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NE Ski replacement for 15yr old skis

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

After not paying much attention to ski tech since I purchased my skis 15 yrs ago while spending the budget on wife and kids, its finally my turn. New boots were purchased last year.  Things have obviously changed.  Its challenging weeding through new terminology and the marketing fluff to understand how it relates to me.  After reading around,  lurking here and stopping in a couple ski shops (summer help not confidence inspiring), I think I'm close to being able to ask semi-intelligent questions. I could use a little help and validation if I'm headed in the right direction. 

 

Particulars (while being honest to myself):

- 5'10",  185-190 lbs, >50yrs old

- advanced intermediate/advanced - I ski the whole mountain.  Realistically spending 80% of my time on the groomers.  I prefer the steeps to the bumps (but don't completely avoid them and this is an area I want to improve). I don't go in the parks other than to watch my son.  I can ski aggressively, but also enjoy a leisurely cruise.  Lately, probably split 40/60 aggressive/cruise. When aggressive, I don't just bomb the mountain.  I like my turns and mix them up from short to long depending on mood. Sad fact is, I am starting to slow down as the years progress.  The kids call me "old school" since I still ski with a close stance.

-  10 - 15 days/yr skiing in the Northeast - from the Berkshires north.  This coming season already has Whiteface and Sugarbush on the schedule.  This will be likely supplemented with day trips to some of the smaller Berkshire hills and southern Vermont.

 

Based on my understanding,  I think I'm looking for a "Frontside" or "all-mountain" ski with 80-90mm waist with a length of 170-180mm.   I believe I should be looking for something with camber and possibly mild "rocker" on the tips.    Since this is the northeast, handling the hard stuff is probably first priority, but I don't want to struggle to much on the rare occasions there is fresh stuff on the slopes (like I did with my old skis).  The characteristics I really struggle with are "playfullness" and "firmness".   With my particulars, I suppose firmness is a priority over playfullness.  But that should be tempered with considerations of my age and slowing trend.

 

I can only afford one ski for my quiver.  Based on other threads and the ski shop recommendations, it seems I should be considering the Blizzard Brahma, Volkl Kendo or RTM81, and K2 Amp 82XTi.   Does that sound right?  I have no preferences on brand, model year or graphics.   While budget is fair, price does have a bearing on the decision.  Any recommendations?

 

Thanks in advance,

Rob

post #2 of 24

Have you skied on the current crop of shaped skis?  As in demo skis?  Depending on how closed your stance is, be prepared for a bit of an adjustment.  I was an intermediate skier on straight skis who never got a tight stance. Turned out to be an advantage when shifting to skis made after 1999.

 

By the way, welcome to EpicSki!  I learned to ski at Whiteface long ago.  Been flying out west from North Carolina after retirement meant having the time and money for ski trips with my daughter.

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the welcome.  I have not skied on any current skis.   I am already expecting that I'll have to make adjustments to my stance which is why I mentioned it.  I guess I blew it by not demo'ing skis last season which leaves me with the quandary of having a dead pair of skis that I'd rather not ski on anymore to buying a pair based on reviews.   I was thinking that once I identify some good candidates, I can visiting the local shops as a more informed buyer while seeing if they have any of the "price of rentals towards purchase type deal" .

post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by roguedawg View Post
 

Thanks for the welcome.  I have not skied on any current skis.   I am already expecting that I'll have to make adjustments to my stance which is why I mentioned it.  I guess I blew it by not demo'ing skis last season which leaves me with the quandary of having a dead pair of skis that I'd rather not ski on anymore to buying a pair based on reviews.   I was thinking that once I identify some good candidates, I can visiting the local shops as a more informed buyer while seeing if they have any of the "price of rentals towards purchase type deal" .

Do you know of any ski swaps near you in the fall?  Perhaps you can pick up a pair for this season and wait until next spring to spring for one of the latest and greatest.  Always handy to have a pair of "rock skis" for early or late season if you are driving for ski trips.  Or it might be worth going to a demo day in Dec.

 

In any case, read this and answer the questions to get more input from those who know men's skis.

 

http://www.epicski.com/a/five-key-questions-when-buying-new-skis

post #5 of 24
Most shops that rent demos will apply demo fees to the price of a new ski, and there are other ways to avoid paying retail. The best way to do it is to treat yourself to a demo day at a shop located on the mountain so you can try more than one ski during the day. It's not hard to unload a pair of skis you decide you don't like, so you're not stuck with whatever you buy for another 15 years!
post #6 of 24

Roguedawg,

 

I went through the same thing as you about 3 years ago. I am a big guy and an expert skier. I think you have a very good short list. You might want to add the Rossi Experience 88 to it. Any of those skis will work great for you. I personally like the Brahama because it can be skied aggressive and feels good, or you can relax and it responds just as well. I have read the K2 is really easy to ski, no personal experience. 

 

As far as getting new skis, I was warned about an adjustment period. Mine lasted about 4 turns. I had no trouble and my feeling is a ski is a ski They are all different, but they are all still skis. You will adjust to how your new ski wants to be handled pretty quickly no matter which you buy. If people really have trouble doing that, then I guess I am not aware of how much of a minority I am. If you know how to use your edges, then you will feel what works and what doesn't.

post #7 of 24

Since you want to buy only one pair skis which most likely you're going to use for long time I'll strongly suggest to demo.IMO no 2 people alike and ski identically and what works for one may or may not work on another person. By doing demo you will know what works for you and what not.

post #8 of 24

@roguedawg, how about a description of your 15yo skis?  

Waist width, turn radius, and length would help.  

post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by roguedawg View Post
 

 

I can only afford one ski for my quiver.  Based on other threads and the ski shop recommendations, it seems I should be considering the Blizzard Brahma, Volkl Kendo or RTM81, and K2 Amp 82XTi.   Does that sound right?  I have no preferences on brand, model year or graphics.   While budget is fair, price does have a bearing on the decision.  Any recommendations?

 

Thanks in advance,

Rob

These are three excellent choices….the Kendo might be a little demanding compared to the other two (I've never skied it, that's just on inference).  The k2 82xti is exactly the sort of ski you are describing.  Maybe not everybody would absolutely love that ski, but nobody could hate it.  It's one of the easiest skis with metal to ski.  Brahma is well regarded, maybe  a touch more 'expert' oriented than the Rictor.

 

My only additional thought is-more important than getting the right model (as all of these mid 80's capable, sturdy skis handle roughly the same) is getting the right length.  

post #10 of 24

What are your 15 year old skis?  (model and length)

 

Are you able to take a few lessons and update your technique? 

post #11 of 24

Suggestions:

 

Take a lesson and rent shaped skis at the mountain.  Skiing a shaped ski using traditional technique is self defeating and a waste of time and money.   Learn how to maximize the newer shape.  If you package your rental, lesson, and lift ticket, you'll save money.  The ski width should probably be between 72 and 82 at the waist, no more.  For your size and skiing ability, a good length would be between 175 and 180.  You're used to skiing a skinny, straight ski with a narrow stance, primarily on groomers.  Make it easy on yourself and stay narrower.  After you take your lesson and get a feel for a current ski, try some rental demos and switch from one model ski to another after a few runs on each.  There's usually no additional charge for this.  Skis can be well reviewed but not fit your weight/skiing style (some people like a nimble, playful ski, others like a damper, burlier ski).   You'll start to get a feel for the skis that fit you.  By the way, all the skis you mention are fairly stiff/demanding except for the K2, which is easy to ski, but not particularly playful.  The new Blizzard Latigo would likely be a good choice for you, as would the older Volkl RTM 80 (now out of production, so you can get it cheap online if you can find it).  A bit wider, but user-friendly, ski is the Atomic Blackeye 82.  There are lots of others.  Good luck!


Edited by mike_m - 9/1/14 at 8:55am
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice. Looks like I really should figure out a way to get some time on the newer skis to see what matches my skills best. Lessons are a definite possibility. My old skis are early shaped skis:  Head Cyber 20x with a length of 190cm and a 61.5mm waist.  It wouldn't surprise me that my postponing my ski purchase for this long has held my progression back.

post #13 of 24
Völkl RTM 84 is the best ski I have tried so far. Fantastic groomers performance and the full rocker makes it as great in soft snow as many wider skies I have tried. Maybe you can test many skies and do a lot of comparisons, but I say get a pair of RTM84 at 181cm and do not look back. You just cannot be disappointed
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by bttocs View Post
 

Roguedawg,

 

I went through the same thing as you about 3 years ago. I am a big guy and an expert skier. I think you have a very good short list. You might want to add the Rossi Experience 88 to it. Any of those skis will work great for you. I personally like the Brahama because it can be skied aggressive and feels good, or you can relax and it responds just as well. I have read the K2 is really easy to ski, no personal experience. 

 

As far as getting new skis, I was warned about an adjustment period. Mine lasted about 4 turns. I had no trouble and my feeling is a ski is a ski They are all different, but they are all still skis. You will adjust to how your new ski wants to be handled pretty quickly no matter which you buy. If people really have trouble doing that, then I guess I am not aware of how much of a minority I am. If you know how to use your edges, then you will feel what works and what doesn't.

I recall going through "the change" a few years ago (ok, maybe more than a few), and I too was in the same minority as bttocs; no adjustment needed, other than what was required for any other ski, i.e. treating the ski as a set of sharp edges on a long thin flexible plane.  I ended up with a pair of SL Shaped skis (13 m radius) replacing my one-ski quiver which had consisted of a pair of old (mostly) straight Super-G skis. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_m View Post
 

Suggestions:

 

Take a lesson and rent shaped skis at the mountain.  Skiing a shaped ski using traditional technique is self defeating and a waste of time and money.   Learn how to maximize the newer shape.  If you package your rental, lesson, and lift ticket, you'll save money.  The ski width should probably be between 72 and 82 at the waist, no more.  For your size and skiing ability, a good length would be between 175 and 180.  You're used to skiing a skinny, straight ski with a narrow stance, primarily on groomers.  Make it easy on yourself and stay narrower.  After you take your lesson and get a feel for a current ski, try some rental demos and switch from one model ski to another after a few runs on each.  There's usually no additional charge for this.  Skis can be well reviewed but not fit your weight/skiing style (some people like a nimble, playful ski, others like a damper, burlier ski).   You'll start to get a feel for the skis that fit you.  By the way, all the skis you mention are fairly stiff/demanding except for the K2, which is easy to ski, but not particularly playful.  The new Blizzard Latigo would likely be a good choice for you, as would the older Volkl RTM 80 (now out of production, so you can get it cheap online if you can find it).  A bit wider, but user-friendly, ski is the Atomic Blackeye 82.  There are lots of others.  Good luck!

I"m also in the minority with Mike_m, only more so; I think you would be best served by a pair of 66 to 82 mm skis.

 

That being said, I will admit that the Amp Rictor will do what you describe, when it comes to making deeper snow less challenging for you, and although it won't hold an edge like a race ski, it gets by.

 

Consider this first half of the season your opportunity to demo skis.  Don't buy, until you have demoed a half dozen skis.  How often do you get an excuse like this to rent and ski the latest top-of-the line skis?   That's what I did and it was a lot of fun.  Also when you have a few demos under your belt, you can look at review sites (like for example realskiers.com - which also reviews skis from years gone by to help with bargain hunting) and compare what they say to what you feel.  That way you can extrapolate your experience to descriptions of skis you have not demoed.

post #15 of 24

Referring back to the poster's self description: "advanced intermediate/advanced...realistically spending 80% of my time on the

groomers...can ski aggressively, but also enjoy a leisurely cruise...probably split 40/60 aggressive/cruise...still ski with a close stance."

 

In this case, no need for a ski over 82 in the waist, especially in the east (the RTM 84 would be decent, but the narrower, more maneuverable RTM 80 would be optimal for the skier described).  Wider skis can be used for the purposes and type of skier he cited, but won't be optimal.  They'll be bulkier, less maneuverable and more compromised for the use and skier described.  They will almost certainly be less easy for a skier coming off narrower, straighter skis and traditional technique to adapt to.  Wider skis would be more versatile, yes, but that's not what is being asked for in this case.

post #16 of 24
If you truly like staying old school, there is no need to change because of the new skis. Coming off the skis you are and the fact that you ski the berkshires, I tend to agree with mike-m... Stating 84mm under foot skis are too wide...in fact I suggest you'd be happier on a true front side carver at no more than a 74mm ski. If you like working a ski, short turns and long turns I'd go so far as a 66mm waist and 120ish shovel length 175 or so. You want to be able to go edge to edge quickly. Wide on hard pack or cord piste is not optimal. Look at performance level skis, heads, Fischers, etc... I went with a gs cheater and loved skiing them before I bought a pair at the end of last season... Don't let the new school guys scare you off a performance ski, they don't know,,, they weren't there in the 80s ;-). Ps. There was carving before shaped skis.

Enjoy the hunt
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks All,  I stopped at another local shop yesterday and had a positive learning experience.   With the knowledge gained here and the discussions I've had, I'm starting to lean towards the RTM 81/84 at 176 length or the wider Brahma at 173 length.    To be honest, I am not put off by the thought of changing my stance.

 

Now I've got some reality check constraints popping up.   As much as I'd like to spend the season renting/demo'ing skis, the cost and logistics create a challenge that I'm struggling with.  None of the local shops rent higher end skis, so finding a shop that does, at a mountain I'll be visiting, is a hurdle to be crossed.  My flexibility for scheduling is limited, so Demo Day type of events, will be a challenge.   A second challenge is the shock my wife displayed at the cost.  She is buying these for my Christmas present.  I think I can make some progress on this front <grin>, but if I can't I'd appreciate some suggestions at a step down from my short list.

 

With these thoughts, I'm thinking of taking the following action plan:   This weekend the only local shop I haven't visited because they've been closed is kicking of the season with a large tent sale.  If I can get a good deal on the RTM's or Brahma , I'll take it.   Then if I happen to run into any demo days during my skiing, I'll use that opportunity to verify my choice.  If I find that I really made the wrong choice then I'll go the swap route at the end of the season.

post #18 of 24

Given your last post, I think you will have difficulty finding what you are looking for.  You are looking for popular skis at a very popular length.  

 

The shop will probably be selling off stuff that didn't sell last season, skis that fall at the ends of what's popular - very wide, very long, very short, or very something else.  Don't fall for a hard sell on a cheap buy while standing there in the tent.  Take your notes with you; remind yourself of the length and width you have chosen, and stick to your guns to get what you want.  Use your smartphone to review the specs on any ski you are tempted to buy; don't trust the guy standing there telling you it's exactly what you need.  Walk away if they don't have what you need, even if it's $299.00.

 

You may be able to find what you are looking for online on sale later.

 

Best of luck.

post #19 of 24

@roguedawg : now that you have a good idea what you want, doesn't hurt to look around eBay for skis.  Seem to be a few RTM 81 at 176cm available.  Ask a question or two of the seller before any purchase.  Will give you an idea of what price is possible in any case.

post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice. This forum has been very helpful and greatly increased my comfort level with what might meet my needs.   I would like to support a local vendor if possible.  If its not on my short list and the markup isn't out of line they'll get my business.  Otherwise I might go the ebay route.  A quick look has given me a feel for the price range.

post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by roguedawg View Post
 

Thanks for the advice. This forum has been very helpful and greatly increased my comfort level with what might meet my needs.   I would like to support a local vendor if possible.  If its not on my short list and the markup isn't out of line they'll get my business.  Otherwise I might go the ebay route.  A quick look has given me a feel for the price range.

Definitely good to shop local when practical.  Since I'm in the southeast, it's rare to find a ski locally of interest for big mountains at a swap or even during early or late season sales.  So once I started skiing more out west my skis have come from eBay or a member of an online ski forum.  What I get from eBay is "new old stock."

post #22 of 24

Roguedog, remember the new RTM 81s are not the same as the older RTM 80s in feel.  The RTM 81s are stiffer and optimized for front-side carving and are best for a technically accomplished skier using modern technique who likes to rip on a firm ski.  The Brahma is a wider, quite firm ski that wants to be pushed by a strong skier.  Have you checked online for the discontinued RTM 80s?  They, or a K2 Rictor 82 (user friendly and haven't changed in several years so older models are cheaper) might be more what you're looking for from your self description.  Both are likely available online at reduced prices.

post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 

I did not know of the difference between the RTM 80's vs 81's.  Thanks.   Further research of the K2 Rictor's has put them on my short list.

post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the advice.    All local tent sales and shops were a bust.   I ended up picking up a set of last year's K2 Rictor 82 xti's @177 length.    Come on Snow!

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