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Quiver of two - pick the soft snow one

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I though the day would never come, but here I am, summoning the collective internet knowledge to build a quiver of two skis, where one of them is already selected, and its a Master 25m GS ski (Head if my current edges dont die on me, and maybe the current Fischer Masters if I have to replace it)

 

I'm searching for a soft snow ski (is it fair to say with hard snow capabilities?) to complement my piste ski

 

Some infos:

- Me: level 7 (but very little soft snow experience), 6 ft tall, 175 lbs, I hit the gym everyday and one could say I'm above-the-average fit

- But here is the catch: this is the first skiing winter I'm 175 lbs, as I lost a lot (a truckload) of weight.

- This means I have no idea what kind of ski I need (if I'm going offpiste, I simply rent the longest Brahma or Mantra)

- I dont choose my ski days (between 3 to 4 weeks per season), so I ski whatever condition snow or weather I find in my trips, meaning I ski everything on piste (junk, slush, bumps, groomed, ice, packed powder, etc) on my GS skis (or some SL race skis, but I prefer the GS ones, I'm no on small hills)

- I am really not a big fan of fat skis. Really really really not. I find the Mantra 98mm to be my limit, but I think this is a reflex of frightening situations with ice (onpiste and offpiste) and lack of grip for a big guy, which makes grip my number 1, 2 and 3 priorities

- I ski in the Alps, but unfortunately it hasnt been very snowy That said, as things have changed a bit, I want to add a soft snow ski for a quiver of two, and maybe I can trade some grip for playfulness or float.

 

- Do I go with

all-mountain metal thin (Kendo, Brahma)

all-mountain metal not-so-thin (mantra, bonafide)

a shortened burly ski (say 182 E100, or Cham 97), I dont even know if I can still handle the longest mantra at this weight

real playful ones (Soul7, Super 7, Rocker 2 100)

 

The only thing I'm afraid is to go with a large soft snow ski that I will use just a few days, due to lack of soft snow (so I wouldnt want a big powder ski). I dont want to carry a ski that will see almost no action (else I better keep renting, but reason I want to sto doing that is because I dont want to enter insurance discussions when hitting a rock or something)

 

 

I do reckon I will still be probably 80% of the time in my GS skis Finally how much grip is enough for me now, as a person who skis in GS skis all the time?

 

Also, I got a deal in a Super 7 188cm with FKS140. Would it fit the bill for my number 2 in the 2-ski-quiver to pair with my R25 GS? I find its larger waist unfit for all-mountainess

 

 

Cheers

 

 

Cookie

post #2 of 21

Fischer Motive 95

post #3 of 21

You're on the right track with a decent Masters GS ski.  Any of them will do the trick and it's a matter of personal taste.  The current Rossignol Hero Masters ski range is getting very good feedback (although I haven't yet been on one) but there are a lot of them (i.e. that type of ski) in Europe.  I had a fabulous day on the Fischer RC4 World Cup RC earlier this year, and I'd buy one of those in a heartbeat.  When it hasn't snowed in a while, or if you simply prefer to zoom the groom, a ski like that provides a challenge - asks you to step up technically - and makes it fun lapping a groomer.  Let that be the base of your two ski quiver.  Great call.

 

The wider ski is going to be a matter of personal choice; possibly even more than the GS ski.  Once you go past 90mm in the waist almost all of them will have early rise in the tip.  Questions will arise about whether you prefer a ski laid up with metal (or not); do you want a lively ski or something more damp; do you want tail rocker (or not); do you drive a ski or sit neutrally in the middle; do you want to feel the entire length of the ski engaging with the snow or are you happy with a shorter feeling, more playful ski (as you ask yourself); do you want it to feel light or are you happy feeling planted on the snow?  Lots to think about in that mix.

 

You seem to have decent grasp of what skis fit into which category, so you know your stuff. 

 

For the Super 7 I'll leave that to someone else as I've no experience with it.  I suspect it would fit (a masters GS ski and a Super 7 would be a great quiver) but that would depend on the depth of new snow you might be dealing with.  If it's not at least boot deep you might be going a tad wide for someone who's "really really really not" into fat skis.  And there's always the question about whether Rossi's 7 series skis had enough of a tail.  Anyway, someone else will fill in that gap.

 

Best of luck.


Edited by sinbad7 - 12/10/15 at 8:32pm
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post
 

Fischer Motive 95

This is a good suggestion! First ski I thought about was the now gone Nordica Hell & Back. But the motive fist the bill. I was thinking something 90 - 105, flat tail, tip rocker!

 

That's what I would be looking for! A couple more I'd look at is the On3p Wrenegade 102, Kastle FX 95

 

these skis are more likely to be used in off piste conditions and not feel terrible on hard snow like the Super 7 will. I honestly don't think the Super 7 works at all, such a weird ski and it lost a lot of it's charging capabilities on the air tip version, something you should be able to handle at 175!

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hi

 

Thanks for the replies, peeps.

 

Let me add some notes:

 

- I already have the GS one (its my daily driver) and my only bias on Fischer/Head is to be able to move the bindings (Freeflex17) to the new ski (so it would have to be a Head or Fischer), but if I see ski+bindings cheaper than the Fischer or Head I would have no probs switching (in fact I saw some Atomic D2 for Skicross with bindings for a good price already, so it will depend on timing) and the Hero Masters would be on the tables, but seems expensive

 

- I know the Super7 is not exactly the match for what I've asked, its just that it is available and its convenient (its mounted to my BSL). Also never tried the Soul 7 before (I thought I would simply overpower it in the past). I think I will hold my horses on this one

 

- Never skied the Fischer but I will try to! The Kastle FX95 was on my thoughts, if I can find it. The Nordica and On3p I havent seen in the shops, but taking note. Only Nordica I skied was the Firearrow 80, which was nice, so if I can find some Nordica I will try to test it

 

- I dont have much brand fidelity and cost will be important (I might need to replace my GS ski too, so need to be thrifty here). I will look a round whats available when the time comes

 

- I'm thinking also Cham 97 HM and also got votes for the Black Diamond Boundary 100 and Head Monster 98

 

 

Cheers

post #6 of 21

FWIW, I was pleasantly surprised how much fun my Volkl Shiro's 119mm were in the late April conditions skiing Superstar at Killington. I the afternoon I did 7 runs down Superstar racing the chairlift. I also skied them most of the morning that day. Don't write off a real powder ski. They can do more then you think.

 

I got them from www.skiessientials.com  check out there deals.

post #7 of 21

What is your price range?  

If you are wanting a blend of groomer and off piste performance, the Brahma and Kendo are both great skis.  My preference is a lot like yours, I own a pair of Mantras, but they don't come out unless there is at least 6" of fresh snow, they are hard on my knees unless they stay on the fluff.  I'm typically driving some form of GS ski or my Brahmas in 180cm.  
 

If you are looking for a soft snow ski that can still rip the occasional groomer, the Kastle MX98, Blizzard Bonafide, Volkl Mantra and Nordica Enforcer are worth a look in the 177 to 185cm range.  

Keep in mind I ski in the midwest, short hills, hard snow.  If a ski doesn't have at least one layer of metal, I won't even look at it. :)

post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

Well, in the past I didnt have the choice (between minimum acceptable grip and playfulness, I would privilege grip and double-titanal 100%), so it was a Brahma or Mantra always. I was afraid anything softer would be noodly.

 

What I always resented in my GS skis (or the Mantras) was the lack of playfulness (and the high swing weight in tight spots). So what I would like is something that would help me with my soft snow technique (which is semi-inexistent right now) while maintaining a bit of that hard snow performance, so that I dont carry a ski around that might see one or two days of snow per season (which is pretty much the amount of soft snow days I saw last winter, damn you global warming).

 

Im looking more for ideas, I dont know when Im goign to buy, its more like waiting for something to pass by in a good price :)

 

The super 7 for example was more than 50% off

 

In fact if I dont decide or stumble upon something I might go for some demos in the 1st ski trip

post #9 of 21
Cookie,
Your choices are so all over the map that it's hard to comment. If you want a 'fun' soft snow ski, then eliminate the Bonafide, E100, Mantra, Monster 98, etc... and look toward something like a Nordica Soul Rider. That said, a Soul Rider is so different than your GS ski that you might have a cognitive melt down, but it's a very fun ski that would serve you well.

Competent compromise skis? The Motive 95, sure. The Kastle FX 95 HP? Yup. I'd also say take a look at the Atomic Vantage 90 or 100.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

Indeed, when I wrote about the Mantra-Bonafide-Kendo-Brahma those were my old choices. In fact end of last season I had decided on a 190cm Experience 100, which would obviously make no sense now.

 

What I want is a tone down from that crop, more playful and that actually helps on soft snow. Something that is not simply my GS ski in a wide version, that would help with soft snow technique. I'm no good in pivoting, slarving, skidding, 3d, etc and my bump technique is pretty much look-at-that-guy-doing-bumps-in-the-racing-ski type.

 

But yeah, if I could match that with not having a cognitive meltdown of passing my last 50 days of skiing exclusively in GS/SL skis (except for 3 days in Mantras and Brahmas) that would be nice


So in that sense I would say, the ones closer to the sweet spot mentioned (leaving one out the too much powder skis and double-ti/ wide-GS ones:
- Cham HM 97
- Kastle FX95
- Motive 95

post #11 of 21
Line sick day 95. Playful in soft snow, shoud float ok, and isn't wide. Carves nicely too as long as the snow isn't rock hard, but that's what GS skis are for. Line skis don't a ton of love on this forum for whatever reasons.
Icelantic Nomad skinny would be a fun choice too.

Limiting yourself to skinnyish all mountain skis is going to limit your fun factor quite a bit. A good deal of skis in the 90-95mm range are metal skis that are biased towards harder snow and crud, which makes them less fun in soft snow. If you bump up to the 100-110mm range you can find some truely fun soft snow skis. You only have to edge an additional 5mm of ski in a 95mm vs 105mm ski on harder stuff, since you only use one side of the ski at a time.
Edited by clink83 - 12/11/15 at 7:48am
post #12 of 21
Cookie, do seriously consider the Soul Rider. IMHO its both more fun and versatile than a Cham.
post #13 of 21

Check out the Rossi Sin 7 (98mm) and the Nordica NRGY 100. Both of these are well rounded and well behaved and should be on your radar (assuming you don't want to go wider). There should still be deals on last year's Sin 7.

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Cookie, do seriously consider the Soul Rider. IMHO its both more fun and versatile than a Cham.
^^^^^^This
post #15 of 21

Just to give you some feedback regarding size, I'm 5'11" and I'm 160lbs I ski a Salomon Czar as a powder ski its 110mm or so underfoot and 181cm. Its doable on hard pack it just takes a long time to tip the ski over. Pick a ski based around just how much float you want, and whether you want to sacrifice being able to tip the ski for quick turns or added float. Also your mounting point on any said ski can influence just how well it will float. It may take more effort to keep the tips up on narrower skis but it is doable. 

I have a shorter pair of Rossignol S3's that are about 98mm 168cm with lots of rocker and they are very soft. They do provide the float because since they're so soft they go into rocker once weighted and I have my mounting point back enough so they will more or less ride over everything. I got them as rock skis for when I'm not skiing my stiff Salomon Propipe (89mm waist 171cm). I do enjoy the S3 when its slushy or there is mixed conditions, but getting into any real powder I would appreciate the extra length and added float of the longer wider Czar's. When its icy and conditions are quick I usually ski my stiffer Salomon's Pro Pipes I do take these into the woods but the tips are so stiff unless I really adjust my position on the ski the tips will dive. Its not impossible to ski them in deep snow, just not as enjoyable.

Take some time to determine what you'd be doing on the days that you don't want to the use GS ski, would it just be hunting for powder and fun lines off- piste because if so go with Super 7 because if it's deep you don't want to miss out. For the rest of days in between conditions you can decide whether you want to ski the fat ski and go find deep snow or fun playful features. With the flex of the softer ski and the rockers a lot of the skis can be quite nimble. If you follow up with a good hand tune you can find there is lots of grip on ice, just not going as fast as you may be use to. I usually bring all 3 of my skis so just if conditions aren't suited to whatever ski I'm using, I can switch it out and get on something I'll enjoy.

post #16 of 21

A quick note.  The Kastle FX95 comes in two versions: the FX95 and the FX95 HP (High Performance, includes two layers of titanal in the layup).  Given your stated preference for a bit of metal the HP version is likely the one you'd be looking at.  Mind you, you've said you're looking for something more playful ...

 

Best of luck.

post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hi guys

 

Some updates for you:

 

1) I've bought a new ski!

2) First, thanks for the answers, you really delivered. I saw a wide list of recommendations, and in this new context it will suit me well (keep on reading)

3) As I've said I was planning on picking soft-snow companion to my aging GS masters ski, but as things dont ever go as planned I've ended up selling my GS ski (more like give-away of a Freeflex binding really) and getting instead a brand new and shiny.... GS masters ski (to be more precise an Atomic D2 3.0 GS R26 183cm).

4) As a consequence, I will pause for now the soft snow one and I will have the time to demo some of the models suggested whenever some white flakes precipitation happens

5) I saw some park-ish and twin tips suggestions! I will take that with an open mind

6) Will also consider some 100+ skis

7) Pray for snow (but if it doesnt come, I will be rippin some man made concrete in my new atomic!)

post #18 of 21
Cookie, that Soul Rider? A great ski that just happens to have a twin tip. smile.gif
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Cookie, that Soul Rider? A great ski that just happens to have a twin tip. smile.gif

Well why not. I think I will find out how soft is soft enough (same way once I was exploring how stiff is stiff enough, or how long is long enough)

So yeah, Nordica soul riders, Lines, Armada (I will go as far as saying K2 or the non MX or FX Kastle will get a 2nd chance) are all welcomed back to the realm of my potential ski purchases
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 

In case you were wondering :)

 

post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hey guys

 

After some days of skiing, I've decided to update the thread, why not. Got so many news and changed a bit of opinions. So I'll just put it there for posterity

 

Me: level 7, recently got fit, 175 lbs, 6 ft, low on soft snow experience but willing to learn

 

Past skis: Head iGS RD R25 183, Atomic D2 GS R25 183, D2 SL 165 non FIS, D2 GS 179 R18, Rossi Hero ST Ti 167 (havent seen lots of soft snow). Previous offpiste time was spent in Mantras 184 and Brahmas 187

 

Current situation: testing new skis, exploring new terrain (offpiste and black moguls)

 

So here's how I went with skis this season.

 

Remember my ski quiver covers the "whole spectrum":
- skinny 67 mm GS for the hardest piste
- medium 69 mm SL for a bit of flexibility
- fat 74 mm tech ski for doing drills

 

So, no, I'm not a fat skis person, but bear with me

 

 

* Atomic D2 GS R25 183

 

conditions: hard groomers, refrozen, slushy

 

This used to be my daily drivers, and in (very) hard piste conditions now I can say... I'm not in love anymore :(

 

It has been laborious to drive them when I dont have the ideal conditions. I guess I dont have the weight anymore to bend them. Dont get me wrong, as soon as the piste is open, and you are going fast there is simply no hesitation, it's there and it's mean. I just could not get in those conditions (fast, wide piste, not so big bumps). I am rethinking dearly the notion of having this ski as a daily driver. I had them in some soft ungroomed black bumps and it was a wild ride (although an instructor was with a 165 FIS SL, of course his technique was orders of magnitude better than mine)

 

The nemesis of these skis are: the ski school snake line, snowboarders on flats, kid without direction, snowploghin people, narrow slopes, exit of chair lifts (it can catch an edge), basically any situation in which you are less than 50 kph or that will cause you to brake/hockey-stop abruptly to avoid killing someone (it will turn your thighs incandescent red in the process, like F1 brake discs).

 

They are mounted with X12VAR bindings, so I set them to +3cm to test, though this would help with backseat, but actually it became all weird, and unstable. I tried -3cm and this was better, but in the end I took it back to zero, and it skis normal, so there it goes, no postion change on theseskis

 

 

* Rossi Hero SX 174

 

conditions: hard groomers, refrozen, slushy

 

I've been in this rental level ski for a few days (let's say 2 categories below the ST Ti), doing lessons, it was good as a baseline on where I stand in terms of stiffness. It was good to do drills (garlands, hopping, edging, carving, one-ski, etc) that would have been too annoying to do in the GS masters skis. It surprised me simply because it held me, even in blacks. When I noticed I could use it, I immediately thought the GS skis would be trouble. I had one pre-release (1st time in my life) in a big GS turn, right as I was switching from edge to edge and I got ejected, but maybe there was ice between boot and binding. All in all, I was so surprised it was a pleasant ride, it's been forever since I use something like this (a "lower" level piste ski)

 

Now the next two, it gets interesting, because I finally got snow explosion

 

 

* Kastle FX 95 181cm

 

conditions: soft snow, 120cm in a week (yes, that lucky)

 

So I was in snow paradise for the first time in my life. Went to ski shop, saw them, with some stocklis. Both brands I just dont care much about. I've looked at the selection and the other good option was a Head Cyclic, but shop owner said I had to take the FX95. As you might know, I dont care for fat skis, but in the interest of open mindness, I said ok. First of all 181cm was the only length, I though it was going to be too short. So I take it out, some soft tracked groomers, some powder (mind you that lots of black terrain and offpiste was closed due to excess of snow). So I get on them and my frst thought was "they are so vague", big tip rocker, I felt akward, thought it would suck. But I hit bumps and they didnt suck, they were incredible. I was feeling ok, and even edge to edge I didnt feel so akward. For me it was like learning a whole new technique. 

 

Then at some point we hit a virgin slope fully in 40cm of powder (patroller was just removing the closed signs, only one track on it) and I dropped in giving mental cues to myself (control weight on outside ski, stay bouncy, narrow your stance bla bla) prepared to have some epic falls (I have no powder experience), but when I dropped it was just skiing by itself. I thought "this cant be right, its just not my past experience". I thought it would not float on that length, but it was completely automatic. I  went back another day to an 80mm all mountain ski just to A/B the situation and I was skiing bad all over again (it was a bit more tracked) so definitely the skis had great influence in allowing me to be comfy in that terrain. which has never been the case.

 

I was in awe and decided that this ski cant be that good. We went to a lower part of the area, with man made snow, I was sure I was going to break it. But the damn thing just wouldnt stop performing, I would have to angle more but by the end of the day I was very comfortable in any kind of snow with the FX95. I was so surprised, I think I could use it as a one ski quiver. I almost can forget that its slow edge to edge compared to my previous crop.

 

I am really in awe with this ski, it worked so perfectly. Short length helped in tight quarters. I didnt run it crazy fast (low visibility), but it really can handle hard groomers, and I just didnt think it was possible with 95mm under foot. I liked the tail so much, and it worked perfectly in the powder in a way I didnt think it was possible in this length.

 


* Volkl Katana Vwerks 184cm

 

conditions: soft snow, 120cm in a week (yes, that lucky)

 

So, excited after a throwing the kitchen sink at the FX95, I've spotted candidate #2 for soft snow week. I saw the Katana and simply couldnt pass. I've skipped the usual Brahma/Kendo/Mantra that I was seeing in other shops. I was surprised to see such high end ski available for renting, so I took the chance. This is the fattest ski I ever tried

First experience was that it didnt feel bulky like a big ski (as a previous experience I had with a Gotama), but it did felt slow edge to edge but it was holding an edge crazily. Actually way too much, it gets speed fast and its hard to skid the end of the curve, it felt stiff. All that changed when I hit the powder with it (it was soft and there were lots of it), it just go so docile, its incredible.

 

I had the same experience as with the FX95 (obviously it floats more), it would drive me easily even with my lack of powder experience. It was so responsive, in any speed (again not hitting any extreme terrain), but going back to the piste, having to pass some traffic with it, not very fun, it's just a bit slower than what I would like, wont skid end of turns, either its on or off, not predictable smooth break up of carving. So for sure not a daily driver, but big sweet spot for a ski labelled as expert level big mountain ski. In crud, it would just pass like a tank over whatever was given to it. In moguls, it would manage itself, but maybe just too large for a fun experience.

 

With powder days so rare and so few for me, it made me reflect that theses skis are so important. I normally would be struggling with a hard snow ski (even an all mountain frontside oriented) and there I was, enjoying myself even with a terrible technique. I felt like cheating, one day I want to be able to handle more conditions in skinny skis (I was seeing from the chairlift some junior racers hitting the powder in GS skis) but I appreciated what they were doing for me.


Now the last two, in a week that hadnt snow for 4 days, and I've got a lot of variable conditions. I was also skiing with an offpiste group, so 90% on variable offpiste, groomers only to access the offpiste

 


* Blizzard bonafide 180cm

 

conditions: variable crud, heavy powder, 4 days without snow with warming sunny days

 

So here we are, got to the resort, saw the conditions were going to be crazy variable, heavy powder, refrozen, crust, slush, ice and the in-between. First ski that came to mind was the mantra, from my past experience, but shop had the Bonafide, so I went for it (I searched the FX95 but coudlnt find it - I'm this hooked). From my past experience (when I was bit heavier) this should work perfectly. But it didnt. Took for one day in which we hit lots of different conditions and my feeling was that it was accelerating too much, it was just throwing me off and I was starting to have some of the past experience in deeper snow (outside ski sinking, inside ski flying) and I just couldnt understand why it was not working for me in the crud. I had it too angled and it was hard to ski with a narrower stance. For the hardest conditions it was holding very well, but for the soft I was not feeling confident. I'm not sure why it was not happening for me, but it wasnt. I dont want to blame the ski, it seems it just wasnt helping me.

 

So after the first day I decided to change. Shop had some Experience 88 (which was my guide's choice), Powertracks, some K2s but I bravely decided I was going to go crazy, and pick something I would never pick, so...

 

 

* Rossi Soul7 188cm

 

conditions: variable crud, heavy powder, 4 days without snow with warming sunny days

 

I just though it was not for me, that this was too soft, for much lighter people. But after a pretty unhappy day in the bonafide I wanted to test.I go up and do a beginner's run on it. It felt awkward. Its like it doesnt have an edge, I felt nervous, I wanted it to do a Kastle, but it wouldnt. Still, it feels nimble. I thought there would be tip vibration, as I had lots in the past but it didnt, surprisingly. After a couple more runs I decided I was not going to edge it, I was just going to let it do its thing, and I could go faster. Confidently I've noticed that if I pressed the tips a lot it could kinda get on edge, but just not a lot of grip.

 

It was well behaved in bumps, especially as they grew in size (again, I'm surprised) and with some technique adjustment I could manage it. It seems it just doesnt like everything dialed to 11. It cannot do too steep, too hard, too fast, too quick all at the same time. But if you can tone it down one of those factors, it will be there for you

 

At this point you must be thinking I didnt  like this ski, but you would be dead wrong, because the moment the conditions soften up a bit it was game on for the Soul7. And it's not that it would do ok, no no no, it would do awesome. Ok, so maybe traversing over refrozen, sideslipping, edge walking over a narrow access, no it was not great (as the bonafide, or a narrower all mountain) but it was sufficient to not cause any danger feeling in those situations. I was also crazily surprised the Soul7 was working so well for me, it was simply against the textbook. The ski totally worked for me as long as its offpiste or minimally soft. On the other hand, it means no compromise on the soft snow performance with piste oriented features. In a tight slushy couloir exposed to the sun it was so fun and aggressive, very surfy, what a great ski to have, I thought.

 


So to conclude, first of all, I cant really believe many people reached this far in my message, congrats if you did. You either are a ski nerd, have a lot of free time or read only one of the specific sections because you saw the name of some ski that interests you

 

The 2 skis I liked most (Soul 7, FX95) were skis I simply would never tried in the past, I'm just too much of a hard snow person. The Kastle was an eye opener. I dont know know how I would go for a one or two ski quivers after these demos.

 

I would be happy owning the FX95 or a HeroTi+Soul7 or a toned down GS and renting. I dont know at this point. Maybe I will keep trying skis for a while, since I didnt hit any Lines, Soul riders or Fischers :)

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