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Advice needed: carver or mid-fat?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hello bears,
First post here. Awesome forum! Sorry in advance for the long post, but I really need your advice, and I know the more info I give you, the better the advice…

I’m 43 years old, been skiing for 27 years, level 8 skier, 5’10” 170#s.
I ski mostly in Tahoe, with occasional trips to Rockies resorts, averaging 10 days per year. In the past, I skiied primarily powder and steeps and consider myself good in both. I love bumps, even though my legs and lower back complain when I take too many bump runs. The only ski I use now is Salomon X-Mountains in 175cm from the mid-90s (remember these?). They are great for powder days and work fine in the crud/soft snow you normally find in Tahoe.

Now I find myself skiing more and more with my wife and friends, many of whom prefer to stay on groomed runs, and I don't mind (when did I become middle-age???). So now I am ready to purchase a second pair of skis. These will be used primarily on-piste, but I’m sure I’ll pull myself away to the steeps for a run or two. They should be, in order of importance:

exhilarating carvers on groomed snow (most important!)
quick enough for the steeps of Squaw
at least decent in the bumps
workable in crud

The big question is, do I go for a carver or a mid-fat? I know a mid-fat is more appropriate for everyday skiing out west, but I REALLY want to become an expert at making those new-age pencil line carve turns. And I have my X-Mountains for powder days. I know I should demo until I find the ‘one’, but at end-of-season prices, it’s very tempting to pick up a pair now.

Last thing. All else being equal, I probably lean towards the finesse side of the power/finesse curve. I’ve demoed a pair of Volkl 724 EXP and thought they were heavy and stiff and not very responsive. So I probably prefer a lighter ski to a heavier one. Am I right that, generally speaking, Fischer and Dynastar fit this bill better than Atomic and Volkl?

I'm leaning towards the carvers
-Fischer RX8 in 165 (should I consider 170?)?
-Volkl AllStar or 5Star in 168? Are these much heavier than the Fischers?
-Others to consider?

Or are some mid-fats now so good that they carve nearly as well on soft snow as the above?
-Dynastar 8000 in 172?
-Volkl AC3 in 170?
-Elan M666?

-Others?

Thanks for your help!
post #2 of 27
I still haven't got around to unloading my Volant Gravity 71s....they seem VERY close to what your looking for...and they're REALLY CHEAP...

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...hlight=gravity

I'm pretty sure they are stiffer and better performing on the groomers and hard snow than the 3 mid-fats you have listed...and they handle crud and spring corn just awesome...maybe a nice happy medium....if your boot size is close to 295mm you can for sure try them out (we live in Reno & ski at Rose, Alpine & Kirkwood)...
post #3 of 27
Sroh,
I've been doing some end of the season bargin hunting myself. IF your budget allows why not pick up a slightly used pair of mid-fats and carvers. Next season you can easily get your money back on either once you decide which one you don't want to keep. Sort of an extended demo program.

That said although I haven't skied any of the supercarvers my 8000's work just fine on groomed conditions.

Good luck,
Steve
post #4 of 27
demo the allstar, and the rx9 both excellent carvers
post #5 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarryZ
demo the allstar, and the rx9 both excellent carvers
What Garry said! Consider a 165 to 170cm.

Cheers,

Michael
post #6 of 27
I have both the RX-8 and the M666. If you ski any crud at all with your new pair of skis, then the M666 is a much better choice than the RX-8. I also think the M666 are better in bumps. They are heavy skis however. The RX-8 are a lot lighter and more nimble, but you'll only notice that on groomed snow -- it's where they shine as an athletic carving ski. I find them cumbersome in crud and soft snow, but that's to be expected. Generally, if I know I will be skiing groomed packed powder, the RX-8 is my choice to maximize fun. For anything else, the M666 is my go-to ski. I definitely think you should demo -- the M666 is so different than the RX-8 across the board, you will definitely figure out which ski is best for you.

Good luck!
Craig
post #7 of 27
I also ski at Squaw and I absolutely love my Dynastar Legend 8000. I also demoes the Volkls 724EXP and found that they always wanted to do their own thing. Legends are very quick, light and energetic ski ehich you can drive and it will obey. I never had a problem on groomed, and they have more than enough sidecut to make it fun. They probably won't be as stable on blue ice as dedicated carver, but when was the last time you saw blue ice at Squaw? With the carver, you will be stuck on groomed, and with the midfat you will have the option of dropping into a bowl at any time.

P.S. My second ski now is a pair of Rossi B4s- big fat, stable ski, but still not as stubborn as Volkl and Atomics.
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys. Good advice.

EastCoaster, thanks for the offer. I don't know that ski at all (actually, I've been out of the loop on skis for a few years, as you can tell).

Steve, thanks for the suggestion. However, I'm kinda lazy about selling stuff (I've bought dozens of things on ebay, but haven't sold a thing). If anything, I'm thinking of getting one now, then getting a second later. So maybe my decision is one of which do I get first.

Craig, that's kinda what I thought and expected. Sounds like you have your bases covered. Ya, I know I should demo. I'm just excited about next year because my sister is getting a place for the winter, so I'd like to pick up an everyday ski at year-end prices.

Alex, great info. Glad to know I'm not the only one with a lukewarm response to the 724EXP. Funny, you mentioned Atomic. Several years ago, I demoed a pair (I forget the model). I thought the same thing. Heavy and cumbersome. From this forum's descriptions, the 8000 does sound like it's right up my alley. If you don't mind me asking, how big are you, what size are your skis and how are they in the bumps? I get the feeling your skiing style might be similar to mine.
post #9 of 27
Out west an AC4 and do it all. I love my Allstars for carving but the AC4 does everything and carves nearly as well on anything but ice. The RX8 and Allstar would be the best choice for pure carving on piste fun. The AC4 adds some great soft snow performance and versitility.

I find myself just grabbing the AC4 every day now. It's a perfect spring ski for when the conditions are all over the place. I skied nice fresh powder, crud, groomers, mash potatoes and slush all in the same day last week in Park City. The AC performed great in all conditions and nearly as good as any specialty ski in each condition.

Good luck!

<M
post #10 of 27
I recently bought a pair of Stoeckli Laser SLs and spent 3 weeks on them in St Anton - mainly on piste, but some time in the powder and bumps. Absolutely love them - awesome edge hold and so quick edge-to-edge.

My advice - demo, demo, demo...
post #11 of 27
Sroh,
Just FYI I'm 5-11 190 and my 8000s are 178, They ski a bit long, I wouldn't want them any longer.
post #12 of 27
I was in the same situation as you. Didn't care for the midfats on the groomers, wanted something that would really carve, but would be servicable off piste. Based on Peter Keelty's reviews at realskiers.com, I demoed and eventually bought the Head XRC 1100 Chip, which is the equivilent of this years XRC 1400. Turned out to be a great choice for me. Definitely a cross between a midfat and carver. Will lay some serious trenches on the groomers, blast through the crud, and is decent in the bumps. Plus the fact that other Head products that I have owned in the past have turned out to be very durable.
post #13 of 27
don't let people lock you into narrow interpretations of what a ski can or cannot do. many are sold on the midfat and suggest any carver can only work on groomed snow. that is foolish. you need to try differant typew of skiis and keep an open mind. there is so much to choose from and many have overlapping characteristics. demo , demo and demo some more and don't be afraid to try some you wouldn't have thought of. nobody mentioned the the rossis, b2 and 3 both very versatile skiis. midfats the k2 recons , stockli stormriders and the head 1400 and 1200. the salomon foils. and the dynastar 8800 and 8000's . good luck and good hunting
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn
They probably won't be as stable on blue ice as dedicated carver, but when was the last time you saw blue ice at Squaw?

This quote reminds me back in the early 80's it rained buckets at 10,000'. After the storm it got cold and the entire mountain was solid ice. I remember the Mountain Run, you could see grass four feet below you through the ice. At the end of the day Squaw sent flat bed trucks up the Mountain Run to pick up the beginners who were just sitting beside the trail having given up trying. But I still wouldn't buy a ski for those days.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac
wanted something that would really carve, but would be servicable off piste. Will lay some serious trenches on the groomers, blast through the crud, and is decent in the bumps.
pssst....Volant Gravity 71...pass it on!!
post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks again guys. I love this forum!

Steve, I don't remember it ever being THAT icy at Squaw, but I can see it happening. I've definitely seen some blue ice on the Mountain Run and the Saddle.

I will start with the RX8 in 165 and 8000 in 172.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sroh
Thanks again guys. I love this forum!

Steve, I don't remember it ever being THAT icy at Squaw, but I can see it happening. I've definitely seen some blue ice on the Mountain Run and the Saddle.

I will start with the RX8 in 165 and 8000 in 172.
Also add the Nordica Modified/170 and Fischer AMC 76/170 or 176 to your list.

SJ
post #18 of 27
It used to be that you couldn't find a thread around here asking for a ski recommendation where a person didn't mention the Atomic M:B5 as the answer to any skiing need. Since noboday has done that yet, let me suggest it as ski to demo. I find it to be extremely versatile and certainly cuts a deep trench on groomers. I have always had a pair of rec GS skis in my quiver and the MB:5 kind of feels like an all mountain race ski along with the width to handle a wide variety of terrain. There is no one ski that is best in all conditions but this is the best ski I have found over a broad range of conditions. Frankly, I also don't know why nobody else has mentioned the Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel which is another of the most oft-recommended skis. I demoed these for a few runs primarily on groomers since that was all that was available and they were a great ride. I enjoyed them much more than the Allstars that tried just after. Anyway, you have lots of quality recommendations.
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sroh
Thanks guys. Good advice.

EastCoaster, thanks for the offer. I don't know that ski at all (actually, I've been out of the loop on skis for a few years, as you can tell).

Steve, thanks for the suggestion. However, I'm kinda lazy about selling stuff (I've bought dozens of things on ebay, but haven't sold a thing). If anything, I'm thinking of getting one now, then getting a second later. So maybe my decision is one of which do I get first.

Craig, that's kinda what I thought and expected. Sounds like you have your bases covered. Ya, I know I should demo. I'm just excited about next year because my sister is getting a place for the winter, so I'd like to pick up an everyday ski at year-end prices.

Alex, great info. Glad to know I'm not the only one with a lukewarm response to the 724EXP. Funny, you mentioned Atomic. Several years ago, I demoed a pair (I forget the model). I thought the same thing. Heavy and cumbersome. From this forum's descriptions, the 8000 does sound like it's right up my alley. If you don't mind me asking, how big are you, what size are your skis and how are they in the bumps? I get the feeling your skiing style might be similar to mine.
I am 6 ft, 178lb, expert skier. My 8K's are 178 and this is definitely a "quick" size. I tried 185, and it felt more stable but much more sluggish. 178 almost begs you to turn. If you want to have a damp ski, I heard that ApacheRecon is very stable, but not too stiff. I also have a feeling that Rossi B2 will be more damp, but I think it does not quite have the energy of the 8K's. I love the 8K in the bumps. By many accounts 8K is the best bump ski of all midfats. Where I do not like the 8K is in heavy frozen crud- it just does not have the heft to bust through it. It will go through and make turns that you want it to make, but you will feel the snow underneath you. think about it as a sports car- it will go fast, but you will feel the road. many skis people like here are like semi-trucks- you just don't feel much as you plow through stuff.
post #20 of 27
One more bit of information- my previous ski was the 187 Salomon X-Scream Series. the Legend 8Ks are much quicker, somewhat lighter, and just as stable, although less damp.
post #21 of 27
the recons are heavy and do well , and get atomic advice here too they are very stable but i forgot the names of the two i tried. i didn't like the swing weight but they didn't deflect easily. ran through anything, just seemed too heavy . alot of atomic guys here .
post #22 of 27
BUY Volkl AC4s in 170cm length and don't look back.
You will be glad you did.
post #23 of 27
I have both the Völkl Allstars 168cm. and the Legend 8000 178cm. My advice would be: BUY BOTH. Two different skis for two different situations and they would be the foundation of a nice EC/Euro quiver. But as you ski in Tahoe and have to buy only one, it would be the 8000s because they are more versatile. At your weight don't go shorter than 178cm in the 8000s. I am 5'10" and 175 lbs and my 178cm. are perfect.
post #24 of 27
Thread Starter 
Alex, it really does sound like the 8000s are right up my alley. Light, quick and good in the bumps. Perfect. And I know how the X-Screams ski, so that's a great comparison for me! Thanks again.

Alpinist, I think you're right. If I can justify buying a second pair, this is the way to go. In fact, I'm now leaning in that direction and deciding accordingly.

Garry and SB, thanks and I recognize there are a lot of Atomic guys here. From the descriptions though, the one thing I know from my demos of several years ago is they are not my cup of tea -- just too heavy and stiff for me. I'm definitely more in the Salomon/Fischer/Dynastar camp.

Catskills, so how do you REALLY feel about the AC4s? Don't like em too much, huh?

At this point, I'm thinking of looking for a good deal on a lively carver, since my X-Mountains will service me off-piste for the time being. Then I will demo some mid-fats next year to replace my X-Mountains. 8000s, im77, m666, AC4 (although I think these will be too heavy for me).

I'll let you know what I get and will certainly be back here for more advice on specific mid-fats and sizes to demo next year!

I did have a nice chat with Dawncatchin (Scott) yesterday about possibly picking up a pair of RX8. Great guy by the way. Wouldn't you know it, the one size he is out of is 165, which is the size I was thinking would be right for me.
post #25 of 27
Another vote for the Legend 8000's. For a mid-fat they are very quick edge to edge. Good on groomers, good for light powder days or even in spring slush, and surprisingly easy to ski the moguls if you ever find yourself in a mogul field. I'm 155lbs and ski the 178CM and it's a great length. The AC4 is also a good choice, surprisingly quick for 82mm waisted ski. I think it's a bit better on the groomers than the Legend but I prefered the Legend in the powder. The AC4 has a lot more shape and a bigger tip, so it tended to be a bit to turny for me in the powder and the 8000's had better float and because the AC4 is a stiffer/shapely ski it was not much good in the moguls. I think you couldn't go wrong with either ski. Both are light and fun.
post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 

Final decision and quick review

I ended up getting the RX8 in 165. Had them mounted at Granite Chief at Squaw the night we got there and skied 4 days on em.

It was quite warm (getting up to 65 degrees), and it never really got cold enough at night for a good freeze. So the conditions were very slushy. But first thing in the morning, I was able to find some good hard groomers.

I love these skis. I now know the feeling of a true, full carve. On blues, I felt I could load them up as much as I wanted. I could make short turns very easily and I could also let them run until my eyes started watering. It has been 20+ years since I had so much fun on intermediate groomers! My wife liked the fact that I enjoyed skiing with her.
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 

Oops, not done yet

I hit Enter by mistake.

I was going to say, I was also impressed with the way these skis handled the soft snow. Slush and crud were not a problem, at least not as bad as I feared given some of the comments here.

Another thing, I loved how these skis took on bumps. A combination of slushy bumps (which by the way, may be my second favorite terrain/condition combination behind steep powder) and these skis had me smiling ear to ear as I took on West Face at Squaw.

Final thought -- most of the skiers were locals or season pass holders. And 90%+ were skiing on fatties. AC4s, Mantras, B4s, etc. As much as I like my new skis, it's pretty clear to me that a pair of fatties with sidecut is a must for next year.

Thanks all for advice!
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