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Didn't like the Karmas...now what?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Hey gang,

Brand new member, here. Great forum. My first post.

I'm a fit, athletic 43-yr old, 6'-4" 230 lbs native of Colorado. I've skied most of my life, though never competitively, and consider myself advanced-expert skill level. There was a time when I practically lived on the slopes, but life and responsibilities limit me to about 20-30 trips a year, now.

I ski almost exclusively at Mary Jane. Although my stamina is not what it once was, I still enjoy the steep and deep bumps, especially in the mornings. I can hold the fall-line on virtually anything Jane has to offer. I don't bounce off the mogul tops like the youngsters do, but rather ski the troughs, or the sides of the moguls. I usually cruise the groomed stuff in the afternoons with my wife.

I wore out a pair of K2 Axis Pros, which I loved, so I'm looking for a good replacement. I read many positive comments, here, on the mid-fat skis and decided to give them a shot. I selected the Karmas in a 185 with the 912 Ti binding and skied them for the first time yesterday.

I can see where the Karma would be a blast in 2' of pow, or on virgin steep crust, but they were far too much work to turn in Jane's bumps. The upturned tails constantly hung up coming out of turns, and the additional width made quick transitions difficult and laborious. I may, or may not, keep them for that rare pow day, but they are definitely not the every day work horse for me.

So, I'm back to square one. I'd love to find a new pair of my beloved Axis' in a 188, but it doesn't seem like anyone is making a 70mm-waisted advanced ski in that length, anymore. At my height and weight, I just don't see myself skiing on a 177.

Your thoughts and opinions will be most appreciated.

post #2 of 33
post #3 of 33
I would suggest a Nordica SUV 12 in a 180 or possibly a Volkl 5 star in 182.

post #4 of 33
what you gonna do with the karmas? ill give you 5 dollas fo it.
post #5 of 33
Dyastar Legend 8000 you wont be sorry I am also a 43 yr old colorado boy!
post #6 of 33
This is a no brainer.
Check out the K2 Recon
post #7 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies.

I picked up a pair of the 8000's today.

Fortunately, Colorado Ski and Golf has a fairly lenient return policy, so I can ski both the 8000's and the Karma's up to 5 times before returning for a full refund. I plan to give both a good workout this week before settling on one. Or, I may keep both, dunno.

Anyway, any other suggestions would be most appreciated. I can demo anything that the Jane shop has and have the demo cost applied to the purchase at Colorado Ski and Golf, So I hope to try a bunch of different boards this week, as well.

Thanks in advance,
post #8 of 33
fwiw - I went from the Recon 78mm (which I loved) and skied it about 40 days last year, to the 8800 this year which is a 90mm waist. The first day I skied the 8800's I wished I had the Recons on my feet. After the third day I was 'skiing the ski' - adapting, learning the ski... and realizing the benefits of fatter - by the 5th day I knew that I would never go back to anything smaller than a 90mm waist. In fact, for fun one day I skied the Recons - they were nowhere near the ski the 8800 is... Going from a slim or midfat to a fat ski requires a different technique... it would be easier for you to make a smaller transition - like the axis pro to the Recon or 8000 but, if you do take the time and learn a fatter ski you will appreciate what goin phats all about... especially since you ski Colorado!!

Also, your post seems to be focused on bumps... I should add that I ski off-piste 90% of the time... and dont consider the Recon a good bump ski, the 8000 would probably be better if thats what youre looking for. An 8000 in a 184 or 188 perhaps...
post #9 of 33
Thread Starter 
Hi Kuma,

Thanks for your response. I understand that, given time, I could probably "adapt" to the Karmas, but I have no desire to change my technique to suit a ski. You know, the "old dog, new tricks" thang.

I am curious, though, about the "benefits" of going fat. I've asked the same question to several people and still haven't gotten a response that would make me want to switch. The most common answer is that fat boards allow you "bust" through crud and "float" in pow. I've never had a problem doing either of those on a good pair of skinny boards. Given the fact the fatties are unquestionably more difficult to ski in the bumps and appear almost worthless on hard-pack or ice, they become less versatile as an all-mountain ski, for me.

Now, if I was still thumbin' rides on Loveland pass, or heli-skiing in Alaska, or jumping off cliffs at Vail, or consistently finding knee-deep virgin snow at the areas, I might have a use for the fats. But I rarely do any of these things any more, so the fats don't seem to make a lot of sense for me. But, maybe I'm missing something, here.

post #10 of 33
Don't be such a prejudiced pig!

Not all fats are the same.

1. The Recon gets tremendous reviews year after year (as did its predecessor). I tried a pair last year and wasn't very impressed; they did OK but nothing special. Next day, I skied the 8000's (79mm waist; 184cm for 6'2 180 lb and level 8/9) and loved them for everything from 18" new snow in bowls, to bumps and on groomers. Very quick and confidence inspiring. For the next 2 days, I demo'd PR's (90mm waist) in 185. Fun in bowls in cut-up powder but miserable on groomers. So bad, that I was quick to assume that all +90mm waisted skis felt that vague on edge.

2. This year, I tried new B3's (83mm waist) on a 2 feet powder day in bumps and in bowls. They were OK but I still would have preferred the quicker 8000's and certainly would have preferred something like the PR. For the next 2 days, I demo'd Mantras (95mm waist) and loved them for all conditions. Carved great, quick enough in bumps and really fun in cut-up powder and crud in the bowls.

For both trips, the conditions were very comparable. Hardpack followed by big dump and then increasingly skied out conditions. My selection of skis was also similar with respect to width / categories. However, my results were very different.

Based on these demos alone, I'd have purchased the Mantra or 8000 as my 1 ski to take west on trips. Heck, I'd even ski the Mantra at good, old, icy 800 ft Beech Mtn in NC!

Don't assume that all +90mm skis are too focused; people made the same error 5 years ago when all skis over 80mm were labeled as "big mountain superhero" skis. The Mantra gets alot of discussion on this board because of its tremendous versatility.

When you see a +90mm ski described as quick, fun, forgiving and also a good carver, you should take note.
post #11 of 33
and on the plus side if you want a skinny ski you can find great deals on them as most people want a fatter ski.
post #12 of 33
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by srharv
...When you see a +90mm ski described as quick, fun, forgiving and also a good carver, you should take note.

The Karma was described by many, here, as being "quick, fun, forgiving carvers", but I found them anything but. I felt like I was having to exaggerate every movement to get them to perform. Simple maneuvers that would be effortless on my old 70mm skis were work on these, at least for me, YMMV.

So, I guess it all comes down to personal tastes. But, I appreciate your thoughts.

post #13 of 33
While your complaints about the Karma may be many, you primarily described poor bump performance.

If you spend a good bit of time in the bumps but want an all-mtn ski, I echo the Legend 8000 choice. Traditional ski feel (vs. twin tip) and look. Very nimble and fun to ski.

As noted above, I skied the 184 8000 for several days at Park City (demo'd from on-mtn center) in conditions ranging from desparately-needed-new-snow hardpack, post-Super Bowl +20 inches new powder, subsequent crud / cut-up and soft bumps. Great ski.

I liked them much more than the Recon or new B3's; more lively.
post #14 of 33
Steep- n-Deep, The 8800 is my only ski - as were the Recons last year. This wide ski does it all for me very well as I live for off-piste conditions. The benefits in soft snow/packed powder, crud skiing, powder, ability to make different turn shapes easily... far outway a slightly faster edge to edge ski. Also, your comment about fat skis being "almost worthless on hardpack/ice" is far from reality. Anyway, dont you live in Colorado??

Again, you have only skied the wider ski a day or two.. And like sharv said, not all fat skis are the same.
post #15 of 33

Separated at birth???

Steep, lots of similarities here. I also ski the K2 Axis, ski Mary Jane a ton, love bumps, and demoed the Karma on Friday.

Agreed, the K2 Axis is a ripping bump ski. It's extremely quick and carves nicely. I found that the Karma couldn't compare to the Axis' quickness but found them to be decent-- but different -- on Gandy Dancer, Little Ten, and Trestle, which as you know aren't so steep. (I was in a lesson and we didn't do any steeper bump runs.) I felt at times I had to be more consciously quick, if that makes sense, and opted for not so quick lines at times.

The main thing I had to get used to w/ the Karmas is that the sweet spot seemed to be at the center of my boot. I'm used to really driving through my turns (more forward pressure) on my K2s. I don't know if this is a Karma thing vs. a twin-tip thing vs. a Volkl thing vs. a fatter ski thing. Might have made it a little more difficult to keep ski-to-snow contact in the bumps. When I got used to this difference, though, I felt like I could edge the Karmas well and quite aggressively on Sleeper and Mary Jane trails and skimmed over and plowed through crud which was nice.

Why do I want a wider ski? Wider because I do have problems getting through crud on my K2s, which are on the shorter side for me (167; I'm 5ft10in/170lbs). I would also like a little more float for those now-and-then in-bounds pow days, but you also won't find me hitchhiking Loveland Pass or jumping out of helicopters in Alaska. So I'd be willing to trade some performance in the bumps for the above, if the ski can carve decently.

Why do I want a twin-tip? I would like to get in the park and learn a new thing or two. And I have 2 little kiddos who will be approaching ski age in the next couple of years and thought being able to ski backwards proficiently (which I think would be easier on a twin-tip) would be a good way to instruct and keep an eye on them.

In the back of my mind I'm also thinking that with the MJ terrain expansion, maybe I'll find myself less frequently in the bumps and also enjoying more steeps and other terrain.

So I'm considering the Karma. I'll always have my trusty Axis's for mogul and carving days. Plus I hope to score a great deal on a pair of seldom used Karma demos.

Having said that, the ski I see most recommended for MJ is the Legend 8000. So if I don't go the twin-tip route, I'll be checking this ski out. Also hear good things about the Volkl AC4, which my instructor raved about, having just returned from a trip to Jackson Hole where he said they excelled.

I'm very interested to know which route you go. Keep us posted.

Maybe we'll hookup one day at The Jane!


post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your input. I agree with you, the Karmas handled small-ish flatter bumbs, like Gandy Dancer, Lower Golden Spike, Trestle, decently. But you and I both know none of those challenge you to stay in the fall-line. Speed and control are not a problem, you can just let'm run on those runs.

Where I found the Karmas woefully lacking were in runs like Long Haul and Derailer, where you need to set an edge quickly to check your speed, and then get 'em turned over, equally quickly, or you won't stay in the line. By the time I got these fat boys to catch an edge, it was often too late to initiate the next turn, I'd have to bail out of the line.

Maybe I'm just a bumb-junky, dunno. Nothing else seems to challenge me the way they do. I have no interest in the park, leave that for the "knucle-draggers" Carving the groomers is sort of ho-hum, for me. I love pow, but how often do we get a serious pow-day, really?

I'm looking forward to trying the 8000s, maybe I'll demo the AC4s, too. As a back-up plan, I mounted up a new pair of K2 Mach Gs that I got for a song during the off-season last year. They may be a bit stiff, but with a 65mm waist, I know I'll be able to get them on edge when I need too.

Yea, maybe we can hook-up for a run or two. I'll be the big, tall, old guy bashing the bumps on the skinny boards.

post #17 of 33
try the 4800 (or 4000?) from dynastar too if you like the 8000/8800 but just want faster edge to edge
post #18 of 33
Steep, yeah, you won't see many people rippin' by you on Derailer w/ a pair of Karmas, Mantras, or Guns on their feet -- unless it's first tracks and all you see are powder bumps. That's why you see a lot of guys at MJ on mogul-specific skis, I guess.

I'd say on the Karmas you could manage maybe Phantom Bridge on the difficulty scale. Gonna have problems on something like Derailer. That's where you have to ask yourself the compromise question -- how much bump performance are you willing to give up for overall versatility?

Maybe one of the newer all mountain skis. The Legend 8000 is still 79 in the waist. They demo the K2 Recon and Rossi B3 at the Jane Shop. AC4, AC3? The Solomon 1080 Foil if you want to give one more wider twin-tip a try -- it's light and quick but, at your size, you'd likely over-power it.

Let me know what you decide on! I likely won't get new boards until next year end of season. Little kids = fewer ski days.
post #19 of 33
Try the Rossi B2. Skis very similar to the Axis.

Good bump ski too.

I love mine.
post #20 of 33
Thread Starter 
Well, I'm happy to report that I've found the replacements to my beloved, but severely abused, K2 Axis skis. After my poor experience with the Karmas, I was beginning to wonder. But thanks to the sage advice from several of you, my search is over.

I played hooky from work, and blasted up to the Jane, today (one of the benefits of being the boss) Sunny, relatively warm, and no crowds. Perfect!

I started with a warmup on Mary Jane Trail. But, halfway down, the urge struck me, so I cut through the trees and skied the last half of Gandy Dancer's bumps. I didn't miss a turn! I was so energized by these new boards that I even caught some decent air and pulled off a mini-scratcher towards the bottom. Man, for a moment I thought I was 18 again. That feeling wore off soon enough, but my enthusiasm for these skis never did.

I skied long and hard, on virtually every type of terrain, except ice. These things never disappointed me. I couldn't be happier!!

Oh yea, my new favorite weapon for the slopes of Colorado? The DYNASTAR 8000

post #21 of 33
Matt, congratulations! What length did you ski? I'm 5ft10. If I demo the 8000, not sure if the 172 or 178 would be better for me when skiing the Jane. Thoughts?

Hmmm... a boss taking a day off to ski -- are you hiring?


post #22 of 33
probably should go with 178. A Dynastar sizing chart for one of the retailers (online) recommended 178's for 5'9 - 5'11 and 184 for +6'1".

8000's "ski shorter" than their length. I'm 6'2 and found the 184's perfect. Very nimble but good stability, etc.
post #23 of 33
Thread Starter 

I skied the 184s, which seemed short to me at first glance, but they didn't ski that way. I agree with srharv, you should probably go with the 178s. You won't be sorry.

As a side note, I mounted the Solly 912 Ti on mine. I don't know the actual specs, but these bindings felt considerably lighter than any of the comparable brands/models. This combo gave me the lightest setup that I've ever skied. I really noticed the difference towards the end of the day.

Good luck with your selection. I'll be back "upstairs' this Friday. What's your skiing schedule looking like?

post #24 of 33
Thanks for the sizing info!

I'll give the 8000s some consideration, for sure. They're so highly recommended by Jane skiers. I can understand the appeal of the Mantra and the other wide skis that might be great all-mountain boards on other hills. But it's gotta be quick in the bumps for the Jane if you've got one ski. The adjective I see often applied to the 8000s is "lively".

Matt, just curious, do your 8000s have the surfboard-like graphics or the bright orange and metallic look? Just curious. I like the former, uh, not that I care about that stuff :

I'll send you a private message with some of my ski dates, my email, etc.


post #25 of 33
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Esquiador

Matt, just curious, do your 8000s have the surfboard-like graphics or the bright orange and metallic look? Just curious. I like the former, uh, not that I care about that stuff :
Mine are the ugly orange thangs. I didn't know they made them with cool graphics. Dang!

I'll look for your PM.

post #26 of 33
I think they changed the graphics on the 8000s for the 05-06 models, but it's the same ski, I believe. Here's last season's 8000s:

http://www.rei.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?storeId=8000&catalogId=40000008000& productId=47940599&parent_category_rn=4501644&vcat =REI_SEARCH
post #27 of 33
Thread Starter 
Yea, that's them. The graphics aren't great, but I like the finish on them. Instead of the high gloss lacquer that tends to show scratches easily, they have a more matte, fibered finish, similar to a fiberglass camper shell. Except for the inside edges, at the tips, where I often hit my skis together, I haven't noticed any scratches on the top surfaces. I think they're are going to wear very well.

That was about the only thing I liked about the Karmas, too. Their finish was almost like the Rhino lining they put in pickup beds. Very durable. The graphics were pretty cool, as well, but I'd take performance over looks any day.

post #28 of 33
Steep - I'm almost 100% sure that most of your issues with the Karmas are due to the difference in the binding mounting placement (Volkls generally have more rearward midsole marks). I don't know what it's going to take to educate the skiing public on this, but at least those of you who hang at Epic will be clued in.

Once again - the midsole mark on a ski is mostly ARBITRARY and has been placed on the ski for the average skier (based on the testers that skied the prototypes). You won't believe how much of a difference 1cm fore or aft makes in how a ski feels and performs. It's like putting on a different pair of skis. Please search on BoF (Ball of Foot) mounting point determination and the Campbell Balancer stuff - it will be truly enlightening.
post #29 of 33
Thread Starter 

The average skiing public can only go by the direction given to them by the manufacturers, or the shop tasked with mounting their skis. I specifically asked the shop to mount my Karmas in the "alpine" position as I'm not a parkster. They presumably knew what I meant and mounted the binding so that my boot was centered over the mark.

I will look into the BoF info you referenced, but I fail to see how that's going to change public perception until the industry as a whole starts practicing the same measures.

post #30 of 33
Steep - just for sh!ts-n-grins why don't you compare the mounting position on your K2s to your Karmas. Line up the midsole marks and look at how you're positioned on the skis comparatively (line up the bindings too and check it that way) - I'm interested - I think it could be surprising.
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