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Suggestions needed for skis for hardpack and bump days in the Sierra

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking about augmenting my quiver with a ski that will be good for hardpack days, especially early-season, with an eye towards both fun in the bumps and stability at speed.

Me: 6'1", 205 pounds, 9.5 DIN, 38 years old, skiing since early 70s. Ski off-piste and soft stuff whenever possible, except when conditions are unamenable or when I feel the need for silly speed, especially racing my hard-boot knuckle-dragger housemate. Probably a level 8ish. Recovering glued-ankle Euro-trained guy. I like a decent amount of speed, and I genuinely need to break it out occasionally to catch up with my kids when they are about to get in harm's way or just don't hear me.

Experience:
  • 14-21 days a season from roughly 1974 through 1986, the last two of those seasons spent at Val d'Isere off-piste with guide (thanks to mom and dad deciding we should learn French)
  • 14-21 days total from 1987 through 2002 (thanks to college, relative poverty, living on the East Coast, and marrying a non-downhiller)
  • 7-14 days a season from 2003-2005, primarily at Squaw (thanks to my wife getting the bug, the kids getting hooked, and discovering that the drive was pretty reasonable, all considered)
  • 35-40 days last season, primarily at Alpine Meadows (thanks to my wife and me realizing that since lodging, kids' lessons, and lift tickets total $700/day of skiing, the break-even point for sharing a house, buying season passes, and putting the kids on ski team was about 14 days)
  • Aiming for at least that many days this year, again mainly at Alpine, with early and late season Mammoth trips thrown in for good measure

Current quiver:
  • 188 PM Gear Bro Model Soft -- my everyday Sierra workhorse;
  • 184 Fischer Big Stix 84 -- acquired this off-season for when I don't want to risk the Bros but want a little float;
  • 200 Kastle Carve Machine National Team GS -- for the days on which I feel the aforementioned need for speed; and
  • 180 Salomon Scream Pilot 8 -- my daily drivers for four years until last season, now my rock skis.

None of these really is fun on both hardpack and bumps. The Bros are actually great on just about anything but sheer ice, which thankfully we don't see much of, but are too long and wide for me to find them fun in the bumps. I have yet to ski the Fischers, but I assume they'll be roughly the same at best. The Kastles are great on groomers, but I ain't Plake, and me skiing 200cm skis in bumps is not pretty. I skied the Sollys so little last year that I don't even really remember how they are in bumps, but regardless, they are noodles that lack stability at speed, and I'm at the top of the DIN range on the hostage Pilot bindings and they loosen up pretty bad over the course of the day, let alone a few days.

So I'm looking for something relatively inexpensive (<$200) that will be speed and bump amenable. I have Salomon 912s ready to be mounted (thanks, SAC!), and just need something to put them on.

So here are my thoughts on a few skis that are accessible to me and my budget. Please chime in as willing and able.

Salomon 1080 Mogul: Looks like the Start Haus in Truckee has some 170s they want to dump cheap ($150, and they may even be willing to go lower). They sound great for the bumps, but what about out of them -- will they be even noodlier than the Scream 8s? And is 170 too short?

Volant Genesis V2 Gold or Gravity 68 or Machete Soul or ???: There seem to be a decent supply of new or kindly used Volants out there. I've never skied a Volant, but from what I've read, they sound like they're great on hardpack and ice. But what about in the bumps -- are they too heavy to swing around? And what size?

K2 Apache Crossfire: I have fond twenty-year-old memories of my K2 610 FOs, and my daughter loves her Apache Jrs (basically the kids' version of this ski). But any thoughts about the suitability of these for bumps, and what length?

Some shorter GS skis, probably K2: So the 200s are too long for bumps, but should I think about something shorter? How short? And will they still be too stiff for bumps?

Any other candidates?

Thanks, all.
post #2 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
Volant Genesis V2 Gold or Gravity 68 or Machete Soul or ???: There seem to be a decent supply of new or kindly used Volants out there. I've never skied a Volant, but from what I've read, they sound like they're great on hardpack and ice. But what about in the bumps -- are they too heavy to swing around? And what size?
Be careful of these, although they are great on hard snow, they will fold like cheap lawn chair once they get in the bumps.
post #3 of 27
At ~$200, I would be looking for last years demo the 1st weekend you are up in Truckee. (Good luck…)

Have you been on a short All-mtn cruiser/carver? Something around 168cm.

Stockli Laser SC (168cm) and Volk 6 stars (168cm) are great at bumps and fast cruising.

5 stars would be good too. 175cm would probably be good for you.

It would be tough to get those skis for ~$200.

Warning on the 65-70mm waists are not going to be much fun if you need to ski some 3-4” of warmed up crud.



Do you have a realskiers.com login? This looks like a good realskiers.com research project.


If you only thinking about a few bump runs a day, you might want to look at all-mtn skis with a 75-80mm waist and great edge hold.
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StormDay View Post
Do you have a realskiers.com login? This looks like a good realskiers.com research project.
No. Might be time to invest in it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StormDay View Post
If you only thinking about a few bump runs a day, you might want to look at all-mtn skis with a 75-80mm waist and great edge hold.
Any in particular in mind?
post #5 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
No. Might be time to invest in it.

Any in particular in mind?
I just pick up a pair of 174 Stockli Stormriders XL to replace my 6 stars as my hard snow skis. But, those are not widely available and $$ - check evogear.com.

The Volkl 724 Pro that were listed on epic and TGR would have been good for cruising at alpine, plus taking them into Gentains and expert bumps in High Yellow gully.

If you get Ski mag, look at their All Mtn Expert Free reviews. That is a good starting point.

Keep in mind that a 75-80mm waist is going to feel quick compared to the 99mm Bro’s.
post #6 of 27
Not to hijack, but I too am missing a good hardpack/ice/bump ski in my quiver (my quiver is heavy on the mid fat tip).

I am intrigued by the Stockli's and hope to try a pair this season.

BTW, they demo them at California Ski Company in Berkeley and at the shop at Squaw Creek.

You might want to hit up Tahoe Dave's for some of last year's demos: http://www.tahoedaves.com/demo_sales.htm

I will concur with SD on the fact that a 75-80 waisted ski will feel fast. I demoed a pair of Titan 8's last season and they felt like I was going Mach 8 with my hair on fire. I bought a pair over the summer for $300 (they are an 80 waist). Haven't tried 'em in the bumps, but they railed on hardpack at Heavenly (Oly Downhill).

I have skied the 6 Star, but only in a 175 and was urged to drop down to the 168/170 (but I have a natural fear of short skis, so I didn't demo it in the shorter length).
post #7 of 27
Might want to check out the Volkl G4/41/AX4 -- I have it in a 178cm w/ alpine binding, and 188cm w/ Fritschi, if you'd like to try out either/both.
post #8 of 27
I see that you like your Bros a lot.
How wide do they feel? Can you ski with narrow stance without ski tips hooking each other? I can ski Explosives this way but found out that for Mantras and Gotamas I have to use wider stance (something I do not like to do in powder).
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
Not to hijack, but I too am missing a good hardpack/ice/bump ski in my quiver (my quiver is heavy on the mid fat tip).

I am intrigued by the Stockli's and hope to try a pair this season.

BTW, they demo them at California Ski Company in Berkeley and at the shop at Squaw Creek.
If you do demo checkout the Laser SC. For hard/ice/bumps, it is pretty fun. Initially I was also not sure about going <170cm. But, when I demo the 168 Laser SC I was amazed how stable it was and what great edge hold it had. (This was seasons 4 yrs ago.)

Also, I would demo at Squaw so you could try out a couple different stockli's in the same day. Laser SC, Stormrider XL and Scot Schmidt


Be warned about demoing Stocklis. Be prepared to buy… It took 4 years. But I have been thinking about, looking for a good deal on, Stockli since I demoed them at Taos. A new pair of Stormriders are sitting in my office.
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks, guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skimrg View Post
I see that you like your Bros a lot.
How wide do they feel? Can you ski with narrow stance without ski tips hooking each other? I can ski Explosives this way but found out that for Mantras and Gotamas I have to use wider stance (something I do not like to do in powder).
I haven't had any tip hooking problems, but I started moving to a wider stance before I got them, so I really couldn't opine.
post #11 of 27
oh yeah, they demo Stockli's at one of the "specialty" shops in the new Northstar Village.

though i have to say when I went in there to demo last season the salesperson gave me hella attitude. started saying things to the effect of (not a direct quote, but more the gist of what he said to me): "we only demo to people who are serious about buying. If you just want a nice ski for the day then you should go elsewhere." When I told him the skis I had been testing and what I liked about them he scoffed. "Those are mass market skis for mass market skiers. Nothing is like a Stockli."

Now I understand the whole thing about believing in your product, but this guy was just a conceited a$$.

The guys at Squaw Creek were much less hoity toity (suprising considering the poshness of the resort) and in fact when I went in to demo some Head iM88's the guy suggested that I also try the Stormrider and Scott Schmidt.

Just my impressions...
post #12 of 27
If you search hard, Elan S12's or Dynastar Ski Cross 10's rock on both groomers and Bumps.
post #13 of 27
Most park skis work well in bumps and are a popular option if you do not want a dedicated bump stick. Select a park ski that is fairly straight without a lot of side cut and you should be in good shape.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
Salomon 1080 Mogul: Looks like the Start Haus in Truckee has some 170s they want to dump cheap ($150, and they may even be willing to go lower). They sound great for the bumps, but what about out of them -- will they be even noodlier than the Scream 8s? And is 170 too short?
since no one else commented on this option, i'll give you my $0.02. i ski bumps 90% of my time at WP/MJ. i used the 1080 moguls for about 4 years in the 180 length and tried the 170 length for 1/2 a season as well.

the 1080 mogul is...not very good...anywhere but the bumps. can you get away with it on groomers, ice, powder, crud? sure, i did it all the time....but you won't like it. it IS noodly, the grip on ice is laughable, and there's not much sidecut (if you like that sort of thing). now if you intend to ski bumps a lot, the 1080 mogul is SWEET! zipperline i assume?

as for length, i did not care for the ski in the 170. 180's were just about right for me and i'm only 5'10" 150. at your height/weight, the 170 would probably feel like a toy to you.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post
Might want to check out the Volkl G4/41/AX4 -- I have it in a 178cm w/ alpine binding, and 188cm w/ Fritschi, if you'd like to try out either/both.
He's got Big Stix 84s, so that is covered. Josh, I think you're fine with the big stix.

As I mentioned on tgr (we've met btw...this is Craig) those mid-80s waist, stiffer, not too shapely skis from a few years back (G4s, BS 84s, iM85s, R:Ex) are awesome in spring mush and spring bumps....on really firm snow they're no more "meh" than any other skis - they'll go plenty fast enough and rail med & long turns, they just don't snap off off shorter turns as easily (but who does those ). In HARD bumps they're not the best but they're plenty do-able....

...seriously, if you got something more narrow than the Big Stix I doubt you would ever use them.

oh I had the Machete Soul and those suckers were BURLY.....tougher in bumps than my iM85s if you believe that (and they were shorter, 180 vs 186)...
post #16 of 27
I've got a pair of volkl 5 stars(175) that I may be coerced to part with. They are great on ice and good in the bumps.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
None of these really is fun on both hardpack and bumps. The Bros are actually great on just about anything but sheer ice, which thankfully we don't see much of, but are too long and wide for me to find them fun in the bumps.
Thanks, all.
Stop being such a wus and just ski the bumps FASTER!! on the Bro's
On Ice don't turn so much!! ride the junk on the side at speed:

Or you might take a look at the Bright Green 181 Titan 9's they have on sale at Bobo's Thats a nice little stiffy

PS: I have a pair of 180CM Atomic SX11's they ski differnt than anything you own. Your welcome to use them whenever you like.

I only skied them a few days last winter while my LP's were in for a tune.
post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks, all; good suggestions and input. For the time being, I'll probably stick with what I have, barring a can't-pass-it-up-deal. MTT, I've actually wanted to try the SX11s for a while, so I may have to take you up on that.
post #19 of 27
I've tried numerous skis over the past few years for hard pack and bumps. I still like my 2004 Dynastar SkiCross 10s best. I'm 180#, 5' 11" and ski them in a 170cm length. You can often find new SkiCross 10s from a previous years fairly cheap on eBay.
post #20 of 27
Bobo's still have some piss green T9's in stock?

I love the T8, but am curious about the T9.

Perchance, is it stiffer than an AK No Ka Oi? (that's probably the stiffest ski in my current quiver).

Josh, are you just fiending for snow and filling in the void by thinking about buying new skis you probably don't really need? If so, I'm having the same urges.

post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
are you just fiending for snow and filling in the void by thinking about buying new skis you probably don't really need? If so, I'm having the same urges.
Depends on how you define "need."

The holes in my quiver are (a) non-speed run hardpack and (b) reverse-whatever powder. I have ideas on the latter, but they're all current season or priced as such, so I'm not looking at that seriously right now (although the Praxis Powder is ohhhhhhh so tempting). But the former seems of most use early season and most amenable to used or past-season merchandise. So hey, I'm thinking.

But yes, once I hit the snow, I probably won't stress about it as much.
post #22 of 27


Not familiar with the Praxis Powder ski...and a cursory search online yielded very little...
post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 
Search TGR for Praxis, or look here.
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post

The holes in my quiver are (a) non-speed run hardpack
Like you are going to ski slow on the groomers.:
post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StormDay View Post
Like you are going to ski slow on the groomers.:
I didn't say slow; I said "non-speed run." By "speed run," I mean the days when Sinecure and I try to race each other for laps on Sherwood. Whole different story than, say, groomed or bumped blacks and double-blacks on the frontside.
post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 
Postscript: 300hp on TGR is sending me a pair of 1999-2000 177 Volkl Vectris V20s (103-65-91, seems like the predecessor to the AC series). I'll see how much I use them, and if it looks like they fill a genuine hole in my quiver, I'll consider purchasing a more recent model. If nothing else, they should definitely be an upgrade over my Salomons.

Thanks, all.
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post
I've tried numerous skis over the past few years for hard pack and bumps. I still like my 2004 Dynastar SkiCross 10s best. I'm 180#, 5' 11" and ski them in a 170cm length. You can often find new SkiCross 10s from a previous years fairly cheap on eBay.
I think it's teh combination of the wide tip and narrower tail that make them so versatile. I'm 195 lbs and loved them in a 178.
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