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Upgrade from B2 Bandits

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I love my B2 Bandits but figure it is time for an upgrade as they are over 10 years old.  Looking for a light all-mountain ski with a wider waist (I think the B2's are 76mm).  I am a relatively light male skier 150lbs, 5'8".  Skill level is Advanced (Expert wanabe).  Enjoy skiing mostly off-piste unless conditions are solid ice.  Trees, bowls, gulleys, moguls and whatever the terrain has to offer.  I am not an aggressive skier; I don't huck cliffs and prefer not to barrel down the mountain as fast as I can unless I have to chase my 10 year old.  I like challenging steep and interesting terrain but stay away from stuff that requires mandatory air.  I ski a lot of "expert" terrain single, double black, and unmarked but don't look like a expert doing it.  Unfortunately I only get to ski about 10 days a year on trips planned ahead of time so am usually skiing crud, ice, and heavy snow, in AZ, CO, UT, CA or Canada.  Last time I was lucky enough to get deep powder was over 10 years ago.

 

Any recommendations from the ski gurus?  Blizzards?

post #2 of 18
You'll probably get recommendatons for skis that are about 100mm but I think that's too wide from the sounds of what you usually ski. 85-90mm should be more than adequate. I demoed the Blizzard Brahma and Atomic Vantage 90CTI at Big Sky this year and both were pretty impressive. They both had very good edge hold and handled crud and chop without problems and were pretty good in bumps. Both have some early rise. I think the Atomic is a bit lighter in weight than the Blizzard, but neither is a heavy ski. The Brahma has been around for at least couple of years while the Vantage 90CTI is brand new and may or may not be available for purchase right now. If I had to choose between them I would pick the Atomic since it skis a lot like my Atomic Rituals which I like. But I think you could be happy with either one.
Edited by mtcyclist - 3/20/15 at 11:11pm
post #3 of 18

Some suggestions from the top of my head:

 

Nordica Nrgy 90

Nordica Steadfast

Fischer Motive 95 TI

Fischer Ranger 88 TI (farily soft, maybe too soft)

Fischer Ranger 96 TI

Blizzard Brahma (if you like metal)

Blizzard Bushwacker (if you don't)

K2 AMP Rictor 90 XTI (playful, great)

 

Most of them have wide ~98 mm brothers too...

post #4 of 18

Nordica Steadfast was replaced last year by the NRGy90.  I've been skiing the Steadfast for the past four years and it's probably my all time favorite ski.  I seriously dislike the NRGy90.  People who like the Steadfast don't like the NRGy90,  People who didn't like the Steadfast tend to like the NRGy90 or so it seems.  I've skied the Brahma and Bushwacker.  The Brahma is a very good ski, the Bushwacker not so much, just boring IMO.  I skied a K2 Rictor, don't remember exactly which one, at Snow Basin two years ago and wasn't terribly impressed.  I'm pretty close to the OP in size, one inch shorter and 2-3 pounds lighter, probably level 8, prefer off-piste but if the only thing available is groomers then I'll get on my Nordica Fire Arrows and rip down the mountain.  One other ski to consider is the Elan Amphibio 88xti, sort of hard to find but a really good ski.

post #5 of 18
Chiming in here... A couple of skis you can get on close out as they're being discontinued or cosmetically changed that IMHO would be really nice for you, OP:

Smooth, damp... Head Rev 90 (mount these 1-1.5cm forward of recommended)

A little more light and lively, Dynastar Powertrack 89.

In between those two, the K2 amp Rictor 90 Xti (mentioned above)

A new ski for next year that would be an excellent choice would be the K2 Pinnacle 95. These were universally well thought of among our entire testing crew this spring regardless of skier size and weight... Kind of a rare thing. IMHO, the best k2 in years.

(My Nordica thoughts as related to the comments above... I like both the old Nordica Steadfast (good luck finding them as they've been out of production for a full model year), AND the Nrgy 90. They're different skis is all, and I think people wanted the NRGY 90 to be an 'evolved' Steadfast. The Nrgy 90 is unchanged for next season, so it's unlikely to be discounted. If you were going narrower, the Nrgy 80 is a fabulous ski especially considering it's MAP pricing of $499. YMMV.)
post #6 of 18

Keep in mind that you are on the lighter side and will get decent float on a ski in the 80s.  I am very close to your height and weight and find my Fischer Motive 88s work very well for me in a wide variety of terrain and on both groomers and a powder day.  I would add the Rossi E88 and Fischer Motive 86 to the recommendations you have gotten.

post #7 of 18
And even a Rev 85 pro.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all for your inputs!  Looks like a have quite a list to demo.  Any thoughts on length?  I have been skiing 170cm B2's for the past 10 years; I am about 173cm in height so they come to my forehead.  If I am getting a wider ski with 88-95 waist does that mean that I go down in length?  For example the Brahma comes in 173 or 166.  Do I go down to 166?

 

I was skiing 188 with barely any side cut when I started 20 years ago and it seems that every ski I get is shorter and wider than the last one....

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExWanabe View Post
 

Thanks to all for your inputs!  Looks like a have quite a list to demo.  Any thoughts on length?  I have been skiing 170cm B2's for the past 10 years; I am about 173cm in height so they come to my forehead.  If I am getting a wider ski with 88-95 waist does that mean that I go down in length?  For example the Brahma comes in 173 or 166.  Do I go down to 166?

 

I was skiing 188 with barely any side cut when I started 20 years ago and it seems that every ski I get is shorter and wider than the last one....

Not necessarily.  It really depends on how much rocker a ski has.  My daily driver is a 170cm Nordica Steadfast and my powder ski is a 174cm Atomic Ritual.  My carving ski is a 168cm Nordica Fire Arrow 84EDT.  Next season I'm adding a 184cm ON3P Billy Goat and a 177 Nordica Soul Rider.  The Billy Goat and the Soul Rider have about the same running length, the Billy Goat just has more rocker.  If you go with the Brahma, I'd recommend the 174 and I think that's what I demoed and it wasn't too much ski.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

OK, thanks.  Will demo the 174.

post #11 of 18
Any current ski you buy now will be much better than the B2s. I skied on those about 15 years ago and they were OK for there time. There are so many great skis on the market now, you can hardly go wrong. Head rev 85 pro get my vote.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Finally got a chance to demo some skis during a 5day ski trip at Whistler.  Got 55” during the 6 days we were there!

 

First tried the Rossi Soul 7 based on recommendation from my nephew who works at Fernie; they were great in powder, just floated on top without any effort, but on hard-pack and groomed trail they did not inspire confidence.  Tips felt squirly and floppy; did not help that they were 180cm as that was all that was the only size avail; would have preferred shorter.  Perhaps 108 under foot is too much for me to handle…  To make things worse the DINs were set too loose so they popped off twice in moguls.  This may be an all-mountain ski for some but it is a powder-only ski for me.

 

Second tried the Blizzard Bramas in 166cm (shorter than I wanted but it is what they had).  These felt more comfortable than the Soul 7’s, did well off-piste and in powder but did not feel very solid on hard-pack.  Felt a little floppy on hard pack and could hear the skis slapping around while I was skiing.  Maybe I am just not used to these type of skis.

 

Third, tried the Rossi Experience 88.  These felt the most comfortable and felt very solid on hardpack, like my B2 bandits, but the 88 underfoot definitely felt better in the powder than my B2’s.  Flotation was definitely not as good as the Soul 7 and a little worse than the Bramas but may be a good compromise…  My nephew said the E88’s are more like an Old Man ski which is why I like them :)

 

I really wanted to try the Atomic Vantage 90CTI as I would expect them to feel similar to the Rossi E88 but perhaps have better flotation.  Has anyone skied both the E88’s and Vantage 90CTI to compare?

 

p.s. Would definitely recommend Whistler-BC to anyone who has not been there.  Snow is not the lightest but quantity makes up for quality.  The BC Glacier and Whistler Bowl open up access to some great terrain. 

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExWanabe View Post
 

I really wanted to try the Atomic Vantage 90CTI as I would expect them to feel similar to the Rossi E88 but perhaps have better flotation.  Has anyone skied both the E88’s and Vantage 90CTI to compare?

 

 

I skied both... The Atomic is much more soft snow oriënted than the Rossi. But the Rossi have much more edge hold and grip on hardpack. One could own both for very different types of skiiing (although, if I were to buy tha Atomic as a soft snow-specific ski, I would go for the 100).

post #14 of 18

I think you should try the Bushwackers.

 

I ski a light, fun ski that is 93mm waisted.  Tried Atomic Vintage 100's at Jackson Hole and found them to be heavier and less responsive than I like... though they were smooth in crud and had good edge hold on hard stuff. I could more confidently drive them down the hill but found them harder to maneuver in bumps and trees. If you like the feel of your B2's why go for something stiffer and heavier?  Especially for a lighter skier... and one, like yourself who likes to get off piste.  My feeling is that lightweight and easy maneuverability trumps stability and stiffness when it comes to exploring off piste... I seem to be a contrarian in that opinion though.

post #15 of 18

As an ex B2 owner I love my Bonafides. The 98mm width is ideal for Western skiing IMO--they manage hardpack, bumps, crud, and powder (if it's not too deep) just fine. I wouldn't go any narrower for a one-ski (travel) quiver. I ski mine about 90% of the time, once most of the rocks are covered. However, I have 30# on you so you might find them too stiff. Definitely worth demoing. 

 

I've never understood why going shorter in length compensates for light weight. Unless the ski is made softer as the length goes down it will be just as hard to bend. I think the recommendation to go up in length as one gets heavier is a relic of the skinny ski era, when almost no recreational skiers could put the ski on edge enough to carve a turn, all turns were skidded, and the longer length was necessary to hold an edge and for stability. A shorter ski was easier for a light skier to skid. Nowadays the proper compensation for light weight is a softer ski. (The compensation for someone who skis at high speed is a stiffer ski.) The idea that the same ski will be good for the light skier and the heavy skier makes no sense to me, regardless of length.


Edited by oldgoat - 3/17/16 at 8:02am
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback.  Will give the Bonafides and Bushwackers a try.  I wish manufacturers specified the weight and stiffness of a ski in addition to dimensions.  I wish there was a metric that quantified stiffness; I guess I can try flexing them in a ski shop.  I don't get enough days of skiing so it is hard for me to spend my slope time swapping and setting up demos.

Oldgoat, what you say about softness and weight makes sense with modern skis.

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExWanabe View Post
 

Thanks for the feedback.  Will give the Bonafides and Bushwackers a try.  I wish manufacturers specified the weight and stiffness of a ski in addition to dimensions.  I wish there was a metric that quantified stiffness; I guess I can try flexing them in a ski shop.  I don't get enough days of skiing so it is hard for me to spend my slope time swapping and setting up demos.

Oldgoat, what you say about softness and weight makes sense with modern skis.

A lot of manufacturers give weight. A lot of the online shops give weight. Blister reviews give weights and a fairly detailed description of stiffness, although it is subjective. For the average to above average skier hand flexing in a shop is worthless. You'll get more info about stiffness from reading the reviews--words like charger mean stiff, playful means soft, etc. Also look at the level a ski is targeted at--found on many manufacturer and retailer sites--in general a ski marketed to experts will be stiffer, but a lighter skier might want to go with a ski marketed to advanced. Nowadays it does seem that a ski will be usable by a wider range of abilities than in the past--Bonafides being a good example.

post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks, will check out Blister.

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