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Even more of a one ski challenge

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
After 5yrs and probably 150++days on them its finally time to change my skis and get something a little more modern. However, I now have more of a challenge than ever to try and shoot for one-ski quiver (though I might consider two...).

Age: 28
Ski-ing: 15yrs
Level: 8+
Build: 6', 200lbs, rower and triathlete in the summer so in good shape
Currently on: 188 Volkl Vertigo G31, have always loved them but sometimes felt that 188 was a bit too long given the mix of ski-ing I was doing (Europe plus East Coast, plus occasional West Coast trips). Probably 50/50 split on/off, rarely over my knees, mostly boot top.
Now ski-ing: Work sent my to Australia, so a lot more ice... this year will ski NZ (mix of on-piste with wife, hiking and will get some heli in), some weekends in Australia, week or two in the West or Japan and a week in Europe (deciding between Cham or Verbier)

Thinking of (06/07 models): Volkl AC4 in 170 (love the G31s, still occasionally dust of P40s as well for fun), K2 Apache Recon (174), Head Monster i.M 82 (not sure on length), Rossi B3 in 176

Given the immediate ski-ing in NZ it won't be practical to try more than 1 or 2 of these if at all.... (which I hate, would much rather try). I would consider getting something to carry me through Aus and Europe with something fatter for Japan / US West but its not money no object (more a question of getting two pairs past the Wife)...
post #2 of 20
For your size a pair of Stockli Stormrider SS Limited at 122 - 89 - 112 in 178 (or the 188 if you want, it wouldnt really be uch of a stretch for someone your size) might be just what the doctor ordered- a fairly stiff ski with a nice wide platform for your 50/50 on/off-piste distrobution that will still have the edge grip to enjoy the harder snow (but definitely not ice) that you'll find in the US East.

If you do decide to get two pairs of skis, I would suggest not getting something in the 80mm range as one of them. There would be too much overlap at one end of the spectrum, leaving you with a larger uncovered area of performance. Something like a Volkl Allstar for hard snow in 175 for hard snow and PMGear Bros for soft snow would be pretty ideal for a two ski quiver.
post #3 of 20
I second the Stormriders for the East/ Aus/ Europe and would (since you have a ski @ the bottom of the waist width spectrim, (Volkl)) go a little wider for Japan/ West i would highly recomend a Vicious in 179or89 (personal preference) I have found they are a great everyday ski great float and great hold on the grommers not stiff by any standard but stiff enough to charge and cruz. If you dont really want a full twin then another great option is the Titan 9 @ 92mm underfoot this will float well (but refer to the review link @ the bottom) but will be slightly more nimble thant the Vicious and less nimble then the Stormriders there are always compremises. Keep in mind that NZ are know for very ruggared conditions so it may be benificial to take both the Vicious and the Stormrider over as they will do somethings better that the other. U'r a lucky man having the opertunity to travel to so manny countrys. Dont knock Australia its not that bad (im not baist just cos i live here), really a Stormrider would be an ideal ski for Aus as we usually have 70% of the runs groomed the rest are usually hardpacked or soferning mogles. I ride my Vicious almost everyday as i find them soo much fun. Hope thats not to confusing. Again refer to the rewiew as this was done well and compairs some great skis which are quite simalar. O and whereyou decide to mount the skis wil also have a bearing on how they preform for better or worse. Nick.

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=38638
post #4 of 20
I would consider the Volkl AC4 for the following reasons:

Prior good experience with the Volkl G31 (I had the G30 in a 193cm), You will like the feel of the AC4.

East Coast/Alps & some Rocky Mountain terrain will require strong hard snow performance.

If you heli ski or ski off-piste, you can always rent a 100mm wide ski.

If you can, you might just demo the Head Monster iM 82 and other midfats; but if you can’t demo easily, stick with a brand you trust.

Cheers,

Michael
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by barrettscv
I would consider the Volkl AC4 for the following reasons:

Prior good experience with the Volkl G31 (I had the G30 in a 193cm), You will like the feel of the AC4.

East Coast/Alps & some Rocky Mountain terrain will require strong hard snow performance.

If you heli ski or ski off-piste, you can always rent a 100mm wide ski.

If you can, you might just demo the Head Monster iM 82 and other midfats; but if you can’t demo easily, stick with a brand you trust.

Cheers,

Michael
Good advice.

I would also add that the Volkl AC3 is a really good ski. A little more nimble than the AC4 and should provide all the float you'd need in your current ski environment. Personally, I think the AC3 is quite a sleeper.
post #6 of 20
Give me a couple of weeks and I will have a 1st hand comparison between the AC3 and AC4 in Oz conditions. Lovabigday, I'm similar stats to you. A typical run in Oz will start off as dust on a firm base, followed by boiler plate ice, softening to slush in one 500m descent (I cannot speak of NZ skiing). Last year I skiied the AC3 @ 170 (the 05/06 model), found it a great ski, but got knocked around a little in chopped up crud. This year I have added the AC4 @ 177 (the 06/07 model) for better off piste performance.

NZ get a lot more powder (well cement) than OZ and the opportunities for off piste skiing are generally better; so a little more width and length would be recommended. If you were looking at a one ski solution, I would think something like the AC4 @ 177 would be the go. If you can stretch it to 2 skis, why not go for a Mantra @ 177 and then a dedicated on piste carver?
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by LOVEABIGDAY
However, I now have more of a challenge than ever to try and shoot for one-ski quiver (though I might consider two...).
OK.. 3...not more than a 4 ski quiver...5 pair, if I must....6 pair of I found some perfect ones...7 pair if....

trust me..it never ends.
post #8 of 20
It begins and ends with the AC4.

177 for you.
post #9 of 20

Volkl AC4 Review

Hi

I own the 2006 AC4 177 and love its crud busting ability. The only
weakness I have found is that when trying GS Turns on groomed
I get very sore thigh muscles. Slalom turns are fine. Good stability
when visability is poor. New Zealand has had very good snowfalls
to start the season off
post #10 of 20
If you're thinking of a one-Volkl-does-it-all, AC4 will work on hard, but is more biased toward softer, west. At your size, a 177 for sure (At Vail in 8-11" fresh, I preferred it to the 170 and I'm 165 lbs). OTOH, agree that if you're a 70/30 east coast/Europe guy, think about the AC3, also in a 177, or an Elan M666 in 176. Both have good beef at those lengths, but will carve hardpack/ice better than the AC4. If you're determined to go really short, Dawgcatching has strong praise for the versatility of the new Head iM82, which at 172 would be as strong as the longer Volkl or Elan. Can't speak about Stockli's, hear they're one seriously beefy ski...
post #11 of 20
As a 6' 200 lbs guy myself, I feel obligated to say that if you're going to get an AC3 you might as well just get a 6* or Allstar and get great performance on the groomed. Don't go lower than 80mm for a single ski quiver. There isn't enough of a loss in hard snow performance to justify that much of a sacrifice in the softer end of the spectrum.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takecontrol618
As a 6' 200 lbs guy myself, I feel obligated to say that if you're going to get an AC3 you might as well just get a 6* or Allstar and get great performance on the groomed. Don't go lower than 80mm for a single ski quiver. There isn't enough of a loss in hard snow performance to justify that much of a sacrifice in the softer end of the spectrum.
And as a 6'1" 195# guy, I would submit that there isn't enough float added by the AC4 to justify the sacrifice of quickness and carving ability that the narrower ski provides. Particularly given the fact that loveabigday said that he will very rarely ski deeper than boot-top snow.

A 200# -plus guy skiing on either of these skis in boottop snow is most likely going to be skiing the base rather than floating anyway unless it's really thick, mucky snow. And I wouldn't buy an quiver-of-one ski based on how well it treated me in those unusual conditions. I'd buy it based on how well it would treat me in the majority of my skiing, which the OP said is half on-piste.

I'm old school.

Or, you could just buy the Head IM.82.
post #13 of 20
Hi LBD,

The interesting topic & dispute here at Epic concerning the value of mid-fat skis will influence your recommendations, as might be apparent by now.

If you read http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=41637 ; "82 mm skis should be good enough for a foot of snow" you will be presented with the arguments.

If the skier is above 180 Lbs, he will need more than 88 mm underfoot to float in soft snow, including crud. This implies that the midfat ski will not perform as intended in the kind of off-piste conditions found above 8000 ft.

Also, the midfat is not providing the quickness or edge-grip of a recreational ski-cross or race model on hard snow. Wider skis lose responsiveness on hard snow.

So, the midfat can be criticized for being neither “fish nor fowl”, so to speak.

I have several skis that are useful in New England, the Fischer RX8 is my favorite. I’m planning on adding a versitile ski for Utah this year. I demoed the Volkl AC4 at Alta on a day with boot-top deep snow and came up with this summery: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=38451&highlight=Monster+Volkl

I recommended the Volkl AC4 for its broad ability; it will feel like a vastly improved G31. Its edge-grip & quickness on truly hard snow is middle-of-the-road, but still better than the G31 and better than most of the narrow skis used as all-mountain performers. Its ability to cut through a soft mogul field with boot-top deep snow is excellent; you will find yourself exploring lift served off-piste conditions without fear. I might purchase the AC4 for myself soon, It’s a great ski.

The AC4 will not handle some of the really difficult variable snow well. Heavy or deep crud, wet powder, bottomless dry powder & wind-blown snow require a 95mm wide ski or more at your size. My recommendation is to rent something on those days.

The only other solution is two or more ski pairs; one for New England, another for higher elevations.

Cheers,

Michael
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters
And as a 6'1" 195# guy, I would submit that there isn't enough float added by the AC4 to justify the sacrifice of quickness and carving ability that the narrower ski provides. Particularly given the fact that loveabigday said that he will very rarely ski deeper than boot-top snow.

A 200# -plus guy skiing on either of these skis in boottop snow is most likely going to be skiing the base rather than floating anyway unless it's really thick, mucky snow. And I wouldn't buy an quiver-of-one ski based on how well it treated me in those unusual conditions. I'd buy it based on how well it would treat me in the majority of my skiing, which the OP said is half on-piste.

I'm old school.
How does "50/50 on/off" translate to a majority of his skiing being on piste?

The AC4 and the Stormrider are both skis that are going to be far more conducive to crud, chop, and less than boot-top powder, which seems to make up about 50% of his skiing (is that a majority or a minority according to the Bob Peters math system?) than some 72mm wannabe carver while still being in the realm of hard snow performance.

As I said in my second post: If you're going to fret that much over the groomers, you might as well buy a consumer GS ski or a high performance carver, becasue the AC3 isn't going to give you enough of a boost in performance in that realm anyway.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takecontrol618
How does "50/50 on/off" translate to a majority of his skiing being on piste?

The AC4 and the Stormrider are both skis that are going to be far more conducive to crud, chop, and less than boot-top powder, which seems to make up about 50% of his skiing (is that a majority or a minority according to the Bob Peters math system?) than some 72mm wannabe carver while still being in the realm of hard snow performance.

As I said in my second post: If you're going to fret that much over the groomers, you might as well buy a consumer GS ski or a high performance carver, becasue the AC3 isn't going to give you enough of a boost in performance in that realm anyway.
Okay, here's how the math works.

He spends 50% of his time on-piste. Of the *remaining* 50%, my own experience is that some portion of that time is going to be spent on hard, old snow. It may not be groomed, but it also isn't any deeper than 1mm. In that kind of snow, extra float from a wider ski means nothing. Personally, I prefer my groomer skis over fatter skis for those kinds of conditions.

So let's say the snow he skis in that particular off-piste category amounts to only one single percent. Add that 1% to the other 50%, and - bingo - you've got a majority of his skiing being done in conditions where wider skis are a detriment rather than a benefit. Again, just my opinion.

Now as to whether the AC3 is a better/worse choice than, say, the Allstar or the 6*, I'm just wondering if you've actually skied the AC3. I've skied all three, as well as the AC4, and I think the AC3 is a very, very good all-around ski.

I've watched an ex-World Cupper make exceedingly good turns on that wannabe carver. He actually preferred the AC3 to the AC4.

I just think most people nowadays buy wider skis than they have any need for in the conditions they normally ski. Again, my opinion only.
post #16 of 20
The closest I've gotten to skiing the AC3 in the volkl line has been the AC4 and the 6*. Neither left me wishing for more or less width. The 6* performed as I felt it should on hard snow while the AC4 worked very well in chop and on the groomed. I have skied Metrons and the Elan 666, which fall into the same category as the AC3, and while they weren't unenjoyable skis, they left me feeling like I was stuck in a perpetual conundrum as to just what they could really excel at- Whereas I know that a consumer race ski or high performance carver will ter up the groomed while still providing baseline performance in crud and a modern midfat (80-90mm) will give me crud busting power, extra float in shallow pow, and, depending on the stiffness, a reasonable platform for the groomed that really isn't going to make ripping high speed groomers any less enjoyable unless I run into ice or am looking to make some quick short radius turns.

I guess that just as you consider yourself old school, I'll have to consider myself new school- I'll take a ski that really rips at one end of the spectrum and force myself to work with it elsewhere instead of a ski that'll be one great big compromise everywhere on the hill.
post #17 of 20
What I don't get is the idae that a fat ski is mostly better only on powder and only because of flotation: crud stability is a t least as important and I like a fat ski for corn (or slush), or breakable crust, or frozen chicken heads or all sorts of things. More to the point for a pretty big guy, any ski with reasonable sidecut (<20m radius) and reasonable stiffness should carve just fine on groomed: I had a blast on my Bandit XXX on the salted groomers at Mammoth a couple of weeks ago. I mean think about it: they have more sidecut than an FIS legal GS ski--the onlyy thing you lose is a bit of quickness edge to edge, which really only matters in a race. I picked up the Bandits used and have been skiing them for a couple of months, but I'm not sure when I would ever use my Head 75s again. The bandits even seem pretty good on moguls unless you are trying to do a zipper line down a set course, in which case they are a bit heavy, but for regular having fun on a run with bumps they are fine. The other thing is that skinny skis suck in difficult snow much more than fat skis suck on groomers, so the percentage of time isn't the only thing: you can do everything on the fats, but might not want to do something steep and chopped up in skis where you might get thrown around. All this applies more so if you like speed. The one exception to this is if you are small, when It might be hard to make a bif mountain ski carve, but that's not the case with this skier.

As for models, check out that review thread--the sigmas sound good, & the head 88s would fit. I'm told the newer b3s & b4 are softer thatn the old bandits so thye mightn not carve as well.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by cometjo
What I don't get is the idae that a fat ski is mostly better only on powder and only because of flotation: crud stability is a t least as important and I like a fat ski for corn (or slush), or breakable crust, or frozen chicken heads or all sorts of things. More to the point for a pretty big guy, any ski with reasonable sidecut (<20m radius) and reasonable stiffness should carve just fine on groomed: I had a blast on my Bandit XXX on the salted groomers at Mammoth a couple of weeks ago. I mean think about it: they have more sidecut than an FIS legal GS ski--the onlyy thing you lose is a bit of quickness edge to edge, which really only matters in a race. I picked up the Bandits used and have been skiing them for a couple of months, but I'm not sure when I would ever use my Head 75s again. The bandits even seem pretty good on moguls unless you are trying to do a zipper line down a set course, in which case they are a bit heavy, but for regular having fun on a run with bumps they are fine. The other thing is that skinny skis suck in difficult snow much more than fat skis suck on groomers, so the percentage of time isn't the only thing: you can do everything on the fats, but might not want to do something steep and chopped up in skis where you might get thrown around. All this applies more so if you like speed. The one exception to this is if you are small, when It might be hard to make a bif mountain ski carve, but that's not the case with this skier.

As for models, check out that review thread--the sigmas sound good, & the head 88s would fit. I'm told the newer b3s & b4 are softer thatn the old bandits so thye mightn not carve as well.

You're not really helping the case for fat skis, slick.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks everyone for all the feedback! Really helpful!

I think between this and some time spent in ski shops at the weekend I've come down to:-
- AC4 (06/07 model) in 177cm - most likely
- K2 Apache Recon (06/07 in 174cm)

Anybody have thoughts on the Apache? I've not skied K2 since about '98 - and then was on a pair of demos vs the X-Scream I finished up buying. I think at this point I'm going to go with the AC4. Seems to offer much more as a ski and has a lot broader fan base.

In terms of my 50/50, my average ski week will look something like
- Day 1 - get back into it, ski some groomers, rip it up a little - spot some lines of the lift and ski those late morning and PM
- Day 2-3 - maybe a couple of days exploring off piste with a guide (especially if Europe)
- Rest of week - ripping some groomers at speed if its nice (2-4 runs tops) / pick lines off the lift or short hike (most of the time) / re-visit some of the terrain skied with the guide.

Weekends would be the same (for Europe anyway) with 2-3 days of ski-ing groomers if conditions were good, easy lift accessed and maybe a day with a guide. Regular Chamonix weekend would be Brevent-Flegere Friday, Aguille-du-midi with guide Saturday, Grand Montets with book of cable car tickets on Sunday.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassina
The only weakness I have found is that when trying GS Turns on groomed I get very sore thigh muscles.
I really hope you are kidding....
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