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Dynastar 8800 and Elan M777

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Skis reviewed: Dynastar 8800 (178); Elan M777(176)
Conditions: 4 inches nice new over rain crust and a decent amount of chopped crud.
Skier specs: 5 foot 11, 180lbs, Midlevel 8 I would guess. 35 years old and skiing for 32 of them.
Current Gear: Volkl G4, 179 Bros (on the way); 184 Mantras; Solly X-Scream (uuhhg)

I was looking for a ski to fit between my G4s (no-new-snow-for-a-while ski) and the Bros (will be my powder boards). The ski I was looking for needed to handle cut up crud well, be fun if I find a stash and not kill me if I hit bumps or groomers in between. I ski at Cystal and Stevens Pass so the ski I was looking for would be the ski I use about 70% of the time (in a good year - like this one!!).

I love the Volkl G4 - so I thought I wanted a stiff ski, with similar radius, but more float. I was interested in the Head Monster 88, Titan 9, and the 8800, but not the Elan.

Dynastar 8800 - On paper this one looked good, but I was concerned about the low sidecut and somewhat high radius since I was intent on matching the dimensions of the g4 (but a tough wider all around). It goes to show you have to demo to know what a ski feels like - specs and numbers help but there is no substitute for trying a ski out. While these skis do not turn super quickly, the fact that they hold a line well outwieghed that fact for my uses. I took them through steep pitches with variable crud to powder stashes, all of which is their element. They handle that terrain very well. Like I said, they straightline well, gs turn well, and make tighter turns if you are paying attention. However, I thought they had a speed limit. I started to feel uncomfortable at a certain speed as the stiff tip began to get deflected. I cant explain why, my g4s are stiff as heck and they do not get deflected like these did. I like these and would buy them - for what I was looking for they work very well. Maybe with more time on them I could figure out the right stance to fix the speed limit issue (?)

Elan M777 - I did not want to like this ski. I have to admit the topsheet kills me. I also had read that it is softer than the titan nine or the 8800 and I was therefore not interested. But, they were available, so I took them out and I was sooo glad I did. There is not a huge difference between the 8800 and the m777, but if there is I would say its this, the m777 turns more readily without losing any of the straighline and stability of the 8800. In fact, I felt more confortable at speeds and though the ski felt more "stout" in the crud and mank at speeds than the 8800. I had a blast and bought a pair when I got home. The float is adequate, the crud bustability is awesome, the torsional rigidity is solid, and its a stout ski at speeds. I even ran into some bumps and took them like I would on the G4s (not a bump ski by any means but I was not expecting this ski to do as well).

I was surprised by this outcome. I thought the relatively softer ski would feel less comfortable at speeds, be less responsive/rewarding and therefore less invigorating all the way around. Not true.

I never tried the monsters or titans.

ALSO - I bought the m777s (will get here tomorrrow) from dawgcatching at Village Bike and Ski in Bend. There was a miscommunication about bindings and the skis were misdrilled. He did not question me at all and right away offered an undrilled pair and said he would eat the drilled pair. He was more concerned about whether he could get them to me quickly than the fact that he now had a pair of drilled skis in his inventory. He then sold me the drilled pair at a discount after I asked. Solid customer service. BTW - the price he quoted me originally was $100 less than my local shop - without the discount.
post #2 of 17
Nice reviews and spot on to my experience on these skis. The M777s are a surprise to many people (they were to me also when I demo'd them). It's a pity Elan is discontinuing them next season - good thing you grabbed them now.

I think the main thing about the M777 is that it's able to be bent without over-powering it. That allows it to pop out some pretty tight turns that bely it's larger sidecut. We are both a similar weight and I think that of course plays into a good match for this ski. It's also surprising how it can feel so stable without feeling overly damp and heavy.

Glad you found some new "friends" to take you down the mountain.
post #3 of 17
Nice review.

I am kinda suprised at the comment about having a top end and getting deflected.

I have the 178 but am only 5' 10" and 150# and after many days of skiing on lots of conditions I couldn't say I had a top end problem or that they got knocked around. I think height and weight play a key in this role and it would be interesting to hear your review of the next size up of the 8800.

Your review does make me want to try some 777's though. Enjoy the new skis.
post #4 of 17
I'm 5'7" and 175lbs.

My skis:
1. g4 178cm
2. 8800 178cm
3. M777 184cm
4. Nordica SUV 12x 170cm
5. Salomon Xtra Hot 175cm

Although the 8800's are wider underfoot
than the g4's, I've found the tips to be
softer, which would explain them getting
deflected in crud. In steep, skier-packed,
medium spaced moguls like we get in tahoe
at Squaw, Alpine and Kirkwood I've found
them to be an awesome ski. I prefer them
to the g4's off trail. The g4's are definately
better at speed on the groomed.

I've found the SUV's to be best on hard packed
groomed and bumps.

I haven't had a chance to get on the M777's yet
as pow pow has been very limited so far in tahoe.

Tom
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Marmot - I did not ski the next size up in the 8800. When I took them in to the rep to switch the demo I told him I thought it got skittish at higher speeds and had a top end and he looked at me like I was crazy. From the other reviews I have read and from talking to people about the 8800 I was not expecting to feel uncomfortable on them at speeds either. Maybe I didnt find the sweet spot - who knows, the Elans felt right from the start and inspired confidence whatever I was doing on the hill so I stopped thinking about it and bought the green machine.
post #6 of 17
I agree that the 8800 has a top speed and it is probably due to the softer flexing shovel (I have 188cm and am 5'10 210lbs). They don't get scary jittery but they do bounce around and feel loose at high speeds in two situations, first is in heavy manky crud, second is on hard pack/icy snow at super-g speeds, but really the ski is not meant for that kind of thing and if you want to ski like that grab some GS race boards. I actually like the softer shovel because of the versatility and how easy it is to ski, even in 188cm. It's great in soft snow and you can go very fast is softer snow.

I think they are a great versatile ski and I use them everyday. I just bought some Armada ANTs to use when there is new snow or crud as they are considerably stiffer and wider, but will continue to use the 8800's most of the time. I have probably 35-40 days on mine now and they are holding up quite well, a few core shots from skiing over rocks but no edge damage.
post #7 of 17
I am looking forward to learning the Elan line for next year. Yes, I heard the 777 is gone, is the Mag 14 the replacement? I dunno yet.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Updated Review

I now have three days on the Elan m777 and still love them, but would have to agree with some of the other feedback on this board that they ski very short. I took them out on a deep and somewhat heavy day at Crystal and had to spend most of the day leaning back more than I would like. I measured my 176s when I got home by pressing them flat to the ground (to eliminate camber) and ran a tape from at the side of the ski from tip of the shovel to the end of the tail, and it's more like 172 cm. I then measured against my 178 g4s and added 8cm to the m777s to see how a pair of "184s" would compare and I think it would just add 2cm to the g4s.

I know Noodler broke this story a while ago, but this ski is not 176cm. Also, the factory mount is very forward compared to my G4s. I have the G4s for firm snow, 179 soft Bros for powder, so I think I need the m777 in a 184. An alternative would be to mount the 176s 2cm back. Not sure what I will do.
post #9 of 17
I think Elan recommends +/-5cm for this ski length. I ski the 176cm at 5 foot 9 and wouldn't want anything longer (it was very, very stable in rough snow for me), but you are ~180cm tall, and could go with either. Longer unfortunately sounds like it is more suited to Crystal slop for you!
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hwy2 View Post
I bought the m777s (will get here tomorrrow) from dawgcatching at Village Bike and Ski in Bend. There was a miscommunication about bindings and the skis were misdrilled. He did not question me at all and right away offered an undrilled pair and said he would eat the drilled pair.
Nice review, and really great customer service from dawgcatching and Village Bike and Ski.

So, how much for the drilled m777's, dawgcatching?
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Dr. Rick - pm sent

check your box - we may be able to work something out.
post #12 of 17
Hwy2 - Sorry I missed the fact that you're 5' 11" the first time around. You're probably right about the length - could have (should have) gone up one size since they ski so short.

I'm not so sure that a rearward mount would "cure" all your ills. Keep us posted on what you decide to do. I believe the 777 will still be a much sought after ski even next season.
post #13 of 17
I picked up a pair of 184 777's a month ago and have been on them 10 times now and I can say that I absolutely love this ski. I have been fortunate to ski them mostly in pow, crud, soft conditions but they are amazingly stable at mach speed on hard groomers. Their crud busting ability is second to none. I am very happy that I went with the 184 because this ski definitly skis short and the binding mount makes them seem even shorter. I have found though that this ski needs to really be pushed and if slower, short turns are what you want, don't get this ski.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
It's a pity Elan is discontinuing them next season - good thing you grabbed them now.
And I thought I was done buying skis for this season. Mine will be pretty much w/o any original ptex by the end of the year, so a backup pair will be needed.
post #15 of 17
I found the 176 M777 skied much better mounted 1cm behind the line. Even then it still skied short, but I really enjoyed it as an everyday east coast ski. Skiing it out west I definately felt it skied shorter than I would have liked, and have since replaced it with the 192 M777 for everyday stuff in vermont.

One complaint I have about the ski is the bases and edges seem to be really thin. I skied my 176s to the point where they couldnt really be tuned anymore. Then I managed to snap one.

Thin bases and snapping aside, its one of my favorite skis. I replaced it with a G4 and never really liked it much.

Anyone else notice that the tips develop spideweb like cracks in the topsheets? Happened on both of the 176 skis.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SourceofDenial View Post
I found the 176 M777 skied much better mounted 1cm behind the line. Even then it still skied short, but I really enjoyed it as an everyday east coast ski. Skiing it out west I definately felt it skied shorter than I would have liked, and have since replaced it with the 192 M777 for everyday stuff in vermont.

One complaint I have about the ski is the bases and edges seem to be really thin. I skied my 176s to the point where they couldnt really be tuned anymore. Then I managed to snap one.

Thin bases and snapping aside, its one of my favorite skis. I replaced it with a G4 and never really liked it much.

Anyone else notice that the tips develop spideweb like cracks in the topsheets? Happened on both of the 176 skis.
We haven't seen it on any of our demos, and have had the 666's in service for 4 seasons now (usually a new pair every year, though). Have you tried to warranty them?

FWIW, the 888 is not necessarily better than the 777, according to testing reports I have gotten. The overall feel is similiar, and there is more sidecut, but that may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your needs. Our race rep thought the new version was hookier, and skied more like a Mantra, where as the current 777 is a better for open spaces. I haven't skied it, so I can't really say.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
We haven't seen it on any of our demos, and have had the 666's in service for 4 seasons now (usually a new pair every year, though). Have you tried to warranty them?

FWIW, the 888 is not necessarily better than the 777, according to testing reports I have gotten. The overall feel is similiar, and there is more sidecut, but that may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your needs. Our race rep thought the new version was hookier, and skied more like a Mantra, where as the current 777 is a better for open spaces. I haven't skied it, so I can't really say.

Didnt have any other skis at the time, so wasnt able to warranty them midseason. Then I snapped one, sent them in to be waranted for the tips cracking, and got turned down because at that point they were pretty beat. The cracking on the tips developed pretty soon after getting them--long before I broke one. Oh well.

The pair that cracked was made the first year(green).
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