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Bonus check = equip upgrade

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Greetings All!!!

First post!! I've just recently found this site and its wealth of information and help given by its members; so now I turn to all of you for your help and input.

With my bonus check this year, I'm looking into upgrading my ski gear although I'm not sure where to start. Here's what I currently have: K2 Fours 178 (first model year they came out - 1997/8?) with Marker M41 bindings and Dolomite VXR 25.5 boots (props to the folks at Viking Ski Shop in Chicago). Height 5'4", 185lbs, good intermidiate skier (maybe level 6?).

I ski mostly in Minnesota (Buck Hill, Afton Alps) now since relocating from Chicago (ski Wisc - Devil's Head, Cascade) so it's groomed runs that get icy. I used to get out West once a year (Keystone, Vail, Beaver Creek) but with our 2nd baby due in April, I'm not sure when I'll be able to get out out West; so it's the local hills wheneven I can escape.

I haven't skied in a couple of years since I blew my ACL in 2004 and then had a baby in 2006. I hit the slopes again this season and it reminded why I love skiing. So, seeing that my gear is 10 years old and I have a chance to spend my bonus check - I'd appreciate any advise/input.

With the season ending soon, there are some nice deals out there on skis. But in trying to save money, I don't know if I should do boots first (limited selection given time of season) or go for new discounted skis and get boots next season.

I've been told to check out K2 Crossfires and the Volkl Tigershark 10. I'm hoping I can demo this week or next but not sure if I'll be able to find models to try; let alone what length I sure get.

Thanks in advance for any help. I'll do my best to keep folks updated on what I pick up.
post #2 of 11
Originally Posted by RedHeckle View Post
Greetings All!!!

With my bonus check this year,.
..............I put in a pool and then realized my bonus was a jelly of the month membership.

welcome to Epic!

Others will actually respond to your question! My job here is done:
post #3 of 11
Well, maybe I jinxed you! if so --- sorry.

length, stay shorter for where you are, rather than longer and narrower rather than wider for the same reason.

even at 180+ pounds I'd probably stay under 80 for waist width and 170 or less in length. I might suggest shorter than that based on your height.---maybe something in a 165 ish perhaps.

Best to spend more time and effort on new boots and fitting and then fill in the equipment needs with the left over bonus money (or jelly as the case may be). Don't do it the other way round and get skis first and skimp on the boot fitting.

post #4 of 11
get fitted with new boots, demo a variety of shapes for the remainder of winter, buy summer deals.

It's just MN.

(I grew up there, I can tease if I want to.)

Personally, if I were to go back to MN, I'd want something around a 15-18 meter turning radius around a 165-175.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys!!! Yes, there will hopefully be no jelly; though after taxes...

Yes, I'll plan on hitting boots first (the benefits of learning about and buying custom insoles for my boots in '98 has carried into my backpacking boots and most other shoes I wear on a daily basis) since I have noticed more play in the heel pocket by mid-day than what I remember. Hopefully there'll be some good options available still since I have wide feet, narrow heel and low/large calves - it took the tech at Viking 3 hours of fitting for my VXRs but it was greatly appreciated and made a difference compared to my first boots (Koflach?).

I plan on visiting Hi Tempo Ski shop in White Bear Lake, MN (I live just west of Minneapolis) for boots/fitting. Hopefully, I can get to demo some skis at Afton Alps to get an idea of today's skis. I'll start with 165s per your suggestions.

Anyone else recommend a good boot fitter in the Twin Cities area?

Thanks again skier j and samurai and don't worry I know it's just MN; but I'll take whatever I can get, as long as I'm skiing:
post #6 of 11
The heck, dontcha know!

Since you're current skis WERE current, skis have improved sooooooo much and the shapes have changed sooooooo much, you are going to be grinning from ear to ear when you get out there on the new stuff.

So many could be recommended based on what terrain you ski and what terrain you want to ski.
It seems that you're looking at front side carving skis, therefore you shouldn't pass up a chance to try out some of the Nordica Hot Rod, and Speed Machine Line. The Speed Machine Mach 3 Carbon was one of my favourites.

You may or may not want to buy a midfat, but you should demo a few while you're at it, just for kicks!
Head IM78 or 82, Blizzard Cronus, Nordica Afterburner, all come to mind.

Have fun!!
post #7 of 11
You and I could be twins, except I am a few inches taller and a few(*&%$) years older. I have the same foot problem as you, wide fore feet and narrow heels. The first pair of boots I purchased was on Presidents Day weekend at a ski town in NC (Never do that) They were in a hurry and put me in a boot way way too big because it felt good. Next pair were some Atomic B8's because they had a wide footbed, problem was my heels moved too much. I finally said to heck with it a bought a pair of Technica Diablo's a the local ski store here in Atlanta. I had a great boot fitter in Poncha Springs Co (Mt. Shavano Ski shop) do a custom liner and wedge work for me. I skied on them, took them back to him for some further tweaking on the insides. They still were a little tight in the forefoot, so I had the local shop where I bought them do some molding in the forefoot. Not they are perfect.

Bottom line is that boots make all of the difference, and you need to find someone you trust to work with you. The shop I bought the way too big boots from came highly recommended, but I purchased them at the absolute wrong time from an untrained worker.

Be patient and persistant and do your homework and you can get a pair of boots that fit like a glove and really improve your skiing.
post #8 of 11
find the local race shop and find a boot fitter there. Be careful going to the big twin cities shops. they can be great for prices, but I would be careful of the non-racer skiers in MN looking to fit you in new boots.

In MN, you either race, or kinda go skiing sometimes. (IMHO) The latter of which probably shouldn't be fitting boots.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well, I found, fitted and purchase a pair of Salomon Impact 8 (25.5) from Hi Tempo Ski Shop in White Bear Lake. Load of thanks to Scott for the excellent job fitting and extra work he needed to do around the tongue and heel area of the boots. Also, I was able to reuse my custom insoles over (Conformables); so a thanks out to the guys at Viking Ski Shop in Chicago who did that work in 1998.

Completely agree samurai with your shop comment. I was lucky in that my skiing journey started with the folks at Viking who schooled me on ski shops. So I did my research around the Metro. Hoiggard's (local outdoor shop) looked okay but after watching someone get fitted, I decided to look elsewhere. I wanted a shop that wasn't too far from where I live.

My wife's friend recommended Hi Tempo since she used to race and after visiting the shop, watching them fit people and talking to Bob; I knew I found my new local ski shop. Hi Tempo's main focus is racing and boots and they clearly state that boots are their main focus and the skis come second. So I have no problem recommending these guys to other looking for boots!!!

So now this Friday I head to Afton Alps (using a vacation day) to see what demo skis are left to try out. Again thanks to Scott and Bob for the free demo cards to Afton Alps.

Again, I was told to check out the Volkl Tigershark 10, the K2 Crossfire, and the Fischer RX8 - all around the lengths of 160-175. Again my stats are 5'4", 185lbs (I have "monster guns" according to Scott) and 37yo. I'd call myself a med/strong intermidiate (who's probably in the "rut") that skis mostly groomers in Minnesota/Wisconsin (hard/some ice); but plan to visit the "big ones" out West again at least once a year to do some intermidiate bowl/off-piste fun.

Thanks to all for the tips and advice. Hopefully the "jelly" will hold off this season and I can find some new skis:
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Demo'd Volkls, Fischer and Salomon - which ski?

Happy Monday Everyone!!!

Thought I'd update folks and ask for more advise. I took a personal day this past Friday and went to one of my local hills - Afton Alps (Afton, Minnesota) to demo some skis. I had a ton of fun, though my left boot started to give me heel pain; so that may have skewed my impressions.

Please forgive the "simple" review, this was my first time demo testing; plus, I was going on how I "felt" on the skis.

Snow conditions: 30 degrees, Groomed hardpack (man-made), skied all on-piste.

Skis Demo'd (all 2008 models):
Tigershark 10 161cm - this ski actually made me giggle and go "woohoo"!!! Gripped the hardpack like a madman, liked to be on edge and turn (short/med), felt squirrelly going straight, didn't like me in the backseat so they shot out in front of me and tossed me in the woods Had a lot of fun but it may have been a bit "touchy" for me - though I'm sure part of that is my skill (or lack thereof).

Fischer Red Heat 160cm - more damp(?) than the Shark, still gripped like nobody's business, seemed more stable going straight (wider waist helped I'm sure), still had fun on it. Felt more subdued but still in control compared to the Tigershark 10.

Salomon Xwing Tornado 162cm - by this point my left heel was killing me even after taking the boot off every couple of runs (pain did lessen when skiing though). So I don't think I can even give a fair review but my impressions were that I didn't feel as locked into the turns compared to the 2 previous skis (again the heel pain and that it was towards the end of my day, so I was beat), did seem to be quite forgiving given my current state, did well at short as well as larger "swooping" turns, plus stable going straight. Maybe what I'd expected from an "all mountain" ski.

Now what to do?

I did have Scott at Hi Tempo adjust the heel wedge yesterday and the pressure point is no longer there. Well see this Friday as I plan to head to Afton after work.

I'd like something between the Tigershark 10 and the Red Heat - more damp than the Tigershark and a bit livelier than the Red Heat and of course have the grip for Midwest hardpack.

The shop has the following in stock: Tigershark 10 161cm (too short for me?), Fischer Rx6 165cm, and Rx8 165cm. There's also a Volkl AC20 170cm (?). I'd like to keep my business with them if I can. But if the lengths are wrong for me, I'll have to look elsewhere. Any advice?

post #11 of 11
I would think you'd want to be around 155cm on these skis, maybe 160cm because you're heavy for your weight, but no longer than 160cm until you start looking at off-piste/free-ride types of skis.

You could maybe look at the Cool Heat if it's available. RX-6 and 8 are going to be narrower in the waist than the Tiger Shark, but they are definitely lively skis, especially the 8. The discontinued RX-9 would be a good choice if you can find them. The replacement is the RC4 Progressor, also a good ski. Keep in mind that the RX-8, RX-9, and Progressor are starting to get out of the intermediate range a bit. But if you tried the Red Heat and wanted more pop, maybe you are ready to move more into the advanced ski range.

Good luck!
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