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First post....Ski question.

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I've browsed a few skiing forums over the past couple days, and this certainly seems to be the place to be! I've learned quite a bit by just reading some of the very helpful threads posted here. But now it's time for a beginner question.

Pertinent info, as best I can tell, follows. If any other info is needed, let me know and I'll try to provide it.

I'm 50 YO, and have been skiing for 13 years. For the first 10 years, I lived in Louisiana and skied only 5-7 days a year. Four seasons ago, I moved to Colorado, and I get to ski quite a bit more. My "home mountain" is Ski Cooper, outside of Leadville, Co., and I'm at home at Monarch also. It isn't the most intense terrain, but it's small, friendly, and I can hurt myself there as quickly as anywhere.... My preferred conditions are groomed trails with 3-4" of powder. I'm 5'-8" @ 155 lbs. I consider myself an "intermediate" skier.

When I first started skiing, I bought Volkl Ice Edge 180's, which is a straight ski like you don't see anymore. They sure were good on crusty stuff in skidding turns, but not so good in powder. Speed (at least my version of it) didn't bother me so much, but these skis were difficult to turn....at least to a beginner. Well, I inherited a shorter set of skis from my sister, and I've been using them for several years now...and I'm wondering if that's my problem. I'm not looking to be a downhill racer, but I'd like to be able to carve a few turns without being left in the dust by my companions...who are of equal ability/experience.

They are Rossignol Cut 10.4L @ 160 cm. I didn't know until today that the L meant "lady specific". I figured a ski was a ski, but apparently L type skis have the binders mounted more forward than is typical of a man's ski.

Anyway, my problem (after taking the long way around the barn) is that for the past 3-4 years, I haven't seemed to advance at all, and speed seems to bother me much more than it used to when I skied the Volkls. As I get the Cuts up to what I consider to be a reasonable speed, they just seem to always be on the verge of going "spaghetti" on me.

I've read a few online reviews of the Cut 10.4's, and the general concensus seems to be that they are a good beginner ski, but they won't advance with you as your ability increases. I'm starting to believe that.

So, finally, my 2 questions.....

What should I look for in an "upgraded" ski? Any specific brand/type recommendations would be appreciated.

And binding.....I noticed that the Solomon binding I have on these skis place the boot sole very close to the top surface of the ski. The bindings (newer) that are on all my ski buddies gear place the boot probably a half inch (or more) higher than mine. It seems to me that the higher the sole of the boot (within reason) above the top surface of the ski, the "easier" it would be to control the edges. Does that make sense or hold any water? Should I be looking at a different profile of binding than what I already have?

Sorry this got so long, but I don't know the technical language required to condense the questions.

I greatly appreciate your assistance.

post #2 of 6
LOL here linefinder; we might be the only two guys on this board that have skied the ladies version for the Rossignal Cut. My wife bought a pair 7 or 8 years ago and until I upgraded this year; they were better than what I had for the meager amount of skiing I was doing. We have close to the same size boot dims, so they fit great. But to confirm your suspicion, they are soft skis for lower level skiers; not a performance ski at all, and given the age ski design has changes a lot since they were made. Don't recall the length of my wife's skis, but with a soft ski at 160 you're going to suffer on the hill, especially at speed. You'd be much better off on a new ski.

I'm also 50, also 5'-8" but my extra muscle put me at about 180 lbs. Just went through the whole search process and ended up on the Dynastar Contact 9, at 165mm, selected because I wanted a good groomer/carving ski. The other candidate I had was the Fisher RX-8, but couldn't demo it, along with the rest of the Contact series, the 10 and Limited. I think the Contact series would all be good candidates with the 10 and Ltd. being similiar to each other, but with a higher quality binding plate on the Limited. FWIW, the 10 and Ltd. are 5 mm wider at the waist which might give it a little more versatility in true powder or crud conditions, though with what you prefer the 9 would be good I believe. Dynastar is changiing their line next year, and at least the 9 is discontinued, so there are good buys on it now. I would definately try to buy your ski now rather than new skis next year; you'll save at least 30% to 40% compared to waiting, and it doesn't appear that the technology is going to advance over the next year as maybe it has in the earlier part of this decade.

As far as bindings go . . . sorry, but you really don't have any choice, though I'm sure the purist and others would correct me. Now days it's pretty much integrated bindings . . . you get what comes with the ski. For better or worse, probably better, it's all figured out for you.

The other thing you should consider is taking some lessons, especially after you get your new skis, to really learn how to turn new skis. It is a different game even from when you first started 13 years ago; some of what you describe is probably related to technique . . . but make no mistake about it . . . get yourself some new skis.
post #3 of 6
Welcome Linefinder - For your ability and where you ski, many good skis. None of which are Cuts.

1) Are your boots decent?

2) If yes, suggest reading some threads here about following skis: Fischer Watea 78, Head iM78, Dynastar Legend 8000, Solomon Tornado. These are each suitable for a motivated intermediate but can take you up to expert, each can handle some powder and chop as well as groomed, each can be had for reasonable prices (very) soon, and each can be had flat if you want to mount your own bindings. One question to ask yourself is what you want to do with these: Keep up with your buddies, learn to ski the backside, blast through icy crud, etc. Each ski has its own strengths and personality, which you'll get from the reviews. Don't worry about lift/systems one way or the other at this stage. Go for the better deal. Also, there are some sites with good reviews, start at Sierra Jim's online store.

3) If no, spend your money on boots.

And save some $ for lessons. Good luck.
post #4 of 6
For Colorado snow look into something over 80mm at the waist. The Dynastar Legend 8000, The Salomon Fury, Rossignol B83
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
I thank you both for your input. The folks I ski with are "faster" than me, but not any more knowledgeable on the "technical" end of things. Advice from more experienced skiers is hard to come by in the crowd I run with.

I may have accidently solved part of my problem yesterday. I went to one of the more specialized ski shops in town, rather than the "big box" store I bought my original skis at 13 years ago. Man....what a difference!

Long story short, I wasn't looking to buy at this point in time, but after talking to one of the shop guys for 20 or so minutes (basically rehashing what I posted above), he put me on to a set of "used" Rossignol B2 Bandits...158 cm, in the 116/78/105 profile. They'd sold them earlier this year to a guy who skied them for one day and decided they weren't what he was looking for. They pulled the bindings off of them, replaced them with "demo" bindings and sold the package to me for $250. Though skied on for a day, I'll be darned if I can tell it. Not a hairline scratch anywhere, and from what I can tell, they could have just stuck them back on the "new" racK. I'm not crazy about the bindings, (they are heavy as lead), but if I like the skis, I'll replace them next season.

The online reviews I've found on these skis sound pretty promising for the conditions I prefer to ski, and the modest skill level to which I aspire. I'm too old to race, but OTOH, I'm tired of fighting skis that won't shift out of 2nd gear.

As to boots....I think my current ones are pretty good. Though about 12 years old, they probably have only ~75 days on them. They are Nordica Next 3.0, and are as comfortable as I can imagine a ski boot ever being. It has to be a pretty wicked weather day before my feet get cold, and even then, it's nothing compared to a high mountain elk hunt. They are about the only piece of ski gear I think I got "right" the first time.

However, I'm also open to suggestions on boots. As you may have surmised, I bought my initial round of gear at one of the "box stores". Those days are over. The next pair of boots (probably next year) will come from a real live bootfitter.

Once again, thank you for the information.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by skierhj View Post
For Colorado snow look into something over 80mm at the waist. The Dynastar Legend 8000, The Salomon Fury, Rossignol B83

I appreciate it! The ones I wound up with are 78....which is a lot wider than the 67's I had. Hopefully, 78's close enough.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › First post....Ski question.