Length Tested: 177 and 184
Dimensions/Turn Radius: 132/86/114 r=15.9 @177, 133/86/115 r=17.5 @184
Camber (select one, delete the rest): Early Rise Tip w/ camber
Binding: 177, Tyrolia rail demo binding, 184, Tyrolia free flex 16.
Mount point: 177 @ boot center. 184 @ +1.5 cm
Other Skis in Class:
* Rossi Experience 88
* Stockli Storm Rider 88
* Dynastar Powertrack 89
* Kastle MX 88... there are a ton of really great skis in this category.
Environment & Conditions:
Location of Test: Stevens Pass WA, Crystal Mtn WA
Number of Runs: 177, a couple hours of laps. 184, 2 days of teaching and free skiing.
Snow Conditions: 177, firm piste, off piste, 6" heavy funk on softening refrozen. 184, Colorado'esque cold dry snow, wind affected off piste crud.
Demo or Own: demoed the 177, own the 184
Height/Weight: 5'11" 205
Ski Days/Season: 60-75, probably 100 this season.
Years Skiing: life long. PSIA L3.
Aggressiveness: (select one, delete the rest): Aggressive finesse.
Current Quiver: Alpine: 177 Head Titan, 186 Blizzard WRC, 190 Blizzard 27m FIS GS, 184 Rev 85 pro, 185 Blizzard Cochise, 186 Blizzard Bodacious
Boot: Head Raptor RS 130
Other skis I like: Kastle MX 98, FX 94/104, Rossi E-98 and 100, Nordica Nrgy 100, Nordica FA 84 EDT. Nordica Soul Rider.
Home Area: Crystal Mtn. WA.
Preferred Terrain (select one/all, delete the rest): groomers, bumps, off-piste, trees, etc... It's all good! Powder's always the best!
The long and short of it... There are a butt ton of absolutley fabulous skis in the 85-90 catagory that are hard to miss with. The most important thing though is to choose the correct length for your size and ability as the same model of ski in two lengths are very different creatures. On to the show...
The Rev series, both loved and meh'd by many. Speaking honestly, they've always been skis I've been skeptical of, and ultimately suprised by. So why do I now own one? Simple. They were free. I wasn't particularly excited, but I needed a reliable daily driver to teach on, and a ride that's more precise than a 98-100mm ski for training and demo stuff. In exam circles in our region, the Rev85 and Rossi E-88's are almost ubiquitous among successful L3 candidates, DCL's, trainers, etc... Admittedly, the 177, while very 'fun' and 'turny', didn't inspire confidence at speed for a person my size, but having skied the Rev 90 in a 184 that same day and enjoying them* , I was pretty certain that the length was the primary shortcoming (pardon the pun) of the 177. Fast forward to this year. 184's delivered with Head Free Flex pro 16's in the binding box. Happy. I've always liked the Free Flex bindings on skis that need to arc accurately. Some might recall my posts about liking both the Titan and Rev 90 mounted forward, so previous experience said to mount these +1.5 as well as they'd primarily used on piste and in old off piste 'chalky' conditions. The skis were prepped by my buck hill transplant buddy Luke who has some true tuning talent and a thirst for fine IPAs. Trades were made, bases flattened, structure applied, 1/2 edge tune, and a couple rounds of prep wax love. Thanks Luke! You're the man! And yes, having these skis tuned once out of the wrapper is performance money in the bank!
First impression? Fast, stable, damp. Very good edge hold on firm snow. Much more solid and stable than the 177, and better edge hold than the Rev 90. I softened the cuff of my boot as it didn't seem to need as much input as some of my other skis. The skis pivot easily, carve with authority, and can be easily controlled with small foot movements in the boot for lower speed teaching applications. I was honestly surprised by the dampness and edge hold. While the tail isn't as powerful on exit as the Titan or any of my race skis, it's more versatile for off piste and bump applications. If I were pulling a pair out of the closet for a trip to the Midwest expecting both firm conditions and a storm cycle in the mix, they'd be the sticks in the bag even if they aren't as sexy as a FIS SL ski or a more exclusive 88 a la Kastle or Stockli. I've skied them as well, and unless a lot of disposable income is burning a whole in your pocket, I'm not convinced they offer $500 worth of additional performance. Take the 5 Bens, get a pro prep, and buy some coaching. But again, I think the key to my experience was Luke's ace tune. Take any ski in this catagory, prep it well, and you'll, have a great western teaching or eastern daily driver for skiers spending the bulk of their time on piste and skier affected (compacted) off piste applications. My only other recommendation is length. For and advanced intermediate/aspiring expert, ski these at eyebrow or low forehead height. Heavier experts need roughly head height or just slightly less. They really are different creatures in each length iteration.
The wrap? If this is viewed by some as a generic 80 something jack of all trades master of none ski, then all I have to say is we live in a world of very pleasant first world problems. I will not be selling mine. My only tweak will be to shim and zero out the toe ramp angle.
On a side note, I just spoke to a friend who's preparing for her L3. She bought a pair of 170's, mounted them +1cm, got the cool hand Luke tune love as well, and "Love them!" was her text reply this morning. She's probably 5'6", 145 ish, also mounted with a free flex binding. If you're thinking about a Rossi Temptation/E-88, don't overlook the Rev 85 pro. They should be on your demo list as well.
* rev 90 skied on demo bindings at +1.5
Edited by markojp - 1/4/15 at 10:34pm