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Ex Racer looking for new skis....[woman in the northeast]

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I am an ex-racer skiing mostly in the East--female 130lbs 5'6". I used to ski on Volkl Race Tigers and I am looking for something that I can use mostly skiing in the East. I like to go VERY fast on groomers but also like to venture into the trees and hit the bumps. I am really interested in trying to get into some AT skiing this winter. 

 

It seems like the Rossignol Temptation 100 is a really good ski for all terrain, but I am worried about the 100mm underfoot. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Will it be an overwhelming transition from a race ski? The Temptation 88 seems like a good back up, but I am worried I will be disappointed in the backcountry and it also doesn't have as great reviews for carving and at speed....

 

I am also open to other suggestions!

post #2 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BB167 View Post
 

I am an ex-racer skiing mostly in the East--female 130lbs 5'6". I used to ski on Volkl Race Tigers and I am looking for something that I can use mostly skiing in the East. I like to go VERY fast on groomers but also like to venture into the trees and hit the bumps. I am really interested in trying to get into some AT skiing this winter. 

 

It seems like the Rossignol Temptation 100 is a really good ski for all terrain, but I am worried about the 100mm underfoot. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Will it be an overwhelming transition from a race ski? The Temptation 88 seems like a good back up, but I am worried I will be disappointed in the backcountry and it also doesn't have as great reviews for carving and at speed....

 

I am also open to other suggestions!


Hi BB, and welcome to Epic!

 

I'm reluctant to recommend specific skis, because the only one I've been on (and thus can personally vouch for) that I've found meets nearly all your requirements (at least for inbounds skiing) is no longer made or available.  However, I'm sure there's one out there -- maybe a Stockli Laser or Head iSL or iSupershape Speed, or some other model/manufacturer.  But what I can do is offer some general (and hopefully helpful) guidelines, plus some background to help you interpret what I'm sure will be a host of responses:

 

First, I'd encourage you to listen to all the advice given here and use it as guidance to decide which skis to demo.  Ultimately, I believe, that's the only way you'll really be able to figure out what works for you.  I personally spent a couple of seasons demoing as part of my transition from my older racing skis to my current boards (http://www.epicski.com/t/119277/ex-racer-demos-modern-skis-titan-rev85-rtm84-kendo-proph98-finds-himself-delighted-and-confused/180#post_1732539). Demoing also enables you to figure out one of the trickiest questions: once you've decided on a ski, what's the right length to get?  [As part of demoing, note that binding delta (heel height - toe height) can have a huge effect on fore-aft balance -- they can be all over the map, from 1 mm to 9 mm, so a ski that feels off might do so simply because the binding it's mounted with has the wrong delta for you; as a racer you're probably familiar with this.]

 

Second, note that most of the Epic members are men, and thus will typically be much bigger than you.   You should really try to get recommendations from someone close to your size, since a model that flexes nicely for a 180 lb. guy could feel like a 2x4 for someone your weight.  Hopefully everyone responding will specify their size, weight (I'm a smaller guy, 5'7", 150#), and skiing style (for mine, you can check the videos below my signature line).  You might also want to try posting your question on Ski Diva.

 

Third, note that there are basically two camps here, the wide ski camp and the narrow ski camp.  

 

The wide ski camp favors mid-fat skis (say, 80-100 mm) as all-mountain tools, believing that such a ski will give you most of the groomer performance of a narrow carving ski, while affording much greater versatility for off-piste conditions (say, powder in trees).  Relatedly, they tend to favor more rockered skis which, in this category, typically means camber underfoot and some rocker in the tip and tail. 

 

The narrow ski camp favors narrower carving skis (say, 66 - 75 mm) as all-mountain tools, believing that such a ski significantly outperforms a midfat on groomers, is better (quicker) in moguls, and can be skied reasonably well (and sometimes very well) in soft snow, and are thus unwilling to give up the former for (sometimes) better performance in the latter.  Relatedly, they tend to favor skis with minimal or no rocker in the tip and tail.  

 

I'm in the second camp (somewhat of a minority here, I believe), so that's where I'll be coming from.  Others, from the first camp, will offer you an alternative perspective.  When you demo, you'll be able to decide for yourself which to go with :) :

 

The quick summary is I think you're going to be giving up too much inbounds performance with a wider ski.  I suspect you're only going to be happy if you get a narrow, high-performance carver for inbounds skiing, and a separate wider AT ski/setup for the backcountry.

 

Here's my argument for why you'll want a narrow carving ski for inbounds eastern resort skiing:  As you know, since you're skiing in the east, you'll be skiing a lot more firm snow/ice/moguls than powder.  So I'd recommend a narrower ski, since it's going to be optimized for the conditions you'll most often be encountering.  I suspect (demoing will tell you if this is true) that, particularly as an ex-racer, you will be disappointed by the groomer performance of wider skis.  I think you'll find that, as you go above the high 60's, you'll find the skis become less precise/responsive/fun/exciting for carving.  Plus I expect you like to get your skis up on high angles, and you may find that putting wider skis repeatedly up on edge puts stress on your knees, especially if you go with a 100 mm ski (to avoid this stress with wide skis, I find I want to be in snow deep enough such that, when I'm on edge, the entire base is supported by the snow, rather than just having contact at the edge).   And of course you'll get less edge grip, everything else being equal, with a wider ski.  So my suggestion would be to stay on the narrower side; and if you want more inbounds versatility (say going into the trees),  go with something that is still high in performance, but on the more flexible side.  It would be worth, for instance, demoing a high-performance carving ski that has no sheets of metal; you'll give up some stability at speed, but you'll get more versatility for moguls and soft snow.  


Edited by chemist - 5/25/16 at 8:28am
post #3 of 26
Great advise.
post #4 of 26

Great advice indeed! 

 

Also, try and pose your question on the all female forum of The Ski Diva (theskidiva.com). Lots of gils and women there that really know their skis.

post #5 of 26
BB, the usual answer is "Ski what I ski, they're great!" smile.gif. I'm only suggesting a couple of skis here because I know someone locally who's ex USST WC. she's also in the industry and can ski anything she'd like, is involved in ski testing for a major publication, and helps test skis for a particular manufacturer. As said above, it's pretty hard to beat a good race ski for out east. The trick is finding a ski that's relatively light enough to bother skiing with inbounds AND possibly tour with. honestly, that's a tough one. You'll also have to get used to tip and possibly some tail rise and the relative feeling of 'vagueness' in transition via your race skis. Anyhow, just wanted to share a couple if skis she's on a lot. Yes, she likes the Temptation 100 a lot, but we're out west. The ski that was on her feet most of this season was the Atomic Vantage 90 which is both relatively light (yes, one could mount them with a frame or tech touring binding) and also seems to deal with her need for speed, grip, and stability. And yes, she's a better skier than most all of the men large and small who post here. smile.gif I'm guessing she's shorter, but about the same weight as you. Like the nice long post above says, keep skiing a good piste ski. Keep an SL and/or GS ski for ripping piste. They're also work quite well in shallow crud for someone who's a good pilot. The Atomic I mentioned is a compromise ski that happens to be something a very strong female ex racer enjoys for a recreational all-arounder. As said above, yup, do some demoing and don't expect a non-race ski to be as precise and powerful as what you're used to, but keep an open mind. Good luck! You'll have fun with this!
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BB167 View Post
 

I am an ex-racer skiing mostly in the East--female 130lbs 5'6".  I am looking for something that I can use mostly skiing in the East. I like to go VERY fast on groomers but also like to venture into the trees and hit the bumps. I am really interested in trying to get into some AT skiing this winter. 

 

 

I am also open to other suggestions!

a) FAST on groomers

b) trees

c) bumps

d) touring

 

In order to get all of these, you need two pairs of skis. You can pair a and c, and pair b and d... nothing will give you a,b,c and d. Are you prepared to buy new touring boots and climbing skins? You don't need to use touring boots to tour with a frame AT binding... but if you go more than once or twice a year, you'll quickly want some. If you aren't going to tour more than once or twice a year, don't hamstring your all-mountain skis with a major compromise of a binding.

post #7 of 26
As you are an ex racer I think you're going to be disappointed in anything but an aggressive carving ski. You're likely good enough to adjust your technique for mixed terrain and bumps.
post #8 of 26

Also, since it sounds like you may be new to AT, if you're just going to do it a couple of times next season, you may want to start by renting.   That will help guide your purchase decision.   If you decide to go this route, I'd search Epic for "best places to rent AT gear in [your location]";  if you don't get some good hits, you can start a separate thread for it in the "Backcountry, Telemark, and Cross Country" forum.


Edited by chemist - 5/25/16 at 9:06am
post #9 of 26

I agree. Although in the ~90 mm category the Salomon X-Drive 8.8 and Blizzard Brahma are the most stable of the bunch (including high speed carving on groomers, but nothing compared to a GS race ski you might be used to), they are not very playful. 

 

Maybe a 2015 or 2014 Völkl Kendo? (The current 2015-2016 series is much lighter, more soft-snow oriented and of less performance on hard snow.) Or the Head Monster 88, as it is a real charger on piste, but can be really playful in bumps, tight spots and with ok float. Maybe the Monster is your best bet in that width range. The Monsters are hheavy though, so I wouldn't take them touring.

post #10 of 26
Guys, lets hear about skis for skiers with a similar profile.. Female, east coast, race background looking for a quiver ski that will compliment her race skis. I used the example of a skier with her background and more. Any of you have friends, acquaintances or kids who match the OP's profile?
post #11 of 26

I do not have a race background but I ski in the northeast and have multiple pairs of skis that cover the areas that I think OP is trying to occupy.  I am 5'6" and 175lbs and am an advanced intermediate.  

 

These are my skis

 

HARD SNOW

Atomic Redster XTI's that fulfill my need for speed.  These are 70 underfoot and rail the hard pack like I've never experienced.

Volkl Charisma 79 underfoot that bites into the hard pack like a rabid dog but also has a decent sized tip so it handles a bit of softer snow well.

 

MIXED SNOW

2016 Volkl Kenja mixed snow ski, great in powder, crud, slush and is my "fat" ski I bring to quebec when I ski up that way when there's some soft stuff

2017 Volkl 90Eight W - pretty much the same conditions as the Kenja but just a wider ski for even better performance in these types of conditions.  Will be my out west ski.

 

I could probably get by with just 2 of these 4 skis.  I'd probably pick the Charisma and the 90Eight.  However, the Redsters are just so damn fun and make me feel like a ski racer and the Kenjas are great for Canada, wide enough for any powder Canada might get.  This cocktail of skis work for me.

 

I also have a bit of a fascination with Kastle skis (MX 78 or 83) and the Moment PB & J so these will likely factor into my quiver somehow over the next year or so.  

post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Guys, lets hear about skis for skiers with a similar profile.. Female, east coast, race background looking for a quiver ski that will compliment her race skis. I used the example of a skier with her background and more. Any of you have friends, acquaintances or kids who match the OP's profile?

You're rigth. Got carried away a bit... ;)

post #13 of 26
Not that it really means anything, but if you're happy with Völkl, check the Yumi or Kenja out. Yumi is 83 mm and Kenja 88 I believe. My daughter uses the Yumi as a "play ski" when she's not in race training. Seems super playful with a little rise but still cambered and able to take some pretty serious loading ... You have 15 lbs on her, but shouldn't be a problem.
post #14 of 26

My ex-girlfriend found the Kenja much more demanding/crazy cool than the Yumi, which definately was more of an intermediate model - she said.

 

This was for the 13/14 models. Don't know if they've changed them

post #15 of 26
Don't think the Yumi changed. It certainly is enjoyable for intermediates, but it's not a noodle, far from it. Actually hand flexes pretty stiff and it can take some serious power on a hard piste. Haven't checked the Kenja out, but I believe it has a metal layer so pro'lly better than Yumi if you're bigger ... or like to go more off piste with the extra mm ... OP 130 lbs ...

EDIT: to put in OP:s correct weight.
Edited by Karlsson - 5/25/16 at 11:43am
post #16 of 26

I used to own the Yumi.  I definitely didn't give it enough initial credit for its hard pack edge hold.  I figured I'd outweigh it and it would be noodley but far from it.  The ski doesn't have any metal in it but with a proper tune up holy smokes does that baby dig in and not let go.   I have a narrower carver in the Charisma and I just found my Kenja to be better in all things and with the 2 sheets of metal in it makes it a contender in hard pack also.  I really just didn't need yumi so I sold it.  Fine ski though.............

post #17 of 26
...
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
 

a) FAST on groomers

b) trees

c) bumps

d) touring

 

In order to get all of these, you need two pairs of skis. You can pair a and c, and pair b and d... nothing will give you a,b,c and d. Are you prepared to buy new touring boots and climbing skins? You don't need to use touring boots to tour with a frame AT binding... but if you go more than once or twice a year, you'll quickly want some. If you aren't going to tour more than once or twice a year, don't hamstring your all-mountain skis with a major compromise of a binding.


This. 

 

FWIW, my wife is an inch taller and 5 lbs heavier than you, advanced rather than former racer, but appears to share a lot of the same skiing values. Doesn't tour, though. She owns RX12's for the firm, MX88's for the softer, and has been wishing for something a little flexier and a little wider for soft tight bumps, trees and side country hikes. If she toured, that'd have to be lighter, also. And nothing I have ever encountered will cover a-d. Even b-d is tough, since a superior bump ski should be as narrow as possible (e.g., F17 say), while a good tree ski needs some width to float you at moderate speed over roots, rocks, and junk that grabs at you. 

post #19 of 26

Take a look at the Liberty Origin 96 skis. I have a race background and have been looking for a 1 ski quiver. Forget the AT, rent or get a dedicated set up, they need to be light unless you are doing hikes from the top of lifts up to a nearby peak (think Saddleback's peak above Cascade Glades). The closest ski to what you are looking for I have found is the Liberty. I have only skied it for one and a half days in mostly hardpack, but it holds like a race ski with a 0.5 / 3.0 tune, pivots like its on ball bearings, and can go as fast as you want to. Its a very unusual ski. I need more time on it to really get a good feel for it in different conditions, but at this point it has a lot of promise. I have other skis and this has the potential to allow me to sell most of them.  Blister did a review of it that I agree with in my limited use so far.  I think there is review of it on yellow gentian by a women skier who is your size. Google it and you will find some reviews. The ski is light, carves like it is 70mm wide, is very stable at speed. It is very stiff under foot, yet medium in the tip and tails with lots of rocker. If you pop off a mogul and land flat in the middle, it hurts like a race ski. You have to use the softer tip to absorb impacts and the stiff middle to carve on. It requires certain technique in certain situations. If you are good enough to do that, it can be a do it all ski. 

 

As another poster said above, I am giving you the "ski on what I just bought" point of view. At least its not the "ski what I own" POV.  I am still trying to find a small quiver of skis that cover all conditions. I think that is progress from owning one ski for all conditions for 30 years or so  (like you a slalom race ski). The way skis have become so different and specialized, one ski just doesn't cut it these days. Not sure if you are married, but at least you wont' have to justify owning more than one ski to your wife ;)

post #20 of 26
OP is a 130 lb female... BB, PM siberianhusky and ask her what her daughter likes skiing on. A bunch of men telling you to ski what they just bought is plain silly and does you a huge disservice.
post #21 of 26

The female  tester on yellow gentian is exactly the same size as the OP and she gave the Liberty ski a 5/5 rating, for what is worth. I do agree we "men" have no experience on a woman's ski, but for what she is asking for, she might be bettor off on a short length men's ski. The Race Tigers she was on was a men's ski most likely (although they do have FIS woman spec skis). My son skied a women's spec Race Tiger SL ski when he was younger, maybe we should consult with him.......:)

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

OP is a 130 lb female... BB, PM siberianhusky and ask her what her daughter likes skiing on. A bunch of men telling you to ski what they just bought is plain silly and does you a huge disservice.

Sib's daughter coaches these days and doesn't race, so she's mostly carrying gates and drills. She sometimes does gates in Volkl Auras, and sometimes in her old Race Tigers. Not sure what the kids are on, will try to remember to ask. But, point is, her choice of where to ski (therefore what ski) is trending towards steep, treed powder pockets these days.
post #23 of 26

Maybe I can help. My daughter's a former NCAA/NorAm level racer. She's about 5'5", and 140 lbs. Very fit, very strong, and she says she's skiing better than she ever has. Let me just make an observation about "ex ski racer."  That term can cover a wide horizon. She's at the upper end of the spectrum, being honest. 

 

She lives in Denver, and grew up in New England, and through college. She gets back East quite a bit for business, and skis back here whenever it works out. She knows her equipment stuff. Coincidently, she was a VoIkl comp'd athlete for seven years. 

 

I actually asked her this question this afternoon,while we were on the phone. First, she asked about boots. Our daughter moved out of a Lange ZA plug boot two seasons ago,and is in a Lange RS130, with a foam liner. Loves it. But still lets her drive some big skis, and ski well on the rock hard back here.

 

A couple of years ago she was given her first pair of GS cheaters. Previously she had a bunch of FIS profile SL and GS skis. She wasn't sure how she's like them. I have a pretty extensive race background, and I've had a variety of cheaters over the years. She would always kid me about them. So would our son. Fact is that they really work, and most ex racers like them....a lot. Our son borrowed a pair of my Head i.speeds when he was back here to coach a race series, and he was pretty impressed. Fun, versatile ride. 

 

Hers are 172cm Dynastar Cross Pro's, and they are a bit wider than a normal cheater...74mm?  Maybe a 16-17M radius? Those skis live here in NE, and she thinks they are super versatile. Lays them right over on rock hard cruisers, works them into SL size turns, and thinks they're a lot better than a real race ski at almost everything. 

 

Her other ski that's hanging around here for her use is a pair of 88mm Volkl Kendo's.  177cm. She made a really good point about them. First was that the average weekend powder day is really few and far between. It's maybe 5 days a season. And normally, it's maybe 6-8" of snow, over the rock hard, and within a few hours even at the big mountain where we ski, it gets skied out, and it more like blowing through a lot of piles of crud, on top of the hard. Those skis have been pretty decent at a bit of everything. Would she go wider for her second pair? Maybe. I'll explain.

 

So in CO, she has a bunch of skis {including a couple pairs of SL's}. Two of them she skis 85% of the time.  One is a 180cm Bonafide {she's on pair number three}. That's a LOT of ski, for her size, but she loves it, and I've seen her ski it in "you name it" for terrain, and in some very tight places. Bumps, trees, etc, If she's got a foot or less of fresh, she normally skis it. Two years ago she skied it almost every day of the winter. It works for her. 

 

The other ski is one that she literally got by accident. She still has a lot of contacts in the ski world, including her older brother. I should have mentioned that. She's not paying much for her skis. The by accident ski is a Dynastar Powertrack 89, and I think she has it in a 179cm.  Her comment was that it's really versatile, fun,and doesn't need to be driven like the Bonafide. Really close to a one ski quiver in CO. Big "sweet spot."  She actually said that they might migrate East, or another pair might. It's a more versatile ski than the Kendo. Better sort snow, better in some East version of powder, quick edge to edge, and she thinks darn good edge grip. And in a shorter length might be ideal in Eastern trees and soft bumps for her. She has NO interest in skiing rock hard bumps...none. So no comment there. BTW, I know a few guys who are very, very technically strong skiers who love the PT89. Kind of a sleeper, IMO. As a 200lb guy, I prefer a bigger, more damp 88mm, like a Monster. Used to ski a 187cm Brahma. But she really loves the PT89; evidently a good choice for her. 

 

In the Rockies she has two other wider powder skis. Wouldn't use them or buy them in the East. No need to go there. 

 

AT? She borrowed a number of setups for two seasons, before buying this spring. She wanted to know what she wanted, and also wanted to ramp up her skills. She was also shocked at the cost of a good set up. She's on Scarpa Freedom SL boots, Blizzard Zero-G 95's in a 178, and the big spring Marker Kingpins. In AT, she was willing to sacrifice a bit in weight for better DH performance.....hence the boots. She first learned on rail bindings {Guardians}, and then became more comfortable on tech bindings. The Zero-G is a lightweight ski, but a solid one. She hasn't done any skinning in the East. This is a set up for the Rockies, so don't know if that's of help. She's OK with more work uphill, and more performance downhill. 

 

And just to add another one, our daughter has skied a few days on my wife's Head Super Joys. They are a 163cm. She thought they were great fun, and that they did all that she asked. Very pleasantly wowed. She'd love to try the 168cm. My wife skis that ski in a much wider range of conditions than I ever thought she would. Really loves it. Her wide skis are a Blizzard Samba {98mm like a Bonafide....much softer layup.}  They get used less and less since the SJ's arrived. 

 

I do think you need two pairs of skis, and I'd clearly rent, borrow, etc on the AT front, and then probably buy used. I think there will be a lot of very lightly used AT stuff for sale in the East. Just a hunch. There's a "cool" factor to it, and often little use. 

 

Good luck!


Edited by Muleski - 5/27/16 at 10:12pm
post #24 of 26
That's what I'm talking about! Fantastic info above and beyond!
post #25 of 26
Whether you like it or not you are looking at several skis for the following reasons.

You are an ex racer and want to go fast on grooms. GS or GS cheaters will satisfy your need, non race skis will just under perform for you.
Bumps and trees, SL skis (if have them) or something biased a little more towards bumps and trees
AT well the bumps and trees skis if you are buying them could be part of this bill.

So at best 2 sets of skis at worst 3.

So much for the straight skis days a good GS race set could do it all.
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 

Wow! Thank you for this in depth reply! I agree with the notion that I will have to build a bit of a quiver, definitely asking too much from one pair of skis. I am focused mostly on finding a solid AT set up right now. I've done some research on the Blizzard Zero G and it seems like an awesome ski (thank you for the suggestion)....only issue is finding it in the right size....at 5'6" I am thinking the 164cm length would be ideal, but all I can find available is the Men's 85 @ 164cm. The Unisex 95 is available at 171cm length....anyone have any input on this front? Is 171cm too much ski for the backcountry or will that actually be helpful? Or would I be happier on a stiffer men's ski at 164cm long and 85mm underfoot...

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