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Newbie -- Buying First Pair of Skis, Needs Advice

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm a 40-year old Floridian who's been transplanted to Rochester, NY (It's weird -- everyone else seems to head South). Because Rochester is snow-covered for 4 plus months, I’ve developed a chronic case of cabin fever. And while I seriously doubt it’s cheaper than therapy (or less of a commitment), the kids and I have taken up skiiing -- and we love it!

I've had seven lessons, all on rental gear, and would like to own my own skis/boots. The local ski shops are having some clearance sales on older new stuff and some packages. I'm 5'10", 190 lbs, athletic, and expect that the kids (who are 3 and 5 y.o) and I will stay on the groomed trails for a while. I'm skiing greens and easy blues, and am definitely not a straight-down-the-slope skiier. I’m not experienced enough to do a bunch of demo’ing yet, so I’m willing to go on not-quite blind faith here, at least for the first pair of skis.

Anywho, I think I'm set on boots ('03 Nordica Easy Move 12 – snug but super comfortable to me) -- so the skiis are where I'd like some of your hard-earned thoughts. Here’s the complication, I'm trying to keep the skis and bindings to about $250. (Kids stuff isn’t too too pricey, but it adds up when outfitting the family....helmets, gloves, goggles, etc.) Right now, I'm considering (in no particular order):

· '04-05 Rossi 100xpi at 162cm (112-70-95 r17) with bindings, installation and poles for under $250.
· Head Pulse M3.70 at 160cm or 170cm (110/70/98 r17) for $140 (no bindings).
· '03-04 Fischer RX4 skis only at 165cm (it doesn't come with the railflrex. does the fact that there's no railflex kill the reason for going with these skis? can you use standard bindings on them?) for $100.
· Volkl Energy 220 at 163cm (105/65/93 r15.2) for $100 (no bindings).
· Atomic C:8 with device binding at 170cm (105/64/95 r17) for $150
·[OH, ONE MORE I FORGOT IN ORIG POST] '04-05 Blizzard Firebird XO3 at 163cm (108/68/97 r14) includes bindings and poles for $170.
·???

Prolly WAAAYY too much info, but I really appreciate any thoughts or insight that you might have. I’ve already learned a bunch cruising through the forums. Many thanks,

Tony
post #2 of 20
I wouldnt spend too much on your first pair of skiis.

After a solid season of skiing, you will probably be looking for something a little less beginner oriented.
Pretty much any of those skis would do the trick- I would go with the atomics just because they are least expensive.
post #3 of 20
Tony, my biggest advice to you will save you a ton of money on ski purchases. As a newbie, you should definitely make sure you have the correct boot fit for you. This will be your most important ski gear purchase by far. Once you find the right ones, you generally will hold on to them 'til they fall apart! Now the money saving part: Never buy skis new, always buy them at a ski swap. If you haven't been to a swap, you should check one out with a veteran skiing buddy along to help advise you or better yet, ask the people running the swap for advice. They generally occur during October or Novmeber. I haven't bought a pair of new skis in over ten years because of the deals I find at a ski swap. This will be especially true for your kids because they will most likely grow out of their equipment and clothes almost each season. Put the money you save toward lessons and ski shop tune-ups. You and your kids will come out better skiers for it. Have fun!
post #4 of 20
<<< I would go with the atomics just because they are least expensive >>>

I'm a newbie skier who went with Atomics, and was not very happy as a result. The Atomics I bought (6-18) were recommended by the store as a good beginner ski but were not flexible enough to learn on (at least according to my instructor).

When I went around ski shopping a second time, armed with a lot more information, I was not particularly impressed with the advice I got from the various stores, with some of them recommending skis that were obviously not appropriate for me and my skiing style, level and locations. One store with a good reputation recommended Head XRC 500s which they just happened to have on sale, despite the fact that Head web site didn't recommend them when I filled out their survey.

One consistent piece of advice from all of the stores that I went to however was that Atomics were not a good ski to learn on due to their stiffness (this even from the stores that sold Atomics). I was also told that the 6-18s that I owned were a junior racing ski, and definitely not the right ski for me (of course that might have just been because the salespeople were trying to talk me into buying something else). Everyone said that Atomic made great skis, just not the right skis for learning on.

I'm looking at switching to the Rossi XP100s or a Head C140 based on the research that I've done, and unfortunately I too do not have the ability to demo either of those skis (although I was happy with an older Head C160 that I rented last week). One thing that I was told when evaluating skis was that a flexible ski was easier to learn on, and that's what I'm looking for now.

Let us know what you end up going with, and how happy you are after your purchase.
post #5 of 20
I don't know if I agree on NEVER buying skis new, but I sure wouldn't for the kids. You can outfit your young ones in good gear for small change at ski swaps. They grow out of it really fast. Our local swap also includes deals on all other skiing related gear: clothing, car racks, helmets, etc. I imagine that they're all somewhat different, though. I outfitted my son that way until he stopped growing.

As for yourself, a used pair of skis for your first year or two makes lots of sense because you'll want to change skis as your ability improves.
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
hmmm...excellent points all.

I do want to be careful not to get too much ski today, but have it be enough for a couple of seasons. I've heard August is the best time for used (although I'm not sure how much they'd cost -- compared to buying at clearance).

swaps are something I'll have to look into, too. I'm concerned that if I continue to rent at $20-25 a shot, it'll actually cost me more to wait. (I'd like to go skiing at least 4-5 more times this season.)

what's a kid's set-up go for at a swap? I'm trying figure the break-point because we can buy for $100 (skis, bindings, poles), with a 50% trade in within three years. As an incentive, a boot lease wouldn't cost anything this year.

thanks!
post #7 of 20
I found the atomic e-7 very forgiving and easy to learn on. Sold them on ebay after a year and the person who bought them agreed. I think this year it is called c-7. Maybe you can pick up a pair from the e series cheap on ebay. They come with an intergrated binding. Also don't get them longer than what you're used to.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiGator
what's a kid's set-up go for at a swap?
Everywhere is different, I'm sure, and others can chime in, but in my experience you can get good skis and bindings for little kids for less than $50. Poles another $5. Boots seem to be all over the place, but I got my son a pair of top line boots (can't remember the manufacturer) for $35. He grew out of them but still swears that they were the best boots he's ever used.
post #9 of 20
I'd step up to at least a 170 regardless of the ski. The sidecuts on the Blizzards and Heads sound pretty nice, but I haven't been on either ski.
post #10 of 20
no question here, I'd grab a pair of mint 178cm K2 fours/threes or 177cm Volkl Carver Plus on ebay cheap/ save the big bucks for now at 190 lbs these will be perfect to grow on - when you save your money and achieve your breakthrough on skis then demo demo demo...read ski mags partic the buyers guides that come out every september(including those going back 5 yrs www.skimag.com has review posted back to 2000 on line, skiing mag goes back quite a bit too) read the expert opinions of your friends here in the gear thread/ in fact read anything you can about skiing and skiers = print form and on the world wide web.....and keep on smilin' I always suggested my impoving students visit with Lito now on www.breakthroughonskis.com his videos are the bomb, and don't forget your local PSIA pro to bring it all into focus for you...Harold Harb has a great web site too, think you can link to it from Lito's site......I would suggest a visit to a good local ski shop for perfect new boots....spend your money there, I have been on Tecnica TNT's and subsequent variations since 1989, 26.5 and every pair (think it's 5 now) have fit the same - perfection....find your perfect fit and stay with it....a good shop is where you make your first purchase and spend your big $$
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
WOW -- the array of available skis is mind-numbing. As a beginner, it's hard to sort thru all the nomenclature to figure out what would be appropriate for me. There are a million tiny variations that could make a set of sticks too much or too little (radius, sidecut, shovel, waist, end, composition, length, year manufactured, bindings, guage flexibility...*snort*). Evaluating used skis is daunting because, besides the previously mentioned trouble, I haven't a clue as to whether the bindings can or will need to be moved, what's simply cosmetic damage, can't really return them.....

boots, while more important in a lot of ways (and take more time in the shops), are easier -- find what fits well and a company that has a solid reputation for quality in your price point. viola!

but skis, bah!


/feeling a little overwhelmed, and running out of time to ski this season.
post #12 of 20
key point I neglected to mention skigator(great label by the way) is buy the boots first at a good local shop, strike up a relationship with the owner(by spending money) then go my ebay route (perfect feedback ebayers only!!)for used skis like I suggested....then if bindings need remount(likely) or skicheck(always) he'll help you without hassle since you bought the boots....kinda obvious, but most folks don't think of it....you further the relationship by promising the shop more biz as your skills progress on the used skis and you buy those new Volkl's or K2 Crossfires in a couple years ....then you follow thru on your word.....a relationship with a true shop pro is key to helping you achieve your smiles....and it feels good too! Try it - you'll like it!
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiGator

what's a kid's set-up go for at a swap? I'm trying figure the break-point because we can buy for $100 (skis, bindings, poles), with a 50% trade in within three years. As an incentive, a boot lease wouldn't cost anything this year.

thanks!
I can't say anything about swaps, but I know the shops in Rochester (both Snow Country and Ski Company) have excellent boot lease programs for kids. My nieces get outfitted that way at Snow Country in Pittsford - a great shop for adult boots, by the way. Last year the older one traded her boots at least once, probably twice, during the winter because she was growing so fast. I thought they once had a similar lease arrangement for skis, but maybe they used to get used ones there instead. From the trade-in bit it sounds like you were checking at Ski Company - that's a good deal, and then they do take care of you. Snow Country's my personal favorite for adult equipment, and they take VERY good care of you once you've established yourself as their customer.

Ski Company also has a big sale in August where the stock tends to be very good and the prices often lower than now. With kid's skis you might want to wait and see much they're likely to grow before next December.

If you want any info that's more factual than this on outfitting kids back there, I can check with my sister-in-law (i.e., someone who actually knows how it works!).

Maggy
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maggy
I can't say anything about swaps, but I know the shops in Rochester (both Snow Country and Ski Company) have excellent boot lease programs for kids. My nieces get outfitted that way at Snow Country in Pittsford - a great shop for adult boots, by the way. Last year the older one traded her boots at least once, probably twice, during the winter because she was growing so fast. I thought they once had a similar lease arrangement for skis, but maybe they used to get used ones there instead. From the trade-in bit it sounds like you were checking at Ski Company - that's a good deal, and then they do take care of you. Snow Country's my personal favorite for adult equipment, and they take VERY good care of you once you've established yourself as their customer.

Ski Company also has a big sale in August where the stock tends to be very good and the prices often lower than now. With kid's skis you might want to wait and see much they're likely to grow before next December.

If you want any info that's more factual than this on outfitting kids back there, I can check with my sister-in-law (i.e., someone who actually knows how it works!).

Maggy
Heya Maggy, small world! I've been to both stores recently as well as The Lounge, which is a sister-store to Snow Country (I bought a Snowboard, boots and gloves for my son there). Ski Company has its first ever warehouse sale in Victor this weekend, so I'm trying to get prepared with some info. There's a pretty eclectic (and large) mix of things, so in some ways it's hit or miss.

And, yes, any information/tips would be much appreciated!

Tony
post #15 of 20
The Blizzards or the Fischers are the best choice. That Fischer is the best ski you listed. Not having railflex means nothing, just buy a decent binding with a lift for 60-100 dollars.
post #16 of 20
Hi Tony -

I checked with a reputable source, and in fact what I told you was actually accurate. They've always leased skis as well as boots (at Snow Country) although my older niece now has her own. But a warehouse sale! Can't beat that.

My only other suggestion is that you MUST go to Bristol this weekend. The snow perfect, the sun is out, and at least yesterday (Friday, but even at night) the lift lines moved very quickly. Though I think today there's a board-a-thon for breast cancer reseach, at the terrain park. This'll add to the crowd, but I saw a number of kids practicing jumps and tricks last night, and they were pretty impressive and fun to watch.

And thanks for the news of the sale!

Maggy
post #17 of 20
By SkiGator: "I've had seven lessons,..."
Sounds like you are doing things right. Keep up with the lessons. Check out the Epic Ski Eastern Tune Up next season if you can.
I'm partial to Fischer skis but there are a lot of good skis out there. You could go to a Fischer dealer and buy the Rail Flex plate and bindings or, as suggested above, simply mount any binding flat on the ski or buy a compatable plate. FWIW, the Fischer binding is made by Tyrolia. It is the same design except for the housing.
post #18 of 20
My first pair of skis were atomic c7's (last year) and Rossignol Soft 2 boots. The C7's have made me a pretty good skiier in a year and they can deal with the New England weather. I bought shorter than I will buy next to get the benefit of maeuverability and a fast learning curve. Thats my 2 cents
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well, after logging hours and hours of research, some of which was inspired by our EpicSki brethren/sistren, I went to the local warehouse sale with my heart set on snagging the cheap Fischer RX4s. The doors opened at 5p.m., and I got there at 6. (Can you tell where this story is going?) Anyway, in that hour, all 10 pairs that were listed on their website (in a deeply buried pdf file) had flown out the door!! 10 friggin' pairs. It was a madhouse. The place was packed; folks tossing boxes and filling carts to overflowing with untold pairs of boots, skis, etc. -- new, used, who cared ("Sir, why does anyone need that many skis?") Chaos. And I was told it had been *worse* earlier, with people lined-up around the store before it even opened. I was a babe in the woods.

Research be damned -- my RX4s gone, I had to go home with skis in order to get on with my life. It was now a personal challenge. After shuffling around the warehouse muttering to myself for who-knows-how-long, a kindly if understandably brusque sales guy took pity on me. After rushing through my tale (7 lessons, ski with young kids, moderate speed, inexpensive, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH) to the self-proclaimed "IBM mainframe of skiing" (no, really, he said that), he led me to the Blizzards, which coincidentally were next to the remaining Fischers that I had coveted. After mutual interrogation, I got the Blizzard XO5s @ 163cm (they had 170s too) with Tyrolia SLD 11 bindings (that were on a demo board).

I am not sure how I feel about them yet. From a research perspective, I like the Tyrolia (diagonal) bindings. But I don't really have much info on the Blizzard skis. Obviously, the "test" of this and many other relationships will be how we get along on the slopes. I hope I found a reliable, caring partner who’s looking to get the same things out of our time together that I am. Not a one-season stand, who’ll either use me, abuse me and leave me for dead, or who’ll bore me to distraction, so that I’m always making eyes at those *other* skis. We'll see... Thanks y'all.

Now, if anyone can help me locate (last year's model?) Nordica EasyMove/Beast 10 boots in mondo 28.5, I'd be eternally grateful

SkiGator
post #20 of 20
The X05s rock.

Best ski for its pricepoint, period. Have fun on 'em.
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