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How Many Of You Buy Skis Without Demoing First?

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
In this snowless Mid-West fall it's hard to find demo's let alone snow. How many of you buy your skis without demoing? How many regret their choice?
post #2 of 67
There was a big thread pretty identical to this a while back, but that's ok! FWIW, in my case, several. The only time I've been truly disappointed was with a mistake in length. Other than that, I've had very good luck. I ski a bunch of skis every season and am almost always very happy to get back on my own skis. What I'm used to is usually my favorite. smile.gif everyone's mileage will vary greatly!
post #3 of 67

Like you, I rarely have the chance to demo skis, and end up taking a chance.

For the most part it has worked out. Maybe i have just been lucky, but over the years I have only had 1 , maybe 2 pairs of skis that I was less than happy with. Partly because I am a natural born cheapskate, I never buy this years model, always getting last years or even the years before. 

It does give time to research reviews that way, to see what I may want to get in 2 years time. For this season I have 2 new pairs of skis, bought over the summer at deep discount. One pair, Volkl Racetiger SC, I have never tried, and have never skied on a Volkl before. But I am fairly certain they will be an excellent carver for most of the terrain / conditions I usually ski. I also have some Dynastar PT89 , which I have demo'd , but in a shorter length, so not a complete untried choice, but almost.  I'm sure I will have fun on those too. 

I like trying different skis, and  because there are so many choices I always get that feeling  that 'I want to be on those skis.. no, i want to be on those...or those..'

post #4 of 67

Just do your research online, get the correct length based on your weight/height/skill level, the best ski width based on your primary skiing location, and you'll be fine.

post #5 of 67
Yep, pretty much don't demo anything. Hey it's an expensive sport I look for price first and then the right size. When I went to salt lake a few years ago I had all mountain skis well you learn to ski on your heels in knee deep powder so shopped around for a pair and was going to hang onto my money until I found levelninesports.com.
post #6 of 67
Thread Starter 
Thanks all. My concern is that I demo'd a few last spring and wouldn't have bought any of them. Then again I demo'd them because I couldn't find any of the skis on my short list.
post #7 of 67
My best skis have been demos that I just had to keep.

I've bought lots of skis blind. Some great, some dogs. Cheaper for sure.

Demo when you can - just for fun. Trying a friend's ski counts even for just a run. The more skis you ride, the more informed your blind choices will be. Don't be afraid to jump on a good deal, just know you are gambling.

Eric
post #8 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by fisch2332 View Post
 

Just do your research online, get the correct length based on your weight/height/skill level, the best ski width based on your primary skiing location, and you'll be fine.

 

Yeah. That'll work. :rolleyes

 

Unless you find that those glowing reviews were based on advertising pages bought, and that the length you thought was right (a la Kastle) actually isn't), and that you over / underestimated you ability, and they don't at all, fit your particular style, and you get this online research and reviews from some who think the ski THEY bought is the bestest in the whole world (CA30 or Head 88 anyone), and so on and so on and so on.

 

Demo. it's the best and only way to find out what YOU want.

post #9 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post
 

 

Yeah. That'll work. :rolleyes

 

Unless you find that those glowing reviews were based on advertising pages bought, and that the length you thought was right (a la Kastle) actually isn't), and that you over / underestimated you ability, and they don't at all, fit your particular style, and you get this online research and reviews from some who think the ski THEY bought is the bestest in the whole world (CA30 or Head 88 anyone), and so on and so on and so on.

 

Demo. it's the best and only way to find out what YOU want.

Of course demoing is the best way, but if you can't demo or don't have the time, you research online from multiple sources, weighing the credibility of each source, and go on forums like Epicski to fill in the gaps with specific questions.  You'll likely find a ski that works well, if not the best for your personal style.

post #10 of 67

I can never pass up a free demo tent, and that has proved to be an expensive diversion. Still, I've bought several pairs untried. Most recently, that would be my Gotamas, which currently occupy the status of being my most favorite skis ever. So, yes, it can work out well.

post #11 of 67

I am a firm believer that the higher your level of skiing the more important it is to demo. It seems that my first two choices from doing my research have not been the skis I have bought. When you demo at a destination resort you can change out the skis multiple times in one day keeping the costs down.

post #12 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by tachedub View Post

I am a firm believer that the higher your level of skiing the more important it is to demo. It seems that my first two choices from doing my research have not been the skis I have bought. When you demo at a destination resort you can change out the skis multiple times in one day keeping the costs down.
I would say the opposite. If you have decent skills you should be able to pick the general size and shape of the ski you want, and then read reviews online to see if youre going to like it. I've never demoed a ski I bought, and I've never ended up with a bad one. Ymmv though.
post #13 of 67
If you demo, you're more likely to buy skis that are right for the way you're currently skiing. If you buy without demoing, you need to be able and willing to "learn something" from the ski. That process is not always easy. I have a friend who buys sight unseen and then takes them out two days and gives up and sells the skis. Nice to be her buyer, but probably not the most efficient use of money for her. The skis I've bought and not loved I've taught myself to learn to like/love them and it's been good for me. Much like vegetables.
post #14 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post

Yeah. That'll work. rolleyes.gif

Unless you find that those glowing reviews were based on advertising pages bought, and that the length you thought was right (a la Kastle) actually isn't), and that you over / underestimated you ability, and they don't at all, fit your particular style, and you get this online research and reviews from some who think the ski THEY bought is the bestest in the whole world (CA30 or Head 88 anyone), and so on and so on and so on.

Demo. it's the best and only way to find out what YOU want.

I like the Monster 88. Lovely ski. I don't own it though. May or may not in the future. smile.gif

(And what Sib said above!)
post #15 of 67

Actually your comment goes with what I am saying. If you have decent skills, a decent ski in you ability range will make you happy. Who is to say that by trying them on the snow one of them wouldn't make you happier. But as your skills advance so should your ability to get the most out of the ski. We are all built differently, and ski with different styles, and the manufactures make many different skis to make us happy sliding down the side of the mountain

post #16 of 67

Too lazy, and have had several marginal at best demo ski tune experiences in the past.

 

Through this site, Real Skiers, Blister, a smattering of Yellow Gentian, and a few trusted friends, I can usually figure things out for myself pretty well.

 

It doesn't hurt that I've met exactly ONE ski made by Nordica or Head that I didn't like in the last 10 years!

post #17 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by tachedub View Post
 

I am a firm believer that the higher your level of skiing the more important it is to demo. It seems that my first two choices from doing my research have not been the skis I have bought. When you demo at a destination resort you can change out the skis multiple times in one day keeping the costs down.

Would have to agree with you. I've had similar experiences. My last three purchases were from skiing it at a demo. Most recently, I went to ski a Rossi Super 7 specifically on information gained from reviews, but didn't like it at all. The Squad skied more like I was expecting the Super 7 to ski, but at 5'4" and 145 lbs the Squad, even in a 180 (my length) was a little too stiff in the tail and made it a bit much in the trees. Loved it out in the open going fast though. It's a great platform for going fast. I stopped by the Nordica tent and the rep put me on a Patron in a 185 length. I was very impressed with how nimble and maneuverable it was, even in the next length up from what I normally ski. I had not considered Nordica from what I was reading, but getting on them made the decision for me. I bought them in a 177 and couldn't be happier. All of the articles in the world can't let you know how the flex pattern will mesh with your style, ability and weight. Flex in a ski is very complicated and even if it happens to be quantified by some vague number in a magazine, you won't know how it skis for you until you make a few turns on it. My wife went with me that day to ski an Icelantic Oracle and she was somewhat impressed, but after Icelantic, K2, Salomon, Nordica, Meier and Armada she got on the Rossi Star 7 and she was smiling from ear to ear when we got back to the tent. We bought her a pair of 170's this past Friday with Tyrolia Attack 11's. Downside? It hasn't snowed in over a week. 60's all this week :hopmad:

post #18 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by graham418 View Post

Like you, I rarely have the chance to demo skis, and end up taking a chance.
For the most part it has worked out. Maybe i have just been lucky, but over the years I have only had 1 , maybe 2 pairs of skis that I was less than happy with. Partly because I am a natural born cheapskate, I never buy this years model, always getting last years or even the years before. 
It does give time to research reviews that way, to see what I may want to get in 2 years time. For this season I have 2 new pairs of skis, bought over the summer at deep discount. One pair, Volkl Racetiger SC, I have never tried, and have never skied on a Volkl before. But I am fairly certain they will be an excellent carver for most of the terrain / conditions I usually ski. I also have some Dynastar PT89 , which I have demo'd , but in a shorter length, so not a complete untried choice, but almost.  I'm sure I will have fun on those too. 
I like trying different skis, and  because there are so many choices I always get that feeling  that 'I want to be on those skis.. no, i want to be on those...or those..'
I couldn't demo the Dynastar PT89 because my local shops refuse to carry them.
I ended up buying a pair last summer for $330 and love them. The reviews were spot on, they pivot a tight radius easily yet rail super G through the chop at speed like a big mountain ski. I was just today slinking them through nice crud easy and fun.
The bases are sintered and fast, I could not be happier.
post #19 of 67
I must be a freak then. I've never skied an all mountain ski that didn't ski like I expected it too. Some are clearly not right for what I do, but if you just ski them the way they want to be skied most skis these days are really good.

5'4 and skiing 180+ skis? Where do you ski offpieste? Do you heliski for a living:)
post #20 of 67

I've been burned on skis I've demo'd--because I didn't try them in enough conditions. I've been burned by buying what someone I thought was an expert recommended. I've been burned buying the cheapest ski in the shop. I have not yet been burned buying a ski I've researched by reading the reviews but not demoing.I think I've finally gotten to the point of knowing my skiing well enough that I can read a review, see how the ski compares to ones I know, and buy. It also helps that compared to when I was young I can now afford good skis.

post #21 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by clink83 View Post


5'4 and skiing 180+ skis? Where do you ski offpieste? Do you heliski for a living:)

I have a couple of female friends about 5'2" 105-125 lb's that ski that length as well on all mountain skis.
post #22 of 67

Have only demoed one pair of skis that I brought.  The rest have either been faith purchases or have used reviews here and elsewhere of posters who's style of skiing I can relate to.  Only skis I have brought untested that I hated were second generation Volkl AC3.  Really there are not many bad skis. Demoing badly tuned skis will give your the wrong information (hooky, railed, no edge etc....) and binding placement can also influence how a ski feels......

post #23 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by clink83 View Post

I must be a freak then. I've never skied an all mountain ski that didn't ski like I expected it too. Some are clearly not right for what I do, but if you just ski them the way they want to be skied most skis these days are really good.

5'4 and skiing 180+ skis? Where do you ski offpieste? Do you heliski for a living:)

I wish. It was the only pair they had at the tent when I walked up. Wasn't going to miss a run for a measly few cm. It was snowing. Priorities, you know? It worked out well though. I bought the 177.

post #24 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbtbakkes View Post


I have a couple of female friends about 5'2" 105-125 lb's that ski that length as well on all mountain skis.

Yep, the extra length helps us keep up with bigger people in the posse.

post #25 of 67

I've never been that patient.  Part of the reason for having a quiver is to hedge against a few disappointing purchases here and there.  That said, when you already have 8 pairs of skis you are mostly happy with, the urge to dive in to a brand new pair at full on current model prices after a demo.  Demo then wait for the demo sale at the end of the season:D

post #26 of 67

Surely without demoing one will simply never really know if there is another ski which better suited them vs the ski they decided to purchase. But this doesn't have to  be a bad thing. Once getting accustomed to the new ski as long as one is able to perform to their relative ability and have fun even with some adjustments nothing else is really going to matter much anyway.

 

Most people who ski are not like many here. This is a unique community where a good percentage of members are skiing very many days per season, live near enough to resorts, are always up on the latest and greatest marketing and tech, and may possess several pairs of skis and also may be replacing them often enough too. Whatever the case, most people who ski are simply not of the same mold.

 

Imo opinion most people who have some good knowledge and understanding of how they ski and where they ski and what skis are available will do just fine picking a pair by making a solid effort for obtaining as much info as possible. That pair will be all they know because its what they have and with few exceptions they will go out and have fun and ski just fine.

 

Demo days are not so practical for very many skiers. There is resources of time, and money not to mention travel that has to be coordinated with a given demo day. For many there are only so many ski days in a season to begin with. Then the weather plays its part. What good is coordinating time and money and travel 2 hours to go demo and having to then do it in horrible conditions? So then you have to try to do it again at another place on another day. Once again spend your limited resources of time and money and again drive (perhaps further this time) to hope for conditions and even if you get lucky, then also hope you now get to run enough skis and in enough lengths to get good enough comparisons that you go home with some really worthwhile information from the experience. There is no guarantee you will.

 

. Its a different animal when one lives in a ski community and/or has the time to do this and/or perhaps season passes which of course in itself means one has all the time and convenience in the first place. People can do demo several days. Most people just don't have this luxury. Its just not so easy or practical for many to do demo days. Very many people who ski and ski very well but have family obs and other obs and lead lives that only allows for given amounts of limited days to ski and have to travel to do it. So they research, investigate, obtain knowledge, and try to make the best decision they can. And in most cases end up happy (even if by default) with their new pair of skis for the next several years.

 

That's how I bought my skis last year. (fwiw, blizz - xpower 810ti) and I absolutely love these skis and couldn't be happier I am on them. Could there be another pair I may like even better? Sure I guess thats very possible. But it doesn't matter now because these are what I own and they work great for me imo. They are what I'll be happily skiing during my limited amounts of ski days each year for the next several years. If demoing was more convenient and more practical for me to do so I would have because I actually attempted it twice but it wasn't and I didn't.

 

As for reading reviews, imo they need to be taken with a grain of salt. We can throw out about half the reviews to begin with. Its not so easy to find good sources but as one reads very very many reviews you tend to develop a feel for which ones are meaningless and written for the wrong reasons and/or with the wrong emotions. But one can also collectively gather similarities from the better reviews and after a while compile traits about a ski provided enough reviews are indeed available to read and nowadays view. Then along with your size as long as one has some good understanding of their own ability and how one likes to ski and where you then consider it all together and make the best decision you can.

post #27 of 67

Unless you're the the type of skier that likes to obsess over minutae a ski, is a ski, is a ski. There are some differences for sure, but most of it is indiscernible hogwash. 

post #28 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShopGimp View Post

Unless you're the the type of skier that likes to obsess over minutae...
Uh....
post #29 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShopGimp View Post
 

Unless you're the the type of skier that likes to obsess over minutae a ski, is a ski, is a ski. There are some differences for sure, but most of it is indiscernible hogwash. 

 

Someone obviously got lost on the interwebs, and has no idea where he is. 

post #30 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShopGimp View Post
 

Unless you're the the type of skier that likes to obsess over minutae a ski, is a ski, is a ski. There are some differences for sure, but most of it is indiscernible hogwash. 

Granted, the sensitivity and skill base needed to feel and know the minutia of ski design is far more than the average skier ever realizes.

 

However the spectrum between a pivot slipping bump skier versus a hard edge carver is served best by different design ideas, mainly how the tip and tail splay supports the start and finish of the turns, or if they are safely up and out of the way for a nice pivot smear.

 

A nascent skier can consider their preferences and choose accordingly from the plethora of skis on the market.

 

That said a good shop will apply demo $$ toward purchase price if you buy from them at retail.

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