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Atomic SL:11 vs. Volkl Allstar - Page 2

post #31 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesgig View Post
Since I only ski in the east, and have only seen 1 day with more than 1/2 inch of snow on the hill in 3 years, I really just need a ski that can handle hard surfaces and icehockey rinks.
not to get locked into the skier rating thing, because it can be a counter-productive digression from what you're looking for here, but a level 8 or 9 skier would have no difficulty in cut-up crud or powder. based on the above, i'll venture to say that any foray from the hardpack into the slough-and-puff might just MIGHT have you re-examining the level at which you place yourself.

good luck with your shopping. don't be too averse to going with a ski that seems below your level; you may find just the right ski for your progression, and be so much happier than getting a "name" ski that does you a disservice.
post #32 of 64
Thread Starter 
Almost any ski will be a major improvement over what I currently have. I need this ski to last at least 2 years, so I want to have to "grow" into it a little so I am not being held back by the ski for as long. If I go to college in a year, it will probably have to last 3 years, so I will definitely need a ski that will allow me to grow into it. This is why I am somewhat hestitant about the 5* or other ski in that category, though this is probably the best ski for this season. When I tested the 5 star I felt as I could probably go a little stiffer, and the next level up would be the skis that may be a little too stiff for me right now, but 20 lessons down the road may be just right. Just because I would compare myself to higher level skiers does not mean that I have nothing to learn so I also need my ski to allow for that.

Thanks for your advice.
post #33 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesgig
Based on those clips, I am definitely not a 7. I would probably be somewhere around the 8 and 9. From what I have been told, both skis should be in contact with the snow at all times...as always please correct me if I am mistaken. If you watch the 8, frame for frame, you will see that he lifts the inside ski when initiating the next turn, something I have been drilled to death on. From the waist down, I think that I would be a 9, but from the waist up, probably somewhere around an 8.

Based on that logic, would a shorter radius ski be the way to go, or is my theory flawed?

Thanks
Keeping skis in contact with the snow only applies on hero snow. If you watch any WC race, the skis are quite often pivoted in mid-air. Beware of narrow characterizations in defining a broad skill set. For instance, here is a clip of Thomas Grandi, an obvious lvl 10 WCer, freeskiing on glare ice.

http://www.youcanski.com/video/grandi_fr1.wmv

His skis are in the air for almost the majority of the time, but he is able to bend those gs boards into a very powerful turn with almost no apparent effort. Are you better than him too? :

Let's see some video this season.
post #34 of 64
Thread Starter 
If you watch closely, everytime his ski leaves the ground, it comes down on a different arc than it should be on. This requires a slight adjustment and produces slightly wobbly tracks, and therefore slows him down. Not to say that I am better than him as I could not get to those more extreme angles, just an observation.
post #35 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesgig View Post
If you watch closely, everytime his ski leaves the ground, it comes down on a different arc than it should be on. This requires a slight adjustment and produces slightly wobbly tracks, and therefore slows him down. Not to say that I am better than him as I could not get to those more extreme angles, just an observation.
Just wondering... Do you realize how this sounds? You've been skiing three years and are doing this kind of analysis on a world cup racer?

Of course, I've only been skiing for 36 seasons, and only skied about 40 days last year. I'm not quite a 9, yet, although I'm playing with it in an effort to get there.
post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
Just wondering... Do you realize how this sounds? You've been skiing three years and are doing this kind of analysis on a world cup racer?

Of course, I've only been skiing for 36 seasons, and only skied about 40 days last year. I'm not quite a 9, yet, although I'm playing with it in an effort to get there.
Nope Steve . Do the math .You get awarded 3 levels for each year you ski. You are a 108.
I am a 141.
Hey Bob Peters what might that make you??

Enough of this silly ski rating b.s. The best skiers I have ever seen and skied with are not concerned with any ratings they know they are as good as their last turn and that is all they care about.
Actually more accurately all they care about is their next turn , the last is in the past and not worth a moment's consideration
post #37 of 64
James, the videos you saw are showing a purely carving perspective. In reality there is alot more to it than that and to be a full level 8, 9 etc... you need to be able to have the skills to perform in all manner of conditions not jsut the icy groomers we see so frequently here in Southern PA. This thread has been for the most part based on matching a ski (expert ski) to a particualr skill level. A ski is not a staus symbol, it a tool. A few years ago Tom-PM recomeneded to me when buying a new set of sticks that I look at it more from the perspective of a skill set. What do you want to learn.

You said your a good carver already. Are you equally good in short turns and long turns? Can you carve silky smooth on ice? How are you at speed control on steeps? What about your bump skiing? I fuly agree that a nice new carver will be a total hoot to go screaming at high speed. But If you think your carving is already top notch then you might want to branch out to learn something different.

Also from a purely practical perspective, you wouldn't have cleats as your only shoes. If you really are only going to have one set of skis all the time, maybe go with somethign a little more versatile / user friendly. After skiing the allstars, SX12s, everyday fora whole season you will end up hurting. Another thing to consider is the boots. Getting a new set of sticks will not be that amazing if you boots are soft and flexy and don't let you get enough power to really push those edges in and do what you want them to do.
post #38 of 64
Thread Starter 
I am a good carver all around, I can make short long, slow, or fast turns on any hill I have skied on. When the edges on my skis do not look like quarter round, I can ski on ice. Lately in my lessons I have spent a great deal of time in the bumps which I can now get through better than most people I have seen, though at times, it is not pretty...like when you have to dodge the caves in the bumps or go over the 3 ft cliff with a fallen skier in it.
post #39 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesgig View Post
I am a good carver all around, I can make short long, slow, or fast turns on any hill I have skied on. When the edges on my skis do not look like quarter round, I can ski on ice. Lately in my lessons I have spent a great deal of time in the bumps which I can now get through better than most people I have seen, though at times, it is not pretty...like when you have to dodge the caves in the bumps or go over the 3 ft cliff with a fallen skier in it.
Sounds to me that you are a good enough skier that you should know the skis that you need. You're far better than I am from this description.
post #40 of 64
Thread Starter 
Knowing how to ski is different from knowing what ski to ski. I do not know, from lack of experience, how stiff I want a ski, or how long, or what sidecut. Only by trying the different combinations, is one able to determine what works best. Unfortunately, I cannot do this as it is June and there is no snow withing a days drive of here (maybe longer), so I have to rely on what other people similiar in size and ability ski.

On the note of versatility, I do not usually too many bumb runs in an evening because my knees just cannot take it after I crashed going over a rail.
post #41 of 64
Gee guys, This thread is getting monotonous. anyone else feel that way?
post #42 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesgig View Post
>>>>> in the bumps which I can now get through better than most people I have seen,.
would you say, perhaps, better than 97% of the folks?? Hmm?:
post #43 of 64
Post to for balance
post #44 of 64
Tell us what you REALLY care about, what you MOST want the skis to excell at, and what you don't really care about. I gather from earlier posts that you want them to excel on hard snow, and don't really care much for bump behavour. Do you care that they feel good at high speed, low speed, or all speeds? Am I right about softsnow behaviour being secondary to hard snow behaviour. What about turns, do you want to compromize or go long radius high speed only, or perhaps short radius mid to high speed?

IMHO, even an intermediate who is bound and determined to ski downhill event runs on the qt when nobody's looking will be better off on DH race skis than SL9s.
post #45 of 64
Thread Starter 
in order of importance:

-hard snow
-mid-high speed
-shorter turns <15m radius
-bump performance (not critical)
-powder (really doesnt matter as I at most may see powder 3 times per season)

*must last 2-3 years.

anything else, just ask
thanks
post #46 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesgig View Post
in order of importance:

-hard snow
-mid-high speed
-shorter turns <15m radius
-bump performance (not critical)
-powder (really doesnt matter as I at most may see powder 3 times per season)
thanks
Although I suspect you're looking for Allstar recommendations, here's my advice.

Head 1200 SW in 170 ~14m (last years-haven't been on this years yet).
Fischer WC RC in 170 ~14m

In terms of pure hard snow performance, I found both of these to surpass the Allstar, the 1200 in particular. Both are rock solid stable at speed with edge grip to spare. Very exhilarating high speed mid to long radius turns. Both are very stiff torsionally, stiffer than the Allstar.

The Head had has a very damp, unshakeable, magic carpet feel.

The Fischer's are very different. Tough feel to describe. Picture chalk running across a blackboard. A little odd at first but you will quickly get used to it and even appreciate the feedback from the snow that this feel provides.

The Fischer, on the rack, is VERY stiff longitudealy (sp?) but doesn't behave that way on the snow. It's sidecut makes it fairly easy to bend on hard snow.

The Head is not as stiff on the rack but has a beautiful progressive flex that won me over in the end.

A skier of your ability would really enjoy either one of these for the type of skiing you are describing.

Good luck.
post #47 of 64
I ski on the Volkl Allstar, 168 cm (I've skiied on Volkls for over 20 years so I'm kind of biased), so take my recommendation with a grain of salt.

This last spring I tested the 2006/2007 5 Star in a 161 just to see how short I could go, and I really liked it. It was stable at speed (I was ripping as big of arc as I could to stay ahead of my ski school TD), and was a versatile ski.

If you're leaning that way, I recommend them highly. As Ghost suggests, the 165 to 170 cm length should work for you (5 Star comes in 168).
post #48 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckimson View Post
I ski on the Volkl Allstar, 168 cm (I've skiied on Volkls for over 20 years so I'm kind of biased), so take my recommendation with a grain of salt.

This last spring I tested the 2006/2007 5 Star in a 161 just to see how short I could go, and I really liked it. It was stable at speed (I was ripping as big of arc as I could to stay ahead of my ski school TD), and was a versatile ski.

If you're leaning that way, I recommend them highly. As Ghost suggests, the 165 to 170 cm length should work for you (5 Star comes in 168).
Fischer RX8.

In the Fischer RC4 WC line the SC has the short radius, RC is a little longer. The RX8 will do better on really small hills when you don't have the time to drive out to a bigger one, and in bumps, and making slow turns in that untouched snow on that steep part under the lift. The WC SC is a blast going fast, but it is a little stiff for bumps and doesn't feel quite as smooth as a purpose built long radius ski doing sweet long arcs. I'm partial to making sweet high-speed arcs, even if only 3 will fit on a 600 ft vertical hill. I think an SX11 is still the best compromise in terms of radius, but if your sure you want to make small turns, it's WC SC for blasting, and RX8 for everything.

From what I've heard the Head Supershape should work as well, but I haven't tried it.

The only volkl I'm familiar with is my daughter's Porsche, Basically a slalom carver with a mid radius. A good ski for everything except frozen crud; it doesn't have enough mass for that.
post #49 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
You're far better than I am from this description.
Of course he is, he has only been on the board for 55 posts. There appears to be an inverse correlation to perceived skiing skill and amount of posts. I could carve up the hardpack and kick Grandi's ass when I first showed up here too.

Jamesgig, take a look at a Nordica SpeedMachine 16.1.
post #50 of 64
Both the Head 1200 and Fischer RC sound like good choices, based on what I've read and seen (I haven't skied them). I think the older 1100 is the same as the newer 1200.

I believe that your carving is as good as you say it is. When I switched from alpine snowboarding to skiing, I could carve extremely well. However my freeskiing could still use some improvement. I am currently using 176 cm m666's and 201 cm Atomic SG's. I think you would probably not be satisfied with less than an expert level carving ski. Keep in mind that it may take a little getting used to. When I was alpine snowboarding, at one point I bought a board that was monstrously stiff and difficult to ride at first, but the performance gains over the next 5 or 10 times out were incredible (I also put some significant size on my legs).

As far as the video, I noticed that he caught some air between some of the turns, but this was from rebound and not from pivoting, and is not so much out of the area of good form, if at all. I think what you were referring to was the chatter, which is another matter altogether. In my experience, this depends a lot on the ski (or board). Some skis and boards simply track more smoothly than others. Doneks are the best example of this that I know of. Some of it is flex and some of it is the form of the sidecut (as in single radius, multiple radii, ellipse, or some other form).

In SG and DH skis, as opposed to GS and SL, the manufacturers tend to make the center of the ski a bit stiffer. Generally when the midsection is that stiff, the ski will keep a constant line and will not get thrown off course even when the tip and tail are chattering wildly (literally like a wet noodle). Also, at least in this category, I have noticed that Atomics dissipate the larger vibrations better than other skis, which is probably a big part of why they are so fast. Analyizing a ski with respect to flex, dampness, rebound energy, and chatter potential can get pretty complicated.

I suggest going over to www.sport1.at and checking out the the men's Aare GS (RTL in German). You will have to sign up first, but it's free and quick (you may have to use a translator). In the top three finishes you will see completely different styles for both the skiers and the skis.
post #51 of 64
I usually advise against getting a ski to grow into. You develop tactics and habits to deal with the stiffness and torsional rigidity of a ski, and most often these just have to be unlearned later. Heluvaskier is pretty much dead-on in his suggestions. Your're going from a noodle low-intermediate ski to a top-of-the-line ski. That jump in performance is not a small one.

That said, most consumer slalom skis aren't all that unforgiving to someone with a solid skill set. Since from what I can tell, you are a groomed snow, small hill skier (nothing wrong with that). A slalom ski would make those hills much more fun, and are stable up to about 30-40 MPH in arc-to arc skiing (depending on the driver and the snope). At that point, most patrollers at small hills will pull your pass, and with good reason.

As for Grandi, you are nowhere near in his league. He is in the top of the game in a very tough sport. If he is a 9, the very best skiers on this board are less than an 8. I've have the honor to ski behind him, and he is amazing even freeskiing. The PSIA rating system was never designed to cover skiers at his level- he and racers like him are beyond classification. I expect your instructors would agree. Enter your average USSA race and see where you fall in. Then realize that none of the skiers present would make the cut at a Europa Cup race, much less on the World Cup. If after 3 years of PSIA (or any other) instruction you are at that level, please tell us who your instructors are. They are magic.
post #52 of 64
James, I find it amusing that you have been at this forum only a few months, skied for only a few years, and now have the ability to criticize and critique accomplished skiers - all the way up to the best racers on the WC - admittedly some of the best, if not the best, skiers in the world. This is something that you are really not qualified to do, and based on what your observations were, proves your lack of qualification. Since your arrival in July you have asked a few questions and made a few statements like the following solidifying such assumptions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesgig
What is the ideal weight distribution during a turn? What percentage of your weight should be on the outside ski and on the inside? I have heard 50-50, 60-40, and 80-20. Which is correct?

during my lessons,my instructors usually say to shoot for 50-50 so if you loose your grip on the outside ski you wont go down. I have a lot of trouble getting 50-50 so I am ususally between 60-40 and 70-30. I have been told that 100-0 is a bad thing since the inside ski will not be cutting through the snow properly and leaves you totally dependent on the outside ski's ability to keep you off the snow.
You also posted the following in this very thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesgig
After reading several descriptions of levels (provided by people on this site) I would describe myself as a high 8-low 9. These levels are mostly described as being able to make dynamic parallel turns on almost anything, which I do. I do not know what would happen if I were put in powder since I have never seen more than 3 inches so I disreagarded that part. I have been skiing for three years and have taken about 80-90 lessons so this will be my second pair of skis, hence the Verse 5.
Now, you stated that you can perform excellent dynamic parallel turns, and have a better parallel turn than most people. That is great. Now, realize that a dynamic parallel turn is not high level skiing. The turns being done in the level 7 video I posted were, you guessed it, dynamic parallel turns. Those turns were being demoed by a level 3 PSIA instructor, who I believe is a former D-Team member (might be wrong on that though). Since you are regurgitating the term dynamic parallel I assume that you have been fed that phrase by your instructors. These same instuctors who you claim are very good would certainly not mis-label the turns you were making - so I have no doubt that your turns are dynamic parallel turns.

That unfortunately is not a broad base of skills. Expert skiing is about a broad skill base and the ability to adapt those skills to any kind of terrain on any mountain in any kind of conditions. You are demonstrating one, albeit, low level skill. It is a useful and important skill, but not expert skiing. Interestingly, in a dynamic parallel turn, your weight distribution has a quite less extreme variance than in a high performance turn. Since I have already addressed that particular issue I will leave it alone for now - but your questions speak volumes about your ability and the kinds of turns that you are capable of making.

These revelations put you at about a level 7 at the highest possible point - assuming you could make those turns on any in-bounds terrain you got plopped down on - which based on your experince is moderately doubtful. You should however, stop thinking in terms of skill level, or how difficult of terrain you ski on. Instead if someone asks you how well you can ski you should be able to list off your skills, how proficient you are at them, how often you are doing them... etc. When looking for a pair of skis you should know what you want it to be able to do in order to best compliment your skill set. The skis I originally mentioned to you in a 160 to 170 length are the skis that more than fit your skill set. Those skis will perform at your haralded level 9 - there is no doubt in my mind - they just do it a lot easier than the skis you WANT to be skiing on.

A true expert should be able to do pretty much everything (I will compile a short abbreviated list consisting of things that are required for expert skiing):
Cross over
Cross Under
Cross Through
ILE
Weighted release
Unweighted release
High angle carving
Low angle carving
SR turns
LR turns
MR turns
Zipper line bumps
Carve/scarve bumps
Navigate a GS course (well)
Navigate a SL course (fairly well)
Powder Skiing
Crud Skiing
Hop turns
One footed skiing (either foot)
Dynamic Parallel
Parallel
Wedge
Carving on varied terrain
Scarve on nearly any terrain
Carve powder
Traditional Powder skiing
Half pipe
Jump (table tops and cliffs if they happen to be in the way)
EDIT:
Pivot slips
etc... This does not represent a complete list, but just a snippet of what a 'level 9' skier should be capable of...

Now the catch? Alot of level 8 skiers can doo all of what I listed above, but they aren't level 9 skiers yet. Why? Well that catch is that you also have to be nearly technically flawless at everything you do. The other catch is that you are probably constantly learning and evolving your skiing, so there will always be people who will be able to give you advice that will positively affect your skiing. Some of the best skiers you will ever meet will also be the ones who are the most eager to learn something new or conquer the next task. They will rarely be the guy that stands up and says "I'm an expert, I'm better than most people out there..." The reason for this is because that truly good skiers also know their limitations, and that a skill that they are working on - someone else has already mastered.

Finding the right gear is just a method of getting you to where you want to be. Race car drivers do not make the jump from driving go-carts to racing a Formula 1 car. There are steps a long the way that provide the opportunity to learn. Something that is easier to drive will offer an easier time learning high level skills. You do not want to spend your time trying to figure out how to make the skis work while you are also trying to master new skills. That is just fighting two battles when in reality you should only be focused on one. Stepping up your skill set will only be made easier by complimenting your learning with the correct equipment. Purchase skis that will help you in your journey to be a level 9 skier, not skis that will only help you when you reach the destination.

Later

GREG
post #53 of 64
I don't understand all the reluctance here to recommend a top-end ski. The Volkl Allstar in a 161 is going to make this guy's day. He is taking lessons and can work through any problems. If he wants to relax, just back off the edges. An Allstar can be skied lazy and allowed to skid. Meanwhile it gives him all the grip and high performance he wants when he is on it. For an Eastern skier, I see no problem with this at all. Lets get off the "I doubt you are as good as you think you are" crap and give the guy the benefit of the doubt. At worst, he will have to improve to catch up with these skis. Fortunately, he has a lot of help in getting there and does not have to worry about descending big powder bowls, cirques, couloirs, or cornices. Have fun, and go for it James.
post #54 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier
Level 9+++ (okay Level 10):
Andrew Weibrecht

Later

GREG
I love the double pole plants!!!!
post #55 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
I don't understand all the reluctance here to recommend a top-end ski. The Volkl Allstar in a 161 is going to make this guy's day. He is taking lessons and can work through any problems. If he wants to relax, just back off the edges. An Allstar can be skied lazy and allowed to skid. Meanwhile it gives him all the grip and high performance he wants when he is on it. For an Eastern skier, I see no problem with this at all. Lets get off the "I doubt you are as good as you think you are" crap and give the guy the benefit of the doubt. At worst, he will have to improve to catch up with these skis. Fortunately, he has a lot of help in getting there and does not have to worry about descending big powder bowls, cirques, couloirs, or cornices. Have fun, and go for it James.
+1
I too don't get it, but I admit to not having near the expertise of most on this board. To me the skis we are discussing are not hard at all to put on edge and carve turns on hardpack with. They are fairly forgiving, short enough to make easy recoveries on, and fairly soft compared to racing equipment. To hear some people talk you would have to be a WC racer to ski a Fischer WC ski. It's not like he's going to get a Hayabusa and ride it at 180 mph down the Gardiner Expressway.
post #56 of 64
While I don't think that you guys are wrong if he's good enough, if he's not, the less-forgiving nature of the higher-end skis could help him develop fairly significant compensatory movements. If you've ever been on skis that you can't actually decamber, you'll know what I mean. If he can't actually balance on a carving edge, he may find these higher-end skis completely unmanageable.

It's difficult to know, however, how refined his skills are without seeing him ski. We can be pretty certain that he's not nearly as skilled as he thinks he is, which is part of what makes it very difficult to help.
post #57 of 64
If he has the money, he can buy whatever ski he wants. That's the beauty of a free-market economy. I wouldn't suggest the Fischer WC Slalom as a freeskiing ski for the average skier, and I doubt anyone else here would. However, other consumer slaloms like the SL:11 or similar models from Dynastar or Rossignol are forgiving enough to be used in that manner- with the proper skillset.

I've seen waaaaayyy too many skiers on skis they couldn't efficiently use because of form issues, body weight, or a combination of both.
post #58 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
It's difficult to know, however, how refined his skills are without seeing him ski.
Exactly. He skis enough he should be able to easily demo either of the skis he asked about rendering our assessment of his true skiing skills irrelevant to his purchasing decision. I believe this is why the "demo, demo, demo" mantra is repeated so often.

If he doesn't have the opportunity to demo, or is trying to buy at a savings, I would suggest it is probably a poor decision to purchase a high performance ski without having spent time skiing a simillar ski.

The "which ski for me" threads which lead to a buying decision are always a crap shoot. This one no more than the last. It is only causing a debate because he dared to say the vaunted level 9 versus the hundreds of posts by people claiming to be level 8 who are likely significantly overestimating as well.

Jamesgig, you mention the shop recommending not going with the SL:9. I disagree and actually think this would be a perfect ski for you to pick up in great condition used. It would be a low cost/risk way to get into a higher performance carving SL ski that is excellent to continue learning on. You can find them for less than $300 with bindings.
post #59 of 64
Thread Starter 
I went to my local shops today and after several lenghty conversations regarding my abilities and size, I decided on the Head i.Supershapes. From what the guys at the shop said, they are less stiff and more versatile than an sl ski and based on the lessons I have taken (which we both were on the same page about), I should have no problem with them. I do realize that it may require some work to get used to a high end ski from what I had. Demoing definitely would have been nice though, but I cannot afford full price in January.

Thanks for all your help
post #60 of 64
It sounds like the guys at your local shop knew what they were doing; the Super shapes will prove a much better ski to take lessons on and improve than those other high-speed-only top performers (just don't aim them straight at the bottom or you might end up there on a sled). I hope you like short radius turns.
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