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44 year old long time snowboarder looking for first skis and boots [for Crystal]

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone, 

 

I've been searching the board for a few days now and thought I would make my own post.  I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for in the searches.  

 

Background:

I've been snowboarding for 25+ years and am looking to change over to skis.  I skied for a few years as a kids before getting in to snowboarding in the late 80's while working at a ski/windsurf shop that I worked at in Hood River, OR.  After that I was a snowboard instructor for a few years at Mt. Hood in the 90's but this was before you could become PSIA certified in snowboarding.  I used to race alpine snowboards in custom fitted ski boots and slammed gates with local skiers during City League nights.

 

I'm technically minded and try to visualize what I will be doing on snow and read "The Skiers Edge" in the 90's to help me learn techniques to apply to racing and just picked up "Ultimate Skiing" to be able to visualize what I will be doing on the snow with the new to me shaped skis.  I'm hoping to transition pretty smoothly to two planks, but I don't have crazy hopes of hitting the backcountry on the skis this season, that is if we actually get any snow.  I also like pina coladas and long walks in the rain... :)  

 

Sorry for the long background story - I just realized how much I typed out!  I figure the background might help, If not I apologize.  I guess I'm trying to say I'm much like the typical snowboarder compared to the guys I generally meet on the mountain.  

 

Motivation:

I'm looking to get into skiing to see the mountain through a fresh set of eyes and to take better advantage of the back and side country at Crystal.   I also feel like skiing has a longer/harder learning curve so I can always be learning in years to come.  We also have toddlers that will be starting to ski next year and I wanted to be on skis and not a board when they start.  

 

This might so a little zen or something, but I am also starting to feel that how I use the slope and fall line is different than the majority of advanced skier traffic on the hill and I am constantly going across the better skiers fall line and inadvertently getting in the way.  I'm going the same speed as they are normally but I am hooking in and out of trees, drops and chutes - just generally going back and forth on the slope and feel like I need to keep my head on a swivel to not cut other people off and not be "that guy".  I would like to be riding more in the flow with the skiers and not need to ride with 110% defensive awareness.  I'm hoping changing to skis will help with this and I will be using the slope more like what I see the skiers doing and fit more in line with what they expect someone on the slopes to be doing on the snow.  I hope that makes sense.

 

Gear Questions:

I am looking for good boots which is the priority.  I have a very low volume "skin and bones" flat foot and and am starting to shop around for new mid stiffness boots and used skis.  My son and I have passes at Crystal Mt. Resort in WA state and there is a boot fitter on mountain where they sell Lang boots.  I was eyeing the Lang SX 80's but haven't tried them on yet. Anyone have boot opinions on what I should be trying on or is that a good starting place?

 

I was intending to rent skis after getting my own boot that I can grow with, but stumbled across a used pair of Line Prophet 90's with Marker M900 bindings in 165cm for a great deal. I'm 5'8" and 175lbs.  Should I even be looking at 165's or the Prophet as a beginner?  I want a ski I can grow with and not need to rent so I can just hop on the chair in the morning and go but I have next to no idea what I want to be looking for in length and model.  

 

That said the price is good, so if this proves to be too short I can re-sell them and get a longer pair in the future.  The Prophets sound like amazing skis for what I want to be doing and always believed in buying a board (or skis) for what I want to be doing two years from now, but let me know if I'm off base with the Prophet in a 165.

 

Thanks for any guidance.  Hopefully you guys are in the mood for another crossover snowboarder asking a bunch of noobish questions.

post #2 of 19
If your serious about your skiing, start out by meeting a great boot fitter. Boots are the most important part. IMO you might be ready to start off where most of us big skiers are, we wear boots one size to small.

You might want to ask in the ask the boot guy's forum.

There is a long process to fitting you with the right boot, the boot fitter will recommend a few boots for you to try. Don't go in with a preconceived idea of what you want.

Skis are just a tool, its the boot that drives the tool.
post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flatfoot View Post
 

Hello everyone, 

 

I've been searching the board for a few days now and thought I would make my own post.  I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for in the searches.  

 

Background:

I've been snowboarding for 25+ years and am looking to change over to skis.  I skied for a few years as a kids before getting in to snowboarding in the late 80's while working at a ski/windsurf shop that I worked at in Hood River, OR.  After that I was a snowboard instructor for a few years at Mt. Hood in the 90's but this was before you could become PSIA certified in snowboarding.  I used to race alpine snowboards in custom fitted ski boots and slammed gates with local skiers during City League nights.

 

[snip]

 

Thanks for any guidance.  Hopefully you guys are in the mood for another crossover snowboarder asking a bunch of noobish questions.

Welcome to EpicSki!  Background info is always good.  I'm going to add your mountain to the thread title to make it easier for knowledgeable PacNW folks to notice your questions.

 

By the way, I think there is a PNW Gathering planned for some time in March.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply's guys.  

 

My only worry about going to a boot fitter uninformed is that I might get too stiff of a boot as a new skier.  Is that something I should be worried about?  I know that's a pretty big concern for snowboarders, if my boots are too stiff I have a difficult time initiating slow speed turns.

 

Duane

post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flatfoot View Post
 

 

 

This might so a little zen or something, but I am also starting to feel that how I use the slope and fall line is different than the majority of advanced skier traffic on the hill and I am constantly going across the better skiers fall line and inadvertently getting in the way.  I'm going the same speed as they are normally but I am hooking in and out of trees, drops and chutes - just generally going back and forth on the slope and feel like I need to keep my head on a swivel to not cut other people off and not be "that guy".  I would like to be riding more in the flow with the skiers and not need to ride with 110% defensive awareness.  I'm hoping changing to skis will help with this and I will be using the slope more like what I see the skiers doing and fit more in line with what they expect someone on the slopes to be doing on the snow.  I hope that makes sense.

 

 

 

Flatfoot,

 

I am advanced skier who plays with terrain like a boarder.  I am an intermediate boarder as well and that may be part of the reason.  I tend to ski in a manner we call skiing the slow line fast.  Doing this there are always skiers bowing by me on the groomed runs - not so much or at all really off piste.  I try to ignore them and hope they stick to the skier's code meaning they are the ones who should give me plenty of room as I am downhill and they are overtaking me.  

 

I think it will be a good idea for you to use skis as your kids are starting out because you will be able to help them negotiate the mountain easier on skis than on a board.

 

I think the size of the skis you mention is fine to start with... you may want to go longer after a while.

 

Boots:  A good fitter will get you the boots you need for your feet and ability.  I am thinking that you will advance fairly quickly.

post #6 of 19
Flatfoot, ask Joe or Martin at the shop at Crystal. They're going to be selling their demo boots that haven't even been skied in this weekend I believe. If you have a narrow, low volume foot, the Lange SX series is about the last thing you want between you and your skis. smile.gif

They have a decent selection of narrow lasted boots like the Lange RX (LV) and RS series, as well as Dalbello, etc...
post #7 of 19

Your situation sounds a lot like mine.  Right down to the flat, narrow feet.

 

I got custom Lange RX 130 LV's from Sure Foot.  They removed some bolts to soften the flex ~6%.

 

So far so good, though they were HELL before they packed out.

 

I'm 6'1" in socks and went with a Blizzard Bonafide in 180cm. 

 

Honestly I was quite concerned that it was going to be too much for me (stiff boots and long skis) since I only had about 2 days on ski in the last 20 years.

 

It's only taken about four days to learn to carve on these guys.  But that's just steering with the edges and loading them up to change the turn radius.  Still a long way to go to be able link short carved turns down a steep slope. 

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado View Post

Your situation sounds a lot like mine.  Right down to the flat, narrow feet.



 



I got custom Lange RX 130 LV's from Sure Foot.  They removed some bolts to soften the flex ~6%.



 



So far so good, though they were HELL before they packed out.



 



I'm 6'1" in socks and went with a Blizzard Bonafide in 180cm. 



 



Honestly I was quite concerned that it was going to be too much for me (stiff boots and long skis) since I only had about 2 days on ski in the last 20 years.



 



It's only taken about four days to learn to carve on these guys.  But that's just steering with the edges and loading them up to change the turn radius.  Still a long way to go to be able link short carved turns down a steep slope. 


 



Not saying you are but, you can't do short radius turns from the back seat. After a few lessons years ago, I was taught how to stay forward and make short radius turns, once you learn that, it opens up so much terrain for you to enjoy rather than survive.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flatfoot View Post
 

Thanks for the reply's guys.  

 

My only worry about going to a boot fitter uninformed is that I might get too stiff of a boot as a new skier.  Is that something I should be worried about?  I know that's a pretty big concern for snowboarders, if my boots are too stiff I have a difficult time initiating slow speed turns.

 

Duane


This is exactly why you should go to a top fitter. . . a fitter does more than just "fit" - he or she should recommend models that are likely to work for your foot shape AND your level of skiing experience.  Fwiw, Martin in the Crystal Mountain shop as a great reputation, so you are on the right track, although there are a number of excellent fitters in town also.  Best strategy: give the fitter honest data about your current skiing, your boarding experience and ski ambitions and let the fitter select a few models to start with.  And go from there.  If the fitter seems off base, take a pause, get a second opinion, try another shop.

 

Internet research about various models of boots, boot "reviews" in magazines, anecdotal feedback from strangers on chat boards are all terrible ways to shop for boots if fit is a priority.

 

That said, @markojp is one "stranger on the internet" that you probably should listen to given that he is a top coach at our local hill and fits boots professionally.

 

Good luck with the transition.  Have fun and think snow this weekend.

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LewyM View Post
 

<snip>

Fwiw, Martin in the Crystal Mountain shop as a great reputation, so you are on the right track, although there are a number of excellent fitters in town also.  Best strategy: give the fitter honest data about your current skiing, your boarding experience and ski ambitions and let the fitter select a few models to start with.  And go from there.  If the fitter seems off base, take a pause, get a second opinion, try another shop.

 

<snip>

 

Martin is exactly who I have in mind.  I've bugged him more than once about my snowboard boots fit that in reality are thin shelled plastic boots wrapped in ballistic cloth to look like a "soft boot".  He was willing to try to help me out despite being crazy busy with customers who were buying real ski boots from him that day.   

 

Cheers all, and it looks like we are going to get some snow for this weekend!  Hopefully the lesson/rental experience goes well.  I hope to be face planting in fresh snow. :D

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

It looks like I've got my boots figured out and I'm in some nice low volume K2 110's that a good boot fitter put me into and they seem great.  Maybe a bit on the stiff side but I'll either get used to that or cautiously have the guys at the shop soften them for me a slightly.

 

Now that my boots seem to be sorted, I'm back to choosing a pair of skis.  I have found a lead on used 2011-12 Line Prophet 100's in a 172 and in a used pair of Fat-ypus D-sender 172's.  Both are cambered skis.  The D-sender has some mild tip rocker which might help me in deeper snow if we ever get any - while the 2011 Prophets are the final year with out any nose rocker in them.  I have also found a pair of 2011 Line Prophet Flite 172's that do not have nose rocker or metal in them for a good price.  

 

In the interested of having a pair of skis I can grow with over the next couple of years.  Would a newer Line Prophet 98 with the nose rocker be a good investment for me?  I'm just hesitant to buy new skis and then damage when on the rocks we have this year.  I'd rather look into a good used ski that I can grow with if possible.

 

I'm open to any suggestions, I'm just listing skis that I have been steered toward by my instructor and guys on the hill who have seen me ski.  Ideally I would demo skis but there are no demo's this season due to the poor snow coverage.  I'm tired of spending $40 a weekend to rent gear that I could be putting towards my own equipment that I can be getting used to.  

 

1) Where in the world are you skiing?

 

I live in Sumner, WA very close to Crystal Mt. WA and will have seasons passes there each season.

 

2) What kind of terrain do you prefer?

 

Right now I'm on groomers on skis and am working hard to get back to more technical and steeper terrain where I used to ride on a snowboard..

 

3) How many days a year do you ski?

 

This is my first season skiing, we own seasons passes are are on snow every weekend at least 1 day, and frequently both Saturday and Sunday.  So that's 20-30 days each season roughly?  We go up rain or shine, fresh snow or not.

 

4) How advanced are you as a skiier?

 

I would guess intermediate.  I'm comfortable on most any blue outside of moguls, and have done a few of the easier black runs at Crystal such as Green Valley.  I think I've been advancing at a pretty decent pace, and in the past 3-4 weeks have gotten to where I know I want o be a committed skier.  I am now beginning to link parallel turns and am getting more confidant and am keeping my weight to the front of the ski. 

 

5) What's your height and weight?

5'9" 175 lbs.

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado View Post
 

Your situation sounds a lot like mine.  Right down to the flat, narrow feet.

 

I got custom Lange RX 130 LV's from Sure Foot.  They removed some bolts to soften the flex ~6%.

 

So far so good, though they were HELL before they packed out.

 

I'm 6'1" in socks and went with a Blizzard Bonafide in 180cm. 

 

Honestly I was quite concerned that it was going to be too much for me (stiff boots and long skis) since I only had about 2 days on ski in the last 20 years.

 

It's only taken about four days to learn to carve on these guys.  But that's just steering with the edges and loading them up to change the turn radius.  Still a long way to go to be able link short carved turns down a steep slope. 

Thanks Colorado.  

 

I was looking at the Bonafide but wasn't able to find as good of a deal on them as I did on last years Line Prophets in a 179.  TheProphet seem like a shorter 179 to me compared to the other skis I was eyeing and hope I can get used to them.  I'm a little intimadted by my K2 Spyne 110 boots that are stiffer than my Lang 130's were (with a screw removed).  I can't seem to flex the K2's like I could the Lang's and might need to get them softend up a little.   Stiff boots + longer skis is a little daunting.

 

Hopefully I can get on them this weekend despite the spring like winter we are having in WA.  

post #13 of 19
Look for a pair of Nordica Soul Riders... A great Crystal all mountain twin tip that will take you up the learning curve and beyond. The boot sounds like a great choice for you.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flatfoot View Post
 

Thanks Colorado.  

 

I was looking at the Bonafide but wasn't able to find as good of a deal on them as I did on last years Line Prophets in a 179.  TheProphet seem like a shorter 179 to me compared to the other skis I was eyeing and hope I can get used to them.  I'm a little intimadted by my K2 Spyne 110 boots that are stiffer than my Lang 130's were (with a screw removed).  I can't seem to flex the K2's like I could the Lang's and might need to get them softend up a little.   Stiff boots + longer skis is a little daunting.

 

Hopefully I can get on them this weekend despite the spring like winter we are having in WA.  


Having skied the Prophets and the Bonafides, I think that the Prophets are a better call for you at this point.  I think that you did well and the 179 shouldn't be too long.  You probably could have gone a slot shorter (172?), but you'd out grow that pretty quickly in our terrain at Crystal. 

 

They are both good skis, but the Prophets are not as stiff and not as demanding as the Bonafides.  That isn't a knock on the Prophets, however.  It is a very appropriate ski for an excellent skier - many choose it around here (above the Blizzards believe it or not).  But it is also more appropriate for where your skiing is at the moment and likely to be after say 10-15 days.  The performance envelop drops a bit lower because it is more forgiving. The 179 P98 will also ski a bit "smaller" than the 180 Bonafide - which is good given your size and level.  I love the Bonafides, I own a pair and I've logged probably 60-some days on them.  But I don't think that they are the objectively "best" ski for all skiers and I do think that they have been oversold, here and in print, as an appropriate "game improvement tool" for intermediates.  I think that there are better choices for that level of development - just not as hot, hot, hot.

 

As for the boots, I'd trust Martin's judgment.  Spyne 110 doesn't seem too aggressive given your weight and snowboard racing experience.  I think that is a much better choice than the RX130s at this stage (assuming fit is equal - and it probably is close because the K2 shell is based on the RX). 

 

RX130 + Bonafides is a pretty aggressive set up for a beginning/intermediate skier.  Although it all looks cool in front of the lodge, and is award-winning in the magazines and online, it might make progression slower, good skiing harder (see Colorado's video for an example of why that is).  Sometimes it is useful to step away from the internet and magazine reviews and address reality.

 

I think you did just fine.  Now if we could just get a little snow around here, you could try out your new set up and report back.

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LewyM View Post
 


Having skied the Prophets and the Bonafides, I think that the Prophets are a better call for you at this point.  I think that you did well and the 179 shouldn't be too long.  You probably could have gone a slot shorter (172?), but you'd out grow that pretty quickly in our terrain at Crystal. 

 

They are both good skis, but the Prophets are not as stiff and not as demanding as the Bonafides.  That isn't a knock on the Prophets, however.  It is a very appropriate ski for an excellent skier - many choose it around here (above the Blizzards believe it or not).  But it is also more appropriate for where your skiing is at the moment and likely to be after say 10-15 days.  The performance envelop drops a bit lower because it is more forgiving. The 179 P98 will also ski a bit "smaller" than the 180 Bonafide - which is good given your size and level.  I love the Bonafides, I own a pair and I've logged probably 60-some days on them.  But I don't think that they are the objectively "best" ski for all skiers and I do think that they have been oversold, here and in print, as an appropriate "game improvement tool" for intermediates.  I think that there are better choices for that level of development - just not as hot, hot, hot.

 

As for the boots, I'd trust Martin's judgment.  Spyne 110 doesn't seem too aggressive given your weight and snowboard racing experience.  I think that is a much better choice than the RX130s at this stage (assuming fit is equal - and it probably is close because the K2 shell is based on the RX). 

 

RX130 + Bonafides is a pretty aggressive set up for a beginning/intermediate skier.  Although it all looks cool in front of the lodge, and is award-winning in the magazines and online, it might make progression slower, good skiing harder (see Colorado's video for an example of why that is).  Sometimes it is useful to step away from the internet and magazine reviews and address reality.

 

I think you did just fine.  Now if we could just get a little snow around here, you could try out your new set up and report back.

Thanks LewyM.  This made me feel more confident about the direction I went.  It's been a big investment in time and money for me to get to where I am and I've been a little nervous about the ski choice since I wasn't able to demo anything due to the low coverage this season.  

 

I feel like I can't flex the K2 110 like I could the Lang 130 which seems strange give the two boots 'stiffness ratings'.  I actually feel a little like the guy in Colorado's video that you linked when I'm in the K2's.  I was going to give them another day to see if I could get more over the front of the ski in them.  Should I be hesitant to soften the boots up my having Joe at the mountain shop cut of the groove in the back of the boot?  

 

The K2 110 actually seems stiffer than the Lang 130 with it's bolts out.

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flatfoot View Post
 

Should I be hesitant to soften the boots up my having Joe at the mountain shop cut of the groove in the back of the boot?  

 

The K2 110 actually seems stiffer than the Lang 130 with it's bolts out.

They might be stiffer, or maybe close.  Because you pulled the pin, you changed the flex pattern of the Langes a bit. . . that might be what you are feeling in your basement.  Pulling the pin it isn't like a pure shift of gears on a bike.  It changes the boot (for better or for worse, depending on your perspective).

 

But it doesn't really matter - what matters is how the Spynes feel on the snow, in combination with the whole package.  I've never had a Spyne 110 on my feet (only a 130), but given that experience, I'd think that at 175# and a snowboard racing background you should be able to flex the 110s naturally.  A buddy who is at least 30lbs lighter than you are, but a strong, experienced skier is riding the Spyne 130s no problem.  So on paper, it seems like the shop was on the mark if the fit is correct.

 

I'd ski the boots a few times before having the shop make any adjustments to the shell - unless you fit perfectly out of the hole, you are probably going to need some final fit tweaks on the shells anyway.  Just try them, take good mental notes and avoid reaching conclusions outside of your area of expertise.  Focus on the sensations you feel and delivering precise feedback to the fitter that captures what you are feeling.  The fitter should sort it out from there.

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 

thanks Lewy, just to be clear I've skied the K2 Spynes twice now and the had skied the Lang 130's with bolts out three trimes before going back to Joe at the Crystal Mountain shop at Crystal.  The K2's fit my low volume foot better, but are much stiffer.  

 

I'll practice stopping and throwing my shins forward into the K2 boot this next time up to kind of "preflex" the boot if that makes sense.  

post #18 of 19
Sounds like you found your boots, so, this will be a mute point. Coming from snowboarding, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts about the Apex ski boots.
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by quattro_S4 View Post

Sounds like you found your boots, so, this will be a mute point. Coming from snowboarding, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts about the Apex ski boots.

The Apex's I looked at (MC-2?) were extremely expensive so I didn't look at them as an option but it's an intriguing idea.   My current snowboard boots are dual Boa designs with a very firm plastic shell inside of them.  I see no reason why they couldn't work as as a ski boot with a chassis around the boot to allow use with a DIN ski binding.

 

From my perspective the appeal of ski boots is that they are custom fittable.  I actually have far less foot discomfort in a low volume ski boot with a small punch out in the heel than in a snowboard boot with binding straps over it.  I have grown used to chronic foot pain while snowboarding over my life.  I've had many people people tell me it's resolvable, but I've never been able to get rid of it.  I can't find a well fitting snowboard boot that doesn't cause some level discomfort.

 

If the Apex boots fit you well go for it.  For me, I would be wary of pack out issues and hot spots that can't be resolved in a soft boot the way they can be with a conventional ski boot.

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