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All mountain ski suggestions

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
I’m wondering if others could provide some advice regarding ski selection.

I’m 173cm/5’8”, 76kg/168lbs. I always feel a bit awkward when describing what level of skier I am, but yeah on any groomed run I would have to say that I ski very well. However I haven’t had much experience off-piste, and it often gives me a lot of trouble. Seeing me in the bumps, crud, or heavy powder is not a pretty sight! Nevertheless I expect to ski 30+ days (1 weeks Europe, but southern hemisphere mainly) for the foreseeable future so hope to improve.

I presently ski on Volkl P50 slalom 170cm, I think it’s an awesome ski on firm snow and I like to ski short turns aggressively. However I don’t think it’s ideal when venturing off-piste. I think the main thing that is holding me back is confidence, and I wonder if anyone could suggest a ski that would allow me to gain confidence in more difficult snow conditions? I know when I bought the P50 that a high performance ski can be quite unforgiving (they still remind me quite unceremoniously of this fact from time to time), hence I’m cautious about buying some top line ski if it could actually hamper my progress. Am I on the right track? I could always rent while the learning curve is so steep and buy a higher performance all mountain ski next season as I improve.

Cheers,

Pete
post #2 of 47
Well if you can weight till next year i would as there are alot of new ski's coming out next year from what i have seen so far. If you can weight, demo alot of ski's next year but if not it sounds like a midfat or fat ski would compliment your slalom ski's. If you like Volkl the Vertigo would be a good choice.
post #3 of 47
Hi ya Pete,

Well, all I know is what I hear and what I ski on.

My every day ski used to be Head Super Cross Ti. And yes, all-mountain.

But just recently, I had the good fortune of getting hooked up with the Cross Ti. The difference is that the Cross Ti is a little lighter and a little narrower - 66 under foot as compared to 72 for my Super Cross's. I love them. They're quick and they're versatile. They're now my everyday ski unless I'm skiing powder or boothigh powder chop. If so, I bring out the Super Cross's.

I know another ski that people love for all-mountain and that's the Atomic 10 EX. I've never tried them myself, but I've never talked to anyone who didn't love them - all good/great skiers.
post #4 of 47
I would suggest demoing if you get the chance, but... Get something wider underfoot. And maybe more forging, especially in the tail, if you are going to be bumping.

If you like the Volkl thing... the G3 or the G4. The G4 is amazingly crisp and quick for such a fat ski, but ski it short! I had a lot of fun on a 178... I'm 5'10" and 200 lbs. So you should/could go shorter. G3 is less boaty in the bumps due to the width of the G4.

I have been really impressed by Fischers, Heads, and Atomics. The K2 MOD/Axis skis are darn sweet too. Get the "X" version if you want them stiffer and more GS like...

I absolutely love Volants, but they are a bit different, and softer than what you might be looking for. But that darn T3 PowerKarve is an amazing all-terrain vehicle. And the new ones are GOLD...
post #5 of 47
If you're prepared to wait until next season, check out the K2 Axis XP, the wider replacement for the Axis X Pro. But plenty of good suggestions so far.


S
post #6 of 47
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I like some of the suggestions so far and I will certainly demo them (but naturally am always open to more). We don't have to wait as long down here in Australia/NZ as you may think as we get next season's models ... err, this season. ie we're 6 months ahead of the northern hemisphere. Well at least that's the case with Volkl, I don't know about the others. Bizzare that I can buy a German ski in Aus/NZ before I can get it in Germany, but hey!

Many of the models suggested are pretty hot skis. One question nobody has put their hand up about as yet is whether they may actually serve to reduce my rate of progress in learning to ski off-piste well. I expect to have at least another 30 - 40 days on the snow this calander year and would hope to be getting half reasonable by the end of the year, but I want all the help the ski can give me during the initial stages.

Thanks again
post #7 of 47
Pete

Good equipment will never inhibit your progress. It just points out the shortcommings a bit more abruptly. ouch!
If you are concerned about being punished for any misdeeds, just select from any of the ski recomendations but look for the key word "soft". A pair of Volant Chubbs would be the extreme case of forgiviness. They are easy to take through the crud and bumps (though hard on the lower legs due to leverage mechanics on hard pack. 2001-2002 Volkl G3 are soft, wide and well liked by many.

Demo! You will know what's good for you when they are on your feet.

Regards

CalG
post #8 of 47
CalG and Snowcarver got it right!

So go forth and demo some Volants !
post #9 of 47
Thread Starter 
CalG, I’m interested in the point you make regarding “good” equipment not inhibiting one’s progress. I guess “good” is a subjective factor, maybe “higher performance” is more what I’m referring to.

As we all know, some skis are more forgiving than others. I don’t know if others would agree, but I guess it’s true to say that (in general) as a ski increases in performance it tends to become less forgiving. There is technically no reason I shouldn’t be able to ski pretty much any terrain well, only my mental attitude is holding me back. Hence I began wondering if skiing on some very forgiving skis would allow me to get over this mental hurdle. By this I mean, imagine I go out and buy the latest “super-duper” XYZ ski, and every time my technique is less than absolutely perfect I get thrown off. It seems to me that this is merely conditioning myself to hate and fear this type of terrain, further reinforcing bad habits (my typical habit of trying to run back up the hill when things get nasty!). On the other hand I wonder if I were on a ski that let me get away with a bit more I’d gain confidence and ski this type of terrain with the same aggression I do on groomed runs, once I had the confidence I could progress to a higher performance ski.

I don’t know if I’m way off the mark here, maybe the best answer is simply to just get out there and ski the terrain that gives me trouble and get more experience on it. However I’m beginning to look far more closely at the gear I’m using based on my own past experience. For example my first boot upgrade made a huge difference to my skiing, and I recently solved a chronic “knock kneed” stance by good footbeds and a sole grind (this was amazing, I’d tried for years to get out of this stance, after the grind it was gone instantly). With this in mind I wonder if appropriate all-mountain skis may yield similar improvements in the type of skiing that I want to improve on. What do you think?

Cheers

Pete
PS SnoKarver. My P50s are my first Volkls but I love them and would lean heavily toward buying Volkl again in the future. Just for your info, the shortest G4 is 178. The Volant sounds interesting, I think I may have trouble finding them, but I'll certainly look for them.
post #10 of 47
Pete, your concerns are well taken, but not necessary. It is not true that a ski is unforegiving because it is "high performance" It IS true that some skis, including some "high performance" skis, require exact technique and are not foregiving of lapses in perfection. I can think of two examples of very high performace skis which also are actually quite foregiving. One is the Salomon Crossmax Pilot 10 [which you may wish to consider in 170 cm length] and the other is a ski to be generally available next season - the Dynastar Intuitiv 71 [which you may wish to consider in 167 length]. These are terrific all mountain skis which will be far more accomodating off-piste than what you've been using, and they also perform well on hard snow. For me, I skied "over my head" while testing them. You may discover the same thing.
post #11 of 47
Thread Starter 
Hmmm, thanks Oboe, that's interesting. The Salomon Crossmax is described as being designed for carving on piste, do you think this is the ideal second ski for me then?
post #12 of 47
Your lenght should be between 170 and 180, ya could go shorter but IMHO this is not required. If you are skiing Oz then you need lost of torsional stiffness for all the hardpack\ice we have. Likewise Europe. Skiing Oz and Europe Off-piste is pretty similar in snow conditions, (not pitch though) lost of wind slab, crust and heavyish pow to be encountered and not usually too much deep light pow.

Atomic 11.20, Salomon Scream 9 or 10 Pilot & Crossmax 8 or 10, K2 Axis Mod X, Bandit XX, Dynastar 71, Volk Motion or G3.

IMHO if you go to fattys like the 10.EX this will hinder your all round progress and prove a burden on the frontside. Stick to mid fats say 69 to 71 under foot with good torsional stiffness and demo some skis one step below the top of the range models.

Ski Bum Tip:
Don't wait for next seasons gear and pay top dollar. Get in on the end of season sales on the net.

If ya buying in Sydney try Paul Readers in the city. Ask for Nick and say Phil sent you. Also Nick will have the latest skis and knows his gear. If you buy at the end of the season and take them to Europe ya get the GST off. Be honest in your useage, intentions and ability.

Where do you ski in Oz?

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 13, 2002 09:57 PM: Message edited 2 times, by man from oz ]</font>
post #13 of 47
Thread Starter 
G'day Oz. I have only skied once in Oz in the last 15 years! (Last year I spent 2 days in Perisher, the snow was surprisingly good actually) Maybe it's just me but I object to standing in a resort flicking out $100 bills like there's no tomorrow. Ok, it's a bit harsh, I know our season is short and we all need to make a buck, but sometimes the prices here get a bit ridiculous. As I recall they are charging over $100 a time in Sydney to demo skis ($120 as I recall) ... riiiiight! Like let’s recover the wholesale price of the ski in 1 – 2 weeks rental.

I ski NZ, just ordered my season pass for A$325 in fact. What's that, about 4 days worth here, 3 and a bit if you catch the tube up? I mainly ski Mount (S)Hutt, but also around Queenstown. In Europe I ski mainly Engelberg in Switzerland, if I don’t want to drive that far then Feldberg in Germany. I don’t have much time when in the USA but last year went up to Snow Summit out of LA quite often, maybe next year I'll get out to Mammoth. I don’t take my skis up north and use the opportunity to demo different stuff.

Sorry mate, don’t mean to bag “The Lucky Country” but there is just no comparison between AUS and NZ, and I buy most of my gear there too (well the big $$ items anyway. The Ski Barn gets the rest of my $$$)

Oh good tip re GST, I’d forgotten about that, makes them a bit more competitive price wise I guess.

Hope I’ve been honest about my off-piste ability, it basically sucks … no actually it sucks big time. Mind you there was only 1 run at Perisher that caused me a slight drama, I think it’s called “Olympic”, it’s the T-bar with a kink in it anyway. No problems getting down, but ergh, not pretty, not pretty at all!!

The P50s are perfect for Australia and if hard snow was around I would certainly be on them, just so much fun to ski, but it’s more for off-piste in NZ that I’m thinking about. I’ll be up in Switzerland again next week so will demo the Salomons.

Cheers,

Pete
post #14 of 47
Pete, if you are looking for allmountain ski, maybe the new Voelkl 02/03 SuperSport ***** will be good choice.

I have tryed this skis on tests and I was really suprised, how versatile this ski is...
post #15 of 47
Pete, although Salomon has indeed been marketing the Crossmax 10 Pilot as an "on piste" ski, there are those on this site [like dchan, and others] who feel that it is nevertheless not too shabby off piste as well. The Volkl Supersport Four Star [I have never trialed the Five Star] is one of the skis made to be skied shorter, and it IS a great ski. However, for your stated purposes, the Salomon Crossmax Pilot 10 or the Dynastar Intuitiv 71 are better, at least in my own opinion. Length? Frankly dchan is on that same Crossmax in 170, and I don't think you need to go to the 180. In the Intuitiv 71, although I am convinced 167 is all the ski you need, you could live with the 175 - but I still think you'd enjoy the 167 more. By all means, please let us know what you do and how it works out. My direct e-mail is bgreene@law66.com , if you'd care to use it.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 14, 2002 06:27 AM: Message edited 1 time, by oboe ]</font>
post #16 of 47
Pete

For me, High performance is "Good"' but I don't confuse the issue across ski types. "Good" high performance skis are versatile!
Specialty skis are likely good at their specialty. Race skis are for racing!

What actions of "unforgiving skis" spit you off? For me, it is often stiffness in the bumps, or running away when I don't release the edges properly. Are there others?

Forgiveness in a ski may not mean a total "down grade" of performance.
As mentioned, edge grip can be a reassuring thing that comes from high torsional ridgidity. That same feature may make the ski feel grabby.

Being sometimes sprung in the bumps means I get good kick on the hard stuff. A trade-off to be sure, but I love the kick and would prefer to work on the bumps than give it up.
Soft is good for off piste, bumps and spring conditions. Mid fat, all mountain,

The run away ski thing may be addressed by detuning the tips a bit. I don't do this for all the reasons of extracting all the grip I can get. I want to ride the whole edge. Sometimes I pay. I havn't started to worry about it happening however.

My reference to the Chubbs is in the extreme. I would not suggest fat skies as good development tools. But if you get a chance to try them, they will give you confidence in broken conditions.

The area rental shop may be an option to try lower performance skis at little risk.

Several skis in the quiver might be a good thing.

CalG

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 14, 2002 07:55 AM: Message edited 1 time, by CalG ]</font>
post #17 of 47
Head XP80, great for all conditions. Less expensive than other brands.
post #18 of 47
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input, some good points have come up for me here and it’s really helped me to understand what I may be looking for.

Oboe, yes it’s incredible how short the skis are getting these days. When I bought the P50s they were way shorter than my old straight skis, now even 170 cm is considered “long” for a slalom ski! Yet it’s interesting to see this trend extend to all-mountain skis as well. I’ve also been surprised at the length variation between manufacturers in skis designed for the same purpose. Interesting times indeed.

Cal, you’ve asked an interesting question, however I don’t feel as if I have enough experience to be able to say “this ski is unforgiving because of [xyz] characteristic”. At the risk of publicly displaying my complete ignorance of this subject once and for all, I believe with my current skis the thing that sometimes catches me out is how hard they accelerate at the end of the turn. If I’m being a bit lazy or have been caught off-balance they will just leave me behind. I’ve skied the similar Fischer slaloms quite often for example, and didn’t find this same characteristic at all, so I’d say that between the two the Fischers were more forgiving overall. Anyway, that’s by the by. One thing I don’t want is a super stiff ski, however I guess the main thing is position. As I’ve mentioned, I’m all over the place in difficult conditions so if the ski demanded constant attention to remaining over the sweet spot then the chances are I’m going to have a lot of trouble skiing it.

Cheers,

Pete
post #19 of 47
Pete,

it's a good sign that you were able to get the P50 to kick from the tail. you have to stand on and pressure the ski correctly to get that effect.

however, the fact that the kick throws you off-balance makes me think a few things are happening... (1) you don't load the tail very often, so that when you do, it surprises you; (2) when you do load the tail, it's not on purpose, but rather is a matter of happenstance.

most of the modern skis at a certain level and above will have some degree of kick at the end of the turn if you load the tails. of the midfats, in the past several seasons, the Volkl Vertigo G30 and G31 (but not G3) and the Salomon X-Scream Series have been very energetic in the turn finish, with a very nice and powerful pop at the end of the turn.

the current crop of midfats contains more skis that have powerful tails. the K2 Axis X and Axis X Pro have it, and I hear from reliable folks that the new '02 Rossi Bandit X has it too.

if you really don't like that end-of-turn pop, you can go with a midfat that doesn't have such a pronounced kick.

modern slalom skis (and many modern GS skis) are designed to kick hard out of turns - that is how you launch into the next turn! I've heard that the Head slalom and GS racers have big kicks, and that the K2 Mach S has a big kick too. And of course, the racer versions of Volkl's P series skis share that characteristic.

I would work on your technique at slower speeds, to get a definite feel for what pressure and body position triggers that tail-loading and resultant pop/kick. once you become comfortable with the loaded tail, you can use it to initiate your next turn.

as to midfats, my personal choice is the K2 Axis X, but there so many good ones out there that it's hard to go wrong.

good luck
post #20 of 47
One of my faves from last year and totally overlooked is the Salomon Pilot 8. It is called an intermediate ski but it makes sweet turns on groomed and floated so well...and you can find last year's ski (the binding is part of the ski) for 500 bucks or less. One ski mag reviewing it loved it for its ease, float, versatility. If I had money to spare I'd pick up a pair without any hesitation.

The k2's are a great choice too. I have not skied them but witnessed a friend make a giant breakthrough off-groomed on the 5500 and he like the Axis even more.
post #21 of 47
astrochimp, I did try the Scream Pilot 8 at the trade show. The snow was hard, and the 8 was one of my least liked rides - awful noodly and not so hot in grip on hard snow. I'll try it again [assuming there ever IS an "again" in Vermont]. Do you refer to the SCREAM Pilot 8 or the CROSSMAX Pilot 8?
post #22 of 47
Chubbs are good.
post #23 of 47
Thread Starter 
Gonzo, wow thanks for that, hey it’s good to know I’m doing something right out there J On re-reading my statement I think I may have been a bit misleading. Normally that “pop” as you call it doesn’t catch me out, but IF I do get caught out, it tends to be this that causes it. I don’t know if that makes my situation any clearer. It was a very interesting explanation of the mechanics involved, I had no idea what was going on, just that it was obviously working pretty well. On groomed runs it’s great fun, but if I’m already struggling on more difficult terrain, being on a ski that wants to try for a moon-shot isn’t making life any easier for me.

In bumps the chances are I’ll be back, as I’m already apprehensive about the situation I’m in, so when the ski takes off a crash or a series of movements that looks like some pre-historic war dance results. In light powder I’m fine but in heavy, inconsistent powder it’s just plain hard work, numerous times I’ve literally been catapulted out of the bindings to finish up 10ft in front of the skis. It must look quite spectacular, but the novelty wears off in a very short while.

Now of course anyone who is a half reasonable skier should be able to handle these situations on these skis. The answer is that my technique isn’t good and I need to work on it. But that brings me back to why I’m looking for a second pair of skis. I’m not a great skier so why make life difficult for myself by trying to learn more challenging terrain on inappropriate skis.

It’s interesting that you mention the X-Scream Series. I’ve skied on them twice now, the last time was 178cm, the time before they were longer. The 178 was the right length for me and they were “ok” but here lies the difficulty in the situation I’m in. On a groomed slope I’m sub-consciously comparing the skis I’m trying with the P50s, and of course in comparison an all-mountain ski is going to suck. Off-piste, which is what I’m buying them for, my technique is so bad that the chances are I’m not going to notice any difference between different models, but I don’t know, maybe I’m selling myself a bit short in this regard. Anyway, that’s why I wanted to compile a list of skis that other people who are more experienced than myself can say “Ok Pete, your skiing off-piste truly sucks, these planks are possibly going to make life easier for you”

Cheers,

Pete
post #24 of 47
Atomic 11.20 around the 170 lenght. Take em anywhere.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #25 of 47
I'm w/the man from Oz. Try the Atomic 11.20s in the 170 lenght given your height. They'll turn you into a star! I can't say enough good things about these skis.
post #26 of 47
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JoCanadian:
Head XP80, great for all conditions. Less expensive than other brands.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Absolutely. I agree this year's XP80s or wait and grab next year I.C 200s.

[img]smile.gif[/img]
post #27 of 47
Pete
From you description of "Excessive exceleration" I suspect your apprehension has you in the back seat in spite of yourself. (Me too)

Keep your hands up and in view, and I bet any ski will serve you better. Ski in your comfort zone.

Something to try.
Rent or borrow a pair of skis that you are too big for. Set yourself up in a situation where you are always able to over power your skis in ANY situatuion. You will be able to feel what is you and what is the ski.

When I returned to skiing some few years ago, I bought some GS skis (Traditional) that were my size (205). I was given a pair of K2-710's in 178 cm. Because I often accompanied my small children, I "liked" the shorter ski.
They helped my skiing progression a lot. I could see and feel the loading fore and aft.
I could swivel through the bumps if things started to go bad. I could crank turns so sharp the tips would come up and hit me in the ear
I still have those K2s and used them for rock skis early this season. They are fun, but won't do what the big dogs do. I might take them tomorrow just to refresh my memory.

I think you are looking for a all around ski with a large sweet spot. Sorry, I don't have any recommendations. I like the G3's for their softness. But the G31's I had last year were fun too.

A bit of this kind of play can have us talking about "excessive exhileration"!
regards

CalG
post #28 of 47
Oboe, The Scream Pilot 8. A blue ski last year. It could be that out east it is not such a great ski, or that we are at diferent abilities or I was on a god day or or or...I did really like it though.

Here is what skiing magazine said. This is one review I really agree with from my experience.
http://www.skinet.com/gearfinder/

"This version of the Pilot ski-binding system is a smooth mover that's so easy to turn, you could ski it blindfolded. It's quick, sprightly, and light-feeling but charges variable conditions like a heavyweight. In all, a fun, versatile all-mountain ski.
Skier: Advanced cruiser looking for a guide to the off-piste.
Terrain: Anywhere but bulletproof.
Maneuverable on steeps. A ricochet rabbit in trees. Zips around bumps." "A jackhammer in crud. A floater in powder." "Turns on a dime." "Absorbs vibrations."
n: Nervous on ice. "

Oboe, maybe you were on hard snow. I was on soft snow and some of it was deep and untracked. One thing I liked was the pilot binding feel underfoot. I also skied the Scream 10 pilot and found it plankier, more a high speed ski and less versatile. It was tweaked since then though. The 8 has a speed limit I think.

I like some intermediate skis. I don't always want to be on a technical or speedy ski. I also liked the Salomon 7, the lower end Rossis, etc. Skis you can relax on yet still have fun.

I'd bet for your terrain the Crossmax Pilot skis would be more appropriate: hard snow carvers.

(edit for the url. it gets you almost to the review. Just select Salomon then hit the button down below and the sis will all show up.)

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 15, 2002 02:50 PM: Message edited 3 times, by astrochimp ]</font>
post #29 of 47
astrochimp, those few words said it all: "nervous on ice". Hey, man! This is New ENGland here! If I skied on soft snow as a rule, that Scream Pilot 8 might be interesting. But we get such a variety of conditons here that the all around ski must be good on crud AND ice. It's a tough order, but the Crossmax Pilot 10 and the Dynastar Intuitiv 71 carry out the order, IMHO.
post #30 of 47
Thread Starter 
It’s so true regarding different conditions to try skis. It makes it difficult if I try a ski one day, don’t ski for 2 weeks, then try another, etc., maybe even at different locations. It’s easy to be seduced by a ski where the conditions happen to be just right for it, or maybe I’m simply skiing better that day. Now that I’m starting to ski on the same skis more than once a pattern is beginning to emerge however.

One question though, as people have been suggesting skis I’ve been trying to find out more information. In the all-mountain “intermediate/advanced” category, I’ve noticed that many of the skis have around 70mm under the foot. However the skis considered more demanding begin to get wider. Disregarding soft powder, is a wider ski naturally more difficult to ride, or are they simply designed with a greater bias on off-piste and just happen to be more demanding?

Cheers,

Pete
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