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Best intermediate skis for eastern hard pack?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I've been skiing about 3x a year in Quebec and NY, for about a decade. I would say I am an intermediate skier who excels on hard pack, groomed, and icy surfaces PROVIDED the terrain isn't too steep and the speed is controlled.

 

Currently own a pair of Head Lite Thangs in 146 cms (107-65-97)I am 5'3", 145 lbs. For what it's worth, you can barely see the metal edge on my ski (which, incidentally, works really well on gradual terrain at slow speeds).

 

I have begun taking lessons on a hill that is quite steep, even on the green runs. I am REALLY struggling on the steeper runs and have taken a number of falls on the hard pack at fast speeds because my instructor says my ski edges aren't biting into the snow. It's been a miserable experience.

 

I've been looking at upgrading to one of the following intermediate skis:

 

- Head Mya 3 (119-71-104)

- TechnoPro Safine Prestige (120-74-104)

- Salomon Enduro LX 750 (125-76-105)

 

Will a new ski make a difference or should I just keep working on technique? My classmates are progressing well, but I am not.

 

Any advice?

post #2 of 11

If your issues are occurring during the lesson and the instructor is not noticing any particular technique issues, then I would recommend either a good tune on the edges, or buying some new skis.  Do any of the skis you have listed have wood core w/a metal layer?  That type of construction is usually quite good for hardpack and or icy runs.  Also, go for a more traditional square-ended tail vs a twin-tip type.

 

good luck.

post #3 of 11
What boots do you have? Unless you have a fairly stiff boot edging on steep hard snow isn't going to be easy.
post #4 of 11
That sounds frustrating, @SheepishP. I like @clink83's advice, because IMO boots are the most critical piece of ski gear you'll own, but if your ski edges are so thin from repeated tuning or grinding that they can't be sharpened again, you're just going to need new skis. So did your instructor say the lack of grip was because of your gear? Or was it unclear whether she was talking about your skis or your technique?

That being said (and asked), if you don't have a good snug boot fit, you're not going to get everything you can out of those new edges anyway. In that case, I'd suggest investing in boots, even if that means renting skis for a while, because good boots on rental skis are miles above good skis under sloppy boots.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hrbngr View Post

If your issues are occurring during the lesson and the instructor is not noticing any particular technique issues, then I would recommend either a good tune on the edges, or buying some new skis.  Do any of the skis you have listed have wood core w/a metal layer?  That type of construction is usually quite good for hardpack and or icy runs.  Also, go for a more traditional square-ended tail vs a twin-tip type.

good luck.

Thanks for the advice! The Salomon Enduro 800 has this type of construction, and someone at a pro shop suggested it. My only hesitation is that is unisex and described as a more advanced ski. It's a good length tho- 147 cms

Another option is Rossignol Tempation 75, which is popular at the ski shops here. They are available in 152 cms.

Just had my current skis sharpened and waxed, and still they are a menace on steep, icy runs.
post #6 of 11
If you like Head skis, the Mya 5 is a good ski... I am also a big fan of the Élan SLC. It makes a great learning ski... Lots of shape, no metal, easy to bend, full sandwich construction. I believe the Mya 5 is similar in terms of construction. The Fischer progressor 800 is also another good option with similar characteristics.

My gf owns the SLC and an older Progressor 8+. She prefers the SLC, but really likes both skis.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Boots are Salomon, bought new last season. They are a beginner boot with a 55 flex rating, bulky but actually very stiff. I can feel my shins bruising when I ski the steeps.

As for the metal edge on my skis, they are barely a mm. My instructor was shocked to see me skidding sideways down the hill without any effort. He keeps reminding me to stay low in the turns, but is noticing that the edges are catching on the ice when im coming down the steep sections.

I'm frustrated because after years of progress, i can't hack the diamonds.
post #8 of 11
There is your answer, it's your boots. Time to upgrade! They arent bruising your shins because they are stuff, they are bruising your shins because they don't fit well.
post #9 of 11
Bruising? Do you need to crank down the buckles for your boots to feel right? Is there room in the cuff, or is it evenly snug all the way around? How well is your forefoot and heel held down? Nobody likes to be asked these things, especially if their boots are just a year old, but it's worth knowing. There are some boot fit problems that can be improved without spending much money, and if you start your research now you might stumble on the perfect boot for your foot for a ridiculous price on a President's Day sale.

I haven't really shopped for frontside skis, but in general I try not to get too intimidated by manufacturer hype. I just scanned a few reviews and product pages on the Enduro 800, and it doesn't sound like the Enduro is an advanced ski, more intermediate-to-advanced-intermediate, and it might be a good step up from your Heads without getting into something that requires expert input.

I match your stats, and my first skis were 153s. I knew they were a little bit short, but it took a few years before I felt they were really holding me back, and I now get a lot more out of 163s and 164s. You may not want to jump that far, but I'd suggest moving up to the 150s to help bridge the gap. It'll take a day or two to adjust, but a few more centimeters will add stability and edge bite that you'll come to appreciate.

But do think about your boots. The more accurately your boots transmit your movements to your skis, the easier it's going to be to tell whether what you're doing is working or not. With our dimensions, we'll crush a 55 flex boot in any brand; my guess is that the reason they seem stiff is that you're actually hitting the front of the cuff with your shin instead of flexing the cuff by applying steady pressure against the entire tongue, and pressure is much more precise than crushing. Honestly, my skiing jumped a level or two the minute I clicked in with snug boots with the right forward lean and stiffness. You'd be better off with the right boot on bargain bin used rental skis than with boots that punish your body and technique even if you're on the most perfect skis in the world.
post #10 of 11
65 flex is much too soft. At your size you should be in an 80 or 90 flex. Unfortuntely, from what you're written, I think you need new skis and new boots. If you can only afford one, get boots. Boots that properly fit your feet and are the correct flex for you is the easiest and quickest skiing improvement you can get. But, you need to deal with someone who knows how to fit boots. Go to the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum, read the "Who's Who" and see if there is a boot fitter who's close to you. If there isn't one listed, ask and someone will be able to recommend a fitter. Trust the fitter to recommend the right boot for your feet and believe what they tell you about how it should fit. If it is comfy out of the box, its too big. Our goal at the shop where I work is for the customer to think we put them into a boot one size too small. The volume inside the liner will only get bigger over time, so it needs to feel almost too small to start out.
post #11 of 11

From the comments and responses, it sounds like you have a number of potential issues:  Technique, ski design, ski edges, boot fit, boot flex, etc...  And, it could be one or several of those things causing the problem...

 

Perhaps it might be good to whittle down some of the possible issues through process of elimination.  You might start by renting or demoing a pair of skis and/or boots and see if they make any difference.   If you are still having the same issues on different skis, then it points to other potential causes such as boots or technique.  Perhaps your instructor could suggest some options for renting or demoing a different pair of skis and what you should be trying...

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