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Volkl RTM 81 or 84, and what length?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Looking to purchase a new ski, unsure which would be the better choice for me: Volkl RTM 81 or 84, and any comments on the Rossignol Experience 88?

 

Some background:

After a 25 year hiatus, I'm back to skiing since last year (December 2013) to introduce the kids to the sport.  Fast forward to today, the kids (pre-teens) are skiing double black diamonds and the terrain park after only 1 and a half full season of experience.

Myself, I ski about 5-8 hours each week, 5'10" (closer to 176cm) and weigh 185lbs (84kg) and athletic. My ability has progressed to an advanced level skiing black diamonds.  After spending a small fortune renting skis last year, I purchased Volkl RTM 77 (171cm) in February 2014 and have been skiing exclusively on them since.  I picked the RTM 77 due to the rocker since for me, felt more like ice skates having the tip and tail up (I use to play ice hockey for 30 years, skiing has replaced that sport) and the 77 is more forgiving since I am/was still perfecting my carving.  

 

Fast forward to today, when I have open slopes and I want to ski 'full throttle' or when I have to chase after the kids, the RTM 77 chatter and I feel unstable like I am going to wipe out on the slopes.  If I take it down a notch to cruising speed and simply enjoy the scenery, they are fantastic skis.  There are times I want to ski 'full throttle' and there are times I want to sit back and cruise with the significant other who refers to her skiing ability as "mommy cruise", but still goes down the single black diamond slopes.

 

So now the main question:  Do I replace the RTM 77 with RTM 81 or 84 and at what length?  I've read the the 84 can be a "beast" at slower speeds to manage and I am also hesitant to get the longer skis (176cm is the next size up and is my exact height) because I do like to make short quick turns especially if the slopes are narrow.

 

Skiing conditions:

North East - Mainly: NY, PA, and NJ.

Ski a significantly amount at night when the slopes are chopped up and iced over.

Spend about 90% of my time on 'groomed' slopes but do adventure into the trees/off trail time-to-time.

 

Any final thoughts on the Rossignol Experience 88 in comparison?

post #2 of 20
I love the current RTM series with full rocker. Be aware they are switching to camber next year so if you like the rocker grab a pair soon. As for length I would go 176 since you want to open it up and imo they are easy to dial back but some may disagree. I'd pick the 84 but I live out west and just find it more versatile. 81 might be a bit more appropriate out east but either choices are fine. The E88 is a good ski but has no metal and not as substantial as the RTM nor does it have quite the bite that the volkl's have. I always trust volkl edge grip. Always.
post #3 of 20
^^ Mr. Reverse camber. Lol. :-)
I wouldn't buy any current RTM. Let's see, you don't like the current profile, yet are considering going further down that road? Makes no sense. Get off that highway and stop buying bananas!.

Some of this could be technique also. A 171 banana boat (!) isn't the greatest though esp if it's not on edge. Length is actually difficult to say. In what you're on 176 would prob be better. In general 165 slalom, 174 or 176 for what you're looking for. I tend to ski short.

You've ice skated for years. So you have good control and feedback from your feet. Camber for on piste is where it's at. Maybe a little early rise but no bananas! Note that rocker is not camber. Camber is underfoot. There's simply no getting around the superior feel and performance of camber on piste.

3-D snow is a different animal.
You want ice skates go get a slalom ski 165 FIS or see below for a screamer.

Agree wit LZ on the Exp 88, bleh for what you want. Too wide too for crusty night hard stuff. (The 98 is a ripper though.)
I'd stay below 84. More low 70's to low 80's.

Or this ripper. 68mm ! - a long slalom 171. I'd get it in a second if I had some cash lying around. Not crazy about the tips but dealable.
http://www.epicski.com/t/131927/fs-skis-2013-rossignol-radical-9-sl-171-cm-i-box-plate-rossignol-axial2-world-cup-120#post_1820870

Go look at mogsie's posts about skis. He tries a lot of east oriented skis. He currently likes a Blizzard R power I think.

Prob will have to demo some things. Look out for deals in your width range and type. Better to go used and see what you like. No reason to pine for some next year Volkl either...
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

When I have the "bananas" on edge, they perform flawlessly even on pure ice (after the top layer of snow melts from the sun during the day then refreezes when the sun goes down).  The concern with the RTM 77 is the lack of proper sidewall and stability, they 'flap in the wind' when I push them beyond a leisurely cruise.  If I'm just coasting around the mountain they are peachy fine and have great turning radius and stability.  Now I am comparing them to ski shop rentals which are the cheapest skis (wet noodles) on the market that are traditional camber.  The fact the RTM have the tips and tails raised I rather like because I can easily more turn them - but then again, I haven't tried a higher end ski in another brand.

 

My significant other on the flip side has replaced her skis because they were too soft and as a result could not hold and edge, even though they were marketed as an advanced skis.  Simply replacing the skis fixed that problem over night in the same snow conditions, but she skis leisurely even down the black diamonds where as, their are runs I want to gun it as if competing in a race..usually because I'm chasing the kids or nobody is around and the opportunity presents itself.  Only when the slopes are crowded I have to dial back and go into cruise mode and the RTM 77 does a fantastic job their..hence why I am looking to stick with the brand/model.  I'm asking about the Rossi Experience because the sig-other moved to the Temptations and love them compared to her previous K2 which were a complete bust.  See this post for more details on that: http://www.epicski.com/t/132133/anything-wrong-with-shorter-skis#post_1826068

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Agree wit LZ on the Exp 88, bleh for what you want. Too wide too for crusty night hard stuff. (The 98 is a ripper though.)
I'd stay below 84. More low 70's to low 80's.

Or this ripper. 68mm ! - a long slalom 171. I'd get it in a second if I had some cash lying around. Not crazy about the tips but dealable.
http://www.epicski.com/t/131927/fs-skis-2013-rossignol-radical-9-sl-171-cm-i-box-plate-rossignol-axial2-world-cup-120#post_1820870

 

One additional item, I would like to stay with a 80-88 waist for the 15% of the time I do go off trail.  The 77 waist on the RTM can do some powder, but it does it like "bleh".  I'm hoping by going to an 80-88 waist it will suck less than what I have today, not looking for outstanding performance, just looking for it to suck less for that little time I do decide to jump off the groomers to a fresh trail then back onto the groomers.

post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

^^ Mr. Reverse camber. Lol. :-)
I wouldn't buy any current RTM. Let's see, you don't like the current profile, yet are considering going further down that road? Makes no sense. Get off that highway and stop buying bananas!.

Some of this could be technique also. A 171 banana boat (!) isn't the greatest though esp if it's not on edge. Length is actually difficult to say. In what you're on 176 would prob be better. In general 165 slalom, 174 or 176 for what you're looking for. I tend to ski short.

You've ice skated for years. So you have good control and feedback from your feet. Camber for on piste is where it's at. Maybe a little early rise but no bananas! Note that rocker is not camber. Camber is underfoot. There's simply no getting around the superior feel and performance of camber on piste.

3-D snow is a different animal.
You want ice skates go get a slalom ski 165 FIS or see below for a screamer.

Agree wit LZ on the Exp 88, bleh for what you want. Too wide too for crusty night hard stuff. (The 98 is a ripper though.)
I'd stay below 84. More low 70's to low 80's.

Or this ripper. 68mm ! - a long slalom 171. I'd get it in a second if I had some cash lying around. Not crazy about the tips but dealable.
http://www.epicski.com/t/131927/fs-skis-2013-rossignol-radical-9-sl-171-cm-i-box-plate-rossignol-axial2-world-cup-120#post_1820870

Go look at mogsie's posts about skis. He tries a lot of east oriented skis. He currently likes a Blizzard R power I think.

Prob will have to demo some things. Look out for deals in your width range and type. Better to go used and see what you like. No reason to pine for some next year Volkl either...

Yeah I do tend to evangelize Volkl's ELP but I also try to make my biases clear :) It's not for everybody and apparently even Volkl feels this way too. For the way I ski, camber makes little to no difference usually. I set higher edge angles and like turny skis. I engage the outside edge pretty aggressively. I've also learned how to smear, slarve and utitlize the rocker's playfulness when the ski is flat and running them straight does not bother me in the least but I'm not bombing super steep runouts at mach 5 either. I also appreciate how they perform in 3d and mixed snow which is an advantage they have imo.

 

Epic doesn't seem to like the ELP rocker very much, and that's okay, I just try to give another voice. For example I ride my mantras down the fall line of some very firm steeps with total confidence. Most people think that's crazy on a full rocker ski, but the ELP is so flat it makes it not just possible but very fun!

 

All that said many excellent traditionally cambered skis out there and life goes on, I wouldn't stop skiing if ELP went away! You can 100% betcha I'll be demoing the new RTM's, the new Monsters, etc.. when I get a chance. May even buy one!

 

In the end, the best suggestion I can give to the OP is demo demo demo! We can all give suggestions, and that's fine, but there's a much better chance he'll end up on a ski he'll like if he demos.

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

The problem with "demo demo demo" is, in my area the manufactures don't bother the area ski mountains because they are not 'ski resorts' so the only way I get to demo is with my own money.

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Zest View Post
 

 

In the end, the best suggestion I can give to the OP is demo demo demo! We can all give suggestions, and that's fine, but there's a much better chance he'll end up on a ski he'll like if he demos.

 

The only issue with "demo demo demo", are the manufactures do not visit the local area mountains in my area because they are not large 'ski resorts', therefore the only way I get to demo is with my own money.  Since I'm happy with the RTM 77 at cruising speed - back to my OP/question is the consensus RTM 81 @ 176cm or 171cm given my height of exactly 176cm and weight of 185lbs?  Also confirming the Rossi E84 or E88 are out since they have no metal and are only wood cores. 

post #9 of 20

The length is a tough call. You could go either. (Obviously) Since you ski a lot at night, I'm thinking the shorter.  But I'm as tossed as you on that one. That is one thing to test on .....bleh....demo. Or get something cheap used.

post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 

The answer I was afraid of.  Too bad Volkl does not publish a sizing chart like Rossignol, would have made things a lot easier (below)

 

If I use the Rossignol chart as a baseline (I know I know, different ski, different characteristics), my weight puts me into the Volkl 176cm (178cm Rossignol) length.

I classify myself as a  Level 7 skier, trying to progress to Level 8 (slowly).  Problem is I can't push my current skis any harder therefore can't get any better.

 

 

http://media.rossignol.com//international/sizes/Alpine-Ski-1415.pdf

 

 

ALL MOUNTAIN

 

(Experience / Temptation)

Intermediate = Your height - 5cm

Confirmed = Your height

Expert = Your height +5cm

post #11 of 20

That chart is almost useless. Length is more a function of your weight, what characteristics you're looking for in a ski, how the ski is constructed, and then lastly your height. Just IMO.

 

There's a pair of RTM 84's here locally which will be getting a nice fat price drop soon. I'm going to pick up a pair of the full rocker version to have in my quiver before they change and I'm going with the 176's. I could easily ski the 181's but I'm particularly wanting the shorter radius and length for the spot this ski will fit in my quiver which is as a more playful, dynamic and nimble frontside ski. I can still open them pretty good though not as fast as my mantras at 184 / 25m TR.

 

It all depends on what YOU want the ski to do. Don't be afraid to go a little short if you think you want them they are plenty stout enough. Don't be afraid to go long if you want the extra stability at speed.

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Zest View Post
 

That chart is almost useless. Length is more a function of your weight, what characteristics you're looking for in a ski, how the ski is constructed, and then lastly your height. Just IMO.

 

There's a pair of RTM 84's here locally which will be getting a nice fat price drop soon. I'm going to pick up a pair of the full rocker version to have in my quiver before they change and I'm going with the 176's. I could easily ski the 181's but I'm particularly wanting the shorter radius and length for the spot this ski will fit in my quiver which is as a more playful, dynamic and nimble frontside ski. I can still open them pretty good though not as fast as my mantras at 184 / 25m TR.

 

It all depends on what YOU want the ski to do.

Here is my situation, each week I ski about 3-4 hours during the day.  The slopes are packed with people therefore you can only leisurely cruise with quick turns due to congestion with the occasion the black diamonds may be empty therefore I can let it lose but once the black dumps you into the greens below I have to hit the breaks.  In addition to that I ski 2-3 hours each week at night - the slope conditions are crud, crud, and more chopped up crud and complete ice underneath.  The plus side to night skiing are the slopes are empty and that is when I just give it "full throttle".

post #13 of 20

Well you've been skiing on 171's?

Have you demoed 176's?

There's really no answer. Other than try 176's day and at night.

If you were west it probably be 176. Here I'd tend to say 171. Esp since most time is during day for you when it's crowded.

But....if you're wanting to go straighter turns, go longer.

To make things worse, some models are quite different in different sizes. Haven't heard about this in the RTM series.

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Well you've been skiing on 171's?
Have you demoed 176's?

Yes I am currently in 171cm. I am unable to demo skis because the 3 local mountains in the area are not resorts therefore don't bring the manufacturers.

My only fear is moving to a stiffer AND longer ski at the same time, but at same time don't want to cut myself short neither since these skis are not cheap. Also, these skis will take abuse, I can see how much a beating my 1.5 season old RTM 77 have taken already. (Waxed and sharpened every 8th ski day)

(I was even ran over by a snowboarder, he ran right over my skis while he crossed the mountain blindly - he was in a rush crossing 2 trails to get to the terrain park from top of mountain)
post #15 of 20

When I say demo I mean from a store where you pay.

Honestly, the other way to solve dilemmas like this is to buy used skis. You can get some very good skis. Then if you don't like it you just sell it again and you won't loose much at all or nothing depending on how much it was. On this site ski/binding under $300 sell well. You could have a $450 basically new ski/binding and a $200 one run over buy a truck and pretty bad and the 200 would probably sell. -slight exagg, but pretty true.

post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 

I took the plunge and purchased the Volkl RTM 81 in 171cm length last night, then drove straight to the mountain and skied them hard..store to slopes in 30 minutes after purchase.  In summary I went from a pair of 'ripe bananas' to a pair of 'green just picked from the tree bananas' (tipping my hat toward Tog for that analogy). The store salesman must have been Tog in real life,  he reiterated all of his points minus the bananas analogy, especially the east/west coast in sizing skis.

 

Per the store salesman, since the 171cm was almost 2 inches above my eyebrows, he indicated that is the right size for east coast advanced skiing and only recommended the 176cm which came to the top of my head if I was skiing out west or if the eastern slopes are empty due to the wide turning radius.  I won't go into details here about how they performed, I will write a separate posting on comparing the 2014 RTM 77 to the 2015 RTM 81, but I will say..those skies gripped the hard stuff on edge better than when I grab my significant other's rear.  All fun/pun intended, these skies fixed all the issues I was having with the 77, and as it turns out, I do prefer a wider waist ski (80+).  Even though the wider waist ski is slightly harder to initiate the turn, overall I felt much more confident and pleasurable skiing experience with the RTM 81.

 

Thanks Lemon Zest and Tog for your feedback.

post #17 of 20

Glad to hear you settled on the right size and your initial impressions were very positive. This is the last year the RTM is Full Rocker so enjoy 'em while they last. The 77 & 80 or softer, geared more to intermediate skis. The 81 and 84 are stout rippers. Sounds like you found the cure for what ailed ya. One thing I've learned to trust over the years is that tenacious Volkl edgegrip... at least on their higher end skis. Volkl may play with rocker and uvo and camber and footle about with all sorts of designs but the day that signature bite is lost is the day I know Volkl is truly no more.

post #18 of 20
Alright a purchase!
Congratulations!
post #19 of 20
Congrats! Glad it sounds like you like them. I just saw this thread and came in to give you my impressions, since I just bought a pair a month ago but you've already pulled the trigger. I just came back to skiing after 20 years and am the same height but a little lighter than you. I had no chance to demo before buying and after narrowing it down to two choices, ended up finding a good deal on the RTM 81s so got them. I love them. Got the 171 and no issues, stability is fine and grip is amazing. Given how they perform/respond, I think 176 would probably not be a huge difference, to an experienced skier, except perhaps in the bumps. Enjoy!!
post #20 of 20

Another RTM 81 owner here also the 171.  I and 5'9" and weigh around 190.  I find the length perfect for my mid west hills.  Every time I take them out I am more impressed and I had been a Volkl fan for a while.  This is the first I have heard that the no camber is going away.  I was skeptical at first when I first skied Volkls full rocker on the original 84 & 80.  I was coming off of AC30 Wideride and did not care for the 80's and was mildly impressed with the 84 thinking it was too wide for what I like locally.  The next year the 81 came out, read several great reviews and bought them.  No regret on the purchase and how the ski performs in a wide variety of turns in all conditions.  Loving this ski!

 

Rick G

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