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Trends in wider "Western" skis for 2016. Where you do fall in?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Demoing and checking out skis at the show for 2016, the all-mountain, everyday "Western ski" between 85-105 wide, depending where and how you ski, has moved in 2 different directions.  Definitely very interesting to see the 2 trends for the coming year.  Skis seem to be falling into 2 camps, and many companies are making both!  Hybrid skis (such as the FX94 from Kastle) have fallen away somewhat. 

 

1) traditionally cambered, perhaps an touch of early rise tip, laterally quite stiff

2) tip taper, quite a bit of early rise, and possible tail taper.  Softer tip and tail flex

 

Thoughts?  2 different types of skis for 2 different types of terrain?  Or rather, 2 different types of skis for 2 different types of skiers?  I am leaning toward the latter.  

 

Examples in the first group that come to mind: Head Monster 88/98, Kastle MX88/98, Fischer Motive 86/95, Elan Amphibio 88xti, Rossignol Experience 88/100

 

The second group: K2 Pinnacle 95, Dynastar Powertrack 89, Nordica NRGy, Head Venturi 95, Stockli Stormrider 88/95, Kastle FX85/95 and BMX105, Rossignol Sin 7, Fischer Ranger 88/98/108

 

I know there are a bunch more I am missing, feel free to add models and thoughts. 


Edited by dawgcatching - 2/12/15 at 10:49am
post #2 of 17
Probably a lot to type of skier. I demo'd the Sollie Rocker2 100 186 cm yesterday and absolutely loved it, but this was with 4-8" of fresh so fairly ideal for that ski.

I'd pair this with something like a FX85 and be covered 99% of the time. Of course, I'd pair it with nothing and be happy...

The Rocker2 100 is out on the edge of your second category, but it is an area that makes a ton of sense to me: focusing on shape, etc. without automatically blowing out waist width proportionately. I hope we see more of that. Soft snow biased ski here, but not a beast for other days...like family days...



post #3 of 17

I think the 83mm Head Instinct fits your second group.  Definitely cambered with a bit of early rise and lightweight.  Width is, so far anyway, limited to 83mm, but this is a ski capable of handling at least 6-8" of powder with no trouble.  I would really like to see Head introduce something wider in this series.  The Joy series is a similar ski and available in 110mm waist.  Maybe next season?

post #4 of 17
I don't know that the Nrgy 100 fits into #2... It's pretty much smack in the middle of 1 and 2. I got a pair because I wasn't sure what binding I'd mount, alpine, tech, or telemark. It's one of the rare skis that would be suitable for any of the three.

In general, there seems to be a trend toward refined muscle (MX, Monsters, and the like), and the all mountain ski 'lite'. Skill sets, skier mass, days per season, general fitness level, and local venue all play a role in the proverbial fork in the road.
post #5 of 17

Interesting. Wonder if you got your groups flip-flopped. I'd put the Sin 7 into #1 for sure, and also - more controversial, I realize - the new Stocklis. By 2012, the Stockli Stormrider 95 (the green/white/black top sheet) had quite a bit more front rocker than anything Kastle made, or has made through the current season. The more recent Stocklis continued the trend; the SR 100 has a ton more front rocker than the BMX98 or FX94. Moreover, I see flex pattern as more relevant than absolute stiffness, and Stocklis since 2012 have been poster children for relatively softer tips and tails compared to the mid section. Current Stocklis flex noticeably softer at the tip and tail than comparable Kastles, but are similar or stiffer in the middle. (Again cannot speak to 2016 models.) So IMO Stocklis are clearly #1 category by your criteria. 

 

As are Sin 7's, I think, both in terms of the flex pattern (similar to the Soul 7) and the pronounced long low front rocker. So again, #1. I hand flexed some NRGY 100's in a shop the other day and was surprised at how soft the tips were, and they have decent length early rise. So again, I'd say #1.

 

And I'd put all 2015 Kastles into the second group; they're very traditional, have very mild early rise, fairly stiff tips (don't be fooled by the cutouts, the two sheets of metal wrap around them) and above 70 mm are beefier than anything at the same width that Stockli makes right now. :eek Perhaps the new FX's fit better in the first category, but the 2016 MX's are unchanged and so for sure still #2. Have not seen the new Heads, but cannot imagine they are a good fit for #1. So maybe they'll come to define #2. For a while...

 

Conclusion: Those here who like traditional camber, mild to no early rise skis should stock up. Because I think that #2 is a dying category.  I'd predict that by 2017, it will have no entries over 80 mm. Period. Yes, typical consumers- and most here need not apply because we often own more than one ski, churn regularly, and ski waaay too much - will be wanting narrower (e.g., 85-95 mm) models that can handle heavy chop and crud but are solid on ice and irregular snow. Which will be defining most winters most places most of the time. But they'll want these to be forgiving. Solution: Your #1 category, but with center beef compensated by low mass softer rockered tips and tails. 

post #6 of 17
Beyond, after reading your post, I'm thoroughly confused. Then I re-read dawg's post and am even more confused.

Is this a bit more clear, or am I still lost at the bakery?

1) tip taper, quite a bit of early rise, and possible tail taper. Softer tip and tail flex: Nrgy's, K2 Pinnacle, PT 89, Sin 7, New Enforcer, etc...

2) traditionally cambered, perhaps an touch of early rise tip, laterally quite stiff: Old Mantra, E-98/100/88, MX series, current FX, Head Rev, Nordica F/A series, most cheater race and piste carvers (super shapes et al), etc...

I guess between your posts, there's a lot of confusion about which ski is in which group. If my list is more accurate, then I'd say there's plenty of room for both to flourish in the market. Generally, unless it's fresh snow, I prefer #2 though there are some notable exceptions. smile.gif
post #7 of 17
I think my K2 AMP Rictor 82 XTi's are in camp 2 and I love them. A ton of camber, great edge hold, but floaty enough for the slush we're having. Would NOT use them in the trees, though, too stiff.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
 

Interesting. Wonder if you got your groups flip-flopped. I'd put the Sin 7 into #1 for sure, and also - more controversial, I realize - the new Stocklis. By 2012, the Stockli Stormrider 95 (the green/white/black top sheet) had quite a bit more front rocker than anything Kastle made, or has made through the current season. The more recent Stocklis continued the trend; the SR 100 has a ton more front rocker than the BMX98 or FX94. Moreover, I see flex pattern as more relevant than absolute stiffness, and Stocklis since 2012 have been poster children for relatively softer tips and tails compared to the mid section. Current Stocklis flex noticeably softer at the tip and tail than comparable Kastles, but are similar or stiffer in the middle. (Again cannot speak to 2016 models.) So IMO Stocklis are clearly #1 category by your criteria. 

 

As are Sin 7's, I think, both in terms of the flex pattern (similar to the Soul 7) and the pronounced long low front rocker. So again, #1. I hand flexed some NRGY 100's in a shop the other day and was surprised at how soft the tips were, and they have decent length early rise. So again, I'd say #1.

 

And I'd put all 2015 Kastles into the second group; they're very traditional, have very mild early rise, fairly stiff tips (don't be fooled by the cutouts, the two sheets of metal wrap around them) and above 70 mm are beefier than anything at the same width that Stockli makes right now. :eek Perhaps the new FX's fit better in the first category, but the 2016 MX's are unchanged and so for sure still #2. Have not seen the new Heads, but cannot imagine they are a good fit for #1. So maybe they'll come to define #2. For a while...

 

Conclusion: Those here who like traditional camber, mild to no early rise skis should stock up. Because I think that #2 is a dying category.  I'd predict that by 2017, it will have no entries over 80 mm. Period. Yes, typical consumers- and most here need not apply because we often own more than one ski, churn regularly, and ski waaay too much - will be wanting narrower (e.g., 85-95 mm) models that can handle heavy chop and crud but are solid on ice and irregular snow. Which will be defining most winters most places most of the time. But they'll want these to be forgiving. Solution: Your #1 category, but with center beef compensated by low mass softer rockered tips and tails. 

 

The new Monster lineup is very traditional, as is the new Elan 88xti revamp.

 

Scott

post #9 of 17

Hey Dawg,

I'm with Markojp.  Do you have the examples lined up right with the "camps"?  I have not been on them, but from my reading, I would have thought the MX 88/98 and Rossi 88/100 were in the "2) traditionally cambered, perhaps an touch of early rise tip, laterally quite stiff"  camp.  I wonder if you were typing too fast and lost track of "camp 1" and "camp 2".

post #10 of 17

Yeah, I think Dawg might have his examples mixed up.   I think of them as "serious" and "not-serious" skis.   I like them both.  

 

It seems pretty obvious to use to a more serious, stiffer, cambered, narrower ski when it's firm (90mm Steadfast in my quiver).  Then use a less serious, softer, more rockered, wider ski when it's soft (110mm Sickle for me).

 

100mm is where I go back and forth between liking serious and not-serious skis.   I don't own anything 100mm now, but have skied both the old Mantra and S3's a lot.   I liked the S3 for leftovers and soft bumps, but the Mantra for crud and spring slush.   Not sure if there is a right answer, as no ski is ideal for all conditions.

 

I've been thinking that people believe they favor one category over the other because of the difficulty switching between the two.  It's always a bit of a shock switching from serious and non-serious skis, and vise versa.   The type you switch to just feels wrong for a run or two, until you adjust and reap the benefits of being on the right ski for the conditions... and I'm really comfortable switching between skis after having a demo pass for many years.  I think many folks never really take the time to get comfortable on the type of ski they are not used to and, unfortunately, often end up being on the wrong ski type for conditions as a result.

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
 

Interesting. Wonder if you got your groups flip-flopped.


My thoughts exactly.  Regardless of the grouping, I look for traditional camber, a little early rise in the tip, lateral stiffness and a slightly rounded tail.


Edited by gregmerz - 2/12/15 at 9:59am
post #12 of 17

I need 2 pair in group 1, with chevron grinds pls, for eastern slush pls. 


Edited by cantunamunch - 2/12/15 at 11:03am
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

Fixed!

post #14 of 17
I am firmly in the first camp. I like the feel of a traditional cambered ski though some tip rocker is fine as it adds some soft snow and bump versatility. And for me this wider ski has to work on eastern conditions as well as on the annual trip to the Rockies, and the first group does this better.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

 

1) traditionally cambered, perhaps an touch of early rise tip, laterally quite stiff

2) tip taper, quite a bit of early rise, and possible tail taper.  Softer tip and tail flex

 

Thoughts?  2 different types of skis for 2 different types of terrain?  Or rather, 2 different types of skis for 2 different types of skiers?  I am leaning toward the latter.  

 

IMO, it's 2 different types for 2 different types of skiers.  That isn't to say that people can't appreciate skis from both categories, but I feel like most people I talk to tend to lean one way or the other.

 

I tend to prefer skis in group 2, and I recognize that's mostly due to my personal preferences.  I have definitely had fun on certain group 1 skis in certain conditions, but at the end of the day I'd rather have a group 2 ski on my feet most of the time.

post #16 of 17

Where would skis like the Bonafide and new Enforcer fit?  Group 1.5?

 

 I've traditionally been in Group 1, although I'm starting to feel I'd like to expand my range into Group 2 for better all-rounders and less "on the gas" all the time skiing.

post #17 of 17

I would say both are correct.  Different types of skiers AND different skis for the same skier depending on conditions.

 

The first is the firmer side of all mountain, the second is the softer side of all mountain.  I have both types and each serves a very particular purpose for me.  I would put the Bonafide in the first group - it has taper but it's fairly minimal compared to what you see across the market.

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