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Demo Day: AC4, AllStar, Nitrous and Top Fuel

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Where: Skied ‘demo days’ at Spirit Mt, Duluth, MN on 12/10

Conditions: 12 – 24” of man made snow. A lot of ice, mostly hardpack, a number of runs were in need of grooming, 75% open. Typical poor, early season MN conditions. I love skiing out west, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tryout the new toys locally.

Myself: 6’1” 172lbs skiied for 19 years, never raced, but can ski bumps, blacks, and tree runs. I used to really like fast groomers, today tend to like bumps, black, and tree runs… picture blue sky basin at Vail. Call me a level 8 on a good day.

Ski’s & boot: Orig K2 Four 188 (in need of replacement) and a pair of Salomon X Wave 8.0 (2 year old)

My Plan: Find a replacement for my K2 Fours. I ski a couple times a year in the Midwest and a couple of trips out to Colorado. I was interested in the new Volkl and Nordica ski’s then if time try some Elans or Fischer.

Ski #1: Volkl Unlimited AC4 177 – First ski of the day. Without trying anything else I liked it. It felt similar to my Four’s in that it would skid, carve with ease. I wouldn’t call it lively, but it was not a ski meant for the conditions I was skiing today. It needed speed to add some life on the hardpack, but was very confident feeling, especially at speed. Love to try it in crud/powder but still liked it.

Ski #2: Volkl Allstar 168. Wow. Talk about night and day especially compared to the AC4 in these conditions. It was ready to slalom turn, jump turn, carve at a moments notice. Skiied flat or less then aggressive and it felt ‘twitchy’, not necessarily fatiguing, but it wants to play and wants you to go. I found it worked with my mix of old and new technique. It also seemed a little bit ‘excited’ at speed. I wanted to like this ski and not feel it to be too much ski for me and I did like it and would have fun owning a pair.

Ski #3: Nordica Hot Rod Nitrous 177. These seemed quite a bit more forgiving then the Allstars. Harder to initiate quick turns then the Allstar, maybe a bit quicker then the Unlimited. It also seemed a little bit less stable at speed then the AC4 (again the conditions sucked). It carved really well and was very forgiving to skid turns. I liked it, but it was less a cross between the other two but a compromise. At trade in I told the Nordica rep I liked it, but would see it improved with more stability and some more life, especially in regards to short turns. Enter Ski #4.

Ski #4: Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel 170. 1st run… I like it. Skis quick turns like the AllStar, plus it skis flat well. Very forgiving, likes older and newer technique. A couple of more runs… I really like it. My buddy had been beating me down the hill pretty regular on his demo boards, so it’s time to try for some speed. Wow. Very stable at speed. In the end I skied on this too long to swap to anything else during the demo, but I have no regrets. I smoked my buddy the rest of the day with these on and felt very much at home.

Ski #5: Ye old K2 Four 188. Holy crap when did it get so icy here? I could barely get down the hill. Let’s just say the Four’s need at least a tune up and boy was I wrong to compare the Unlimited to the Fours. These feel slow, loose (uncontrolled), and extremely deliberate to turn. How in the hell did I ski all day with my 14 year old nephew at Mary Jane last year on these?

Summary: I realize I should have tested a Nitrous in 170 and an Allstar in 175. That would have allowed for a clearer comparison, but from what I tested I really liked the Top Fuel in 170 with the Allstar in second place. My buddy I skied with liked the Volkl Racetiger GS 1st (177) and the Fischer RX9 (170) in a close second.
post #2 of 3
Thanks for the post CCAZ. I too am a Minnesotan - typically ski at Welch village to tune up for my annual rocky mountain vacation. I demoed the Allstars at Wild Mountain a few weeks ago and liked them, but I liked the Nordica Speedmachine 16's even better. The Nordica's had better edge hold than the Allstars and as much speed and stability as the Volkls too, although the Volkls seemed "quicker" and lighter than the Nordicas.

I also liked the Atomic SX-9's. I tried them a couple weeks later at Welch Village and had one of my best days of skiing ever. They were very stable at all speeds, with great edge hold and good speed. The Nordicas and Volkls seemed a tad faster, but that may have been caused by the conditions.

Happy skiing,

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hey cool to here from another here in the northwoods. Haven't been to Welch in years, but my bro recently moved down there (Northfield) and I'll probably ski it next week with him.

I wish I woulda made it to the Atomic booth. They have a variety or boards I want to have tested (I've owned two pair of Atomics in the past).

I actually was at Joe's last week and they were pushing me to demo the Speedmachines. One of the employee's really liked them (plus they had those in stock and not the HRTF). So many cool new ski's!

Later and good skiing.
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