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Stressed out: Volkl AC30 or AC40... Deciding today...

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone. Sorry, I know this has probably been covered before but I feel pressured to make a decision today and it's my first time buying skis and just am very undecided about which way to go.

I demoed the AC30s and loved them, they were great and at the time I was close to buying them for $849. The AC40s at the time were $949 and far out of my budget which was already above where I wanted it to be.

Now... President's Weekend... I can get the AC40s for $579 and AC30s for $549. With the AC40s being so cheap, I am now heavily leaning towards those. The reviews for both are outstanding but it seems the AC40s generally get the edge.


Myself.... I only started skiing last season. Since then I have skied probably 12-13 times and 8 times since the New Year. I have progressed relatively quickly.... and now am doing Black Diamonds.... still have a long ways to go but I am hooked, enjoy it, and plan to go at least 4-5 times more this season.

I'll probably never be someone who will go off trail or backcountry too much, but I do love powder skiing, and I do love cruisers. The AC30s were great on groomers but to me seemed to lack a bit in powder skiing.... the AC40s are a bit bigger and claim to perform better in powder. At the same time, I think the AC30s make quicker tighter turns which at my level, might be more ideal.

Any advice? Are the AC40s too much for a budding intermediate who is trying to buy something to last as he gains experience?
post #2 of 38
I would choose the 30 if groomer performance was your priority, or the 40 if soft snow performance was the priority. In reality, these are both all-mountain skis that overlap a bit, so you have to distill it down to which "strength" is more important to you. The 30 will be stronger on packed snow, the 40 stronger in loose snow. That's the simplest way I can advise you to make a choice. Can't really go wrong either way.
post #3 of 38

...my $.01...

Hi Brave U,
Just my $.01 rank skier opinion but I think you'd enjoy a ski more that'll give back something at a slightly slower speed.
...but that's just me... There are other skis out there that are a step down in cruising speed and just as fun, but that said..they're both nice skis... I wouldn't ski them @too long a length, you wanna bend em' to vary your turns on tougher, varied terrain.
$.01
post #4 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HaveSkisWillClimb View Post
Hi Brave U,
Just my $.01 rank skier opinion but I think you'd enjoy a ski more that'll give back something at a slightly slower speed.
...but that's just me... There are other skis out there that are a step down in cruising speed and just as fun.
$.01
i'm always open for suggestions. I demoed a lot of skis while I was in Park City a few weeks ago... and I still preferred the AC30s over them...

What do you mean by give back something at a slightly slower speed?
post #5 of 38

AC30 & 40...definitely nice skis!

If you like them...that's all that matters. I think everyone that's tried this season's version in either can probably clue me in as each years' ski usually has some tweaks added. Last season's skis in both were fast skis and needed to get some speed going to come to life..but that was just me(@170)..I DID think that AC40 was a pretty amazing ski, although maybe not for somewhat soft snow...off-trail...(as in here in not-bottomless NewEngland) You didn't mention your physical makeup..as to what type of ski works for you....so I kind of jumped off the deep end!;-) Great edgegrip is guaranteed!...no arguement about that.
post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HaveSkisWillClimb View Post
If you like them...that's all that matters. I think everyone that's tried this season's version in either can probably clue me in as each years' ski usually has some tweaks added. Last season's skis in both seemed like pretty fast skis and needed to get some speed going to come to life. You didn't mention your physical makeup..as to what type of ski works for you....so I kind of jumped off the deep end!;-) Great edgegrip is guaranteed!...no arguement about that.
No worries... I'm new and nervous about all this...

My main problem now is justifying purchasing skis rather than just renting.... seems like it takes a hell of a long time to recoup the cost if you go 8-10 times a year (and especially if you go less).

I'm 23 6'2" and 200 pounds give or take 5 pounds depending on the nearest holiday ;-) I'm looking at the 177cm model. They have the 170cm, which is what I demoed but since then I have demoed longer longer skis and seem to prefer them. Based on my height and weight I think 177 is probably a better match.

Generally a bit more passive but have become more aggressive as I have gained confidence. As I said, I don't think I'll ever be one who is doing double blacks and tree skiing... too scared of getting hurt... but will definitely push myself on groomers, powder days and blacks.

Do you think $579 is a good deal? I haven't found them anywhere else for close to that.... $699 this weekend from REI.

The salesperson at the store I'm getting them at suggested i go for the AC30s.. he said the AC40s have more tail flex and might be too difficult for me to ski.... I hadn't heard that anywhere else, and it seems, to me at least, that the AC40s should generally be a better "all condition" ski because they are a bit better in powder and can still hold an edge in ice. Thoughts?
post #7 of 38
The 40 isn't going to be any more demanding than the 30. It'll be more versatile and what you lose in grip on ice most likely won't be missed or even noticed. It'll be a little slower edge-to-edge at lower speeds than the 30, but it'll have a surfier feel at all speeds... which makes it more versatile.
post #8 of 38
I vote for the 30s. IMO the 40 is not a powder ski just a fatter all mountain cruser ski. The 30 will be better on piste and almost as adequate in powder.
post #9 of 38
North Eastern Hard Pack (aka ICE) you will be much better off with the AC30.

The turning ratios is very different in the longer lengths. I would go with the 170cm length, which I believed you demoed. The 177cm length with significantly larger turn radius will be a different ski than what you demoed.

Ah what the hell. Buy both.

Good luck.
post #10 of 38
Wow tough choice, however, I would give the nod to the AC30. I had that same problem last year and went with the AC3. I love it!
post #11 of 38
I'm withholding my advice until I learn where the OP skis. (my previous post was just explaining some expected differences.)

Or- the OP is shopping right now.
post #12 of 38
Thread Starter 
Hi there.

Thanks for the responses. So confusing! It seems people are very passionate about either the AC30 or AC40 and I have seen conflicting pros and cons.

I live in the Bay Area and ski mostly in Tahoe, and went to Park City, Utah for the first time this year and will definitely head back there. Unfortunately, I will likely be moving back east next year so I really would like to get a ski that would perform well on east coast ice but also the heavy powder of the west coast and light powder of Utah....

Maybe I just can't have the best of all worlds :-)
post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by brave ulysses View Post
Hi there.

Thanks for the responses. So confusing! It seems people are very passionate about either the AC30 or AC40 and I have seen conflicting pros and cons.

I live in the Bay Area and ski mostly in Tahoe, and went to Park City, Utah for the first time this year and will definitely head back there. Unfortunately, I will likely be moving back east next year so I really would like to get a ski that would perform well on east coast ice but also the heavy powder of the west coast and light powder of Utah....

Maybe I just can't have the best of all worlds :-)
Both skis are very solid. Like many have said, AC40 better for floating, AC30 for the hardstuff. They are both exceptional though, and if you know you will be dealing with powder more, go with the 40. Hardpack, the 30. Thats what it should boil down to. You know you will encounter both, just scale which you will see more.
post #14 of 38
At your height/weight, don't go shorter than 177. I would even consider something longer if you did a lot of powder and off-piste skiing.

I suppose it goes without saying, but if you are weighing the rent vs. buy issue, you do have some good boots already, right? That should always be the priority.
post #15 of 38
Thread Starter 
Good boots have been a priority... unfortunately I have gone through several pairs and have had serious fit issues. It may come down to me doing a custom fit. But I will be trying to find boots this week..... I have a relatively wide foot. but have found solomons to dig into the rear arch of my left foot, and technicas to be too loose in the heal.

Any recommendations for boots to go with my new pair of skis?
post #16 of 38
I have a lady friend who went through this exact dilemma. She is a very strong skier who can ski anything and make it look easy. She demo'd both and ended up choosing the ac 30. She would have liked the width of the 40 but said she wasn't heavy enough to make it flex (she is small maybe 115 lbs) She is extremely happy with her choice.

I ski the AC4 in a 177 from last year. I'm about the same build and weight as you. For me it is the perfect all mountain do everything ski. I love the ski, it carves great, handles the crud and chop great and in powder

$579 is a good deal. I don't think you'd be sorry with either ski, but if you are gonna get out in the pow, I think you will like the 40 that much more.
post #17 of 38
My vote would be for the AC30 why? Because I have a pair sitting at home. Reason I did not get the AC40. One it less forgiving than the AC30. Two it is too wide for my liking. The AC30 is a more "All mountain" oriented ski. I love it. I am 5,10 and 140 lbs and I ski it in a 170. This ski will do just fine in powder if you know how to ski it right. All this hype about wider skis are better in powder is somewhat true. **** you should be able to ski 3 feet of fresh on these without much struggle. I did over winter break. The AC30 will take almost anything you throw at it. As long as you maintain them and ski them correctly.
post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ole703 View Post
This ski will do just fine in powder if you know how to ski it right. All this hype about wider skis are better in powder is somewhat true. **** you should be able to ski 3 feet of fresh on these without much struggle. I did over winter break. The AC30 will take almost anything you throw at it. As long as you maintain them and ski them correctly.
Hype? Umm, not really hype. Of course you can ski powder in any ski, but a wider ski will definitely make it easier- it's all about surface area and speed.
post #19 of 38
I have never skied 30's,... but I have skied 40's both east and west,... I dont believe the 40's give up anything in edgehold, they remain very confident on the hardpack/ice, I never had a problem holding an edge. If your a big dude like me, I'd go for the 40's.
Oh,.. and the boots,.. Atomic B10 wide body, best investment I ever made.
post #20 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by brave ulysses View Post
I demoed the AC30s and loved them. <snip.

I have skied probably 12-13 times and 8 times since the New Year. I have progressed relatively quickly.... and now am doing Black Diamonds.... still have a long ways to go but I am hooked, enjoy it, and plan to go at least 4-5 times more this season.

<snip>
I'll probably never be someone who will go off trail.

<snip>
Given your experience and requirements, you would probably be better off with an intermediate ski like than a AC30, but go with what you demoed and what you like. Good luck, have fun. :
post #21 of 38
My experience on the AC30 was that is was more of a GS feel and more confident at speed than the AC40. The AC30 was a powerhouse, the AC40 too twitchy for my taste as an all-mountain ride. Just ski it short, as it is a fairly stiff ski! I thought the AC30 matched up very well with the old, pre-2008 Elan Magfire 12, which is also a very well regarded ski. It actually reminded me of my old P40 Platinums, just with a more modern shape.
post #22 of 38
The AC40 is an excellent off piste crud buster I am 181cm tall and
own it in 177cm and 184cm. The 177 would be the best for you
to start off with. I found also that the AC40 has better vibration
damping than the 30 on hardpack. GS Race skis handle hard snow
the best and after a few days on the AC40 you will get the urge
to switch to faster skis on hard pack.
post #23 of 38
So far I love my AC30's (about a dozen or so days on them since new about 5 weeks ago). I'm 5'6" 145# and ski them in 163. These are my first shaped ski after coming down from straight 197 salomon prolink 2s. Amazing grip on the eastern boilerplate that I have been skiing at Attitash for the past couple of days. While I don't have a lot of experience with shape skis these seem versatile enough to ski hardpack to eastern powder (well at least the 8" of fresh I have skied at Sugarloaf a few weeks back). While some have said that they like to go fast and don't love just loafing it, I have found them good at just cruising behind the family on the blues and greens. But they are a blast and really inspire confidence when you get them ripping. I always enjoyed clean quick turns on steeps, but it is now so much fun to let these boards go at speed and carve turns. It has even made skiing the lower level slopes with the family a joy. While I am sure the race skis carve better and the fat skis float better, for me having only one pair of skis this is a a great compromise. Good luck.
post #24 of 38
Where can I get AC40s for $575? Some ******* bear fell through, and now I am left freeski less as I sold my AC3s to pay for them .
post #25 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rise To The Top View Post
Where can I get AC40s for $575? Some ******* bear fell through, and now I am left freeski less as I sold my AC3s to pay for them .
REI had a sale for President's Weekend of $699. Any Mountain matches and beats prices by 5%... I also had $100 dollars in "demo rentals" from Any Mountain which they apply to the purchase of new skis same season.

Hence my price.

EVOGear was selling them for $699 with no tax and free shipping but seem to have sold out.

I went for the AC40s.... seemed to be a good west coast all-mountain ski that will push me to grow technically and aggressively... we'll see. The AC30s were great, and it was hard to not get those, but I think they both probably would have served me well, I just thought the AC40s would have a slight edge in powder performance.
post #26 of 38
Sorry to be so late with this but, those skies are way too much for the level that you have described. I saw only one post that suggested this. Am I the only one who sees these choices as being too much ski for the ability of the skier. Both choices require good skills. These skis will not 'help' you get better if you can't ski them.

I see this over and over again on Epic. Both skis are great skis and everyone who owns them and can ski on them recommends them, no matter what the ability. The ski needs to match the ability.
post #27 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
Sorry to be so late with this but, those skies are way too much for the level that you have described. I saw only one post that suggested this. Am I the only one who sees these choices as being too much ski for the ability of the skier. Both choices require good skills. These skis will not 'help' you get better if you can't ski them.

I see this over and over again on Epic. Both skis are great skis and everyone who owns them and can ski on them recommends them, no matter what the ability. The ski needs to match the ability.
Thanks for your input. I have found this board to be helpful but very confusing and everyone seems to have conflicting advice or experience.... so it's leaves the confused very confused sometimes :-)

I appreciate all ranges of advice or advice against a purchase. Why do you think they are way too much for the level I am at? It seems most people I have talked to, have been of the thought that a good or great ski will not make a mediocre or intermediate skier worse, but could be a better platform to learn and grow on. As you just suggested, and someone else did, maybe that is not the case?

What are the advantages of purchasing a more intermediate oriented ski over the Volkl AC30 or AC40? Obviously price is a big one... but it seemed to me the intermediate skis weren't as stiff, were much slower, and wobbled at higher speeds.

:-\
post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by brave ulysses View Post
What are the advantages of purchasing a more intermediate oriented ski over the Volkl AC30 or AC40?
:-\
An intermediate skier on an advanced ski is going to compromise technique in order to get the ski to do what you want. Not only will it hold you back, it will help you learn bad habits.

You know best with regards to your ability, but 2 seasons with good progression, does not make an advanced skier, usually.

You will be doing your skiing a disservice if you are an intermediate and you buy too much ski. Generally speaking, the same is true for boots.

This my opinion, other may disagree.

bz
post #29 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
An intermediate skier on an advanced ski is going to compromise technique in order to get the ski to do what you want. Not only will it hold you back, it will help you learn bad habits.

You know best with regards to your ability, but 2 seasons with good progression, does not make an advanced skier, usually.

You will be doing your skiing a disservice if you are an intermediate and you buy too much ski. Generally speaking, the same is true for boots.

This my opinion, other may disagree.

bz
Hm... I have to be honest, I don't really understand why that would be the case. What exactly about an "intermediate" ski would promote good technique and prevent me from developing bad habits?

2 Seasons with good progression certainly doesn't make an advanced skier. I am far from it to be honest and realistic. But at the same time, I have enjoyed it, have gone frequently, and tend to take lessons about every 3rd or 4rd trip.

I guess the one thing that I was worried about and thinking about when deciding whether or not to purchase skis was whether I was at a point where I could realistically predict the type of ski I would like to ski when I am quite a bit better than I am now. I really don't think I was or am prepared to do that as of now. But, I haven't talked to many people who have claimed that skiing on an "advanced ski" would hold me back, make me develop bad habits, and hinder my technical advancement.

For me personally, since I started demoing "advanced" skis 5 ski trips ago, I have made bigger gains and felt far more comfortable and confident than when I use to rent the standard fare skis or the "sport/performance" skis.
post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by brave ulysses View Post
Hm... I have to be honest, I don't really understand why that would be the case. What exactly about an "intermediate" ski would promote good technique and prevent me from developing bad habits?

2 Seasons with good progression certainly doesn't make an advanced skier. I am far from it to be honest and realistic. But at the same time, I have enjoyed it, have gone frequently, and tend to take lessons about every 3rd or 4rd trip.

I guess the one thing that I was worried about and thinking about when deciding whether or not to purchase skis was whether I was at a point where I could realistically predict the type of ski I would like to ski when I am quite a bit better than I am now. I really don't think I was or am prepared to do that as of now. But, I haven't talked to many people who have claimed that skiing on an "advanced ski" would hold me back, make me develop bad habits, and hinder my technical advancement.

For me personally, since I started demoing "advanced" skis 5 ski trips ago, I have made bigger gains and felt far more comfortable and confident than when I use to rent the standard fare skis or the "sport/performance" skis.
I have given my $.02 and feel the the info is true and accurate. However, I am not the last word in all of this. I have heard many state this same position - people who are qualified. I firmly believe that an expert ski is designed to be skied by a skilled skier. And that intermediate skis will allow a developing skier to improve. The softer flex and nature of the ski will be more forgiving when you are not exactly where you need to be while rewarding you when you get it right.

This is true. However, others may disagree.

Both of those skis are designed for expert, or at least advanced skiers. The AC40, to be skied well, requires solid skill, IMHO.
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