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2009 ski reviews: 70-78 mm waists

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Just got back from the trade show at Keystone. Wanted to try some skis in two categories: 70mm-waisted hard-snow carvers and mild midfats around 78mm.

Conditions: Cold temperatures; firm, but not icy, hardpack.

Me: Copper instructor, 5' 10", 165 lbs., modern technique. I'm what's called a "feeler," so my reviews are quick impressions scribbled on the chairlift after a run: totally subjective! I like skis that are just "there" whenever I want. Not so stiff that I'm always working to bend or turn them, not so soft that they don't hold on hardpack or at speed. So, with that disclaimer, and taking into account that a 240-lb. linebacker would probably prefer the skis I felt to be too stiff or burly, these were my notes (starred entries were favorites):


CARVE ORIENTED (all 165-170 length, approx. 70 waist)

*Head Magnum: Very nice. Firm, solid, precise.

*Kastle 70: Distinct feel. Made with two sheets of metal and a wood core, but didn’t feel stiff or overly burly. Very solid and confidence inspiring. Nice!

*Fischer Progressor 7: User friendly, smooth.

K2 Crossfire: Unchanged from last year. Dependable, solid, a bit lifeless. Very good, not great.

Fischer Progressor 8: Tip too stiff. Fairly burly. Very powerful carver.

Nordica Mach 2: Stiff, just didn’t care for it.

Head Xenon 10: OK, but just didn’t care for the feel.



50/50 MIDFAT SKIS (all 170-174 length, approx. 78 waist)

**Fischer Watea 78: Nice! Very smooth and user friendly. Always “there” without being abusive or wimpy.

**Head Monster 78: Very solid without being abusive. Smooth and slightly more powerful alternative to the Fischer.

*Kastle 78: Distinct feel, similar to the 70 (same construction). Made with two sheets of metal and a wood core, but didn’t feel stiff or overly burly. Very solid and confidence inspiring. Nice!

*K2 Apache Recon: Dependable, solid. Still a very nice ski after 5 years of production. Integrated binding felt like it was tipping my heel up. I'd try to get it flat (if available that way; some question about that).

Fischer Cool Heat: Very nice ski, but too firm for my taste. Rep described it as a detuned GS race ski. Best suited for hard-snow carves.

Nordica Hot Rod Overdrive: Just didn’t like the feel.
post #2 of 17
Kastle?!?!?! They're back?!?!
post #3 of 17
Yup, Steve: they are back! I'm not sure whether it's the same guys who used to run 'em back in the day (as Kästle became Nordica), but I've heard nothing but high praise for the new stuff they're releasing in the coming season.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yep. Three guys bought the rights from Benetton and revamped the entire line. They're being built in the Head factory in Austria. The heads of the company were all at the trade show, as well as Chris Davenport, who has just come on board. Nice folks, very helpful and enthusiastic. I hope they do well. They have a nice product!
post #5 of 17
I see Davenport is with them... I didn't know Fellows was, too. Still that nice feel?
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Oops, my bad. I meant Davenport! Thanks, Steve!
post #7 of 17
Was the Head Monster 78 you tested the new Chip version line with the intelligence chip?
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
The rep didn't mention a chip. Just said it was the new Magnum for 2009.
post #9 of 17
Changed, mike_m...

So, how did those Kastle's feel? Can you compare them to your favorite skis like the Elans or Nordicas?
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Dawgcatchings review on another thread captures it pretty well. It REALLY doesn't feel like any othere ski on the market that I know of. It's stable without feeling stiff, supple withoput feeling noodly. All I can say is "Try it!"

PS: Substitute "Davenport" for "Fellows" in post #6.
It's my mad cow. Chris Davenport is with Kastle now, not Chris Fellows.
post #11 of 17
Sounds like my kind of ski... Now, to find a pair to try...
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Western rep is Jesse Pomerantz:
jpom73@gmail.com
post #13 of 17
Thanks, Mike!
post #14 of 17
mike_m, did the demo bindings have the little magnesium plate/binding channel doohickey?
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yes, on the 70-waisted one. I believe the 78s and above were mounted right to the ski. Didn't notice much difference in feel either way.
post #16 of 17
Thank you.
post #17 of 17
xenon 10

How did these feel/compare to Xenon 9?

We have found Xenon 7 & 9 were well recieced in soft snow but not so well in hard pack. Also esp the Xenon 7 was very noisy when skiing on ice. The 09 Xenon supposed to have changed top sheet to mute the noise somewhat.

Trying Xenon 10 tommorrow.

Mike
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