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Replace or add new ski?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi all, I'd like some advice on what the best course of action is for my situation.

Me: I'm a 30yr old male skier, 5'11", 150lbs, ski in Tahoe. (Kirkwood rules!) I mostly ski black and blue runs, and some double black when the snow is soft. I think I do pretty well up to black runs with good conditions, but when the black becomes icy or the bumps become large, I struggle. I feel that my medium and long radius turns are working pretty well, carving with both skis, with varying turn radii, although I've been meaning to videotape myself to see if I'm really doing what I think I'm doing.

Likes: I love doing high speed GS turns, and got hooked on powder last Dec when I was finally able to get some and was able to do some good turns on it. (But I likely won't see that much fresh powder.)

Aspirations: I would like to expand my abilities more, to do good short turns, ski bumps well, trees, etc.

Problem: My short turns aren't that good, and consequently I am not very good in icy/hard black runs and big bumps.

Question: I suspect part of the reason I have difficulties with my short turns is the skis I have. They are 180cm Atomic R11's. I've been thinking about this for a while, and decided that I need shorter skis to make easier progress, especially for my light body weight(150lb). I can think of two courses of action.

Plan A: Get a R11 in size 170, and sell the 180.
I absolutely love the R11 for the things I can do now, such as GS turns, crud, powder, etc. So how about just going shorter? It seems that the new R11's are also better than the old ones for short turns, so maybe this will work well. One concern is that I'm giving up some flotation in powder, although I have no idea how large the effect would be. (I also found that the 180 is a little more stable for skiing fast on irregular snow.)

Plan B: Add another ski, for 'hard snow'.
I already love the 180 R11 for soft snow or skiing fast and long, and the extra length helps in powder. So maybe I should just get another ski that's better with short turns from the start? I'm eyeing the Volkl Supersport 5 star, Atomic SX9, and maybe some slalom skis. I'm thinking 170 for length(160 for the slaloms).

Costwise, plan A would be a little cheaper, as I wouldn't need to buy another binding. Looks like I won't get that much out of selling my current ski, though.

So, any advice on what's my best course of action?
I'll probably go and demo the R11-puls(170), SX9(170), Supersport 5star(168,175) to see how I like them.

post #2 of 11
I think you'd get better results out of spending the money on some bump coaching. If you want a bump ski then you want something longish, soft and straight, not hooky and short like a slalom ski.

I don't think any of those skis will help you in bumps and will be worse than the 180 r11s. Keep your current planks and get some more miles.
post #3 of 11
Hey Paul. It sounds like a few things are going on. Before spending money on skis I would look for a bump camp in your area. Good coaching will get you to focus properly on the elements of short radius turns (fundamental for bumps). Nothing can compare with spending an entire weekend (or longer if you have the opportunity) in the bumps with a coach. A good coach will also talk about equipment characteristics. It will improve your skiing in general. It is money very well spent. Out here, Killington runs a bump camp the first weekend of every month. There must be something similar out your way. I would rent the R11 in 170cm for the camp.

Next, though the R11 in 180 is a lot of ski for you and short radius turns, changing to a 170 may not be the best solution (which you already suspect). Searching around this site, Peter Keelty's site (http://www.techsupportforskiers.com), the Footloose website (look under 'retail', then 'skis' for the reviews: http://www.footloosesports.com), and a few others, compile a list of skis that seem to match your skiing desires. As you are able, get out there and demo.

There are a lot of great skis out there. Before rushing into another R11 180cm debacle, I'd take some time to look around. My local shop (at the mountain) sells our used skis and gives us store credit towards new skis. eBay is always an option too. Also, it's a lot easier to sell skis with the bindings. You can always find new bindings at a good price on sale or on eBay (I've found this to be more efficient).

Good luck!

[ January 13, 2004, 04:43 AM: Message edited by: Bearberry ]
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the comments.

As a clarification, I don't really want skis that are good for bumps, just ones that would make short turns easier for me. Maybe my post was a little confusing, but I'm not yet into bumps that much to get bump-specific coaching or attend bump camps.

My goal at the moment is to be able to do solid short turns on hard/icy surfaces. And yes, lessons are in the future. I found that I don't learn much at all in group lessons though.
post #5 of 11
Hard to say if your skis are the root of your problems, but you could definitely benefit from some shorter boards. I am 150lbs, a fairly competent skier who always skis at high speeds, and the only time I am on a 180cm is when I am in a GS course. I free ski a 176cm in deep snow and use a 168cm carving ski for hardpack/versatility. If I only had 1 pair, it would be the 168's. Not to mention that the R11 is alot of ski, so you can ski it shorter than a softer, less stable ski. Demo a new 170cm R11 (or similiar ski), I think you will find it does everything the 180cm does, but is much easier and quicker.

I have found that the demo shops around Tahoe aren't that great-they all carry the same brands (Atomic, Volkl, K2, Rossi) so it is hard to find some of the other very nice skis such as Head, Stockli, Elan, Blizzard, and Fischer. I asked why that is, and I got a lame excuse that "the other brands don't sell", which sounds like a cop-out to me. Anyways, have fun!
post #6 of 11
Originally posted by paulwlee:

Likes: I love doing high speed GS turns...
This is going to limit your choice of boards. I'd say that the R11 is a good place to be, and that the 180 is fine. For most other skis, short turning ability means giving up stability at speed. For instance, I used to own a pair of the latest version of the Rossi Bandit XX in the 184 length. It had to be the best short turning that I have ever ridden. However, it did have a definite speed limit. My favorite Kirkwood board are my 184 R:EX's. They cover all the bases, and if you learn how to ski them, they do short turns. A 178 G4 might be a fun alternative as well.
post #7 of 11
I'm 145 lbs (only 5'7" though), love high speed gs turns and I'm on 170's (dynastar cross 10 and salomon crossmax 10).

I'm not refuting what anyone is saying. Just offering a different perspective.

I'm in the east. 170's will give you plenty of stability, but you'll lose float in the pow. I don't have to worry about that. Maybe go with a little more waist? 75-80mm. Can't really say how much that would affect your groomer performance at a place like kirkwood. I can only say it wouldn't be as desirable here.

Long and straight is good if you're only going to ski bumps. You can adjust your technique to take a bigger sidecut through them. I've skied the older R11 in a 170 and it was fine in the bumps, albeit a wee bit stiff in the tail.

Just some things to consider. I'd love to try the new R11. Definitely take a bump clinic though. I think you'll learn at them, with the exception of the hardcore camps that you can ski anything decent in the bumps.
post #8 of 11
I have spent most of ... actually all of ... my winter on Stockli 156 SL's. I've hardly touched my other skis as much as I love em'.

Our hill is steep and icy with the chop and bumps. Those little SL's are too much fun.

[ January 14, 2004, 05:13 PM: Message edited by: yuki ]
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

I discovered that the local shops in my area didn't have any good demo skis. Also, the Kirkwood(where I have a pass this season) demo center didn't have the skis I was interested in, or had already sold them.
It was logistically challenging for me to get demo skis from Tahoe, as I would then have to drive 1 extra hour each way (in addition to the 3.5 hours it already takes) or go to a different resort paying for a lift ticket. The latter would cost me $100 a day, for demo and lift ticket.

Faced with this difficulty, I reluctantly decided to take a risk and get a pair of skis without trying it out beforehand, based on some reviews and opinions I gathered at some stores.
Seems like I got lucky this time.

I bought a pair of Atomic SX9's in a 170. Trying them over the past weekend, I was amazed. I was doing things that wasn't possible for me with my R11, and I felt like superman!

I'm keeping the R11, as it works better for some things, but looks like I'll be on the SX9 most of the time except on powder/crud days, or when I only want to get some high G's. (I now have a pseudo-quiver. Yay!)

[ January 26, 2004, 07:56 PM: Message edited by: paulwlee ]
post #10 of 11
Great choice, Paul. I skied with a buddy last week and he was on a demo pair of SX:9s (in 170cm too) - he loved 'em.

Now, I'd put that R:11 up for sale (here or on eBay - you'll still get good money for them), and invest in a fatter pair of skis (83mm+ underfoot) for the fat days. Then you'll really have a quiver.

[ January 27, 2004, 03:35 AM: Message edited by: Bearberry ]
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yep, that's what I'm planning to do, too!
I'm not ready right now to get another pair, but I will eventually get a pair of fatter skis.

[ January 27, 2004, 05:15 AM: Message edited by: paulwlee ]
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