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How can you tell the difference between mens and womens skis? [return to skiing in MI, new boots too]

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

A little background - I'm an intermediate/advanced downhill skier, but clueless regarding equipment.  I just started skiing again last year now that my kids are old enough.  We rented last year as I wanted to see if they'd be into it.  This year I wanted to buy our own, so I went to our local ski swap tonight.

 

(I think) I got a pretty good deal on a pair of skis - Blizzard Sport Ride IQ's w/Marker IQ lt 10 bindings for $80.  Upon research I've done since getting home, I can see I oops it on the boots - Nordica one 45's (probably going to be too much flex).

 

Anyhow, how do I know if these are woman's or men's skis? I don't think it matters much, I'm more curious than anything.

post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceeloc View Post
 

A little background - I'm an intermediate/advanced downhill skier, but clueless regarding equipment.  I just started skiing again last year now that my kids are old enough.  We rented last year as I wanted to see if they'd be into it.  This year I wanted to buy our own, so I went to our local ski swap tonight.

 

(I think) I got a pretty good deal on a pair of skis - Blizzard Sport Ride IQ's w/Marker IQ lt 10 bindings for $80.  Upon research I've done since getting home, I can see I oops it on the boots - Nordica one 45's (probably going to be too much flex).

 

Anyhow, how do I know if these are woman's or men's skis? I don't think it matters much, I'm more curious than anything.


Welcome to EpicSki!  There is a pretty lively discussion going on right now related to your question.  Although reading it might just confuse you more. :)

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/129621/im-a-lightweight-guy-should-i-be-looking-at-skis-for-women

 

Bottom line is that a ski does not know if you are male or female.  There are smaller men who use skis marketed to women and there are women who use skis marketed to men.  Some skis are marketed as unisex.  To add to the confusion, sometimes the identical ski in terms of construction simply has different graphics depending on the target market.  But you will do better on a ski that is the right size (length) and the right design.  Lots of variables these days.

 

Helps to know what region you ski in most of the time.  Where have you been renting?

 

Good to check out the EpicSki Articles under First Run (click on Articles on the menu bar near the top).

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the quick reply Marznc!  I ski mainly in Minnesota and the UP of Michigan.  I'm about 5'8 and normally ski with 170's. I wanted a little longer ski so the ones I bought are 175's. 

 

I know it sounds strange claiming to be an advanced skier with absolutely no clue about gear.  I can explain. I skied quite a bit in my youth. I could handle diamonds, double diamonds, moguls, etc. without a problem.  Unfortunately, I haven't skied since, until last year. It's been 20 years and a lot has changed with ski technology, so I'm a bit lost.

 

I'll check out the thread you posted. Thanks again!

post #4 of 19
Can you return those boots??? I'm hoping the answer is yes. I skied for years with a 60 flex, but I know they were way too soft, can't imagine a lower flex than that. Frankly, I didn't notice what the flex was until I'd had them a while and that was when it came to me why the guy kept telling me he wanted to put me in a "better" boot. Definitely something he should have clarified.. But if you're as good as you say, you won't be communicating your moves to the skis as well as you could be.
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceeloc View Post
 

Thanks for the quick reply Marznc!  I ski mainly in Minnesota and the UP of Michigan.  I'm about 5'8 and normally ski with 170's. I wanted a little longer ski so the ones I bought are 175's. 

 

I know it sounds strange claiming to be an advanced skier with absolutely no clue about gear.  I can explain. I skied quite a bit in my youth. I could handle diamonds, double diamonds, moguls, etc. without a problem.  Unfortunately, I haven't skied since, until last year. It's been 20 years and a lot has changed with ski technology, so I'm a bit lost.

 

I'll check out the thread you posted. Thanks again!


Not really a surprise.  As you look around, you'll find plenty of folks who had a long hiatus after getting into the real world with a job, family, and other distractions.  I didn't ski for 10 years after learning in middle school, and skied infrequently as a working adult.  Lucky for me, my daughter liked skiing so that meant I had a good excuse to get back on the slopes.  Took several years before I decided it was worth figuring out the best way to decide what ski to buy the first time.

 

An advanced skier usually gets skis that are at their forehead or maybe a bit longer.  But no where near the extended wrist height that I was taught long ago.

post #6 of 19

............

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I'm bummed about the boots. I'm debating riding it out this year, or getting something better now.  I definitely could ski very well in the past.  Last year taught me I haven't lost it all (yet), but I don't have the flexibility I did in my late teens, so I won't be hitting moguls anytime soon (if ever).  The ski swap was packed and it was a challenge to find gear in good shape that fit before it was gone. Definitely would have liked more time to look into what I was buying. Overall I still ended up with some great gear - outfitting my daughter with skis, bindings and boots, and got my 15yr old son some new snowboarding boots.

post #8 of 19

Since you brought up flexibility, my guess is that you are younger than many folks who started really having fun on harder terrain after they retired.  Check out this thread about yoga . . . for older skiers. :)

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/128148/first-yoga-class-starting-when-over-50

post #9 of 19
If you hang around here, you'll hear us all saying don't skimp on boots. And find a boot FITTER, NOT a boot SELLER.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Since you brought up flexibility, my guess is that you are younger than many folks who starting really having fun on harder terrain after they retired.  Check out this thread about yoga . . . for older skiers. :)

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/128148/first-yoga-class-starting-when-over-50

Yeah, not quite there yet... I'm only 38. But, being mostly inactive (school, work, family) and not skiing, I felt pain in places I didn't know existed after getting back on the slopes.  It'll just be a matter of time before I'm back in better shape. Nonetheless, I'm sure I won't ever be as aggressive a skier as I once was.  Who knows though? As my son's snowboarding skills increase, I may find myself on runs I didn't think I'd see again.

post #11 of 19

Don't sell yourself short.  You may become a better skier than you were before.  38 isn't so old.  Plus you're wiser now.

post #12 of 19

A recent recommendation for a boot fitter in MI in the Ask the Boot Guys section.  Only EpicSki boot fitters can answer over there.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/129406/best-boot-fitter-in-michigan

 

"Brian Graham is a pedorthist that does good boot fit work in Michigan."

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

*****UPDATE*****

 

I went back to the ski swap today in search of better boots.  I must say, finding a high flex rating boot at a ski swap is quite the challenge. They had no shortage of 45 and 60's though.  I finally found a pair of Salomon Xwave 8's with a 90 flex rating for $50.  

 

They are these boots here:  http://www.buzzillions.com/reviews/men-salomon-xwave-8-ski-boots-reviews#Description

post #14 of 19
Assuming they fit, better. Subject to the fit.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceeloc View Post
 

*****UPDATE*****

 

I went back to the ski swap today in search of better boots.  I must say, finding a high flex rating boot at a ski swap is quite the challenge. They had no shortage of 45 and 60's though.  I finally found a pair of Salomon Xwave 8's with a 90 flex rating for $50.  

 

They are these boots here:  http://www.buzzillions.com/reviews/men-salomon-xwave-8-ski-boots-reviews#Description


Probably can't find better boots because the people who buy those are more likely to work with a boot fitter to get a good fit.  So by the time they are done with a pair of boots, they are not really good for anyone else.  You are probably finding boots that were 2-3 sizes too big for the previous owner, although the people who used them may not have realized it.

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Probably can't find better boots because the people who buy those are more likely to work with a boot fitter to get a good fit.  So by the time they are done with a pair of boots, they are not really good for anyone else.  You are probably finding boots that were 2-3 sizes too big, although the people who used them may not have realized it.

 

I had much more knowledge regarding fit after reading the articles and posts here.  The guy who helped me find them seemed to know what he was doing as well, since what he was saying was in line with what I read here.  They fit really well and I actually went down a size from what I normally rented.  I now realize what I had been renting were too big. 

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceeloc View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Probably can't find better boots because the people who buy those are more likely to work with a boot fitter to get a good fit.  So by the time they are done with a pair of boots, they are not really good for anyone else.  You are probably finding boots that were 2-3 sizes too big, although the people who used them may not have realized it.

 

I had much more knowledge regarding fit after reading the articles and posts here.  The guy who helped me find them seemed to know what he was doing as well, since what he was saying was in line with what I read here.  They fit really well and I actually went down a size from what I normally rented.  I now realize what I had been renting were too big. 


Glad we could help!

 

Was the swap sponsored by a ski shop?  I went to one in Annapolis that was in essentially in the back area usually used for storage by the ski shop.  So there were several people around who were knowledgeable and could help with boot selection.  Was looking for gear for my daughter after a few seasons of season rentals.  Swaps are definitely a great way to get stuff for kids or adults getting started after a hiatus when there are budget constraints.

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Glad we could help!

 

Was the swap sponsored by a ski shop?  I went to one in Annapolis that was in essentially in the back area usually used for storage by the ski shop.  So there were several people around who were knowledgeable and could help with boot selection.  Was looking for gear for my daughter after a few seasons of season rentals.  Swaps are definitely a great way to get stuff for kids or adults getting started after a hiatus when there are budget constraints.

 

It's a huge annual ski swap that's put on by our local alpine ski club.  This is the 42nd year they've done it.  It's held at the local ski resort and the area ski shops participate and help out.

 

http://www.teamduluth.org/?page_id=14

post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceeloc View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Glad we could help!

 

Was the swap sponsored by a ski shop?  I went to one in Annapolis that was in essentially in the back area usually used for storage by the ski shop.  So there were several people around who were knowledgeable and could help with boot selection.  Was looking for gear for my daughter after a few seasons of season rentals.  Swaps are definitely a great way to get stuff for kids or adults getting started after a hiatus when there are budget constraints.

 

It's a huge annual ski swap that's put on by our local alpine ski club.  This is the 42nd year they've done it.  It's held at the local ski resort and the area ski shops participate and help out.

 

http://www.teamduluth.org/?page_id=14


Wow . . . three days.  Lucky you!  There are a few swaps in VA and the NC mountains, but they are small and not worth a 2-3 hour drive from where I live in central NC.  When I went to the one in Annapolis, I was also visiting an old friend.

 

Luckily, there is a local ski shop that's been around 25 years where I can get boots for me and my daughter.  Has a decent supply of "new old stock" and we've bought boots during late season sales, which happen in March before our spring break trip out west.  The shop owner is an experienced boot fitter.  He did a good job picking boots for her that could last a couple seasons while her feet were still growing.  I've been very happy with what I got for myself from him.  They were the first "performance" boots I ever bought.  Also got custom footbeds (heat molded).  Always had my own boots as an adult but they were for beginner/intermediates since I wasn't skiing that much as a working adult or parent of a beginner.

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