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Eastern Intermediate - ski review (Rossi, Nordica, Elan, Volkl)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
07/08 model ski review

Where: Huntert Mountain. Took three short runs down Madison Avenue to gain my ski legs and confidence since last season - WOW I am rusty! All test runs were taken on Belt Parkway, except on the Rossi.

Conditions at Hunter 100% man-made snow, mostly groomed. Not typical Hunter - not too much ice. Snow had a crust on it with soft stuff underneath. Lots of packed powder. Partly cloudy, 28F at 8:30am, 30F at 3PM.

My info: 5’ 9", 180 lbs. male, 42y.o. Skied as a teen, then stopped; Began skiing again 3 years ago. Level 6 skier. Excess speed and steep + icy = not good mix for me yet. Under normal circumstances any blue in the Catskills or Berkshires is fine for me.

Skis used in the last 3 years: Dynastar rentals and 04/05 Fischer Rx4 @ 165cm w/ railflex binding.
Boots: 2006 Nordica Beast 10 (clear red ones), mondo 25.5.

Rossignol Zenith Z9, 170m 124-74-105mm, 15m TR @ 170cm.
This was the first ski of the day and a ski that was recommended very highly. I took one run down Madison ave then one down Belt Parkway. I really enjoyed its all-around performance and ease-of-use. Immediately I noticed how much better this ski allowed me to ski. The ski was very willing to perform medium radius turns with total confidence. The ski felt stable but lacked the solid edge-grip on the icy stuff. This ski did everything well and I did not have to work hard to do it. It was like driving a cadillac with sport tuned suspention. Soft and stable, got the job done and left a smile on my face. I really felt confident and enjoyed this ski alot. This is a great all-around ski for skiers such as myself.

Nordica Mach III 170cm 119-72-104mm, 16m TR

This ia a real performance ski and probably the top "performer" in the group that I tested. It is also the most demanding and did not allow for any weaknesses. It liked to go fast! This is my first time for me on a Nordica and I liked the feel of the ski on ice - like ice skates. The ski feels very quick edge-to-edge, and likes long GS type turns. I found it hard to make short radius turns and I had to work the ski too much for my liking. If you fail to keep both edges parallel and highly tipped throughout a turn it has no problem telling you it does not like this, as it threw me like a rodeo bronco. The Nordica Mach III is a great performance ski for higher level skiers. Quick, stable, powerful; this is a higher end ski for those with the right skills - not me! This ski is too fast and requires too much attention to technique for me.

Elan Magfire 10, 168cm, 125-75-104, 13m TR

This ski did it all - fast, slow, ice, crud, short turns long turns. It instilled confidence. It made me a better skier instantly. Like the Rossi, an intermediate looking to improve CANNOT go wrong on this ski. This is a "10."

Volkl AC20 170cm, 118-74-103

This is the most un-Volkl-like ski I've tried (I've been on the 5-star and the P40). It is nice, comfortable, not too demanding. It has great edge-grip typical of Volkl. This is a good choice for advancing intermediate skiers. Definately a confidence builder - stable, fast, forgiving. The most "carver-like" of the bunch. Did not handle the crud as well as the Rossi or Elan. Although It did everything well, I just did not love it - no particular reason why. Like talking to your friends after a date....all went well, nice girl, attractive, had a great time, but there was no spark.

Summary: Every ski I tested easily outperformed what I am on now. Not that the Rx4 is bad, it is an entry level ski (and a great one I think) that is limited by its design. It is a very narrow waisted carver that is relatively easy flexing. It does what it is designed to do.

I could be very happy with either the Elan Magfire 10 or the Rossi Z9. If I threw a dart at either I could not go wrong! The Volkl was great, but lacked the WOW! factor I got from the above two. The Nordica was the thoroughbred of the bunch. Too much for a skier like me. A younger, or more aggressive intermediate may like it better, I found it too demanding for my style.

I hope this helps.
post #2 of 11
Thanks for the review. I am actually looking for a replacement Similar stats - skills, age, except height (5'8") and weight (125lb).

I heard many great comments about the Volkl (mostly AC3 but I thought the AC2 is just a little less stiff but same character) so am a little surprised. I supposed that's why everyone recommends demo first...
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
The AC30 is wider underfoot than the AC20, not only stiffer. Don't get me wrong, this ski was great, but I liked the "ride" better on the Rossi and the over-all feel of the Elan. Perhaps if the shovel was detuned a little it would have tracked better. The crud and slop pushed the front of the ski around abit more than it did so with the others.
post #4 of 11

Good Job...Lenght?...

howdy, kidz,

an excellent job on the reviews considering your current time on snow this season...you've been doin' alot 'o off season reading here, a?

just curious why at 5'9"/180#s you're demoing 170ish skis? would strongly recommend no longer than 165's for hgt/wgt/level/conditions/terrain.

even though you 'felt' comfortable and given these are 'intermediate' skis, as your skill/confidence/style improve, you'll find you can get much more performance/smiles from any eastern style ski workin' a shorter length.

i'm 6'/225#s level 7/8...love hard pack & ice (skibluemt.com...phil's fav 'hill' in pa...have mid fat/sl's each of atomic, nordica, rossi, elan, head, stockli, volkl...the longest is 165 & the shortest is 160.

hey, just my inflation adjusted $.03.5.

harmonious holly daze & merry mazel tov,

bruce marks
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi Bruce,

It seemed that the shortest skis they had were the 167-170 lengths depending upon the manufacturer, unless you were looking at some of the ladies skis.

I agree with what you are saying, with a grain of salt. For example, the Elan at 168 is only 3cm (1.1 inches) longar than a 165. The choice between a 160 or 168, I would go for slightly longer and more stable.

post #6 of 11
Interesting read. I thought you'd like the Mag 10, I just didn't know how much!
post #7 of 11
For a 180lb intermed skier in the east 170 is right on for ski length for just general carving skis in the 90-10 or 70-30 realm. He should be on up to 180s for somethign with a more off piste bias. I would only look at a 165 or less if it was a super stiff SL side cut ski like a metron B5 or race stock SL ski.
post #8 of 11
I also think 170cm is fine for a 5'9" 180lb upper-intermediate or expert looking for all-mountain capability (for example a Mag 10). There was certainly a fad that put people on very short skis a couple years back, but nowadays I would never go shorter than -10cm (from height) myself.
post #9 of 11

Intermediate Length...

howdy, kidz,

not interested in a pissin' contest...:

there is a significant difference in how skis perform in relation to length/weight, as well as, height (which brings in the discussion the forces of fulcrum)...some skis even change construction as the length changes...i'd make it analogous to tire width/rim diameter.

as to shorter length being a 'fad'...the length in relation to skier type/style & condition/terrain as been reasonably constant for the past 5-7 seasons...what has changed is the width dimensions...tips went very wide w narrow waist...huge side cut...'03-'04 fischer wc rc4/k2 sl's...couldn't handle speed...tip construction didn't match desired use...to current very wide skis w/o the massive side cuts but exceptional performance w rock solid stability!!

phil said it first in his signature about 2 seasons ago...'width is the new length'.

but as has been said many times before...demo, demo, demo.

thx for listening,

bruce marks
post #10 of 11
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post
I also think 170cm is fine for a 5'9" 180lb upper-intermediate or expert looking for all-mountain capability (for example a Mag 10). There was certainly a fad that put people on very short skis a couple years back, but nowadays I would never go shorter than -10cm (from height) myself.
Really depends on the ski. If you're in-course on an SL, you'd probably be on a 165. It really is dependent on what you're trying to do and what the best option for you in a particular ski is. One of the challenges, though, is that the same model ski in different lengths can ski completely differently.
post #11 of 11
Yep, someone here (ssh? Bob P?) last year argued that there's more difference between lengths than between brands in the same width/length. I agree; next time you demo try three diff lengths in the same model if you can. Quite educational.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › Eastern Intermediate - ski review (Rossi, Nordica, Elan, Volkl)