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Ski Recommendations - K2, Nordica, Head

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I've been doing a lot of research and narrowed it down to a few skis that I'll try to demo next week in Vermont, and would love some advice.

Firstly, I'm 6 Ft tall and about 175 lbs. I ski fairly aggressively and probably split my time evenly between the East and other places (West, Alps etc). Basically I'm looking for a great do-anything type ski. I love making aggressive GS arcs on corduroy and also quick turns in the trees/bumps. And once in a while I find my self on harder pack or powder, so although neither of those is the #1 priority, finding a ski that can at least hold it's own in those conditions would be great.

After reading tons of reviews and talking to lots of sales guys at the shops, I think I've narrowed it down to the K2 Apache Recon, Head IM 78 or 82, or the Nordica Hot Rod Line (Either Top Fuel or Nitrous).

Regarding the Apache Recon, everyone raves about it, but one or two sales guys said that it can be overpowered a bit if you really try to be aggressive. And the Nordicas get great reviews, but not sure what exactly the difference is between the Nitrous and Top Fuel, as they both have the same dimensions.

So I'll demo them all in VT next week on what should be really good all around conditions, but just wondering if anyone has any advice between the Apache Recon, Top Fuel and Nitrous, and Head IM 78 or 82. Also, size-wise, should I generally be looking at around 170 or 175-178 range for any of these models?
Thanks a lot in advance!
post #2 of 11
Every company makes a pretty decent all mountain ski(s) that is good on groomed and crud and OK in trees, bumps, and powder.

The difference between the nitrous and topfuel is that the TF is stiffer, damper and has metal the nitrous is snappier and softer and has a graphite dampening as well as the wood core. If I were you I would just go demo some skis because there are plenty of good ones and the main difference between them is feel.
post #3 of 11
Hi Marcs - I'm your height, 10 lbs lighter, own the iM82, have skied the Recon, ski in VT a lot. IMO, the iM78 would be a nice ski to split between east and west. Read Dawgcatching's reviews. The 82 is more of a squat GS, loves speed, good on ice, decent in bumps, not first choice for narrow bumpy trails, would be a first choice if most of your skiing was out west. Cannot love the Recon; nothing wrong with it, just kinda smooth and vanilla to me, and felt like it was not happy at speed on hardpack. Have heard lotta great stuff about the Nordicas, so I'd pay attention to those opinions too. Try to demo in this case.
post #4 of 11
I'm going to agree with beyond. I think the the iM 78 would be fantastic. I do love the iM 82 but is a better choice for someone skiing exclusively in the west with a bias toward softer snow and off-piste stuff. It is also a demanding ski that requires you be on top of it all day be ready to put energy into it. It does not allow you to get lazy. Also as it relates to your question about length the iM 82 goes up in large intervals--I believe they make it in 173 and 183. It seems the right length for you--based on just what you've share here--is in that 177-178 range. The im78 comes in that size. I ski the legend 8k in 184 (6 foot 3 185lbs) but also want to demo the IM 78 just to see what it feels like. Best of luck in your choice.

post #5 of 11
I love the Recon and loved the XP before it. Nevertheless, I think it's only a "one ski quiver" in the west as hardpack like you find back east is NOT its forte unless you're going to really keep on top of your edge sharpening. In fact, I'd change the bevel from the factory bevel to something a bit more aggressive. The Recon seems better to me than its predecessor the XP on ice, maybe the torsional stiffness is better or something, but the ice I'm speaking of is what I called hardpack back east when I skied there and not the actual boilerplate/blue ice of the Ice Coast. I really think you need a bit stiffer ski for that stuff, which would impact the way it handles in the trees...
post #6 of 11
Try the hot rod afterburner, the nimble version of the jet fuel. (126-84-112)

few skis in this category arc like the Jet Fuel. But, it's stiff and not so nimble for the trees. Take the metal out, lighten it up with some carbon = Afterburner.

It's worth a look and also has a system binding that can adjust its fore-aft center line, resulting in even more flexibility for nimbleness or high speed arcs. half a centimeter makes a huge difference.

I drool over my JF's. mahybe 40-50 days on them and I have yet to max out their speed.
post #7 of 11
I think this is a case of "what compromises do you want to make"? The stiffer the ski, the worse it will typically be in bumps, the wider the ski, the less nimble and responsive it will be on hardpack, the more sidecut the ski has, the more unstable it becomes in chop and crud, and the narrower the ski, the less float you will have off piste.

Of the skis you are looking at: the iM78 is my favorite do-everything ski, in that it really does bumps, hard snow, and crud well. It isn't as stable as the iM82 in crud, but much better in bumps and as a mid-radius carver. The tip is wider on the 78 than the 82, so it tends to get bounced more in crud. You should look at the 177 in the 78 and the 183 in the 82. If you place more of a premium on crud performance, look at the 82. I haven't skied the 82 on really hard snow, but the 78 holds nearly as well as a race ski. I ran it through it's paces recently on crappy, frozen manmade stuff and it held better than I had expected.

The Top Fuel/Nitrous is a great ski: I think the Nitrous is more versatile, but at your weight, you may find the Top Fuel to be good too. The Top Fuel/Jet Fuel comparisons are very close to the 78/82 in the previous paragraph. The Top Fuel and Jet Fuel are one step up in terms of stiffness over either of the Head's: they are a lot of ski and should be demoed first. I know several good skiers that just got pushed around on them. I really like the Nitrous and Afterburner. Also throw the new Elan Magfire 12 in there: it is very similiar to the Afterburner in terms of feel, a little beefier, although not as much as the Jet Fuel. The Mag 14 is stiffer than the Jet Fuel and is unshakable, but too burly for most. Check out the 178's in most of these, unless you are looking for a shorter ski. I am 5 foot 9 and am on 170's. You will likely ski the Mag12 in a 176, maybe even 184.

The Recon is smooth, damp, and easy, but is low in energy and stability. I think it is more forgiving than the others mentioned, but not really in the same performance league. Look at the 181 here.

Another ski to look at (82mm waist) is the Fischer Cold Heat. It is a very powerful ski, but not as "strong" as the Jet Fuel. It has a lighter feel, quite a bit of energy, and a nice flex that holds well for a ski of it's width. I am really warming up to my pair, although I think that someone over 175lbs would be a better match than my 150lbs. In a 176cm, it would be a very nice ski for you, and has a reasonable and mostly standard 18m radius (for an 82mm ski). Also some skis to consider are the Atomic Nomad Blackeye and Crimson. I liked the Salomon Fury last year, although I hear it has been changed.

I re-read your post, and from what you said (the GS feel, crud, high speed carving): that reads like my exact feelings on the iM82. I found the Afterburner to be slightly less stable and a bit more forgiving, but with similiar characteristics, as well as the Mag 12. The iM78 may be more "sidecut than you are looking for. And, the Cold Heat would fit the bill. Good luck.
post #8 of 11
Just looking at the skis and your comments about skiing equal on hard pack and trees/bumps as well as Eastern skiing I think you are looking for an all round ski.

The Head line has Monster series that ranges from a hard pack ski with a 72mm waist thru to a basically off piste ski with a 88mm waist. The Monster 77 had a 78mm waist and came with the chip version last year. It has been replaced with the Monster 78 for this season. It also uses the Head Intelligence system which makes for a nice ride when you get on HardPack but at the same time is wide enough for some off piste skiing. I tried the IM 77 two years ago and was impressed with the versatility of the ski. It was surprisingly at home on the hard pack for a wider ski. The IM82 is 82mm waist and does not have the intelligence system. Also the bindings are typically flat mounted on this ski as opposed to having some plate or riser such as is on the IM78. It is not really designed for hardpack and we have not even brought any in for demo in our area.

I think of the Head skis listed the IM78 in 170cm length is best for you.

Currently I am skiing the Head Supershape Magnum in a 163. I am both taller and heavier than you and yet this is lots of ski. It is well suited for moguls and especially likes ice and steeps.

Last March we took a pair of Monster IM72 170cm, Supershape Magnum 163 and XRC 1200 163 to Sugarloaf to play with for a week. While my favourite was the SS Magnum the other skier tried all three and found the IM72 great in the bumps as well as everywhere else. He is about the same height and weight as you and a good all round skier. I find the IM72 a bit unresponsive but then I ski differently than him.

My thoughts. Head IM78 170 or equivalent. You can do anything on any ski but the wide flat skis while better in the trees aren't really for bumps or hard pack/cruising. The IM 72/78 are designed for exactly what you describe.

post #9 of 11
the im 72/78 is a great all mountain ski. It will do anything bumps trees powder groomers
post #10 of 11
In the K2 line you might find the new Crossfire a better fit for your range of uses than the Recon.
post #11 of 11
I just picked up a pair of 174 Recons. You and I seem to be very similar when it comes to skiing, and I absolutely love the Recon. They are incredibly stable in crud and can really lay down a carve when necessary. I haven't yet tried them in powder, but Im pretty confident they will do just fine. They are a little heavier than some of the skis in the same category, but it isnt too noticeable on the slopes. I was very close to buying the Head IM 78, but went with the Recons because Im a huge K2 fan and havent had any regrets.
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