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Not-so-beginner skis for a beginner skier [for Canadian Rockies]

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey there,


I am an avid skier and my boyfriend is interested in starting to ski as well. He has been out a few times with me and enjoyed it. However renting seems like a waste of money in the long run, so we are looking for a pair of used skis to get him started. My boyfriend is 6'1" and rather thin/light. We would be skiing in the Canadian Rockies. 


We came across a pair of almost brand new Head John 94's with bindings for his exact boot size for a very good price. However since this is not a beginner ski, I have some concerns. The ski is 180cm (132/94/119) . It seems like they would be a perfect do-everything ski for him if he were more advanced, but I'm concerned they will be a little too long, a little too wide, and a little too stiff for him just starting out. That being said, it would be something he could definitely progress with, which is important because he can't really afford to be buying new skis ever year/couple of years. He's athletic and a quick learner, he was slaying blue runs by the end of his first day. 


I have read that the factory tune is not so great and a 3 degree side edge provides better turns, so I could consider doing that.


I want him to enjoy skiing, so would really appreciate any opinions/advice on how much more difficult it would be for him to learn on a ski like this, and whether you think it would be worth it in the long run.



post #2 of 11

My advice:


Slow down. Rent first. Buying an advanced ski for someone who has yet to step on snow is just a bad plan. Skis work well when they are a good fit for the skier. You haven't the first clue what kind of skier your bf is going to be yet, so there's no way of knowing what kind of ski is going to work well for him. 


Second, if you're thinking about teaching him how to ski yourself, as a money saving measure... don't. Well, don't do it unless you are looking to resume your career as a single person. The odds of teaching your spouse going well is exceedingly remote. I've been skiing for 30 plus years, and instructing for about 15... and I won't teach my wife. I rather like her, and I'd like her and our kids to stick around. 

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for your advice! You are confirming my concerns, I think we might wait and rent (or borrow skis from friends) for him for now, at least until he gets a few more days under his belt. 


I have heard the cautions about teaching your significant other before ha ha. I might look into a short lesson, if he would be willing. Unfortunately, teaching him myself is not so much a money saving measure, but a financial requirement at the moment. Even with discounted lift tickets from my university's ski club, the price of a day skiing isn't cheap these days. 

post #4 of 11

Dear girl, doesn't your college have a ton of smart, athletic, hunky young gentlemen who ALREADY ski well and have their own stuff....and a condo??  

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Totally, and yet for some inexplicable reason I fell in love with this a-hole who just climbs ice all winter ;). That's life eh :rolleyes 

post #6 of 11

Factory tune means nothing.  Often the skis cup as the epoxy continues to cure, so new skis need a bottom grind.  The edge angles need to be matched to the skier's ability and the snow conditions.  I wouldn't put a beginner on unforgiving 3° edges.


I agree with freeski, rent, or buy cheapo beginner skis as a price where you can resell them without much loss.  He won't be ready for deep snow for a while, and many on-piste skis have the bindings on a rail so size adjustment is simple.  Or, get a top used ski that the previous owner has already softened the flex for bf.  (I gave my mainly worn out old Supershapes to a friend who was just learning, and they were just right for him.)

post #7 of 11

In my experience, motivated athletic people pick up skiing pretty quickly. This is especially true for the mountain sports crowd. Your boyfriend will figure it out with or without lessons. Style will take longer, but don't let the inability to afford lessons stop you from getting our there. Time on skis is more important than instruction time, and habits aren't necessarily hard to break. That said, short lessons can be useful at the beginning for the basics, and later on to help refine skills. 


Before last season, my girlfriend had less than a dozen days at ski resors (with half of these at a 75m hill in Ontario, almost a decade ago). By springtime she was skiing Bre-X in Delirium Dive and the Terminator Chutes and Whitewall at Kicking Horse. Mostly learned from just following me around, and while she is far from stylish, she is confident and safe.


Now she has bought all the equipment she needs, she will be able to afford lessons, and we will be taking a few later in the winter. 


In terms of equipment, if you are committed to skiing, I would buy something. If it you can get skis + bindings for a few hundred dollars, it sure beats shelling out $55 for demos every day you ski.


Learn to use the equipment, don't be too focused on whether the equipment is a perfect fit. In my opinion, more ski days would be more important than the equipment. I would invest in lift tickets. 


The ski is the right shape for the Canadian Rockies, but may be a bit stiff/long. It sounds like he has boots that fit, and that's a big part of the battle.



Also, consider getting a pass next year. My girlfriend got a student pass to Lake Louise for 550 last June. This really helps to make skiing more affordable.


Lastly, many climbers are going to be interested in ski mountaineering. I think it will be much easier to learn on an alpine set up, so don't be tempted to try to save money by learning on AT boots, tech bindings and carbon 

post #8 of 11

Does your University or the Ski Club have a ski lesson program?


If so it could fill several needs for you two.

post #9 of 11

Both Lake Louise and Sunshine used to have a package deal for learn to ski.  It was rental, lift ticket, lesson for about the cost of a regular lift ticket.  The lift ticket was for the beginner area but if you did well on the lesson they would OK you for the other lifts.  It is designed for never evers so your BF may have to fudge a little if he signs up.You may want to check with the ski schools to find out.  Not sure if still available but it used to be offered in a coupon book.


As for skiing deals, check out Norquays Toonie Day  - Dates: December 14th, January 11th, February 8th, March 8th & April 12th.. Crowded but they have decent beginner slopes.  And not nearly as far to drive :-)

And you can do lone pine and other more exciting stuff.


You can also check out the COC.  Calgary outdoor club.  Free to join.(25.00 for a premier membership or 2.00 per trip)  They arrange various trips and car pool so cuts down on cost of gas.  They occasionally have a ski improvement trips  to one of the local hills as they have a few instructors in the club. 


Oh and for deals on skis, next fall check out the Calgary new and used ski sale. Put on by the ski patrol, Calgary ski club and Banff ski club.  Lots of both new and used skis, boots clothing. Some great and some not so great deals.

post #10 of 11

When I first learned to ski a few years ago, I actually found it really easy to buy some beginner/intermediate skis on kijiji and then resold them there too, almost at-cost. I agree that, if it is something he wants to commit too, it will be cheaper in the long run to buy some skis rather than shelling out the demo cost each time. I wouldn't worry about anything expensive or advanced at this point - get some lift tickets instead. Costco has pretty good prices, and depending where you are in the Rockies, there are all sorts of deals for Sunshine/Marmot cards, Louise Plus cards etc. It's a little late in the game to get a fair priced season pass - but look for those in May/June...

post #11 of 11

Just noticed some of the costco's in Calgary have downhill skis in stock.  Look like a reasonable decent beginner ski for 300.00 with binding.  You may have to go to several stores to find them tho.  I believe they were Rossi E80's.


They had a different brand last year and some of those were still available several weeks ago in the liquidation store that Costco uses to sell off the end of lines on specialty items.

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