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seeking to buy skis....... help!

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

I'm a beginner skier (I do have some experience, but not for a few years...) going to Fernie for the full season. so, I am thinking about buying some skis. I had thought I wanted carving skis but according to your FAQ, they're becoming obsolete. I'm not sure which of the other categories is best for me, so I thought I would provide information about myself and what I want them for - and hopefully someone can tell me!

I'm a 22 yr old woman, 5'5, around 125 pounds, I take a size 8 US (european 39, UK 6) shoe. I will be in fernie, as mentioned, and would like skis suitable for both groomed trail and powder. I do not want to race, nor do I want to be able to perform acrobatic feats. (I think it'll take more than the right pair of skis to enable me to do that....)

A brief search online seems to indicate that the Volkl Gamma might be suitable? what else could I consider?

How much would it cost me for a full set up - skis, boots & bindings. I want something to last me all season and beyond, and which I won't grow out of as I improve.

Any more information needed - please ask! thanks so much!
post #2 of 30
jane27, welcome to EpicSki!

The original idea of a carving ski has been replaced mostly by wider skis that have excellent performance on both groomed and off-piste terrain. Given that you'll be in Fernie, I would think you would want to go a bit fatter, anyway.

I'd suggest looking at the K2 "Luv" line and the Atomic Balanze line, as well. Depending on your ability and how far "up" the line you want to go, you'll want to choose some of the options from those two and the Gamma line, I would expect.
post #3 of 30
Hi Jane, my younger sister is about the same size weight and skill as you. She managed to outfit herself with skis boots poles and bindings for between $600-$700 CDN.

I'd have to ask her what types of skis she got, but I know that many of the big box sport stores in the lower mainland and on the island (vancouver burnaby, vicoria naniamo) have some really good sales on last years stuff due to the previous crappy season.

I know that the Rossignol B1w and the B2w have received rave reviews from female skiiers for the past few years. perhaps that ski would be worth looking into.
post #4 of 30
volant spatulas
post #5 of 30
Nice, triple Z, nice... :
post #6 of 30

Boots are really a matter of fit. Try to buy the best boot as a priority; nothing will ruin your year more than boots that are not comfortable or perform poorly.

Choose something versatile in a ski. Something with a 68 to 75mm waist will work very well in a wide range of conditions. The sidecut numbers below are for the Tip-Waist-Tail of the ski.

Atomic M:10 plus Ti 171cm (122-74-108)
Dynastar Exclusive legend* 165cm (114-75-102)
Fischer Big Stix 7.6 165cm (115-76-100)
Head Monster iM 75 Chip SR2 163cm (114-74-103)
Rossignol B2 170cm

*Female specific model

The Fisher's look like the Best value leaders. The Fischer Big Stix 7.6 can be found on the web for $200 (03/04 w/out bindings) or for $418. with the Railflex binding system, click the link below.


Another retailer with bargains right now is Cupolo, the Canadian online seller


the Dynastar Intuitiv 71 is a great intermediate ski for a lighter skier;


Hope that helps!
post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies! Those all sound great, I'll look into each of those options.

In terms of sizing - how do I know what size I need? Do i need to go to a store & get fitted, or can it be calcuated quite easily myself? I'd rather order online if possible as it's usually significantly cheaper. Thanks!
post #8 of 30

Depending on model, you will want between 157cm and 166cm. Short=easier, long is better at speed and powdery snow.

Let us know what model, and I can be more specific.


post #9 of 30
Originally Posted by jane27
In terms of sizing - how do I know what size I need? Do i need to go to a store & get fitted, or can it be calcuated quite easily myself? I'd rather order online if possible as it's usually significantly cheaper. Thanks!
You characterized yourself as a beginner. Could you elaborate on the manuvers and terrain you are presently comfortable with?

Buying online is OK for skis, not for boots. The proper fitting and quality of boots will make a bigger difference to your progress this year than the skis. Focus on that first. All the ski choices look good above, including the V- Gamma. You would benefit from some lessons to understand better how to use skis with a significant sidecut.
post #10 of 30
Thread Starter 
I like the sound of the K2 true luv... they sound good. I'm concerned that the Gamma is too much for 'fast' skiing? It sounds like it's aimed at quite aggressive skiers... that's not so much me! I have not had time to look up all the brands recommended yet, but those K2 skis sound good, and I do still quite like the sound of the Volkl Gamma.

I've only had experience on groomed trails really, parallel turns etc are ok, but I'm really just a beginner.

Without meaning to be stupid - does it matter *enormously* which skis I get? I've found some recs on here for ski boots fitters in Toronto so am goign to go see one of those I think. I do take the point re boot fitting being very important - it makes sense. I'ev only used hire skis and boots befoer and am hoping that having my own will make a real difference to me.
post #11 of 30

Many different skis will fit your needs, so finding a suitable ski is not the biggest problem. However, avoiding an inappropriate ski is more important than finding the perfect ski.

Many models are easy-to-ski, versatile in different conditions, and capable of high performance. You just need to avoid the ones that are overly demanding of skill & effort, overly specialized for hard or soft snow or too cheaply made to provide good performance.

The Dynastar Intuitiv 71 fits the description above at a great price. The included bindings are of very high quality, and could be used when you upgrade to your next ski, saving $100 to $200 the next time around.

Boots are really the critical issue, visit http://www.bootfitters.com/custom_boot_fit_tips.htm

Also see http://www.bootfitters.com/female_fit.htm

Keep us informed!

post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks. There are some good prices available on the dynastar! is it a women's ski?

Don't worry- I will go to a boot fitter!!
post #13 of 30
Hi Jane,

No, the Dynastar 71 is a unisex ski. However it is soft flexing and a very good ski for someone your size.

A female ski is listed at Cupolo, but it lacks the versatility of the 71 and the binding is a little cheap: http://www.cupolosports.com/dyex10woskip.html

My teenage daughters have been on female specific skis, including the K2 T9, Volant Vertex 68, and Volkl Gamma Superstar. These are all good models, too. I try to consider all of the female and unisex models, not just one or the other, if you know what I mean.


post #14 of 30
Little different perspective from someone that skis Fernie 25-30 days a season. If you're spending the season there, go with at least an 80mm waist. It's not a hill that gets tons of grooming and doesn't see many hard days, tends to be powder or slush. I think you'd outgrow a 70mm, short carving ski pretty quick on that mountain.

Look at something 80-90mm waisted on the softer side of the flex scale, whatever this years Salomon Pocket Rocket is called would be a great choice for someone your size at Fernie. You likely won't have to worry about the speed limit and they're a really easy skiing ski.

Don't be afraid to go a little fatter, unless you plan to race or teach a lot of the wider skis will carve just fine and make the deeper, heavy days way more fun.
post #15 of 30
Thread Starter 
You guys are so helpful - I ahve so much information I dont know what to do with it all!!! So, Jeff, or anyone else, can you recommend any particular skis which have a wider waist? I guess that means the K2 true luv and in fact most of the above are not particularly suitable? Any suggestions appreciated! I will take alook on the different manufacturers websites.

If I use skis which are too narrow (say a 70mm waist) what would be the problems which I would encounter? Would it be hard to control in deeper powder? I can see that the pressure on the snow is lower if the ski has a larger surface area - so you're not going to sink into the powder. Is this the main reason?
post #16 of 30
Thread Starter 
I have another question - I found that K2 do a phat luv ski in that range, which looks good. It's 95mm. Is such a wide ski still suitable for groomed trails? All the skis i've found which are of the width you said, Jeff, say that they are for expert use in the park / pipe.. or for completely off-piste skiing. I dont think it's that likely i'll be doing moguls for a while yet and just want a good basic ski which I can use in Fernie and in any other resort I might go to in the next couple years. If I got something like the dynastar, k2, or volkl gamma, would it be basically fine in Fernie?
post #17 of 30
Jane: I have the Phat Luv's. They are great powder skis. They are ok
on the groomed but you can do better for an all purpose skis.
If you are a beginner and 5'5, I would go with a shorter ski than 165.
I would recommend something in the 150-155 range.

I like the Atomic women's series. My skis are a couple of years
old and the models have changed so I can't recommend a
specific model. I think the True Luv or something similar would
work well for you.
post #18 of 30
Hi Jane,

I tend to consider the size of the skier when consider ski width. I have teenage daughters and a few expert female friends. A 70mm ski will provide float and is useful in all but the lightest and deepest snow, if the skier weighs 125 Lbs. My daughters now use a Volkl Gamma Supersport (112-67-97) and the Fischer Big Stix 72 (112-72-97) for skiing trips to Utah. One 125 Lbs friend can ski anything at Snowbird on a Head Lightning 70.

Wide skis are more robust in soft snow; they can give the skier the sensation of driving a bulldozer to handle variable conditions. Wide skis make it harder to learn carved technique on groomed trails. It’s a matter of trade-offs

Here is my evaluation of ski utility for a lighter skier. I group skies by waist size, for example;

less than 66mm - hard snow & groomed only
66-70 on piste, all-mountain
71-80 lift served on piste/off piste
80-90 lift served off piste/deep powder
90 plus heli or cat served powder only

I still think that a 80mm-plus waist is limited on-piste and a 70mm or less wide waist is limited off-piste. A 70 to 80mm ski is the size I would select.

Trying not to make this too difficult.:

post #19 of 30
I agree with barrett.

For improving your skiing, a plank in the 70-80mm range would be perfect. It will allow decent intermediate carving on the groomed, and will keep you stable and in control at moderate speed if you venture off the beaten track.

For the past 5 years I've skiied a ski with a 68mm waist on the groomed, in the moguls, through slush, crud, boottop powder, and in conditions that, were i to remove my skis I'd disappear past my waist in snow.

I tried a fat ski for the first time last year, and boy did it make everything a lot easier. But If i hadn't gained the experience and technique from my current skis I don't think I could fully realize the benefit of a bigger ski.

so what I'm saying is that learning, improving and having fun should be more important right now than finding a ski for the ungroomed. If you want to go somewhere bad enough, any ski will take you there. You'll just have to learn how to drive it the right way.
post #20 of 30
Hi Jane:
If you do a search here for ski width and skier weight you may come across an excellent and enlightening post about a year ago by physicsman (whose erudition has been sorely missed lately). He calculated the relative degree of "float" provided by skis of different waist widths for skiers of varying weights. For a lightweight skier (like you- and me, too) a little width goes a long way. I do not remember the numbers, but a ski with an 84mm waist (like my Atomic R:ex) would be the equivalent of a ski with a 95mm waist for a 175lb skier (I am making those numbers up, but it is something like that, and you get the idea).

Bottom line- even though I really like fatter skis, too, at 125lbs you may get the same kind of crud and powder performance from a ski that is 75mm wide at the waist as Jeff gets with his 88mm waisted skis (assuming that he weighs 50 lbs more than you). Also realize that firm snow performance varies with some of the wider skis quite a lot- my R:ex's are amazingly good in packed conditions, something I was quite surprised at when I demo'ed them. (I would not recommend these skis for you, however).
post #21 of 30

Physicsman Equivalent float chart

Well, the suggested key words didn't do it, and the post was in 2003, but , Here it is like a Phoenix from the past (July 2002); PhysicsMan at his best:

Originally Posted by PhysicsMan
The following is copied over (with slight modifications) from http://www.epicski.com/cgi-bin/ultim...=000089#000016 , in the EpicSki Academy Planning forum:

One should be very careful about extrapolating from one's own experience using normal width skis in soft snow when making ski recommendations for people of substantially different weights. Here's why:

Lets assume that there is some validity to the oft-heard claim that mid-80's skis are the best thing since sliced bread for average weight guys (say, 175 lbs) in soft snow. Then, one can estimate the width of a ski that would give the same amount of float to a skier of a different weight. Here's a table that does this:


Thus, if you are a little slip of a 120 lb woman, you will have the exact same float on a 58 mm wide pair of skinny boards that Mr. Average Guy (at 175 lbs.) has on his 85 mm "lite-fat" skis.

Basically, on any sub-70 mm ski currently being sold (because they are all greater than 60 mm), Ms. 120 Pounder will sink in less than Mr. Average Guy on his Rex's, so its to be expected that a light weight person might not fully appreciate the need for fatties (at least from direct personal experience).

At the other end of the spectrum, at 210 lbs, I will need to be on 100 - 105 mm boards to achieve the same float as Mr. Average Guy on his sticks.

Bottom line - guys, especially big guys, have a valid point in wanting to be on wide skis in soft snow. And, to head off any comments, yes, we have all skied powder in 207 cm long, 64 mm straight sticks from the past, so fatties are not absolutely required, but sure are fun and make marginal snow much easier.

This issue has been discussed *many* times before on Epic, for example, most recently:

http://www.epicski.com/cgi-bin/ultim...=004721#000009 (particularly, my msg posted November 10, 2003 11:34 AM in that thread)

And also, about a month ago:

http://www.epicski.com/cgi-bin/ultim...c;f=1;t=004585 and



Tom / PM

[ December 11, 2003, 08:06 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
Still agree? According to this, my 94 mm Mantras are still skinny skis for me!:
post #22 of 30
Just another comment that's in a little bit of a different direction.

Choosing a ski doesn't have to be so confusing and technical. You could almost say ignorance is bliss. Hundreds of people wander into their ski shops without a clue, come out with some planks, saddle up, and have a blast all season long.

regardless of whether the width is 71.5mm or 86.238mm
post #23 of 30
as Jeff gets with his 88mm waisted skis
My 87mm waisted skis are my skinny, hardpack sticks.

I guess the key point is: Are you moving to Fernie to ski or chill in a ski town?
'Cause if the goal is to a ski a ton of days, you will outgrow a narrow entry level carver in a hurry. Bottom line, if you're living near the hill and skiing 40-50+ days, you're likely to find weaknesses in your equipment a lot faster than someone who only gets to hit the mountains for a week on vacation.
Since the anecdotal "I know a bunch of people your size that are happy on 68mm waisted skis" viewpoint is here; I know a whole lot of girls around that size on Gotama's, Phat Luvs and PR's that also love their skis - totally depends on where you ski the most (I agree that at 5'5 and 125, a 90-100mm ski will be total overkill for most people, though).
We're talking Fernie, it's not the home of long blue cruisers and doesn't usually have a lot of hard, icy days. You will ski a lot of heavy, chopped up powder and semi-slush after it dumps 2' then warms up and rains. It's also a feeding frenzy on a powder day, so float in untracked pow isn't the goal here either - even the "hardcore" crew is lucky to see 2 untracked runs (inbounds, anyway).
Liquidnails has a pretty good point, as well. It really might not be a bad plan to just ebay a cheap pair of something 150-155cm's long to start the year. Once you figure how you're progressing and get an idea of the skiing at Fernie, shop for the right ski.
post #24 of 30
Originally Posted by JeffW
It really might not be a bad plan to just ebay a cheap pair of something 150-155cm's long to start the year. Once you figure how you're progressing and get an idea of the skiing at Fernie, shop for the right ski.

The goal here is to get you ready for the mountain, on a ski that can be used in almost any situation. The most important requirement is rapid & fun progress in most conditions. I was lucky to have learned good technique, on the snow 80 days a year, as a USSA racer. I followed that with a winter freeskiing in Utah.

But enough about personal experience.


post #25 of 30
Thread Starter 
thanks for the tips. A couple more things...

the bandit skis both look good but is the bandit b2 suitable for a beginner? everywhere I look online it says it's an expert ski.

Is the true luv at 69mm wide enough for my size and purposes?

Which of these seems best, considering all of the above?

Bandit B1 109-70-99
Bandit B2 116-78-105
K2 true luv 116-69-101
dynastar intuitiv 109-71-100
volkl gamma supersport 112-67-97

I don't think I want to go wider than 80mm.

Or, alternatively, does it really not matter?!

Cast yuor votes now........!
post #26 of 30
I have two votes (I'm from Chicago; "Vote Early & Vote often" is our motto)!

Vote #1
The Rossi B2 from earlier years is a great choice that will not be quickly outgrown. Also consider the B2W from this (05/06) year, it’s the female version.

A few notes;
Go for the 05/06 model year B2W model (Blue) excellent high speed stability, more forgiving of mistakes, better on groomed. The 05/06 B2 (unisex) should be avoided, much less forgiving to ski & $$.

Or, go for the 04/05 & 03/04 B2 model (Blue/white) moderate high speed stability, more forgiving of mistakes than 05/06 B2 model, less $$
Avoid the 04/05 & 03/04 B2W model (Gray/white) not for higher speeds

Vote #2
Dynastar 71 with the Look Pivot binding. Why? New, with a great binding for US$200.00
Then buy the best boots out there!!

Best regards,

Michael Barrett
post #27 of 30
I vote K2 tru luv.

It has as much float as the 180 lb guy on the 87 mm skis, so you can imagine that 87 mm skis would feel like toboggans for you..... they'd be very hard to turn in anything less than ideal conditions -- which would be very light, very dry snow, skied very quickly.
post #28 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses.

BigE - so, if it's hard to turn in anything less than ideal conditions - why would I want it?!?!?! Am I missing something?
post #29 of 30
Sorry to confuse. I just meant that you don't want to buy really wide skis.

IMO, the tru luv is wide enough to support your weight. There is really no need to get specialized skis.

Regardless of the advice you get here, the best thing you can do is to wait until you get there, and then demo.

Here is what I would do: Take a lesson from a level III instructor at Fernie that really knows about equipment. They can see from how you ski, what could be appropriate, and what will not.....take their recommendations to the demo center....

That should avoid getting sucked in by a good deal in the Fall, only to find out later it was not so good afterall.... worse yet, if the season will be anything like last year...
post #30 of 30
I expect you are approaching information overload, but here is my 2 cents:

The width of the ski is very important. I would NOT go with the 70 mm range, which is where you wanted to be 3-5 years ago or more. The 76-82 mm range is very good for all-round conditions, including powder.

Stay away from stiffer, expensive skis. If you get really good, you can buy those in 3 or 4 years and by then the technology will have changed, yet again.

I think the B2 would be an excellent choice. I demoed the B2 of last year and the "new" B2 at the end of last season. These are NOT expert skis (they have a nice even flex and are easy to turn) nor will you outgrow them. There are many people at this site who are very biased towards Volkl and Atomic skis and trash Salomon and Rossi, but not to worry -- there are tons of great skiers on these brands.

Finally, if you really want a better powder ski, consider the new B3. Here is a link to my reviews of the B2 and B3 from late last year: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...hlight=Billiam
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