Originally Posted by duke walker
the hut on the montain at alta has 8 or so fat skis in various lengths to demo at $39 a day..........its like an all-you-can -eat buffet. no need to decide in advance.
I recommend the Deep Powder House at Alta. Great ski-in, ski-out location. I tested the latest Heads & Volkls, Rossignols were also available. The skis were in very good shape even late in the season.
Try the Monster 82, 88 and MOJO 90, Also the Volkl AC4 and Mantra.
Last year I tried the following: 177cm Volkl AC4 & Mantra, 175cm Head Monster iM 88, 177cm Head Monster iM 77.
Where: Skied the set at Alta on 3/5/06. Provided by Deep Powder House Ski shop.
Conditions at Alta: 6 to 12" of new natural snow fell on 3/03/06; however the traffic on Saturday skied most into a firm base where groomed and to a soft mogul field where left natural. No bottomless conditions to be found. Blue sky, 18F at dawn, 35F at 3PM.
My specs: 5’ 11", 215lbs. male, 40th season skiing, former USSA & High School 7-day-a-week competitor in New Hampshire. I use a modern carving technique and I like ice as much as I like soft snow. (maybe a little more…)
Boots: 2003 Salomon Course (red, 130 flex).
Ski: 177cm Volkl AC4
Comments: This is a great ski with multiple talents. I enjoyed the edge to edge quickness and the giant slalom or even slalom like turn shapes. The ski responded to tip pressure and could be steered aggressively even in soft choppy snow. At 177cm, it will give you long turns with superb stability and then throw down a series of rapid shorties like it was an RX8. The ski was not especially tiring or demanding to use, yet was very responsive to aggressive input regardless of conditions.
Ski: 177cm Volkl Mantra
Comments: Not the best ski for the hard snow conditions. It will carve on hardpack, but it’s impossible to adjust the line midturn without provoking a skidded turn. It also was not superior to the iM 88 or AC4 in the soft crud and bumps. It took it across a cut up bowl at high speed to see if it would flatten the uneven surface. I got enough shin bang to dim my enthusiasm. This is not an all mountain ski by my definition.
Ski: 175cm Head Monster iM 88
Comments: The iM 88 is the most versatile performer. It would carve on the firmest hardpack and float easily at speed through the steeper crud and bumps. It felt like a much smaller ski on the hardpack, while covering the softer conditions easily. It does have a slight delay in turn initiation, but once it hooks up it dives into turns like a GS ski. I noticed the width of the ski; it required my boots to angulate more from the cuff than from the sole of the foot. I would not want to match the ski with anything less than a recreational race boot like the Course, an “all-mountain” boot won’t cut it with this ski. Plug boots anyone?
Ski: 177cm Head Monster iM 77 (chip & Railflex model)
Comments: With no soft snow to be found the Monster iM 77 became the logical choice. The iM77 was quicker than expected (I had the binding set forward 1.5cm). It was also a serious high speed carving ski with a stiff tail and a real attitude. Much more performance than I was expecting. I could probably use a 170cm with ample stability, the ski is really solid. It was also the quickest ski of the day. However it’s not in the same league as a cheater GS ski, not as quick edge-to-edge, not the same level of grip. But a very good ski for an energetic all-mountain skier.In summery
, The AC4 was the most fun with the biggest wow factor. A great carver, stable, responsive; excellent in variable snow. The iM 88 would be my ski of choice if I lived within two hours of a mountain with frequent deep powder days and I could own only one ski. It cruises the groomed slopes better than many 68 to 78mm wide-underfoot midfat skis and can float a big skier in bottomless conditions. The ski is not quick edge-to-edge, but this is its only weakness. Quiet competence for the all-day all-conditions skier.
The iM 77 feels quick and solid on-piste while managing crud and knee-deep snow easily. Ideal for the East Coast or Midwest skier who fly out-west for 15 days on the slopes each year.