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Skis for mid-atlantic area

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm in the market for a new pair of skis this year, but the shopping process here in the mid-atlantic area has me somewhat frustrated with the lack of opportunity to actually demo skis. For a description of myself: I'm 5' 10", 168 pounds and I'm a level 7 skier using the PSIA criteria. My current set of skis are Volkl V3s in 177cm. I typically get to ski 15-20 times a season, and I generally try to get around 5 lessons in each season also. I've been stuck at the same skill level now for a while, and still have issues with skidding turns and ending up in the backseat on some of my turns. The icy moguls are really my nemesis - I haven't been able to make much headway with them over the last 2-3 years. I will ski any of the slopes on our local mountain, although I generally like the blues and the blacks over the double blacks, unless the conditions are pretty good. When I'm feeling confident, I like to take relatively fast runs down the slopes, but as things get icy I start feeling more unconfident in my abilities and ski accordingly.

The thing that I want most is a ski that will help me improve my carving skills in general. I don't see myself ever being the fastest skier on the slope, so having a ski capable of NASTAR race speeds isn't my top priority. We do get out to Seven Springs and Wisp a couple times a season, and we've been fortunate in the past two get as much as 6"-12" of heavy east coast snow on occasion. While I don't necessarily want to purchase a ski for that scenario alone, it would be great to have a ski that is more versatile than my V3s (65mm waist).

The V3s are the only skis that I've used in the mid-Atlantic in the last 5 years. We've been out west several times, and I rented skis each time I was there. My favorite skis by far were Volkl 724 EXPs (170cm) that I used in the Tahoe area, and my second favorite were a pair of Salomon 1080s. I used a pair of Atomic Metrons (not the B5s, I think they were M11s or something...) that didn't really work for me, and I rented a pair of Volkl 724 Pros that pretty much kicked my butt.

So I actually have two questions: If I were looking to get a single pair of skis, what would you recommend. My second question would be, if I were to consider getting two pairs of skis, one now at the beginning of the season, and one at the end of the season (maybe used), what would you recommend.

One potential limitation for me is that the local shop carries some skis from Volkl, K2, Fischer, Elan and Rossignol. The owner's recommendation right now would be either a Volkl AC30 at 163cm (ski it short to make it a little more forgiving - this gets his strongest recommendation), a Volkl AC20 at 170cm, the K2 Crossfire at 167, or a Fischer Red Heat at 170. He is also carrying the Fischer Progressor 8+, but he isn't really recommending it for me. If one of these options makes sense, I'd like to give him my business since it's great to have a good shop in a small town. If I would go for a second pair of skis, especially used, I will not limit myself to what he is carrying.

Thanks for any recommendations!
post #2 of 20
Hello, jat and welcome. You don't tell us what mountain you normally ski.

Those are all reasonable skis; my picks would be, in order:

1) AC30 in 170cm and keep it for years; 163 cm reduces versatility imo and you don't really need more forgiveness in that ski if you're skiing 177cm V3s. If you have good boots now, this would be my pick by a decent margin.

2) K2 Crossfire

3) Red Heat 165cm
post #3 of 20
Next time you are at 7 springs, you should check out Willie's. They offer high-end demos for a really reasonable price. The selection is limited, but the skis they do have are good for use at 7springs.
post #4 of 20
From the list:
Volkl AC30 (based on spec.)
Progressor 8+ (based on spec and experience with rx8 and WC SC)
Both in about 170 cm.

Also if you find 'em: Head SuperShape (Chip ok, but not speed or magnum), also at about 170 cm.
post #5 of 20
I agree with Ghost!

you can find all the specs here:
Volkl AC30: www.skidetails.com/en/skiDetail.jsp?id_model=759
Fischer Progressor 8+: www.skidetails.com/en/skiDetail.jsp?id_model=520
Head Supershape: www.skidetails.com/en/skiDetail.jsp?id_model=578

and I would also add
Head Supershape Speed: www.skidetails.com/en/skiDetail.jsp?id_model=581
post #6 of 20
Don't forget about Demo Days...probably your best bet when it comes to demo'ing in the Mid-Atlantic. I know Snowshoe and 7Springs have them, and I'd assume most other resorts have them at some point as well. Their selection at Snowshoe was pretty decent last time I hit it up.

I still have my 02 Volkl G3 177s...it's a great ski.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by phil77 View Post
I still have my 02 Volkl G3 177s...it's a great ski.
He's got the V3 carver, ~22m radius iirc.

Fair decent bump ski, decent on ice with a 1/3 edge.
post #8 of 20
I'll toss my bias out right up front! I favored citizen race skis for a long time and was a Volkl diehard for a few seasons. But the SL's that I favor for eastern ice and narrow trails chattered so bad at speed (170's), someone gave me the steer over to Stockli.

My personal favorites for icy stuff would be the race SL's (155) or the SC (slalom carver @ 168).

No more chatter and they are both smooth at speed. I put a few intermediates on the SL cut Spirit and the SC's and they loved them.

Once you ski a Stockli .... going back to Volkl just isn't in the cards.

They are hard to find but are worth the search .... and .... that for that matter, is how I found EpicSki about ten years ago!

Sorry Volkl fans ..
post #9 of 20
You should connect with Brabson and exchange notes. I think he is on a very similar wavelegnth and we all will ski in the same general area this winter.

Welcome to Epic and let me know when you're heading up to the Smokeys. Maybe we can take a few laps together.

post #10 of 20
It is not too hard to find a ski that will work well for your conditions. I'm skeptical however about buying a stiff and fairly aggressive ski like the AC-30 but then choosing a size that is too short in order to make it easier to ski.

I have skied all the models you mention and I think the best bang for the buck is the Fischer Red Heat. It has plenty of grip and speed capability for what you are doing and/or thinking about doing. If I lived in the midwest, I might think about this for a teaching ski....(yes, it's that good)

Patronize your local shop or..........

http://www.sierraskis.com/Fischer-Re...stem-17698.asp
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 

Great input!

Thanks everyone, that was exactly what I'm looking for. Most of my skiing is done at Whitetail in PA, although we do get up to Blue Knob on a regular basis because my wife's family has a place there. I didn't even think about Seven Springs for demo skis - I'll have to look into that further.

If I didn't think that the AC30 was too much ski for me, I'd definitely consider it in the 170cm length. But I have to admit that the reason I posted here is because I'm a little leary of the idea of going to the 163 to compensate for the more aggressive ski. The Red Heat does have a lot going for it in my mind - it does seem like the ski that is most directed at where I am right now. If I would go that route, what would the recommended length be?

I am pretty serious though about considering a second ski towards the end of the season. I've read a lot about the Head skis on this forum, so I will definitely keep my eyes open for them. I'd really like to avoid too much overlap though, so I would appreciate thoughts about what would be a good two ski combination. I'm halfway thinking that the AC30 in a 170cm would be good for growing into as long as I had a slightly easier ski for now.
post #12 of 20
You could choose the Red Heat in either a 170 or a 175. I'd probably suggest the 170 given your lightish weight. It will be plenty of length 90% of the time and that's about what you want.

It makes no sense to get a Red Heat and an AC-30, they have similar skill sets and terrain applications, the AC-30 is just stiffer and more aggressive. The AC-30 might be margianlly better at some things but the RH is hard to beat and it outperforms its price category.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Sounds good. The Red Heat was actually one of the skis that I was looking at before my visit to the ski shop. Just out of curiosity, what is the rationale for not going with the AC30 in a shorter length (163cm)? I'm just curious what your reasoning is. The only thing that concerns me about the Red Heat is that, based upon the Expert Skier website reviews, the Red Heat is called a 'handful in bumps'. What are your thoughts here? Also, just to rule it out once and for all, I noticed that you didn't recommend either the AC20 or the Crossmark. Do you just think the Red Heat is more versatile?

For a skier at my level, what would be a good ski nowadays for learning to ski moguls of the east coast variety?

Thanks again!
post #14 of 20
Getting the AC-30 short was not my recommendation. You mentioned in your first post that was your local shops recommendation. I disagree with this suggestion. The AC-20 is a good ski but the Fischer performs about a half notch better and thus is a better buy. By Crossmark I assume that you mean Crossfire. I didn't suggest it b/c I think it has little to offer over the mid priced skis except possibly better dampening. (this comes at the cost of less energy however) The Crossfire ('07-'08) was K2's best offering in this category for some time. Some folks however, might consider that to be faint praise.

Edit....missed one question.

"Handful in bumps? compared to what? I am not affiliated with the website you mention and do not share that view.
post #15 of 20
I skied in the midatlantic for 6 years before moving away last season. I am not familar with the latest crop of carving skis, so take this as free advice becuase thats what it is.

For the midatlantic in terms of advanced and expert level skiing there are just a few different types of skiing going on that are fun and rewading (IMO) over the long haul. Those are: Carving / Racing and Bumps / Park. I don't think that there really exists an advanved or expert level ski that bridges the gap between these two without significant compromise.

At an intermeiate - advanced level you might be able to get some overlap. You might find a ski like the RX8 that is very good carving, and still pretty good in bumps.

On hard snow days at White Tail or 7Springs I am not happy with the performance of most 76+mm "carving skis". They just don't get enough bite on the ice compared to skis 10mm narrower. There are many days where all that is really going to be fun is rock hard groomers so I think that a race carver arroudn 65mm wide with pristine edges and Usually less than 15m radius as well. Is a great ski to have in the quiver. And they are just a hoot to ski on.

If you want to ski bumps or park one ski can work well for both. Usually these are mor enjoyable on warmer days when the bumps and landing are not solid ice. I woudl say just get a 80mm wide twip center mount it and then go to town.

As far as skiing in the midatlantic, icy moguls are the most challenging thing you will see. Just practice alot. And practice when it is warm--not icy (spring is the best time for this) that way when it is icy yo will be more well prepared and precise.

I don't think that the contemporary version of the allmountain ski are really very useful at all in the midatlantic. AM skis jsut don't seem to be good enough at every typical midatlantic skiing conditions to make the added versatility worth much IMO.

Note: You said you didn't like the 724 Pro the AC30 has been around for a while, but it is the ancestor of the 724 pro just FYI. You said your fav ski was the volkl 724 exp, the AC20 is probaly going to be similar, if that was your fave just get it.
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
Getting the AC-30 short was not my recommendation.
I think I didn't express myself clearly - I understood that you didn't recommend it, and I was just curious what your rationale was. I only ask because part of me really likes the idea of skiing a shorter ski. Of course, I've never actually done it (I've been working down from a 188cm El Camino to a 177cm V3 to whatever I get next for my east coast skis), so I'm only speculating here.

I'm actually pretty sold on the Red Heat, and if you personally feel that it is either comparable or better than the AC20 and the Crossfire, then I'll probably stop looking any further. I will support the local store for this round, but if I'm looking for a ski later that they don't offer, I'll be sure to stop by your website. Thanks again!
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post
I don't think that there really exists an advanved or expert level ski that bridges the gap between these two without significant compromise.
This seems more than fair to me. And for what its worth, I'm quite sure that the limitations are far more in the skier than in the ski, so the recommendation to keep practicing is spot on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post
so I think that a race carver arroudn 65mm wide with pristine edges and Usually less than 15m radius as well. Is a great ski to have in the quiver. And they are just a hoot to ski on.
So if I shop around for a race-oriented ski (say a SuperShape Magnum or something along those lines), what length would I be looking for? Am I still looking for something around 170cm, or shorter? This is sort of what I had in mind when I was thinking about a two ski quiver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post
You said you didn't like the 724 Pro the AC30 has been around for a while, but it is the ancestor of the 724 pro just FYI. You said your fav ski was the volkl 724 exp, the AC20 is probaly going to be similar, if that was your fave just get it.
That was my original thought too, although I loved this ski when I was out west in good snow conditions. It's not clear to me that I'd have the same experience back east with it.

Thanks for the free thoughts!
post #18 of 20
Super shape Yes. Super shape Magnum NO.

170 cm = good length
165 cm = good for a solid performance ski like Fischer WC SC, or Atomic SX12.
160 cm = It will feel too short but will still work.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Ghost - I have to tell you that reading about the superShape, it sounds like a lot of ski for me. Is the theory here that using a ski of this level would eventually force me to develop the skills and technique to use them efficiently? I see that they are very well reviewed - they just sound way over my head. Curious what your thinking is here.

I see some of the RX8's floating around. This seems like a much more... realistic option to me right now. Any thoughts on them? What would be appropriate 165cm or 170cm?
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jat View Post
I see some of the RX8's floating around. This seems like a much more... realistic option to me right now. Any thoughts on them? What would be appropriate 165cm or 170cm?
The RX-8's are an excellent Mid-Atlantic ski. I would think the 165cm would be fine at your size.
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