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Replacing Volkl G4: Head IM 82,IM 88,AC4?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for a replacement for my recently deceased Volkl G4s (178). After researching, I had decided on the Volkl AC4s (177) as what looked like a similar ski, though probably more versatile on the groomed, which is a good thing. The problem is that these things are basically unavailable, except perhaps on ebay for over $800 (actually bought a pair only to find out the guy didn't have them so refunded me). I'm moving to Sapporo Japan next year and need something other than my p50's and head madtrix. Believe it or not, that place is no joke- 500 inches of light snow a year, and 2000-3000 ft vertical. So, assuming I can't find the AC4 (and I won't pay retail for the AC40), I've been looking into the following skis:

Head IM 82, Head IM 88, Volkl AC3

My stats: 5-10, 175lbs, 29 yrs, ex-racer, who prefers to ski wicked fast in all conditions. Grew up chasing sticks in NH. Currently stuck in Santa Barbara but still got 30 days each of the last 2 years. 5 years prior to that skied 40-90 days per year at Kirkwood/Taos.

Priorities in order: Stability at speed, crudbusting, stability and responsiveness in steep tight shoots/trees, powder performance (G4's 83 waist was plenty wide), hardpack performance, bump performance, hardpack versatility (turn shape), forgiveness (handled G4 no problem, but am not against an easier ski as long as the above priorities hold).

Thanks in advance for any input!
post #2 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by skelonas View Post
I'm looking for a replacement for my recently deceased Volkl G4s (178). After researching, I had decided on the Volkl AC4s (177) as what looked like a similar ski, though probably more versatile on the groomed, which is a good thing. The problem is that these things are basically unavailable, except perhaps on ebay for over $800 (actually bought a pair only to find out the guy didn't have them so refunded me). I'm moving to Sapporo Japan next year and need something other than my p50's and head madtrix. Believe it or not, that place is no joke- 500 inches of light snow a year, and 2000-3000 ft vertical. So, assuming I can't find the AC4 (and I won't pay retail for the AC40), I've been looking into the following skis:

Head IM 82, Head IM 88, Volkl AC3

My stats: 5-10, 175lbs, 29 yrs, ex-racer, who prefers to ski wicked fast in all conditions. Grew up chasing sticks in NH. Currently stuck in Santa Barbara but still got 30 days each of the last 2 years. 5 years prior to that skied 40-90 days per year at Kirkwood/Taos.

Priorities in order: Stability at speed, crudbusting, stability and responsiveness in steep tight shoots/trees, powder performance (G4's 83 waist was plenty wide), hardpack performance, bump performance, hardpack versatility (turn shape), forgiveness (handled G4 no problem, but am not against an easier ski as long as the above priorities hold).

Thanks in advance for any input!
Given all that, I think you would love the iM88.

The 82 is a little turnier, much like what I believe the AC4 to be. I don't think someone who liked the G4 in steep, tight chutes/trees would have any trouble at all with the 88. Probably the *only* thing it gives up on the 82 (or the AC4) is a bit of carviness/quickness in shorter turns, but if you're skiing "wicked fast", I can't imagine that you're making a whole lot of short turns on hardpack.

Disclaimer: I rep for Head.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
I'd actually like to have a little more maneuverability/turniness than my g4s if possible, so I'm wondering what the 82 gives up over the 88. Obviously float would be better for the 88, but I'd prefer a wider range of turn capability over extra float, assuming the 82=G4 for float. Don't want to sacrifice stability though. Also, I'm a bit at a loss for what size to ski the 82 in if I go with that. 172 seems so short to me, but I tend to think the biggest size of any expert ski (183 for the 82) is made with 6'2 200+ skier in mind (ie- they made the G4 in a 188, which was a little too much ski for me).

Thanks again!
post #4 of 21
I agree with the Monster 88, go for the 175cm. The ski will carve GS turns easily. Tighter turns require a little skidding in tight spots, but the ski will be much more user friendly than the older Volkl.

The Monster 82 will require the 183cm length for your requirements. Everything considered, the 175cm Monster 88 will be better.

Michael
post #5 of 21
I am 6'2", 190lbs, Instructor (Cert II) and I would get the im88 in 175cm over the m82. It carves very well indeed and has the extra float that you will love in that much powder. It is awesome in the trees and pretty good in the bumps for a wide ski. I took it heli skiing and it was good in deep powder (10"), crud and on the boiler plate. Just stick a 1/88 edge on it and it will grip on anything.

I am a long term Volkl fan and did my instructor training on the AC4 which I love but I would not say that it is a great powder ski nor that forgiving in trees or bumps. It is a very demanding ski/ I actually enjoyed skiing the 88 better as it handled everything very well and took much less effort to do so.

The 82 is an awesome ski and very well thought of by almost everyone that skis it but for a place that gets that much snow I would go fatter and shorter over longer and skinnier any day.

You could treat yourself and get a Stockli Stormrider DP Pro in 174 cm or 184 cm (I ski it in 193cm) or the new Stormrider XXL in 178 cm - it skied really well on hard pack and in bumps when I tested it in Mar 07 and I am quite looking forward to getting myself a pair in Oct when I get back to the States.
post #6 of 21
Mostly agree about the 88 vs the 82, and IMO both excelllent skis. But especially agree you should think about Stockli DP, you can find last year's at a decent price on eBay right now, unchanged for this year, will meet your specs nicely, has more float than the 88 for all that pow you anticipate, will bust crud and handle semi-tight spaces (if you stay short; remember that Stockli's ski long, so at your size 184 max for those wicked fast moments).

I can think of worse places to be "stuck" than SB/Goleta. Go to school there?
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Seems to me that the Stockli DP is pretty much a straight powder ski-I think that 90+ in the waist is too much width for me. I skied the Volkl Mantra (94 waist) in varied conditions, and though it was similar to my G4, I didn't like it as much. Didn't carve as well on groomed, didn't add any positive value in powder or crud for me. I feel like 75-90 is the range that I want to stay in for width- any wider and the ski will be either noodly or too much to turn on the groomers and handle in tight spots.

I want a ski that is a total crud-buster, does well in powder (I tend to think any ski in the 75-90 range will- come on now, powder was easy/fun on my dynastar G9s!), and feels like a race ski on the groomed. I actually would prefer for it to feel something like a carver that can vary turn shape on the groomed withough losing stability vs. the G4 that is only good for GS turns. For that reason, I was excited about the AC4- seemed like the G4 with more turning versatility, which I figure would also make it better in tight trees/bumps - 3 areas where the G4 doesn't shine.

So, follow up questions would be:
-Are either of the head skis as good at crud busting, and stability at high speeds as the G4 and AC4?
-I can get the IM 82 in 172 or 183 for $360, the IM 88 in 175 for $400 and the IM 85 in a 179 for $300. What are the real differences between all these skis and also compared to the G4/AC4? If the 85 is somewhere in between the two, I think I'm sold by the price!
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
I'm actually a teacher here, and you're right, I shouldn't be complaining. though the fact that I'm off work, it's a beautiful day in southern cali, and I'm online researching skis speaks to my priorities!

I can think of worse places to be "stuck" than SB/Goleta. Go to school there? [/quote]
post #9 of 21
Gauchos!

(Went there as an undergrad)

Prob I see for you is that you want two different skis. iM88 is too stiff to be more than OK in real pow - it's a superb crud-buster, not a floater - and it ain't that happy in bumps for the same reason. OTOH, if you didn't find the Mantra tough enough on hardpack, forget the DP. What to do?

Go to plan B: I'd think about a slightly softer flexing high 80's ski that still has some guts. Like an Atomic Snoop or Dynastar 8800. Both are respected skis you can get cheap right now. Lot of patrol and mountaineering types ski 8800's in everything from frozen crust to mountain chutes; Snoops are, from what I hear, easy in powder, great in crud, and are surprisingly good carvers. The 8800's are smooth, strong, and old school, the Snoops, I'm told, are lively, strong, and quick. Neither of these will plough icy crud quite like the 88's, but both will be friendlier in powder, bumps, and deep light chop.

Or Plan C, which is a Volkl Karma. If you can find one, it'll do everything you ask (owned one, amazing ski), and is better in bumps than any of the above.

But mainly, you have to decide where you want the ski to excel - hardpack and crud, or pow/ bumps/chop. No ski does it all.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
Gauchos!

But mainly, you have to decide where you want the ski to excel - hardpack and crud, or pow/ bumps/chop. No ski does it all.
Well, like I said above, my 1st priorities are crud-busting, and high speed stability (hardpack and otherwise). I realize that skis like the G4/AC4 and probably the heads are not made specifically for skiing powder, but I find powder so fun and easy that to me extra float is not that important (75-90 mm waist will take care of that no problem). Plus, I don't like to 'dance' on top of powder- hate the 1080 and pocketrocket in powder and otherwise. So I'm not interested in going much softer- but wouldn't mind a ski that is slightly softer than the G4, or turnier for improved tight spot performance/groomer versatility, as long as it is every bit as good of a crud buster and high speed ripper.

Looking for opinions comparing the G4 to the AC4, IM 82, IM 88, IM 85, and now I'm looking also at an 05 Atomic Rex (dmoney ltd) in a 177 on ebay.

Should also point out that I'm a high school teacher, not a prof, so I'm on a budget.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skelonas View Post

Looking for opinions comparing the G4 to the AC4, IM 82, IM 88, IM 85, and now I'm looking also at an 05 Atomic Rex (dmoney ltd) in a 177 on ebay.
Hey, look what I found, beyond. What will I lose over the AC4 in a 177 if I get the iM82 in a 172?


Quote:
iM82 (172): Mixed - mostly positive - feelings here. The proper comparison is to a AC4 at 177, not 170; both have the same turning radius and the same GS feel. The Monster's lighter and easier to initiate, probably because it's 5 cm shorter and has a softer front end, but it's noticably beefier from the binding rearward. That softer shovel made it nicer in what pow I could find along the sides. Has a more abrupt - and thrilling - kick from the tail than the AC4. Both are happy at ridiculous speeds on groomed, but the Monster prefers to carve (yes you can), while the AC4 is more tolerant. Better in soft bumps than the 177 AC4, but both are in the "managable" category. Cons: That tail can thrust you into the next dimension after a few turns; pay attention. Forgiving but heavy at low speeds. And like the XRC 1200, don't even think about backseating.
post #12 of 21
i.M88 in a 175.

#1 No speed limit

#2, floats Fine, I don't find it stiff at all.

#3. I have no problem on it in bumps

#4 Busts crud like a tank

#5 Very nimble for a ski this dimension

#6 Carves like a Gs race ski on hardpack

Mine are mounted flat on the deck with Tyrolia MOJO 15 on the factory mark.

I would ski it as is and then put a 2 degree side edge on it! Made all the difference in the world to me!

Currently my favorite ski and I have many to chose from.
post #13 of 21
I'm also an xG4 nut. My cord arcer/crud buster is now the Jet Fuel. 126-84-112. (r=20 @ 186) check it out, it rips. super responsive at speeds, and has no limit. Although heavy. (which is fine for a ski that stays on the ground)

MOving to sapporo? 貴方の日本語わ?
YOu may consider researching shops out there as well. Here in northern Honshu, not many skis sold last year. My current shop in Yamagata still has last year's powder quiver and a pair ofAC4's, but the mid 60's length. Only two pair of 184's existed in Japan last year. And only 3 pairs of 186 Jet Fuels existed. The mid 170's were plentiful, however, and not many skiers bought skis last year.

www.snowjapan.com for the local gaijin.
post #14 of 21
It sounds as if the ski that you really want is the AC-4 but you are trying to get yourself talked into something else because you won't pay the freight.

Given the life that you got out of your last pair of skis and what you will likely get out of this pair, I think this is a little short sighted. In the grand scheme of things the $300-$400 difference over that time is pretty irrelevant. My suggestion is get the ski that you really want and if it happens to be the Volkl, fine do it. You'll be happier in the long run.

We all like to get deals and the other skis you mention are good ones but sometimes the deal game can be a little counter productive. Just ask yourself if can afford the AC-40 or not. (not do you want to pay full pop....but can you)

If you can then IMO that's what you ought to get. If you just can't afford it....then accept a substitute. The best frame of mind to be in when going for a deal is when you you don't care too much about what you get as long as it's the right category and length. This just doesn't sound like where you are right now.

SJ
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
It sounds as if the ski that you really want is the AC-4 but you are trying to get yourself talked into something else because you won't pay the freight.



SJ
Good points Jim, but the real issue here is that the AC4 in a 177 is just flat out unavailable. I actually bought a new pair on ebay a month ago, only to find out the guy didn't actually have them and had to get a refund. I have looked everywhere (even called your shop and was practically laughed at for asking).

If I was skiing at good ol' kirkwood next year, I'd simply demo and get the skis I needed at the most reasonable price, but I'm heading to Japan before I'll have the chance, and probably before the AC40s will be in shops... so I'm looking at other options... and honestly, as I haven't skied any of these, am starting to think there might be better options for me.

Your shop always seems to know it's stuff- do you guys have any opinion on the AC4 (177) vs. the 82 (172 or 183) vs. the 88 (175) or even the old 85 (179)? I'm leaning towards the 82 in the 172 from all I've read, even though people here tend to be suggesting the 88 for me, but I'm a bit scared of the shorter length. Still, I feel that for any expert level ski, the second longest length generally seems to be the right fit. Thoughts?
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
MOving to sapporo? 貴方の日本語わ?
YOu may consider researching shops out there as well. Here in northern Honshu, not many skis sold last year. My current shop in Yamagata still has last year's powder quiver and a pair ofAC4's, but the mid 60's length. Only two pair of 184's existed in Japan last year. And only 3 pairs of 186 Jet Fuels existed. The mid 170's were plentiful, however, and not many skiers bought skis last year.

www.snowjapan.com for the local gaijin.
I've heard that buying skis in Japan is insanely expensive. Is it likely that they might have used or last years models for cheap because those folks like their gear brand new?
post #17 of 21
Retail is retail. I custom ordered my gear last year and paid retail prices. Pro-forming from my bros in the states, then paying hundreds for shipping and not having easy access to warranty if issues arose proved a bigger threat, imo. (shipping skis overseas is expensive, btw.) Buying cheap in the states, and taking them with you is the way to go.

when I was talking about last year's models, I was referring to the pow/crudbuster/midfat skis. Here in northern honshu, pow skiers just plain don't exist. That is why my shop still has last year's quiver. Gotamas, Guns, Pimps, etc... all about 200 US$ off last year's retail. That price may drop further if they order this year's goods for their pow options. As a business owner, I wouldn't.

Sapporo is different, I can't speak for that clientel, nor have I ever been there, so I can't speak for the types of skiers either.

Japanese are famous for being either racers or demonstration guys. Very few alpine skiers in Japan ride for arcing turns for fun, or ripping pow. Some tele skiers are evolving now, however, and some tourers do exist. But I honestly have 4 trams accessing trees that are all mine on pow days. I have never seen a japanese person on pow skis at Zao.

race skis, and carving-specific skis are out the door quickly. Anything over an 80 waist is lacking a clientel in Japan.
post #18 of 21

G4 replacements

I skied the Volkl g4 four years ago in a 178cm.

Three years ago I bought a Salomon Scream 10 Xhot in a 175cm.
These were a little softer than the G4's and the tail would wash
out in a tight, medium speed GS turn. I felt they were a better
all around ski that the G4 though.

Two years ago I picked up a new, year old pair of 724 Pro's. 170cm.
Stiffer that the G4's and more sidecut. Better at railing but
not as good in the POW. I cracked them in two in the bumps on Gunbarrel.

One year ago I picked up a pair a Dynastar 8800's in a 178cm. These
are awesome in the pow and packed pow bumps. I could get them
up on edge but they were not great railers.

This year a bought a pair of Dynastar 8000's in a 178cm. These have
got to be one of the best if not the best ski I've owned. If you do
more groomers with a little off trail light pow, these would be an
excellent replacement for the G4's. If you're doing more POW with
the G4's look at next years Dynastar Mythic.

A ski shop in Truckee, CA. has 172, 178, 184cm of last year's 8000's
for about $350.

Tom
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
I ended up pulling the trigger on a pair of 175 Monster iM88's, as many of you suggested. I think what put me over the top is hearing about east coasters skiing this thing everyday, and that everyone says it has no speed limit. Sounds to me like it will be every bit the crud buster/high speed carver that the G4 was (and AC4), and will likely be better in the powder, and probably even the bumps and trees. The only thing I might loose over the AC4 is tighter radius turns, but I have a pair of true carvers for that, and I think I can live without it in Japan. Plus I got them brand new, mounted with railflex 12 bindings, and shipped for $500!

Thanks for everyones help!
post #20 of 21
Congrats!

Be sure to file a Trip Report next year.

Michael
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by skelonas View Post
I ended up pulling the trigger on a pair of 175 Monster iM88's, as many of you suggested. I think what put me over the top is hearing about east coasters skiing this thing everyday, and that everyone says it has no speed limit. Sounds to me like it will be every bit the crud buster/high speed carver that the G4 was (and AC4), and will likely be better in the powder, and probably even the bumps and trees. The only thing I might loose over the AC4 is tighter radius turns, but I have a pair of true carvers for that, !
You didn't tell us that part!

If you've already got a pair of true carvers, then you DEFINITELY made the right choice with the 88's over the 82's.

You're gonna love 'em.
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