Bones but do have a couple of issues with them. I brought them to Whistler last season and used them for 4 straight days bell to bell. I did a TON of tree skiing and bump skiing when I was there. At 155lbs the Bones are certainly not the ideal tree ski for me and they also pretty much whipped my rear end after 4 days of skiing extended bump runs. This has not been an issue at my home mountain where the bumps typically just last for several hundred vert and I am usually only skiing for 4-6 hours at a pop. On the final afternoon at Whistler I did demo some Sollie Q98s in 173. It was dumping hard that day and the Sollies were a ton of fun in the trees. I also found them to be nice and easy going in the bumps while they performed decent in crud as long as I adjusted relative to the Bones. On the groomers they were merely serviceable.
My other problem is that when I ski with my 7 YO daughter, I do not have skis that I can bend at slower speeds given my weight. I usually use the Bones on these occasions and end up surfing and slarving around on them. It would be nice to get something I can bend at a slower speed on less pitch. So bottom line is I want something that I can use as a soft snow ski at home, bring out west once or twice a year for bumps and off- piste (with some emphasis on trees), while also having reasonable harder snow capability for putzing around back home at lower speeds with the kids. I’m thinking the following options;
- Blizzi Bushwackers in 173. This is probably the safest bet for me in that I know what I am getting with these. I love all the Blizzard flipcores that I have tried including the Bushwackers, Bones, and Brahmas and 173cm really seems dialed for me on all of these skis. I seem to get wicked edge grip with them, even in really hard conditions. One question I do have is, even at my size I suspect I would want more float for an off-piste ski in the West? I am sure I would end up renting skis on any big days. I also question how they would hold up when charging in spring conditions at home, going from corn to slush piles as the day progresses. I really love my bones for this application. I guess I could keep the bones and have a 3 ski quiver.
- Get Nordica Soul Riders in 168 and sell my Bones so I would have a 2 ski quiver. These seem like they would fit the bill for me very nicely. Only thing I am not really sure of is the 168. Given my size and application though they might be the ticket. I also have not been able to demo this ski and have some reservations in getting a ski that I have not tried.
- Get one of the many nimbler 5 point skis that fall in the 95-100mm range. These might work well for my trips out west but I question using them on my home mountain. I don’t have a ton of experience on these types of skis to go off of however.