Originally Posted by vwr1vwf
Anybody here have any time on them?
I have skied them, both 171 and 181. Those ones at STP are previous '14 season, but graphics changes only so they'll ski same as the '15 ones I demo'd (and own).
LOVE the Collective! I should mention I prefer a strong and damp ski, not light and playful. Can handle decent speeds (181 is better, obviously), and hardpack quite well. Soft stuff is its home zone though. Quite turny (which I do like). The 171 feels like a really wide slalom ski. I laid it over on the 171 on some big blue groomers at Winter Park and had my knees almost dragging across the hill. For a wide ski, they hold an edge exceptionally well (this coming from someone who uses a SL ski as a daily driver on true eastern ice). They're just a bit heavy for their size, but they surprisingly don't feel heavy on the feet. No metal, but very well damped. Camber underfoot, early rise up front does mean a shorter running length, so in tight trees the 171 is wonderful (and decent in the bumps too, rather compliant). The 181 is obviously not as nimble, but can hold faster speeds and bigger arcs on the groomers. Fast speeds will get some chatter, but the ski itself stays very stable.
I demo'd about a dozen skis and as soon as I got on the Collective, I was hooting and had a blast. Bought it on the spot. For reference, I'm 6'2", 185lbs, Level 7ish, and didn't overpower the 171, but I wasn't going mach schnell speeds either. If I wanted to open up the speed, the 181 should be sufficient. If you're a rockstar (which I'm not), the 191 would be a metal-less freight train.
I went with demo bindings so I can them move forward/back, depending if I'm on groomers or in the trees. They do respond VERY well to binding position, so you may want to consider that, depending on the intended use.
Edit: for the record, I also demo'd the Mantra and Gotama. Mantra was about as fun as having concrete blocks attached to my feet, but I did like the Gotama. However, while the Gotama was good, I found the Collective to be a much better version of the Gotama than Volkl made it! Collective has camber, so it also held on the harder groomers better, held a line better, a bit less ponderous and more committed when you drove it into the turn. Also Collective a bit more damp and smooth, a bit heavier as a result though. Collective does NOT get knocked around in the crud, I was blasting through it with Finndog at Steamboat no problem (heck, I could ALMOST keep up with him, so I was impressed!) The Collective is very well behaved at slower speeds, I had my kids in tow and was off the gas, and they were easy to work and move around going slow. Well mannered, as it were, but not what I'd characterize as "quick" underfoot when going slow though.
Edit again: I also tried the Quest. Opposite end of the "feel" spectrum from the Collective. Quest is light and lively. I'm sure it's a good ski for those who like that sort of thing, but I quickly realized it's not my thing. Felt like I had popsicle sticks attached to my feet. Not stable, couldn't drive them. YMMV though.
Edited by Gunnerbob - 5/20/15 at 9:57am