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Ski Selection Help...Take me to the Next Level

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I am looking to buy some new gear. I am 5'10" 215 fairly athletic and ski almost exclusively at Sunday River. My ability is Advanced I can ski almost any Black Diamond or Double Black....I like steep and fast but hate bumps (only becsause I can't ski them well...It is survival skiing at its best).

I want to improve this year to get to the next level and be able to ski bumps and trees without killing myself.

I am looking at a 2 ski quiver (three if I can swing it). Skis I am seriuosly considered are Apache Recon 174s and Volkl AllStar 177s. I plan to use the AllStars to rip down the flat side of White Heat and they seem to be a great groomed/hardpack ski...perfect for the East.

The Recons will be used as my Snow Day ski and for when the trails get chopped up and crud and junk is everywhere.

My third ski would be the Mantra for when we get that rare powder day and for my one western trip. Do you think the mantra would be a good choice for eastern conditions or should I just rent/demo out west?

Are these good choices and will they help me improve?


I have been skiing Volkl 6* and 724Pro.

Thanks!!!!

Think Snow.
post #2 of 18
Okay, I've skied the 6*, the 724, and the Recon. The Volkl is a much more demanding ski in my humble opinion. The Recon is funner, but I think it might be a "step down" in terms of it being a much less demanding ski than either of the Volkls you are on.

If you really need to get a new ski, you might consider getting something a little wider (awaiting the throngs of those against wider skis to chime in) to compliment what you already have.

The M:EX is pretty sweet at 84mm underfoot. The Volkl Karma is good, too (I have these) at 87 underfoot. There's also the Mantra (94 underfoot). There's plenty of other midfats that you can look into that would compliment the 6* and 724 you already have.

Personally, I'd just stick with the 6* and maybe demo a wider pair or two during the season. I'm not familiar with Sunday River, but am guessing it's on the EC, so a grippy gripper is probably what is going to be your main ski with something a little wider for those powder days, eh?
post #3 of 18
OK....first things first.

IMO...........A three ski quiver for an Eastern guy should include skis of roughly the following widths. (the first two slots should have substantial edge grip)

#1 68-72mm......You already have a very good ski in this category.

#2 76-84mm......You need this one, but the Recon may not be the best choice.

#3 90+.............You may not really need this one, but it's fun to have. The mantra would be fine. Don't agonize over this one, just buy a Mantra if you decide you need to own one in this category.

Slot #2.......Big subject.

In general, if you are a Volkl fan you probably will not care terribly much for the Recon. It is not at it's best on really hard snow and will not feel anything like a Volkl as far as temperment. If you choose something in the mid-high 70's here, three choices that come to mind are the Volkl AC-3, Fischer AMC 76, and the Nordica Top Fuel. If you choose something in the Mid 80's, the skis that come to mind are the AC-4, and Nordica Jet Fuel and Afterburner.

Note that if you fill slot #2 with a ski in the mid 80's the need to own slot #3 diminishes somewhat.

SJ
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks...I am a little nervous about going to fat fatter ski. I love the 6* it is great at speed awesome edge hold but a very small sweet spot. When I am on it is great I can link turns and can feel the ski pull me across the and through the turn. The 724 Pros are a little harder for me to get on edge that is why I thought about the Recon it it a littler more forgiving I have read as is the Allstar compared to the 6*.

Is the Mantra good ski to learn how to ski powder on?

Thanks!
post #5 of 18
First off, I'm a bit stoked that my "recommendations" were more or less in line with SierraJim, who is infinitely wiser than I am.



Secondly, I "learned" to ski powder on a pair of 198 Rossi 7S, which are 1. way longer than your 6*'s and 2. way narrower than your 6*. So, one can learn to ski powder in any size ski, really.

However...a wider ski will give you more float.

Also, DON'T FEAR THE FATTIES. They really aren't that fat and the way they handle isn't what you'd expect.

I will admit that I do a fair more amount of what I call "letting loose" and "gliding" on the Mantra than on my other skis, but they're fun and definitely were my dedicated powder ski last season (I also ride the Karma which is 87 underfoot and an AK No Ka Oi, which is 78 underfoot...but neither of those saw any real powder).

I'd say demo a pair of the Mantras and maybe the Karma. Other suggestions would be the B3, which is in the mid-80s underfoot.
post #6 of 18
My east coast quiver consists of:

*Fischer RX-8 -- 66mm waist, hardpack carver
*Elan M66, 76mm waist -- all mountain "go to" ski, can do a little of everything well, cruises like a Cadillac if desired
*Atomic Sweet Daddy, 80mm waist -- new in my quiver this year, will slot between the RX-8/666 and Karma nicely (on paper that is; yet to be skied)
*Volkl Karma, 87mm waist -- soft snow, powder, fun ski

As far as bumps, I think it's much more about technique than the skis. I hope to share some "moguls for dummies" tips after I test my theory on the hill in the next month. For now I can say is that of all my skis, the M666 is the easiest for me to ski in bumps for whatever reason. I haven't tried the Atomics yet, but more than one reviewer has commented they are good in bumps. Either way, you won't get a breakthrough in moguls because of the skis -- it comes from technique and practice. Lessons are key!

Powder skiing can be done on any skis. A couple years ago, all I had were the RX-8 and had a blast on them in powder (but crud was not fun on those skis). And many years ago, we all skied skinny skis on powder. Today's fatter skis make it easier to ski powder, but technique is still important, and you can work that on almost any ski. That said, the Karmas are *sublime* in powder. Personally, I would not go any wider than 90mm for an East coast ski because then the ski becomes less useful for all-mountain skiing -- like when you hit a groomed trail between powder stashes. We're not in Utah....
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by eccski357 View Post
Thanks...I am a little nervous about going to fat fatter ski. I love the 6* it is great at speed awesome edge hold but a very small sweet spot. When I am on it is great I can link turns and can feel the ski pull me across the and through the turn. The 724 Pros are a little harder for me to get on edge that is why I thought about the Recon it it a littler more forgiving I have read as is the Allstar compared to the 6*.

Is the Mantra good ski to learn how to ski powder on?

Thanks!
This post changes my thinking to some degree. It sounds like you might be a bit overgunned with your current gear. The 6* and the 724 Pro are both a handful for sure. The AS, while somewhat easier to manage, is not a huge improvement in sweet spot over what you have.

So.......I made my initial suggestions based upon an assumption that you are very agressive and were managing your current crop of stiff skis pretty well. If in fact, you feel that possibly your current skis are sometimes managing you rather than the reverse, then maybe some more easy going stuff is a viable choice.

Finally........ "Is the Mantra good to learn to ski powder on?"

Honestly, I would say no it may not be the best choice. The dynamics of skiing in deep snow are that the ski has to flex to turn you. The Mantra is a pretty stiff ski, and while your weight is enough to bend it under normal circumstances, you will still need some speed to get it to come around for you. If you are confident and agressive in the deep off trail stuff, then I'd say OK, go for it. But when you say "learn" to ski powder, that spooks me some. While eventually, the Mantra may be a great choice as I earlier suggested, it may not make a great learning tool for you.

So.....maybe I'm misreading your last post, but despite your originally stated agressiveness, it sounds like you have some issues with stiffer skis. I'm not making further suggestions in this reply, because I'm not quite sure where you really are with agressiveness and confidence.

SJ
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I am agressive and not afraid of speed or steeps. If it is groomed I can rip it. I get messed up in crud and bumps and skid most of my turns in those conditions. With the 6* I ski fast and use the entire trail (when possible) making large turns GS style. In most cases I am on top of the skis but occasionally I have to fight to get forward and back into the sweet spot. My true goal is to improve my technique and get gear that suits my ability and style.
post #9 of 18
OK.....that's an honest placement of your limitations.

Given that, I say your first priority should be slot #2. That's the "tweener" that fits tween your carver and maybe a fattie. I'd suggest a stout ski but not the stiffest or most agressive out there. I know you like Volkls but in this case, you would probably be better served with something a little less agressive.

Solution.....1 Buy a tweener first and then add a fattie.

Go for roughly 76-79mm. The Nordica Nitrous, Fischer AMC 79 and the Dynastar Legend 8K all fit in this category. All have a bit better edge grip than the Recon but are not as agressive as the first models that I suggested. A Recon might even be ok here.

Solution.....2 Buy a wider tweener and pass on the fattie for now.

Go for roughly 85mm and go for a notch below what I suggested earlier. The Nordica Afterburner or Salomon XW-Fury would both serve you well and be less demanding in conditions where you are not comfortable.

SJ
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by eccski357 View Post
Thanks. I am agressive and not afraid of speed or steeps. If it is groomed I can rip it. I get messed up in crud and bumps and skid most of my turns in those conditions. With the 6* I ski fast and use the entire trail (when possible) making large turns GS style. In most cases I am on top of the skis but occasionally I have to fight to get forward and back into the sweet spot. My true goal is to improve my technique and get gear that suits my ability and style.
Crud is one type of snow that can be made a lot easier with the right ski. My Fisher RX-8 (which are similar to the 6-star, being hardpack carver skis) are difficult to ski in crud and used to make me feel like a newbie. The tips would hook on anything and the skis would wobble all over the place. When I moved up to my M666, they made crud a non-issue. They blow right through it.

So at least for crud, I can see how the 6-star would make life difficult, and agree with Jim's suggestion to go with a 76-79mm waisted all-mtn ski. That type of ski has worked wonderfully for me.

If you demo, be sure to look at the Elan M666 -- it is one of the most rewarding skis I have owned. It can carve, it can do powder, it can do bumps, and levels crud, and it will cruise if you want to relax. Very nice ski.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. Looks like lessons and demos are in my future.

Eric
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post
Crud is one type of snow that can be made a lot easier with the right ski. My Fisher RX-8 (which are similar to the 6-star, being hardpack carver skis) are difficult to ski in crud and used to make me feel like a newbie. The tips would hook on anything and the skis would wobble all over the place. When I moved up to my M666, they made crud a non-issue. They blow right through it.

So at least for crud, I can see how the 6-star would make life difficult, and agree with Jim's suggestion to go with a 76-79mm waisted all-mtn ski. That type of ski has worked wonderfully for me.

If you demo, be sure to look at the Elan M666 -- it is one of the most rewarding skis I have owned. It can carve, it can do powder, it can do bumps, and levels crud, and it will cruise if you want to relax. Very nice ski.
219,

good stuff! please compare the m66 vs karma for east coast application....add your spec please too. I have ski'd the m 666 in 176 and loved it....have a line on some karmas cheap and thinking about pulling the trigger.....as an afternoon crud ski. As my profile states I currently own rx 8 170 and allstar 168 (I revwd both extensively on epic last year)

BTW I had no problem skiing the rx 8 at a pretty high level in serious crud, mank, mashies last year....

thanks in advance...
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by hrstrat57 View Post
219,

good stuff! please compare the m66 vs karma for east coast application....add your spec please too. I have ski'd the m 666 in 176 and loved it....have a line on some karmas cheap and thinking about pulling the trigger.....as an afternoon crud ski. As my profile states I currently own rx 8 170 and allstar 168 (I revwd both extensively on epic last year)

BTW I had no problem skiing the rx 8 at a pretty high level in serious crud, mank, mashies last year....

thanks in advance...

I am 6'1", 185lbs and a level 8-9 skier. I think the M666 is a more versatile ski than the Karma just based on its characteristics -- M666 does fairly well on hard snow and carves nicely, while the Karma is less at home on groomed. Both are good in crud. The Karma is slightly better in really sloppy spring snow, and of course powder. When skied aggressively in mixed conditions, the Karmas feel like bombers that can charge through anything. The M666 are a little more composed and precise, and more relaxed.

My thinking on the RX-8 in crud is that it takes a conscious effort to keep the outside ski edged so that you clear out a path for inside ski -- on the flats the skis can get nervous in any snow, moreso in crud. The RX-8 are very light, and the wide tips get a lot of leverage over the narrow waist when they engage crud. In contrast, the M666 and Karma breeze through crud with no conscious effort from me. I think it's a combination of more width, less sidecut, and in the M666's case -- more weight. This allows me to ski more aggressively, and more offensively. On the RX-8, I end up skiing defensively in crud. Let's just say the M666 and Karma are confidence boosters in crud where the RX-8 is not! On hard snow or ice, however, I would say the exact opposite.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by eccski357 View Post
Thanks for the advice. Looks like lessons and demos are in my future.

Eric
When you ski the allstar and 6 star, make sure youre out there dominating it. It will take you for a ride (as you know). Make sure you stay on top of it and the ski will do the rest. Its like a ferocious dog- you need to let it know who's boss. Get it up on edge, lean into the turn, and trust it. Just concentrate a little more and you should be able to get more consistency. It is real tough in crud, as its a little unforgiving, but power through where necessary.
Demo some wider skis to see what youd like, but I think 85mm underfoot is fine for a pow day out here. Those Salomon Furys should be good, but demo for a day the wider ones.
IMO keep your 6 star and save your money on the allstar - get beer instead.
post #15 of 18
I've owned or skied a lot of the skis mentioned here. Some of your problems with bumps may come from your 6* - they're awesome for medium to long radius arcs at speed, but not most folk's first (or second) choice for hard bumps. Rather than the Allstar, which is a touch more forgiving but has the same basic mission, I'd think about a S5 or an Fischer RX8. Both are better than the Allstar for perfecting your carving, handling diff techniques in the bumps and crud; won't require quite so much "domination."

Agree with SJ about the midfat situation; a Recon will feel pretty soft and dead compared to the skis you're currently using. The 8K is a lovely ski but not great on ice and you'd need a long one, which will be more of a handful in tight spaces. I'd go demo a AMC 76 or 79, which will carve amazingly well but still give you good float. The Nordicas are worth a try. The Fury might work in 180.

If you have money to burn, and plan to take 2 skis west, the Mantra's a great backside ski, but it is demanding, and not quite a pow solution for a guy your size. Why not take your midfat and a ski like a Bro or a Sandstorm or a Head Mojo? OTOH, if you only take one ski west, I'd go more for a mid-80's midfat that can handle bumps better. Which, I've heard, do sometimes appear in the west...
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post
I am 6'1", 185lbs and a level 8-9 skier. I think the M666 is a more versatile ski than the Karma just based on its characteristics -- M666 does fairly well on hard snow and carves nicely, while the Karma is less at home on groomed. Both are good in crud. The Karma is slightly better in really sloppy spring snow, and of course powder. When skied aggressively in mixed conditions, the Karmas feel like bombers that can charge through anything. The M666 are a little more composed and precise, and more relaxed.

My thinking on the RX-8 in crud is that it takes a conscious effort to keep the outside ski edged so that you clear out a path for inside ski -- on the flats the skis can get nervous in any snow, moreso in crud. The RX-8 are very light, and the wide tips get a lot of leverage over the narrow waist when they engage crud. In contrast, the M666 and Karma breeze through crud with no conscious effort from me. I think it's a combination of more width, less sidecut, and in the M666's case -- more weight. This allows me to ski more aggressively, and more offensively. On the RX-8, I end up skiing defensively in crud. Let's just say the M666 and Karma are confidence boosters in crud where the RX-8 is not! On hard snow or ice, however, I would say the exact opposite.


Our specs are the same.....what length karma / m666 are you on ? My thoughts were 176 m666 which I loved and either 184 or 177 for karma.

from what you describe I think I might lean a bit towards the M 666 as expected......

haven't got a pair of those lined up cheap tho

curious also, are your RX 8's 165's....I ski'd Smj's 165's in the same crud and got tossed around. My 170's shreaded it. The difference was amazing.I link the thread below if you're interested.

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...eferrerid=8500
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by hrstrat57 View Post
219,

have a line on some karmas cheap and thinking about pulling the trigger.....as an afternoon crud ski.
Oh no. You don't want those
I can take them off your hands though .
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by hrstrat57 View Post
Our specs are the same.....what length karma / m666 are you on ? My thoughts were 176 m666 which I loved and either 184 or 177 for karma.

from what you describe I think I might lean a bit towards the M 666 as expected......

haven't got a pair of those lined up cheap tho

curious also, are your RX 8's 165's....I ski'd Smj's 165's in the same crud and got tossed around. My 170's shreaded it. The difference was amazing.I link the thread below if you're interested.

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...eferrerid=8500
My M666 are the 184cm length. Karmas are 185cm. RX-8 are 180 cm. Atomic sweet daddys are 181cm.
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