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Intermediate gear questions

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I'm a low intermediate (can't carve turns, they always start out with a tiny bit of a wedge, I don't seem to tip them at the same time).

I currently ride a beginner->low-intermediate ski (elan flows).
I'm in the market for a little more. Maybe a Mag 8 though it's not that different from the flows. I ski in Southern PA and the North East, so it's mostly icy hardpack. Rarely any powder.

I was at Stowe yesterday and demoed a few things, though they only had really high-end stuff.

I tried a pair of Volkl AC30 which I wasn't impressed with: didn't handle icy hardpack or ice stones well, and were naturally stiff for me. Yet I heard good things about the AC Unlimited. Should I consider the AC since they are considered good skis?

Then I tried a pair of Rossy Zenith Z9. I LOVED the way they handled vibrations. They were very sturdy, though too stiff for me. I know there's a Z5, is that as good at handling vibrations?

Any other recommendations?
post #2 of 7
The Z9 is a great ski for helping you advance - just about everyone I know who used it as an intermediate made huge gains in confidence. Personally, I don't find the Z5 to be as great a ski (just personal preference). However, with your reference to having difficulty with carving parallel turns, I wonder if the Z9 and AC 30 comparisons are unfair given your level of technique. They both will do better with advanced level or better skiers. The Nordica Hot Rod line has a range of skis that you might like (thinking about the Nitrous or Overdrive).
post #3 of 7
It will be hard to really evaluate a ski if you are not carving turns yet, because no ski really wants to skid through a turn, and it takes an advanced skier to skid a ski gracefully on purpose (those skiers use a skid turn as a important tool in their bag of tricks). Some skis will be more forgiving than others. Both stiff and soft skis have their issues when skidded; the former will resist skidding but hold up better when sideways to the direction of motion, the latter will more readily skid but chatter like crazy when sideways. It's always going to be a trade.

That said, demoing can be like a pot luck dinner. If you find a ski you really like, you might want to jump on that ski rather than continue to sample other skis. If you loved the Z9, there's a strong piece of data. Good luck!
post #4 of 7
I am with skier219... if you find a pair that you loved while demo-ing, then get those.

I had my 1st demo experience recently and totally surprised about how different (feel-wise) the skis were. I tried the Rossignol Z5, Volkl AC-20, Tiger 20 and Elan SW10.

I didn't like the Volkl AC20 after putting them on for 30sec, and felt at home right away with the Elan...
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
I want something that's lighter and thinner so I'm looking for SWs. If I can't find the SWs, I'll probably end up getting the Z9s.

I was talking to a few people on the Stowe lift and people don't seem that impressed with the AC20 and even 30, but like the AC Unlimited and the AC40.
post #6 of 7
I also demo'ed a whole slew of skis this past weekend. Some of these included the Z6, Z9, Tigershark w/ PS (12 foot I think), Phantom (the new Bandit - B2?), AC40. The condition was light crud at Gunstock with a dusting of wet powder on top, NH.

IMHO, if you're a low intermediate, I would stay away from the Z9. Of all the skis I tried, it seemed to be the hardest to turn when stagnant. I really had to lean hard to get them to move. The Z6 was somewhat similar on the flats but only much softer. Unless you ski on all hardpack groomers or ice all the time, I think you'll find them very difficult to initiate turns, especially you don't start them on edges.

Of these skis, I guess the AC40 or the Phantom will suit you better. The AC40 is more stable and very easy to turn -- almost like the opposite of the Zeniths. You have to stay on top of them or else they will just take off on you. To me, it lacked the feel that makes skiing fun. The Phantom also handled pretty well but it tends to chatter at higher speed down an incline at small radius turns. My favorite of the day was the Tigershark. Just very exciting skiing all the way around. I had the PS to both on and off for different conditions.
post #7 of 7
I've had the Z9 since lower intermediate levels and think its a great ski. Now I am at the upper intermediate level, I'm wanting something a bit longer and wider. The Z9 is awesome though, I had so many breakthroughs on this ski. I'll likely keep it for the skiing hardpack forever. Try the Z5 if you can, AFAIK its the same ski with a softer flex.
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