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GS Skis Review

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Me: 6'0", 185, 44 YO, been skiing since 4 YO, but not regularly - too many years living in the Southeast. Raced in HS and college but wasn't very good : . I now ski 20 or so days a year at a small hill in central New York with the occasional trip to Vermont and usually 1 week per year to Utah or Colorado. My everyday ski is the Atomic Ride 11 in 180cm.

Labrador Mountain had a demo day yesterday and I have thought about getting back into recreational racing, so I wanted to take a whack at GS racing skis. The last pair of GS skis I owned was a pair of Elan Unilines in 213cm (Stenmark's skis).

It's been a horrible season so far in the east, but Lab had good coverage and the 6" of wet snow over the top of a decent base of frozen granular made for a good test of these skis. The area was hosting a Masters GS race and it didn't look like the course got rutted up too badly.

My goal was to test the skis over some rough sections, ice, heavy piles of snow, etc. These conditions were easy to find. Unfortunately, many of the reps didn't bring their race boards...how times have changed. Not so many years ago, manufacturers made their race skis their top of the line skis and their big sellers. Even so, I had a chance to test a few decent race skis and also got to test out some others that many have written about...

Fischer RC4 GS RC in 175 - felt very light, very precise. Rewarded a light touch and felt like ice skates across the steep icy spots. Very easy to turn and adjust turn shapes and sizes. Maybe a little too grabby for everyday skiing, but if you're paying attention, this ski was very agreeable. My legs weren't in good enough shape to search for a top end on this ski. Probably best suited as a dedicated race ski.

Rossignol 9X Oversize in 180 - very different from the Fischer. Felt heavier, more damp, but was unfazed blowing through piles of soft snow on the downside of icy spots. Carved across the hardpack quite well. Felt like it didn't have a speed limit. I'd be more inclined to own this ski if I wanted an everyday ski for the Northeast that I could also race on.

That was about it for true racing skis. I decided to try a couple of other skis since they were free .

I stopped at the Salomon tent. They didn't have any GS racing skis but they recommended trying the Street Racer 9 in 175 - felt similar to the Fischer, but nowhere near as "racy". This was definitely a NASTAR-only racer but was a very enjoyable ski. Like the Fischer, it rewarded a light touch and carved in all conditions quite well. It got thrown around a little bit in the wet snow piles, but overall it was a nice ski for everyday skiing in the Northeast.

I really wanted to demo Atomic's GS 11, but they didn't have any racing skis. I had read so much about the Metron B5, I wanted to see for myself...holy crap: ! The 162's were unavailable, so I tried the 172. I have always viewed myself as a fairly strong skier and have never met a ski I couldn't bend...until now. These things felt like I was skiing on I-beams. I could get the tips to engage, but I couldn't get the whole ski into an arc, especially the tails. I tried several different turn types and I couldn't get any of them to work. I really didn't like them as much as I wanted to. I talked to the rep to see if it was the tune, but he just smiled and said the 172 is too much ski for 99.9% of the people out there. I know many of you have written this, so I'm just throwing my $.02 in. It's true. If you want to try the Metron B5, go short young man!

Fischer RX9 Railflex in 175 - I wanted to compare this to my Atomic Ride 11's. Similar but different. The shape is very similar, but the Fischer seemed more precise, lighter, etc. My Atomic's felt more solid, damp, and I liked them both. The Fischer's were quite lively and had better rebound than my Atomic's. I wouldn't trash my Atomic's to buy the Fischer's, but they were a great ski. If I were comparing the 2, I'd have to test them both in deeper snow to decide. I have skied the Ride 11's in deep snow (Snowbird) and I like them for that.
post #2 of 2
Just a quick note on demoing-if you feel like taking a short day trip, Bristol Mountain has a decently stocked demo center. They have several GS race skis. Take a look at their web site and go to the demo center area-they list the available skis,pricing and hours-www.bristolmt.com
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