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skiing again after 8 years -- need gear suggestions

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi there. I've recently just started skiing again after 8 years off, and I'm in the market for some new skis. Here's my background: Started as a little kid, raced in high school (wasn't ever the best one on the team, but good enough to hold a solid 2nd/3rd...). Then I quit after my junior year due to money problems. Now I've started again on my old skis and after trying some of these new-fangled shaped skis I need some, hehe.

Going by the skill chart I'd guess I'm a solid 7. Right now I'm on my old screwing around/fun skis, Blizzard V20 Micro's @ 195cm. They're very beat up and worn out. When I raced back in the day I was on some older 200cm Volkl P9 slaloms, I liked them very much, but I don't have them anymore. Both of those skis had the same bindings on them, marker M46's. The only other "nice" skis I ever tried were a friend's Salomon 9K 3S's (the old, bright orange ones), which I didn't like as much as the P9s, but I don't really remember why now. Everything I skied on before that was cheap used kid skis. I have borrowed and tried a pair of shaped skis as I mentioned above enough to get a basic feel for them, but they were "intermediate" level skis for a shorter, lighter person than me, so they felt a bit off (extremely soft, I had a hell of a time keeping myself from totally overpowering them).

I'm male, 25, 6'1", 175 lbs, with pretty muscular legs from a decade of mountain biking. I live in northern Minnesota now so most of what I'll ski locally is pretty tame, but I will be taking some trips out west and I'm actually planning on moving out to Bellingham, WA within a couple of years (i've got some family there) so maybe someone familiar with terrain/conditions at Baker would be helpful. I'm looking for something relatively inexpensive & most likely used from within the last few years, which combined with my location means I don't have much in the way of demo opportunites. I basically want something that's versatile enough to be my only pair of skis for a few years & works reasonably well in all sorts of conditions. I have no intentions to race again and I don't care if i'm getting 10/10ths performance wise every second of the day, I just want something that'll serve me well for a while and that I can build my skills back up on.

The array of choices now seems to be frankly dizzying, which is why I'm posting here. I've looked at the Volkl line since I liked those P9's so much and the Vertigo G3/30/31 and AX3 sound like they might be a good match, but i'm not all that sure, nor am I sure what lengths I should be looking at. I'm open to other brands, Volkl is just where I started. Other than what I've said I'm basically clueless, so any and all suggestions are more than welcome
post #2 of 20
Look at skis like the Volkl Supersports...5 and 6 Stars. The 6 will be called the Allstar next year and is wider overall than the 6.

These are great hard snow skis for a better skier who does not want or need a racing ski. Think short length...I am 6'1", 193 and would ski them in a 175 and some would ski even a 168.

Also look at Atomics offerings....SX11, SX9 or the B5SX (not the Metron B5).

You could even race on them as long as it is not an FIS sanctioned race.

Demo if you can.
post #3 of 20
Ditto on the "demo if you can" advice. I came back this year after 7 years off (having kids will do that...), and found the advice I got at the beginning of the season for equipment didn't match up too well with what I learned for myself after skiing for several days, then doing demos and a private lesson.

You might want to take a refresher lesson, also, to make sure you're getting the most out of whatever new equipment you're demo'ing if you think that's what you might want to purchase.
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicburnham
Ditto on the "demo if you can" advice. I came back this year after 7 years off (having kids will do that...), and found the advice I got at the beginning of the season for equipment didn't match up too well with what I learned for myself after skiing for several days, then doing demos and a private lesson.

You might want to take a refresher lesson, also, to make sure you're getting the most out of whatever new equipment you're demo'ing if you think that's what you might want to purchase.
A refresher lesson is a good idea to help make the transition to the new skis smoother and faster.
post #5 of 20
A good ski for Mt. Baker is any that will handle a lot of new and crud. We have lots of snowfall, some light, some concrete, but lots of inches. There is a minimal amount of grooming done compared to most areas, so if you don't go off piste you really can't do most of the hill. There are lots of good steeps and tight spots where a quick turning ski is very useful. There are not many places where you can line out a long fast run, and the ones that there are tend to be crowded with slow skiers and boarders. You see lots of Pocket Rockets at Baker.

I'll let others recommend specific equipment, but if you're buying with Baker in mind you should consider the above conditions.
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by pheft
A good ski for Mt. Baker is any that will handle a lot of new and crud. We have lots of snowfall, some light, some concrete, but lots of inches. There is a minimal amount of grooming done compared to most areas, so if you don't go off piste you really can't do most of the hill. There are lots of good steeps and tight spots where a quick turning ski is very useful. There are not many places where you can line out a long fast run, and the ones that there are tend to be crowded with slow skiers and boarders. You see lots of Pocket Rockets at Baker.

I'll let others recommend specific equipment, but if you're buying with Baker in mind you should consider the above conditions.
Overlooked the location angle. Better skis would be Volkl 724 exps or pros (next year Unlimited AC3 or AC4). My son skis the Tahoe area and skis the Volkl AX4 and loves it in all snow conditions.
post #7 of 20
enchained, welcome to EpicSki! You'll find a lot of information in existing threads, so be sure to do some searches, too.

I have a similar background, but I'm almost 20 years ahead of you. : I found that the Volkl AX3 (G3, EXP, etc.) was a great transitional ski, and I used them as demos a lot before buying my first shaped skis last year (Fischer RX8s). I found that taking lessons (in my case, clinics) made a big difference in my ability to get the most out of the skis, and I would recommend it.

Also, I would recommend against trying to find a ski that will work well in both MN and WA. Instead, get a pair that will work for your primary skiing, and plan to demo and/or buy a new pair in a few years when you move.
post #8 of 20
Enchained: I'd agree with SSH. What's going to work best in MN likely won't work well at Mt. Baker (I also live in Bellingham). As PHEFT mentioned, Baker is a lot of inches, mostly heavy and mostly off-piste. Here, you need a ski that can bulldoze and float.

In MN, you'll likely want more of a carving ski. I used to live in Iowa (yes, it has skiing), so I know your local conditions: likely hard, smooth and fast. The opposite of Mt. Baker.

BTW, I have a near-new set of Atomic R:11's (last years - used 13 times), that would work well in the mid-west. PM me if you're interested. I'll give you a great price.
post #9 of 20
good luck with your search and welcome back to the slopes!!

I just joined epicski last month and these folks are very good tho some are obviously biased towards certain brands....as I currently am biased to Volkl I guess.....my current ski is Volkl P40 Platinum with Marker MRR logic bindings in a 178cm a 2001/02 ski I believe....race ski feel but just enuff forgiveness if I make a mistake I don't yard sale.....perfect for my race tendencies/ I love diverging parallel turns on steep blues and easy blacks - ....I mention this because my tech tells me my next ski should not be the Volkl 5,6 or next years allstar but the 7 24 exp in either a 177 or 173, which surprises me because I was really focused on a Volkl supersport as my next New England ride. This opinion I see often on many thread I read as well, agreeing with my tech.....I am going to have to hold off tho for myself as I just bought volkls for mrs and need gear upgrade for both my sons first...and my skis absolutely rip gotta take care of the family first.....you also mentioned Volkl Vertigos? I demoed the Vertigo G31 extensively a couple years back and I am frantically trying to pick a pair up cheap as I will be sking in the rockies next winter.....anyone selling a pair of 178 or 173's drop me a line.....don't need bindings....enjoy your search and reading all the bear opinions....good stuff....I mention also the www.skimag.com has reviews back to 2000(which will echo my strong opinions of the P40 Platinum and the Vertigo G31 by the way) that is ski magazine on line.....ttyl
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
thanks for all the help. A slight update: I went up to our local hill today to pick up a season pass for next year (got the $120 "introductory" rate since it's been so long, yay) and there was a sheet up about a race ski demo day on the 19th...nobody I could find could tell me if they'd have any *non* race skis out, but I may check it out anyways. The shop running the demo carries K2, Fischer, and Volkl if I'm remembering correctly from the ad, so if there's anything I should check out from those lines I'd appreciate a point in the right direction. I've done a bit of searching and the 724 EXP sounds about right -- if I were buying new, which I'm not, I'm hoping to stay under 'round $300 or so. Anyone have an idea how the older equivalents (AX3, G3/30/31) compare to the EXP?

I'll think on the suggestions about buying something just for use around here and switching when I move. That sounds pretty reasonable, I just like to keep equipment for a long time and was hoping not to have to replace them in 2-3 years, plus I don't want something that'll be a pain to ski when I take trips out west for the next couple of winters (then again I did just fine out there on my old 195 straight skis, so what am I worrying for? hehe).

Strato: yep, you're about dead on for the conditions up here. I spent a few hours last night messing around on refrozen chunky stuff (it got up to 45-50 degrees or so during the day). I found your ad and I'll read up about the R:11's and get back to you. I'm a bit concerned that they might be on the long side, though.

one other question I forgot to ask before: is there any reason at all I should consider replacing my boots? I have my old pair of mid 90's vintage Nordica Grand Prix's that fit pretty well and I'm used to, and I'm inclined to keep them until they break into tiny bits but I may well be missing something and I'd like to know if I am .
post #11 of 20
Replace the boots first! Demo skis if you need to in order to stretch out the cash flow. But, get new boots!

Unfortunately, that may cost you more than you're willing to spend...

I think that the G3/AX3/EXP is a great choice for you for all of the reasons you state. And you wouldn't need to replace them when you move. If you want to go for one that's just for where you are now, buy a pair of 03/04 Fischer RX8s. They have changed only the graphics, but, as a result, they are going for great prices (under $300 with bindings).
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
ack. hopefully I wont offend you if I ask: given that mine fit fine and were pretty decent when I got them what's better about new boots? I'm pretty stubborn, I figured shaped skis were a fad 'till I jumped on some . I can swing it budget wise, it's just that I'd rather not if I can get away with it -- the less money I spend now, the sooner I can move in the general direction of some actual mountains.
post #13 of 20
go short and wide
post #14 of 20
If you plan to ski more than occasionaly on deep snow, forget the Volkl supersport. The Volkl superspeed I've tried was absolutly great on hardpacked snow but inadequate off piste.
I've heard nothing but very positive things about the Volkl 724Pro. (wider than the supersports). But haven't tried them.
And, of course, for the same program, the Rossignol B2 is still the most versatile ski avalaible IMO. A sure bet. Don't be shy with their length.
post #15 of 20
Try plenty of different skis. Read SKIPRESS magazine for reviews. But find what's right for you, not the magazine editors.
post #16 of 20
Enchained,

2 Comments:

1) If you like your Nordica Grand Prix's, and they still fit - keep ‘em. Despite what the manufacturers would like us to believe, boot technology has not changed dramatically during your 8 year hiatus. My roommate just replaced his pair of those great yellow ones this season, but that was because he had completely worn the liner to the point that it was no longer tolerable. Boots have become slightly softer as the skis have become easier to flex and turn, but your stiff GPs won’t be any kind of hindrance.

2) If your skiing was at the level that you enjoyed a really stiff, high performance boot like the Grand Prix, then you will exceed the capabilities of most of the skis that have been suggested so far within a few days back on the hill. Yes, skiing technique has changed, but if anything the new skis make it easier to get way up on edge and carve precise turns - which is pretty much what you were working on when you were training back in the day. Essentially, the advances in ski technology have just increased the limits of what you can do. In terms of technique, these advances have eliminated the need for a lot of the “tricks” we used to use to increase edge angle and pressure, but if you could make good turns in 1997, then it will be pretty easy for you to make good turns now. In sum, ski for a couple of days to get the legs back, and then think about going a few notches up the ski food chain when you buy. And definitely take a long hard look at this year’s version of the P9 - the P60 is a great ski.
post #17 of 20
Enchained,

A couple of bears have mentioned the Volkl 724 Pro. It is indeed a fantastic ski but its also a lot of ski for someone transitioning into more modern equipment (and therefore more modern technique).

Your original suggestions of the G3/30/31 et al are all fair and the AX3 would give you current technology for a 2 seasons ago price...

You mentioned that your son enjoys his AX4s. Given your mention of racing as well you've done well to resist going wider and wider (as is the trend).

As for boots, there is usually an arguement for making these the first purchase. In your case you can probably survive a couple more seasons as you are.

Good luck
post #18 of 20
The "need gear suggestion" questions while well intended, often produce responses that relate simply to to what appears to work for the responder. That person may ski nothing like you or ski in conditions typically much different than those that exist in your region. There is also the problem of self-validating responses because few among us will admit to having spent $$$ on a ski that may not be best suited to our skills or needs or is just not a great ski despite all the marketing hype.

I would suggest that you begin with the Epic Ski Consumer gear reviews. Alaska Mike, Dawgcatching, HelluvaSkier, TomB, Rusty Guy and ssh post thoughtful and careful reviews as do quite a few other Epic ski participants as well. Read the magazine reviews for what they are worth. Ski Canada, Ski Press, Ski and others have reviews on-line. Other interesting sources include www.footloosesports.com and www.gords.com. Demo if you can but be aware that how well a pair of demo skis are tuned by the rental place and even the demo binding itself can be factors unfairly affecting your judgement of the skis.

A lot of the joy of buying new skis lies in the hunt. On the other hand, there are not too many skis made today that are really bad. As long as the skis you choose are reasonably close to being within your ability range and the conditions the ski is intended to excel in, you will likely be just fine.

Good luck.
post #19 of 20
SSH: Where can I get a pair of those 03-04 RX8's for under $300?
post #20 of 20
Enchained: I just got back on skis after a similar 8 year hiatus, mine due to several back operations. I'm 48 years old, an advanced skier who has been on skis since age 8. I was quite avid through my 20's and 30's, averaging 20+ days annually both back East and out West. My only racing experience is GS (Nastar) which I pursued with a fair amount of enthusiasm. I feel the racing really improved my technique (which is why I liked it so much and still do, I may continue to run the Nastar courses for that reason). My first day out was at Gore Mountain and I demo'd the Rossignal B1 and B2's (172cm). Coming off the Rossignol 7G (205cm) 'old school' laminated ski, those two newer shaped Rossignols did nothing for me.

I bought a pair of Volkl 5-Star skis with integrated Marker bindings (175cm) and Salomon Ellipse 9.0 Boots. GREAT equipment. I like to ski big super GS and GS turns and shortswing slalom style turns straight down steeper fall lines (no more bumps for me). The 5-Stars blow away anything I've ever skiied. They hold fast big radius turns at 30mph+ without a hint of chatter or vibration. They were carving up hardpack that my old Rossi's would have skidded out on. You know the drill: you unweight on a steep slope and make a slalom style turn to check your speed and you're skidding 2-3 feet on each turn because the edge on your ski can't carve up the boilerplate. Not with the 5-Stars. And the boots were like friggin bedroom slippers with performance boot edge feel. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of all of this is that the 5 Stars accomplish all this and they're THIRTY CM shorter than my old Rossignols. I had heard and read a ton of hype about shaped skis and I had even skiied a half dozen different demos, but NOTHING even close to the Volkls' performance. Incredible.

I've NEVER been this stoked about new gear, not even close. Highly reccommend. But don't take my word for it - read the posts by other Volkl owners and TRY to find something negative. I've only read raves. Now I understand why.

Good luck to you in your skiing 'career' and welcome back to the sport! I hope you can find gear that makes you as happy as I am...
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