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173 Icelantic Shaman's ROCK!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I demo’ed a pair of 173cm Icelantic Shaman’s last weekend at Wolf Creek, CO. I initially wanted to check out the Volkl Gotama or Mantra, Line Prophet 100, or Fischer Watea 94, but nobody in the area had any of these skis in longer lengths. The guys at Wolf Creek Ski & Sport in South Fork brought out the Shaman and told me that customers really liked them. I almost balked when I saw how short & fat they were (173cm; 160-110-130), but since snow conditions @ Wolf Creek were still pretty nice, I decided to check ‘em out.
I’m 41 years old, 6’5", 215 lbs. I ski pretty fast and prefer to stay away from groomers, hardpack, and moguls (I won’t ski ice or rock-hard moguls). I’m a pretty decent skier for not getting very many ski days per year. I like a relatively stiff & poppy ski w/ a medium turn radius, but it must be able to handle relatively high speeds & dense choppy snow without chattering or getting squirrelly.
Conditions on the mountain:
– 22-32 degrees
- 4 days of relatively cold temps & cloudy conditions after a week of 20" dumps
- 2’- 3’ of power in the trees w/ 2’-3’ of windblown on the upper faces
- Sunny skies throughout the weekend softened the snow & made it a little heavier in the afternoon
I thought the wide waist on these would take some getting used to, but I was completely wrong. They were very easy to link any radius turn I wanted in the soft stuff. They had a great, poppy flex in the untracked & blew through choppy powder effortlessly. I found myself in a very relaxed, neutral stance – it definitely helped keep thigh fatigue at bay. I could either straightline or link sweet S’s down the untracked patches. The wide shovel & thick waist let me rip through the windblown & tracked powder with ease. What a fun ski! I was really surprised at how stable they were at higher speeds in the softer snow, especially for such a short, poppy ski. Off the headwall cornice, they offered a great, stable platform in the windblown pow. I could crank ‘em down the steeps with confidence. The tips simply will not dive unless you do something stupid (I only went over the bars once – due to stupidity on my part!).
When I ducked into the trees for untracked & "semi-tracked", the Shaman’s really shined! They can crank very tight turns between the trees. A couple boarders I was skiing with had trouble following me through the woods. I’ve never had so much fun in the trees! The shorter length really allowed me to save my energy - I didn’t have to muscle my skis around as much as my older, longer boards. At a resort with great tree skiing like Wolf Creek, these skis are the heat!
On Sunday, the snow was pretty tracked & much denser than Saturday. I flirted with the softer snow on the edges of the groomers & bombed down some of the less-tracked trails. For such a short, fat ski these were surprisingly stable on the packed-out groomers, and were pretty easy to ski through wider, softer moguls. At higher speeds on hardpack, they don’t bite as well, but much better than I expected. The tails are relatively stout – if they weren’t twin-tipped, they would probably hold better while maching on harder snow. They don’t like staying flat on hard cat tracks – the tips tend to wander quite a bit. But they arced some nice high-speed turns on the sun-softened groomers without chatter. I was pretty impressed as a 215 lb guy on a 173cm ski. Obviously, you wouldn’t want these for screaming down hardpack. But for the conditions I generally ski in (soft snow, 85% off-trail, 15% groomer), these fit my needs for a fun all-mountain ski. I liked them so much, I plan on demo’ing these again when I take my family back to Wolf Creek next month.
post #2 of 13
Great review!
And a great ski as it seems, did you demo the 07 or 08?
post #3 of 13
I'd like to hear comparisons to some other skis of the same calibre anyone able to do that?
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
They were '08, I think. The ones w/ the whales on 'em.
I don't really have anything to compare them to from the past couple years. The last 3 skis I've been on were the original Pocket Rockets (too soft), the Rossi Bandit B2 (overall competent & smooth, but a bit dull), and the original X-Scream Series (great ski back in the day, but completely outclassed by the Shaman on everything this side of icy hardpack).
post #5 of 13
Aha, yes it was the '08.
The '09 also comes in a 184, would you prefer to have an even longer one or is 173 (with the massive width) plenty?
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
As weird as it looked having a 6'5" dude on a 173, I wasn't wishing for a longer ski in any conditions (although it probably would have improved high-speed hardpack grip). Methinks the "long ski" paradigm has more to do with ego and less to do with performance.
I would suggest the shorter lengths for those who dig trees & tighter turns, and the 184 for the dudes who like to bomb off cornices & mach schnell above the treeline (or on harder snow).
post #7 of 13
I am 220lbs on 168cm Nomads and they rock also on the East Coast going to Utah in 2 weeks with them.
post #8 of 13
I concur. I wrote a review on the 161 Shamans earlier in this forum. Based on my experience with the 161's, I bought the 173 and mounted them +1 so I could have a tail. To tell you the truth, I think I could have mounted them BC and been happy with the tail.

I have a week on them here at the Butte. They are a riot. I am becoming a glade fanatic since these came in. I took them through the whole hardpack, powder, chopped pow, crud, hardpack cycle with the last storm. I was impressed by their ability to motor through the crud and hardpack. On pow and chopped pow they are the bomb. I don't think I'll liquidate my quiver and go just with the Shamans, however, I think my quiver will thin out as this ski is going to monopolize a good deal of my time.

If you get the chance, demo these skis.
post #9 of 13

Quiver Growing

Just pulled the trigger on a pair of 173's with Marker M 12 Free Wide Brake bindings. Decent on line deal from EVOGEAR - $650 delivered. Hope for a "western" test next month !!!!!!! This year I have skied Volkl AC40 's & Mantra's, Nordica Hellcats. It will be fun to compare.

Stay tuned - Falcon_O
post #10 of 13
King - Just received my boards (173) and have a question - what mount point did you use for your bindings ?

The Icelantic tag on the skies recommend "BC" boot center for alpine use. The skis have both a CC (cord center) and BC (boot center) mark with the BC mark behind the CC mark. If I align the boot center mark on my boots with the BC mark on the skis, the BOF (ball of foot) position on my boot will be several inches (5 cm) behind the CC mark which is essentially the center of the ski running surface. This seems too far back.

Your and/or others thoughts ??? (I'm 6', 220 lbs)

Thanks all - falcon_o aka Charlie
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
faclon -
Since I tried them as demos, I'm not really sure. Most folks use the boot center, but demo bindings must adjust to different boot lengths. If I were you, I'd talk to the folks at Icelantic to see what they recommend.
post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by kingsalami View Post
faclon -
Since I tried them as demos, I'm not really sure. Most folks use the boot center, but demo bindings must adjust to different boot lengths. If I were you, I'd talk to the folks at Icelantic to see what they recommend.
Thanks King - I posted the same question on the Ski Gear Discussion forum and received several Bear replys recommending BC. I also contacted Icelantic and they also recommened BC. BC it will be !!!

Falcon_O aka Charlie
post #13 of 13
Just bought a pair from PTex1 (Tim) couldn't refuse the deal, I am mounting with mojo15's and will go with BC. I Can't wait to get on these things.
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