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AME Classification

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm a little confused about much of the equipment that ends up in this category, when ratings come out in the magazines. Often the skis are good for long GS turns and rarely all that great in the moguls. If you're an all mountain expert, aren't you spending most of your time on double black diamonds that are full of moguls? Maybe it's a little different between the northeast and the West, but when I go skiing I tend to spend my time at Mad River Glen, Cannon Mt., and Bear Mt at Killington. All places with a ton of moguls, that are either soft (with heavy snow), hard, or icy. I like to spend time on other trails too, but certainly the most challenging do not seem to fit well with much of the equipment in this category. The freeride category doesn't seem to be an alternative, since much of the equipment there seems to be geared toward conditions that don't exist much in the northeast.

So, as an expert skier (particularly if you live in the NE), how useful do you find the ratings?
post #2 of 18
Fair question. Jokingly mentioned before here..."An All-Mountain Ski is a One ski that does nothing well" or "it is the wost of all worlds".

I ski where you do (except Cannon), but my gut says we ski the same type of terrain. I look at the dimensions as much as anything. I look at the dimensions, something tip about 120, waist in the mid to upper 70's and a tail over 110. I also look at the torsional stiffness, that gives you the good ice hold. Length, about head height.

Skis that come to mind...

Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel/Eliminator
Atomic Metron M10
Atomic Sweet Daddy
K2 Recons
Elan 666/777
Dynastar 8000
Volkl AC3/4
(just to name a few)

I know I would be happy with any of those skis IF I was looking for a "one ski quiver"
post #3 of 18
I can tell you that many of the experts at Killington are skiing on mogul skis most of the time....since they like to ski bumps alot. Personally, I'm not much of a bump skier, so I prefer my main freeskiing ski to be better for skiing mixed terrain, mixed snow (some bumps), and carving well....that's what many experts are looking for on the east coast.

I'm 6'1, 190lb, so for an all mountain east coast ski I like something 185-190cm, ~90mm waist, 20-25m sidecut, medium flex, with a sidewall construction, wood core and some metal. But keep in mind I actually am an agressive expert with good techical skills, and a bit of a race background (GS preference). Alot of people who claim to be an "expert" actually are not, so typically they end up on a higher end ski that is more forgiving, and wouldn't be considered top end by people that really know skis. There is also considerable debate about width, but if you want to make high edge angle carves on mixed snow, a 90mm waist ski is the way to go.

I'm on 186 Head im88's with Look ZR18's...sick, sick, sick. Other similar skis would be the 184 or 192 Elan M777, older 186 Stockli DP/SS, 184/191 Mantras, 185 Volkl Karma, Legend Pros, Legend 8800's, etc.

As far as reviews go....well, the mainstream ones suck, and don't actually tell you anything really, it's all just BS...I can actually fondle a ski in a store and tell you more about how it's character and how it's going to ski than a review in Ski or Skiing. The "Ski Press" one from Canada is pretty good though, and worth reading.
post #4 of 18
Originally Posted by Highway Star View Post
The "Ski Press" one from Canada is pretty good though, and worth reading.
Just pay very close attention to what length was actually demoed.
post #5 of 18

Categories Don't Work

The categories that SKI Magazine uses from year to year simply do not work. SKIING and Ski Press have the categories selected much better in my opinion. SKI seems to make up colorful sounding classifications for skis, and then placing any ski they want into that category. You might find an Atomic GS:11 next to a Legend 8000 - or something to that effect. I prefer to classify skis by their actual purpose, waist width, sidecut, and ideal length... something like I put together here in the Gear FAQ. Ski reviews that follow that type of classification are much easier to understand and comprehend... as well as easier to draw meaningful information from. If you have an 80mm waisted ski compared to a 66mm waisted ski you will end up with a real discrepancy between the two... and likely no real similarities accept they both slide on snow and might be designed for an 'expert' skier.

Regarding the ski magazines classifying certain models as expert skis can be misleading - especially if the ski that is being described as 'expert' is a short, narrow, soft all-mountain carver... I am not saying that experts won't ski on this kind of a ski - say a Volkl All-Star, but mot of the skiers you see on that kind of ski will not be experts and being an expert, while it will make the ski easier to use, is not a requirement for it's purchase (sadly). That is how ski companies make their money though. Skis that require that the skier actually be an expert or something close to an expert to pilot fall into the upper ends of the Freeride/Powder ski category and into the Race Stock ski category... Those skis really do require strong skills in order to ski on them in the conditions and terrain that they were meant for.

The real expert will not choose one ski over another because SKI Magazine put it in the All-Mountain Expert category and they classify themselves as all-mountain experts. The real expert skier will choose a ski based on how they ski and the terrain they like to ski on. A bump expert may likely choose a bump ski... a long turn speed freak like Highway Star will choose something that resembles a SG ski crossed with a bulldozer and a 12" x 20' plywood beam (strength and stiffness to weight ratio higher than steel I-beams). My weapon of choice (in the east) is usually a 165cm stock slalom ski or a 180 to 185cm stock GS ski. Experts use the tools that they need/prefer though - not the tools that the SKI Magazine editors say they should use.

Also, I need to add a disclaimer. If you ski on a Metron (or similar) because that is the tool that you need/prefer - that does not make you an expert. It doesn't make you not an expert... but it doesn't automatically classify you as one either. If you ski on a Metron (or similar) because a SKI editor told you to... sadly you are probably not an expert either... [sorry to always pick on Metron skiers... it's not personal - Atomic just made it really easy - hate on them ]. I guess the same applies to the guy from Ohio who goes out an buys a pair of Mantras and skis blue groomers with the wife and kids every day while on vacation at Beaver Creek or Deer Valley.


post #6 of 18
I agree that the ski catagories are more and more blurred, the magazines are trying to nail jello to the wall. Where Heluvas slalom skis will be boarderline dangerous in Paraside after a 2' dump and Highways 190cm 90mm waisted skis will be freight trains on a VW sized bump day on Outer Limits, they suit THEIR ski style to a T. I am assuming you are looking for ONE sKI that will to most everything. The truth be told, there is no ONE ski for everything, at least Al Gore hasn't invented it yet .
post #7 of 18

Just to note, this thread might get heated considering the people so far who replied. You have unknowly reopened one of the great Epic debate topics. Sit back and enjoy.
post #8 of 18
Interesting topic as Realskiers announced that their reviews will incorporate new classifications due to the current are not really accurate. go to a two quiver setup. As Phil said, there is no one quiver ski. too much to cover with one ski. I think more than anyhting, its what you like to ski (terrain) and how you like to ski it (aggressive, laid back, PTMS, PSIA, old sytle, new Sytle) that determines what ski is best for you. (How's that Phil!)
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Good responses so far, and yes, I've been considering whether a new "all mountain" ski might be good. Currently I'm on: Head World Cup SL (161, 2 yrs old), K2 Winter Heats (185s - mogul ski), Volkl P30 GS (188 - on loan to brother), and K2 Extremes (195 - really old rock skis at this point). On most mountains, I I ski better than 90-95 percent of other skiers (depending on the location and conditions - I've been to MRG on some days and felt like more than half the other people were better). I've been living in Maryland for the last few years, but now back in NH and looking forward to some better/more skiing this year.
post #10 of 18
WELL......I can tell you that the skis I listed above are for a long turn freeskiing style, however, they are not any more burly than a 185cm GS ski (without a plate). In the hands of an expert skier, they are very versitle, but have all they performance of a race stock ski, which is what makes them so excellent. If you're an agressive expert with a speed preference, you'll be on a ski like that.

The skis Phil lists are more towards a medium radius turn, and tend to straddle the advanced/expert level, mainly due to construction.......I can't take the K2 Apache, Dynastar 8000 or Atomics that seriously, because I don't like the build quality/design of them. The AC3 and AC4 are considered good skis, but I've never been a fan. The nordica's are pretty good, but they come with markers...BOOOOOO!
post #11 of 18
Originally Posted by TriGuy View Post
On most mountains, I I ski better than 90-95 percent of other skiers
Uh Oh... At least he didn't say 97%... [Nothing personal Triguy just a long-time EpicSki joke...]

Since you already own a 161cm Slalom ski I would say that looking toward an All-Mountain type ski will serve you best. Going too wide will (say over 90mm waist) will not really benefit you unless you are Highway Star, or VERY VERY proficient at carving and getting your skis onto an edge [read that as racer/high level instructor]. Look toward skis that are longitudinally soft and torisionally stiff... Turn radius will have to depend on your turn preference.


post #12 of 18
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
Just pay very close attention to what length was actually demoed.
I do, and that's why I like thier reviews - they test the longest or 2nd longest length. They actually tested the 201 Stockli DP last year. For SKI to test a 175cm, doesn't tell me much.
post #13 of 18
Originally Posted by Phil Pugliese View Post
I.....Highways 190cm 90mm waisted skis will be freight trains on a VW sized bump day on Outer Limits...
Guess what ski I actually Like To Ski Bumps on......195cm K2 AK Launchers, which are 88mm at the waist, and around a 30m sidecut (pretty straight). Mounted with 957 composites. They have no metal, pretty lively, light, straight, moderate flex, but are still a big stable platform to charge on. Great on outer I have some Dynastar Assaults, but I don't feel comfortable on a ski that narrow anymore....
post #14 of 18
***Please read***
Please note that the opinions in this thread will vary greatly. Most everything said will be correct and accurate...from the point of view of the person posting. There will be few wrong answers, make sure you consider the source and the environment and skiing type and preference of the poster.

post #15 of 18
But can't we all agree that there is something kind of funny about calling ski's that are meant mainly for groomed snow "ALL mountain"? Especially "all mountain EXPERT"--since the last time I checked, most of the terrain paost those little gates which say things like "experts only past this point" is un-groomed?
post #16 of 18
The best way to determine what-ski best fits the category is to ignore the ski and instead consider the skier and terrain. Almost any well made ski is potentially an "All-Mountain-expert-ski" when it is matched to the right All-Mountain-expert-skier!

For me the Fischer RX8 or Head Monster im88 or any other great ski is an "All-Mountain-expert-ski". Yes these skis are vastly different and the RX8 is a better "All-Mountain-expert-ski" for Vermont and the Monster iM 88 is a better "All-Mountain-expert-ski" in Utah.

To pick a ski without matching it to the skier and terrain and conditions is pure folly.


Michael Barrett
post #17 of 18
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post
... something like I put together here in the Gear FAQ. Ski reviews that follow that type of classification are much easier to understand and comprehend... as well as easier to draw meaningful information from... Later

The FAQ sticky here and its counterpart in the Ski Tuning forum are really well done. Thanks to everyone that spent the time and shared their expertise to put them together.

Somehow though, they seem to be often overlooked based on the subjects that keep popping up in each forum. Maybe JStaw can apply his artistic and graphic skills to make them more noticeable-have them blink in neon...or something.
Sorry, for this mild hijack.

To get back more or less on topic, including flex pattern information, for example, in ski guides would be helpful in making a determination as to how well a GS or SL turning radius ski might also perform in the bumps. And TriGuy is right: what qualifies as "All-Mountain" conditions in the East is not quite the same as in the West.

In the end, I expect that most of the magazines will be pushing "All-Mountain" (read wider waist) skis because that's the current industry trend. People will buy them regardless of where they live and the fact that they will spend 95% of their time on the groomed. Their final decision between two competing models will be, as before, based on graphics.
post #18 of 18
MTT Says,

You should get a pair of Blizzard Tittan 9 @ 181 or a pair of Stockli Stormrider SS @ 184.

These would be nice all mountain skis for you!

You will find these skis in the Free Ride catigory but hey, Free ride the entire mountain right?
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