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Help me decide on women's skis for overweight intermediate skier

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

The time has come to upgrade my skis and I'm hoping you all can help. I'm currently skiing on Siam No 7s, which I feel are too soft and flexy for my fat ass... I weigh about 265 lbs and am 5'8". During the last 2 years I have progressed from barely able to get down green slopes, to a true intermediate blue run skier. I'm getting the hang of steeper stuff, recently tried moguls for the first time, and am hoping to move up to black in the next couple of years.

For my new skis, I've decided to stay away from the wide skis and lean more toward groomer skis, something with dimensions in the neighborhood of 118-123/70-75/103-108. I don't want them to be too narrow or too wide. My main concern is getting something stiffer, livelier, and easier to turn quickly, but not something so expert-level that they will get away from me or make skiing a chore. I'm assuming that at my weight, I will need something stiffer than my ability would otherwise suggest? I like the idea of staying with women's skis so that the forward-mounted bindings can help counteract my tendency to be in the backseat, but I worry whether women's skis will be stiff enough. Two possible candidates I have in mind are the Volkl Fuego (121/73/105) and the K2 One Luv (118/74/103). The Fuego seems appropriately stiff, but seems like much more of an advanced ski and I am worried that it won't be forgiving and fun for someone at my intermediate level. The One Luv doesn't have the metal core of, for example, the Burnin Luv (which I have ruled out due to being too narrow), so I am concerned that it would be too soft. Both of these are marketed as expert skis, and part of me says my weight makes that appropriate, but part of me thinks I may regret getting skis that are better than my abilities.

So my questions are:
1. Any ski recommendations specifically for someone of my ability and weight (not your 130-lb expert wife, please)?
2. To what degree does my weight require to me get a stiffer ski, or am I worrying about stiffness too much?
3. Would I regret getting an advanced level ski? Why or why not?

Thanks for your help! There aren't too many 265-lb women out on the slopes, so I haven't been able to find information that applies to my situation. Any advice is appreciated.
post #2 of 16
Where are you skiing, and how much per season? If demoing is an option, that's the ticket. I think it's generally the way to go, and is especially true if you're trying to figure out how advanced a ski you want. I find the difficulty ratings to be highly varied, so try before you buy is great.

I'm a few inches shorter and a bit lighter at 5'4ish 170ish, and am an intermediate skier, I like going fast on cruisers. I really loved the Fuego. I was a bit concerned that they might be too much ski for me, but found it to be a perfect match. If I were in the market for skis, I'd've already bought these. Zippy, fun, and very responsive. A ski I could have a ball on now, and still love as my skills grow. I'd definitely recommend you try them out if you get a chance.

Though a smidge bigger than what you're looking for in the waist, you may still want to take a look at the Fischer Vision Vapor (118-76-102). I found it to be a tad softer than the Fuego without compromising stability. It was a very fun ride that is a little less lively but offered more crudbustability. I think it'd be a great ski for rocking the groomers and venturing out a bit more.

Come check out The Ski Diva forum for reviews and whatnot. We've got a good group of women with wide range of abilities and sizes mouthing off about all things ski.

Edit: I don't know what longer lengths either of those are available in.
post #3 of 16
It seems to me a unisex intermediate ski would be a good fit for you.

I'd try the Fischer AMC 73.

You might PM Sierra Jim and ask him to post a reply. He has a lot of experience in these things.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies so far, keep 'em coming!

In answer to num's question, I'm skiing in Washington State, mostly at Crystal Mt, staying on groomed slopes for the most part, and skiing most weekends in winter (so about 12-15 times per year).
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
OK, so I discovered that Sturdevant's has a demo pair of the Fuegos in my size, so I have decided to demo them before proceeding further. I'll let you know how it goes!
post #6 of 16
Originally Posted by Lefty Lucy View Post
OK, so I discovered that Sturdevant's has a demo pair of the Fuegos in my size, so I have decided to demo them before proceeding further. I'll let you know how it goes!
Great idea.. Even though these are said to be expert women skis, at your weight you should be able to ski them easily.. Hope you like them
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
OK, so I got off work early and went to Sturdevant's to demo the Fuegos and it turns out they're no longer doing demos, contrary to what I was told yesterday! So I called around and this late in the season, there's just nowhere in the area that still has demo skis available for rent. :

So then it was either wait until next year to demo some different skis, or just take a chance and buy the Fuegos. Guess what, I bought them! I hope I don't regret it! Based on what people have said here and on SkiDiva, plus 2 different salespeople at Sturdevant's (I know, not exactly unbiased, since they're trying to sell me something), I think they'll be a good ski for me. The salesperson I talked to today was very knowledgeable and since he only weighs 140 lb, he's actually one of their women's ski testers. He said the Fuego is very easy to ski and isn't going to be too much for me, especially at my weight.

I did look into some other possibilities, such as the Fischer Red Heat and AMC73 and the K2 One Luv, and also briefly considered the Lotta Luv on the wider end and the RX8 on the narrow end, but none of them seemed to offer the combination of stiffness, forgiving qualities, and dimensions I want. In the end, I probably could be happy on any of the skis but I guess I was more intrigued by the Fuegos overall due to their geometry, technology, Volkl reputation, and rave reviews. Everybody's reassurances have helped a lot in my comfort level with the decision to buy them. Who knows, at my level I may not even notice big differences between skis anyway. I know the added stiffness (vs. my Siams) is gonna help a lot. Anyway, I took a chance and we'll see how it works out.

They couldn't get the bindings mounted today, so I won't pick them up until tomorrow and then it will probably be Sunday before I can test them out. I'll give a full report then!
post #8 of 16
Lol how cool :P Often an impulse buy of a new ski turns out good - especially for intermediates because - as you said - they won't really be able to notice big differences between skis.. I got my mom the rx8 and one of my friends (who's a girl) the rc4 sc, and they both loved those skis even though some might think they were too stiff for them - there's a thread somewhere about intermediates on expert skis And if the weight is right, expert skis aren't that much trouble..
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
I tried the Fuegos out today! Wow, I can't believe the difference! I'm not going to have any regrets with these.

I started out on the bunny slope so I could get used to them. Right away, before I even got on the lift, I noticed they just slid faster than my old skis. Maybe that's because it's been 8 or so days of skiing since I waxed my old ones, but whatever the reason, it took me one push with the poles to get on the lift when before it would have taken 3 or 4. It was almost disconcerting! Then as I went up the lift, I could feel how much lighter my Fuegos were. They just felt like nothing on my feet.

Going down the green slope, I could not believe the edge on these things! Where before I had to aggressively weight my downhill ski to keep my speed under control, now I just had to roll my foot a tiny bit and had all the control I could want. Wow! They felt faster, yet more controlled, more nimble, and just generally more solid all around than my old skis. I was really surprised that they could feel so different, and it was all good.

Moving on to the blue slope, I started going faster on an easy upper part of the slope and suddenly, AIGGGHHH! I caught an edge and nearly plummeted off the side of the mountain! That was scary! Not quite sure what happened. Continuing, I got to a pretty steep part and couldn't decide how I felt about the skis there, because it seemed like on every turn, there was this scary moment right at the beginning of the turn when I felt I could lose control (more on that below). But once I got past that moment, the skis were just slope tamers, with the edge really holding and giving me a confidence I have never ever had before. So mixed feelings at that point.

I hit a fast gentle part of the slope, allowed myself to pick up an unusual amount of speed because I felt more confident, and noticed that bumps and irregularities did nothing to upset these skis. I could hold my line through rough terrain like I never could on my old skis. However, I also noticed that these skis would rather turn than go in a straight line. They felt more stable in a gentle arc than when completely straight. I found myself making these graceful long turns, and had a moment of pure perfect pleasure.

Returning to the top of the same blue run, I didn't catch any nasty edges on the top part but felt trepidation when I got to the steep part. What am I doing wrong, these things are hard to start turns! Part of it seemed to be that the edges held so well that it was harder to skid to initiate the turn. They would rather carve than skid. That was no big deal, just had to exert a little more effort to break them loose and then all was good. But there was still this one scary moment at the top of each turn.

Coming around one more time to the same slope, I finally figured it out: OHHHH, LEAN FORWARD, STUPID! That was the missing element. I guess I had been fighting the turn a little, in the back seat due to not wanting to pitch myself headlong down the mountain. As soon as I started attacking each turn, leaning forward and just letting myself "fall" down the slope for those first few feet of the turn, it all came together. These skis will not tolerate being tentative and in the back seat like my old skis did. They want you to act like you know what you're doing and just go for it. And once you do, the reward comes in spades as suddenly you have a little more skill, look a little better in your positioning, go a little faster, and feel less afraid. Sweet!! Once I figured that out, everything was great and I really enjoyed myself for the rest of the day. I can now make smaller tighter turns than I was able to before, and that's worth a lot when you get on steep stuff.

So yes, these skis are more demanding, but they respond so nicely to that added care that it's 100% worth it! They are already teaching me to be a better skier. I didn't go ripping down any black diamond runs or anything today, but I could tell that these skis will help me get to that next level in a way that my old skis would not have been able to. I really couldn't be happier overall. I will no doubt continue to have to get used to them and adjust my style to suit their different feel, but I think I'm going to notice some big improvements in my skiing. My partner says I already looked better today than "pre-Fuego." So yay! I'm so relieved I didn't make the wrong choice!
post #10 of 16
Cool! Skis will often remind you to get your weight projected down the fall line from time to time; usually it's a subtle reminder, but it's good you were able to pick it up. Sounds like you got yourself a great ski.
post #11 of 16
Hey Lucy,
Congrats on the new skis.

I bought my daughter Fuegos late this season (she's a solid advanced skier coming back after a 5 year lay-off), and she is having a blast on them. My wife got last year's Volkl Atttva S5's (the precursor to the Fuego), and she is also very pleased.

Her first day on her new skis, my wife (who is a good, groomed-black trail skier) caught an edge and absorbed a nasty face plant. It made her nervous about getting too far forward on the ski at speed. We later discovered that the factory tune on the skis (which I bought on-line) was razor sharp all the way to the tip. Guys at the shop said that new Volkls often come in like that. They de-tuned them a bit back from the shovel, and my wife found them to be smoother turn initiators after that, and has had no more nasty surprises.

May not be an issue with yours, but just thought I'd mention it.

Enjoy the ride.
post #12 of 16
Yeah, you might want to de-tune the tip and tails a bit if you enter the turn skidding.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Detuning the edges... hmmm, I will keep that in mind for further consideration, but my initial thought is that I should try (and so far am mostly succeeding at) getting used to them as they are. Why take an advanced carving ski and detune it to a skidding ski? I like the aggressive edge, it's already starting to teach me how to carve, and it gives me confidence that I can use the sharp edge to slow down fast if I have to. It just seems wrong to purposely de-tune a ski. Like, if you have to do that, does that mean maybe you should have bought a different ski in the first place? :

On the other hand... it's not like all my turns are going to be carved from now on. Skidding is a reality for me and probably always will be to some extent. So I can see the temptation to detune just a bit if it makes the ski more versatile.

Any further thoughts are welcome if anyone's still reading this thread. Otherwise, I'll just keep thinking about it and talking to folks, and the answer will probably become clear over time as I either do or don't fully adjust to these skis as they are.
post #14 of 16
You posted this when I was on vacation, but you were definitely steered in the direction I would have taken you.
Fuegos or Firefoxes!!!
You got a great ski there!!
post #15 of 16
Originally Posted by Lefty Lucy View Post
Any further thoughts are welcome if anyone's still reading this thread. Otherwise, I'll just keep thinking about it and talking to folks, and the answer will probably become clear over time as I either do or don't fully adjust to these skis as they are.

Good answer above.

Time to get the ski mileage in.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ha ha ha ha, I just read the one million posts about detuning. Guess that topic's been covered enough here!
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