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Req: Crud ski advice

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for an all-mountain ski, primarily to handle crud and chunk. We get a lot of that up here in the NorthWest. I've got a pair of Head XRC Pros (177 cm) that are fast and stable -- great on anything groomed, packed, hard-pack or ice. But they are a pain in junk and not much fun in powder.

I've been reading up and like the sound of the Atomic Metron B5, Head M75 Chip, K2 Apache Recon, and Stockli Stormriders.

I'm looking to find an off-season bargain -- only way I can justify another pair

I'd appreciate any advice -- skis you love in this group, skis you hate in this group, skis I missed that fit the category, length recommendations.

I'll be 50 next season -- skiing since I was 12. 6-1, 210 lbs.

I don't spend too much time in big bumps (an agreement I have with my knees).
post #2 of 26
I would check out last season's (03/04) Volants, either a FB or Machete Sin. The FB is an expert powder/all terrain ski, while the Sin is more of an all mountain with more sidecut. I have heard the Sin referred to informally as the "crud buster". There are lot's of reviews on this site, especially on the FB's. And if you look around you should be able to find a pair of either for about $ 200 without bindings, with the Sins usually less than the FB's.

Both are designed by Shane McConkey for extreme skiing so you know they will handle lots of different snow types. These skis are so heavy that they keep fairly even speeds under all kinds of conditions. They cut through crud, death cookies, chicken heads, corduroy, cut powder, you name it, and with the stainless topsheets even hold an edge on hard packed and groomed with ease. Just awesome, awesome, all snow machines.

I went for the FB's in a 175 and have been very pleased (I'm 6'3" 220lbs and will ski just about anything). I've even had these in carved up and refrozen bumps and they surprised me as even there they will hold an edge like nothing else (but you need to have your legs in appropriate shape).

The only drawback is weight (together the two skis weigh 18lbs with bindings), so if you have to hike for terrain you may want something lighter to put over your shoulder. I actually have a pair of lighter fat skis, Dynastar Little Big Fats, that are better for powder hikes. The Dynastars are also better in slushy conditions since they are lighter and shorter with a boat shovel, so they kind of float on top of the goo, a little like a water ski.

Good luck!

Kaj
post #3 of 26
I've been skiing the Head IM 75 Chip as my second pair for crud and spring skiing here in New England for the last two seasons. I'm 6', 200lbs., and I ski a 177, which i feel is the right length for me. Very, very stable in heavy wet snow that we get around here. Not the snappiest turner for tight trees or moguls, but if you're looking for something that will blast through crud, this is it. I'm going to be selling these, just don't get those kind of conditions enough to warrant keeping them, and I've got a new pair of XRC's on my wish list. If you're interested, let me know.
post #4 of 26
I also know of a shop in VT. that has a leftover new pair of the M 75 Chips with the SRF LD 12 bindings in a 177 if you're looking for new stuff. I believe the asking price on their website was $719.
post #5 of 26
Volkl explosive-best crud ski out, stormriders are excellent also.
post #6 of 26
Disclaimer: all the usual stuff about the fact that you should demo.

That said, if you want to snag a deal... M:B5 is a great ski - a 162 would do it for you. However, I suspect a deal on an M:B5 is going to be hard to find. Your list was missing the Elan M666. Unless I'm mistaken it will, under a new name and graphics, still be the top of the line Elan "freeride" ski next year. Two of my kids ski them and they seem to work great both on and off piste. Use search and check out the reviews here on epicski. Given your login, you might check out Gerk's Alpine Hut in Redmond. Great guys and last I knew they still had a few tucked away. They may have Recons as well.
post #7 of 26

1 vote for Head iM77

Dawgcatching(who seems to be missing recently) did a great review of several skis in this category. I've included the link below. I'm 56, 5'11" and 195 and bought the 170 (still plenty stable and a little turnier). I think the iM77 is a little lighter and more lively than the iM75. (and another 2 mm of waist).

In addition to the skis on your list, the Dynastar 74 is a great all-around ski that you might get deals on since it was replaced by the 4800/6200 this year.

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...ight=head+im77
post #8 of 26
The 724 Pro is it for me. Big sweet spot, yet somewhat stiff. You have to put a little into it but it turns and changes up nicely. Going fast in crud and broken up powder it's like a tank.

Meanwile it holds on ice and rides a nice GS turn.

The Head 75 is well regarded from what I hear at my local shop. They tell it how it is. I should disclose that I ski the 724 Pro and that's the ski I always recommend. Next years Volkls sound pretty strong and the Pro is gone from what I hear.
post #9 of 26
I share your height, weight, age, and experience (are you my long lost twin?). I bought a pair of Elan M666's this year and am unbelievably happy with them. They handle all types of snow well. They don't deviate at all in crud, ski powder and mashed potatoes well, track on ice and hard pack, handle moguls, etc. I have not found conditions in which they do not excell. I ski in the Cascades like you so I know what you mean by needing crud skis. These will do the trick and more. Mine are 186's.
post #10 of 26

Explosiv

I agree with Nest. The Explosiv is the best crud ski out there PERIOD! Name another ski model that has been around for 10 years, that CMH swears by, and that more locals ride than any other.


Since they will not be produced next year (replaced by the Mantra), there should be plenty of deals on them. Get a 190 if you ski hard, a 180 if not. Be forewarned, the Explosiv is not for the meek.

724 PROs will also have deals on them (since they are also getting replaced also), but I found them too soft for my skiing. For you size and weight, look for a 184.

Since your up in the PNW, demo at Hood.

HB
post #11 of 26
That's funny, in my years of skiing the Tahoe area, I've yet to see a single set of the Volkl Explosivs. For an area famous for crud and heavy snow, I find it strange that the 'best crud ski out there PERIOD' isn't more widely used. Go figure...
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Forrester
That's funny, in my years of skiing the Tahoe area, I've yet to see a single set of the Volkl Explosivs. For an area famous for crud and heavy snow, I find it strange that the 'best crud ski out there PERIOD' isn't more widely used. Go figure...
You'd have to leave the groomers and the kid lift, indiana.
post #13 of 26
Explosiv( I have the OLD CMH with the heli top sheet) or the G4's are fine skis for bust'in crud

Stiff? is good!

CalG
post #14 of 26
Well I can't help but chime in with a glowing recommendation for Volants. I have been skiing PowerKarves and Chubbs and they each can rip through crud. I'm 6'4" 200lbs. My Chubbs are 188s, and I've found that they like to be let loose and run over any unpacked terrain with big swooping turns at whatever speed the slope gives, they are very stable except on hardpack. PowerKarves blast through crud. The stainless steel caps dampen the vibrations so much that it takes the much of the difficulty out of skiing really difficult mixed snow conditions, leaving just the fun.

I haven't tried any of the Austrian Volants, but their mid-fats and wider skis have excellent reputations when it comes to crud.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac
I've been skiing the Head IM 75 Chip as my second pair for crud and spring skiing here in New England for the last two seasons. I'm 6', 200lbs., and I ski a 177, which i feel is the right length for me. Very, very stable in heavy wet snow that we get around here. Not the snappiest turner for tight trees or moguls, but if you're looking for something that will blast through crud, this is it. I'm going to be selling these, just don't get those kind of conditions enough to warrant keeping them, and I've got a new pair of XRC's on my wish list. If you're interested, let me know.
The newest wrinkle: The Head Monster iM 75 Chip is a great ski that hates short quick turns. Head will be selling the Head Monster iM 77 Chip, which does everything the 75 does and also makes short, quick turns. If ever a ski should be called a "cheater", this is it. I and RiDeC both are enthralled with this jack of all trades and master of ALL!

dawgcatching can score you a pair for as good a deal as you'll find.
post #16 of 26
My vote is for the Explosivs as well.

I've owned Stormriders, g4's, and 2 pr of Explosivs (1 ancient pr - probably around '95-'98 vintage, one newer Wizard TT pr). All are good crud-busters, but I've got to give the nod to the Explosivs. At my wt (215 lbs), they do this job better than either the SR's or the G4's.

At my wt, after several years of using / trying 75 - 85 wide skis, I now think of skis in that width range as in the versatile, but "master of none" category.

However, for someone a lot lighter than me, an 85 mm ski might feel to them like a 95 mm does to me, so be aware that YMMV with weight, and lighter folks might prefer a 75-85 mm ski as their crudbuster.

Tom / PM
post #17 of 26

Head im77

I have to concur with Oboe's opinion. This is one incredible ski. I bought a pair form Dawgcatching towards the end of the year. I bought them specifically for Eastern spring crud. I was only able to get on them 3 or 4 times, but I have to say that I couldn't believe what this ski can do. It is rock-stable in heavy chop and slush, yet amazingly quick when you ask it to be. Spring time in the East means solid ice early AM, followed by a brief window of beautiful "Hero-Snow", leading quickly to chopped up crud then ending as a mixture of mashed potato and wet cement. Over night the temps drop and its back to the hockey rink in the Early AM. This is a predictable cycle and poses a challenge to a one-quiver ski. The im77s were superb in all the varied conditions. I have skiied the im75 before and found them stable and turnable, but sig less alive than the new im77. I have spent a good amount of time on the Dynastar int74 and agree it is a great ski and is available these days at very good prices. It turns sweetly and is very versatile, but the im77 beats it hands down for stability and edgehold.

If you like the Head feel which, since you own the Head XRC, I assume you do then I think you own it to yourself to try the Head im77. I think you will be very pleased and surprised, by what it can do.

P.S. I do not sell, work for or have any fiduciary affiliation with Head--the im77 is just one great ski. Try it and see for yourself-I hope you can demo somewhere.
post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks All for advice

Of course now I have an even harder choice

Specific responses/follow-ups below in reverse chrono order.

Ride, Oboe: Where did you get these skis? I don't see them on the Head website, nor in any shop ads. Is this a 'limited pre-release' that you scored? Also, you both sound like the IM 77 is a quantum leap over the 75 -- am I reading you correctly?

Tom/PM: I'm about your weight -- are you saying that the 'mid-fats' don't work for you and that you prefer a wider waist?

Tom/PM, Cgrandy, HarkinBanks, Paul Jones, Nest: Explosiv vs 724 Pro. I get the impression that the 724 Pro is a bit more of an 'Eastern' ski -- a little more edge, not quite as quick? Is this correct?


VolantAddict, VikingKaj: I'm having a bit of trouble getting a handle on the Volant line. The Machete Sin looks like what i'm looking for, but ...

Mac: I'm not looking to get rid of my XRCs, just add another pair Please give me a ref to the VT store website.


Bottom line -- I've added the Elan M666 to my search. Also the Explosiv. Looks like the Volant will be hard to find. I missed a great deal from Sierra Trading Post (199). Also wishing I could get the IM77 chip, but that's probably just a dream.


Thanks for all the help.

BTW, I know everybody says 'demo, demo, demo'. But I'm a bit of chameleon skier -- comes from learning in New Hampshire, then moving to Calif. and skiing Mammoth for 15 years (lived there for 5), swithching to backcountry tele-skiing, then being exiled to Chicago for 7, and now in the PNW for 10 years. Especially the time in NH and the time living in Mammoth (and doing anything to avoid the hordes -- that's what made me buy 3-pins, skins and Asolos) resulted in me skiing every kind of conditions and having no particular style. So I tend to research, find a ski I think will work, and then 'make it so'.

You've all helped me feel like there are a number of skis out there that will let me get it done. Thanks.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by PugetSkiDad
...Tom/PM: (1) I'm about your weight -- are you saying that the 'mid-fats' don't work for you and that you prefer a wider waist?

(2) Tom/PM, Cgrandy, HarkinBanks, Paul Jones, Nest: Explosiv vs 724 Pro. I get the impression that the 724 Pro is a bit more of an 'Eastern' ski -- a little more edge, not quite as quick? Is this correct?...
To answer your questions in reverse order:

(#2) I've never tried a 724 Pro, so I can't say anything about it.

(#1) What I'm saying is that in my experience, 75-85 mm skis certainly do better than 65-75 mm wide skis in soft crud, but not enough better to justify hauling any of mine in this width range to the mountain if I can bring more than one pair.

My current feeling is that if I can bring more than one pair, even though I own a bunch of skis in the 75-85 mm range, nowdays I just bypass this width range and go fatter. For example, if I'm bringing two pair, I only bring my 66 mm wide Head carvers, and my 95 mm wide Explosivs.

This combo handles 90% of any conditions I've run into for the last couple of seasons, and does so in fine fashion. This combo has a big overlap in their performance envelopes, so, if I run into a patch of hardpack on my Explosivs, it's no big deal ... same if I run into soft crud but I'm on my Heads.

I've come to this conclusion after years of being a gear geek and enjoying fooling around with a lot of skis, testing every one that I could lay my hands on.

Nowdays, about the only times I ever use one of my skis in the 75-85 mm range anymore is if I'm traveling by air, don't want to schlep more than one pair along and so, pick a compromise, do-everything (but do nothing really well) ski. In such a case, I usually grab my 10ex's over my SR's or g4's.

BTW, the types of eastern crud I'm thinking about for the Explosivs include:

a) Cut up ultra-wet snow with the consistency of a slurpee that you often see on a hot day in the spring, ie, when your boot postholes in up to its cuff (or deeper) with each step, and makes sucking noises when you try to lift it back out. : This stuff becomes an absolute hoot to ski on with the Explosivs - You think you are water skiing, and can absolutely fly when everyone else is bogged down.

b) The heavy cut-up real snow (ie, not slurpee like) that I ran into after the 28" dump we got 2 seasons ago, about 3 hours after the roads opened and the hoards from the city started appearing at the mountain and tracked out the mountain mercilessly.

c) In my opinion, the Explosivs even do better than the carvers on coral reef (ie, deeply tracked soft snow that has quickly frozen into thousands of criss-cross, 6"+ deep, rock-hard ruts). The make god-awful clanking noises on such a hard surface, but they don't get caught as deep in the ruts, and they don't get yanked around as badly as narrower skis with deeper sidecut. Their bases are also bomb-proof.

HTH,

Tom / PM

PS#1 - To calibrate my comments, I skied about 30 days each of the past two seasons, and am a L-I cert instructor.

PS#2 - Obviously, the combination of the Head carver and the Explosivs doesn't cover absolutely every situation perfectly. For example, both are too stiff to be really good mogul skis, and neither the deeply sidecut carver nor the Explosiv is exactly the best choice for going Mach stupid on hardpack. If the latter is your preference, the 188 G4 does a pretty good job of being a wide ski impersonating a GS ski.
post #20 of 26
So where do you get a G4?
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by PugetSkiDad
Of course now I have an even harder choice

Specific responses/follow-ups below in reverse chrono order.

Ride, Oboe: Where did you get these skis? I don't see them on the Head website, nor in any shop ads. Is this a 'limited pre-release' that you scored? Also, you both sound like the IM 77 is a quantum leap over the 75 -- am I reading you correctly?
The full name is Head Monster im 77chip. They are from next year's line (2005-2006). They were available towards the end of the 2004-2005 season, but didn't seem to be adverstised. I bought them from an Epic member named "Dawgcatching" who works in a ski shop in the Pacific northwest. I think I have his phone number if you want it. And yes, I feel this ski is a dramatic improvement over the im75, not in terms of stability but in terms of their quickness and ease of use. The 75s, although very skiable at any speed, could be a bit stodgy on flat terrain/at slow speeds. Perfectly skiable, but a bit more work. The wierd thing is that despite their sig width, the 77s turn with minimal effort at any speed, are not difficult on the flats, are happy to skid, carve, run straight....they will do almost whatever you ask, yet they remain VERY stable for the crud and chop. Now don't get me wrong. I am not saying they turn like a short slolom race ski, but they are just about as quick as my Elan S12 Fusion cross skis (67mm underfoot). I was very surprised that such a big ski could be so maneuverable and so stable at the same time. I hope you get to try them. I'd love to hear your impression.
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by PugetSkiDad
Ride, Oboe: Where did you get these skis? I don't see them on the Head website, nor in any shop ads. Is this a 'limited pre-release' that you scored? Also, you both sound like the IM 77 is a quantum leap over the 75 -- am I reading you correctly?
They are a quantum leap over the 75. RiDeC58 bought his from dawgcatching, and I got mine on proform from The Alpine Shop in South Burlington, Vermont. We both first were considering the Elan Fusion 666 - which is a great ski - and dawgcatching (Scott Gray) posted here that the 77 had replaced the 666 as his favorite ski. Not only does the 77 have surprising quickness, but if you move the binding to the forward position, it's even quicker. The 77 has taken me through spring crud like it's powder and through moguls as if I actually knew what I was doing there.

I have not seen these in shops, and I do not think that are a mid-season release. They are the 05/06 model. The next season models are usually available for testing by dealers the February before they hit the shops. How dawgcatching got to sell these to the general public early, I don't know - but ask him if you're interested.
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by zion zig zag
You'd have to leave the groomers and the kid lift, indiana.
Awww...sounds like I knocked on someone's favorite ski and they're now throwing a tandrum...I grew up in Sacto and have lived in Indiana for two years. Funny, you left out your location.
post #24 of 26

Exploders ! !

Volkl Explosiv or Dynastar Legend Pro
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Forrester
Awww...sounds like I knocked on someone's favorite ski and they're now throwing a tandrum...I grew up in Sacto and have lived in Indiana for two years. Funny, you left out your location.
First off, i was just messing with you, teasing doesn't come across very well on the intra-web. Second, the word is tantrum. Third, i've never owned explosivs. Fourth, i don't see very many pairs at my mountain either, which is near my location of Ogden,UT.
post #26 of 26
Best bids have already been listed before:

Explosives, Legend Pros (186). Stoeckli Stormrider DP (or SS in NA) in a 186 is also named as an excellent crud buster equal to the two first ones.
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