Me: 5’10” 165lbs 52 YO skied for 26 years Home Area: Copper Mountain and Arapahoe Basin
Level: Sometimes I’m a very good skier and sometimes I’m not or as my best friend likes to say “You’re a head case David”. I almost never get in the back seat but I do tend to overpressure the tips mostly by folding at the waist due to a combination of factors not the least of which is a weak core. That and rotating the shoulders when I get intimidated are my consistent bad habits.
Terrain choices: everything but my least favorite terrain is groomers
Skis I own and use:
Blizzard The One 177 (98% of the time I am on these skis) looking to replace next year
Elan 1010 183 (haven’t been on but once or twice in the last two years)
Blizzard 8.1 Magnum 176 (only ski on WROD at the beginning of the season)
I focused on skis that I might want to replace my Ones with. Basically that means all mountain skis in the 90ish to 108ish range but mostly in the 95-100 range.
Stockli Stormrider 95 183 – I can’t possibly gush enough to convey how much I loved this ski. Silky smooth and powerful, huge sweet spot, no speed limit, felt supremely comfortable on this ski in every situation. The odds of this ski ending up on my feet are very high despite the high cost of entry. All I can say is wow and only one (well two) other skis in the test came anywhere close to this.
Line Supernatural 100 179 – I skied the Prophet 100 as my everyday ski for the years 2007 to 2011. This is the replacement for the Prophet in their lineup. This was a fun ski with decent sized sweet spot but under me was a little nervous at high speeds in the crud. I could ski this ski everyday but why when there are better choices.
Kastle MX98 174 – Wow what a beast of ski even in the 174. Ate everything I could throw at it and laughed at my stick man legs. It was better in the bumps than I expected but required constant attention or I ended up on my backJ. My mind tends to wander when skiing so this is not on my list for an everyday ski but if I just wanted to bomb big open faces or the front side this ski would be. A tractor of a ski albeit a very fast tractor but a tractor nonetheless and I mean that in a good way.
Nordica Enforcer 177 – Nordica gets extra points for building a ski in my perfect size! I loved this ski. It was a very easy to drive ski but rewarded aggression. Not as silky smooth as the stormriders but a very nice ski. Took it through the trees on Lower enchanted and had a huge grin on my face. It had a little tip flap going on but it was barely noticeable and didn’t bother me at all. This is a definite maybe as a replacement for my Ones.
Nordica NRGY 100 177 - I skied this ski with @Drahtguy down the bumps on Hallelujah and I felt the same way he did. I’ll stop at it just didn’t fit my style and wasn’t much fun but it might fit yours.
Blizzard Brahma 180 – I loved this ski. It is a damp powerful all mountain ripper. Not quite enough float in the soft stuff to fit my daily needs but close. If you tend toward the narrower end of the spectrum then this ski could be your quiver of one.
Blizzard Bonafide 173 – The 180’s were out so I took the little brothers out. I’ve only been on a Bonafide once before back when they first came out in a 180. I didn’t like them then and I didn’t like them any better this time around. I couldn’t tell you why but I just don’t feel connected to the snow on these skis they feel just like planks on my feet.
Fischer Motive 95 180 –See Bonafide above…I did not like this ski..plank with no snow feel. I know that puts me in the minority on these last two skis that everyone else seemed to like but it is what it is.
Kastle FX95HP 174 – Yowser what a ski! I’m not sure if I liked this or the Stormrider 95 more. Huge sweet spot, no speed limit and huge fun everywhere. I wanted to try this ski in the longer size and in the nonmetal version but I’d come back to the tent and they wouldn’t have them in so I just kept this ski for 4 laps (they were very fast lapsJ). I never did get on the bigger metal version but I did get on the nonmetal version on day 2. This ski and the Stockli were by far my favorites in the test.
Volk Mantra 177 – I sort of liked this ski last spring at A-Basin in the spring snow but today it was a big meh. It was the last ski in long day and I only hit groomers on it but couldn’t hook it up and it just felt wrong.
Wow that was a lot of skiing and my legs are toast
Kastle FX95 174 – Started the day off with the non-metal version of this ski. Can I get both? I didn’t feel you gave up much in front side performance compared to the metal version and you gained some suppleness in the bumps. I’d need to demo these two back to back and in the bigger size to make a final decision on these skis but along with the Stockli’s are at the top of my list as a quiver of one replacement for my Blizzards.
K2 Pinnacle 108 183 – I swapped out with Phil in the middle of the run to these from the Kastle. I only got these for the bottom part of a green groomer but I liked what I got. These are too wide for an everyday ski in my view but that’s been true of every 105 or greater I’ve ever been on so it’s no knock on these skis. I was tempted to try them again but just too wide for me.
Scott Sagebrush 181 – This was a fun playful ski that I could live with as a daily driver. It didn’t wow me though. I felt it was very similar to the Supernatural 100 in feel. I liked the graphics on this ski probably the best of any ski I got on but who cares about that.
Head Monster 98 (I think I got on the 170 but I didn’t record it for some reason) - This was a bomber ski even in the short size and hooked very nicely with a good snow feel. I found a huge powder stash in the trees on Upper Enchanted to run it through and it played very nicely in the soft stuff. Not quite as supple as the Kastle or Stockli but a serious fun ski with a lot of pop and top end. I need to try the next size up but my guess would be that ski would be a little more in the bumps than I would like.
Atomic Advantage 100 180 – The ski was fine but I do not like the feel of the carbon matrix in the tips and tails. It imparted a very sudden jarring feel to the ski. I was able to make it do everything I wanted it do but never enjoyed it.
Stockli Stormrider Motion 100 174 – I was looking to ski the Stormrider 95 in the shorter version but it was out so I took this women’s ski out. Not nearly the ski the 95 is with a little tip chatter going on and not quite as supple.
Liberty Helix 181 – My least favorite ski of the test. I did not like the bamboo core feel and a little too wide for my tastes.
Kastle BMX 105 HP and non HP back to back in 181 – I liked both these skis and the more forgiving nonmetal version almost tempts me to step up to a 1 O something ski. The HP version would be a handful for me in the bumps but the regular version would be just fine. I just don’t think the extra float would be worth it vs. the FX95 in the bumps where I spend a lot more time than I do in powder. If was more of straight liner and jumped over 2 or 3 bumps at a time then this ski would rip as an everyday ski. It carved very nicely and smoothly and was way less work on the front side than any ski over 100 that I’ve ever been on. They both have that smooth, powerful feel of the other Kastle models I got on.
Dynastar 2.0 Cham 97 177 – It took me about 10 turns to find the sweet spot on this ski but once I did it was great fun. It was absolute blast through tight trees in lower enchanted and easy to ski in the bumps. It did feel to me to have a speed limit but it was pretty high.
Holy Cow that was a lot fun
Thanks a whole bunch Phil/Tricia for inviting me!
All in all here’s how categorize the skis in terms of ranking or preference
If money were no object
Stormrider 95 or the Kastle FX95 (either version) - I’d need to do some more demoing to pick from these 3 skis but I could happily ski any of the 3 albeit much poorer.
Next Tier roughly in order
Cham 97\Head Monster 98
BMX105 – only because of the width
Blizzard Brahma – again because of width
Not buying any of the other skis
I’m leaning toward ponying up for the top tier but with 2 kids ski racing and all that entails I may end up on one of my second tier skis.