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East Coast Salomon Skis - X-Drive 8.0 FS v. X-Drive 8.3 (and maybe Q 90)

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for some guidance on Salomon skis - I've been reading up on the X-Drive 8.0 FS and the 8.3, and I'm having a hard time deciding which would be the better ski for me.  Many of the reviews I've read give a lot of praise to the 8.0 FS and the 8.8 FS, but I haven't been able to find a comparison between the 8.0 FS and the 8.3 (from what I've read, it seems like the 8.8 FS is geared more to hard charging at high speeds, but less nimble or playful than I'd like).

 

A little about me and what I'm looking for:

I'd describe myself as advanced intermediate - I've been skiing for 24 years, usually 10 days a year, and I can ski anything in bounds with confidence.  I'm 6'1, 165 lbs, and I ski fairly aggressively most of the time.  I don't have as much experience off-piste, but I would like to ski trees and glades more and improve there.  I primarily ski the east coast, with occasional trips out west for a week or so.  

 

I'm looking for that one ski that will work of the majority of what I ski - 70% groomers, 20% bumps, and 10% trees - and won't hold me back as I continue to improve and ski different types of terrain.  I like carving big powerful turns, but I also want a ski that's playful and doesn't falter at lower speeds.  I'd like to it be capable in the bumps and trees, though by no means is that the majority of what I ski.  Being on the east coast, I'm not looking for something that is great at powder, but I would like capable in some new snow.

 

Last year, I demoed the Enduro 800 and the Q-90 - I really like them both.  The carving ability of the Enduro was a lot of fun - I really liked the edge hold it had and the feeling of pushing me out of the turns.  I've been surprised to read (after demoing) that some people think of it as heavy or ponderous.  The Q-90 had great playfulness, but I didn't feel that same carving response.

 

So - 

Has anyone skied the X-Drive 8.0 FS or the 8.3?  Can you give a comparison of the two?  Thoughts on the Q 90 as an east coast one ski quiver?  Any ideas about the XT12 bindings that come with the 8.0 FS and the 8.3 - better to go with those or is something comparably priced a much better option?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 22

If I believed everything I read on (especially on this site) I'd have a quiver of Blizzard skis. The 8.8 is a fantastic ski and you should experience it first hand before settling for something lower on the podium. I'd choose the 8.0 over the 8.3 because of the flat/without system binding option, and the full sidewall construction……and I think you'll find it skis similar to the Enduro 800. The Q90 will be more off piste capable for sure, but you need to buy the ski that will satisfy 98% of conditions you'll be skiing in. I agree with you on the Q90's lack luster carvability. It's an adequate ski; and for the money it is worthy of some consideration, but 10 days a year in the northeast will likely yield endless groomers. If I was selling you skis I'd put the 8.0 or the 8.8 in your hand. 

 

Do you really travel out west with your skis? 

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Fair point on trying the 8.8 before knocking it down a level. On taking it out west, part of the purpose would be to not have to rent skis when I travel, so I would want to bring them with me. I realize the snow conditions may be entirely different. Would you recommend buying for my east coast days and renting/demoing everyday that I'm out on a trip?

I appreciate the input on the 8.3 v. 8.0 and 8.8 - those things make sense. If I were to go with a flat ski option, do you have a binding recommendation? I've found the Z12 bindings at pretty reasonable prices, but I'm open to hearing other suggestions.
post #4 of 22

Yes, I would recommend that you travel with your boots and bag of soft goods and demo skis for the conditions you're dealt with. You'll be on vacation, and vacation is all about maximizing the quality of the experience. Back home you need to buy what makes sense for the conditions you'll likely be skiing. You've qualified yourself as an aggressive skier that likes to arc mach schnell and shorten it up for some tight radius short play. There is no need for fencing--you're a good skier. Get the 8.8 flat and slap on some STH12 WTR. This binding has amazing elastic travel, an easily accessible toe hight adjustment feature, and a robust heel. 

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
I hear what you're saying - nobreason to compromise when on vacation or at home, I should ski the best skis for the conditions. I was trying to find something that does both, but I think you're right I'll enjoy a trip more demoing while there.

I appreciate your help, good advice all round.
post #6 of 22

I have skied an enduro, but not the others. If you are not a speed fanatic, the 8.0 would be better suited to the conditions you are likely to encounter most often.  It is more on a par with the 8.8 than below it.  Shop Gimp is correct regarding the 8.3 coming with it's own binding, although I do not know if the binding it comes with is good enough for what the skis is or not.

 

The X-drive 8.8FX and Q90 are full rocker if I'm not mistaken not really designed for hardpack.

 

(Sadly, even the 8.0 and the enduro has some type of rocker at the front.  The enduro holds a good carve once you get it set in) 

post #7 of 22

Not trying to quibble with ya, Ghost, but I can assure that neither the 8.8 or the Q90 are "full rocker". Both models have ample amount of camber. Neither ski can really be compared to the other though: the 8.8 is a fantastic on hardpack, the Q90 is rather ho-hum. With that said if you don't think full rocker has any place on hardback, give the Volkl V-Werks RTM 84 or spin…..and hold the fek on!!!!

post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShopGimp View Post
 

Not trying to quibble with ya, Ghost, but I can assure that neither the 8.8 or the Q90 are "full rocker". Both models have ample amount of camber. Neither ski can really be compared to the other though: the 8.8 is a fantastic on hardpack, the Q90 is rather ho-hum. With that said if you don't think full rocker has any place on hardback, give the Volkl V-Werks RTM 84 or spin…..and hold the fek on!!!!

Sorry, I stand corrected.  Those are cambered under foot.  Still have rocker tip and tail.

 

I might like the V-werks RTM'84 were I skiing it on Pacific North West "hardpack".  Here on Ontario "hardpack", I would much prefer something with full camber.

post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
 

Sorry, I stand corrected.  Those are cambered under foot.  Still have rocker tip and tail.

 

I might like the V-werks RTM'84 were I skiing it on Pacific North West "hardpack".  Here on Ontario "hardpack", I would much prefer something with full camber.

If I was back home in VT/ME I'd be rocking rocker. It has everything to do with turn initiation and high speed skidding, and nothing to do with edge grip. Preferences are preferences and I surely do not begrudge you for sticking with full camber. Have you skied anything from Elan recently. Amphibio might be a good compromise for you!

post #10 of 22

^ Just rentals, but a fellow patroller at my local hill recently bought a pair of amphibians.  We might switch up for a shift.

post #11 of 22
[double post]
Edited by qcanoe - 12/14/14 at 7:22am
post #12 of 22
"Amphibio" is SUCH an unfortunate name for this design, with its connotation of liquid water, that sends eastern skiers running away, hands over ears. You might as well try to market a "Kryptonite" ski to Superman.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post


"Amphibio" is SUCH an unfortunate name for this design, with its connotation of liquid water, that sends eastern skiers running away, hands over ears. You might as well try to market a "Kryptonite" ski to Superman.

Right. In North America marketing makes the ski……God Bless K2.

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShopGimp View Post
 

 With that said if you don't think full rocker has any place on hardback, give the Volkl V-Werks RTM 84 or spin…..and hold the fek on!!!!

 

I guess, though I'm not entirely sure, I'll agree with this -- I demoed the (non-v-werks) RTM 81 yesterday at the end of a long day of demoing.  Full rocker, the first I've skied, on conditions that included EC ice sheets on the skied-off steeper sections as well as soft surface snow at lower angles.  I couldn't believe how the ski carved, even on ice.  My demo notes included two plus signs and a pair of exclamations.  Really fun ski.  I'd have tried the 84 (if they'd had my length), but my quads had given up the ghost, Ghost.

post #15 of 22

Like someone once said, "There's no accounting for tastes."

 

What I don't like about the Rockered and tip rockered Völk RTMs I have tried are the vagueness in the transition part of the turn right after edge angle neutral.  All of my skis do exactly what I tell them to immediately, even my antiques (which I keep sharp from tip to tail).  With the rocker at the tip, it's like you have a transition manager acting on your behalf, "Ok we are about to engage, are you ready sir?  Engaging now, hang on!"  I don't want my ski  smoothing out my transitions for me. 

 

As I said above, once the tip is engaged they carve and hold just fine.  It's that while I'm in that part of the turn, the spot in the curve where my ski leaves two scribed edges on the bolier plate and gives me the fully engaged and precisely controlled happy carving feeling, the feeling that was missing when I skied the Tip-rockered (and full rockered) RTMs.

post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
 

Like someone once said, "There's no accounting for tastes."

 

What I don't like about the Rockered and tip rockered Völk RTMs I have tried are the vagueness in the transition part of the turn right after edge angle neutral.  All of my skis do exactly what I tell them to immediately, even my antiques (which I keep sharp from tip to tail).  With the rocker at the tip, it's like you have a transition manager acting on your behalf, "Ok we are about to engage, are you ready sir?  Engaging now, hang on!"  I don't want my ski  smoothing out my transitions for me. 

 

As I said above, once the tip is engaged they carve and hold just fine.  It's that while I'm in that part of the turn, the spot in the curve where my ski leaves two scribed edges on the bolier plate and gives me the fully engaged and precisely controlled happy carving feeling, the feeling that was missing when I skied the Tip-rockered (and full rockered) RTMs.


I get that.  My skiing needs a masseuse (or an instructor), so I liked that slower engagement, and also feeling that I wouldn't catch an edge.  Good skiers don't need that.  But I had fun.

post #17 of 22

My suggestion? If you really liked the Enduro xt 800 then you should try to find one pair... there are still some at least  on internet... I've skied the Enduro ( 800 and 850 ) and really liked them ( especially the 850 since I'm a lot heavier than you)! They really can carve and are really nice all mountain skis! I've also tried the X drive series and I think they are no match for the Enduro; If I were you, I'll buy the Enduro...

post #18 of 22
Enduro XT800 has served me well, east and west. I love them on eastern hardback, and they ski surprisingly well in western crud and deep snow.
post #19 of 22


I have a pair of the Salomon Xdrive 8.0 FS = Full Sandwich construction.....they are very stout adv/exp ski.....they carve very well but are not forgiving of mistakes and I love them in the 182cm but I amalso 215lbs so I like a stout ski so it does not fold up....the 8.3 w/o the FS is a more accessible ski for all levels...the 8.8FS is a beast like the 8.0's.....the 8.3 and Ti's are kinder...Blister Ski reiews are great and unbiased and a good place to check out....I have the Fischer Motive 86Ti also which is more all mtn,still stout but not as burly as the FS 8.0/8.8's

post #20 of 22
I tried a set of Elan Amphibio at Blue (Ontario) 2 years ago. Not impressed, when push felt like a intermediate ski that is feathering because it can't handle the input.

Real turn off.
post #21 of 22

I have the feeling that this is a very old thread and the questions posed have already been answered...?

post #22 of 22
Could be. smile.gif
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › East Coast Salomon Skis - X-Drive 8.0 FS v. X-Drive 8.3 (and maybe Q 90)