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Beginner to Intermediate Skis

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hello guys, my friends are pretty hardcore skiers...I'm in Massachusetts, and finally got a chance to go skiing this year. I've been skiing twice so far, and I just love the sport... After 2 days, 1 at Wachusett Mountaint (bad conditions, 50 degree weather) 1 at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire (good conditions). Thanks to my expierience with roller blading, I was able to get into the rhythm of parallel turns and skipped the snow plow phase. I can ski all the blues at Loon, pretty comftorably and at good speeds, I turn when I need to, and dont take up the whole mountain. I can stop well provided I'm not going very very fast... Up until now I have been using the rental skis at Loon and Wachusett, and being a novice couldn't tell the difference or if they were good or bad.

I am of a stocky / muscular build, but I have pretty good endurance, and was able to ski fine and push myself on the blues at Loon from 8AM to 4PM without getting too tired.

I am 5'6, 190 lbs, (gonna get some real conditioning done this summer, to shave off some weight...I am a male, and will be 16 for this upcoming season... I was wondering if you guys could point me in the direction of some skis that would last me a few years, and be pretty well suited for blues and blacks when I start hitting them up...

Thanks in advance,
John
post #2 of 19
Seek thee the best boot fitter thy kind find. Buyest the best boots you can afford. Doth seek boots adjusted and fitted to thine foot by the sacred boot fitter to the point holy divinity. Not till this first holy quest has been attained shalt thou be ready to begin the second quest to obtain thy perfect ski.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
, thanks for the response, well in that case what is the best time between now and November or December to buy Ski Equipment?
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnM440 View Post
, thanks for the response, well in that case what is the best time between now and November or December to buy Ski Equipment?
Boot,s the best time is early fall when the shops get all their new stock in. Then they'll have all models in all sizes and you can try on several different models to find the one that fits you the best. Of course that's when prices are highest but don't try to save a couple hundred bucks on boots. Pay whatever it takes to get the fit right. Also, any good shop will do free fit adjustments for the first season which is another advantage to buying them at the beginning of the season.

As far as skis, now is a good time to buy price wise as everyone tends to blow out the current year's models at 30-40% off. If you know you are hooked, it wouldn't be a bad idea to get something on sale now then buy the perfect boot in the fall.

For newbies, I'm partial to (after getting perfect boots) buying a ski really cheap that is either used but in good shape or a model from a couple years ago that is being dumped on closeout. That way, you can get 10-20 days under you without having to deal with a rentals. It will take that long for you to decide what kind of ski you will really want. Then you can demo and seek the perfect ski (an endless quest in itself).
post #5 of 19
good advice - when i was a newbie i got boots first and bought ex demo skis .by the end of the next season i had changed the boots for something a bit tighter and more responsive and had also changed the type of ski to suit the skiing i liked and also upped the length. If i were you maybe rent for a season cos by the end of it you will have improved so much you will have to re-buy better boots and skis
post #6 of 19
Oh, and boots should fit pretty darn tight when new. It's easier to loosen up a boot than tighten it up. If they are really tight but you have just a couple hot spots, these can always be fixed. So, make sure they are tight tight tight, but not too the point of pain, when new.

A good way to check is to pull the liner out of the shell, put the footbed in the boot, then put your foot in the boot. Slide the toe up until it touches the front of the shell. For normal skiing, you heel should be about 5/8" from the back of the shell. Much under 1/2" and it's going to take a lot of work to get a comfortable fit. If you get up above 3/4", the boots are TOO BIG.

If a shop won't shell fit you like that, find a new shop.
post #7 of 19
what about waiting a season so he knows what type of skiing he's most likely to enjoy the most? i know when i started all i wanted to do was on piste - within a year i had changed my mind completly.Luckily i had bought a pair of carvers cheap end of season so i hadn't wasted too much money
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by keir View Post
what about waiting a season so he knows what type of skiing he's most likely to enjoy the most? i know when i started all i wanted to do was on piste - within a year i had changed my mind completly.Luckily i had bought a pair of carvers cheap end of season so i hadn't wasted too much money
That's pretty much what I'm suggesting. Rentals are a pain in the a$$. For the price of ten rentals, you could get an ok used ski that's better than rentals or a two-year-out-of-date new-old-stock leftover. Limit yourself to $200-300. Then, when you know what you want, dump those for $100 and buy your fist real ski.
post #9 of 19
When you say 'you can stop when you have to' I am a bit leery of suggesting too much ski and honestly, trying demos at this point would be a waste of money.

There are some very good ski and binding set ups in our "Bargain Basement" These are remaining '05-'06 models in somewhat scattered sizes that are all in the range of 60% to 70% off of original MSRP.

http://shop.sierrasnowboard.com/browse.cfm/2,509.html

I'd suggest the Nordica SUV 10.1 @ $279 or the Fischer RX-4 @ $249. If you were to rent 10 times over the next year, you would about pay for these and have far better skis and bindings along the way.

SJ
post #10 of 19
I'm a noob myself, with 30 days total under my belt, all this season. First, good boots will improve your performance more than anything else. Second, don't buy a beginner ski. If you are putting effort into it, you will outgrow them in a week. I bought a pair of RX8s, which are billed as an advanced to expert ski and have no problems handling them. I'm 185 and have no problem bending them. My skiing improved dramatically from the second I clicked into them. I think I would have done just fine on them if I had used them from day one. EBay is a great place to look, most of the skis listed go for under half price.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
When you say 'you can stop when you have to' I am a bit leery of suggesting too much ski and honestly, trying demos at this point would be a waste of money.

There are some very good ski and binding set ups in our "Bargain Basement" These are remaining '05-'06 models in somewhat scattered sizes that are all in the range of 60% to 70% off of original MSRP.

http://shop.sierrasnowboard.com/browse.cfm/2,509.html

I'd suggest the Nordica SUV 10.1 @ $279 or the Fischer RX-4 @ $249. If you were to rent 10 times over the next year, you would about pay for these and have far better skis and bindings along the way.

SJ
Both those are good ski that would be good for a adv. novice - intermediate. If you want something carvy for groomers, get the RX4. If you want something all-mountain for doing a little bit more adventurous conditions, get the SUV. Me, I'd recommend the SUV 10.1. I think that ski would last you til you really know what you want after a season or two of learning and then demoing. About 170cm should be right for someone about 190lbs but 160cm would be about right for 5' 6". You gotta decide what shape you'll be in next year. Maybe since you are a novice still, err on the shorter side.


Then, in the fall, go to a good should and buy boots, or maybe look around now but only buy if you find a good fit. If they don't have the right model in your size, don't compromise, wait.

You said you are in MA. Maybe try Ski Stop in Westwood or Summit in Frammingham. Both good shops. I think Mountainside at Wa might be closed for the season. Wouldn't hurt for you to drift in and see if they have an intermediate boot model that fits your foot in your size.
post #12 of 19
If you really want to stick to a beginner ski, you might want to try to find a seasonal rental at a reasonable price. That's what I did when I was in the same boat as you about 4 months ago. It cost me $120 for boots, skis and poles for the season. For that I got some very soft Lange boots, which I think were a womens' model, and some very soft Rossi Cut Stage 3 170cm skis. By my 5th time out, I realized the boots were useless, and grabbed a pair of Lange Comp 100s from Ebay for $75. It was a gamble, but they fit ok and only needed $25 worth of work to make them fit comfortably. I hadn't been out more than 10 times before I realized the skis were holding me back, and decided to demo the RX8s. I had had one advanced level lesson on the Rossis, and took another with the same instructor two days later on the RX8s. His first comment was "wow, I can see you've really been practicing." I really hadn't, the only thing that changed was the skis. Around my 15th time out, there was a free demo day at one of the local hills and I got at chance to try out a bunch of different skis. Among them were the Fischer RX6, Rossi B2, Fischer RC4, Head i.M88, and Rossi Actys 200, and a few others. I am 36, 5'9" and a pudgy 185 pounds, way out of shape, and I certainly do not consider myself a gifted athlete, hell, not even average, and I had no problem handling any of these skis on groomers, some as steep as ~30°, not even the RC4s at 188cm. My favorites were the RX6 @ 170cm, which I actually liked a little better than the RX8 at that point, and the Rossi B2 @ 176cm. The only ski I really hated was the Actys 200, and when I told the shop rep that, he said it was more of a beginner to intermediate ski. Ultimately, I decided on the RX8, as almost everything around here is groomed, I'd rather have something I can grow into, rather than something I will outgrow. At this point, the RX6 would probably still serve me fine, but I plan on getting better next year. The B2 would have also been a good choice, it carves ok on the groomers, and would definitely be better for days when there is more than a few inches of loose snow, or in spring conditions, but it just wasn't nearly as fun as the RX6 or RX8 on the hard stuff. By the end of the season, the only rental equipment I was still using was the poles. I've since had my RX8s out on runs as steep as 38° with zero problems. I realize I'm speaking only from my own admittedly limited experience and YMMV, but, If you are already making parallel turns after 2 days, and you are definitely going to stick with it and plan on getting out more than 10 times next year, I would err on the side of too much rather than too little when it comes to equipment. The only regret I have as of the end of the season was not buying stiffer boots. The Comp 100s really seemed like more than I would need when I bought them, but now that I'm hitting higher speeds, I think I should have gone with the 120s. I would make good boots, and good bootfitting your first priority, and after that, if you can still afford skis, I don't think you could go wrong with the RX6 or something similar for the groomed, or the B2 or something similar for more of an all-mountain ski. I've yet to find the B2 with bindings for cheap though. On the other hand, if you really want to stick with beginner equipment, I've seen used Rossi Cut rental skis with bindings as low as $50 online. Whatever you do, check Ebay during the summer, occasionally you can find some spectacular deals on just what you're looking for. I got my RX8s for around 1/2 of what the local shops wanted during their end of season sales.
post #13 of 19
I took a gamble on some B2s not too long ago. I like them, but I feel like they're a little soft for me lately. I'm skiing the 170, stand 5'8", and weigh 145ish, but I go pretty fast and spend as much of my day as possible off-piste. At your weight, you might need a pretty long one to get the stiffness you'll need for the ski to give a lively ride. It depends on how quickly you learn enough to start pushing your ski.

And I second what everyone else says - boots are the most important.
post #14 of 19

Skip the RX4 :-)

I bought the RX4@160 first and a year later – the RX8@165.
Save some money and sorrow and go for the RX6@165. They are $399 at ski-depot (Jay, Me.).

As for boots, don't go soft. You will replace them a year later, like I did…
post #15 of 19
From my experience I would recomend you buy GS Race Skis as they are
the best on icey and groomed runs and reasonable in softer snow although you would enjoy Fat/Twin tips better in the soft stuff. There
are plenty of skis between racing and soft snow catagouries so demo
as many as you can. As others have said you must have top fitting
boots close to race level to get the best enjoyment and safety from
your skiing
post #16 of 19

Another option

Another option is to rent skis at a ski shop for the season...not the trip. You can still buy boots, but by renting the first year...skis or both, you can eventually tell what you'd like to change about them. Do you feel they are they too flexible, slow, hard to finish a turn without skidding, etc? That gives a good ski shop a baseline to help you choose equipment you'll be happy with. It's certainly cheaper than renting by the trip, or buying and selling equipment in a year. If you like the rentals, many shops will apply the rental fee to the purchase price. It'll also give you a chance to start a relationship with a shop so that you'll know each other when it's time to buy.Lastly, if the bindings aren't working right, etc...they're rentals...they'll be fixed for free.
Lance
post #17 of 19
I might suggest that some of the respondents re-read the OP and consider the following points.
  • Been skiing twice.
  • Can turn when he has to.
  • Can stop if he is not going too fast.
Perhaps I am drawing incorrect conclusions but IMO this skier is a long way from needing anything more than a mid level ski (at most) and quite a few lessons.

SJ
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
When you say 'you can stop when you have to' I am a bit leery of suggesting too much ski and honestly, trying demos at this point would be a waste of money.

There are some very good ski and binding set ups in our "Bargain Basement" These are remaining '05-'06 models in somewhat scattered sizes that are all in the range of 60% to 70% off of original MSRP.

http://shop.sierrasnowboard.com/browse.cfm/2,509.html

I'd suggest the Nordica SUV 10.1 @ $279 or the Fischer RX-4 @ $249. If you were to rent 10 times over the next year, you would about pay for these and have far better skis and bindings along the way.

SJ
I am thinking the same way, and also mimic Learn2's boot advice.

Get boots that will stay with you. Get skis that will be right for your current ability.
If a ski is too advanced for your ability, you'll find yourself in "recovery mode" instead of "learn to ski mode".
The deals Jim is suggesting are spot on!
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
I might suggest that some of the respondents re-read the OP and consider the following points.
  • Been skiing twice.
  • Can turn when he has to.
  • Can stop if he is not going too fast.
Perhaps I am drawing incorrect conclusions but IMO this skier is a long way from needing anything more than a mid level ski (at most) and quite a few lessons.

SJ
He does sound pretty ambious though and wants skis to last a few years.
I did get a mid level pair of skis but I grew out of them in 10 days as I found better stability from race skis and I was certainly not at a
racing level when I bought them but I was not at a level where I would
kill myself on them either. I bought them on gut feeling. They did not
turn me into a racer though but I never grew out of them either.
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