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REVIEW: '06 VIST Speedlok Pro SL, size 165cm, sytem with VIST Speedlok bindings/plate - 117/65/101

Skier info:5'7" 185 lbs late fifties, skiing 50 years, racing off and on for 40 years, using Tecnica Diablo Race Pro 130 boots ('06 model). Ski PNW primarily. Prefer speedy groomers & SL courses. I don't know how the level system works - I was good at most facets of skiing when younger but now don't go near moguls and don't like steep chutes as I've developed a bit of vertigo :

Other skis I own: Fischer RC4 WC GS 183 & SL 156 '03 mounted with Salomon FIS; Head I.SL WC VIST Plate 156 '04 mounted with Tyrolia Freeflex 17; Fischer RC4 WC SL 161 '06 mounted with Fischer Freeflex 17; Rossignol WC 9STi 165cm '06 mounted with Rossi FKS 185; Volkl 6 Star 182 '04 & 175 '05 with Marker Pistons; Salomon Scream 10 Pilot Xtra Hot 185cm '05 - Salomon Pocket Rocket 185cm '05 with Salomon S 912 Ti bindings. I like all my skis. The Salomons are for deep snow.

Skiing style: Racing in courses, freeskiing working on issues related to racing that have been assigned to me by my coach based on my personal deficiencies and slowness in competitions. To be honest until recently I never thought much about ski instructors or ski instructing. This forum has opened my outlook to the world of ski instruction and raised my awareness of Movement Analysis and the application to technique.

Conditions: packed powder, some ice, corn, very grippy hardpack, slush.

Review: Got these skis to reward myself for a favorable business deal accomplished. I really like the VIST plate on my Head SLs and that was about all I knew about VIST. Skis came with minimal to no tune. Got them set up with a generic fairly aggressive cross cut grind and 0.7 X 3.0. The Speedlok bindings come off the ski with a button/lever mechanism on the Speedlok plate. My sole length gives me either a snitch behind midpoint or 1 cm ahead at the two closest sets of holes to mid.

First day Friday, skied them at snitch behind mid all day. I would describe the ride as a cross between my Rossi 165s - fast, damp GS style SL turns and a very Volkl like tip following precision. Occaisionally a very strong tail that would get me locked into some very high Gs not necessarily in control. Went from fairly precise race style freeskiing all morning into early afternoon then to survival style messy GS turns at the end when tired and couldn't overpower the bevel.

Second day on them today, ski testing in blustery spring blizzard off and on sun break PNW weather on EXTREMELY grippy hardpack. Difficult grabby conditions for a razor sharp race ski.

Today mounted the bindings in the 1 cm ahead of mid setting. This testing was done in the afternoon after skiing 15,000' vertical on Rossi WC 9STi in the morning. I'm usually good for about 30K these days before old age and arthritis takes over. What a difference the forward binding position made. One of the things that was hard Friday was controlling the forebody of the skis once I was tired. In the forward position I had no trouble overpowering the bevel and working the ski very precisely. It also quickened up the ski considerably. This allowed for very precise SL turns and carving. The ski was still rock solid when opening up the speed and radius but liked to stay carving at SL speeds much more.

I like a very precise ski that carves clean in all firm/hard conditions and this VIST does not disappoint. Right now other than to ski deep snow where I pull out the Salomons my current all mountain ski is the combo of the Rossignol WC 9STi 165cm for faster longer turns followed by this VIST 165 SL for slower precise short radius skiing.

I'm very pleased with the ski so far. Have no plan to modify the bevel. Will continue to ski in the forward binding position..........This is my first review so if it sounds a bit disjointed bear with me

- Fossil