Yesterday, I demoed a couple of different skis, and ended up with some questions I'm hoping someone can help with.
The three skis I ended up in a position to compare:
- 2012 Atomic Blackeye Ti, 174 (these I own)
- 2015 Head i.Supershape Magnum, 177
- 2015 Fischer Progressor 900, 170 (longest they had)
Me: 220 lbs without all the gear, 5' 11", groomer skier with aspirations beyond that but limited opportunities, age 55, adult beginner a few years back. Level, dunno, but I can ski Whitefish blues offensively rather than defensively, whereas the black runs tend to call the shots, not me (but I can make turns down them). Mostly I like to pay attention while skiing, but technique (and nerve) fall off at the end of the day.
The snow was firm but not icy, easy to get an edge in, softening a little over the day, no significant slop or bumps. It was also my first day back on the snow, which may have colored things, though by the end of the day it really did feel like I had my balance back.
Of the three skis, the Blackeyes were the easiest: slow to hook up in a turn, easy to throw sideways, and not too picky about balance, though the tails tended to wash out if I was standing on the outside ski and got back a little. Probably too short as I ski faster---I do start to notice some stability issues, even at my relatively modest top speed.
The Heads were the opposite: very quick to start a turn, didn't really want to slide sideways (though you could make them do it), and I had to be careful not to get sloppy about changing from one edge to the other, or getting too far back. Fast, stable, obviously a ski that I wasn't close to pushing, though I could ski fast enough to get it to wake up a little.
The surprise for me was the Fischers: I really liked those skis. Faster to turn than the blackeyes, stable at speed for their length (again, not that fast), felt lighter than the Blackeyes, too. But they weren't nearly as picky as the Heads, so a lot more comfortable to ride. Better at lower speeds, too. But then I go and read up on them on the net, including some comments here on epic. The general story seems to be that these are advanced-to-expert skis (not me, remotely), that you really need to be on. Not my experience at all. No doubt that the skis are capable of a lot more than I'll ever push them to, but they had much more patience with my numerous lapses of technique than the Heads did.
What I'm looking for is a quick, turny hard-snow ski for small, icy Midwestern hills, that will push me to keep improving. Stable over surface irregularities like groomer ridges and piles of stuff pushed up by side-scrapers (on boards or skis) is important, and it would be nice if the ski was not going to try to kill me when I start taking lessons on skiing bumps, but that's optional. At this point, the Fischers look pretty good for most of this (not at all sure about the bumps, with which I have very little experience).
So, finally, the questions:
- Is this in fact a ski that I should be having trouble with, where the rep maybe hadn't really tuned up the edges? Or might it be because the skis were short? I wouldn't expect that to change how grabby the edges are, though.
- Is it possible that the 2015 Fischers have been softened up or in some other way made more forgiving? This one's important, because while I like the skis, I'd much rather pay < $500 for last year's model (which is still available, or was last night), than $800 - $1000 for this year's.
- Length: At my size, I'd be looking at either 175 or 180, neither of which they had available to try. Previous discussions on epic (about predecessors to the 900s) have gone both ways: get the biggest, vs. there's absolutely no reason to if you're not racing on them, or near as doesn't matter.
- If the 900's are in fact going to be a problem in a length I should be on, what about stepping down to the 800's?
Thanks for reading, if you made it this far, and thanks for any light that you can shed.