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Help looking for an all-mountain back daily driver

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone.  I could really use some advice to help me break free from my “analysis paralysis.”  I’ve been looking for a new pair of skis for about three years (my son rolls his eyes and says it’s been five), and am overwhelmed. 

 

First, about me:  6’2”, 180 pounds, 53 years old.  Live in Bozeman, MT, and ski about 30-35 days a year – 90% at Bridger Bowl, with a little Big Sky thrown in here and there. I’m a pretty athletic/active guy – hard to live in Bozeman and not be.  I truly do ski the whole mountain, but prefer trees, side country, bumps, and some steeps now and again.  Groomers are what you carve fast GS turns down on the way back to the chair – only until you see a break in the trees to slip into or some structure at the margins to go bounce around in. 

 

For years I’ve been skiing an Atomic R:EX in a 184 (the D$ model).  It has been a really fun, snappy ski, but you have to work your tail off to drive it – and I’m over being tired in just a few hours.  Besides, after this many years, it’d be nice to try something different.  And I could never get the darn things to ski moguls well.  Yeah, I know this is largely a skill thing, but they just want to go fast and straight, and I’ve always had a hard time getting them down a mogul field with any sort of style when the bumps are large.  Smaller bumps are not a problem - very fun, actually.  

 

What I’ve tried:  I long ago arrived at the idea that I wanted a mid-fat ski, 100-ish.  That is not based on any hard and fast knowledge or experience, just a lot of reading coupled with the notion that it straddles the line between a little too fat and a little too thin.  (To that, a friend who uses the Squad 7 as his daily driver says “go big or go home.”  That doesn’t help).  Anyway, a few years ago I tried the Mantra – back when it was still the Mantra.  It was very fun.  Really loved the responsiveness and the way you could drive it.  But it also seemed like just a fatter version of the R:EX, defeating the notion of trying something new.  So one day, two or three years ago, I demoed the Soul 7.  Wow – suddenly I could ski bumps and make crazy fast turns.  It felt like I was a better skier.  However, it also felt like a noodle.  Way too soft.  But it opened my eyes to the possibilities.  Then I tried the Super 7.  It was a little better.  I could ski it well and had fun on it, but it felt too wide for a daily, all-mountain driver.  Tried the Nrgy 100.  It was fun, but didn’t shake my world.  Tried the Line Supernatural 108.  Totally lacked in performance.  To be fair, it was a warm day, the snow was sticky, the ski clearly had no wax, and it probably had a lousy tune.  But right after that, I got on the 14/15 Cochise.  Dang!  That was a hoot.  But I got to thinking that was going to take too much work to ski and be a bit tough in bumps, trees, and side country (need to try that again).  So I tried the 14/15 Bonafide (just last week).  That was hugely fun, too.  Quick and energetic.  Not too much work, and seemed like it could do anything (they aren't demoing the 15/16 Bonafide or Cochise this year, unfortunately).  Immediately after the Bonafide I tried the Supernatural 100.  Ironically, it had the same tune problem the SN108 had that I described above.  That being said, it felt like a slightly heavier Bonafide, but seemed to be smoother, perhaps a bit more buttery in turns, but at the expense of feeling a little less energetic (could also have been me; was getting a bit tired by then).  It would be interesting to A/B the Bonafide and SN100 for a day.  For grins, I also tried the Solomon Q-Lab.  It was a 190 and 109 under foot.  Hated those things.  They were turny and damp, but it felt like I had super-heavy telephone poles on my feet.  Tried a bunch of other things over the years, but can’t remember anything specific. 

 

My real goal in demoing skis this last week was to try the Nordica Enforcer, but they weren’t letting it out that day.  I’m hoping to take that out tomorrow, but it’s gotten a bit warm here and I think the snow is going to be crappy until we get some good snow, so it may not be a fair test. 

 

In the middle of all this, some (young) guys at the local ski shops said “Dude! The ON3P Wrenegade 112 is the way to go.  Anything under 110 is pointless up here!”  Similar stories from other shop guys for the Atomic Vantage 100cti, the Atomic Automatic 109, and the Sick Day 110.

 

I’m lucky in that two of the local shops have a free demo day every Thursday, right on the hill, and I’m able to play a little hooky from work to try a bunch of skis.  But geez, I think it makes it worse.  The paradox of choice.

 

What am I looking for?  Believe it or not, I’m not searching for the ultimate one ski quiver, but for half of a two ski quiver – the non-powder half.  Frankly, it’s pretty rare that I’m skiing in much more than 6-10 inches.  (Big dumps seem only to come on week days when I’m at work.)   So I’m looking for an all-mountain, fun and playful ski that I can drive when I want to, good at crud-busting, but can also cruise when I want to dial it down, that will be fun in bumps and trees, with a tail I can slarve around when desired, and good for, oh, up to 6-8” of powder. 

 

I get that I should probably stick with a rocker/camber/rocker format, but should I stay in the 100-ish range, or bump up to something near 110?  Am I right in staying in the Bonafide/Enforcer crowd, or should I bump it up to something in the Cochise/Wrenegade range?  Too many scattered thoughts from too many ski shop conversations, Epic and Blister reviews, and hordes of demo skis.

 

Any advice would be truly appreciated!

post #2 of 22

Welcome to Epic.  I recommend you try to demo the Nordica Enforcer S(100mm) and the Atomic Vantage 100CTi, 180-185 length.  Either of these skis will do what you want, whether you like them is a different story.  I skied the Enforcer and Bonafide back to back at Big Sky last year and would take the Enforcer over the Bonafide any day, but I'm only 150 pounds.  The Bonafide sort felt like planks.  And I'd take the Atomic over the Bonafide also.

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks!  I'll give the Enforcer and the Vantage a try.  If we get some snow tonight, I'll try the Enforcer tomorrow.  If we don't, well, it'll be bone hard and not a good test.  I'll try the Vantage next Thursday on "demo day."

 

Thanks for the ideas.  I'll report back.

post #4 of 22

Andy,

I grew up in Bozeman and am an "old ridge hippie" from the 60's and 70's, so I know the mountain and conditions well!!  I would strongly encourage you to go see Kevin Wiesner at PhD. Skis and chat him up!  Tell him Simpson sent you, and he will take good care of you!  I know he has demos and some solid lines.  After working in the ski industry for 30+ years, I do know, the only way would to find what works for you is to ski it like it's yours in many "normal" Bridger days!  Good luck!

Bob

post #5 of 22
If you think the supernatural lacks performance you will HATE the sick day I think.

IMO for the nonpowder half of a two ski quiver I would look for a ski in the 88-90mm range. That's good up to 6-8in of powder without being a boat, and there are some great skis in that catagory.
110-115mm is silly.
Edited by clink83 - 1/23/16 at 9:52pm
post #6 of 22
I was looking at the Atomic Vantage 100, Bonafide and Intrigued by the enforcer. I ended up with the Bonafide and I am very happy. Was essentially looking for a ski to do the same things you are looking for.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback, guys. 

 

Hawk56 - I know Kevin well.  He's the one who sold me the R:EX's I'm still skiing, and a pair of Dynastar Legend 8000's about then, too.  And a pair of Atomic boots, as I recall.  Haven't been there in a while; probably worth paying him a visit.  I'll let him know you said hi. 

 

Clink83 - I'm wondering how much of what I didn't like about the SN100 was due to an awful tune.  I may never know, unfortunately.  Interesting comment on the Sickday, though.  As for jumping down to the 88-90mm range, having now skied these 100 underfoot skis, and then jumping back on my 84mm Atomics, I sure like the 100mm width - my atomics feel like toothpicks by comparison!

 

Prophet 98 - Did you have the chance to ski the Vantage along with the Bones and Enforcer?  What was your experience with the Vantage?

 

 

I skied the Enforcer all day today.  It was an interesting experience.  They were really fun, but didn't feel as lively as the Bonafide.  I could make them do just about anything; they were just like the guys at Blister said, "Quick, Smooth, Stable."  I'd add "turny" to that.  But, at the same time, they felt...  I don't know, like the batteries were low, just didn't have the zing I was hoping for. 

 

About half-way through the day, I sat down and took a look at where my boots sat on the ski and saw that they were 3 or 4mm in front of the line.  Recalling the great review by givethepigeye, and his saying he found the sweet spot for him was 15mm behind the line, I took them back down to the shop and asked them to move them to about 10mm behind the line.  They tried to talk me out of it; said it would feel really weird and that they'd never heard of anyone skiing that ski anywhere but on the line.  Of course they agreed to do it, but ended up only about 6 or 7mm back.  Good enough. 

 

What a HUGE difference.  The ski just lit up.  Lost none of it's positive characteristics, but just got really lively and playful.  Never would have thought such a small change would make such a difference, but it sure did.  Still not as energetic as the Bonafides, though.  Different feel - smoother, more compliant, too. 

 

So I'll go back this Thursday for the next free demo day, and pit the Bones against the Enforcer (mounted back 1cm) and the Atomic Vantage 100cti, then buy the one I like best.

 

(If I have time, I'll still try the ON3P Wrenegade 112.  I'm think I'm off the ~110 thing, but think it will be fun to try.)

 

Will post again Thursday night.

post #8 of 22

Here's another one to try: Fischer Motive 95ti. Dawgcatching has a summary here:

http://www.epicski.com/t/145069/fischer-motive-95ti-long-term-update/0_50#post_1965770

 

I'm 6' 0", 200 lbs, advanced intermediate/level 7? Picked this after trying a Stockli Stormrider 88, Brahma and Line Supernatural 92. Skiing the 180.

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

Oh my.  So many skis, so little time.  It does sound nice, though.  I'll keep my eye out for it and will take it for a spin if it's in the demo fleet this week.

 

Thanks for pointing me to the review!

post #10 of 22

the bonafide is a great ski but if you're looking for more of a non powder maybe a little over kill imo, the brahma can crush crud, groomers fun with mogules and handly a decent amount of pow in my experiance. Another fun ski maybe worth a look if you see it at demo tent is the volkl 100eight super fun ski all rocker may not be what youre looking for and I thought that too but man when I got those guys on I felt like I could tear up the mountain super fun ski.

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcastle12 View Post
 

the bonafide is a great ski but if you're looking for more of a non powder maybe a little over kill imo, the brahma can crush crud, groomers fun with mogules and handly a decent amount of pow in my experiance. Another fun ski maybe worth a look if you see it at demo tent is the volkl 100eight super fun ski all rocker may not be what youre looking for and I thought that too but man when I got those guys on I felt like I could tear up the mountain super fun ski.


I'm pretty set on something about 100 under foot, otherwise the Brahma would absolutely be on my list.  Originally thought about the 100eight - and the automatic 109 - but at this point have been steering away from that size - even though I really enjoyed skiing the Cochise.  Maybe I'll have the chance to get on them tomorrow, though.  Never hurts to try, eh?

post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 

Sadly, despite spending all day yesterday on the 14/15 Bonafide (186?), the 15/16 Vantage 100 (only had the 180), and the new Enforcer (185), I'm no closer to a decision.

 

It has been pretty warm here of late.  Mid-40's in the afternoon, below freezing at night.  Though I didn't get on the first ski, the Bones, until nearly 10AM, the mountain was a giant piece of rutted, refrozen concrete.  Didn't dare go in the trees or anywhere fun.  The Bones did an ok job of getting me down the hill and around, and I convinced myself I liked all the feedback from the skis chattering around. 

 

Skied those for nearly 2 hours, then jumped on the Vantage.  By then, the mountain had softened beautifully, creating almost ideal conditions.  By contrast, the Vantage was phenomenal.   As I thought about it, all that feedback I got from the Bones was really just irritating chatter that made me tired.  No such problem with the Vantage.  They did feel short, but they only had the 180 there for demo; perhaps the 188 would be right on (me: 175# nekkid in the morning, 6'2"),  I didn't want to like the ski, as I had this down to the Enforcer or the Bones and didn't need the complication of another ski. At that point, though, the bones were out and the vantage was in.  (I thought of you, @mtcyclist, and your comment about the Vantage, above.) 

 

After hours of that, I ran in for lunch.  Came back 30 minutes later and grabbed the Enforcer, mounted on the line.  Skied it a little bit, then cruised to the bottom to have the mount point dropped back 10mm behind the line.  Unfortunately, two things happened then - the sun started to go behind the hill, casting that re-freezing shadow, and I, after 4 hours of hard skiing, was starting to get tired.  In other words, objectivity went out the window, and the Enforcers then kinda sucked for me.

 

In retrospect, my experience made perfect sense: the skis I was on for both the morning ice and the afternoon refreeze were very unsatisfying.  The ski I was on for the warm, mashed potatoes skiing was, by contrast, fabulous.  In other words, a wasted day.  I've skied the Bones before and loved them.  I've skied the Enforcer before and loved it, too.

 

So, back I'll go next week and do the whole thing again.  This time, hopefully we'll have some new snow and cold temperatures, and I'll also limit my test runs to just a few so I don't peter out. 

 

@NoCapes: thanks for the Fischer suggestion, but no Motive in the demo fleet; just the Ranger.

post #13 of 22
Andy, I'm in the bozone too! Did you ski Bridger today? Wow. Awesome.

I've been skiing a Liberty Double Helix (121 underfoot) as a quiver of one for a few years but my 54 year old knees are pretty beat up so I decided I needed a narrower daily driver and picked up a Fischer Motive 95ti in 180 this year (me: 5'11 190). I like them a lot, and find them really fun in pretty much all conditions. I kept the Double Helix's for powder days, and although I like the Fischer's in powder (and everywhere) I sure like the fat skis better in powder. The DH were a dream today! If my knees were in better shape I'd get a 108'ish waist and call it good for Bridger, especially since groomers aren't a priority. A ski like this would be awesome everywhere. The extra width makes our 4-6" "dumps" ski like deeper snow as you can't feel the bottom, and it crush the Ridge and the off piste terrain we have. Too wide, like my DH, and the steeper terrain can be hard to hold an edge (think entrance to Hidden). Narrower isn't as much fun on powder days. I do like how the Motive skis shallow crud, but it isn't better than the DH there. They are both good.

Finally, buy the red ones. Haha.
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 


Ok, so I have to mention some amazing EpicSki serendipity.  I was thinking about @wwrivers ^^^ comment about the Fischer Motive, and wondering where I could find a pair to try.  Not much of a Fischer selection here in Bozeman, frankly, so probably not going to happen.  And I'm far too analytical (anal retentive) to buy a ski without skiing it first. 

 

So yesterday I'm skiing at Bridger Bowl (amazing day, btw).  I'm skiing single since my son didn't want to come with me.  About mid-way through the day, I take a run down to the Pierre's Knob chair, jump in the singles line, and end up sitting with a random couple.

 

We say our "hellos" and talk about the awesome snow, and then I notice the fellow sitting next to me has a pair of Fischer Motive 95's.  Wow, cool!  I get to ask a bunch of questions, and share the story of my long and continuing quest for a pair of mid-fats.  Then he looks at me and asks if I'd ever been to EpicSki. 

 

Anyway, to make this long story short, the random fellow next to me is none other than wwrivers. 

 

How, in all the randomness of the world, do I end up sitting with the fellow who posted to this string not 24 hours before??  At Bridger Bowl, on this day, at the same chair at that exact time, and I cruise down the singles line, only to be paired up with him.  Just amazing. 

 

Still no way to try the Fischers, but an awesome chance meeting.

post #15 of 22
Salomon Rocker 2 100 it's my ski and it's so versatile... Holds edges like a dream and floats in pow! Also check out the bonafide, soul 7, and enforcer
post #16 of 22

That was pretty funny to run into @AndyBzn on the lift after having seen his thread and posted a reply to him the night before. Good to meet you Andy! Yesterday was great up there. We headed off to Schlasman's after that chair ride with you, and then hit the Z-Fan. Wow, so good. Hope you enjoyed your day too.

post #17 of 22

Oh yeah, the Motive's were great yesterday, and we skied some pretty good powder where they were fine. I think you will love the Bonafides or Enforcers. Can't really go wrong with either in my view.

post #18 of 22

Too bad you can't find a Motive to demo.  I demoed a bunch of skis this year including the Bonafied, Brahma, E100, Ranger 98, Q 98, and a few others.  I like the Motive 95 more than any of them.  In a lot of cases I was the first person to ski the new demos.  It was fun!  I still haven't gotten on the Enforcer, Mantra, or Energys.

post #19 of 22
I would let him try mine but our boot sized aren't even close.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwrivers View Post

I would let him try mine but our boot sized aren't even close.
Yeah, if my feet were any larger, I could just wax my boots. Thanks for considering it, though. Still wondering why no shops in Bozeman carry this ski.
post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 

Spent all day yesterday on the Enforcer in perfect conditions.  More about that here.  Good day, for sure, and settled on -1 for a mounting point, but still not sure on this ski.  The problem is that I am coming off years of skiing that super stiff R:EX, so everything feels different and strange. Not sure what I'd get used to versus what would just bug me forever.  The Enforcer is really smooth and buttery, but not springy and energetic.  I must be the most challenged wanna-be ski buyer on the planet, but I just need to get on that Bonafide one more time.  Maybe even that Vantage.  This could go on forever... 

post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyBzn View Post
 

Spent all day yesterday on the Enforcer in perfect conditions.  More about that here.  Good day, for sure, and settled on -1 for a mounting point, but still not sure on this ski.  The problem is that I am coming off years of skiing that super stiff R:EX, so everything feels different and strange. Not sure what I'd get used to versus what would just bug me forever.  The Enforcer is really smooth and buttery, but not springy and energetic.  I must be the most challenged wanna-be ski buyer on the planet, but I just need to get on that Bonafide one more time.  Maybe even that Vantage.  This could go on forever... 


Yeah, the skiing at Bridger was not too bad yesterday! I felt horrible so didn't ski well but still managed to have fun. Grooming was sub par  - just how we like it!  Wish I could've been there the day before...

 

Switching from my Double Helix to the Motive it always takes me a few runs to feel comfortable on the Motives again. They don't initiate quite as well as the DH, but they sure are solid and fun. Once I get used to them they are both very quick and stable, and I can get some rebound out of them although I would guess other skis might have more rebound. Basically the more I get used to them the more I like them. That's how I've always been with skis, as long as they are good skis (highly regarded by many other people).

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