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is it time for me to get new skis? [returned to skiing 2 years ago, in DC, skiing northeast, CO]

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Bio: 36yo M - 5'11 165lbs. In pretty good shape, took skiing back up 2 years ago and have been skiing 10-20 days a year since, with a couple of lessons a year. About a third of my time is spent in Colorado, the rest is in the Northeast. I'm now skiing blues and easy blacks with confidence, and starting to explore off piste.

My current skis are a pair of 165cm Fischer VIron 2.2s that I've been using since I started back up. I've found them to be easy to maneuver, but at higher speeds and in thicker chop they become chattery and more difficult for me to keep planted. (This could certainly be down to technique, the skis, or any combination of the two).

Since they're typically rated for beginner/intermediate skiers and are fairly short I've begun to look at what my options would be to step up to a more challenging ski and would like some recommendations. Most of my time will still be spent on groomed east coast runs, so I would like to stick with a narrower ski that would also be fine for a week trip out West.

A few I looked at:

Blizzard Brahma

Blizzard Latigo

Head REV 85

Rossignol E88

 

I read quite a few threads on the forum and was starting to come away with the opinion that the Blizzards may be too much ski. Any thoughts? What else should I be taking a look at?

post #2 of 18

Welcome to EpicSki.  I'm surprised none of the eastern members haven't replied.  Hopefully this bump will get someone to reply.  Before worrying too much about skis, you need to be sure that you have boots that fit your feet properly and have a flex rating appropriate for your size and skill.  Boots are way more important than skis.  If your boots are too big(very common for people who get their boots in bog box sporting goods stores) there will be a lag between the time you want to initiate a turn and the actual turn initiation, because your foot will have to move inside the boot first.  That isn't what you want.  So, go to the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum and the read the wikis about fitting and terminology and if the place where you got your boots didn't do a shell fit as described, check the "Who's Who" for a boot fitter near you and make an appointment.  If there isn't one listed, tell us where you live specifically and someone will be able to recommend a fitter.  This is the first and most important thing you can do for your skiing right now.

 

As for skis, I agree that what you're on is probably not right for you.  You should be skiing someone in the mid 170s.  The Head Rev85 is a very good ski and you should be able to find some pretty good deals on them since they've been discontinued.  You might try to find a Head Strong Instinct Ti(83mm) to demo.  This is a new ski this year and is a very fun ski.  I demoed it at Copper Mountain last season and it impressed me so much I now have a pair just waiting for snow.  It isn't a demanding ski but the harder you drive it the more it responds, and it's fairly lightweight.  If you can find a used Kaestle MX83 in good condition, that would also be a good ski.  Since you're considering the Brahma at 88mm, consider and try to find an Atomic Vantage 90CTi to demo.  I've skied both the Brahma and the Atomic and I was seriously impressed by the Atomic.  If I was looking to replace my 90mm ski, the Atomic would be my choice.  Again, it's a ski sort of like the Head Instrinct, not demanding but more driver input yields better results and more fun.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post
 

Welcome to EpicSki.  I'm surprised none of the eastern members haven't replied.  Hopefully this bump will get someone to reply.  Before worrying too much about skis, you need to be sure that you have boots that fit your feet properly and have a flex rating appropriate for your size and skill.  Boots are way more important than skis.  If your boots are too big(very common for people who get their boots in bog box sporting goods stores) there will be a lag between the time you want to initiate a turn and the actual turn initiation, because your foot will have to move inside the boot first.  That isn't what you want.  So, go to the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum and the read the wikis about fitting and terminology and if the place where you got your boots didn't do a shell fit as described, check the "Who's Who" for a boot fitter near you and make an appointment.  If there isn't one listed, tell us where you live specifically and someone will be able to recommend a fitter.  This is the first and most important thing you can do for your skiing right now.

 

As for skis, I agree that what you're on is probably not right for you.  You should be skiing someone in the mid 170s.  The Head Rev85 is a very good ski and you should be able to find some pretty good deals on them since they've been discontinued.  You might try to find a Head Strong Instinct Ti(83mm) to demo.  This is a new ski this year and is a very fun ski.  I demoed it at Copper Mountain last season and it impressed me so much I now have a pair just waiting for snow.  It isn't a demanding ski but the harder you drive it the more it responds, and it's fairly lightweight.  If you can find a used Kaestle MX83 in good condition, that would also be a good ski.  Since you're considering the Brahma at 88mm, consider and try to find an Atomic Vantage 90CTi to demo.  I've skied both the Brahma and the Atomic and I was seriously impressed by the Atomic.  If I was looking to replace my 90mm ski, the Atomic would be my choice.  Again, it's a ski sort of like the Head Instrinct, not demanding but more driver input yields better results and more fun.

 

Thanks for the reply! I was fitted for the boots I have at the time I got that first pair of skis (the Fischer's). I ended up with HEAD Adaptedge 90's. I have somewhat wide feet for their length (with shoes I end up wearing an 11 for the width, despite a 10 usually being long enough), and they were the most comfortable on the outsides of my feet out of the 3 or 4 pairs the bootfitter had me try on. He did not want to put me in a longer boot since he liked where my heels/toes sat - the BSL is 317 which I believe in these comes out around a 10 shoe size.

They seem to be doing a fine job, I have no complaints about comfort while I am skiing, but point taken, I don't think I would be a very good judge as to whether or not they are appropriate for my skill level.

I'll take my boots in to a local bootfitter before I do anything else and have them give me another opinion / make sure my feet are squared away.

post #4 of 18

When anyone asks "Is it time for new skis?" The answer is always YES!

post #5 of 18
Do you have any more room in your garage/closet/basement/attic/shed/storage locker etc. to fit any more skis? Then yes, it is time to buy more skis. If not, have a garage sale first.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by berkekhan View Post
 

 

Thanks for the reply! I was fitted for the boots I have at the time I got that first pair of skis (the Fischer's). I ended up with HEAD Adaptedge 90's. I have somewhat wide feet for their length (with shoes I end up wearing an 11 for the width, despite a 10 usually being long enough), and they were the most comfortable on the outsides of my feet out of the 3 or 4 pairs the bootfitter had me try on. He did not want to put me in a longer boot since he liked where my heels/toes sat - the BSL is 317 which I believe in these comes out around a 10 shoe size.

They seem to be doing a fine job, I have no complaints about comfort while I am skiing, but point taken, I don't think I would be a very good judge as to whether or not they are appropriate for my skill level.

I'll take my boots in to a local bootfitter before I do anything else and have them give me another opinion / make sure my feet are squared away.

If your local bootfitter is not prepared or skilled enough to stretch, punch, grind or otherwise modify the shell to fit your foot, he/she is not really a bootfitter.  I think your boots are kind of soft for your size and stated current ability.  If you came into shop where I work, I would start with something stiffer than that and only go down if you really couldn't flex them in the shop.  Adaptedge boots are really beginner-low intermediate boots so you may well have outgrown them.  I am pretty sure the Head Vector has bolts that can be removed to change the 120 flex to 110 flex and other makers' boots also have that ability.  Ski boots can be stretched quite a bit so should make sure you get boots that have very good heel retention and the fitter should punch/stretch them where necessary for your forefoot.

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
 

When anyone asks "Is it time for new skis?" The answer is always YES!

No, the answer on Epic is always "Get new boots".:)

post #8 of 18
Where in the East does the thread starter ski? i have learned as an eastern skier that all recommendations made on Epic do not always apply to me, particularly with skis. However, i would agree with the comments that you really should consider upgrading your boots with a good bootfitter. And then demo some skis.

For various reasons, I am not skiing as strongly as I can last two seasons and i simply took one screw out of the rear to soften my Lange RX 130's just a bit. If you let us know where you live and where you ski, you might get some suggestions on good bootfitters. As for skis, do not disregard the new Atomic Vantage skis. They were the new favorite ski for the east with my local non Vermont ski shop at the demo days at Stratton as well as with my Vermont ski shop.
post #9 of 18
With wide feet, like myself, did your boot fitter have to stretch/punch your shell? If not I'm guessing you're in a boot that's too big. If you're on a budget spend up to 90% of it (if you must) on proper boots!

This year one of the skis I'm looking at is the Armada Invictus 89 to. Looks fun and olis priced right.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by berkekhan View Post
 

 

Thanks for the reply! I was fitted for the boots I have at the time I got that first pair of skis (the Fischer's). I ended up with HEAD Adaptedge 90's. I have somewhat wide feet for their length (with shoes I end up wearing an 11 for the width, despite a 10 usually being long enough), and they were the most comfortable on the outsides of my feet out of the 3 or 4 pairs the bootfitter had me try on. He did not want to put me in a longer boot since he liked where my heels/toes sat - the BSL is 317 which I believe in these comes out around a 10 shoe size.

They seem to be doing a fine job, I have no complaints about comfort while I am skiing, but point taken, I don't think I would be a very good judge as to whether or not they are appropriate for my skill level.

I'll take my boots in to a local bootfitter before I do anything else and have them give me another opinion / make sure my feet are squared away.

Yeah, I'm going to lead this thread down the very typical EpicSki path. But these threads go down this path all the time because it is the right path. It sounds like the extent of  your boot fitting was trying on various boots, and picking out the one that felt most comfortable to you. Unfortunately, that is not boot fitting, and you were not working with a boot fitter. Rather, you were working with a guy in a shop who sells boots. Boot fitting is a much more involved process, which includes sizing the boot, then stretching, grinding, and adjusting the boot so that it fits your foot specifically. A good bootfitter is a mix between an artist and a mad scientist, and they're much rarer than guys in shops selling boots. Finding a good one typically means asking around on places like this. Where in the Northeast are you skiing? Based on that, the people here can recommend a good fitter. 

 

The one bit of good news here is that the boot seems, at first blush, to have actually been sized correctly. If you wear a size 10 or so street shoe, you most likely belong in a 27 or 27.5 boot (doesn't matter which really, the shell size is the same). With a BSL of 317, it sounds like your boot has a 27 sized shell. At least, I have a size 10 shoe, wear a 27.5, and the BSL's on all of my boots have been between 312 and 318, iirc. Typically people walk out of the store with a boot that's a couple sizes too big. There's hope here that isn't the case. 

 

The bit of potentially bad news, as mtcyclist suggested, is that these boots may be too soft for you. That's not a sure bet, but it's a possibility. If that's the case, you're not going to get as much out of any new ski as you would in a well fit, properly stiff boot. 

 

My suggestion, find a good bootfitter, and have a discussion with him before you spend money on skis. There's a possibility you could salvage another season out of your current boots, but maybe not. That discussion will determine whether skis should be on your radar for this season. 

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post
 

If your local bootfitter is not prepared or skilled enough to stretch, punch, grind or otherwise modify the shell to fit your foot, he/she is not really a bootfitter.  I think your boots are kind of soft for your size and stated current ability.  If you came into shop where I work, I would start with something stiffer than that and only go down if you really couldn't flex them in the shop.  Adaptedge boots are really beginner-low intermediate boots so you may well have outgrown them.  I am pretty sure the Head Vector has bolts that can be removed to change the 120 flex to 110 flex and other makers' boots also have that ability.  Ski boots can be stretched quite a bit so should make sure you get boots that have very good heel retention and the fitter should punch/stretch them where necessary for your forefoot.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

Yeah, I'm going to lead this thread down the very typical EpicSki path. But these threads go down this path all the time because it is the right path. It sounds like the extent of  your boot fitting was trying on various boots, and picking out the one that felt most comfortable to you. Unfortunately, that is not boot fitting, and you were not working with a boot fitter. Rather, you were working with a guy in a shop who sells boots. Boot fitting is a much more involved process, which includes sizing the boot, then stretching, grinding, and adjusting the boot so that it fits your foot specifically. A good bootfitter is a mix between an artist and a mad scientist, and they're much rarer than guys in shops selling boots. Finding a good one typically means asking around on places like this. Where in the Northeast are you skiing? Based on that, the people here can recommend a good fitter. 

 

The one bit of good news here is that the boot seems, at first blush, to have actually been sized correctly. If you wear a size 10 or so street shoe, you most likely belong in a 27 or 27.5 boot (doesn't matter which really, the shell size is the same). With a BSL of 317, it sounds like your boot has a 27 sized shell. At least, I have a size 10 shoe, wear a 27.5, and the BSL's on all of my boots have been between 312 and 318, iirc. Typically people walk out of the store with a boot that's a couple sizes too big. There's hope here that isn't the case. 

 

The bit of potentially bad news, as mtcyclist suggested, is that these boots may be too soft for you. That's not a sure bet, but it's a possibility. If that's the case, you're not going to get as much out of any new ski as you would in a well fit, properly stiff boot. 

 

My suggestion, find a good bootfitter, and have a discussion with him before you spend money on skis. There's a possibility you could salvage another season out of your current boots, but maybe not. That discussion will determine whether skis should be on your radar for this season. 

 

Thank you both! I currently live in the Washington DC area, although I don't ski much around here (my time this year will be spent in NH and CO). I did a little research and found 2 well recommended options very near by:

Brian Eardley and Brian Beaumont @ Ski Center in Washington DC 

Brian Deely @ Pro Fit in Leesburg, VA

(Is every bootfitter named Brian?)

I'm going to head down to Ski Center with my current boots and have them sort me out before I make any other decisions.

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by berkekhan View Post

 

(Is every bootfitter named Brian?)

 

 

Nah, mine's named Benny. 

post #13 of 18
Personally I'm betting on one size too big.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by berkekhan View Post

 

 

(Is every bootfitter named Brian?)

I'm going to head down to Ski Center with my current boots and have them sort me out before I make any other decisions.

 

Do it soon.   Like ASAP.   Ski Center's big swap is on the 27th after which the 'name' bootfitters will be swamped (or working with racers which amounts to the same thing).  

 

FWIW that swap might be a reasonable chance to either get rid of your current boots/ skis or pick up something cheap on a 'let's try this' basis.    If you decide to do that, keep an open mind and expect to spend, oh from 7:45 - 10:30 am.  

post #15 of 18

I would do a shell fit yourself.  Will at least give you an idea if your current boots are close to correct size.

 

As to the skis you are considering, they look like decent choices for you.  Lots of good choices in the 80-90mm width range.  And certainly something longer than your current skis is going to help.

post #16 of 18
If you want to do the shell fit yourself to see if the size is close, go buy a 1/2" dowel and round off one end. That way you don't have to try to look inside the boot and guess what the gap is. With the dowel, it either fits or it doesn't and if it fits you get come up with a pretty good guess about how much extra space there is. If you happen to have a 3/4" dowel around, try that. If it fits easily, your boot is too big.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post
 

 

Do it soon.   Like ASAP.   Ski Center's big swap is on the 27th after which the 'name' bootfitters will be swamped (or working with racers which amounts to the same thing).  

 

FWIW that swap might be a reasonable chance to either get rid of your current boots/ skis or pick up something cheap on a 'let's try this' basis.    If you decide to do that, keep an open mind and expect to spend, oh from 7:45 - 10:30 am.  

 

Thanks for the heads up! I will probably check out the swap on Sunday.

I went in first thing Saturday to beat the rush and they put me into a 26/26.5 boot. The fit was much less a comfort / how my shoes fit feeling, and more of a: my foot is tightly held into place feeling. I imagine it will fit a bit less snug as it packs out so I think we found the right size.

We tried a few different models (Lange MX100, Salomon XMAX 100, and an Atomic I forget that fit very similar to the Lange), and I ended up settling on the Salomons. The fit in the foot area was nearly the same for all of them, but I have smaller calves and the Salomon felt much, much more fitted up top. I had to make much less movement to begin flexing the boot, which seems like a massive improvement over what I was experiencing last season.

Much thanks to all of you encouraging me to get the boots evaluated, I think the more connected feeling is going to massively improve my skiing.

post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by berkekhan View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post
 

 

Do it soon.   Like ASAP.   Ski Center's big swap is on the 27th after which the 'name' bootfitters will be swamped (or working with racers which amounts to the same thing).  

 

FWIW that swap might be a reasonable chance to either get rid of your current boots/ skis or pick up something cheap on a 'let's try this' basis.    If you decide to do that, keep an open mind and expect to spend, oh from 7:45 - 10:30 am.  

 

Thanks for the heads up! I will probably check out the swap on Sunday.

I went in first thing Saturday to beat the rush and they put me into a 26/26.5 boot. The fit was much less a comfort / how my shoes fit feeling, and more of a: my foot is tightly held into place feeling. I imagine it will fit a bit less snug as it packs out so I think we found the right size.

We tried a few different models (Lange MX100, Salomon XMAX 100, and an Atomic I forget that fit very similar to the Lange), and I ended up settling on the Salomons. The fit in the foot area was nearly the same for all of them, but I have smaller calves and the Salomon felt much, much more fitted up top. I had to make much less movement to begin flexing the boot, which seems like a massive improvement over what I was experiencing last season.

Much thanks to all of you encouraging me to get the boots evaluated, I think the more connected feeling is going to massively improve my skiing.

 

Nice, see you there. 

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