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05/06 Ski Test - my review...

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
snowHeads ski review 2005

By way of introduction, this is the second year the test has happened, and this year was bigger and better. At a guess, I’d say about 30 people turned up at various times during the 4 hours of the test. There were probably around 50 pairs of skis available for us to test.

The test was organised by snowHeads ( www.snowHeads.com ) a UK based web forum. Ellis Brigham (UK snowsports shop) provided the gear, and some staff, along with reps from Head, K2 and Nordica.

For the test, I did 3 runs on each ski on the indoor slope at Xscape, Milton Keynes ( www.xscape.co.uk ) , the slope is about 175m long. Conditions were the usual – sugary snow, a little icy at the bottom, with more snow at the sides of the runs than down the middle.

I’d consider myself a level 7/8 skier, and currently have Head iXRC 1100SW and K2 Seth Pistols. I’m around 1.81m and 85kg (6ft/185lb)

In running order…

Dynastar Contact ST 10

Grip: 6/10. Pretty good. I felt comfortable as soon as I got on them. They would turn how and when I wanted them to, and stuck to the snow well.
Speed: 5/10. I used the word “comfortable” above as a compliment. I’ll now use it as an insult! I think they were ideal for a short, gentle indoor slope. I suspect that if pushed on a full size slope, I would have found their limit.
Control: 7/10. They are described as skier-cross, so that should mean they are good for control. No complaints. I was definitely in control of the skis. But they were potentially too easy to control.
Fun: 5/10. For a skier-cross, they aren’t as much fun as my Heads.

A nice, gentle start, for my first time on snow since March.

Would I buy them? If I was instructing at an indoor slope, they would be on the list, otherwise, no thanks.

Nordica SUV 12.1

Grip: 5/10. I would like to score it higher, but the ski they had was 160cm long, and I found them squirrelly. When I did get them hooked up, they did grip well, but it took too much work on my part to get them working on the turns.
Speed: 5/10. Again, I’ll blame the length, and not my ability, for not getting the speed out of these.
Control: 4/10. They skidded turns well (even when I wanted to carve them).
Fun: 3/10. It’s a low score; it’s not the ski for me, at least not in this length.

One of the girls demoed these skis, and loved them (in fact I think she is planning to buy a pair now). She is considerably shorter and lighter than me, but of similar ability.

Black Diamond Havoc

Grip: 4/10. These are NOT designed for much on-piste use. The edges are there, but it took a lot to get them engaged.
Speed: 4/10. I’m sure they excel in powder, not man-made sugar…
Control: 4/10. To ski these, I had to go back to old-school straight ski techniques, and lock my boots together, then skid around.
Fun: 3/10. On an indoor slope, these were not fun!

I’d like to compare them to my Pistols outside in proper powder, to give a better review. After skiing them, I decided there was little point in trying any more of the fat skis.

K2 Public Enemy

Grip: 7/10. Coming from the Havocs to these was a big change, and I had to get to grips with the improved grip.
Speed: 6/10. These guys have it for general skiing. I wouldn’t want to race on them, but I’d be happy enough to ski on them all day.
Control: 6/10. I wasn’t completely comfortable with them, but I blame the Havocs for that. With a bit of work from my side, I grew to like them.
Fun: 7/10. I had a smile on my face with these, but not a massive grin

I can understand why many people like these. I could see them almost fulfilling the “one ski quiver” requirement. A very competent ski for someone like me, just not outstanding.

Nordica Speedmachine 14.1

Grip: 8/10. On the indoor snow, these were the best I’d skied so far, and others commented on how well I seemed to have them turning.
Speed: 8/10. They were fast. I felt like I could push these skis, and they would keep going.
Control: 7/10. Excellent on the hard stuff, not quite as good on the softer stuff at the side of the slope. (it’s not crud, just slightly heavier sugar).
Fun: 8/10. I came off these with a grin on my face, and had the intention to take them out for the last run of the day.

I immediately handed them over to another skier for him to try them. He liked them too, but felt they were tip-heavy, so maybe not so good in softer stuff. He also thought they would be a lot of work on tired legs. For me, I’d be happy to ski them all day, and take them on a NASTAR course.

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel
(sorry, no photo)

Grip: 7/10. These are what the Dynastars could have been. They went through the rough stuff and the hard stuff with equal ease. Reminded me a lot of the K2 Axis X Pro, in terms of crudbusting.
Speed: 7/10. Very competent. Felt like they would like to open up and rip a bit more.
Control: 6/10. I wasn’t quite as in control of them as the Dynastars, but I think that would come with time.
Fun: 6/10. Had me smiling, as I thought of my old Axis X Pros…

This is THE “all mountain” ski for next year. An old Rossi B2 with beef, and a challenger to the Metron B5. Beyond the Volkl 5/6 star.

Nordica Speedmachine 16.1

Grip: 9/10. Running on rails. The edges held the piste just the way I’d want them to.
Speed: 9/10. Catch me if you can… In fact two guys tried to, but no chance. these planks are fast.
Control: 6/10. So, you’re on a GS style ski in a short, not particularly wide, indoor slope. Rather than blame my technique (haha), I’ll blame the slope.
Fun: 9/10. Cheesy grin was stuck to my face for about an hour afterwards. I’m glad I tried these guys out.

If I was going to hit a NASTAR course, I’d reach for these skis, no question at all.
I’d love to get the chance to open them up on a big, wide groomer and see what they can do. I WOULDN’T want to try them on bumps. They are built for speed, and make a very good job of it.
post #2 of 32
You might want to edit your post; the margins are a little different when it shows up. I gather the numbers are the same as in the descriptions.

Thanks for the reviews.
post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
Ghost, I'm working on it!
post #4 of 32
Thread Starter 


post #5 of 32
Fox Hat, Thanks a million for taking the time to post your reviews. You made my day. I can't wait to try the SM 16.1's.
post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 
highpeaks, you'll love them, if you're anything like me!
post #7 of 32
Good Job Wearthefoxhat.
It looks like we have a winner. Nordica must have inherited some good genes when it got Kästle.
post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 
They definitely seem to have!

Also note that while the Public Enemies and Hot Rod Top Fuels both get the same overall mark, they are very different skis.
post #9 of 32
Thread Starter 
Here's the link to the actual review, not the cut & paste job I did here...

There may be more skis added to it as some of my friends send me their reviews...
post #10 of 32
WTFH, I have never skied indoors. Looks like skiing between terminals at O'hare! Do the close quarters give an exaggerated sense of speed? What does it cost to ski in summer indoors? Nice reviews.
post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 
Cirque, normally about $35 for an hour, or $50 for two. They do 4 hour sessions in the evening for about $65
post #12 of 32
WTFH, thanks for your review.
You said the Dynastar Contact ST 10 is labelled as a ski cross. Is it a replacement for the SkiCross range ? I thought the Contact line was the new Agyl, ie "recreational" skis, aimed at occasional skiers. Could you help me here ?

BTW, I can see you're clearly biased against Dynastar , but I wish you had tested the new Speed Course 67 !
post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
Hi Philippe,
I was basing that description on what the shop guy told me. If it was supposed to be a low intermediate ski, then perhaps it deserves higher marks for what it achieves.
post #14 of 32
Well, I did what I should have done before asking... And found that :
"A new Contact range is the offering this year, possibly the direct replacement for the hire popular Agyl recreational range." according to Ski review

and that
"Alpin Allround
Poursuite de la gamme Driver (polyvalente) et introduction des Contact, positionnés sur le créneau des skis de piste performants à tendance carving" (ie : "Carvers", but not ski cross, though the only Skicross left would be the Pro for the US market !? I've seen a Skicross 11 somewhere.) according to Ski Pass in a report from the SIA in Las Vegas.

Whatever. It doesn't look too exciting anyway...
post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 
philippe, yeah I read that after I'd tested the skis, but the way they will be marketed in the UK is as a ski-cross, or so it seems.
post #16 of 32
Very nice job, Fox.
post #17 of 32
Nice, and concise, Fox! Makes me want to make a few turns with those Nordicas, even though I have absolutely no interest in any new skis.
post #18 of 32
P.S. Fox, do some demos at Stowe Mountain Resort at the ESA Eastern Weekend!
post #19 of 32
Fox, have you been on the b5s? I'm looking forward to being on the Nordicas, but would really like to see some comparisons with the b5s from folks that have been on both...
post #20 of 32
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by ssh
Fox, have you been on the b5s? I'm looking forward to being on the Nordicas, but would really like to see some comparisons with the b5s from folks that have been on both...
I haven't been on the B5s, but having skiied with you, and others on them, I would like to try them out sometime. My comparison of the Top Fuel with the B5 was based on what some of the other guys said at the demo who had skiied both. (also remembering how you and others had described the B5s)

If you get a chance, I'd definitely suggest you take the Top Fuels out for a ride to see what you think.
post #21 of 32
Originally Posted by ssh
Fox, have you been on the b5s? I'm looking forward to being on the Nordicas, but would really like to see some comparisons with the b5s from folks that have been on both...
Steve, the test day that WTFH did is being repeated at Castleford in August so I'm hoping to be able to compare the Top Fuels to my b5's then.

Foxy, are you going to Castleford as well?
post #22 of 32
Thread Starter 
Can I try your B5s?

Actually, maybe by then Atomic will have got there arses into gear and turn up...
post #23 of 32
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat
Can I try your B5s?
No problem, that's what I was thinking.
post #24 of 32
I'll look forward to it. The thing that I find interesting is that the geometries are very different. That they might ski similarly, I find interesting. I have seen folks ski on the Hot Rod and they seem to encourage a different approach to the ride than do the b5s.

I definitely will get on them at the fall demos. But, that's a while away! However, as I told someone yesterday, it's July, so we're out of the "post season" and into the "pre season" as far as I'm concerned!
post #25 of 32
Thread Starter 
I've been reorganising my website, so the review is now here:
post #26 of 32
Please can u give me a better idea about the Nordica 12.1's performance and abilities
post #27 of 32
Thread Starter 
Hi Sandman,
Well, I demoed the 12.1 in a 160. For my weight, I think that was a bit too short (or maybe I just like stiffer skis)
I reckon that a 175 or so would have been about spot on for me. One of my friends who was lighter and shorter tried them and loved them. I just felt like I was overpowering them.
post #28 of 32
i am about 135 and 5'8 and i find them very good. They don't seem to not be stiff enough. Though the only think i question about them is their powder/off piste abilities.
post #29 of 32
Thread Starter 
Ah, yes, you do have about 50lb less beer gut to carry around...

I think they should be OK in stuff which isn't too deep, but I would think there would be better options for deep powder. I noticed on snowHeads you mentioned that you'd got them free, in that case, for a free ski, they will be value for money in powder!
post #30 of 32
i have also been really intrested in teh Hot rod top fuel but i have heard mixed reviews....how was it?
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