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Going to demo this week: Is the Volkl AC-4 too much ski for me?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm going up skiing to Vail this weekend and taking most of next week off as well to ski. I plan on demoing a few skis while I'm up there to figure out what I'd like to buy for the next season.

Here's a little info about me: I'm 5'11" 215#, male and 27 yrs old. I'm not in the best shape, but working on it. I really think my lack of being in shape is affecting what and how I ski. Currently, I would say that I am a level 7 skier. I mainly stick to steep blues and blacks, and don't really ski bumps all that often; maybe 2-3 times/day on short runs. I'm starting to explore the back bowl areas much more and trying to push myself to learn to ski more extreme terrain well. I ski pretty hard and fast with short-mid length turns. I live in CO so I ski the resorts out here exclusively.

After some research here, I've come up with the following models to demo:

1) Volkl AC-3
2) Volkl Karma
3) Dynastar Legend 8000

I was thinking of adding the AC-4 to the list since it's pretty highly praised around here, but am wondering if it may be too advanced of a ski for me. I really plan on working on my technique to become a good skier again, as well as get in much better shape. Am I making too big of a jump in skis if I demo the AC-4 for my level? Are there any other skis you may recommend for me to demo? Thanks.
post #2 of 24
No it's not to much for you as you describe yourself. A better solution than the AC-3. Check out 170 for better all round or 177 for more off piste and GS type piste cruising.
post #3 of 24
Concur with Eric S, you should definitely add the AC4. It does very well in your preferred ski terrain. Its hell in bumps but that doesn't sound like it wil be an issue.
post #4 of 24
Too often everyone associates the AC3 as being "less" ski than the AC4. That's absolutely not the case. Please read the many reviews in the gear section. The AC3 is a bit stiffer and I found it to be more difficult to make it work than the AC4.

That said, I'm going to say that given your description I think that both the AC3 and the AC4 may be too much ski for you. These skis are going to punish you if you generally don't have the skills to carve a high energy ski. Even the Karma is pretty damn stiff through the mid-section.

The Legend 8000 is a totally different kind of ski (less sidecut and more forgiving). My recommendation is to keep your mind "open" to other suggestions and to talk (truthfully) with whoever is at the demo center about your skills and the skis you've enjoyed in the past.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hmmm, interesting. I've tried to read as many reviews as possible lately, but since I haven't owned or skied many different models, it can be a tough process to narrow it down; the only shaped ski I've ever owned is the Rossi Bandit X. Because of this, I'm not sure what you mean by "These skis are going to punish you if you generally don't have the skills to carve a high energy ski." I feel my carving skills are pretty good, and have taken a lesson a few years back to work on it.

So based off of your feedback Noodler, what are the things I should be looking for in a ski? What other skis should I consider? The reason I have the Karma on there is because it is a bit wider for handling powder, yet still has the ability to perform on groomers.

I'm trying to be as honest as possible with myself as well as others trying to help me. Thanks.
post #6 of 24
The Rossi Bandit X was a smooth ski, but nowhere near the stiffness of the two Volkls you're looking at (and it didn't have the super deep sidecut either). These Volkls want to be on edge and carving most of the time. If you're comfortable with that idea then go for it. It can't hurt to demo at least one of them (I'd go with the AC4), but I'd be surprised if you thought it was the right ski for you.

I think you should consider a look at the Rossi B3, Salomon X-Wing Fury, or K2 Apache Recon as skis that have similar geometry, but are much less of a handful. I personally haven't ridden any of these though.

My personal recommendations (from skis I've tested) would be to consider a ski that can step you up to higher performance while still being more forgiving - like the Elan Magfire 12 (with Fusion system) or the Atomic M11 B5.

And don't forget the Nordicas - look at the models that are one step down (without all the metal) like the Hot Rod Afterburner or the Nitrous. These are great smooth skis that aren't too damp or demanding.
post #7 of 24
Noodler, as usual you make a lot of sense. I like your suggestion of a ski with a less radical side cut for tharr. Possibly throw a Stockli Stormrider XL into the mix as well? Given tharrs weight, he could possibly handle a ski that is a little stiffer under foot.
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Noodler, thanks for the advice. I just got back from the mountain today, and spent most of the time on the backside skiing non-groomed and tree runs. I also am starting to enjoy skiing bumps. Would your recommendations still hold true for these conditions? I will be heading up for a few days of skiing and plan on demoing a couple of models while I'm up there. Thanks again for everyones help.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
My personal recommendations (from skis I've tested) would be to consider a ski that can step you up to higher performance while still being more forgiving - like the Elan Magfire 12 (with Fusion system) or the Atomic M11 B5.

And don't forget the Nordicas
- look at the models that are one step down (without all the metal) like the Hot Rod Afterburner or the Nitrous. These are great smooth skis that aren't too damp or demanding.
Quote:
Originally Posted by thaar View Post
Noodler, thanks for the advice. I just got back from the mountain today, and spent most of the time on the backside skiing non-groomed and tree runs. I also am starting to enjoy skiing bumps. Would your recommendations still hold true for these conditions? I will be heading up for a few days of skiing and plan on demoing a couple of models while I'm up there. Thanks again for everyones help.
I'll second the thoughts of Noodler. and Yes with the conditions and type of terrain you are describing, you will likely fall in love with the Nordicas he recommended. I've skied both of them and could have easily flipped a quarter to choose which one to buy. They happened to have the Nitrous in a 170, and not the Afterburner when I was ready to buy.

I've skied on the 2006 AC4 and really enjoyed it, am eager to get on a 2007 AC4 but haven't had the pleasure yet. Noodler is correct, in regards to the ski putting a demand to be on edge. I loved that demand but some may not. As for the Nordica Afterburner and Nitrous, they both enjoy being on edge but don't put a demand for you to be on edge.

I ski the nitrous in Trees, bumps, and on groomers, and get a lot out of it!
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by trekchick View Post
I've skied on the 2006 AC4 and really enjoyed it, am eager to get on a 2007 AC4 but haven't had the pleasure yet. Noodler is correct, in regards to the ski putting a demand to be on edge. I loved that demand but some may not. As for the Nordica Afterburner and Nitrous, they both enjoy being on edge but don't put a demand for you to be on edge.

I skied the 2006 AC4 last year and liked it. When I went to buy, I could only get the 2007 AC4. Much stiffer, didn't like it (I couldn't load it up and get pop out of it like my 06 AC3's and I weigh 200 lbs). Ended up trading the AC4 for the Stockli Stormrider XL. The Stormrider is probably as stiff as the 2007 AC4, but having less sidecut makes it an easier ski to live with than the 2007 AC4. As always YMMV.
post #11 of 24
The Legend 8000 is my new favorite ski.
P.M. me and I'll tell you where to get it for $412.
post #12 of 24
Sorry, the deal I got apparently has ended. Sierra Jim has the 8000 for $525.
post #13 of 24
Regarding which ski for moguls - it really depends on where you are with your bump skils. If you're still developing confidence in the moguls then a ski that is a bit softer, narrower, and with less sidecut will be easier to deal with. If you've already become fairly accomplished then you can compromise on some of those qualities and get a ski that will also work well for you on other parts of the mountain.

For me personally, I'm not bothered by ski width in the moguls up to about 90mm - so that's the first characteristic I'm willing to sacrifice from the "ultimate" mogul ski. The second would be the sidecut - a deeper sidecut can actually get you in trouble by hooking up when you don't want it to in the moguls, but if you've got good balance control you'll be OK. The last thing I would compromise on would be the stiffness - I really want the skis to be able to take on some of the impact of the moguls so I don't have to do it all with my body. Although I could run stiff skis through moguls, I wouldn't want to do that all day.

So decided for yourself where you are and if you can make some compromises to get that perfect ski for you. Hope this helps.
post #14 of 24
Taxman - I own the '04-'05 Stormrider XL (red, white, and blue flames) and I don't feel it's a stiff ski at all. In fact, in the last two seasons Stockli actually softened up the flex of the XL a bit more. I would characterize the XL as being medium in overall stiffness and definitely less than either the '06-'07 AC3 or AC4. I think that the XL may even be softer than the '05-'06 AC4 (without the titanium).

What I like about the flex of the XL though is that it's not initially very stiff in its flex pattern, but becomes progressively stiffer very smoothly throughout its length.
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of your help guys. I'm so glad you guys chimed in. It seems pretty common to recommend a ski here that may not necessarily be best for that particular skier.

Anyways, I'm not very accomplished at all in moguls, but want to get better. Actually I want to get better all around. So the place I'll be demoing from carries Nordica, so I will try the Afterburner. As for a second ski to demo, which ski should I look at? The brands they carry are Rossignol, K2, Tyrolia, Burton, Head, Salomon, Nordica, Volkl, Marker, Never Summer, Technica, and Atomic. I'm not sure if they carry complete lines of each manufacturer
so having a couple options may be good. Thanks again. I'm excited to get out there and demo this week.
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
...I would characterize the XL as being medium in overall stiffness and definitely less than either the '06-'07 AC3 or AC4. I think that the XL may even be softer than the '05-'06 AC4 (without the titanium).

What I like about the flex of the XL though is that it's not initially very stiff in its flex pattern, but becomes progressively stiffer very smoothly throughout its length.

As usual a wealth of considered information. Noodler, I trust your recovery is progressing well. I always enjoy your equipment reviews and look forward to many more in the future.
post #17 of 24
Thanks for asking - it's definitely off-topic, but I'm finally crutch-free as of this weekend. I've managed to live my life over the past 2 days without any need for the crutches. It's a huge "win" for me and now it really feels like my life is getting back to normal.

Back on topic - ski flexes/constructions are a funny thing. I've skied some skis that are very stiff, yet don't feel very stable at speed - and then there are the skis that seem like they'd have a low top end due to their softer flex, but they hang in there really well. Some manufacturers have managed to find that great mix in their constructions that allow a ski to be both manageable and dependable. And it's worth restating in this thread that I believe one of the major reasons why some skis don't seem to work for some people is because they're mismatched - flex to skier weight/strength. You have to be able to "work" a ski at the speeds you typically ski at or you're just not getting anything out of the ski. If you can't bend it when you turn you need to find something else.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by thaar View Post

Here's a little info about me: I'm 5'11" 215#, male and 27 yrs old. I'm not in the best shape, but working on it. I really think my lack of being in shape is affecting what and how I ski. Currently, I would say that I am a level 7 skier. I mainly stick to steep blues and blacks, and don't really ski bumps all that often; maybe 2-3 times/day on short runs. I'm starting to explore the back bowl areas much more and trying to push myself to learn to ski more extreme terrain well. I ski pretty hard and fast with short-mid length turns. I live in CO so I ski the resorts out here exclusively.

The AC 3 and AC 4 are too much ski, IMHO. I don't know enough about the 8000.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by thaar View Post

Anyways, I'm not very accomplished at all in moguls, but want to get better.

So the place I'll be demoing from carries Nordica, so I will try the Afterburner.
Sounds like a good choice. Try the Nitrous and stay away from the Top Fuel.

170 - a 177 will kick your butt.

Avoid over stating your level. Too much ski is a waste of money and will not help your skiing.
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. It's sometimes difficult to be honest with the level of skier you are. Sometimes I find myself stating what kind of skier I want to be rather than what my current level is.

Unfortunately, the demo place I'm going to doesn't carry dynastar, so I need to figure out a couple other models to demo other than the Afterburner. Any other recommendations? Rossi B3?
post #21 of 24
B3 and B2 are good choices. They're easy to ski in a wide range of conditions (bc of the flex pattern and the sidecut)

Earlier in the thread, I stated that I thought the AC4 was doable, but I'm starting to agree with the other posters that it might be too much too soon. It has a lot of sidecut which can be problematic if the flex pattern is too onerous for you - especially if you want to improve your bump skiing.
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
Sounds like a good choice. Try the Nitrous and stay away from the Top Fuel.

170 - a 177 will kick your butt.
177 will be too much, even with my size (5'11" 215lbs)?
post #23 of 24
Top Fuel or Jet Fuel in a 177 would be a lot of ski, but I'm not so sure about the Nitrous or AfterBurner. Maybe ssh or Faisasy could chime in (or you could PM them about it).
post #24 of 24
I mentioned the Nitrous because it could probably handle your weight. But I still would like to suggest it in a 170. I don't know the Afterburner.
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