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Relatively New Skier, Need Some Help On Ski Width/Shape!

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 

Hey All,

 

This is my first post! Just joined, have been lurking somewhat.

 

Anyway, I live on the East Coast and I am a relatively new skier, only a few seasons. I have my first trip to CO in January in Aspen/Snowmass (!!!) and I am wondering if my new skis will be good enough to use out there.

 

I bought them at the end of the season (April 2016) after talking with the guy at the shop. I purchased the Blizzard Power X4 skis which are 120-73-104 dimensions and R/C/R all mountain style and 167 length (I am 5'11 180 lbs).

 

My question is are these gonna be okay to use in some powder out west? Should I try to swap/sell these skis (I haven't used them yet)? Or am I overthinking it a bit too much and they will be just fine and just a small performance issue that's not a big deal?

 

Thanks for any help! Much appreciated :)

post #2 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentXXero View Post
 

Hey All,

 

This is my first post! Just joined, have been lurking somewhat.

 

Anyway, I live on the East Coast and I am a relatively new skier, only a few seasons. I have my first trip to CO in January in Aspen/Snowmass (!!!) and I am wondering if my new skis will be good enough to use out there.

 

I bought them at the end of the season (April 2016) after talking with the guy at the shop. I purchased the Blizzard Power X4 skis which are 120-73-104 dimensions and R/C/R all mountain style and 167 length (I am 5'11 180 lbs).

 

My question is are these gonna be okay to use in some powder out west? Should I try to swap/sell these skis (I haven't used them yet)? Or am I overthinking it a bit too much and they will be just fine and just a small performance issue that's not a big deal?

 

Thanks for any help! Much appreciated :)


Welcome to EpicSki!  Where have you been skiing?  New England or Mid-Atlantic (PA/NJ/VA/WV)?

 

I think 167cm is on the short side.  If I computed correctly, 5'11" is 180cm.  Do the skis come up to your chin or nose?

 

Usually skis that are 73mm underfoot are more for groomers.  Also more for the type of hard snow that is typical in the northeast.  Can you ski them on groomers at Aspen?  Yes.  Would you have more fun with skis that are wider underfoot, even on groomers?  Perhaps.

 

When I started skiing out west annually about six years ago, the all-mountain skis I bought were relatively narrow, 127-75-108.  When I found was that the wide shovel made skiing on soft snow pretty fun.  I was mostly skiing groomers then, with a few runs exploring in ungroomed snow that wasn't too deep (<6 inches).  I would usually rent demo skis for a day if there was fresh snow.  I rented on mountain so it was easy to switch out skis once or twice during the day to learn about more models.  Not so much for deciding what else to buy, but more to learn which skis were fun to rent when I get lucky and catch a snowstorm.

post #3 of 46
Thread Starter 
Well I live in NJ, but I'm gonna start making annual trips to VT and out west. I'm not overly concerned about the length really, but just more about the width. I'm not gonna go on crazy skiing terrain, I'll probably mostly just stick with the main trails/groomers out there, but would these hold up okay if I were to go through some tree runs or if it snowed a good amount? I'm sure they might not be IDEAL for that but if they'll still work okay I'll just keep them. I'm asking all this because I've never been out there and I have a tendency to over think things haha
post #4 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentXXero View Post

Well I live in NJ, but I'm gonna start making annual trips to VT and out west. I'm not overly concerned about the length really, but just more about the width. I'm not gonna go on crazy skiing terrain, I'll probably mostly just stick with the main trails/groomers out there, but would these hold up okay if I were to go through some tree runs or if it snowed a good amount? I'm sure they might not be IDEAL for that but if they'll still work okay I'll just keep them. I'm asking all this because I've never been out there and I have a tendency to over think things haha

Just remember that length does make a difference when in deep snow, meaning >12 inches.  Will your skis work out west?  Sure.  In the end, it's your technique that is the bigger factor.  My ski buddy has a good time with RTM84 even in two feet of powder in Utah.

post #5 of 46
IMO these will "work" out west - you may enjoy them a lot even - but they will limit you to groomers and fairly short turns at modest speeds. They're the length of a slalom ski, but without the stiffness or stability. In soft snow, they'll sink down and require some work. They'll be fun in bumps.
post #6 of 46
Length is an issue, even if you don't realize it. A ski that short with rocker on both ends is going to ski even shorter than its length. Its specs say it's a 13m turn radius. That's pretty short, and will make the skis feel a bit twitchy. On top of that, staying balanced on such a short ski in chop and crud is going to be difficult.

Is it an okay ski for the Mid-Atlantic? Sure. When I skied in PA, I was on skis in the 160's. Is it going to serve you well out West if you happen to be there during a dump? No. Then again, you're never guaranteed fresh snow. You can also rent/demo longer or fatter skis while you're out there.
post #7 of 46

The skis will work for you on groomers (for the most part) as everyone says, but they're at least one size short for you and, as your skiing improves, they'll start to hold you back.  I expect you'll trade up to a longer ski eventually.  The real question is whether to sell them new and trade up or hang onto them for a trip or three and then sell them used down the track.

 

Hope you have a blast whatever you decide.


Edited by sinbad7 - 10/15/16 at 6:12am
post #8 of 46

Back in the day before specialized deep snow skis and rocker, we all skied out on narrow relatively straight, full camber skis, without giving it a second thought.  That is all there was at hand, and that is what we used.  In those days, to ski powder, crud and skis, you either were good at it because of proper technique and skills, or you just sucked.  I sucked for some time and eventually became proficient.  

 

My first pair of somewhat wider shaped skis,(Salomon X-Scream series), felt like cheating  .  And they were narrower than your current skis are, albeit longer.  

 

Your skis are probably far better adapted to skiing out west than what we had twenty five years ago.  So your skis will definitely be suitable for the task at hand, especially for groomers.  That being said, there are better tools available today for general skiing, and most certainly for specific conditions.  

 

A trip out west never comes with a snow guarantee.   I have taken about 20 one week trips out west and to Europe over the years.  Out of 20 or so trips, there were only 4 that I can remember where it snowed consistently, to the point of making a deep snow ski desirable most of the time.  On almost every other trip, any ski suitable for eastern skiing would have done the job just fine, except for one or two days over the course of the week.  

 

May I suggest that you bring your current skis, and rent or demo other skis when you are out there, in order to determine what you like, and what best suits your abilities and the conditions.

 

There is no point buying a deep snow specific ski, if there is going to be no deep or fresh snow when you are out there.

 

BTW, if your current skis are truly RCR, they will likely be OK to use in the trees.  However, some skis advertised as RCR only have "marketing rocker", which is a euphemism for a full camber ski with a regular tip and tail.  A full camber ski is harder to pivot in tight spaces than one with early rise or true rocker.  

 

As a closing comment, remember that equipment is not a substitute for proper technique and that imporovements achieved through equipment purchases are marginal at best, when compared with improvements that can be achieved through training and technical proficiency.

 

 

 

 

 

.

post #9 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your help! You guys are awesome. I'm thinking of staying with the same length about and RCR skis, but perhaps go with a width around mid 80s. Anyone think that's a good compromise or middle ground? Definitely want something that will be great for groomers and some powder/trees, but nothing too wide as I'm relatively new and will be on east coast mostly.
post #10 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentXXero View Post

Thanks for your help! You guys are awesome. I'm thinking of staying with the same length about and RCR skis, but perhaps go with a width around mid 80s. Anyone think that's a good compromise or middle ground? Definitely want something that will be great for groomers and some powder/trees, but nothing too wide as I'm relatively new and will be on east coast mostly.
 
 

A mid 80s ski will not be much different from your current 73 mm ski, in terms of handling soft snow.  However, it will be somewhat more versatile.  Further, wider skis will generally have a longer turn radius than your current ski.  Such skis should be skied in a somewhat longer length.  A 167 cm all mountain (west) ski is too short for your height and weight.

 

I am about the same weight as you are, albeit shorter.  I ski a 178 for an all mountain ski, and a 186 for a RCR powder ski.

 

The only time I would go down to a 167 would be for a slalom or very short radius ski.

 

As a rule of thumb, at your height and weight, try and pick the second longest length offered in a particular model.  Hence, if it comes in 163, 170, 177 and 184, the 177 is likely the right length for you.

post #11 of 46

Rent.

Rent top quality skis (usually called demos) that suit the snow conditions of that day. 

Use your present skis when you're skiing on groomed runs.

Rent powder skis in case you get a powder dump.

Believe it or not, powder doesn't dump every day.  Maybe not at all on your trip.  When it does dump at night, you might only have an hour or two of deep stuff before it's skied out, anyway.

Rent.

 

"relatively new skier"  "I am 5'11 180 lbs"

Skis need to respond to the energy the skier puts into them.  As skis are made longer, they're made (somewhat) proportionally stiffer.  The longest skis in any line are made for the biggest, strongest, fastest skier on the hill.  That ain't me, nor you.  I'm a very good skier about your size and weight.  I have great results buying one size below the max of the ski line--that works for me.  At your ability/energy level, I'd suggest two sizes below the max, unless I'm misreading your energy level.  There are a few lines with just 3 lengths--here you'd probably be best served in the middle.  Another advantage of renting--you can change the size, even change the model, during the day.

post #12 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
 

... Another advantage of renting--you can change the size, even change the model, during the day.

 

Plus, as you rent varying brands/models, you'll get a sense of what you like in a ski.  Then, when you do buy something else, you'll know you love it.

post #13 of 46

Hey there  AgentXXero,

 

Welcome, welcome. I hear where you are coming from and would like to impart my wisdom earned from weeks in the snow sports equipment retail industry sector both soft and hard goods and some of that squishy stuff in the middle (the energy gel by the cash register that now comes with irie medication for sore joints and muscles). Living in NJ is often compensated for by going 10 cm shorter and even more depending what town you are from, so I think you are on target. From what I understand, that area still has a market for rear entry boots so, some money can be saved along with some seriously plush 70’s comfort gained. Fashion-wise, Gore Tex - Schmore Tex, marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers, those 420 memory hijackers. In Jersey the Levis still please the eyes, where the headband is still in demand along with the Ski Totes and CB coats, even those stretch pants so scratchy like freakin ants. Anyway, the hot new technique out of New Jersey is the new “Up Vinnie’s creek with a gnarly streak of funky tweak of which we see but never speak”. It’s really a sort of wiseguy thing so ... not expecting many folks outside of Jersey to understand. Anyone wanna learn it ... I can teach it at you.


Vinnie Sopraniano

Ski Instructah

NJ DOC re-entry training program

Hoboken, NJ

post #14 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacobillie View Post
 

As a closing comment, remember that equipment is not a substitute for proper technique and that imporovements achieved through equipment purchases are marginal at best, when compared with improvements that can be achieved through training and technical proficiency.

 

Except boots. Well-fitting boots.

 

@AgentXXero, what's your boot situation?  Best scenario: keep your skis, with an eye toward the future (maybe demoing different skis both here and west, as above), and go visit a skilled, full service boot fitter. The only equipment purchase that can improve your skiing is boots that fit well.

 

(Nobody's mentioned this yet? Just waiting for me?)

post #15 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakespapa View Post

Except boots. Well-fitting boots.

@AgentXXero
, what's your boot situation?  Best scenario: keep your skis, with an eye toward the future (maybe demoing different skis both here and west, as above), and go visit a skilled, full service boot fitter. The only equipment purchase that can improve your skiing is boots that fit well.

(Nobody's mentioned this yet? Just waiting for me?)

I believe my boots are Salomon X Pro 80

(http://www.the-house.com/sa2xp8095bbw16zz-salomon-ski-boots.html?gclid=CIOjw-rf3s8CFYNbhgodGj0ONg)

The guy at the store gave me a fitting and I thought these were very comfortable. Just even walking around in the store for a little I could tell I felt pretty comfortable in them.

Lots of advice on here and I appreciate all of it! My thing is I don't wanna have to have these skis travel with me and then pay for demos on top of that. Might not be avoidable at this point haha. I don't know, I was hoping the ones I had would be fine in some powder and trees and that I'm just over thinking it. But maybe I could try to find and swap them for a waist width in the mid 80s would even it out a bit better.
post #16 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentXXero View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakespapa View Post

Except boots. Well-fitting boots.

@AgentXXero
, what's your boot situation?  Best scenario: keep your skis, with an eye toward the future (maybe demoing different skis both here and west, as above), and go visit a skilled, full service boot fitter. The only equipment purchase that can improve your skiing is boots that fit well.

(Nobody's mentioned this yet? Just waiting for me?)

I believe my boots are Salomon X Pro 80

(http://www.the-house.com/sa2xp8095bbw16zz-salomon-ski-boots.html?gclid=CIOjw-rf3s8CFYNbhgodGj0ONg)

The guy at the store gave me a fitting and I thought these were very comfortable. Just even walking around in the store for a little I could tell I felt pretty comfortable in them.

 

Did the fitting take about 2 hours, and did you have to make an appointment with the fitter?

 

Here's a general description: http://www.epicski.com/t/147551/some-help-with-ignorance-reduction-for-return-to-northeast#post_2017448

 

Why go to a fitter? Because the interface between feet & legs and the ski needs to be tight. Boots that fit are like tight bolts — you move your feet and the skis move — you have a direct connection, not a loose, sloppy one. Boots that fit give you control and confidence. 

 

Comfort is good, but it's the last consideration. Most people's boot buying experience is the shop guy checking your size and grabbing a few boots in that size. You try them on and take the most comfortable. Usually that means a boot 1 to 3 sizes too big. After you ski that boot a few days, the lining compresses, and pretty soon you're swimming (and swimming isn't what you want to do).

 

Boots aren't sexy, like skis, so most skiers don't think about them. (I didn't.) But eventually, if you really want to improve as a skier, you'll find a good boot fitter. There's no charge for fitting (usually), you pay MAP for the boots (unless there's a sale), and you'll progress as a skier much more quickly. 

 

Here's a quick but good overview video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33F5uSFhkUE

 

And this amusing video — it's bilingual (with subtitles in English, except where English is spoken), but it covers a lot.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au1Wc-yw5Vo

 

Here's a Starthaus series on boot fitting that covers lots of different aspects: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GrM1eo0UWc&list=PLzAX1hV85KGqcINEENj006a3QJkSnZjU0

 

A good boot fit is an involved process, but it's a worthwhile one.

 

If you're looking for boot fitter recs, I can give you two or three in Vermont. Again, buying from a fitter shouldn't cost more than buying from a random sports store — all you lose is time, but you gain control and confidence.

post #17 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentXXero View Post

Thanks for your help! You guys are awesome. I'm thinking of staying with the same length about and RCR skis, but perhaps go with a width around mid 80s. Anyone think that's a good compromise or middle ground? Definitely want something that will be great for groomers and some powder/trees, but nothing too wide as I'm relatively new and will be on east coast mostly.

 

Sounds dubious to me.  I second the suggestions to take your current skis out west, and experiment with renting for a day or two while there.  You should be able to find a place that lets you try a few different skis during a day - can be a lot of fun.  May seem like a waste of money but it'll help you make a better purchase with your next pair of skis, so will save money in the long run.

 

But if you find yourself compelled to rush off and buy some mid 80s RCR skis, and to be fair most of us understand the urge to purchase new gear, then try to push the length up a few cm.

post #18 of 46
Thread Starter 
I did get about a size smaller, it was super tight on me but he said it would stretch/compress. I mean yea I get the boot fitting experience but if I skied well enough and learned on rentals this is still a legit upgrade for me I'm sure. Thanks for the advice though! I'll probably do that eventually down the line or even custom boots.

I'll probably end up taking the skis back to the shop I got em and just talking to someone there one more time. Maybe just even keep the ones I have, bring me out with me. I'm sure I'll have a complete blast with them out there. I'll try some tree/powder trails and if I feel like I'm sinking or whatever I'll try a rental.
post #19 of 46
Thread Starter 
Well I just called the shop and since I bought them on sale and awhile ago I can't return or exchange haha. If I ski on them 6 or 7 times they'll pay for themselves regarding rentals. Guess I'll take them with me and rent out there if I feel like I'm not getting a good experience out of them.
post #20 of 46

Sounds like a plan.  I take skis on trips and still demo about two days out of seven, just 'cause I enjoy trying different skis.  Once you start trying skis back-to-back you'll quickly notice the difference in feel between varying brands, models and lengths.  You'll then start to zoom in on a width, design and layup that suits the way you ski.

 

Best of luck, and have a great trip.

post #21 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentXXero View Post


The guy at the store gave me a fitting and I thought these were very comfortable. Just even walking around in the store for a little I could tell I felt pretty comfortable in them.
 

 

Then very succinctly, you didn't have your boots fit. Bootfittings aren't done by guys in stores. They're done by bootfitters. They take hours. They include trying on the boot without the liner, and trying on the liner without the boot. It includes heating, stretching and grinding your boots. It includes measuring all the dimensions of your foot, and the fitter manipulating your ankle joint to assess range of motion.

 

Huge red lights go off when I hear that someone walked around the store and the boots were comfortable. That means they're too big. Like woah too big. If you can return the boots you have, by all means do so. If not, maybe sell them or consign them, and then go to a real bootfitter and get boots that will work for you. 

 

Until you have properly fit boots on your feet, the skis you're on won't matter. A car on flat tires handles like crap, even if it is a Ferrari. 

post #22 of 46
Thread Starter 
Yea, I got that from @lakespapa post above. I didn't realize it was a hugely involved process. I shouldn't have used the word comfortable - they were about a size smaller and felt VERY snug, like perfect form fitting - they felt "right". I'm not going to bother selling anything, boots and skis came out to like $450 as I got them in April or May. Plus, I figure if I learned on rental boots, and felt good going all day + multiple days in a row, then these are likely a significant upgrade for me I imagine.

Perhaps in a few years if they don't feel good enough I'll go through the works of getting a boot fitting, but I'm happy with them. I appreciate your knowledge and insight though, @freeski919
post #23 of 46
Thread Starter 
Just pursuing the internet here, if I get the liners of boots heated by a pro, could that help a good amount for me?
post #24 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentXXero View Post

Just pursuing the internet here, if I get the liners of boots heated by a pro, could that help a good amount for me?


Might help some. Isn't going to be a professional fit, though, because liners pack out, and when they do you'll be slopping around in a shell that's too large.

 

Can you ski and have a good time in ill-fitting boots? Sure.

Can you ski better and have a better time in well-fitting boots? Yes. No doubt.

post #25 of 46

Hey @AgentXXero - This is a bit off-topic, but since you mentioned Aspen, and I'm also not nearly an expert skier, I thought you might like to see my trip report from Aspen last year.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/145582/the-2016-aspen-gathering-an-intermediate-skiers-first-gathering

 

To tie it back to your situation, I was on Atomic Nomad Blackeye's - 174 length, 81mm width, I'm 6' and about 210 lbs. Technique is far more important than the skis, IMO. 

post #26 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentXXero View Post

Just pursuing the internet here, if I get the liners of boots heated by a pro, could that help a good amount for me?


Did the guy who sold you the boots tell you that the liners were meant to be customized by heat molding?

 

If you find an experienced boot fitter, you can get an educated opinion as to whether it's worth making adjustments to the boots you have or if it's better to ski them for a season and plan on getting new boots a bit sooner than you expected.

 

The first 4-buckle boots that I bought (after 2000) were on sale during early season sales in the NC mountains.  I wasn't planning on buying boots but the reps in the demo tents that weekend were laughing at my 1990's rear-entry boots.  I didn't ski that much before I retired.  A couple years after buying those boots, I'd learned a lot more about boot buying.  Found a local boot fitter and spent 2.5 hours getting new boots and custom footbeds.  Changed to an Intuition liner a couple years later when the stock liners were packing out. I have no regrets about spending about $300 for "new old stock" initially.

post #27 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentXXero View Post


I believe my boots are Salomon X Pro 80

(http://www.the-house.com/sa2xp8095bbw16zz-salomon-ski-boots.html?gclid=CIOjw-rf3s8CFYNbhgodGj0ONg)

The guy at the store gave me a fitting and I thought these were very comfortable. Just even walking around in the store for a little I could tell I felt pretty comfortable in them.

Lots of advice on here and I appreciate all of it! My thing is I don't wanna have to have these skis travel with me and then pay for demos on top of that. Might not be avoidable at this point haha. I don't know, I was hoping the ones I had would be fine in some powder and trees and that I'm just over thinking it. But maybe I could try to find and swap them for a waist width in the mid 80s would even it out a bit better.

Sorry, but the guy who sold you these boots did you no favors at all.  That's a beginner boot and way too soft for you and it will hinder your progress.  I'm 5'7", 150 pounds and 72 years old.  My normal boot is a customized, by me, Head Hammer in a 110 flex.  Now, there is no standard for flex ratings across the industry and sometimes even within the same company, but I sell boots and I fit boots and I can tell you that the Salomon X-Pro 80 is a very soft boot meant for a wide foot.  If they were comfortable walking around, they are too big.  If you came into our shop and I determined that a Salomon X-Pro was the right boot for your feet, you'd be in a 120 flex.

 

And just to add to what others have said; your ski is too short for your size.  My shortest ski is a 168cm Nordica Fire Arrow 84EDT which is almost as stiff as a WC slalom race ski but wider, my groomer-zoomer, my all-mountain ski is a 177cm Nordica Soul Rider and my powder ski is a 184cm ON3P Billy Goat.  I tried skiing a shortish RCR ski once and it terrified me it was so squirrelly.

post #28 of 46
Thread Starter 
I actually spoke with the local shop and I can get a store credit for the boots. Was recommend by a lot for the Salomon X Pro 100. Some bit of customization to I see. I can't really quite afford the full on boot fitter experience at the moment, all I know is I gotta get away from rentals LOL
post #29 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentXXero View Post

I actually spoke with the local shop and I can get a store credit for the boots. Was recommend by a lot for the Salomon X Pro 100. Some bit of customization to I see. I can't really quite afford the full on boot fitter experience at the moment, all I know is I gotta get away from rentals LOL

That's good.  Before you go back, go to the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum and read the articles about terminology and fitting; study them, memorize them even.  Then go to a hardware store and get a 5/8" hardwood dowel and round off the end.  Take it with you when you go back to get better boots because you need to do a shell fit and you will need the dowel to check the fit.  Any space behind you heel larger than the dowel means the boot is too long.  You may think you can't afford a custom boot fitting but how often can you afford to buy new boots?  Just buying a pair of boots to get away from rental gear is only good IF the boots fit and that means length, width and volume.  And an X-Pro 100 is still too soft for you, get at least a 110.  The biggest question I have is whether the X-Pro was the best fit or did you buy it based on price?

post #30 of 46
The "full on" fitting isn't going to cost more, unless you're buying deep discount boots somewhere. If you are, you'll likely replace them as soon as you realize how important boots are, and then you'll have wasted money on that first pair. Do it right up front and you'll save money in the long run.
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