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help identifying relative ski stiffness

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I need some opinions regarding ski stiffness.

I just moved to eastern Idaho and I have been demoing fat/mid-fat skis that are more appropriate given that I can ski fresh powder conditions much more frequently. I have an old pair of Rossi CUT 9.9 skis that are still fine for carving on groomers. However, my skiing ability has improved over the years and I now ski 80% of the time or better on powder, tracked powder, or crud.

I am 6’2” and 210 pounds and I am 55 years old. I no longer have the need for speed and never have (and never will have) the need for air. I am probably a 6-7 skier but expect to improve now that I can ski much more than a few days a year. Also, I hope new equipment will propel me up a notch or two.

I have been demoing skis this winter but I am struggling to fully understand why I like some skis and hate others. I can compare side cut, waist width, and length easily since those are definitively documented but the variable that is somewhat vague to me is related to stiffness. Since I don’t have the opportunity to look at these skis side by side, it is difficult to compare the stiffness.

The skis I have demoed (in relative order of preference so far) are:
  • K2 Apache Outlaw
  • K2 Apache Chief
  • Fischer Kehua
  • Fischer Atua
  • Salomon 1080 Gun
  • Rossignol B4
  • Volkl Mantra
  • Volkl AC4
Yet to demo is the Dynastar Legend 8800, which based on reviews I have read, may end up near the top of my list.

I am guessing that with the exception of the 1080 Gun that they may be roughly in order (soft to stiff) but would like to get the opinions of others. I have read that the 1080 Gun is a very soft ski but I demoed it on a very difficult heavy crud day which may explain why it is lower on my preference list. I will probably try it again.

Can some one provide relative softness/stiffness for the above skis?
post #2 of 11
acehi, welcome to EpicSki! There's a lot of opportunity to learn about equipment, technique, and other skiing-related topics here. Don't be shy!

Have you read the equipment FAQ?

To your specific questions, I actually, that's an interesting order, since you have the stiffer skis at the top and bottom. The Volkls are the stiffest, for sure, and I think that the Fischers and K2s are next (not sure in which order). The Salomon is probably softest, followed by the B4.

I admit that your preference order is a bit challenging, since the Outlaw and Chief are damp, the Fischers are livelier, the Guns and B4s damp, and the Volkls livelier. The dampness is usually a key indicator of "feel".

What did you like and dislike about each ski? What characteristics have you prefering the K2 Outlaw over the AC4, for example (both of them are great skis, FWIW).
post #3 of 11
It looks like you like stiff as long as it's damp. You will likely love the Dynastars, and you should try some Nordicas and Atomics.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Part of the problem is that I have demoed these on different days and different conditions - usually 2-4 of them on the same day. I tried to ski the Outlaw most days so I had a basis for comparison. However, I had to rent the B4 in town so was stuck with it for the whole day. For example, I skiied the Outlaw (181), Chief (174), and AC4 (177) the same day (10-12" of light powder). At first, I was not impressed with the Outlaw until I realized I was skiing great (turning easily in powder and blasting through the crud). The Chief, of course, was better in the light powder, about the same in crud (really more like tracked light powder), but not as much fun on the groomed. The AC4 seemed to bounce me all over the place in the crud and I couldn't wait to return it (probably due to its stiffness).

My next demo day was the Kehua (177) and the Outlaw (174) half a day each with just a few inches of fresh powder and deeper crud. I do remember the Kehua being more lively and different than the Outlaw but I liked them both. I also tried the AC4 again in a 184 for a couple runs since a friend of mine raved about them but still had trouble controlling them in the crud.

I assumed that the B4 (178) was stiffer than the K2's and Kehua but not as stiff as the AC4 since I had the same issues with it as the AC4 but to a much lesser extent. However, the fresh snow was heavier than what I had skied previously.

My most recent demo day included the 1080 Gun (185), Mantra (185), and Atua (186) in 10" of pretty heavy powder and tracked powder (someone said 7% moisture content - not normal for this area). I also made a couple runs with the Outlaw (181). Even though I was not as comfortable with the Outlaw in the heavy crud as previously, it was still better than the others. I was very disappointed in the Mantra since I had read such great reviews on this forum and others. The Atua was similar to the Kehua but longer, so as expected, did not turn quite as easily.

Obviously, I will probably end up buying the Outlaw (still want to try the 8800 and one more time on the Chief). I was just trying to understand the why's a bit better. I assume as I ski more and improve, I will more in tune with the specific characteristics as I ski.

Thanks for your help. Sorry for the long post but I am hoping this provides more info.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
ssh - I realized I didn't answer your questions. Yes, I have read the equipment FAQ as well as pretty much the entire forum regarding skis. It provided a fantastic base of info and helped me narrow down my demo list. I am not at all in tune with what is happening with each ski. For me it boils down to which I am having the most fun with as well as which allows me to be more in control (make turns easier and when I want to, be able to control my speed, etc.). The bad news is that conditions play a big part (especially at my skiing level).

Ghost - Interesting. However, the Fischers are not very damp, are they? I had the M:EX on the short list but I don't really want to spend more money demoing than what new skis cost. However, I do want to demo enough to make sure I get the best ski for me and in the right size.

Thank you both for your replies.
post #6 of 11

do you mind if I ask why the focus on relative stiffness?

it seems to me that it's more important that you pick the ski that made you happiest during demos. you seem to like the quiet, stable, forgiving ride of K2 skis. I would go with that.

for what it's worth, "stiffness" is somewhat subjective, and has two components: longitudinal and torsional.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
I guess the reason for asking about the stiffness is just to try to make some sense out of why I liked some skis and didn't like others. Understanding the ski's characteristics might help me identify additional skis to demo as well as maybe start to get me more in tune with how those characteristics interact with my skiing technique.

Thanks for the feedback.
post #8 of 11
acehi, I think Ghost has it right: stiffer, but damp. I also think he's right on about the Nordicas; definitely worth a try, especially if you can grab next year's 84mm wide boards (see dawgcatching's recent reviews).
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I just checked Nordica's web site and the largest waist width I could find was 78mm. Is that why you suggested next year's 84mm? I was looking for something in the low 90's (about 88 to 98mm) to insure I have enough float in light powder.
post #10 of 11
That's why. Dawg's review is here. Perhaps he'll have some fats soon, too.
post #11 of 11

Seth Vicious

Even though you're 55 don't be afraid to try the Seth....you just have to go with the graphics and forget that its a twin tip. It's awesome in the POW, and way more fun than the Chief. I tried a pair last week and haven't had so much fun.
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