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Did I mess up? (First time ski purchase)

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hey folks, I'd like to run my story by you all and get some feedback/advice here.

Quick background: 29 yr old, 6' 3" 260lbs. Just starting my 4th season of skiing. Ice hockey experience seemed to accelerate the learning curve rapidly and I hit a lot of the big CO resorts over the last couple years, but never got in more than 10 days a year. Tend to bomb down groomers and like to veer off the runs to try darting through trees or look for something more interesting than corduroy. I'm pretty clumsy on moguls (but I'm starting to pick my lines better and even connect turns consistently) and I've never skiied powder with any grace at all. (Nowhere near the right equipment for it or technique I am sure).

I moved to CA this year and now Tahoe is a few hours away. For my first skiing of the season, I ran up to kirkwood after renting "performance" skis for a day from the local shop. I am pretty sure I rented Bandit B2 168cm. Maybe it was the conditions - it had rained a couple days before I made it up there and so it was icy and crusty and no powder, or the skis were set up perfect, but they were the best handling ski's I'd used. Unfortunately there was no powder to try them in , but I would expect they'd perform as poorly as any other rental ski I've used in powder / off piste.

I am not an expert skiier but I usually just bomb down the groomers and look for things to jump or powder to play in, or I'll follow my really experienced ski buddies down some trail that is all crust and muck and struggle to keep up. I tend to have to resort to brute force to get down the runs. But I love it!

Anyways since I'm closer to the slopes (and I have another flyaway trip coming up) I decided I wanted to own a pair of skis so I didn't have to rent anymore. I've probably spent close to $1k renting skis already and I'd have to drop another $150-200 in a couple weeks so I decided to take the plunge. My most experienced ski buddy gave me the same good advice that you guys have given to other people: demo first. But I couldn't resist owning skis because I keep meeting people that want to run up to tahoe for a weekend and I wanted to have skis on hand asap. All I know is I wanted a ski that could handle the groomers without much trouble and would give me a little more control / stability in the crud, trees, powder, whatever - which is where I always seem to end up.

So after running around to the various ski shops this week, I read a bunch of stuff on various types of skis and ended up walking into REI and buying a pair of Rossignol Bandit B78 174cm.

I know the general rule is they are too short for my height/weight, but being a solid Type II skiier I still wanted something close to the length ski I am used to but gave me better performance for when I ended up following the pros. The wider waist should give me a little more float when I veer off the groomers, and I felt like I was willing to give up some carving ability anyway. Reading some of the feedback you guys have given other people, it sounds like I just did a really stupid thing because I took a blind faith leap on a pretty pricey pair of skiis (for my budget). I'm hoping that they're be alright for me and maybe after a season or two more I'll know what I really want or understand the advantages / disadvantages of the different style skiis out there. From reading some other threads it sounds like I have a LOT to learn about technique and just because I can get down anything alive doesn't mean I know what I'm doing.

So any feedback or criticism is welcome. I'm hoping the skiis I've purchased are similar to what I've rented in the past. I think the B2's had a similar waist so the 78s shouldn't be way way different, please tell me if I'm wrong. I'm sitting here looking at them all shiny and new and badass and wondering if I'm going to hop on them and be in for a nasty surprise. Maybe I didn't screw up too badly and they'll be ok for a first pair...I'm just curious what I would have decided to do had I found this forum before buying skis...Thanks for reading.


Edit - wait a minute...if I'm reading the other websites correctly...the B78s are really just the 2008 version of the B2...so I just went from the same ski in a 168cm to a 174cm length... I don't know if I should feel relieved or like a total idiot. hmmm maybe i should have gone to 182cm?
post #2 of 25
The B2 and B78 are the same skis except the newer one has a different paint job and the integrated binding. So you are ahead on that one.

About a month back I bought new skis. I used to ski old straight 200 cm skis. I am about 5' 11", 230 lbs. I am about the same level as you even though I started skiing in the 80's. I waffled back and forth between two sizes 172 and 180 metrons.

The argument for the longer ski is more stability at higher speeds and more float on powder, better for more advanced skiers. The shorter skis are easier to turn, better for beginners.

Well, I went with the shorter ones and I am having more fun skiing that ever. But that is me.

I considered the B2/B78. If I bought them, I probably would have gone 174.

You are much bigger and could have gone longer. But you also skied the 168 (166?) and seemed to have enjoyed them. IMO, you'll probably have more fun with the 174's than the 180's. If you want to ski really fast or in deep powder, just buy another pair, longer and/or fatter. On my last trip, I met an older experienced skier who was sking on skis which were less than 36 inches; He liked the fun facter. Alot of the people here have skis that number in the double digits. You can easily sell yours in the future; they are a very popular ski.

Good Luck.
post #3 of 25
I'm also a big guy and you are using gear that is too short and not stiff enough. This will not be a problem on smooth groomed runs but it will make soft snow at higher speeds almost impossible.

Consider adding a much stiffer and fatter ski for soft snow days. If you want a good fat ski for little money consider this: http://www.levelninesports.com/head-...cm-p-1006.html

Michael
post #4 of 25
That length/ski is probably OK if you are an intermediate, but if you advance quickly and/or start skiing fast, I think you will find it's not enough ski. But once you get to that point you'll probably be like the rest of us and buy new skis all the time, so just look forward to outgrowing these and moving on to something stronger and longer. In the meantime, there is an awful lot of learning and technique you can work on before you outgrow these skis -- try taking some lessons, or start learning the key concepts and work on them. Good luck!
post #5 of 25
It sounds like you haven't used them yet. If you decide to you could return them as REI has a 100% satisfaction guaranteed return policy.

http://www.rei.com/returns
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the info and feedback, guys. I guess I just needed a little reassurance I didn't do anything too stupid. I know I'll never float thru pow without some serious surface area under me, but these should serve me well enough as a first pair. Honestly the speeds I was reaching on the 168s had me scared and skidding to slow down, so the 174s should provide a little more control at speed, but I don't think I should be trying to go much faster at this point!

I'll demo some fatter skis on powder days for sure!
post #7 of 25
REI is overpriced, but their service is outstanding, and their return policy is very generous.
post #8 of 25
B2s are great all around skis. B2s are forgiving, have a big sweet spot, are versatile, & are good in bumps. You will probably love them. They do everything well, and are a fun ski. I agree with your reasoning about not moving up too fast, and the B2 will let you grow. It is not really an entry level ski, but it is also not a higher end ski that punishes mistakes. IMHO
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by falcon View Post
29 yr old, 6' 3" 260lbs... I tend to have to resort to brute force to get down the runs... hmmm maybe i should have gone to 182cm?
Being young, big, and I assume, with the hockey background, strong, as well as being a "brute force" type of skier something in the mid or high 180's may be a good idea for your next ski, but for now enjoy what you've got... they should be just fine for what you're doing.
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Well, I had an interesting day at Bear Valley with the new skis. They were good, but felt quite different from the B2s that I rented. I was kind of surprised at this. The work just fine for my skill level, but I did have a couple good wipeouts on them and they really force me to keep my weight forward over the tips or they don't turn.

I was wondering if the significant difference in the feel of the ski was due to binding placement. Since the skis are 174s instead of the 168s I rented, and I can't find any other differences between the B2 and the new model year B78, the main variable that pops out is the binding placement. I remember reading something in the specs for these skis which come with Axial 120 bindings that they are adjustable without any tools. I looked over the skis and found out that I can indeed move my bindings fore and aft with the flick of a lever.

According to this article, it seems that binding placement has a significant impact on how the ski responds as far as carving vs skidding:

http://www.techsupportforskiers.com/..._placement.htm

Like it says in the article, I found I really had to lean hard into the front of the boots to get the skis to carve at all. When I asked the REI guys about binding adjustment and setup, they said its not adjustable, the ski's will be set up for your skill level and size and that's the end of the story. I get the feeling thats the only response they're allowed to give, since these skis obviously have the ability to fine tune the binding placement on the fly.

So what do you guys make of all this? I'm going to be playing with the binding placement for sure on my trip next week...unless someone can explain why its a bad idea to deviate from the pre-set markings.
post #11 of 25
Your B2's are a great ski Falconand i'm sure your bindings are fine- instead of fine tuning your bindings maybe a lesson with a pro to fine tune your technique to suit your new skis ?

When i was improving and at your stage of skiing i found my technique was usually the problem and not the ski. A Pro will get you carving and turning those B2's just fine.
post #12 of 25
are they integrated bindings mounted on a plate? those are the only kind you would be able to adjust for position on the ski, if only the heel piece moves, that is for setting forward pressure, not adjusting the binding position. i would tend to believe the techs at rei. it sounds like you just didn't buy enough ski. at your weight you will want something much fatter and at least a little longer for soft snow. and you would probably be better off on a stiffer ski for groomers.
post #13 of 25

Maybe...

Im curious to know if you are still renting boots? Hate to say it but that could make a huge difference for you.
post #14 of 25
I think that EPL is right. You can't change the setup on an intergrated binding system.

I will be interested to hear the answer to powder-fiend's question. Well fit boots with a good rear spoiler will put you into the correct position and take your skiing to a new level.

As for the length you should be ok frontside. I agree with JaypowHound enjoy what you've got, but at your size and strength description consider a 180ish ski next time.
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Well gentlemen, I am able to move both the toe and the heel binding location on the ski. Each one has a lever and can move independently. The ski has markings for the toe binding to set the front of the foot in the recommended location. The rear can then be adjusted to the specific boot. I can move the entire binding location fore and aft.

"NEW! TPI2 Free
New Freeride-specific tool-free integrated ski/binding system. Individual toe and heel control beams combine in the center ....The TPI2 bindings simply slide onto the two control beams for tool-free adjustment."

So I have integrated bindings, and they are adjustable.

I bought boots a few seasons ago.

As far as the actual adjustment, you guys are right that I shouldn't adjust the bindings forward to compensate for my form...I found this great thread from 2005: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=30060 "If a backseat driver were to get on [forward mounted bindings] they would love them, not because they would fix how they skied, but the rider would now be over the sweetspot, even if they were still skiing in the back seat."

That's me. I will play with the binding location a little, but I realize it won't fix my poor form and I need some instruction and practice.
post #16 of 25
you may also want to visit a shop that does balancing, it's possible there is a difference in the ramp angle of the rental bindings vs your new bindings, and that could be throwing you off. the rental bindings probably also had a higher stand height which makes it easier to get the skis on edge to carve. but really the b2 is pretty easy to turn and has a large sweet spot, so maybe taking a lesson to get the instructors opinion would be the best first step.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by barrettscv View Post
I'm also a big guy and you are using gear that is too short and not stiff enough. This will not be a problem on smooth groomed runs but it will make soft snow at higher speeds almost impossible.

Consider adding a much stiffer and fatter ski for soft snow days. If you want a good fat ski for little money consider this: http://www.levelninesports.com/head-...cm-p-1006.html

Michael
I Agree with Barrett. As you improve you will most definitely need some new boards. I'm not a big guy. 45, 5'4" and 138#s and I ski a 2002 178cm B3 (new B4)(also my tele setup). Soft enough to push around for short turns and is stiff enough for bigger speeds. In alpine mode, the 185cm was great out in the open, but couldn't turn them in the trees. That might give you some idea of were you will be length wise as you improve. I ski my fat skis everywhere, everyday and that Mojo in a 193 sounds like a great match by your description of your abilities. You might also look for the Elan 999 also in 193cm length. With hockey experience, you will grow into either one of these skis quickly if you ski alot.

Peace
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by falcon View Post
Well gentlemen, I am able to move both the toe and the heel binding location on the ski. Each one has a lever and can move independently. The ski has markings for the toe binding to set the front of the foot in the recommended location. The rear can then be adjusted to the specific boot. I can move the entire binding location fore and aft.

"NEW! TPI2 Free
New Freeride-specific tool-free integrated ski/binding system. Individual toe and heel control beams combine in the center ....The TPI2 bindings simply slide onto the two control beams for tool-free adjustment."

So I have integrated bindings, and they are adjustable.

I bought boots a few seasons ago.

As far as the actual adjustment, you guys are right that I shouldn't adjust the bindings forward to compensate for my form...I found this great thread from 2005: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=30060 "If a backseat driver were to get on [forward mounted bindings] they would love them, not because they would fix how they skied, but the rider would now be over the sweetspot, even if they were still skiing in the back seat."

That's me. I will play with the binding location a little, but I realize it won't fix my poor form and I need some instruction and practice.
Unless it's worn off, there should be a mark on your boot sole center. Adjust your binding to line your boot center to the binding center mark on the binding and lock her down.
post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 
Ok guys, went on my week-long trip to Whistler and on the first day I snapped one of my skis in half.

Yeah, it frickin snapped. I was near the peak of Blackcomb going down a blue run and was just cruising through some powder when I hit a bump or something and went flying forward and heard a pop, my ski was toast.
Was a bad first day but I rented an identical pair of B78s and skiied the rest of the trip uneventfully. Sucks I had to drop $200 on rentals. $^@%#. : (Other than that it was the best trip I've had and will definitely go again.)

question: will REI be able to help me out by returning the ski to Rossi or something? hopefully they will just swap me out?
post #20 of 25
Geez, if that's not a sign to go with a bigger, stouter ski, I don't know what is! I would assume REI will take them back no questions asked, but I don't know what their policy is on skis.
post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
REI took them back no questions asked and gave me my money back. Unfortunately their selection is getting depleted fast as today was the first day of their Winter clearance, so I didn't exchange them for anything yet.

So now I am starting the ski purchasing process over! And this time I'm going to do my homework here on epicski before making an impulse buy.

A local shop has the Nordica Afterburner XBS in 186cm length. This will be a longer, stiffer ski than the floppy Rossis I broke. I wonder if it would be worth it at $650

I'd love to spend a week demo'ing but the truth is I need something to run up on weekends on short notice and won't have a good few days to demo until next year.
post #22 of 25
I'm 5'8" and 180 lbs, advanced skier who prefers off piste skiing. I ski the 170 Afterburner as my current ski for variable conditions with more of a piste-oriented focus. I have a friend who is about your height and weight and he skis the Nitrous (same construction but narrower) in a 186 and he loves it. The ski will definitely feel substantially different than the B2 (much heavier and burly, but forgiving and flexible). I challenge you to break the Afterburner!

I'm guessing that the price is for the current 2008 model? The 2007s will be a bit less and are the same ski with a different color and topsheet (or so I think). Mine are 2007s. Skied them today on groomed runs, trees with boot deep powder, bumps, steeps - did it all. I have a gear addiction and the Afterburners are among my favorites.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by falcon View Post
I'd love to spend a week demo'ing but the truth is I need something to run up on weekends on short notice and won't have a good few days to demo until next year.
NO - you NEED to demo. Otherwise, you will continue to make mistakes like buying a ski made for someone HALF your size. Spend a day demoing - that's all you should really need, and it WILL pay off in the long run.
post #24 of 25
Well, the B2s have no pop what so ever, so they are easy to control, should be good to learn on. They do not punish you what so ever is my experience with them.
post #25 of 25
How much do you have to spend? Of the four skis in my quiver, I only demoed one before buying, and got the other three because I could get deals on them. While I don't regret any of my purchases, I'm really glad that I spent the time and money to demo before getting my most recent, and now favorite pair, and don't even mind having paid close to retail for them. As long as you don't force your friends to wait while you change pairs, it shouldn't be too big a deal to do some demoing on your next surprise weekend trip.

I'm in favor of something fat for you because they're much better in soft snow and also have better stability landing things, so they'll be more fun for what it sounds like you like doing. Since you're big, don't be too intimidated to try some of the stiffer skis when you demo. If it's too much, you can always give it back to the shop.
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