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How short to go with a hard snow/fun ski?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Looking to get a quick, fun ski like an Atomic SL or Volkl P60 or whatever someone highly recommends. I want something for my local "hill" in the midwest and a fat ski really isn't necessary with the infrequently 2" dumps we get.

Question is: what length? I weight 141 lbs. (5'9.5") and consider myself an "aspiring" expert-- for the midwest. Had great fun last year visiting Jackson Hole. I once rented a Volkl P50 motion(168cm)and had a great time with its' lightweight quickness and rebound. I was once told I should try a short shalom ski. Problem is, there really aren't many skis to try around here. I am not a racer, but I do like to go as fast as the hill will allow. What is a fun ski for hard snow, at what length?

Oh, it would be nice if it could also be decent in bumps and small jumps--that may be asking too much for a one ski.
post #2 of 19
One of Peter Keelty's picks this year (and for the past couple of years) is the Atomic SL9. I have a pair from a previous year and use them in exactly the way you anticipate - fooling around on a small hill.. Lots of fun, great edge hold. Do a search - there are lots of comments on these skis. Also search under previous year's names - "9.12" and the similar "9.16".

[ September 09, 2003, 01:03 PM: Message edited by: Didelis_Skier ]
post #3 of 19
I ran across this while being bored at work...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3625414426&category=21 243

It might interest you, it might not - I just thought it looked like a decent deal.
post #4 of 19
HI Davidlean,

I absolutely LOVE my Atomic SL11 skis. I am 5'4'' and about 145 and I have a 150. I find I can ski them everywhere on the mountain, they are fun in bumps, and they have such a quick zip and rebound to them. They are quite light also.
Beware though, they are not very forgiving if you get back on the skis, they will give you quite a ride.

Just my 2 cents

post #5 of 19
I think I have finally reached my limit when it comes to short. I spent a few days on the Stockli SL @ 156. Fun on the steep and hard pack (ice). Pretty good top end for an SL, it never felt shaky when I let them run like some of my past SL's.

The only problem, and we should all have such problems ( ), is what to do with the 160 SL's I bought last year. My wife is developing a keen eye for what is around the garage .... but she never looks in the lawn shed! :
post #6 of 19
A little longer length won't give up much in short turn fun, while adding some longer-turn versatility.
i was on rossi 9's in a 167 and they were whippet-quick in short fall-line turns while still stable at bigger speed and longer arcs.

just a thought.

(6'1", 190)

[ September 09, 2003, 03:29 PM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #7 of 19
Although few on this site would agree with me I suggest the Dynastar Omeglass 64 in a 157cm. I demoed it two seasons ago and bought it last season. It very quickly became my favorite ski for most purposes. I even used them in 18" of fresh mid-season and had a ball.

The big difference I find between the Omeglass 64 and its competition is that it allows you to enter and exit the turn in any way you want and reshape the turn any way you'd like. I mean that most of the competitors tend to make you commit to a line early and lock you into it to some degree or another until completion. I find that the Omeglass 64 gives you more ability to change turn entry points, radii mid turn amd exit point than any of the other short slaloms available. Note, I do not mean this a a knock against the other short slaloms. I mean it as identifying the weakness of the others as compared to the Omeglass.

FWIW, the Omeglass 64 is not very stable at high speed when compared to its competition. To counter that I make sure to keep my Omeglass' turning at all times. Also, they are rather heavy given their length. I demoed them in 165cm last season and found their weight in that length to be cumbersome. The snow for that demo was also not perfect for a ski that is optimized for icy frozen surfaces.

Anyway, good luck with your fun skis whichever you choose.

post #8 of 19
On an SL9 or pretty much any other shorty slalom, I ski on a 160cm (5'11", 195lbs). I prefer it over the SL11 because I free-ski extensively on them and get lazy from time to time.

You would probably be in the 155cm-160cm range with a 10M-12M radius slalom, depending on brand and the level of slalom we're talking about (slalom vs slalom carver). That's for everyday recreational use.

The Fischer World Cup SC is an outstanding ski, and unlike the Atomics, it's available in smaller (5cm) increments. Rusty Guy can fill you in on them, but let me say that I'll probably be buying Fischers when my current crop of Atomic slaloms fades away. Unlike the Atomic, the Fischer doesn't require a specific binding, and in some ways I prefer them over the Atomics.

Last year's slaloms are pretty much this year's slaloms at the recreational level, and there are some good deals out there.
post #9 of 19
First, my disclaimer that I work as a rep for Fischer and Marker, hence, I'm biased.

I am a big fan of the WC SC I'm 5'10, 178, have skied a 155 and a 160. I think the 155 will be my choice this year coupled with a WC Race in a 170. I have an RX 8 in a 170 as well and the WC Race will have a very slightly shorter turning radius than the RX8.

The WC SC and SL9 a very, very similar. I honestly give a slight edge to the Fischer in terms of overall performance, however, I must say it's slight. It justs skis a little better for me at moderate speeds. I find the SL9 to be a little stiff at slow and medium speeds. I also seem to be able to manage the energy of the WC SC a little better.

As noted, any binding mounts on a Fischer which is huge for me
post #10 of 19
I ski last year's SL9 in 160 (6'0", 170#) and could not be happier with this ski.

On groomed it's a blast. In light to moderate bumps and even not-to-deep powder, it's o.k., but it's a difficult ski in big bumps.

This ski demands a centered stance and fairly good skills - get back or make mistakes and bad things will happen. The SL9 can deliver a potent edge set rebound.

The SL11 (which I tried out a few times last year in 157) is much stiffer, heavier, and unforgiving, especially off-trail. It has a more stable feel on groomed, but I much prefer the SL9 overall. However, a friend with a racing background prefers the SL11.

It's true that the SL9 (and SL11) require Atomic bindings, but the varizone feature is very useful. Moving the boot center forward and back will noticeably change the skiing characteristics.

Demo them if you can - In the Atomic line, I would compare with the C11 and maybe the SX9, which are both tight turning but might be a bit more versatile.

I believe the 02, (SL 9.12) 03, and 04 models are the same except for graphics. (The 02 won't have the "aerospeed" topsheet.)
post #11 of 19
155cm would be about right. 160 will add some more stability. When you get this short, there won't be much difference in length between what a 180lbs vs 140lb guy uses. You may have to buy before you try, I know how that goes. On these short racing skis though, it takes a few days to get on top of them anyway. I ski on the Atomic SL 11 at 157cm (170lbs). I have enjoyed free skiing on these for two seasons now and I live and ski by Squaw, so certainly these are versatile enough for midwest. I would love to try the SL 9 and think I may like it even more than the SL 11. I am not neccesarily an atomic fan - go with the brand you think feels the best in other skis you have been on - they probably have a great race slalom and rec slalom. Note that many brands (germanic) place the center lines back compared to others so it is handy to have the fore/aft adjustment on the binding. After a full season, I moved my atomics to the front (extreme) position and realized dramatic improvement.
post #12 of 19
Originally posted by AarHead:
Although few on this site would agree with me I suggest the Dynastar Omeglass 64 in a 157cm.
I wopuld agree. I borrowed a pair for a week last year, and they were the most fun skis I've ever tried. They were a 165.

I've got a pair of 165 P60 SCs on the way for this season.
post #13 of 19
Just wanted to re-emphasize: if you buy shorties and the first day you think they are totally squirrly, don't panic. After six days, they will feel stable as a rocket. Don't pressure the shovel and tail on entry and exit, just edge 'em. On straight runs, just edge 'em slightly to get rid of the fluttery feel.
post #14 of 19
If youre looking for a fun short turn ski you should try or consider several skis out there. Since you are not racing on this ski you should steer clear of race stock boards and the such. Do not count out however, any race skis. I would reccommend that you try the Fischer WC SC (123mm tip one), the Dynastar OmeGlass 64, Elan SLX and HCX (the HCX having less metal making it easier to adjust your turn), Rossignol 9S PPS, Salomon Equipe 10 3V, Head i.SL, Atomic SL:9, and the Volkl P60 SC. I'm certain i have left out some important short turners but those are the ones that i consider best for everyday carving/playing on.

First and formost i would try the Elan SLX and HCX (I'm a huge Elan fan) and then try the very shapely Fischer WC SC. the Elan SLX will require a lot more in put than the HCX. In fact the retail SLX is stiffer than the race stock SLX T. The HCX however has a little bit less metal, making the ski easier to ski on. Based on experience on Elan slalom skis i would say that they probably do not give up much in edgehold with the lessened amount of metal, but they may give up some of their "snap" in and out of turns. I dont think that any of the skis i mentioned above is as demanding as the SLX, and i have skied a fair number of them... the SLX definitly stands out of the retail slalom ski crowd. Ignore the review that the WC SLX got in Ski Mag this fall... they are full of sh*t.

Now that i have gotten that off my chest - give them all a shot. If you have one particular company that you usually stick with go for it. There isnt a bad ski in the lot as far as free skiing and fun are concerned. The SLX is pretty stiff for soft snow though - it tends not to turn when it isnt on smooth ice. But for some reference i freeski on my regular Elan SLX's, my younger brother freeskis on my old Salomon 3V's, and my dad freeskis on his Fischer WC SC's. Out of the three skis, i would say that the Salomon's are the most versitile, the Elans are the quickest in a care and have the best edgehold, and the Fischers are the lightest and easiest to ski bumps and trees on. The lengths respectively are 154cm for the SLX, 160cm for the Salomon 3V, and 161cm for the Fischer SC. With all that being said stay between 155cm and 160cm. If you are very tall and are concerned about fore aft movements you might consider a 165 with a lot of shape, but deffinitly no longer than a 165.

Sorry for the long post, but i like slalom skis.


post #15 of 19

That's a good review!

I've skied all the skis he mentioned and agree that they are all fairly similar. One thing to keep in mind is the difference that the factory tune can have particularly while on a demo ride. If the skis grab or are excessively turny it may be the tune or it may be a bad tune. Three years agop when I had a pair of SL9's it took a while to get the skis tuned to my liking.

Similarly the first time I was on the Fischers they were too turny
post #16 of 19
I agree with Rusty about the tune having a large amount to do with your perception about the skis. For example, the Atomic SL9s I own have a standard 1 degree base/3 degree side edge tune. Nothing fancy, just the standard factory tune with the tips and tails worked a little to even out the tune. I absolutely love the skis that way (the bindings are another issue...). However, I've skied on other SL9s prepped by well meaning ski techs that I didn't like so much. They feathered the 1 degree base into a 1.5 degree bevel right at the tail, which seemed to make the skis easier to skid. Kinda like a high tech detune. Unfortunately, the net result was that I was uncomfortable on them when I put them on edge- they didn't feel like they wanted to hold. It may just be me, since I've gotten to like the quick hook up of a race-tuned slalom.

Just about every company makes a detuned race slalom (or slalom carver). Get something with a small radius (10M-14M) and maybe hunt down a race coach to show you how to get the most out of them. They do make small hills fun again.
post #17 of 19
I'm on a pair of three year old (bought them in fall 2001) Elan SLX World Cup 163's. I use these to free ski in the east.

Coming from a 194 straight ski I was concerned about the length but they have been perfect for most eastern conditions. On eastern hard pack, groomed trails and ice they are amazing. Quick with excellent edge hold. That said, in bumps they are on the stiff side (though I had a good time on some icy bumps at Jay last season) and in powder (the little I see in VT) they tend to sink.
post #18 of 19
Remember....the best bump skiers are on fairly long (180ish) skis.

A short slalom ski is a different animal and is skied in bumps in a different manner. Bump skiers want the long shovel as a "feeler". When the y sense a bump they begin to level the terrain.

On the short skis a rounder turn can be created. The only difficulty can be the tails "catching".
post #19 of 19
Maybe you should try something around 160cm, can't tell you how short to go but i advise you not to go above 167 because for me something like a 170cm shorty slalom isn't a "shortie" anymore, but on the gs side (at least for me).
Excellent slalom skis have been mentioned. I don't want to reccomend a specific brand/model, just try to demo(i read that your options are fairly limited, just as mine)because i haven't skied all the models mentioned but i think that picking a model from the skis mentioned would be a good choice.
Regarding the length i would go with a slalom@160cm because you will have better stability (on a 150cm if you get back well it may be a problem) if you decide to go for some gs type turns(this depende on the model because some have better stability at speed than the others speaking of the slaloms that i have tried).

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