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Rossignol Z5 vs Z9

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I started an earlier thread searching for help for new skis, but now I'm down to two and would love some advice.

Me: 6'2" 185lbs, athletic, intermediate who learns quickly (can do blues fast and just getting into blacks - did my first double black on the last trip). Lookign for first pair of skis.

My thoughts and the end of the earlier thread -

I demoed the Rossignol Z3 on the first day at Winter Park, CO. This was a great ski and let me know right away that all my research about the Zenith lineup was right on. It was very easy to ski, comfortable and forgiving. It was good at speed, but it seemed to lose its grip if I really edged it over hard on some of the hard pack. This ski was the best ski I had been on to date and was very confidence inspiring. It was close to what I wanted, but I could tell by the end of the day I needed a stiffer ski as I was getting more aggressive.

So the next day I stepped up to the Z9 at Arapaho Basin per the recommendation of the guys in the rental shop. I was going to try the Z5 but they pushed me towards the Z9 due to my size (185lbs, 6'2"). After two runs I was comfortable with the stiffness of the Z9 and realized that it had enormous grip everwhere and was super stable. Big difference from the Z3! Even when I hit the icy patches it didn't hesitate. Just like the reviews have said - this thing just holds and turns like there is no tomorrow. I absolutely loved the ski. It begs to go fast.

My favorite thing about the Z9 is the confidence in knowing that it will hold when I'm carving down the mountain. It feels light and is easy to turn. I put it through the paces - powder, icy patches, hard pack, groomed, moguls, etc. All in all, I had no more concerns about my equipment and I began to really have fun on the mountain.

My two concerns: 1) this thing absolutely wore me out by the end of the day 2) when I took it down a steep double black, it seem to lose a bit of grip on the steep/packed moguls when I would come down hard from side to side

As for 1, I think stepping down to the Z5 might be a good choice, but I fear losing the infinite edge grip the Z9 provided. I doubt I will ever exceed the speed limit of the Z9. Since I didn't try the Z5 I don't know where the limit is on its grip.

As for 2, it was very likely my technique as much as the ski - not sure. This was my first time to try something that hard. I read one review that said something similar, so this is good for discussion.

So....I didn't get to demo the Z5. I've read that the Z5 is a more versatile all terain ski and that most won't use the full capacity of the Z9. I'm wondering if the extra flex would make it a bit more versatile and be more comfortable with some sacrifice in carving stability, or if I need to stick with the Z9 and enjoy solid performance that requires lots of energy. I know the Z9 will have no limit for me, which is nice.

The guys at the rental shop (they were not selling any of these) said go with the Z9. The Z9 gave me the best ski day of my life, so this is hard. I've settled on Z5 or Z9 only, so what do you folks think?
post #2 of 5
Magic..No contest here-go with the Z9! If you were tired on a ski that had great edge hold on blacks--how much more tired would you be with a ski that doesn't have great edge hold? My guess is that there were two reasons that you were tired: having so much fun that you skied longer; also skiing more difficult terrain. I demoed the Z9's and found them to be one of the most relaxing skis I've ever been on. They initiate turns very easily and have great edge hold. The only reason that I didn't buy a pair was I love to carve high speed GS turns and the Z9's do have a speed limit.
post #3 of 5
I have the Z9 in 176. This is the ski I loan to friends who don't ski at an advanced level yet. It's the easiest ski I own and the one I take when I don't know what conditions are going to be like. Compared to the skis you've been on it probably feels like it has great grip, but I find that to be it's worst feature. What I do like is it does well in almost any condition, is easy to ski, and has a speed limit I haven't reached yet. I think you'll continue to like a pair.

post #4 of 5
Z9's. Period. Keep in mind, you'll only get better the more you ski them. I didn't find them to be an "expert" ski (really close though), but they do inspire confidence, and are very easy to ski. Not quite a one ski quiver, but...

Like Steve said, they were my go-to ski when I didn't know exactly what o expect - until he bought them from me!!
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback! I think I just needed a bit of reassurance from those of you who already own Z9's. Yes, I did ski a lot that day...with a big grin on my face!

Now the downside is having to wait until fall again to go racing down the slopes.
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