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Thread Starter 
I thought I'd offer an intermediate's ski review as a balance to those scarily good skiiers' reviews I keep reading on here. ;-)


I started skiing 5 years ago and have so far racked up about 43 days on the snow. On a scale of 1 - 10 that people often use in these reviews I'd place myself ... oh, who knows? I can ski all red pistes; starting to venture on to the black; starting to appreciate a bit of speed. I don't like bumps, narrows or ice. Almost zero off-piste experience. A classic intermediate? 178cm/5' 10" tall, 86Kg/190 pounds.

Now living in Zürich, Switzerland and looking for more time on the snow.


Zermatt, Switzerland, over a long weekend: 25 - 28 November 2006. Myself and my girlfriend were taking part in an annual ski festival - enjoy the 5-star Mont Cervin hotel and try the skis from all the top manufacturers. I think we were the only native Enlish speakers taking part that weekend.


The first day was lost to bad weather: 107 Km/hour (67 miles/hour) winds on the Klein Matterhorn.

If you know anything about the early snow conditions in Europe for the 2006/7 season, you know they've been bad. Skiing was on the glacier with the pistes very hard-packed. I thought they did a good job considering the lack of fresh snow and the high temperatures.

The Skis

All the big boys were there (Rossignol, Völkl, Atomic, K2, Nordica, Fischer, Elan, Head, Dynastar, Blizzard) and some of the smaller ones (Stöckli, Scott, Movement, Volant). What I tried (in order):

Nordica Mach 3 170cm
Völkl Karma 177cm
Dynastar Contact 9 165cm
Blizzard CMX Pro 164cm
Stöckli Laser 167cm
Fischer RX8 165cm
Stöckli Rotor 169cm
Stöckli Spirit 164cm

Nordica Mach 3

First ski of the season. I've seen great things about various Nordica skis over the last year so really wanted to try a pair. I was OK on them, but they didn't bring a smile to my face like the 2005/6 Völkl Allstars I tried in February in Whistler. With hindsight, I should have re-tried these on the last day for a better comparison. I don't have enough experience yet to further distill how these felt.

Völkl Karma

"Why do we want to try anything that wide?!", shouts the girlfriend when I suggest these. Another ski I'd read great things about. Perhaps not a ski you'd pick for the hard-pack. On the other hand, we had a blast on these. Very stable, didn't have any problems with edge hold on the steeper reds and great for cruising in wide arcs. We liked these.

Dynastar Contact 9

I'd read the review over at They're right. These skis brought back the feeling of being on those 2005/6 Völkl Allstars - all smiles. Fast, with very short turns. Probably the most fun ski I was on over the weekend.

Blizzard CMX Pro

They didn't have the CMX 11 which I though a more appropriate model for me. Hey, I skiied the Allstar fine and that's a top-of-the-line ski. Surely I can ski these? Wrong. Way too fast for me. They wanted to go fast - way faster than I wanted. And they'd punish you if you didn't concentrate. Next.

Stöckli Laser

I can't live and ski in Switzerland and not try the local skis. I think I can understand what people mean when they say Stöcklis are smooth and damp. I really liked these, in a more sedate, cruisy way than the Dynastar Contact 9s. They could also go fast - as I found out when a sat back while pointing straight down the hill.

Fischer RX8

I was trying these primarily because you can buy these at great prices on They did what I expected. I good ski for aquiring the modern carving technique - something I still need lots of practise with.

Stöckli Rotor

The new (ugly) twin-tip. Looked like fun and I wanted a go. A found these a bit bland and I couldn't keep up with the girlfriend in the speed stakes (can't remember what she was on, but certainly a more piste-oriented ski).

Stöckli Spirit

Not sure why I went for these. After skiing them I still don't know why I went for these. Unstable in this length for me, though the rep suggest this length for carving. urgh!


First off, a great thanks to the companies that proved the skis. I thought they did a great job maintaining them. The goal was to buy a pair of skis for, I'm hoping, a long 2006/7 ski season. If money was not a factor, my first impresson would have been to pick the Dynastar Contact 9s, but on reflection these may have been too much ski if I'd ventured on to steeper terrain - maybe just too fast. That lead me to the Stöckli Lasers - a really nice ski that I'd be happy to be on all day.

But money is a factor and Fischer RX8s are on ebay for less than half the price of the Stöcklis. So what did I buy? Blizzard CMX 11 in 164cm! A bit of a risk, but I'd just seen one pair go for 260 Euros/416CHF/$338 on ebay and I thought I couldn't lose at those prices. Ho-hum, ended up paying a bit more (315 Euros/505CHF/$420) and then saw some RX8s go for less! Ah, well. The next few weeks will see how these turn out.