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Help me pick the right ski for my type (advanced skiier)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I've skiied since I was three years old and have a lot of experience. I've skiied an average of 10-15 days per year for 23 years with exception of two years where I skiied closer to 60 days per year. I consider myself an advanced skiier. Here are some facts about my skiing:

From age 12-20 I pretty much sticked in the bumps, trees, and crud
From age 20-25 I've pretty much sticked to on-piste, hard packed groomers. Mainly because my girlfriend started skiing when I was 20 and she hasn't ventured outside of groomers. I became fascinated with carving and mastering my technique on groomers. I still venture off to the bumps on occassion but it's usually only a few times per trip.

I ski west coast (mainly Colorado, Tahoe, Utah, etc.), and I think I want new skis. I'm happy with my current skis: Nordica SUV 14s, but I may want something that can handle bumps a little better, however, I don't want to sacrifice much (if any) groomer performance. I'm skiing 180s on the Nordicas.

Other facts:

6.0", 145LBS
Boots = Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel
My previous 2 skis were K2 Axis XR and K2 Axis. The Nordica skis are FAR superior and I've loved everything about them. So much that I think I have brand loyalty to Nordica.

Last year I was pretty convinced I wanted the Speedmachine Mach3 Power but I struggled to find a set that didn't cost an arm and a leg, and that continues to be the problem this year. However, this year I want to make an effort to get back into the bumps and crud a little bit more so I question whether that's the best ski for me. I'm now considering the Hot Rod Top Fuel skis. Also, I haven't skiied less than 180s in forever, but I think 170s might be the better choice due to my relative light weight.

Do you experts have any suggestions. There's a wealth of info here and since I moved to TX 5 years ago, demo'ing skis isn't really an option, and I don't want to devote too much vacation time to demo'ing skis (and probably wouldn't want to buy the skis on the mountain anyways).

post #2 of 6
I'd recommend trying the Afterburners in 170. At your size, you could even go shorter, if you want, but the 170s would be nice, hold well on groomers, give you more girth for soft snow days, and be soft enough to handle bumps and crud.

They are pretty much my everyday ski, with the Mach 3 Power as my hard snow GS ski. Keep the SUV 14s for those conditions...
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. The only problem with your recommendation is that I really need to get down to one ski. I can't bring two skis with me on my vacations. My g/f and I have share a double ski bag, and we usually check three other bags so logistically we're maxed out.

Are the Afterburners going to give up too much on the hard pack? How do they compare to the Top Fuels? Finally, how do the Mach3s compare to my SUV 14s (are they going to be better in the crud or worse)?

post #4 of 6
You are going to have to accept a compromise somewhere. The characteristics that will make the ski better in bumps will make it worse on groomers. The characteristics that will make the ski better in crud will make it worse is the bumps.

Among your choices, the Mach 3 Power and the TF will both be great on groomers but both are very stiff and will not be terribly good in the bumpzzz for your weight. The TF will blast crud like crazy, while the M3 is roughly similar to what you have but will be grippier and less forgiving. I think the AB is a logical choice although perhaps a touch wide to shine in the bumps. I'd add to that suggestion with a mention of the Nitrous. It will also do most of what you want very well and is somewhat narrower and more nimble than the AB.

If you were to consider something outside of the Nordica Stable, the Dynastar Legend 8000 and the Fischer Watea 84 come to mind.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help. I'm going to keep my eyes open for a new set of skis. I'm having difficulty finding a good deal on any of the Nordica skis; I guess they're in high demand. I've been really happy with my SUV14s. I don't want to rush out and get new skis to get new skis, I'd rather just keep checking until I find a good deal.

I really appreciate the advice. In addition, I've heard great things about the Dyanstar 8000s, but I really want to stick with Nordica. If I were to venture to another brand, it'd probably be Volkl. I've owned Dynastars before (over 10 years ago) as well as Salomon and K2s. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the Nordicas and to date were the best skis I bought and also represented the largest improvement in my skiing. Ironically that was upgrading from K2 Axis XRs which by K2's definition should be even better than the SUV14s on the hard pack and they definitely aren't, and the SUV14s are 100 times better in the crud and 10 times better in the bumps than the XRs were. The XRs absolutely sucked in anything but hard pack, yet the SUVs are considerably better in hard pack.

None the less, I've been extremely happy with my Nordica skis, and I've been extremely satisfied with their boots.

I greatly appreciate the advice, and am glad that there are other Nordica skis that would be logical choices for me. Unless I see AC40s on a MASSIVE blowout, I'll just wait until I get Mach3s or one of the HotRod products on sale.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Ok update:

I almost got prepared to buy some Top Fuels but some minor details got in the way. In searching this forum and reading the posts on this URL: http://www.ski-review.com/content/view/186/30/ I began to get concerned again.

Maybe I'm not as good of a skiier as I thought. I know I'm good, but I haven't had a lesson in 15-20 years. I can ski anything (although I admit my bump skiing isn't what it used to be), but I don't understand a lot of the technical terms those guys are saying about skiing arc to arc, etc.

It comes natural to me. The SUV14s turned my skiing up a notch and I feel more confident on them (on hard pack) than any of my previous skis, but if the HR TFs have a very specific sweet spot, I'm concerned I might not fit into it. It seems like a love/hate ski; and I'd hate to be on the hate side, and I don't know enough about the terms being used to understand if I fit more with the guys who love it or hate it; I guess this is why demo'ing is nice.

I think I'm over analyzing as when I bought the SUV14s I was concerned about them being too difficult based on things I read (14s really take a powerful skiier, lighter skiiers need the SUV12s, etc. etc., however, I couldn't be happier). Now I'm looking for a ski that can take me to the next level and allow me a little more flexibility in crud and bumps without sacrificing too much on the hard pack.

Can some of you with direct experience with the TFs provide any insight here?

I did just read some stuff online and now understand the definitions used, but I haven't skiied since March so I'll need to go out there and think about what I'm doing, but generally I only skid and use my tails if I need to slow down really fast (as in a guy is coming down faster or a kid is unpredictably about to enter my turn line).
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