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A Few East Coast Ski Reviews

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yesterday I took out 4 skis (not all this years models) for a little ski evaluation and review. None of the skis were demos, all from my quiver or my friends quiver. We had out the Atomic SX:B5 from 04-05, Volkl Allstar from 06-07, the Fischer RC4 SC from 05-06, and the 06-07 Volkl AC4. The runs were all done at Hunter on 01/02/07. Hunter was very icy. We saw a very hard groomed surface on Hellgate and Belt Parkway, and a sheet of un-cut ice on Way out, Heuga, and East Side Drive. We never ventured into the bumps.

Me: 32yo, 170lbs, can ski anything at Windham, Hunter, Belleayre, Jiminy Peak, Mt Snow, Stratton, or Mountain Creek with ease. I don't know what level that makes me, but 9990 at The Canyons scares me (yes, I can get down it, but I am not comfy).

Morning: Surface very hard and fast. Not many people there, so it held up pretty well until about lunch time. Snow was still wet when the groomer shaped it on the runs it covered, and then it re-froze later.

Volkl AS in 168: First ski of the day. Did 4 runs on them. Surface was very hard and fast, and it was easy to get an edge down. Coming down Hellgate, I had little trouble getting stable speed. They performed clean short-radius turns in the steep parts and nice longer turns in the flats. They didn't seem to mind slower speeds, either. They did not demand high-energy and they were very forgiving of any mistakes. A ski I would highly recommend for intermediates on the East Coast.

Atomic SX:B5 in 170: These I had out for 3 runs and were much quicker side to side than the Allstar, and it seemed more stable running flat, but really came to life when on edge. It is easy to see why so many folks love Atomic's SX series. They are a bit heavy on the lift (not a problem in my mind, but some folks don't like that). They also demand a good more energy than the Allstars. For skiers who can excel on their edges and don't skid turns, these are an excellent (and available at good prices from a number of web-sites) choice. I found this ski to work reasonably well on the pure ice runs (with rocks and bare spots) of Way Out and Huega.

Afternoon: The groomed runs were scraped clean of granular by the boarders and large patches of black ice were apparent on Belt Parkway. The lower part of Hellgate (it has a different name in the middle, and I think it had a blue rating) had foot high piles of granular snow - Very different than the ice below.

Fischer RC4 SC in 165: Wow! These things were snappy. Lightening quick side to side and they didn't care if they were in piles of junk or on a sheet of ice. They held their edges tight (much more so than either of the morning skis, I thought) and they would sling-shot you right through your turns. They didn't like stopping, so I tried not to unless I had to. They really shined on short and medium radius turns (as you would expect), but also ran reasonably well when left flat. These were definitely my favorites of the day.

Volkl AC4 in 170: These were troublesome. They require much more precise input (I was getting tired already, which might have been a problem as I got sloppy) than my experiance with the other skis. They were slow edge to edge (of course, they are being compared to race skis and Allstars) and cumbersome. After a couple of runs I got more comfortable with them and opened them up to a bit more speed. This they ate up with glee. They struggled on the ice (and the ice was nasty by this point in the day), but found their form more in the "snow cones" lower on the hill. I really want to take these out again (it was my first time with them and I had gotten them for two westward trips later this year to pair with my Allstars depending on the conditions) when I have fresh legs. I wasn't happy with them, but it clearly was a situation were they were more likely to disappoint than woe.

Overall, I thought the Fischer's were the most fun given the conditions. The all-stars and B5's were both great skis, but the RC4's left me with more of a WOW! feeling.

Edge Hold on Ice:
1 - RC4
2 - SXB5
3 - AS
4 - AC4

Straight Line Stability:
1 - AC4
2 - RC4
3 - AS
4 - SXB5

Short Turns:
1 - RC4
2 - SXB5
3 - AS
4 - AC4 (What short turns?)

Long Turns:
1 - AC4
2 - AS
3 - SXB5
4 - RC4

Overall Impression:
1 - RC4
2 - SXB5
3 - AS (Very close to the SXB5, though)
4 - AC4
post #2 of 14

You Guys are Tough!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCHawkeye74 View Post
.....Hunter was very icy.....and a sheet of un-cut ice on Way out, Heuga, and East Side Drive. We never ventured into the bumps.....Afternoon: The groomed runs were scraped clean of granular by the boarders and large patches of black ice were apparent on Belt Parkway......(and the ice was nasty by this point in the day)
Hi NYCHawkeye74,

Wow, I’m impressed with you guys in the East. I wouldn’t know what to do if I saw “black ice” other than take off my skis and cry like a little baby for crampons. The idea of skiing on it is challenging and the idea of falling on it is chilling to say the least. I’ve roller bladed, skateboarded and ridden mountain bikes in skate parks. They’re made of concrete so I have some idea of what it must feel like to fall on black ice. However, concrete may be hard but it affords maximum traction not maximum slipperyness (Is that a word? Oh, well it conveys my meaning).

I was once in Toronto, Canada on a business trip and encountered what the locals called an Ice Storm. That evening when we went to dinner it was drizzling rain. After two hours the clear ice was so thick on the sidewalks and street that I could easily, and did, run and slide anywhere I wanted while wearing running shoes! Can you really set an edge when you encounter conditions like that on a ski slope?

You guys are tougher that us wusseys in the West.

Thanks,

Michael:
post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelsnead View Post
I wouldn’t know what to do if I saw “black ice” other than take off my skis and cry like a little baby for crampons. The idea of skiing on it is challenging and the idea of falling on it is chilling to say the least. I’ve roller bladed, skateboarded and ridden mountain bikes in skate parks. They’re made of concrete so I have some idea of what it must feel like to fall on black ice. However, concrete may be hard but it affords maximum traction not maximum slipperyness (Is that a word? Oh, well it conveys my meaning).

I was once in Toronto, Canada on a business trip and encountered what the locals called an Ice Storm. That evening when we went to dinner it was drizzling rain. After two hours the clear ice was so thick on the sidewalks and street that I could easily, and did, run and slide anywhere I wanted while wearing running shoes! Can you really set an edge when you encounter conditions like that on a ski slope?
Getting a little off-topic here, but... Falling on ice has never struck me as hurting as much as you'd think it should. I've gotten slammed down on icy sidewalks which seems to hurt more then falling on an icy trail. Not really sure why. Sidewalk falls are usually backwards and skiing falls are usually sideways and result in slides. The energy gets dissipated somehow?

As for skiing ice. There is ice, and then there is ice. The normal ice, which seems to be pretty common these days in New England given the lack of snow, is ski-able. The stuff you get after an ice storm, or after a thaw / rainstorm / refreeze cycle -- that's just something I avoid until the groomers have had a chance to work it over a couple times.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelsnead View Post
Hi NYCHawkeye74,

I was once in Toronto, Canada on a business trip and encountered what the locals called an Ice Storm. That evening when we went to dinner it was drizzling rain. After two hours the clear ice was so thick on the sidewalks and street that I could easily, and did, run and slide anywhere I wanted while wearing running shoes! Can you really set an edge when you encounter conditions like that on a ski slope?
Around here, that's a powder day!
post #5 of 14
Almost forgot: nice report. The AC 4 is better suited to crud and soft snow I would say. The RC4 sounds good for "firm" conditions.
post #6 of 14
Nice reviews Hawkeye!
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
Almost forgot: nice report. The AC 4 is better suited to crud and soft snow I would say. The RC4 sounds good for "firm" conditions.
AC4 was out of its element, I would say. Also, after coming off two super quick and one fairly quick and forgiving ski, it was bound to "feel" very different. RC4 was really a lot of fun. I don't have a lot of experiance with race skis, but I would sure like to have that one with me on East Coast trips.

I forgot to mention, in the past I have owned 04-05 Metron B5's, 05-06 Volkl 4 Stars, 04-05 Metron EX's, and 03-04 SX10's, in addition to some forgetable skis when I was more in learning mode.
post #8 of 14
Useful reviews. For you westerners, a glossary:

Western term: Groomed
Eastern term: Powder

Western term: Hardpack or scrapped off.
Eastern term: Packed powder.

Western term: Ice
Eastern term: Groomed or frozen granular

Western term: Glare ice, refrozen ice
Eastern term: Hard or firm

Western term: Frozen death cookies
Easatern term: Chop or light powder

Western term: Stay in the lodge cuz it's transparent and I'll break myself
Eastern term: A little icy
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
Useful reviews. For you westerners, a glossary:
Western term: Stay in the lodge cuz it's transparent and I'll break myself
Eastern term: A little icy


I thought I had just gotten older and wiser since moving out west.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
Useful reviews. For you westerners, a glossary:

Western term: Groomed
Eastern term: Powder

Western term: Hardpack or scrapped off.
Eastern term: Packed powder.

Western term: Ice
Eastern term: Groomed or frozen granular

Western term: Glare ice, refrozen ice
Eastern term: Hard or firm

Western term: Frozen death cookies
Easatern term: Chop or light powder

Western term: Stay in the lodge cuz it's transparent and I'll break myself
Eastern term: A little icy

Well said and 100% true!!!
post #11 of 14

Validation

I demo'd this year's RC4 World Cup SC and ordered a pair as soon as I got to the shop.

Very hot skis!

I picked them up last Friday but I do not want to take them out until the conditions improve.

I noted your thorough review a couple days after I ordered them.

Thanks very much.
post #12 of 14

There's always ice, no matter what

I was reminded again that no matter how warm here in the east (it's been 50s+ even up north) there will be ice. Was at Stratton last weekend - skiing down a noname trail near the bottom and thought "Hey they groomed the trail on the edge over there - looks like some soft light chop, lemme get off this manmade scrape and try it out"

Fooled me - of course it was chunks of frozen snow - not soft. Kind of like brick size death cookies
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
Useful reviews. For you westerners, a glossary:

Western term: Groomed
Eastern term: Powder

Western term: Hardpack or scrapped off.
Eastern term: Packed powder.

Western term: Ice
Eastern term: Groomed or frozen granular

Western term: Glare ice, refrozen ice
Eastern term: Hard or firm

Western term: Frozen death cookies
Easatern term: Chop or light powder

Western term: Stay in the lodge cuz it's transparent and I'll break myself
Eastern term: A little icy
Well said. I just finished laughing for 15 mins straight after reading this post!

I remember skiing Whistler in March 2005. They had their worst winter in 20 years and the locals were not happy. There were people sliding down black diamonds ontheir butts, peeps yelling at lift operators/ski patrol. "This crap shouldn't even be open, this is awful, i want my money back". My friends and I, all born and raised on east coast skiing, were screaming from the mountain "this is awesome!! I've never seen so much powder!!". Peeps were looking at us like we were crazy.
post #14 of 14
And we forgot this one (appropriate for this "winter"):

Western term: poor snow cover, bare spots, not worth the trouble
Eastern term: OPEN, COME ENJOY THE GREAT CONDITIONS

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