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Demo ski: worht buying?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Now that the season is more than half over, many shops are doing a lot of sales. And one of the on mountain shop is putting some of their demo ski on sale for 50%! And one of them happens to be one of the ski I tried and liked (same model/length).

I haven't seen this discussed here. So I have tons of questions:

* First and foremost, are demo ski even worth considering?

I know rental skis got really trashed by mid-season. But how about demos? What should I look to see if they have any life left? Or, if this is generally a bad idea for most, except people who really can't afford it otherwise. Then I should just skip the rest of the questions and continue looking for deals other ways?

* If, however, demo skiis ARE worth considering, what should the percentage be around? Is 50% in the ball park or I should wait a bit more for a better deal later in the season?

* Demo-Bindings: I know they'll probably come with the demo-bindings, which I heard is heavier than regular bindings. Is that something I ought to be concerned about? If it's just weight, I think I can handle it. After all, I demo-ed them in the full demo setup and the weight didn't bother me. Unless, there's some other advantage of lighter-weight that I should know about? However performance?
post #2 of 9
Demo bindings are a real problem in my opinion. There is some serious slop do to the moving parts, forward pressure is usually 'get it close enough' and they have a high stack height...and they are heavy.

Many demos these days are system skis and sometimes the binding IS a consumer binding, thats a good thing.

Just because a ski is a demo and "50% OFF" it may not be a good deal, often you can get a brand new pair for the same price if you look around. The demo may be tuned to death, look at the edge thickness (especially at the tip and tail)...are the edges paper thin? Is there repair work on the bases? run you finger nail down the sidewall of the ski, there should be a 'lip' that you feel at the edge, if the ski has been tuned a lot the edge won't have any material left so your finger will slide down the sidewall, if there is edge left you'll feel the lip. It may help to compare a new ski with the demo for edge width. hope this helps.
post #3 of 9
what Whiteroom said...however...

it all depends on the ski and the shop. some demos see little or no action all season, perhaps 3-5 days tops.

other skis will see major action and have been skied 10-30 days over the season.

it also depends how long the ski has been available for demo. for example i was demoing the 2005 Blizzard Titan 9 this weekend. That's a ski that is now almost 3 seasons old. It rode well, but i would only buy it from the shop if they gave me a REALLY killer deal.

the things to consider are, as WR stated, edge wear, also base wear (this is more easy to spot), and flex. if it's a wood core ski and has been used a lot it could have lost some of it's "pop."

as for the demo bindings, yes they are heavy and can have a certain amount of slop. on the positive side, if they're sweet skis, then you can loan them out to friends to try!

most of my hardcore friends have steered me away from buying demos, but then we've had the luck to check them out together.
post #4 of 9


I bought a pair of Elan S12 fusions about 4 years ago. They came with a Marker integrated binding. I got them for about 50% off. They have been a good ski. The ski was in excellent condition and I know the shop owner. Elans are hard to find around these parts. That is the ski I wanted so I went for it.

I was at Christy Sports here in Denver the other day and they had their demo's on sale. They had the Mantra and Seth Vicious. I commented to the tech about how good a shape they were in and he said not many people had demoed them and people in the shop were about the only ones he knew of that took them out. I believed him because of the location of the shop (in a mall) and every time I am in there it's kinda filled with joe consumer types. But they had those demo bindings with the big dial in the middle. They looked like a solid binding but also looked heavy. They wanted $500 for them. I looked around and found a 777 for $349. I got a Salomon 12 Light binding for $150 and they threw in the mount. Look around because shops are dealing now. If you didn't mind the bulky binding the mantra and set were a good deal.

The Demo fleet at the Christy sports here in Boulder seems to get heavy use. Their high end skis always seem to be out. I demoed a pair a Big Troubles there that looked to be in great shape. Next time I went in the store they had sold and that was early in the season.
post #5 of 9
I agree with what has been said by everyone else. I have had some good luck buying demos because I ski longer than average boards. I have occasionally found a long size that have only been skied a few times and consequently they are in almost new condition, but the majority of demos skis have been abused by the skiers and the shop by repeated tuning and grinding. As advised, look at them closely. I have used demos as specialty skis to expand my quiver (powder or mogal skis only used occasionally) but not as my main everyday ski, unless there are serious budget constraints.

In recent years I have had better luck buying last year's model "new" skis at about the same price as this year's used demos.
post #6 of 9
FWIW, take a look at SierraJim's offerings...new at 50% off .
post #7 of 9
As most have stated, 50% isn't really that great of a deal. But I have purchased many a pair of demo's. My two boys feet went through a growth spurt that would have bankrupted me if I didn't have them on demo's.
I also always have a pair of demo fats for friends that show up unprepared on powder days.
post #8 of 9
This is a hotly debated topic and ranges based on the construction of the ski and how hard they're skied, but many people will say a ski has around 50 good days of life (and many people will say shorter or much longer). Point is, buying a ski for 50% that might have used over 50% of its life is no bargain.
post #9 of 9
I think it also depends on how often you ski and obviously how much they are discounted. My husband and and I (both level 6-7 skiers) used to ski a lot and then stopped for about 10 years, then started again recently. Last year I bought a pair of used demo Volkl Gamma 724 EXS skis with Motion bindings from evogear for $125. My goal at that time was to have something that were short enough to ski easily backwards in and that I wouldn't mind having my 3 yro ski over as she was learning. They actually have been much nicer than I would have anticipated, and much better than renting. At that price, they are also cheap enough to use as rock skis. This year I bought a pair of lightly used Dynastar Legend 8000 skis for my husband for $235 from Evogear. He's thrilled that they are so much better than the rentals, and for the limited days we get out every year they've worked fine.

This year I have been skiing more off-piste and have just ordered some new Fischer Breeze 70's for me for $299 including bindings from skiersoutlet.com, which also seems like a great deal. This time of year is a great time to buy either demos or new skis, but I wouldn't buy demos unless they were 60-70% off the new ski price.
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