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Atomic GS11 questions

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I am currently looking at race skis. One that caught my eye was the Atomic GS11, for price as well as performance (really cheap at my local shop). I do not have the option to demo, not within a 5-hour radius at least. I am a good skier (somewhere in the 9 range), ski 3-4 times per week, ski athletically in a wide and modern stance, although I am new to running gates this year (this is my second season doing GS drills, but my mountain last year didn't have a Masters program). I am about 160 lbs, and was looking at the 176cm. I am assuming that the GS11 is a typical race ski, requiring good cross-under carving skills and to be up on edge.

A couple of questions:

Is the 176cm appropriate for a novice racer such as myself (keep in mind I weigh 160 lbs, and my legs are not super-powerful-I ski with technique more than brute strength) For comparison, I was on the 178cm Fischer WC GS, and 178 Volkl P50 F1, both lengths were good).

How demanding is this ski compared to other GS skis that I have been on (2002 Volkl P50 F1, 2003 Fischer WC GS)? I found both of these skis to be fairly relaxed when freeskiing (assuming that one was skiing these skis athletically and agressively, they were lots of fun): is this the case with the Atomic as well? Or, is the GS11 for gates only (meaning it is so demanding that I won't want to freeski it)?

Will the GS11 handle rough snow well (say an inch of new, chopped up on top of a groomer?) Or is it strictly for glass-like snow?

Basically, I want a ski that holds it's own in the gates but has enough forgiveness to improve as a racer, as well as being free-skiable on high-speed groomers for an agressive, lighweight skier. Thanks in advance for the advice.
post #2 of 5
GS11 is ok for freeskiing. I ski it in trees, etc. It is a bit more forgiving than the 10.22. I much prefer my 157cm slaloms for freeskiing. I ski 186cm and am 170 lbs. I am level 8 at best. It will compare to those other skis in length. I am concerned about buying a ski so short to compensate for ability, versatility, etc. At your weight, I would think a GS race ski should be in the 180s. My advice is to buy a length the ski was designed for for your weight, or choose a different model. Just one opinion though.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
I called the Atomic rep today, he recommended the 176. He thought the 181 would work too, but the only thing I would gain would be a larger sweet spot, and that the 176 would be fine in course ruts. He is 170 lbs and he is on the 176, with no troubles. Anyone disagree? I would still like to demo both, unfortunately there is nobody that demos the GS11 around here.
post #4 of 5
Either length would work. The 181 would more stable, and the 176 more nimble. If you really want to demo, Whistler Village Sports has the GS:11 in their demo fleet. Make a trip up. Skiing is good above mid mountain.
post #5 of 5
I'd take a look at the GS9 or last season's Race 9.20 as well. While the GS11 may be more forgiving than the 10.22, it still may be a little stiff. A lot of really talented Masters up here have decided to run de-tuned GS skis like the Fischer World Cup or the GS9 or have gone to skicross skis. The reason? So they can freeski them between runs and not get beaten up. Technique still beats equipment. The stiffer ski may be faster for you in freeskiing where you can turn at will, but may be slow for you in the gates.

I swallowed a lot of pride and put my 10.22s in storage wax and picked up some 9.20s this season. The result? I'm slightly slower freeskiing, but much faster and more in control in the gates. I'm nowhere near skiing the 9.20 to its potential, but I'm still closer than I was on the 10.22. Masters is not the FIS, so don't think you absolutely need top of the line race gear with a 21 meter turn radius. It can really hurt you technique-wise to be on too much of a ski. When I was on the 10.22, I spent most of my time focused on controlling the ski and not enough on the course itself. The nice thing about going with a de-tuned GS is they also do slow speeds. A shorter radius means you can adjust line easier when you are late and make the next few gates cleanly instead of fighting and scrubbing speed. Because of age, I run near the back of the pack in the ruts, so line selection is even more important.

Take a realistic look at where you are in your racing as compared to the other Masters. If you think you are ready for it, by all means go pick up a pair of GS11s. If not, save a few hundred and go to eBay or a store on close-out and pick up a pair of 9.20s. When you're ready to progress to the next level, you'll have a great training/freeskiing ski in the quiver already.

Food for thought...
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