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'04-'05 Elan M666 Fusion - very impressive

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
2004-'05 Elan M666 Fusion Review

Skier data: 44 y.o. male Level 8, 5'10" 160 lbs

Conditions: 15-18" new wettish snow on top of packed powder base, temperature about 12 deg F.

I bought this ski in a 176cm size out of interest in a one-ski-quiver ski. Today was the first day on them. Conditions as stated above, on runs with varying between untracked and, by end of day, fully tracked up crud/chop. Variable densities and speeds of snow.

This ski is a very impressive, responsive, quietly powerful ski that has incredible snow feel. The longitudinal flex is medium stiff, firming toward the tail, but the torsional stiffness is very impressive -- the ski didn't get tossed around in the heavy chop that developed at mid-day and consumed most of the hill by the end of the day.

The ski engages quickly and can be driven from any point of the foot. When a young teenage girl shot out in front of me while I was on a powder field charge, I lowered my hips and loaded the tails to make a quick surfer's cutback style of turn back uphill to avoid hitting her. The skis offered great controllable power from the tails and as long as I stayed centered on them, they could launch me out of one turn into another in powder fields, in crud, and on packed powder.

Turn shape is variable with pressure and edge angle changes. Because the ski responds so quickly, it's easy to change turn shape mid-turn.

The ski does not have a "turbo boost" style of rebound power, but rather a smooth power like a Volkl. With the Fusion integrated binding, it reminds me very much of the extremely smooth- and round-flexing integrated-binding Volkls.

I found the 176cm size perfect for my weight, ability, speed and terrain preferences. I had no problem making small or large turns in steep or shallow terrain.

I give this ski high marks for its dependable feel, reliably powerful no matter how radically the snow conditions might change, the ski still feels quite stable and ready to accept whatever input you might give it. I also give it high marks for its consistently high performance in a wide range of types of terrain and turn styles. This might be the most fun ski I've been on in a while. It reminds me of the great reviews that the Metron B:5 is getting, in the way it performs so well no matter what the conditions or no matter what I feel like doing.
post #2 of 23
Good review gonz!! Sounds like you've got another sweet ski in the quiver. I've never been on the 666 fusion, if you can believe that.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
they replaced the 160cm WC SC, which I sold recently. I like these Elans so much I may sell the Big Stix 8.6 as well.
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
they replaced the 160cm WC SC, which I sold recently. I like these Elans so much I may sell the Big Stix 8.6 as well.
Damn man, who da thunk it. Let's don't get crazy now.
post #5 of 23
I just got back from my first 3 days on these skis (6' 1", 215 lbs. skis 184 cm). They were everything gonzo says and more. I was on some hard and somewhat icy snow and spring-like gooey stuff. Bumps, groomed, a little crud, and a tiny bit of untracked. They handled all with quiet strength. Smooth, responsive, and stable at high speed, even through junk, as well as quick turning. They have retired my Pocket Rockets to only full-on powder days. All else goes to Elan.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
glad to hear you liked 'em. I need to get my binding delta issue straightened out - shimming under the heel between the boot board and the liner boot - and then give 'em a full-on few days. I'm heading to SLC this weekend so I will be skiing them again (along with the BigStix 8.6) next week.
post #7 of 23
Let me know how you like the 8.6's compared to the 666's. It has been almost 2 years since I have skied the 8.6 (we don't have that as a demo anymore) and I would like a head-to-head comparison, if possible!
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
I can give you that right now.

8.6 is more powerful, more demanding, and wants to make a circle that is about twice the radius of the 666 (not really but it feels that way. R=26 vs R=16). 8.6 is less easy to ski in tight confines. at moderately high speeds (35mph) the stability in chop, broken snow and up to 1.5 feet of new is greater in the 8.6 but not by a whole lot.

the 8.6 is highly stable at speeds that frighten me in steep crud fields. I give up before the ski does.

I need to test the 666 at higher speeds on a bigger mtn. that's where I will know whether the 8.6 stays with me. I'll be doing that testing this coming M-W at Alta.

dawg, I should add that the Fischer BigStix are much livelier while being stable, and this is true of the 7.6 and the 8.6 -- you feel the snow irregularities quite strongly. they aren't as damp as the M666. the M666 has a damper stability but still incredible snow feel. that's what makes the M666 so amazing -- like a good Volkl or Stockli, you really feel the snow but it's not hammering your feet. the Fischer transmits the "whack" of hitting frozen death cookies and babyheads almost as directly as a Salomon floppy ski, but doesn't get deflected as easily as would a Salomon (blue noodle, X-Scream Series, etc) or a Rossi (B1, B2 and shorter B3s).

I should also note that after skiing the 8.6 for a season with the Fischer/Tyrolia diagonal biding (FX 12), I put a Look P12 Jib binding on it this season, and the ski flexes much nicer with the Look. I also have a better feel for the snow with the Look. and on top of that, the Look puts me in the best fore/aft balance, enabling me to ski from directly beneath the feet. that's what's bugging me about the Elans. I love the way they feel but the ramp angle deficiency is preventing me from skiing them directly beneath the feet. I am trying to fix that before I take 'em to Alta.
post #9 of 23

The predecessor to the M666

I just bought a lightly used pair of Elan M662's from a fellow Epic Ski member, also in 176cm length...hope to ski them early next week. They may not be M666's....but possibly are the next best thing. Biggest difference I note, in terms of specs, is that the 662's were a 'flat' ski (with no binding) whereas the M666's have the integrated Fusion System. Reading the posts about the M666's (and M662's) reminds me of similar posts, years earlier, when Volkl came out with its integrated Motion binding systems - and also when Salomon started doing the same on some of its skis. I remember tons of comments with people saying that, with the integrated bindings systems, they liked the dampness and absorbing qualities - but that the models with integrated bindings seemed to lack a little of the pop or liveliness of the 'flat' (non-integrated) models. I guess the only way in which I'll be able to judge this myself will be after skiing my M662's for awhile - and then demoing or borrowing a pair of the newer M666's for comparison purposes.
Miguel
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
I can give you that right now.

8.6 is more powerful, more demanding, and wants to make a circle that is about twice the radius of the 666 (not really but it feels that way. R=26 vs R=16). 8.6 is less easy to ski in tight confines. at moderately high speeds (35mph) the stability in chop, broken snow and up to 1.5 feet of new is greater in the 8.6 but not by a whole lot.

the 8.6 is highly stable at speeds that frighten me in steep crud fields. I give up before the ski does.

I need to test the 666 at higher speeds on a bigger mtn. that's where I will know whether the 8.6 stays with me. I'll be doing that testing this coming M-W at Alta.

dawg, I should add that the Fischer BigStix are much livelier while being stable, and this is true of the 7.6 and the 8.6 -- you feel the snow irregularities quite strongly. they aren't as damp as the M666. the M666 has a damper stability but still incredible snow feel. that's what makes the M666 so amazing -- like a good Volkl or Stockli, you really feel the snow but it's not hammering your feet. the Fischer transmits the "whack" of hitting frozen death cookies and babyheads almost as directly as a Salomon floppy ski, but doesn't get deflected as easily as would a Salomon (blue noodle, X-Scream Series, etc) or a Rossi (B1, B2 and shorter B3s).

I should also note that after skiing the 8.6 for a season with the Fischer/Tyrolia diagonal biding (FX 12), I put a Look P12 Jib binding on it this season, and the ski flexes much nicer with the Look. I also have a better feel for the snow with the Look. and on top of that, the Look puts me in the best fore/aft balance, enabling me to ski from directly beneath the feet. that's what's bugging me about the Elans. I love the way they feel but the ramp angle deficiency is preventing me from skiing them directly beneath the feet. I am trying to fix that before I take 'em to Alta.
Interesting....I am a lightweight, and really like the 666 for it's power and smoothness through crud. When I skied the Fischer Big Stix 84 a few years ago, the ski was a bulldozer, but too slow edge-to-edge for my preferences. I found that, even in deep snow, I liked more of a 76mm waist ski-I skied the Elan 777 and personally prefer the 666, as I don't find the extra float really necessary for me. I liked the nimbleness of the 76mm ski, and we never seem to get more than 1 foot of good, fresh pow around here. I want to try more wide skis (although they don't sell well at all here at the shop-hence the lack of demos we have). Let us know what you think after Alta!
post #11 of 23

Skied my (almost) new M662's

Finally got up to Mt. Bachelor and skied my almost new Mantis 662's (recently acquired from a fellow Epic Skier) ... and was pleasantly surprised. They outperformed most of my expectations. Skied them in a 176cm length (I'm 5' 11", 175lbs). The skis exhibit a number of different traits. They are super-stable at speed and carve beautifully, any shape turn, any size, but seem happiest carving medium range turns. Almost zero chatter and they seem to just stick to the snow, remarkable sense of smoothness. Most of my day was on piste but did some steeper runs off of the back side (Northwest) in varying conditions - heavier snow, some crud, frozen crust - and here too the M662's are unshakeable: they feel like they can go through anything. Best of all, they feel like 'all day' skis - after putting in a solid 5 or 6 hours, you feel like you could just do another 6, the skis are so....easy.

Minor technical note: Peter Keelty's site and one or two others specify that these skis have a 118mm tip - but my M662's are clearly marked 116 (and that's what they measure). This means that, on my pair at least, the dimensions are identical with the M666's.

All in all, a great pair of skis. They don't quite have the zippiness of my (much shorter) Sceneos in fast fall line turns, but apart from that, they feel like (for me at least) an almost ideal compromise: skis that will do a lot of things very very well. (Surprisingly, the 76mm waist doesn't feel fat at all underfoot. How times have changed.) Looking forwards to getting a bit more powder one of these days (weeks? months?)
Miguel
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
NOTE: I've sold my M666 Fusion, and will be seeking a new M666 in 176cm flat.

Dawg, do you have any flat 176 in the '04/'05, or will you get any in the '05/'06?
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
NOTE: I've sold my M666 Fusion, and will be seeking a new M666 in 176cm flat.

Dawg, do you have any flat 176 in the '04/'05, or will you get any in the '05/'06?
I've got one thing to say my friend: 8000's
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Dynastars remain an unknown entity, Coach. I haven't skied one yet and I can't take that chance. I know the Elans. The 8000 would have to be amazing, phenomenal, ridiculously underrated to beat them.

Is that what you're telling me they are? :
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
Dynastars remain an unknown entity, Coach. I haven't skied one yet and I can't take that chance. I know the Elans. The 8000 would have to be amazing, phenomenal, ridiculously underrated to beat them.

Is that what you're telling me they are? :
Well...they're certainly not underrated with all the press they've gotten, but you have the rest right. I'm mostly just giving you a hard time. You should go with what you're certain you like.

Actually, I got to ski the 666 fusion again last week. They're actually pretty similar, IMO. I think the 8000 is a little more energetic and the 666 is a little more damp and quicker into turns. I was on a 176 though, so I'm comparing to my 184cm 8000's in terms of quickness. Other than that though...
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
in deep snow?
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
in deep snow?
No. About 8-10 inches of fresh, wet Mid Atlantic snow.
post #18 of 23
I think the 666 is better in crud, hands down. And I own the 8000's. The day I demoed the 666's, it was a couple of days after the January blizzard in the northeast, and the skis charged through the chopped-up snow like a dream. They were good in the bumps and made excellent short turns. I don't find the 8000's to be crud-busters at all. This may have to do with my lightweight (155) though.

The 8000 probably has more versatility than the 666. The 8000 was great in the foot of fresh powder we got here last week, yet they're pretty good on harder snow, too. They carve big arcs well on the groomers and make great short turns.

Despite the all-around strength of the 8000, I'm tempted to try to pick up a used pair of 666's next year. I do most of my skiing after we get a decent snowfall (I hate Eastern hardpack) and end up doing a disproportionate amount of skiing in crud. I always seem to be longing for the 666's on those days.
post #19 of 23
Gonz,
I skied the new MagFire 12 this weekend and love it. I guess this is the 05/06 name for the M666. I skied the same size you did 176 and found that your despcription of its on snow feel is dead on. The conditions I skied it on were nothing like yours but for Wisp in March the snow was very nice. I'm torn between this and two other skis. Really loved the Volkl AC4 and the Head iM77 (liquid metal). What to do?
post #20 of 23
gonz- What's your take on how the 666 compares to your BS 7.6?
post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
M666-
better snow feel
shorter radius turn by default
rounder flex

BigStix 7.6-
better hard snow grip
feels like a Fischer
post #22 of 23
I finally really gave my new 666's a good workout on all kinds of conditions from mashed potatoes to moderately light powder this weekend at Whistler and Mt. Baker. The only conditions I have not tried them on are plate ice and light powder.

These skis are the real thing. They handled everything extremely well. What a joy. They ski good when you relax on them, but when you put a little zip into 'em they take off like a scalded ape. Nothing deflects them. Wow.
post #23 of 23
I had a chance to demo the M666 in a 176 this weekend in New England spring slush. Ear to ear grins!! They busted thru everything and were a blast to ride! Turn initiation was effortless and radius easy to vary as Gonzo stated. I spent 2+ hours on them and did not want to hand them back to the demo rep. If I didn't just buy a pair of Atomic Metron XI's, the M666's would be on the short list for next season.
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