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British guy wants advice on choosing skis.

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hi,
I'm an ambitious intermediate skier always trying to up my level.

I ski quite aggressively but would admit that my technique is no way perfect - usually at the start of the day but vastly improves towards the afternoon as I get back into my rhythm. Im fairly confident but lose my way on blacks occasionally, usually losing grip (sometimes a bit of bottle tongue.gif).

I've skid for about 3ish years, 3 times in Europe, once in Japan and the occasional day at an indoor real-snow slope. I'd say about a total of 160 hours skiing. Also, just booked a week away in Norway. So I haven't got 10 years skiing experience, but I really do have the bug!

I'm 27.
Male
171cm - 5ft7inches
143isg pounds - 65kg approx.

I have some custom fitted Solomon XPro 120 boots.
http://www.salomon.com/uk/product/x-pro-120.html

I'm of the mind that some high end skis would help my skiing improve/allow me to push it harder with my friends who are a bit better/faster skiers.

The last skis I rented were pretty high end:
'HEAD On-Piste PREMIUM'
http://shop.head.com/en/premium-4.html?___SID=U

I did love these skis to be honest, they felt agile and felt like I had a lot of control over them.
I guess that's my biggest want, a ski that I feel I have a lot of control over to give me the confidence to push harder on the mountain.

The skis I've been looking at are the:
CODE SPEEDWALL S UVO
http://www.voelkl.com/skis/piste-all-mountain/code/code-speedwall-s-uvo.html?type=2345

They do an 'L' model but not sure of the difference :/

They sound great but do you think these skis would be a little too much for me? I'd hate to feel out of my depth but equally don't want to buy a ski that won't allow me to push myself.

They come in lengths 159, 166, 173, 180cm. I was thinking about the 166cm length skis. Generally I'd say I'd want a shorter ski as this offers more control (but I usually just go for whatever the rental guy gives me for my height), a desire for shorter probably shows my slight inexperience and a habit I'm trying to get out of.

Any thoughts and advice will be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your help.
post #2 of 26
Both Volkls are for those who had a different math class than I did:

100% On-Piste, 10% Off-Piste

=======

The L likes longer turns:
Code:
Length Radius        Sidecut
164     15.0    124_76_105
171     16.6    124_76_105
178     18.2    124_76_105
185     19.9    124_76_105

Than the S, which has a smaller turn radius:
Code:
Length Radius        Sidecut
159     13.6    122_74_104
166     15.0    122_74_104
173     16.5    122_74_104
180     18.1    122_74_104
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Both Volkls are for those who had a different math class than I did:

100% On-Piste, 10% Off-Piste

Yeah I saw that also :/
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Both Volkls are for those who had a different math class than I did:

100% On-Piste, 10% Off-Piste

=======

The L likes longer turns:
Length Radius Sidecut
164 15.0 124_76_105
171 16.6 124_76_105
178 18.2 124_76_105
185 19.9 124_76_105

Than the S, which has a smaller turn radius:

Length Radius Sidecut
159 13.6 122_74_104
166 15.0 122_74_104
173 16.5 122_74_104
180 18.1 122_74_104

Ah thanks, I did kind of think that but just wanted to check. I guess I prefer shorter turns than big sweeping carves so maybe those out of the two are best if I chose to get some.
post #5 of 26
For a given length, there's really not much difference in the radius.
post #6 of 26

Hi


You live far from the mountains, want to improve beyond intermediate. You are not a heavy guy and say you have issues with grip, even if you are using some thin specialized carvers. Your boots are set, thats a big plus. You are searching for another carver in the speedwalls, but a tad bit short for what would normally be recommended for you.

 

Here are some thoughts for you:

 

- It is true that getting a bit more advanced gear can help you improve. Too advanced can hinder your progress. The speedwalls are not the toughest ones in the category (fine for your weight, I would say), I dont see it as a problem here, but continue here with me

 

- I think the next step for you would be to:
a) Master different types of curves and control your speed by adjusting the curve you are making (short, long, steered, skidded, carving, etc)
b) Master variable conditions, like end of the day junk in the piste, bumps, chopped/softer snow

 

You would benefit from an all-mountain ski in the correct length and some lessons. The thin skis are fine and great fun for the hard piste and they do give you confidence when its icy, but they  dont perform so well in mixed conditions). Longer length will give you more stability in speed or variable conditions. This can make piste skiing more enjoyable, its not only for the offpiste.

 

So to resume, if I were you I would try a longer all mountain ski a bit larger under foot than the skis you are looking at (say, Volkl RTM about 80 something under foot, Rossignol Experiences, Dynastar Powertrack - all easy to rent models) and see how it goes for you. Maybe try to have a ski lesson while using those skis.

 

That would be my 2 cents

 

 

Cheers

 


Cookie

post #7 of 26
I think you will want a ski that does best on groomers. Now 74 under foot is what I have on my current all mountain ski. Unless you are skiing soft snow a lot, I'd say that width is fine for you. I'd also say you should get a ski that comes up to your eyes, no taller.

As for skis, look at Head, Fischer and Rosignaul as alternatives. Volks are good but when I think of groomer skis they aren't on the top of my list.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for your advice.

@IceCookie:
- It's interesting to say you think they would be a little bit short - up to my eyes is about 162cm - have I missed something there?
- I have been fighting the idea of an on-piste compared to an all-mountain ski. I have to say that I pretty my spend all my time on-piste, but understand that an all-mountain would be better for when conditions worsen.
- I totally agree, some lessons at this level would be useful.
- I'll definitely have a hunt and try out some all-mountain and see how I feel in them. But can I ask, what does the skiing experience feel in the difference between an all-mountain and an on-piste? I'd imagine they'd just feel bigger/heavier and underfoot.

@voghan:
- as I said above 162cm is up to my eye
- I see, the volks seems to come in at rave reviews for on piste - so I thought these would be my best bet. I'll have a look at some review on the other brands - but ideally if I'm going to buy some, I want to buy a high end pair - but obviously not spend silly money.

Again, thanks for the advice
post #9 of 26

Hi

If you are 171cm, I think a ski between 0 and -5 centimeters would be the normal choice. So between 166 and 171 cm, but then its all a matter of personal taste.

 

As I have always been a bit heavier than average, I tend to go a bit longer (Im skiing between 0 and +5, but with some exceptions, like the slalom skis I'm going with 165cm, and Im 183cm). But 0 to -5 is also just a guideline


Now for the all mountain X piste ski for a piste person:

 

You travel to ski, you can go to the Alps. This means you can go to some snowy places, bigger resorts, potentially higher altitude. In these places you might find a lot more packed powder and good snow (and mixed conditions) than, say, a small hill, which would probably be dominated by hard snow and ice.

 

A bigger area means some part are getting sun, others arent, popular runs become bumpier, where the piste basher has passed it can form ice. There can be pistes not groomed very often, meaning more bumps. In a big resort, the piste can become offpiste-ish sometimes, especially end of the day in very popular pistes.

 

In irregular snow, even in the piste an all mountain ski can perform better, as it is more suitable to ahndle mixed conditions.

 

Lets compare 2 skis:

 

- Rossi Hero ST TI: short radius, 70 something under foot, tip rocker, stiff tail. This guy will have the max performance on piste, tip rocker will give easier initiation, but the tail will give power while carving in the piste, but the narrow ski can be trown around in the slush and may not be the easiest in the bumps. But the narrow ski will also be the quickest edge to edge, and will help with grip

 

- Dynastar powertrack 84, tip+tail rocker, 84 mm under foot. This will have a less carvish feel, slower edge to edge, but the tail rocker will make it easier to pivot, but also reduce the "precision" of making a turn in this ski, compared to the tail of a piste ski. 
Several all mountain ski (like the experiences) will have lighter tips to reduce swing weight. The larger waist makes it less likely to be thrown around by irregular slow, like an offroad passing through a bad road. The tail will be less hooky, for example, in the bumps. IT s not only about the tail rocker and waist width, but also about how the ski flexes.

 

 

I dont think the all mountain ski will necessarily feel heavier under the foot. I feel some of the piste skis I tried felt heavier when you need to pivot them, compared to an all mountain. I find a bit strange in your weight that you are concerned about grip. This is usually a concern for heavier people (to me I got to a point that I could only feel safe when skiing in racing piste skis)


So its a matter of picking your poison. If you like a piste ski (I personally love it, especially the racing skis, I think it promotes good skiing habits, keeps you humble and they are thrilling to ski in - although after doing some long bump runs in them, my legs would have loved something a bit more all-mountain-ish there), just go with that, but do experiment with some all mountain at some point to see if it is for you.

post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
@IceCookie

Thank you for the detailed response, really appreciated.

- You are 100% correct in your description of the larger resorts in the Alps for instance. You definitely do get variable conditions on some of the pistes. Especially later on in the day. You seem to hit the nail on the head in that regard, I'd never thought of it like that. I suppose in my naivety I'd not considered chopped up snow for an all-mountain ski over a piste ski.

Regarding your two ski comparisons:
- Anecdotally, I have a feeling last time my friends and I rented, one of the group much more accomplished than myself, skid in the Rossi Hero, the rental lady actually described them as a 'Ferrari' - he tried them out and were too much for him, said they accelerated out of the turns a bit much for him - given that, I reckon those would easily be too much for me.

- On the Dynastar, what do you mean by less "hooky", can't say I've come across that terminology before sorry.

- yeah regarding the "lack of grip" - I admit I may have actually misunderstood the problem and could actually be down to my lack of skill. My only point of reference for this statemen was that when I tried skiing a few blacks last year, on some occasions I would completely loose grip and end up skidding down the mountain. Rather than loosing grip when carving, which maybe what you think I meant? This may have actually happened on some occasions, but I may be wrong.

I guess as I've only ever skid on a piste ski, I have never had anything to compare it to. I think I'll need to try out an all mountain - I just wonder at my level, whether I'll actually be able to tell the difference between the two! One never knows until they try it!
post #11 of 26

Hi

 

Yep, the offpiste is on the piste sometimes :)

 

We compared the Rossi Hero Ti X Dynastar Powertrack, but it could be easily any other piste ski (narrow waist, light tip rocker, better grip and edge-to-edge performance) with any other all mountain ski (larger waist width, bigger tip rocker, could have some tail rocker, beter pivoting performance).

 

Also you can tone down or up in both categories in terms of performance. For example, if Rossi Hero Ti is too much for you, there is the Rossi Hero Carbon, or some of the intermediate Pursuits (or maybe just try to go shorter).

 

What your friend describes as "accelerates too much" is exactly what the stiff tail will do (also the fact taht a slight tip of the ski sideways will engage it and this might give a feeling of an "angry" ski, like a  Ferrari, it will force everything to happen a bit faster that you might desire, also force you to be centered all the time to avoid this ski engagement at the wrong moment).

 

As you lay the ski on the edge (beginning of the curve) or you are flattening the ski in the end of the curve there are 2 things to consider about the rockers in tip and tail:
1) It changes the effective length and hookiness of the ski while flat (it means if you try to pivot the ski it is less likely to hook the edge, making it friendlier
2) It causes a small delay for the ski to engage the tip (beginning of the curve, caused by the tip rocker) and/or an earlier disengagement of the tail (in the end of the turn, caused by the tail rocker). The ability to pivot the ski without engaging might be desirable in mixed conditions or bumps. And then there are the effects in powder / soft snow, which is another discussion

 

Look at this vid from Dynastar showing the pivot and effective edge :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwmR-Wvt8qs

 

After if you still want to nerd it out:
http://www.ski.com/blog/rockered-ski-technology-explained/

 

For your skidding in blacks problem, I guess that's a problem we all have. Not everybody will go down any black carving like a champ from top to bottom (thats why we have those redbull ski movies for, when you think the guy is plummeting to his death). Sometimes its better to control your speed by steered/skidded curves and that's fine, especially if the snow conditions are difficult. Its just a matter of adjusting your curve to the terrain.

 

For fun, search in youtube for "warren smith steep session" and notice the variety of types of curves he describes when tackling a hairy situation. Very educational

post #12 of 26

The Hero is a really nice performance ski that is best for carving groomers and people that want to race down a slope.  For you I'd look at the Pursuit 700 from Rossignol for a pure piste ski or maybe their Experience 80 for an all mountain ski.  From Head I'd look at the I.Supershape Titan for a piste ski or the Strong Instinct for an all mountain ski.  Fisher's Motive 74 is a nice all mountain ski that does well on piste and off. 

 

I tend to think you should buy skis for what kind of conditions you ski most, not the ones you hope to ski most.  You seem to spend most of your time skiing on holiday so maybe get a medium waist all mountain ski.  Your last rental was a pure piste ski so going to something that is all mountain will feel a little easier to skid turns on the groomers and will cut through the crud easier than a piste ski. 

post #13 of 26
Sounds like some people need a tune on their skis to help with that skidding thing.
post #14 of 26
Some people just accept that you need to know how to carve, skid and stear their turns depending on the conditions. Tune has nothing to do with it but waist size on a ski sure makes a difference.
post #15 of 26
The identical ski, freshly tuned vs. used by 50 rentals ahead of you since the last tune, will be like a different ski in terms of its edge hold.
post #16 of 26
Very true, new skis will be better than any rentals you've ever skied.
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
@voghan@sibhusky - Ah I always imagined that they would tune them before each rental - in hope anyway!

@IceCookie - Amazing post, extremely informative. I'll definitely check out more of the Warren Smith videos.

@voghan @IceCookie I definitely think I should check out a wider ski - seems like I could benefit it - I'll have a look around at the ones you've suggested and other review and see what I think. The only issue - there is so much choice!

Happy new year, all!
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by legoman View Post

@voghan@sibhusky - Ah I always imagined that they would tune them before each rental - in hope anyway!
 

 

To finesse @sibhusky's  point  - skis age as they're used and a factory new rental will not ski like a half-season-old rental  even if they are both identically tuned.

 

A lot of rental-specific skis are built tougher to offset this - which of course means they miss out on the fine points of consumer ski design.

post #19 of 26
I'm sure most shops are running them at some rotation speed, but can you imagine tuning several hundred pairs of skis EVERY NIGHT?

It would be interesting to hear from those who've worked in shops what the tuning rotation was, especially how they kept track of what skis were tuned when, or if it was even attempted. Let's ignore demo skis, which I would hope are kept in better condition.
post #20 of 26

I know the place I ski has been using the same rentals for the last three seasons.  Those skis and boots look fairly old.

post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I'm sure most shops are running them at some rotation speed, but can you imagine tuning several hundred pairs of skis EVERY NIGHT?
 

 

I can imagine it, but then my imagination has never been lacking.   :D

post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I'm sure most shops are running them at some rotation speed, but can you imagine tuning several hundred pairs of skis EVERY NIGHT?

It would be interesting to hear from those who've worked in shops what the tuning rotation was, especially how they kept track of what skis were tuned when, or if it was even attempted. Let's ignore demo skis, which I would hope are kept in better condition.

That would be very interesting to know - with you guys who own your own skis:
-Do you tune them yourself or get a shop to do them?
-Do you service them before each season? For me, I would got for 1 week trip (2 trips at most) a year. Would you service before each to make sure they were razor sharp before each?
post #23 of 26
I ski 80 days a year, normally (although been sidelined by a cold lately). I do pre-season work, hot waxing and sharpening. Then throughout the season I wax and polish the edges roughly every 60,000 vertical feet. I actually keep track of that anyway, along with what skis I use each day. If I sense slippage on hardpack (not a lot of that here), I'll sharpen again, usually in the spring. I also watch the structure and will touch that up as needed. My goal is never to use the shop again.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by legoman View Post

Hi,
I'm an ambitious intermediate skier always trying to up my level.

I ski quite aggressively but would admit that my technique is no way perfect - usually at the start of the day but vastly improves towards the afternoon as I get back into my rhythm. Im fairly confident but lose my way on blacks occasionally, usually losing grip (sometimes a bit of bottle tongue.gif).

I've skid for about 3ish years, 3 times in Europe, once in Japan and the occasional day at an indoor real-snow slope. I'd say about a total of 160 hours skiing. Also, just booked a week away in Norway. So I haven't got 10 years skiing experience, but I really do have the bug!

I'm 27.
Male
171cm - 5ft7inches
143isg pounds - 65kg approx.

I have some custom fitted Solomon XPro 120 boots.
http://www.salomon.com/uk/product/x-pro-120.html

I'm of the mind that some high end skis would help my skiing improve/allow me to push it harder with my friends who are a bit better/faster skiers.

The last skis I rented were pretty high end:
'HEAD On-Piste PREMIUM'
http://shop.head.com/en/premium-4.html?___SID=U

I did love these skis to be honest, they felt agile and felt like I had a lot of control over them.
I guess that's my biggest want, a ski that I feel I have a lot of control over to give me the confidence to push harder on the mountain.

The skis I've been looking at are the:
CODE SPEEDWALL S UVO
http://www.voelkl.com/skis/piste-all-mountain/code/code-speedwall-s-uvo.html?type=2345

They do an 'L' model but not sure of the difference :/

They sound great but do you think these skis would be a little too much for me? I'd hate to feel out of my depth but equally don't want to buy a ski that won't allow me to push myself.

They come in lengths 159, 166, 173, 180cm. I was thinking about the 166cm length skis. Generally I'd say I'd want a shorter ski as this offers more control (but I usually just go for whatever the rental guy gives me for my height), a desire for shorter probably shows my slight inexperience and a habit I'm trying to get out of.

Any thoughts and advice will be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your help.


You will be fine.  Stick to the narrow skis for your needs.  If you really liked the Heads, you should try and find a pair of them, 166 to 170 cm is a good learning length.  A longer turn radius will work best in cut up crud, but the shorter turn radius will help you advance faster.

post #25 of 26
I get in 20 days a season. I wax and tune my families skis myself. I do a preseason tune then touch up based on need. Typically I'm waxing based on weather changes.
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks all, so in summary these are al the skis that have been recommended on here and other sources (in no particular order):

It would be great to have some further discussion to narrows these down. I don't particularly mind on budget, as I see these as an investment.

Bearing in mind, it might be very difficult for me to demo them all (if any).

Thanks again.

Piste:
Rossignol Pursuit 700T
Advanced/Expert
73mm Width
170cm Length
Tip Rocker

Salomon X-Drive 8.0 F
Upper Intermediate/Advanced
80mm Width
168mm Length
Small tip & Tail Rocker

Volkl Code Speedwall S UVI
Advanced/Expert
74mm Width
166cm Length
Tip & Tail Rocker


All-Mountain:
Volkl RTM 81
Advanced/Expert
81mm Width
170cm Length
Tip & Tail Rocker

Rossignol Experiences 80
Advanced
80 Width
168cm Length
Tip & Tail Rocker

Dynstar Powertrack 79
Advanced/Intermediate
79 Width
166cm Length
Tip & Tail Rocker

Head i.Supershape Titan
Upper Intermediate/Expert
80mm Wide
170cm Length
Tip Rocker

Brahma Blizzard
Advanced/Expert
88mm Wide
166cm Length
Tip & Tail Rocker
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