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Volkl Unlimited AC3 or K2 Apache Recon

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
So I went to a ski shop with my sights initially set on the K2 Apache Recon, but I kept an open mind about other skis which might potentialy serve me better. I am a 5'8" 140lbs dude who likes fast, aggressive skiing in the bumps, trees and the back bowls. I would characterize myself as an advanced to expert level skier. I have been skiing for about 12 years but have recently taken a couple years off as I live in the Midwest and the skiing here is less than favorable.

I have never owned a shaped ski and have only demoed a few. I have alwasy owned K2 so was leaning towards the recon, but after talking to the guys in the shop they recommended I go with the AC3 rather than the Recon because of my size/weight. They also said I would get a quicker ride that is more responsive, especially in the bumps. The guys at the shop felt that while the Recon was a great ski, at my size and skiing trends the AC3 would suit me better and it would be more enjoyable. They also reccomended a 163 length which seems short to me but having only owned straight skis (lengths of 185 and 190) that very well could be the perfect length for me.

I am curious if anyone here has any comments or suggestion cocnerning this choice. I have never skied either ski. I have owned K2 my entire skiing life and have been pleased, but I have also heard very good things about Volkl. Any insight would be great. Thanks.
post #2 of 10
If you can wait until Saturday I think that I'll get on at least one of these skis if not both. My reviews will follow.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
The feedback would be fantastic. I have been reading up as much as i can about both but what's printed can only tell you so much so any info from those who have actually used either ski would be greatly appreciated.
post #4 of 10
Those skis have a significantly different feel. The Recon is smooth and damp, with a very laid down feel on the snow. The Recon tends to shine on softer snow and in bigger turns. It is less adept on hard snow or short turns. The AC-3 is lighter, quicker, and has somewhat better edge grip. It is however, less adept at blasting through heavy crud.

There is a link option in my username that will take you a commercial site with fairly extensive reviews on a great many skis. Those are my opinions based upon last year's testing and of course YMMV.

SJ
post #5 of 10
AC3 with PCOS binding. It will handle all the speed you want to give it and will ski just about anything. I have demoed both these skis on the same day. I found the K2's to be a ok ride but the AC3's to be lively, but as most here know, I'm a Volkl man.

Go with the AC3 in 163cm.
post #6 of 10
What kind of "feel" are you looking for in a ski? Also, how fast do you ski? There are tons of good 75mm-ish waist skis out there these days. You may be a K2 person, or you may not. I have owned K2's in the past (most recent was their detuned GS race ski (Mach G I belive) and it was nice. Very smooth and stable.

I find that these days, K2 has a distinctly smooth, "French" feel, almost like the old Volants. You either like them or you don't.

My take on the Recon is this: very smooth and damp, easy to ski. Great if you are a less aggressive advanced skier and not pushing things too hard. Not much energy in this ski. Steer clear if you are a hard-charging expert, as the ski is soft and will bounce you around at speed. I skied this in 174 last year (I am 5 foot 9, 150lbs, so comparable to you) and this ski just couldn't keep up in high-speed crud. Even in 181, it felt floppy and seemed that you were red-lining this ski. My Elan 666's were easily more stable in 176 than the 181 Recons.

I sell K2, as well as other brands, and have skied them extensively. My primary K2 purchaser these days (not Freeride series) are aging, intermediate to advanced skiers, looking for a reliable, damp ski. They don't ski that fast or agressively, and want an easy ski that gets them everywhere with minimal effort. They are the same skiers that typically would buy Volant back in the day. Almost universally, the faster, more aggressive skiers univerally will prefer the other skis I sell (last year big ones were the Head iM75 Chip/iM77 Chip and Elan 666). The new Chip 77 is awesome: almost as damp as the Recon, but much more stable and powerful. I ski it in 170 and love it. The 666 is a bit beefier yet, smooth, powerful, relatively easy (assuming you have good technique). I like in in 176.

The more moderate skiers who are more relaxed and not hard-charging often preferred the K2, with the Recon being the best seller in the line. It is a nice ski, but just not for the full-blown, hard-charging expert. The new Outlaw is supposedly a step in the right direction there, but I haven't been able to confirm this on its preferred terrain.

If you like the K2 feel but want a bit more stability, I would look at the Dynastar Legend 8000. Even the Legend 4800 is a nice choice-quicker edge-to-edge, and very stable. Elan is also a good choice here, as it is still smooth, with more power under the hood. Kind of a hybrid between a powerful Austrian ski and a smooth French ski. Both the 666 and Magfire 12 are exceptional. Definitely beefier skis (more metal and vertical sidewalls), but won't let you get away with mistakes in the bumps. The K2 is soft enough that it is pretty good in the bumps.

As they say, "if at all possible, try before you buy"! Good luck!
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching
What kind of "feel" are you looking for in a ski? Also, how fast do you ski? There are tons of good 75mm-ish waist skis out there these days. You may be a K2 person, or you may not. I have owned K2's in the past (most recent was their detuned GS race ski (Mach G I belive) and it was nice. Very smooth and stable.

I find that these days, K2 has a distinctly smooth, "French" feel, almost like the old Volants. You either like them or you don't.

My take on the Recon is this: very smooth and damp, easy to ski. Great if you are a less aggressive advanced skier and not pushing things too hard. Not much energy in this ski. Steer clear if you are a hard-charging expert, as the ski is soft and will bounce you around at speed. I skied this in 174 last year (I am 5 foot 9, 150lbs, so comparable to you) and this ski just couldn't keep up in high-speed crud. Even in 181, it felt floppy and seemed that you were red-lining this ski. My Elan 666's were easily more stable in 176 than the 181 Recons.

I sell K2, as well as other brands, and have skied them extensively. My primary K2 purchaser these days (not Freeride series) are aging, intermediate to advanced skiers, looking for a reliable, damp ski. They don't ski that fast or agressively, and want an easy ski that gets them everywhere with minimal effort. They are the same skiers that typically would buy Volant back in the day. Almost universally, the faster, more aggressive skiers univerally will prefer the other skis I sell (last year big ones were the Head iM75 Chip/iM77 Chip and Elan 666). The new Chip 77 is awesome: almost as damp as the Recon, but much more stable and powerful. I ski it in 170 and love it. The 666 is a bit beefier yet, smooth, powerful, relatively easy (assuming you have good technique). I like in in 176.

The more moderate skiers who are more relaxed and not hard-charging often preferred the K2, with the Recon being the best seller in the line. It is a nice ski, but just not for the full-blown, hard-charging expert. The new Outlaw is supposedly a step in the right direction there, but I haven't been able to confirm this on its preferred terrain.

If you like the K2 feel but want a bit more stability, I would look at the Dynastar Legend 8000. Even the Legend 4800 is a nice choice-quicker edge-to-edge, and very stable. Elan is also a good choice here, as it is still smooth, with more power under the hood. Kind of a hybrid between a powerful Austrian ski and a smooth French ski. Both the 666 and Magfire 12 are exceptional. Definitely beefier skis (more metal and vertical sidewalls), but won't let you get away with mistakes in the bumps. The K2 is soft enough that it is pretty good in the bumps.

As they say, "if at all possible, try before you buy"! Good luck!
Great stuff Dawg - I really appreciate your insight into these skis. Can't wait to ride the Elans this Saturday (and the Heads).
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the post Dawg. That info helps a lot. I am definitely looking for a faster/quicker ride. I really don't want to sit back and let the mountain come to me I would rather go at the mountain aggressviely and see what I can do. It sounds like perhaps the Recon is not the right ski for me, then. I will defintely look into some of the other skis you suggested. I appreciate the insight.
post #9 of 10
A couple of other skis to consider: The Stockli Stormrider XL is always a good choice for a do-it-all ski for the powerful skier. I haven't skied it for 2 years though, but it typically comes highly recommended. The Nordica Top Fuel series (Nitrous I believe) is a ski that I hear great things about, but again, I haven't tested it. I can't speak on the AC3, as Volkl isn't a brand that I get a chance to ski much on.
post #10 of 10
Anyone here have info on differences between the older XP and the latest Recon?
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