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Ski reco for intermediate looking to get better

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Greetings,

I've combed this board for the last couple days looking for information on intermediate all-mountains and haven't seen much. You guys (understandably) discuss to great lengths all of the expert gear but there isn't much out there for a skier not quite there yet.

I'm about 5'10" 190#, athletic, and ski all kinds fo snow. I'm in the PNW and spend time at Mt. Baker and Whistler (wet, heavy, often cruddy), but also go into interior BC where the snow is completely different from that at home. (Think Utah) I spend a little time in moguls and trees, and would like to spend more as I improve.

I've been looking into:

K2 Apache Stryker
Volkl Unlimited AC2
Dynastar Legend 4800
Atomic M9 Puls
Rossi Bandit B2

I've heard good things about the Nordica Hot Rod Nitrous, but ifno is sparse. Ditto the Salomon X-Wing Blast.

Appreciate any and all input on a good ski choice for me.

Thanks.
post #2 of 25
Advice from a strong intermediate:

I bought the Atomic M9 in a 157 last March. (I am 5-7 @160lbs) Prior to that I skied an '04 K2 Escape 5500 in a 160. A good intermediate level ski, but I had reached a point where I felt the ski was holding me back.

To put it simply the M9 caused me to ski better. The difficult became easier and the scary became doable. I feel the M9 is a ski that I won't outgrow for several seasons. It is a versatile ski that does very well on groomers and can handle crud and moderate powder quite well. By the end of last season I felt like I could go down any groomed black run on the M9. Something I did not feel I could do on the K2.
post #3 of 25
For an intermediate skier there are a lot of skis out there that will do okay for you. If you are looking to improve you might look up a level so that your ski gives you enough performance to improve. The Legend 4800 is a solid ski, the Stryker is a nice ski that really fills a gap that K2 had in their line, you might also consider the Salomon Tornado. Good skis and they will be fun for you. Something like a K2 Recon is very versatile and easy to ski and you might like it, plus it would work for you as you improve.
post #4 of 25
I demoed the X-Wing Hurricane last year and that was a pretty friendly ski that would be good for what you describe. I'd stay away from the Nitrous.
post #5 of 25
For your weight, height, ability, conditions I'd recommend the 06', or 07', Rossi B3 in a 176cm (if you are looking for brand new, the 06' is becoming scarce). The B2 at your size won't be a very good crud buster...You'll be able to overpower it in the conditions we get out here.

Another option that is a more "relaxed" expert ski is the Rossi Zenith Z5 in either a 170, or 176cm. This ski excels at cruising medium/short turns and plays well in crud/chop and some powder.
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks all. I saw the Strykers in a 174 for $550 on eBay but didn't pull the trigger. The Metron seems to get a lot of pub on this site -- the M:10 and :11 moreso than the 9 but it seems like it's kind of a radical ski. Is it kind of a love it or you hate thing?

I have yet to hear a bad thing about the 4800 and that has good availability so I might go in that direction.

Last question -- how much of a difference do the intergrated bindings make versus buying flat and then adding some other bindings to the ski? Is it a marketing gimmick or is there a significant differnce in performance?

Thanks again. Great site.
post #7 of 25
For more of an off piste, crud buster, powder ski you want a flat ski...You don't need the extra height/leverage that the typical "system" binding has. You'll want the extra feel/feedback of a flat system in these conditions.

As for the integrated "system" setups...They are great for carving/on piste skis and alot of skis it's the only way your able to get them anyway.
When carving they do allow the ski to arc more naturally (no flat spots) along it's edge.
post #8 of 25
Check out the Head Monster i.M 72. It's a fantastic ski for an intermediate looking to improve. I've seen a few good deals on them as well, especially if you can get last years model. It's versatile, gives great feedback, and responds well to a good range of speeds so you can pick down a line or tear down the groomers.

For your size I would look at the 170 or 177 depending on how fast you like to ski and what size ski you are normally on.
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I'll add that to the list.
post #10 of 25

Incompatible objectives

Probably won't be a popular point of view, but my 2 cents worth...

Several people have mentioned good, intermediate level all-mountain skis.

However, I believe that the desire to have an all-mountain ski and the desire to "improve" are not congruent. The best ski shape for getting better is a narrower waisted "slalom footprint" with a waist less than 70mm. Skis like this make it easier to "edge" the ski and to feel the edge and to feel the release from the edge. The wider the ski is, the slower it comes up on edge (and the more effort is required) and the faster it goes back flat.
post #11 of 25
A skinny ski might release easier but look at where he is skiing. Mt Bake and Whistler. He's looking for some flotation and a ski that will allow him to progress in those conditions. A slalom footprint will be great on the groomers but not in the heavy deep snow those areas get. Stay with an all mountain ski in the long run you will appreciate the versatility
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by gandalf View Post
Probably won't be a popular point of view, but my 2 cents worth...

Several people have mentioned good, intermediate level all-mountain skis.

However, I believe that the desire to have an all-mountain ski and the desire to "improve" are not congruent. The best ski shape for getting better is a narrower waisted "slalom footprint" with a waist less than 70mm. Skis like this make it easier to "edge" the ski and to feel the edge and to feel the release from the edge. The wider the ski is, the slower it comes up on edge (and the more effort is required) and the faster it goes back flat.
Not trying to start a flame war, so please don't take this wrong way...You obviously haven't skied alot in the PNW have you?
post #13 of 25
My PNW all-mountain skis are 120/65/105 mm wide tip/waist/tail. If the new snow is over a foot deep, I pull out my fatties. I have a season pass at Crystal Mt.

I agree with the recommendations for the narrow waisted ski. For the real powder days, a pair of cheap used Salomon PocketRockets or something similar are good. A ski like the Head i.XRC 800, Head Monster i.M72, or Nordica GranSport S10 or S12 would be great for everything except the deepest days. The narrower waisted skis will be much better on pack, bumps, and steeps. Also, go short on modern skis. I'm 6', 205#, ski the whole mountain, and ski on 170s.

Nordica Gran Sport pricing


Ken
post #14 of 25
To each their own. I don't know too many skiers out here (Mt. Hood and Bachelor areas) that ski anything under 70 anymore, unless they are racers.

I was a skinny ski fan for a long time, but once I tried fat (actually more mid-fat) I've never went back. All my sub-70 waisted skis are just sitting...I've been tempted, from time to time, to get on them again, but then I just think about all the fun I have now and say "maybe another time...I don't want to miss out on the fun I'm now having".

As far as bump skiing goes there's tons of people rockin da bumps w/mid-fats and fats just fine. I personally avoid bumps, not because I can't handle most, it's just that I don't get a stiffy over skiing them. I also don't agree w/the common elitist attitude that to be a great/expert skier you MUST ski bumps and love it.
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by memosteve View Post
To each their own. I don't know too many skiers out here (Mt. Hood and Bachelor areas) that ski anything under 70 anymore, unless they are racers.
memosteve: I'm not at all disagreeing with you or what ski is best for you and the guys you hang with. I don't mean this in a bad way, but it's not about you or any of the other posters. I was surprised that noone in this thread asked Meggs what level of skier he was or what he was wanting to improve.

What I was trying to say (probably poorly) is that I believe there are plenty of people jumping on the "all mountain ski" bandwagon that would be better served working on edging and carving skills on narrower skis and renting wider skis when that suits the conditions of the moment.

However, obviously, I have no idea whether this applies to Meggs either since I didn't bother to ask. I can certainly accept that the ski(s) you are on make sense for you, it sounds like you have been skiing for awhile, but I think we too often make assumptions about the skill level of others on the forum.
post #16 of 25

From the intermediate's persective

Quote:
Originally Posted by gandalf View Post
memosteve: I'm not at all disagreeing with you or what ski is best for you and the guys you hang with. I don't mean this in a bad way, but it's not about you or any of the other posters. I was surprised that noone in this thread asked Meggs what level of skier he was or what he was wanting to improve.

What I was trying to say (probably poorly) is that I believe there are plenty of people jumping on the "all mountain ski" bandwagon that would be better served working on edging and carving skills on narrower skis and renting wider skis when that suits the conditions of the moment.

However, obviously, I have no idea whether this applies to Meggs either since I didn't bother to ask. I can certainly accept that the ski(s) you are on make sense for you, it sounds like you have been skiing for awhile, but I think we too often make assumptions about the skill level of others on the forum.
meggs said two things that are important. 1. He's an intermediate looking to move up and 2. he skis all types of western snow.

With that said and from the perspective of the intermediate I say this:

We are far less concerned with perfecting our carving style than we are with being able to tackle difficult runs in all types of snow. We are looking for satisfaction and growth. That satisfaction comes in the form of being able to ski any black. We could care less about having perfect form. What we want is to be able to ski the difficult runs in an OK manner so we can ski the same runs as our more advanced buddies. As far as perfecting our carving style. We want that also, but we have our priorities. First we conquer the blacks. Later we ski those runs in style. Advanced/expert types can ski narrow skis in all types of snow. We can't and need all the help we can get. Thus the midfat.

With that said, the weapon of choice is a ski that enables us to ski the blacks with control. Thus the midfat. The do everything, go anywhere ski. This season I/we conquer the blacks, groomed and ungroomed with our midfats. Next season, I/we work on carving skills.

It's all about enjoying the sport.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNPete View Post
As far as perfecting our carving style. We want that also, but we have our priorities. First we conquer the blacks. Later we ski those runs in style. Advanced/expert types can ski narrow skis in all types of snow. We can't and need all the help we can get.
So basically what you are saying is that from the perspective of an intermediate, meggs wants to go and learn defensive, inefficient skiing technique by coping on the black runs and then go back later and try to remove all of the artifacts that leaves in skiing technique. He should get a ski that will allow him the perception of being somewhat advantaged off-piste as a short-term replacement for skill improvement. All in the name of doing blacks to keep up with more advanced friends.

If that is the case, I agree he should skip the technical learning/performance skis, skip mid-fat entirely, and go all the way up to something 88+ in the waist. Sure it will be hard to carve with but it will be a lot more stable than any mid-fat will be in the off-piste.

I'd offer a potential alternate definition of intermediate as one who actively and deliberately practices learning to ski well in conditions that faciltate and advance that practice while attempting to apply those skills off-piste. The goal being that actively practicing technique will allow a fast progression to advanced terrain while building a skill base applicable on all terrain and snow types.

For this skier, getting a technical learning skiing should be paramount as it gives better feedback for this practice and gandalf is right on the money.

Neither of these routes is the best way to ski. That is a personal decision. For many people, practicing skill building drills is about the most booring thing they could think of. For others, its an enjoyable practice. It's important to figure out what kind of skier you are and do what you enjoy.
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by onyxjl View Post
Neither of these routes is the best way to ski. That is a personal decision. For many people, practicing skill building drills is about the most booring thing they could think of. For others, its an enjoyable practice. It's important to figure out what kind of skier you are and do what you enjoy.
I hear what you are saying. I agree that techical is important. But for me, I believe that having perfect form on blue runs is of limited value if you can't apply that good technique on the blacks. A big part of achieving that goal is to feel comfortable and confident on the blacks. Once the comfort level is acheived then the technique will follow. And that is what I am saying.

If my focus is simply getting down a steep pitch I am not going to learn much beyond how to get to the bottom. I believe this is true of the vast majority of intermediates.

Personally I can learn good form if that is my focus. I feel I have decent form as it is on the blues, from what instructors have said. I became comfortable on most blacks at the end of last season (due in part to my Metrons). Now I am ready to work on form. A goal for this season.
post #19 of 25
Want to throw in here that even from the point of view of learning technique a 70 mm ski isn't too bad: the extra few mm won't make it that much harder to get the ski on edge. What DOES matter is a ski that's soft enough to carve at speeds an intermediate is comfortable sking at--from that point of view a not to stiff all mountain ski is a good compromise between stabilty and ease of turning. And the Heads are a good bet:

http://levelninesports.com/head-2005...0cm-p-579.html
post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 
SNPete -- I wish I'd written that. That captures it perfectly.

Thanks for all the input. This is exactly the discusssion I was hoping for.
post #21 of 25

Waist size? Go figure

I think this point on mid waist size is an important debate. In general, what is consider an ideal "all mountain" mid waist size? Consider this for an intermediate skier who wants to improve. Some of you are arguing for something smaller than 70mm, other are saying 70mm or above. The skis that Meggs have mentioned to ski on (waist size) range from 72mm to 75mm and up. I can remember just a few years ago having 68mm was considered a midfat ski. Things are changing so much. To me I am considered the Salomon XW Blast and the Rossi Z3 or Z5. However the Blast is a 75mm waist while the Z3/Z5 are 72mm waist. I don't know how much of 3mm to 5mm will make a big difference when edging. Lets add another factor: powder skiing vs. groomed runs. This will change the dynamics to what type of ski?
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by meggs View Post
SNPete -- I wish I'd written that. That captures it perfectly.

Thanks for all the input. This is exactly the discusssion I was hoping for.
Takes one (an intermediate) to know one (an intermediate)

Hmm. Maybe there should be a forum for the intermediate on this board. Or at least a few to the point threads.
post #23 of 25
I was in the same situation last year and bought a pair of Head Monster I.M. 72's as were mentioned by a previous poster in this thread. I think they're great. They can do everything I ask of them and more. Much to my disgust, you can get some great deals on last year's model. Same ski, different topsheet.

The only qualm I have with my skis is that I almost wish I had gone shorter. I'm 5'10" and 150lbs, skiing on 170s. I think I would have been better off on the next length down, but without any opportunity to demo I had to make a decision without a chance to try the different lengths.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baukerman View Post
I think this point on mid waist size is an important debate. In general, what is consider an ideal "all mountain" mid waist size? Consider this for an intermediate skier who wants to improve. Some of you are arguing for something smaller than 70mm, other are saying 70mm or above. The skis that Meggs have mentioned to ski on (waist size) range from 72mm to 75mm and up. I can remember just a few years ago having 68mm was considered a midfat ski. Things are changing so much. To me I am considered the Salomon XW Blast and the Rossi Z3 or Z5. However the Blast is a 75mm waist while the Z3/Z5 are 72mm waist. I don't know how much of 3mm to 5mm will make a big difference when edging. Lets add another factor: powder skiing vs. groomed runs. This will change the dynamics to what type of ski?

The Z5 (at least the 06' model) is a 75mm waiste.
post #25 of 25
Peter Keelty has a very good web site with ski reviews. I've found that the cost of a subscription to his site is money very well spent when I'm considering buying equipment.
http://www.techsupportforskiers.com/ski_reviews.html

In addition to the Head Monster 72, consider Rossi B2 or Z3 Oversize, Nordica Hot Rod Overdrive or Gran Sport 12 or 14, Fischer RX 8 or 6, Elan Magfire 10, Dynastar Contact 11, Atomic M11.

As always, many of these skis are very different from each other, while all would be suitable for a progressing intermediate skiing just about all mountain. Demoing the skis that interest a person is more money very well spent. A ski that is suitable does not mean that skis characteristics are the best match for you and best ski for your money. Demo.


Ken
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