There was a mini demo day at Big Sky today. We had Atomic, Nordica and Salomon reps there and Lone Mountain Sports also brought out some Blizzards and Rossis. The following is solely my opinion.
Me: 5'7", 150 pounds, 70 years old, level 8(?)
Conditions: 3-5" fell yesterday on top of the rock hard base
Atomic Vantage 90 cti, 184cm. This was a bit long for me but I gave it a try anyway. I really think Atomic hit a home run with this ski. Its pretty light and very nimble and a lot of fun to ski. I found a few trees with sketchy snow and it was good, Bumps were OK, but the conditions today really called for a serious bump ski not an all mountain ski. The rounded turned up tail helps it release easily into the next turn. Where I could find soft snow and there were a few places if you know where to look, this ski was superb. It likes to be driven and the harder you drive it the better it responds. I laid down some pretty serious high speed GS turns and couldn't find a speed limit. If my Steadfasts disintegrated tomorrow, this would be the replacement.
Blizzard Brahma, 177cm. Very nice ski, excellent edge grip on the concrete and very stable at speed. I enjoyed skiing this one.
Blizzard Bonafide, 180cm vs Nordica Enforcer, 177cm. I tried these two back to back on the same three runs. For me, there is a big difference. I knew what to expect with the Enforcer since I spent quite a bit of time on the prototype last Friday. This was the production model and it was no different, rock solid, quick, terrific edge grip, good on or in just about any snow conditions. The Bonafide's flat squarish tail doesn't work well in the bumps, for me anyway. It wasn't as nimble in the bumps as the Enforcer. The Enforcer skis shorter and not just because its 3cm shorter. The Bonafide doesn't seem to have tail rocker and the Enforcer does, maybe a 185 Enforcer would be a better comparison. In the trees where I could find soft snow, the Enforcer inspired more confidence than the Bonafide and was quicker to turn. On the groomers, the Enforcer held an edge better than the Bonafide, but that could easily be a bad tune.
Salomon Xmax, 175cm. This is pure carving machine, 73mm waist. It is very very quick and really holds an edge. This one didn't seem to require nearly as much input as some serious carvers, particularly compared to the Nordica Fire Arrow 84EDT.
Nordica Soul Rider, 177cm. I jump on this at the demos when I just want a fun ride. I'm sure one of these will come to live at my house with a year or two, even though I really do miss the evil clown graphics.
Atomic Blackeye Ti, about 176cm IIRC. Not a bad ski, but not a great ski either. This would be a good ski for an older upper intermediate who doesn't want a demanding ski. You can sort of set it on auto-pilot and it will just cruise along without requiring much input. Pretty good edge grip but not terribly quick. One of the people in our group said it felt like two sheets of lead. It is very damp, but I think that's a bit harsh.
OOPS, I forgot this one.
Nordica NRGy100, 177cm. Let me preface this by saying I do not like the NRGy90, but after skiing the 100 I think I can see what may attract some people to the ski. It is lightweight which makes it pretty quick, but I think that contributes to the instability I feel when I push these things, especially the 90. The 100 felt more stable than the 90, but it still didn't feel all that stable. I don't get the solid edge grip with either the 100 or 90 that I get with my Steadfast. I do like the tails on the NRGy series better than the tail on the old Hell and Back series but that isn't enough to offset the instability and dullness I feel. Concrete like conditions are not the best for trying this things so I have to try them again next year when we hopefully have better snow. If I was in the market for a 100mm ski, I wouldn't hesitate to pick the Enforcer over the NRGy100.
Edited by mtcyclist - 2/26/15 at 8:28pm