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Reviews: Crossfire, RX8, Izor, S5, Tornado, Scratch

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
These are reviews from an intermediate level.

Skier Stats: Age 41, 6' 175lbs. Level 5-6. Been skiing 3 years 20-30 days a season.

Location: Copper Mountain, CO, Keystone, CO.

Snow Conditions: Early December, Each day was early morning frozen hardpack, late afternoon sun and soft snow.

Current Ability Level: I am getting much more proficient at using the sidecut of the ski to control direction and using turn shape to control speed. I still revert to skidding, stemming etc for speed control and turn shape when my confidence wains - most usually on overly steep pitches, moguls, or when the speeds get too high for my liking.

Terrain Preferences and Skiing Style : I feel at home on a variety of terrain and speeds up to moderate levels. I enjoy varried terrain with lots of natural rollers and varied pitches. I found the right side of Copper Mountain was absolutely perfect for my tastes and preferences. I stick to green and blue runs and rarely, if ever, venture onto black runs or moguls.

(Rental Info: In Dillon, CO there is a nice little rental shop behind the McDonalds next to Christy Sports off the main road. They have all sorts of demos skis for only $17 a day. All other shops I visited were asking $45 a day for demos. I rented 2 skis a day)

Demo Reviews:

K2 Apache Crosffire Size 167.

These are the skis I won at last years ESA East. This was my first time I had a chance to take them on the snow.

The Crossfire is very easy to ski on, not demanding at all, very relaxed, stable, and quiet - it sticks to the snow like glue. It goes where you point it and doesn't deviate regardless of the conditions. The shovel is quite large and grabs easy with just a tip of the ankles. The Crossfire has a very large balance point on the ski fore and aft and it gives you some warning when it doesnt like what you are doing without shoving you around.

The biggest Plus the Crossfire displayed for me was how the ski handled various snow conditions. At Copper in the morning it was quite cold and icey in spots and there were deep frozen tracks from the grooming vehiciles that were used the night before. The Crossfires went over terrain variations like this like it was butter without hardly a wobble. Other skis I demod during the week got jostled around a bit on this type of terrain variation.

Although this skis is billed as an Advanced/Expert carver I believe it will be a great tool to learn on for an intermediate. It is certainly was the most smooth and stable ski of all tested. If you prefer a ski that offers up no surprises on the snow and allows you to just relax and ski I would really give this a try. The 167 was fine with me and I suspect the 174 would offer even more stability especially for those into speed. The only thing it seemed to lack was a 'sporty' feel(hard to describe) of some of the skis I demoed during the week. It didnt seem as quick to turn or be as playful but it was built like a tank.

2006/07 Fischer RX8..Size 165.

Totally different feel than the Crossfire I had skied the day before. Not particularly demanding or difficult but not as forgiving either. It had much more of an energetic feel to it and turns were quick and snappy. All I had to do was sligthly tip my cuff in the direction I wanted to go and I could feel an instantaneous grab of the edges into the turn. Whereas the crossfire seemed very cruise oriented this ski liked to turn and had a very solid edge grip. It would pretty much do anything you wanted it to without fighting back- skid, edge, sideslip etc. Two words I would describe this ski with are lively and fun.

I believe this is a ski an intermediate could use at their current level without being beat up and a ski one could grow with in the future. If I had not already spent $1000 on new boots and fitting I would have seriously considered purchasing these. Right now I am keeping these on my list and will look for year end deals.

2006/07 Fischer RX8 Size 170

I enjoyed this ski so much I decided to try another size the next day - 170cm. I was suprised how such a small length difference could result in such a totally different feel. The ski felt signifcantly more stable but also significantly less nimble. I found I had to be moving at a signifcantly higher average speed to regain the quickness and light edge feel of the 165. It still handled well at lower speeds but just didnt seem as snappy or quick unless I was moving at a good rate of speed. In the end I preferred the 165 for the handling qualities. If you are at my level and considering the RX8 I would reccomend trying both the 165 and 170 to see for yourself.

Rossignol Scrtach Size 174.

Out of curiosity I wanted to try a dedicated park and pipe twintip. I found out I did not enjoy the center mount of the bindings. You REALLY need to stay centered on these when skiing - especially on steep pitches. I am still at the level when things get a little too steep or fast I get defensive and skid my tails for speed control. I discovered this is not cool on these skis as just a slight lean into the back seat on a steep pitch will result in you end up skiing backwards beyond your will. I still have a good sized bruise on my rump.

VERY easy to maneuvre - I suspect those who enjoy moguls might like these as they are extremely light and like quick pivots and skids etc. Other than that kind of a blan ride...pretty easy going and stable but unexciting on the hill unless you are into freestyle and skiing backwards etc. I suspect if tricks, moguls, or riding switch is not on your agenda then you might be a bit bored with the ride.

Atomic Izor 9:7 Size 177

I wanted to demo the 168 but it was not available. Ski Press World has this ski rated in the 'Sport' category and it probably should be in the 'Expert' category. To sum it up it is like the Crossfire on Steroids and a gallon of Red Bull. It likes to go fast and doesnt like to do much of anything at slow speeds. It does not tolerate back seat errors at all and seemed to have a very small balance point towards the front. Perhaps this had more to do with my boots having a less aggressive forward lean and/or the ramp angle or position of the bindings. It would skid a turn OK but I found if you were not perfectly balanced over the ski with a little bit of forward pressure on the boot cuff it could get unruly when using the edges to start the turn.

This was my least favorite ski of the test. That being said I would have liked to try the size 168 or the step-down to the Izor 7:5 but neither was available. I believe an intermediate should demo this ski before buying. For me it seemed like the size 177 was too much ski to handle unless skidding turns was the only item on the menu. I could tell this was a ski for someone with speed on their menu.

Volk S5 Size 168

Felt less 'grippy' and quick than the Fischer RX8 but was extremely stable-especially at higher speeds. It had a more aggressive feel in the sense that it liked to plow through some of the cut up junk on the slope while not getting bounced around in the slightest. It would tolerate some errors pretty well and handled OK at lower speeds. Like the Izor, however it seemed to have a smaller sweet spot and would not tolerate back seat errors on turn initiation. It was much more energetic than the Crossfire but also less forgiving. My impression was it would probably be a good ski for a speed-oriented skier and like the Izor not the best for an intermediate such as myself looking to advance.

Salomon X-Wing Tornado...Size 170

Everyone seemed to be pushing the X Wing line at all the shops in Dillon and Frisco so I decided to give it a try. When I tried it on the soft snow in the late afternoon it was an effortless and magnificent ride - stable, easy, grippy and FUN. Probably the most fun of all the skies I tried this week. When I tried it on the hard icey stuff in the AM, however it was a different story. I found it hard to get serious edge grip and it liked to constantly wash out. It also had the least friendly reactions to the frozen cat tracks in the AM. With the wider waist I suspect this ski would not suit me as well as some others out East. Not a good ice/East Coast ski IMO. Definately a bias towards softer snow.
post #2 of 8
Nice reviews, SkierXman.

I liked the size comparison on the RX8. I ski the 175cm and it still feels quick while being stable in any recreational situation

post #3 of 8
Nicely done, SkierXman! Thanks for contributing your perspective on these skis... Keep 'em coming!

What boots are you using?
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
Nicely done, SkierXman! Thanks for contributing your perspective on these skis... Keep 'em coming!

What boots are you using?
Thanks ssh. I figured I would contribute a few from an intermediate's perpspective. I wish other intermediates would jump in and post their reviews too as it's hard to find this kind of first hand info on the net.

I am currently in the Lange Freeride 100. The flex is perfect for me. Soft enough forward to be forgiving but stiff enough laterally to easily tip on an edge.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by barrettscv View Post
Nice reviews, SkierXman.

I liked the size comparison on the RX8. I ski the 175cm and it still feels quick while being stable in any recreational situation

I really noticed a big difference as far as handliing. The 170 certainly wasn't hard to manage but since I rarely ski above what I would estimate as 30 mph the 165 definately is the better choice for me right now as far as learning goes. I think at my current skill level I have being on skis too long in general and it has impeded my progress somewhat when it comes to edging and turn initiation. I now stick with the 165-170 range until I get more comfortable with edge engagement and linking turns etc.
post #6 of 8
Great job.
post #7 of 8
Skier Stats: Male, 5'11" 155lbs, Level 8 skier. Been skiing for 15 years or so.

I tried the Fischer RX8 at White Pass Resort in WA state over C-Mas vacation. (The resort is near the inlaws). I rented the 170cm version and it did very well. I felt like it went where I wanted it to and took on the varying terrain of the day quite well. (Bumps, crud, 3-6" of powder, and groomers). It just seemd to be missing something, kind of like a stick shift car that needs another gear. I think this would be a great intermediate level all mountain ski, but if you ski hard you might be left wishing for more.

I also skied the Fischer AMC 76, in a 176 length. Perhaps the length was wrong for me (although my skis are 175), but they felt like a dog. Dead on the feet, not hard to ski, just a dead, unlively ski.

That's my 2 cents, hope it helps someone.
post #8 of 8
Glad you got to try different lengths. It always makes a difference, expecially when you are considering a ski that doesn't have one "right" or obvious length. Often, I find that two skis in different lengths are both workable for me, but my length preference would be very different based on where I primarily skied. On our local mountain, longer is usually better (especially for new snow), but on a smaller hill, I would be at the bottom on 5 turns on a long ski! Plus, smaller hills more often see hardpack, where a shorter ski is more fun.

I am glad you enjoyed the demo!
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