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K2 Escape 3500 vs. 4500 (or 5500?)- newby...help!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I need help deciding between the 3500 and 4500 - when I went to the ski shop the assistant seemed to pick out the 3500 a little haphazardly. I know the 4500 is stiffer but what I'm wondering is if perhaps this is the better choice for me.

I ski anywhere from 3-10 days a year and have been doing so for about 5-6 years so I think I'm an intermediate skier (I stick almost exclusively to blues but I'm trying to gain more confidence to take on blacks...my primary fear of blacks has been the amount of ice I've encountered when skiing those trails...). Another worry was the right length (this is my first time buying)...I've heard a lot of talk recently that weight is a major factor but the assistant at the shop just picked the longer one (174 vs 167) in a split second decision without asking me about my weight. I'm 5'8" and weigh about 140 lbs.
Can anybody help me?

[ December 22, 2003, 12:29 PM: Message edited by: skinoww ]
post #2 of 11
Both skis are very good, although the 4500 may be a bit stiff for you this year, but if you take lessons, they will be good for a few years to come. If you go with the 3500, you may want to change it in a couple of years as you ski better. As for length, if you go for the 4500, definitely the 167. If you go for the 3500, my choice would be the 167 for you, but you could get away with the longer one.
post #3 of 11
I agree with Fox that both of these are good skis, but the 3500 is quite a bit softer than the 4500. I'd probably go with the 4500, but in either case I'd go no longer than 167cm. At your size that'd be plenty of length.

Edit for one additional thought:

You indicated that the shop simply recommended a length without inquiring as to how much you weighed. I'm sure you're aware that all shops and their employees aren't created equal. We're in the same area. If you'd like, PM me and I'll recommend a shop where I'm sure you'll get excellent service and expertice.

[ December 22, 2003, 05:44 AM: Message edited by: Coach13 ]
post #4 of 11
You say you want to progress to more difficult terrain. That tells me you want to progress in your skiing. I take it that up to this point you have been renting skis. If so then why not demo a few skis and see what ski will work best for you. If you do wish to progress and take a few lessions. You will be out skiing both 3500 and the 4500 in a year or so. It might be better to spend the few extra bucks right now and step up to the K2 5500 would be a much better ski in the long run. The 5500 is a vary forgiving and fun ski. It has a pretty wide proformance range. It will take you from blues to your first black runs and more.
By the way do you have a good pair of Boots? If not get those first Then worry about skis.
post #5 of 11
Originally posted by Utah49:

It might be better to spend the few extra bucks right now and step up to the K2 5500 would be a much better ski in the long run. The 5500 is a vary forgiving and fun ski. It has a pretty wide proformance range. It will take you from blues to your first black runs and more.

Good point. I didn't raise the issue of the 5500 because the inquiry was of only the 3500 and the 4500. The 5500 was my first ski and a great ski to advance on. IMO, the K2 line doesn't really excel until you reach the 5500 and the Axis line. You can actually pick up last years 5500 online for for a pretty good price these days.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the responses! I understand that as you get better you need higher end skis...how does this work? Do you need stiffer and stiffer skis as you get better/faster? Just wondering how this all works. Is the main difference between 3500, 4500, and 5500 stiffness?
When I went to the ski shop they recommended Atomic AFT 9 boots - the guy who helped me out was an orthopedist (he also picked out skis for me) so I trust his boot recommendation. His primary criteria for choosing that boot for me was its width - I have relatively wide, flat feet and standard boots (ie rentals) kill my feet. The boots seem pretty nice but for that price ($350) I've seen some Salomons with the heat molded linings, which sound pretty useful. If anyone out there knows of other wide boots, I'd be willingly to look into it for a second opinion.

Also...I have a friend who used to work at the ski shop I went to and as a result has a discount deal with Salomon - do any of you have any Salomon ski/boot recommendations (ie something similar to the K2 Escape 4500/5500)? I ran into Salomon Crossmax 8 Pilot in my online research - is it any good?

[ December 22, 2003, 12:28 PM: Message edited by: skinoww ]
post #7 of 11
The simple reply would be yes you want a stiffer flexing ski as you progress. But That isn't the whole story. Like most things that seem simple it is a lot more complex then that. Flex is just one part of a skis proformance. As you progress you will start to get some idea of what works for you. Same goes for boots The number one rule is find a boot that fits The number two rule is refer back to rule number one. It really does not matter what brand of boot your in, What matters is how your foot feels in that boot. I will say this about buying a boot find a good boot fitter near were you ski. If you buy from a retailer near your home but far from were you ski you could ruin a good ski weekend. If the fitter is close by and you have a problem while skiing he can fix it and you can be back skiing in no time. Other wise you could be looking at a weekend of pain and misery.
post #8 of 11

I have the 4500, and solomon performa 6.0 boots.
The boots are magnificant, comfortable, no pain, once they are on, thats it. Very comfortable. When I bought them, they heated up the inside and I kept them on my feet to mold.
My advise is to go with the 5500. I was told, that most intermediates could not tell the difference between the 4500, and 5500. I should have done that. But, the 4500 is a nice solid ski.
I totally understand your frustration about choosing skis.
As for the K2 line, what would you feel if you went to the Axis and compared it to the 4500.
post #9 of 11
post #10 of 11
Like it was said, make sure your boots fit the shape of your foot. The boot is the most important part. A lot of people miss that fact of life. With a boot that is fit to your foot you can then pick any mid level ski, and be happy with it.

The ski choice comes down to personal taste. There are many good skis out there. Look through Ski and Skiing Magazine Gear issue's, or if you can find one of my favorites Ski Press, they are free and most shops have them sitting by the door. Read the reviews keep an open mind, think about how you ski and want to ski. Somewhere in all that fluff you may be able to learn how to decide which skis to focus on.

I think it was Coach13 that said to PM him, you may want to do that.

IMO the longest you want to go is 168cm you may even like a 163cm ski.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for all the replies - you're right, boots are more important so I've decided to put more money into those...I just got back from the shop - I bought the Atomic AFT 9's which are sweet looking and fit my wide, flat feet like a glove. The sales guy also suggested these nice insoles (which made the boot even more comfortable) so he stuck them in the boots but then forgot to charge me the $20 for them! A great little Christmas present, hehe.
As far as the skis go...I've decided to to get the Atomic E9's - I don't think they have a 2004 model so I'm getting the 2003's new on eBay for a bargain (with those snazzy Atomic bindings included). They seem ideal for my skill level and yet have room to grow. They also got great reviews in SKI, for all thats worth though. Ideally, I would have bought the K2 5500 but I couldn't find any good deals on those and I didn't want to wait on eBay for something to come along...ski season is already here and I want to get out there on my new gear as soon as possible!
I also got a helmet (at least I didn't shell out the $125 for that...my parents did - hey, I'm a college student, still gotta listen to them to SOME extent...besides, the helmet has integrated earphones which are pretty sweet and could convince me to actually wear it).
So if you see anyone out there with red/black Atomic boots, Atomic E9's, and a shiny black helmet with music playing from it, that's me.
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