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would you buy a ski without trying it out first?

post #1 of 104
Thread Starter 
Just curious if anyone has ever done this. Would you buy a ski just based on the description, reviews, what you know about the manufacturer, etc., without testing it out first? Or is that taking too much of a risk that there will be something about it you hate but then you're stuck with it?
post #2 of 104
I did. I bought a Fischer WC SC, based on what I know about the manufacturer and after skiing
Kästle National Team SG 208, Special R 180
Rossi 9S and 9X Oversize (largest sizes at the rental shop)
Fischer RX8 170cm, Older RC4 SLS 190 cm
Atomic SX11, SX10, Balance 11
Solomon Equipe 10 SC 160 cm, Streetracer, 10 165 cm, Scrambler ?

I'll let you know how it works out.

I can always sell it on ebay if it doesn't work out.
Edit: Forgot, I also demoed Elan S12 and S8 and a very badly tuned SLX. My first pair of skis was also undemonstrated.
On the flip side, I have on occasion decided not to buy a highly touted ski based on a demo that I did.
post #3 of 104
Yep and was lucky and unlucky at times too. I did the holy grail of risks...I bought boots without trying them on first. Fortunatly, with the Kryptons it has worked out well.
post #4 of 104
Me 2 , early in the game i bought some Heads and Rossi's without trying them out . They worked ok when i firstgot into the sport, but as i advanced in ability and wanted to rathchet up the quality of the gear i decided it best to try em out first !
post #5 of 104
I will add, many of time I told my rep to just send me whatever the new version is. So actually, most of my skis weren't tried before I bought them. I did try the Metron (9) then bought the 11 w/o trying it too.
post #6 of 104
I don't think I have demoed a ski that I have purchased in several years.
post #7 of 104
I have purchaszed a number of skis w/o trying them out. Come to think of it, I don't think I have purcased a single ski where I actually had skied that pair of ski in that size before buying it. I decide the general ski I want and then look for a ski that others like and that I can get a good deal on. Most redcent pair are Nordica SpeedMachine 14s bought off the internet w/ bindins for $350. Took them out last wknd and once agan knew that I had made the right decision.
post #8 of 104

3 pairs

I bought my first pair of skis without demoing or reading anything about them. In fact they were 188s, but at 99 bucks I figured since I don't know anything about skiing I could get away with it. The main criteria I used was the size of the discount. They were originally over 600 bucks. Two years later I again bought skis using the same, errr ahhh......methodology... ahem. The second pair I think I paid double the price of the first (they were 160s). But it was still the biggest discount in the shop. I couldn't have been happier with both purchases. The third pair I bought like this probably will be the last pair I buy without demoing. I do remember reading something about them a few years back but couldn't remember what it was. Again I think I paid about double the price of the second pair. They are the widest ski I have ever skied and are quite demanding ( very small balance point, or sweetspot, slower edge to edge). I love them. In fact, for some time I really couldn't understand why people would need to demo a ski, until I demoed skis. The first realization was that ski magazines should be ignored completely, the second was that I may be proficient enough at skiing to warrent a demo ride first on a ski before I buy it. There was only one ski really that drove this point home. The Fischer AMC 76 was a ski I really thought would be great. I listened as hard as I could, but the only thing I could hear this ski tell me was, "help, get me out of this crud". I am sure it would be great on groomers but it is simply too much work in crud. Its a money issue I think, the more I pay the more I want.
post #9 of 104


Did it for many years. Working with knowledgeable staff, reading reviews, talking to others with the product, and personal experience with previous products from the manufacturer always got me good gear for my skiing style and the conditions that I most often skied on.

I demoed and bought Metron M:11's last season...I didn't NEED them as Atomic had just given me brand new skis after warrantying several year old boards, but they were incredibly versatile and fun, they are a perfect compliment to my GS skis for when the snow is softer or I feel like playing in the trees a bit.
post #10 of 104


I'd like to demo but I don't like to take time to do it. The opportunity is rare. And when I buy it is usually a crisis - the ski is shot.

I need a new pair now and have been reading. By that I mean here. Epic has been very helpful. If I could I'd ski the TopFule and Nitrous as well as the AC4 it would help alot.

It would also be nice to try various lengths. The adivice on length gets muddy on Epic. The East West thing and what people want from a ski is hard to translate.
post #11 of 104
I bought my 173 Volant Powerkarves on ebay for a whopping thirty cents plus $30 shipping, just so I'd have a second pair of skis for when my XScreams were in the shop. I'd never tried them, but I read a bunch about them beforehand, and most of the reviews were glowing.

They were so cheap that I felt justified in buying a pair of Chubbs the same weekend, also after reading many reviews. After skiing on each of them I felt that I had found what I was looking for in skis, and continued collecting them without trying them, as they were all model several years old, had seen little use, and were very inexpensive compared to other high end skis.

Today I'll be starting the new season out, and I'll be riding my trusty 173s, my thirty cent wonders.
post #12 of 104

ski demos?

I rely on my equip. suppliers.....The specs and my own experience......I haven`t demoed skis ---well, I just can`t remember---My shops work with me---if there is a problem---and there hasn`t ever been one re: skis....

I think that one of the problems with demoing skis---is , often, lack of tuning,wax ,etc...

make yourself important to a shop and maintain a personal relationship with the powers that be.......

I do recommend/personally bring people to the shop ....
post #13 of 104
I usually get my skis direct from Head, since I get pretty good discounts, so I don't always have a chance to demo first. I have in the past bought skis without trying them first. I try and do as much research as possible beforehand, and I've been pretty lucky.

If you know what to look for, and what characteristics from a manufacturer you like (for example, I know that the Head laminate skis work very well for me) you can usually do alright. Last year I got a pair of Head i.XRC 1100 SW's without trying them (it was a new model last year, so I couldn't demo a previous year's), and they're easily the best ski I've been on to date. This year I've got a pair of i.SL Race Dept. (which generally aren't available to demo since they're race stock), so we'll see how they go.

Obviously if you can demo beforehand thats the best idea, but if you know what you're looking for in a ski, and can get good info on a ski, get past the marketing-speak, you can do pretty well.
post #14 of 104
my last 2 skis i bought w/o demoing & i like both very much.
i went with what others told me & manufactures that i've skied on before & liked.
the ebay deals were just too good to pass up & the reviews too good.
the skis were short salomon equipe 3v & atomic r9s.
post #15 of 104
It's foolish to buy a ski without demo'ing. I've done it lots.

Regardless of anyone's description, demo'ing is the only way to know for sure if a ski suites your bio mechanics. One person's passion is another person's poison. It's easy to get caught-up in the review hype.

Still, depending upon where you live, demo'ing certain skis may be impossible. So, waddya do? Demo and pay full-price when you travel to a resort, or take a chance and get 'me for 1/3 less on ebay?
post #16 of 104
I just bought a pair of Elan S-12s without demoing first. The deal was great and I needed a new pair. All of the reviews seem to indicate that I'll enjoy them. I think once you narrowed down the ski type you are interested in, the demoing without buying scenario is a little less risky. Also, there are few dogs at this level.

I also bought a pair of Dynastar ski cross 10's without demoing. I loved those skis right up until their fateful demise a Lake Louise. They were 6 says old. It still hurts.

I have been burned by this approach. I bough a pair of Nordica K9.1's in a 185 for a ridiculously low price. They were terrible skis. Fortunately after 1 year they had no camber so I had to move on. See the ill-fated dyanstars.

I don't have enough funds to buy skis at full pop, so I am always looking for sale prices. . Nor do I have the time (or want to spend the time) demoing a bunch of different skis.

Additionally, we all know the tune of the ski is very important. I think there is something to be said for the reduced validity of demoing if there is a bad tune.
post #17 of 104
Last three skis I bought without demoing: Völkl Explosive, Head Mojo, PM Gear Bro Model (superstiffs and still in the wrap). Will only try to ditch the Mojos on e-gay, very pleased with the Exploders.
post #18 of 104
I bought my PRs and my Elan M666s without a demo and they are wonderful. I bought them because I got a killer deal on both. I think I could like all kinds of different skis.
post #19 of 104
I use these forums and the reviews as my "demo". It saves time and the writers probably know more about what to look for than I do. Then I buy cheap and if I'm right at least half the time I've still saved time and money. I also notice that there are lots of folks with "lousy" equipment skiing circles around me so I doubt that the equipment makes nearly as much difference as I wish that it did. If I could BUY a game I would be a scratch golfer and a ski racer but unfortuanetly it doesn't work like that.
post #20 of 104
Just bought some Atomic SL:9s without demo'ing them. I'm sure I will like them though... and if I don't I will pretend like I did when I sell them.
post #21 of 104
I believe most of us (at least the older bears) are guilty of doing this at over the years. I for one have only done the demo-thing with my last purchase. My previous purchase of skis was back in 1989 though To be fair, I can only remember one pair of pups amongst my purchases though.
post #22 of 104
Although I am big on demo'ing ski's, I did by a pair of G3's a couple of years ago without trying them out first.

But could I really go wrong with that ski anyway?
post #23 of 104
Originally Posted by Captain_Strato
Regardless of anyone's description, demo'ing is the only way to know for sure if a ski suites your bio mechanics. One person's passion is another person's poison. It's easy to get caught-up in the review hype.
True, but ignoring hype -- I always end up buying the non-hyped skis, like a Dynamic that was the same ski as an Aotmic under the topskin, because that is where you save the most money -- I guess I'm wondering what you mean by 'bio-mechanics' in this context? Honest question, not trying to be argumentative. I mean, I think that term makes sense w/ boots, but skis are more or less a particular shape, flex and feel.

Perhpas you meant getting the particular shape and flex and what not dialed in? I will do that for the most part -- that is if I am going to buy an SL ski I will first ski something w/ similar dimensions. But once I figure that out I just go by spec sheets and what felow skiers (not magainzes!) have to say.

Originally Posted by Captain_Strato
Demo and pay full-price when you travel to a resort, or take a chance and get 'me for 1/3 less on ebay?
I go for 2/3 less..at that price I can afford to make a mistake though I haven't run into a real dog yet.
post #24 of 104
This post goes to show you that reviews and feedback from experienced skiers is still the most popular way to narrow down your skis of choice. Even then you have to get lucky to demo them before a purchase.

I have no hesitation to purchase based on reviews. Generally any advanced-expert (non race ski) with a decent rebound and medium flex will make me happy.
post #25 of 104
Another factor is that skis have advanced to the point that as long as you stay away from the low end stuff, and know what type of ski you want, you will generally get a very good ski - there are very few "bad" skis any more. You might end up finding that there are other skis out there that are better than what you got, but very few skis nowadays will actually end up being a poor choice, as long as you know what to look for.
post #26 of 104
Demoing skis costs too much money.
post #27 of 104
I'm in the not trying before buying camp.
post #28 of 104
I've bought bro models, Bandit XX's, dynastar candides, explosivs, mod x pro's and FB's without demo-ing. Only pair I'm unhappy with is the bandits, and that's because they were already practically destroyed when I got them, so I got what I paid for.
post #29 of 104
I bought the V-Mantras last February before they were generally available in the retail channel. Based mainly on reputation of the Explosiv, and a brief review by HarkinBanks. The skis surpassed my expectations.
post #30 of 104
For many years I bought skis without a demo -- I would scrutinize the reviews, talk to ski shop folk endlessly and then buy. It always worked out OK. When shaped skis came on the scene, I found myself curious about the concept of trying demo skis -- usually, I will spend part of a day or 2 while on vacation using demos if a mountain has on slope demo-spots (where it is easy to swap out as many pairs as you want over the course of the day, for the price of one demo). You can't always get all of the models that you want to try, but I have been lucky there as well, and have found it incredibly helpful in purchasing skis that do the things that I want them to do (I should note here that I don't ski with a quiver, and buy a new pair of skis every 2-3 years). So -- I will not buy skis without trying them first. I also have devloped a relationship with my local ski shop (alot of purchases and alot of referrals), and I suspect that they will treat me right if I am ever totally dissatisfied with a purchase. I note that many of my friends buy new equipment every 5-6 years, so I suspect that anything that they buy will be an improvement over what they currently own, so a demo may not be that important. An interesting pont (to me anyway) -- the manager at my local shop estimates that over 60% of advanced, experienced skiiers buy without a demo.
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