or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › What is your reference ski and how do you choose it?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What is your reference ski and how do you choose it?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

We talk a lot about demoing and what characteristics we like and dislike about a ski. How do you choose your reference ski? What do base it on? DO you have one in each category, be it width or characteristics or even conditions? A basis for power or finesse? I know that is a lot of questions but I am sure a lot goes into your selection too. 

post #2 of 15
Now we're getting somewhere! There are personal reference skis (in the 98/100, its the E98/100), then there are what I call 'datum' skis for a particular ski category. In the 100/98's, its been the Bonafide. I'd go as far to say that its now the Enforcer. People who sdll skis are looking for the datum ski. The public is using tbeir previous favorite ski as a reference when thinking about something new. If someone loves their Kastle FX 94, we go from there, not necessarily to a category datum ski unless they're one in the same.
Edited by markojp - 9/24/15 at 11:35am
post #3 of 15
I'm sure my "reference ski" is what I'm on now. Not one of these gearheads that obsess about my skis. Don't like spending my money like that. Prefer to tune the old ones until it's not helping. Generally assume it's me that's the problem, not the ski. And yes, I'm part of the general public.
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
 

We talk a lot about demoing and what characteristics we like and dislike about a ski. How do you choose your reference ski? What do base it on? DO you have one in each category, be it width or characteristics or even conditions? A basis for power or finesse? I know that is a lot of questions but I am sure a lot goes into your selection too. 


My benchmark ski is by category and being an east coast guy I really do not have a powder ski.

 

1. Shape Ski benchmark is a Volant Super Carve Legend because it just feels good under my feet.

 

2. Racing Ski benchmark is my Dynamic VR 27 SL although I do not ski them as much as I would like because they are too tough on me.

 

3. Free skiing benchmark ski is Kastle RX Combi they are just a pleasure to ride, it is like riding in a limo smooth and comfortable.

 

4. Fat Ski if it truly is a fat ski would be a Blizzard Magnum Ti 8.0 but it is the only one I have skied so it does limit my choices.

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

I demo a lot. When I am at a demo I know that I am demoing the snow as much as I am demoing the ski so I need to remove that variable. So the first thing I do is go and demo the show and I will do that on a ski that I know and am very familiar with, a Blizzard Bonafide (or I will take a Brahma if there is not a Bonafide available) I use these skis because I know how they will ski in a multitude of conditions and it gives me a reference point. 

 

Currently and for the past 4 years, the Bonafide is my reference ski in the 100mm category. I feel if a ski is softer and more finesse oriented or beefier and require more power and input. In is my neutral. I will use something similar in every category. I will use a finesse reference ski and a power reference ski too. 

post #6 of 15
How can be anything but a personal ski for anyone who doesn't have access to a demo fleet? I guess in certain populations you might have some congruence e.g. Vail instructors might be able to compare skis to the E88 or Soul 7 as that's what a lot seem to ski. Among Brits the Supershape Titan seems inordinately popular but I suspect that's savvy proforming for BASI instructors.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post

How can be anything but a personal ski for anyone who doesn't have access to a demo fleet? I guess in certain populations you might have some congruence e.g. Vail instructors might be able to compare skis to the E88 or Soul 7 as that's what a lot seem to ski. Among Brits the Supershape Titan seems inordinately popular but I suspect that's savvy proforming for BASI instructors.


It's possible.  I live in the flatlands but take trips out west.  Usually set up my late season trip to match up with the Alta Demo Day.  I don't own a powder ski and don't want to.  But I've rented powder skis often enough in recent years to know my favorite.  I'm willing to spend the money on demo skis for a powder day.  So that's my "reference ski" when I demo a powder ski.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
 

I demo a lot. When I am at a demo I know that I am demoing the snow as much as I am demoing the ski so I need to remove that variable. So the first thing I do is go and demo the show and I will do that on a ski that I know and am very familiar with, a Blizzard Bonafide (or I will take a Brahma if there is not a Bonafide available) I use these skis because I know how they will ski in a multitude of conditions and it gives me a reference point. 

I don't always start the day on my all-mountain skis, but will take at least a few runs that day on them in between demo skis.  One time I tried something that was awful.  I was skiing on crud on purpose so wasn't quite sure if it was the skis or my technique.  After returning the demo skis, I took a run on my own skis following pretty much the same route.  Easily confirmed that it was the skis, and not me, that made the earlier run difficult.

post #8 of 15

I used to work in a slope-side ski shop with a full demo fleet.  Add to that yearly new-product demos, and I skied a lot of different skis.  I didn't have a standard or benchmark ski.  I skied on whatever I felt like on a daily basis.  But when I did try new skis out, I always skied the same runs.  Short turns, long turns, slow speeds and high.  I never thought about what I liked about the ski, I just thought about what the target market was for that ski, and who I could sell it to.

 

I usually started with the shortest, softest, ladies ski they had, and worked my way up the scale.  If I knew how it behaved, I could sell it.

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

I demo a lot. When I am at a demo I know that I am demoing the snow as much as I am demoing the ski so I need to remove that variable. So the first thing I do is go and demo the show and I will do that on a ski that I know and am very familiar with, a Blizzard Bonafide (or I will take a Brahma if there is not a Bonafide available) I use these skis because I know how they will ski in a multitude of conditions and it gives me a reference point. 

Currently and for the past 4 years, the Bonafide is my reference ski in the 100mm category. I feel if a ski is softer and more finesse oriented or beefier and require more power and input. In is my neutral. I will use something similar in every category. I will use a finesse reference ski and a power reference ski too. 

I'm on board except with the 'finesse' and 'power' description. A strong skier is both. A light skier on a Vantage 100 Ti will call it a stronger, more demanding ski. For a big guys, its lighter, more playful ski... I think of the word 'power' as one who relies on physical strength to ski vs. someone who skis stacked and understands how to access what a ski has to offer. Personally, I don't think and E100 is a demanding ski, but others do. I'm guessing some of those folks rely on muscle to a large extent. For a lighter skier, it indeed can be a bit of a plank in challenging terrain even if they have an excellent skill set.
post #10 of 15

If I only had one choice, Blizzard Magnum 8.5 S... Could have been the Brahma and could be the Motibve 86... Due to the number of skis I own, I more likely have a bunch of reference skis... used to be the Speed course...

 

Larger ones: The Motive 95 but could also be the Bonafide

Even larger: The Patron but could be left for the Ranger 106...

 

On-piste carver: Blizzard R-Power FS and Rossignol Master 21

 

 

They all have one point in common: they all behave nicely ( or even beautifully for the R-power and the master 21) in icy conditions... Because around here, even if we received more than a foot overnight, I know that there will be icy spot reappearing before the end of the day ...

post #11 of 15

I suppose the Kastle RX12 for carvers and the MX88 for wider skis. They're the "gold standard" for me insofar as they have the most attributes I value. If I find something that's holds its own or is only a little off in those, but better covers the few bases the RX and MX don't dominate, I'll think hard. For instance, I think the Laser SC is a hair silkier, a bit more stable at speed, and has significantly better grip, than the RX12. But it has slightly inferior snowfeel, and is not as adaptable in bumps, tight spaces, or crud. Hmmm. I think hard. Or the Blizzard Power series has equivalent grip and more stability than the RX 12, but not quite the refinement, snowfeel, or suppleness. But it's a load cheaper. Hmmm. I think hard. 

 

I don't think true fats (100+) can have a reference ski because too many variables to control in really soft snow. It's neither the arrow nor the archer, but the arena. 

 

In all honesty, though, don't exactly use any ski as a pure reference, because I never ski the same conditions, same time, same style, same speed, on reference ski + comparison. For instance, I recall being wowed by how well the Blizzard Magnum 8.7 skied the day I demoed it. Seemed to be significantly better than the MX88 in several respects. Month later, different ski. Or more accurately, different set of test conditions, including the tester. MX88 had magically improved. Or something. And we've all had the experience of demoing, loving it, slapping down the plastic, getting 'em out there, and going, "Uh, wait. This doesn't feel like I remember it." 

 

Which is recall data. How did my XX's last month/year/millenium handle this stuff compared to these YY's? Hmmm. Recall data are usually worth the time spent crumpling up the paper they're on so you can play hoops with the trashcan. 

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post



I don't think true fats (100+) can have a reference ski because too many variables to control in really soft snow. It's neither the arrow nor the archer, but the arena. 


Look beyond your venue. You have some nice choices for the east, it not necessarily the west for most skiers. There's NO reason one cannot have a datum/reference ski in each general category:

Dedicated piste carver (sub category by short or longer turn radius)
80-90mm
91-100mm
101-110mm
111+mm

My own reference skis are those I've spent the most time on in each category.
post #13 of 15

^^^^ Keep in mind that this is all filtered through my larger lens of comparing things, how well recall really works, the nature of memory applied to facts, etc., which all has been studied exhaustively for way over a century, but not vis-a-vis ski reviews. 

 

So not sure I disagree with your point exactly, but not sure what "look beyond my venue" means. As in, out west where there's more snow? Or different resort back east? Beyond my particular skiing habits?

 

Nearly all of the time I use a 100+ is out west. And at various resorts. Usually with a mix of friends whose ability ranges from very low intermediate to advanced - no real experts in our group - so at all kinds of speeds and all kinds of terrain. No racing. Once in a while I go off alone to scare myself on some chutes. Seems like a lot of venues.

 

But mainly, my comment was about the contention that 3D conditions present more sources of variation by far than 2D. So IMO it reaches a point where you cannot figure out how much of the similarity or difference with a reference you're familiar with is the ski and how much is the snow. In new light pow, most skis make us into heroes. In old settled powder with maybe some crust here and there, few skis do.

 

But let's say you're skiing a 115 that's close enough dimensionally to a 112 you own. You rock the powder. You think about other days you've skied "similar" conditions with your 112's. And draw a conclusion: These are better.

 

Well, maybe. If the difference is dramatic, probably. But there are no really bad skis anymore, recall. So the difference is not likely to be dramatic. Now how good is your memory? How much of your comparison is affected by the state of your musculoskeletal system, how much sleep you got, how hungry you are or whether you just a a brew, how your significant other is treating you, whether you're dressed right for conditions, whether you're being attentive, and only then, a whole slew of issues about density and structure of the snow, speed, pitch, and so on.

 

Obviously this is only valid if you're comparing a ski you're on for the day with a ski you've skied a lot. If you're demoing a pair for a while, then switching back to your own, negates some of this, doesn't negate other stuff, but diminishes their effect. 

 

But let's assume you're talking about comparing two skis on different days. Even if you could match all the subjective aspects of being you day to day, can you state for a fact that the 3D structure of the snow is closely comparable? In all honesty, I've rarely found one powder day to be much like any other. More ways that the powder can vary. But you're a better skier, ski more days a season, know more about movement, so perhaps for you a reference ski works. I don't think it does for most people, or at least in the way that Phil means. And if you use a reference in a review, it better be a ski that most readers have also skied, or the effort's wasted. :dunno 

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

I demo a lot. When I am at a demo I know that I am demoing the snow as much as I am demoing the ski so I need to remove that variable. So the first thing I do is go and demo the show and I will do that on a ski that I know and am very familiar with, a Blizzard Bonafide (or I will take a Brahma if there is not a Bonafide available) I use these skis because I know how they will ski in a multitude of conditions and it gives me a reference point. 

Currently and for the past 4 years, the Bonafide is my reference ski in the 100mm category. I feel if a ski is softer and more finesse oriented or beefier and require more power and input. In is my neutral. I will use something similar in every category. I will use a finesse reference ski and a power reference ski too. 

I think you've identified the most important aspect, taking conditions out of the picture by using a base line ski as reference (ski that you know) under the same conditions for testing. Before and after a test if needed.

Remember sometimes it takes a few runs to readjust to a ski when switching.

BTW for me a base line ski is whatever I ski most (and like), regardless of application or conditions.
post #15 of 15

It depends on what I've got clamped on my boots at the time, and what I'm using them for. I'm aware that for some conditions, what I have is not adequate, but I don't see those conditions often enough to justify the cost for skis that are optimum for those conditions. 

 

For the vast majority of skiers, it's the one pair of skis that they own at the time, or maybe something they had in the past that they really liked. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › What is your reference ski and how do you choose it?