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Bunch of 05' skis (Cross) reviewed last spring

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Here is a re-post of a review I did last spring. I did a search and couldn't find it, so it must have been deleted from the system-the info still seems relevant though!


Ski Genre reviewed: All-mountain/Cross
Snow Conditions Used In: groomers, crud, bumps
Number of Days Used: 3 runs
Your Ability:improving (level 8?)
How Many Years Have You Been Skiing: 16
Avg. Days per Year Skiing:currently 60
Other Skis You Like:Elan S12 Fusion, Head i-GS RD, Elan SLX-T
Your Height/Weight:5 foot 9, 155lbs

Ski Make:05' Elan
Ski Model:GX Pro Fusion
Ski Length:170
Comments: Whoa! This ski is built like a full-bore race stock ski (sandwich construction, fast base, stiff flex) but with more sidecut (18m at 170cm) and the new Fusion race system (floating toe, fixed heel).

This ski is smooth, powerful, with awesome edge hold. It skis like a real race ski, just with a tighter turn radius. I would venture to say that it is every bit as demanding as a true race GS, and performs every bit as well. Except for the tight turn radius, I couln't tell the difference. I compared it back to back with the Volkl P60 Race Stock, Head i-GS RD, and Blizzard Sigma RS Magnesium (all in lengths of 180 or over) and the Elan was every bit as powerful as any of these skis. I would say that if you love to ski fast and are a racer/ex-racer, but want a slightly smaller turn radius for free skiing (dodging others on the slope, skiing narrow trails at certain mountains, where a full 21m GS ski isn't as practical) then this is your ski. NOT the ski for anyone who doesn't have good skills (if you don't like or can't handle a 21m GS ski, you won't like this one either-look at more of the recreational cross skis, such as the Elan S12/Volkl 5 star). No bumps, a handful in crud. Awesome ski!

Ski Make:05' Head
Ski Model:i-XRC Sandwich
Ski Length:170

Very similiar ski to the GX Pro, but I thought it was not quite as smooth as the aformentioned. Still stable and powerful, but not as nice as the GX Pro (may have been the lack of Fusion system). Similiar (crappy) performance in bumps and crud to the GX Pro. If I had not skied the GX already, I would have been thrilled with the i-XRC SW. That isn't to say that it isn't a great ski!

Ski Make:05' Elan
Ski Model:S12 Fusion
Ski Length:168

Well, this is my ski, so I am partial to it. Still an excellent ride for all conditions. Great carver, reasonable stability at almost any speed. Handles bumps and crud well, probably the best choice possible (for me) as a one-quiver ski. Still, though, the GX was soooo much more powerful and stable-I guess that is what a quiver is for! Great choice for anyone who wants top-notch on-piste performance without giving up much on the backside. Smoother and more at home in big arcs than the RX8.


Ski Make:05' Elan
Ski Model:SX Pro Fusion
Ski Length:155

This was a turny (go figure) consumer-friendly SL ski with the Fusion race system. I owned the SLX-T in a 155, so it was a good comparison. I found the SX Pro to be a stiff, demanding, high-performance ski. I acutally prefer the SLX-T because it can be opened up more in big arcs. The SX Pro is strictly for short turns, and very tiring. You can't let the ski run, or you will go down. No relaxing. This ski will work for many SL racers out there-nice smooth exit to the turn and great edgehold. Very stiff flex, I had trouble generating alot of rebound. Not a rec ski, at least not in 155.

Ski Make:05' Fischer
Ski Model:RX8
Ski Length:170

Very nice ski. Too long for me in 170cm-I need the 165cm. Snappy, lots of rebound, not the most forgiving ski, but very rewarding. Alot more fun (IMO) than the RX9, and more demanding too. Seems more "locked in" with one turn radius-definitely more SL than GS. Can be a handful in bumps underneath a non-skilled skier. The better the skier, the better this ski performs-highly recommended.

Ski Make:05' Blizzard
Ski Model:Sigma SXP
Ski Length:170

Very versatile "cross" ski with dimensions of 114/65/100 and a turn radius of 14m. It was a great ski in crud and bumps. Quick and light, good float. Unfortunately, high-speed stability was lacking. Versatile turn shape. If you are looking for a solid carver that is versatile, this could be your ski. If you ski your carver at GS speeds, look elsewhere (Blizzard also has the X-Cross Ti which is their competition-level cross ski next year-113/67/99 with basically a vertical sidewall-comes in lengths up to 184.)

Ski Make:05' Head
Ski Model:i-XRC 1100 Chip
Ski Length:172

New shape for 05', very nice ski. Powerful carver, but not as beefy as the i-XRC SW above. Decent in bumps and crud, stable at most any speed. You could lay it over and hold a great edge, as well as generating some power from the turn. This is a great carver, perhaps not quite as versatile as the S12 Fusion, but every bit the equal on groomed snow. Another great ski that will be getting lots of glowing reviews in the coming year.

Ski Make:05' Nordica
Ski Model:Speedmachine 14
Ski Length:170

New model for this season. Not being one that is familiar with Nordica's line, I wanted to check this ski out. What a great ski! It was mounted with a Marker system that utilizes the piston in front of the toepiece. Good looking ski. The first thing I noticed was that the ski was very stable and damp, moreso probably than all of the other cap skis tested in this category (this obviously excludes the GX Pro and i-XRC SW). It was a powerful, stable carver. The ski really liked to run. Surprisingly, the ski was decent in the bumps for such a powerful ski. I had it in a steep, icy bump run, and it held it's own. Not the ideal bump ski, but manageable. I liked the feel on the groomers more than my S12's-it just was more damp and stable, really felt like a race ski (but with some versatility). This was a really, really nice ski-if I lived in the East and needed a powerful but somewhat versatile ski, it would be on the top of my list. Heavy and powerful-think GS with sidecut.

Ski Make:05' K2
Ski Model:Apache Crossfire
Ski Length:174

This is basically the revamped (new tip and graphics, new MOD construction, similiar to what Elan is doing with Express) version of the XT. This was another ski that didn't stand out, didn't jump up and make you take notice. Solid carver, seemed versatile enough, but not overly energetic, stable, or with superior edge hold. Quick enough for most any condition, but I prefer more stability. Others feel that this ski is a "dumbed-down" version of the XT, suitable for lower-end skiers, but not for experts anymore. Still, if you don't ski at high speeds, but want a solid carver with versatility, it is worth a look. I personally think that the S12 Fusion is as versatile but has more power/stability at speed.

Overall, I would rate the skis for stability on groomers/power/edgehold as follows (1 being best):
1) Elan GX Pro Fusion
2) Head i-XRC SW
3) Nordica (Kastle) Speedmachine 14
4) tie: Head i-XRC 1100/Elan S12 Fusion
6) Fischer RX8
7) tie: K2 Apache Crossfire/Blizzard SXP

The other important rating for this category (in my mind) is versatility in crud/pow/bumps-here is how I scored the skis:

1) Elan S12 Fusion
2) Blizzard SXP
3) K2 Crossfire Apache
4) tie: Head i-XRC 1100/Nordica Speedmachine 14
5) Fischer RX8
6) tie: Elan GX Pro Fusion/Head i-XRC SW

Best overall ski for me? Either the Nordica Speedmachine 14 or Elan S12 Fusion (Nordica if I place a premium on on-piste performance, S12 for more versatility). I really like the Speedmachine, moreso than alot of reviewers. RX8 is a great choice for a turny all-mountain ski with life. The Head i-XRC 1100 chip is growing on me, and is a definite contender. If I have a quiver, I buy the Elan GX Pro Fusion and a versatile midfat (Elan Mantis 662, or 666 Fusion is what I am getting the 05'). Lots of nice skis next year-they keep getting better and better!
post #2 of 4

Elan Fusion Pro SX

Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching
Ski Make:05' Elan
Ski Model:SX Pro Fusion
Ski Length:155

This was a turny (go figure) consumer-friendly SL ski with the Fusion race system. I owned the SLX-T in a 155, so it was a good comparison. I found the SX Pro to be a stiff, demanding, high-performance ski. I acutally prefer the SLX-T because it can be opened up more in big arcs. The SX Pro is strictly for short turns, and very tiring. You can't let the ski run, or you will go down. No relaxing. This ski will work for many SL racers out there-nice smooth exit to the turn and great edgehold. Very stiff flex, I had trouble generating alot of rebound. Not a rec ski, at least not in 155.
Dawg,

You should give this ski a try in the 165cm (I just bought it in this length after demoing for a day). Has the same fantastic edgehold, still likes the short turns, but is also happy with medium turns. I was surprised to hear that you felt it to be a tiring ski. My wife has it in 160 and skis it all day without any problems and I don't have probs with the 165. She skied in boot deep on Monday and loved it, which I have to admit was surprising (I skied my Legend 8000s in the pow). This may have to do with the shorter length (155cm is pretty darn short)?

I chose this over the Rx8 (after demoing it for a full day) b/c it was slightly more damp, but still felt lively despite the stiffness. The Rx8 had too much feel for me in crud and ice. (Though, as ssh points out, this does not mean that the Rx8 is instable.) IMO, the elan is a smooth, fast, confidence inspiring ski that is great on groomers, plows through crud, but is probably too stiff for bumps for most people. I am very surprised that more people on epicski haven't tried this ski.

I am told that elan is changing this ski for 2006 with one that is not so stiff and will be more appealing to the masses. IMO, this is too bad.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhskier
Dawg,

I am told that elan is changing this ski for 2006 with one that is not so stiff and will be more appealing to the masses. IMO, this is too bad.
Interesting-I heard the opposite, that the SX Pro is unchanged, and that the GX Pro is updated for 2006 (now the Ripstick). I haven't skied the new? SX Pro yet, although I heard good things about it in the longer lengths. 155 was too demanding for me to freeski much.....I may still order a GX Pro on EP form, as it is a superb ski.
post #4 of 4
I just recently compared the following 2004-2005 skis on ultra-hardpacked eastern-type conditions (no noisy boilerplate...just squeeky-clean, ultra-fine grained re-groomed, re-groomed, weeks-of-cold weather PERFECT edge-tracking surface in wide-open, smooth terrain). All skis had demo bindings.

My stats:
185lbs. 5' 11" tall 45 year old Masters-racer/coaching type skier...craving clean arcs on groomed surfaces under pressure at speed.

Atomic SX-11 SuperCross
170cm (105-65-95 16m radius)

Stoeckli Laser Cross 170cm (not the Pro)
(111-67-93 17m radius)

Head iXRC 100 Chip SR2 "X-Frame" titanium jacket 170cm and 177cm
(116-68-100 15.6m radius@177cm)

Nordica Doberman Pro RC XBS
(110-65-98) 17m radius@176cm

Nordica Speedmachine 16 (2005-2006 model)
(114-67-100) 17m radius@178cm

Volkl SuperSpeed
(115-70-99) 17.6m radius@175cm


The Atomic SX-11 was indeed the muscle-car race-bred board with a rowdy kick in the tail at the end of the turns when prompted to "go". Excellent grip and quick. Tiring if you don't watch your touch, and definitely not happy in the crud off the groomers. Superb high-grip powerhouse not bothered by anything. Quick quick quick when driven hard...the more you put into it, the more it performs...no wonder they own skiercross titles...definitely a railing thoroughbred. Damp, but with that "high-tension carbon-wood-foamy" typical Atomic feel underfoot...lots of energy...don't get in the back seat! Could vary the turn radius quickly with the proper input. The ski seems to have a front-half and a back-half...the front is used to feed into the turns, then the tail is used for hookup and musclular acceleration. Wicked fun and endless power. Kinda ugly-but-cool-and-rowdy power graphics.

The Stoekli LaserCross was a different feel, typical germanic-euro wood-metal-fiberglass dampness and response underfoot. A very strong, very smooooooth carving tool. Somewhat more reluctant to start the carve than the other skis...took more effort to get it "on-line", but once hooked-up, produces a wonderfully smooth, perfect arc unfettered by changes in the surface conditions. No kick or rowdy tail acceleration, just smooth power for as long as you want to pressure it. Feels like a fine european automobile when carving hard...never distracting or surprising...fairly versatile, able to make quick turns with the proper input. Happier off-piste than the Atomic Supercross...not as single-minded (the "Pro" version may be more like the SX-11...I didn't ski it). Beautiful, high-quality ride, but unexciting. Very nice. Nice, clean, sophisticated graphic design colors. Very nice workmanship.

The Head i.XRC 1100 Chip SuperRailFlex 2 in 177cm was next. I immediately noticed these things RAILED. The instant I rolled an ankle in, the ski immediately went into slot-car mode on edge and wanted to follow its radius like it was being pulled on a string. It immediately wanted me to put more pressure on my uphill ski to create a matched pair of edge grips on the surface, then begged me to roll them both over, drag my hips on the inside, change direction and create a locked-down, slingshot, "slot-car" feel (it's the best description I can think of). Smooth and unfettered arcs across any surface irregularities. Really addictive edge grip and carving behavior. Endless, powerful pressure and kick in the tails if you wanted it, but it seemed to come from the whole ski instead of the tail like the Atomic SuperCross. The faster you rolled both skis from edge to edge, the faster they would change direction...short radius...long radius...it didn't matter. They wanted to be hooked-up and "on-radius" at all times. Not happy with any type of skidding turn...but handled off-piste crud very nicely without wanting constant muscle power to change direction. The 177cm was a high-speed cruising machine...beautiful. Not happy in short turns unless you really flexed it hard on-edge or had crud to float in. I switched to the 170cm version for a quick experiment. The 170cm had the same rail-to-rail slot-car feel, but would allow even tighter radius turns on edge. Still not happy with a sliding turn, and really does not want to do any turns on hard snow except on edge under power, but quick, quick, quick. You basically keep your hips in one place and your feet move from full-extension left to full-extention right on rails...fascinating. These skis reset my opinion on what a "carving ski" really does. Graphics are non-descript with basic lettering on black background...not fancy...not boring...no comment...
I like the comment "This is a ski for those who wish to tear through groomed terrain, just to get on the lift to look back and see the tracks that you just left." from http://www.huckzone.com/equipmentreviews.php. A "10" for racecarve skis.

The Nordica Doberman Pro RC XBS was indeed a true race-carve ski...a heart of a GS racer with an uncanny ability to carve really nice, deep arcs across any surface condition quietly and securely. You really couldn't overpower this ski, and it kept delivering race-ready grip and confidence. Feeds nicely into the turn without much input from the user...and just grips like crazy, taking whatever pressure you can dish out. Fast as you want from edge to edge, with a classic wood-fiberglass-metal resonance underfoot. Varies the turn shape nicely and is quiet and dominating on the snow...very nice. The more I skied it, the more I wanted it. Excellent non-FIS masters race ski. The only drawback was going off-piste, where it really didn't like crud and bumps...it muscled through just fine...but it really is a ski for haunting the groomed surfaces looking for prey. Awesome. A "10" for racecarve skis. This ski would allow a slightly skidded turn if you don't want to be hooked-up under constant edge pressure every turn...unlike the Head i.XRC 1100 chip which did not want to do any drifting at all...wanting on-edge power for each turn on hard surfaces.

The Nordica SpeedMachine 16 (2005-2006 model of the '04-05 SpeedMachine 14 with slightly stiffer topsheet and 1mm wider tail?) was similar to the Doberman RC Pro, but more "carvy" at various speeds, quicker at slower speeds and much more versatile off-piste. Better slow-speed response than the RC Pro, with a "cheeky" kick (I read this description somewhere else and agreed!) in the tail if you want to get some serious acceleration at the end of your turns. Don't get in the back seat. Really, really fun and more adventurous than the RC Pro. The turns at high speed were simlarly quiet and confident with great grip and power for any level of pressure, with the only drawback being a slight tendency to weaken its grip under really high-speed maximum leg power on the hardest boilerplate surfaces. This limit would only be reached under race-like conditions...not all-mountain powerhouse carving where the SpeedMachine 16 is targeted. A powerhouse ski with real personality for raging around securely at any speed. A "9" for racecarve skis, and a "10" for all mountain expert hardware. Really really addictive.


The Volkl SuperSpeed was exactly as it was billed...a high-speed gripping machine for the groomed surfaces which can muscle its way through crud if the skier has the muscle. Superb hard-snow grip and confidence with a rock-solid high speed cruising ability with no speed limit. Required plenty of power to hold, but the more you can give it, the more it would hold at any speed. Very damp, never nervous and always secure. While it had all these qualities, it seemed to lack "personality" or spunk. Kind of a faceless speed tool. It did its high-speed gripping job perfectly, but never seemed eager or sporty. Kind of dull actually. I have loved Volkls for nearly 20 years, and loved the G3, 5 star and 6 star, but the SuperSpeed seemed to lack any particular feel. No real feedback from underfoot...just a dull death grip on the snow. It works as advertised, but didn't make me smile for some reason. Superb, but uninspired. Go figure...

Out of all these skis, I really liked the Nordicas and the Heads. The Heads have a wonderful carving addiction, but almost at the expense of versatile turn types. The Nordica line is very impressive....I can't decide !

Go try these skis.
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