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AC20 vrs AC30

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I was able turn up a rash of commentary on the AC30 and AC40 usually one vrs the other but I was looking for info an the "lessor" AC20 and comparing it to the AC30 in particular.

How does the Volkl AC20 compare in characteristics to the AC30?

90% on piste, intermediate to low advanced level (7) skier, not likely to become a top expert.
post #2 of 12
We categorize both skis as 90/10 models (90% groomers and 10% other stuff). The difference is aggressiveness level. While the AC-30 is an expert level ski, the AC-20 is for a somewhat less aggressive skier. The AC-30 is stiffer in all dimensions but especially in torsion. This gives the ski exceptional grip but it sacrifices a little in forgiveness. Depending upon your weight and aggressiveness, the AC-20 should work quite well for the ability level you describe.

(Keep in mind that ability and aggressiveness are not the same thing nor often present to the same level in every skier)

SJ
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hm, interesting thought - the ability and aggressiveness defrentiation. It verbalizes just what I was trying to think over.
I will most likely reach level 8 from the definitions ability wise, but most likely over a few more years as I only ski 10 times a year.

I don't know exactly how to define "aggressive" though - I like to keep the tips pointed down and do very short quick turns rather than coast across the slope (more slalom than the longer GS variety I would describe). This seems to push me a bit more towards better technique and strength to improve what I can handle than the more relaxing longer turns. I can visualize how a stuffer ski might help shorter quicker turns - I think.

If aggressive means fast I would not be the first one down the hill, due to a few stops to relax the legs especially at seasons start but I would be down ahead of most.

If aggressiveness means skiing the steeps and all moguls, I don't handle then well at all due to undeveloped technique, (however I love the 1' moguls on a blue type run - my favorite). On the steep hills, icey conditions, and larger moguls I just lose all control and confidence though I am determined to get it eventually.

I have skied the prior years AC2 last year for a day, and liked it as my turns seemed effortless. Getting better is what brought on the AC30 thought. But I do not want to get a ski that would set me back if control was too much harder.

I don't know it this further description happens to help a logical recommendation 'on paper' any more; but if I knew the AC20 would allow a progression of skills it would be the "safe bet" as I I know I liked it having tried it. However, if I could ski the AC30 as well now I think it could take me further. I have no idea how my current ability would handle a stiffer ski having only skied intermediate skis before like the AC2 last year and the Atomic 9:18 Beta Carves for years before.

Still give more of a nod to the AC20?

Many thaks for your reply,
Tom
post #4 of 12
You still don't specify your weight and that is a factor for sure. However, these days it's hard for even a good intermediate to be undergunned with some of the mid priced skis that are available today. The mid range stuff these days is better than much of the top line gear from just a few years ago and the AC-20 is in the top 3 or 4 in the middle price skis.

SJ
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am 185lbs, 6'1". Digesting your posts again it sounds like your leaning towards the AC20 for how I described my ability. As long as I can grow with it so I have a changce at the steeper runs and eventually moguls without buying another pair soon.

I was considering the 170 or 177 length. I have read here that a longer length in the same ski can mean more in ski feel than switching brands. I suppose a 177 in the AC20 may add some longevity to skiing with it or close the gap somewhat to an 170 AC30. Or maybe it does not work that way as the skis are too different.

Thanks you very much for your replies and information. I single out your posts on here for lots of good credible information. I may demo one AC30 if only to close the idea, but could not justify demoing all 4 (both in 170 and 177). Also I know what too often happens if I keep looking - I will see a deal and have to pounce
before the season opens.

Thank you again Jim,
Tom
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
We categorize both skis as 90/10 models (90% groomers and 10% other stuff). The difference is aggressiveness level. While the AC-30 is an expert level ski, the AC-20 is for a somewhat less aggressive skier. The AC-30 is stiffer in all dimensions but especially in torsion. This gives the ski exceptional grip but it sacrifices a little in forgiveness. Depending upon your weight and aggressiveness, the AC-20 should work quite well for the ability level you describe.

(Keep in mind that ability and aggressiveness are not the same thing nor often present to the same level in every skier)

SJ
Jim: I value your opinion, so I will pose this question. I was at a local pre season ski sale this weekend and was ready to pull the trigger on 177cm, AC 30's. I currently ski 66mm waist, metal laminate skis. My thought was that the AC 30 would give me a wider waisted ski to allow some off piste skiing in Vermont, and still allow the precision in carving on groomers that I am accustomed to.

I had previously skied the Tigersharks at a demo day and enjoyed them. I have never skied the AC 30's but on paper they would seem to be a perfect addition to my quiver. The sales person talked me out of buying the AC 30's, stating they were much less ski than the Tigersharks. He implied they are essentially an intermediate cruising ski. This is contrary to everything I have read about the AC 30's. He talked me out of a sale for which I can not understand his motivation. Is he correct?
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dauntless View Post
I had previously skied the Tigersharks at a demo day and enjoyed them. I have never skied the AC 30's but on paper they would seem to be a perfect addition to my quiver. The sales person talked me out of buying the AC 30's, stating they were much less ski than the Tigersharks. He implied they are essentially an intermediate cruising ski. This is contrary to everything I have read about the AC 30's. He talked me out of a sale for which I can not understand his motivation. Is he correct?
No. The AC30 is a pretty aggressive unforgiving ski - you gotta stay on top of it all the time and woe is you if you get in the backseat. The Tigersharks are more of a rec ski than the AC30 - more forgiving, easier turning, etc. Maybe he was thinking about the AC20? Or the unnumbered "Unlimited"?

To answer the OP's question, there's a big jump between the AC20 and the AC30. For my tastes, it goes from "not nearly enough" ski (AC20) to "a bit more than I want for an all-day ski" (AC30). The Tigersharks are in between. So were the 5-stars.
post #8 of 12
Tom:

At your weight, I'd say the 177 is the best choice in the AC-20. Yes, you could choose the AC-30 in a 170 if you wanted to, but shorter is only better for a few things. The better balanced a skier you are, the easier it is to be comfortable on a shortish ski. Note that many PSIA types choose rather short skis as their work tools.

On the more or less forgiving thing, here is what I mean. A stiffer ski like the AC-30 gives you some rewards like stability, grip, energy (sometimes) dampening (sometimes) etc. Like everything else in life and ski choices, you give something up to get those things. In general, that higher end ski will not initiate as easliy and will grip so hard that it can be reluctant to smear and release at the end of the turn. This is fine on smooth packed snow and nice dry snow. However, this can be tiring in grippy moguls or mixed and broken snow. A more agressive ski will respond very energetically to tail pressure. A high level skier may apply tail pressure in order to elicit something from the ski. That skier knows what he/she is doing and knows what is coming. Someone else OTH, may not be ready for the response and end up in the backseat or get drop kicked toward next week.

Ultimately, choosing a high level or mid level ski is dependant upon what you expect. I ski so many different skis every year that I find myself feeling comfortable on most all of them. Despite my 190# weight and skiing level (~~L-8), I find myself more comfortable on skis like the Legend 8K or the Nordie Nitrous. Those are not the most aggro skis within their categories but that's what I have come to appreciate the most.

SJ
post #9 of 12
D:

The T/S can be either more ski than the AC-30 or less ski. It depends upon which one you are looking at. I'd say the 10' non switch is a skinch (tech term) below the AC-30 in aggro level and the 12' non switch is similar to the AC-30. OTH, I think that the switch models in the "on" position can be more ski than the AC-30.

SJ
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
The T/S can be either more ski than the AC-30 or less ski. It depends upon which one you are looking at. I'd say the 10' non switch is a skinch (tech term) below the AC-30 in aggro level and the 12' non switch is similar to the AC-30. OTH, I think that the switch models in the "on" position can be more ski than the AC-30.
Well, I tried the TS with the switch on, with the switch off, and with one ski switched on and the other switched off. I couldn't tell a damn bit of difference no matter what I did with the switches. YMMV.
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
D:

The T/S can be either more ski than the AC-30 or less ski. It depends upon which one you are looking at. I'd say the 10' non switch is a skinch (tech term) below the AC-30 in aggro level and the 12' non switch is similar to the AC-30. OTH, I think that the switch models in the "on" position can be more ski than the AC-30.

SJ
Thanks Jim. It sounds like the AC 30 is possibly the right ski. I liked the Tigersharks. With the switch on, turn initiation(especially in the 12) required more skier input, which could be tiring at the end of the day. I remember sleeping really well the night after demo-ing them.
post #12 of 12
Sometimes more technology is not always the best thing. I found the switch to make enough difference in a few areas to know that I'd be a "switch off" guy almost all the time. That's just me. One thing's for sure, the AC-30 is a nice value these days and Volkl has wisely resisted the temptatin to dump more sidecut into it.

SJ
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