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Need help: upper intermediate ski choice

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hey all,
I have been reading the message boards for a while and this is my first time posting. I am trying to decide which ski to buy and I need to decide soon so I can't demo any skis. I am 6' tall 160lbs and I am an upper intermediate skier. I want to buy a ski that I can handle right now but that will also take me to the next level in my ability. I ski about half on-piste and half-off but what i enjoy most is skiing the trees looking for fresh powder. I can handle black runs and i can get down black moguls without falling but my mogul skills need (a lot) of work. I ski primarily in lake tahoe and my current pair of skis is Salomon X-scream 9 in a 185 (which i feel is too long for me). I can get good prices on atomic and fischer skis so I was trying to decide between the Atomic R9 in a 170 and the Fischer BigStix FX7.6 in a 175. This is going to be my only ski for this year so I want something that I can use on the whole mountain. I had concerns as to what width would be better and also what length I should ski (also which is better in trees?). I would greatly appreciate any help and advice you guys could offer.

post #2 of 21
The R9 is a real good choice for a do it all ski that's mogul friendly and floats well in pow.
post #3 of 21
I agree the R9 in 170 is a good choice. There is enough ski there to take you anywhere you want to go and should be able to keep up with as you progress to a high skill level.
post #4 of 21

I went thru this exact decision process last month. I debated
a long time between the Atomic R9 and the Atomic R8. Both are all mountain skis. R9 is a stiffer ski. after talking to a lot of people on-line, at shops, reading reviews - I decided to go with an R8. Just to give you some idea of my ability - i can link turns on KT22, Headwall and Granite Chief at Squaw. the clincher - was when i noticed some experts on this group selecting an R9.

Good luck.
post #5 of 21

I went thru this exact decision process last month. I debated
a long time between the Atomic R9 and the Atomic R8. Both are all mountain skis. R9 is a stiffer ski. after talking to a lot of people on-line, at shops, reading reviews - I decided to go with an R8. Just to give you some idea of my ability - i can link turns on KT22, Headwall and Granite Chief at Squaw. the clincher - was when i noticed some experts on this group selecting an R9.

Good luck.
post #6 of 21
Mr. Vain - just another thought (and I know some will recognize my bias here) - have you considered a rec slalom in a 160 or 170? I'm about the same size as you and I find the Atomic SL9 in a 160 covers most of my needs, though I'm about 70/30 on/off. The 170 might be better for those who are more 50/50. Rec slaloms in general, even with a narrow waist (which makes them good carvers on groomed) generally have a wide shovel which helps with flotation (my SL9's are 115 at the shovel). Head and Fischer are other rec slaloms I've tried, and you might consider the Volkl SuperSport series (different characteristics for different needs between the 4 to 6 star).

Also, Peter Keelty rated the SL9 overall ski of the year for 2002 (which required good performance in all conditions) and rec slalom of the year for 2003.

Just some more grist for the mill...good luck!
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot for your help. I think i like longer GS turns more than short turns so I dont know if I would like a slalom ski. Also, I think i am closer to 50/50 at most as far as skiing on groomed goes and I want to get better so I can ski more off piste stuff.
Is there anyone that can comment on the Fischer BigStix FX 7.6? That would help me in making my choice between the two.

Thanks again,
post #8 of 21
Mr Vain:
If you like to get off-piste but don't want to get piste-off at your skis while doing so, get aboard the Salomon Pocket Rocket. I demoed a pair at Whistler two years ago, just for a laugh. Of course I had no intentions of ever throwing away hard-earned cash on a high-performance twin tip that looked more like a water ski than a snow ski. It was for kids and other assorted weirdos. One ride and I was hooked. Now I ski the PR's everywhere. Groomers, powder, slush, trees, steeps, places I was afraid to take on in my pre-Pocket Rocket days.
post #9 of 21
Hey, I'm in the excact same position as you. I'm new here too. Take a look on ebay for great deals. I just got a great deal on some Olin Dtsl's. Their made for intermediate skier and if your on a tight budget you can get a good deal on these skis.
post #10 of 21
Well Phil MrVain,

You may have chosen the "MrVain" handle because it may be an indication of wanting to look good making those intermediate turns, but also being able to quickly become an advanced level skier to possibly impress more than your sking buddies. I also sense that you may be in your teens or early twenties. Last time I weighed 160 lbs was during my senior year playing pulling guard on my high school football team. Many years later, I am now over 200 lbs but still only 6'1" tall.

The question is, are you an agressive strong intermediate skier that is motivated to make progress ?

The Atomic only has 64 mm waist, and seems more suited to less than off piste skiing. A better choice between the two skis, you are considering, may be the Fishcer FX 7.6 Big Stix FTI which has a 76 mm waist and is part of a 115-76-100 profile with a turn radius of 21' in the 175 cm length. This is defintely not a race ski, but does hold the promise of being that all mountain ski that you are looking for.

Of the two skis, and knowing that you are not able to "try'em before you buy'em"[ to demo first is always a good idea] I would suggest the Fischer Big Stix as being the more versitle ski, but it may also be a very challenging ski, if you are not motivated to improve, and are less than an aggressive, strong skier.

The review in Ski Canada magazine was very positive for the Fischer BigStix, and 175 cm seems to be the right length for you.The evaluation also suggested that a strong expert skier was most suited to that ski. As a young man you probably have the strength, and the ski can perform well at slower than expert speeds.

Unless you are going to be doing mostly tree skiing [ I don't recommend this since it is dangerous, and far too often can kill or seriously injury those that are unskilled, overconfident, too tired, or try runs that are difficult to judge a relatively safe path through the trees, truly this is an experts only endeavor]then I would suggest the 165 length for the trees, otherwise the 175's are the right choice.

In conclusion, if you are a motivated, strong, and younger skier [ which I beleive you are if in fact you are in your late teens to early 20's] then the Fischer is the better choice between the two.

However, the question does remain, is it the best choice of being the right ski for you ? You will never know until you ski it, and then compare to other skis in the same Mid Fat ski catagory.

Good Luck with your choice and .........
post #11 of 21
If you like skiing thru trees looking for powder, I would second the recommmendation for the Pocket Rocket skis. They float and turn on a dime so you never get stuck. They aren't as fast as other skis, so you don't find yourself in trouble as quickly. You do get tossed around a bit in crud, compared to other stiffer skis, but they are tremendous fun. On the grooms, they are OK, but they almost shout at you to head for the trees.

A side note. Where the bindings are mounted does make a difference.
post #12 of 21
The Footloose Sports staff in Mammoth, CA., extensively tests lot of skis from among the brands they sell and then decides which models to carry for the next season. I like Fischer skis myself. For a review of the Big Stix 7.6 see:

The also carry and review Atomic and a number of other brands.
post #13 of 21
Big Stix baby, 175. That's your ski.

I'll weigh in on the pro PR side as well, noting that while hard to beat in crud and pow, 90mm under foot is just a tad much for groomers on a regular basis, IMHO.
post #14 of 21
mr. vain

as for deciding which ski is for you - I think it's great that you know the terrain you want to ski and the types of turns you want to make and your relative skill level.

also - how strong are you? how athletic? how do you ski the terrain?

flex - softer? stiffer?
dampness of ski
hold on firmer conditions
speed - do you go fast or slow?

how long are your legs in relation to your torso? the chin to forehead is a good measure of overall length - but if you're "all legs" you want a longer ski... and vice-versa.

I personally see NO replacement for demoing when choding a ski. However, when that's not an option - you want to look at ski reviews and such with an eye for what you're good at and what you're NOT so good at...

IMHO (in my humble opinion)...
- pick a ski with a waist of 70-78 (for floatation, but still able to turn in tight situations)

good luck,
post #15 of 21
I would not recommend the Fischer FX 7.6 to anyone who still uses the word intermediate to describe himself. At 160 lbs you will find the 175 cm length very long and tough to handle. Bumps will be very tough. Wink does make a good point about your age and potential for adding bodyweight, but you are still an upper intermediate.

You would be better off with the Elan Mantis 662 or Rossi Bandit B2, which are more forgiving. You may also want to look at the Fischer Sceneo S400 Raiflex or Head Monster iM70 or Elan Fusion S12-10 for a good balance of all mountain ride. Don't go longer than 170cm if you want quick turning ski. And 170cm is plenty for GS turns of a 160lbs intermediate.

Finally, don't let anyone convince you that you need 80-90 mm under foot. Since you can only have one ski, do not get a specialized ski. Get a mid fat that can let you ski everywhere and also help you improve in bumps.

Good luck!
post #16 of 21

in MY humble opinion, those particular atomic and fisher models and lengths you mentioned (and i have skied them, on tahoe sno), are just fine for your ht/wt/skill, both very respectable, decent skis - not the greatest, altho better than most of the others mentioned in this thread. Better listen to yourself on this one.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hey all,

I want to first thank everyone for providing their advice. I also have some updated news. I am 21 and I do want to improve my skiing technique but I think a ski that is too stiff may make that harder. Second of all it turns out that I can not get the Atomic R9 skis after all. However I recently found out that I can get Head skis at a discount. Furthermore, I can wait and buy them after I demo because the deal does not expire. Also, a ski buddy of mine (who is an advanced skier and who works at REI) recommended that I get the K2 public enemy in a 169 length. The price is only $350 at REI and he said that I could advance on this ski and that it would not be too much for me. It also is a twin tip so when I advance I could keep it on as a fatter ski/park ski (however, at the moment i have no park/pipe skills whatsoever, just a desire to learn). Nonetheless the Head deal makes the Monster i.M 75 chip in a 170 length an option. According to Keelty this was the overall ski of the year so I am leaning towards this ski now. I now have the ability to demo so I will wait and demo these skis to see which i like best. However, I would still like to hear your opinions on these two skis and how they would suit me. Thanks again for all your help.

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
One more thing,

The Public Enemy is a 80mm waist and the head has a 74mm waist. However, the Public enemy got an ice rating on the Keelty review which means that it has good carving skills in spite of its width. Thus I am stuck. I will demo the pocket rocket and some other wide skis to see how they ski. This will help because i have never skied anything wider than my 63mm waist X-scream 9. Thanks again.

post #19 of 21
MrVain, IMO you should be looking for something like the R9 remember this is your only ski. My 16y/o has PR's and loves them for what they will do, yes all turn shapes, he has even trained on them in the GS course when he was racing, BUT they are not his everyday ski, he has R11's for that.

IMO you should get one of the new crop of 72 to 77cm waist skis. Demo wide skis but remember this is your only everyday ski. As you get older and have more cash then look at something like the PR.

Enjoy your season...
post #20 of 21

the head im chip (or not) skis in the 70-85 mmm waist are smokin skis..I demo'd those too and liked them whatever..out......
post #21 of 21
oh man if you can get a deal on......those im75 chips.....chalk them uppppp.

I dunno about no public enemy K2s........never tried em.

Pocket rockets, well.....don't think so.......uh uh on that one......not my recc.
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