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Ummm...skis have changed alot! A little help?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Lookin' for a little help on selecting the correct ski length. I've been reading the forum for a few weeks now and been doing a lot of shopping locally. I know I'll get some good advice here.

I used to ski regularly from about age 15 to 25 on my own gear. Career and a knee injury brought that to a halt, I'm 38 now. Think I've only skied three times in the past 10 years on rented gear. I'm going to attempt to get into it heavily this year.

I think I have the skis I want picked out...just bought new boots, Atomic B120's, still need a little fitting as my feet are pretty wide.

Here's a little more about me -
6'-0" tall and about 195#, always the athletic type, aggressive when it comes to any physical sport, not afraid of speed. Most of my skiing will probably be in the mid-west, hope to take at least two trips west. Last three experiences were in western mountains...I'm a decent skier, have skied black diamonds in the west. Maybe not the most graceful, but can do it with out getting hurt and still have a blast! My goal is to get better and be able to ski in the deep powder. Not to proud to take a few lessons.

My previous skis were 180s, local sales people all seem to be pointing me towards 170s, citing that equipment has changed and I shouldn't be on skis that are 180 any more. FYI - 170s come right to the tip of my nose.

I'd love some recommendations on the correct length...I'll keep my current selection to myself, but would also like to hear any recommendations on brand and model if someone wants to throw their 2 cents in.

TIA -
Paul
post #2 of 17
What skis have you picked out?
post #3 of 17
being your size and athletic and having a charging attitude (your skills will catch up... i've always had more balls than talent), you should only be on skis in the 170's if you have pure carving skis. if it's the least-bit freeride, you will be fine in the low 180's for now, and should have no problem progressing up to even the low-to-mid 190's after a few years of hard skiing.

probably more important than length, though, you need to decide on what ski you want first. without a lot of recent skiing experience to clue you in as to what sort of ski FEEL characteristics you like, you will either have to demo first or list a comprehensive list of what kind of skiing you intend to do (how much groomers? how much bumps? how much trees? how much steeps? any park? on trail? off trail? powder... hopefully) and where you will be skiing (how much in the midwest? what resorts out west? how often?).
post #4 of 17
Ski length is relative to weight and agressiveness level. It is also however, relative to the ski you are looking at. I'm 190# L-8 skier. I choose roughly a 170-175 for a mostly groomer ski but I choose a 178-185 for a 50/50 model depending upon the ski.

For example; my 50/50 ski last year was a Dynastar Mythic Rider. Great ski within the category and a 178 is all I need. OTH if I had chosen a Volkl Bridge, Atomic Snoop or Fischer Watea 84 in that category, I would have gone 184/185. Why? they are softer and/or turnier skis and the longer ski felt better in those models.

SJ
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lukc View Post
being your size and athletic and having a charging attitude (your skills will catch up... i've always had more balls than talent), you should only be on skis in the 170's if you have pure carving skis. if it's the least-bit freeride, you will be fine in the low 180's for now, and should have no problem progressing up to even the low-to-mid 190's after a few years of hard skiing.

probably more important than length, though, you need to decide on what ski you want first. without a lot of recent skiing experience to clue you in as to what sort of ski FEEL characteristics you like, you will either have to demo first or list a comprehensive list of what kind of skiing you intend to do (how much groomers? how much bumps? how much trees? how much steeps? any park? on trail? off trail? powder... hopefully) and where you will be skiing (how much in the midwest? what resorts out west? how often?).
OK...from what I've been reading and talking to local sales people, I'm focusing heavily on Volkl AC40s from last season. Why? From what I've been reading people seem to describe them as a good 50/50 ski, and it sounds like I'd be happy with them. The other two that are on my short list are the Head M88 and Rossi Nitrous. I'm in the Mpls/St. Paul area so it's mostly hard pack. I have a handful of places that I can ski after work...I'd like to say that I'm going to be skiing at least twice a week, hopefully three. I was never one for the bumps, so I don't see myself going that direction. Trees are in the future, so is off trail...I want to get my skills up locally so I can do some adventerous stuff in the mtns. Probable locations for this winter are Jackson Hole, Steamboat, Vail, and Winter Park. Jackson, Steamboat, and Vail being at the top of my list...have a friend that is encourging me to go to Whistler also. If I can make two of those locations I'll be happy. I'm not afraid to buy good equipment now and demo more during the season, I think I'd try to do demos in the mtns though, and I don't want to fool around with renting locally simply because of convenience of having my own skis.

With all of that, I'm second guessing the 170s and thinking of going to 177s in the Volkl AC40. Feel free to shoot holes in the AC40 selection...I'm more than willing to listen and learn from real life experience. I feel like I've exhausted all the info from the local shops.
Thanks -
Paul
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by brit2wheeler View Post
OK...from what I've been reading and talking to local sales people, I'm focusing heavily on Volkl AC40s from last season. Why? From what I've been reading people seem to describe them as a good 50/50 ski, and it sounds like I'd be happy with them. The other two that are on my short list are the Head M88 and Rossi Nitrous. I'm in the Mpls/St. Paul area so it's mostly hard pack. I have a handful of places that I can ski after work...I'd like to say that I'm going to be skiing at least twice a week, hopefully three. I was never one for the bumps, so I don't see myself going that direction. Trees are in the future, so is off trail...I want to get my skills up locally so I can do some adventerous stuff in the mtns. Probable locations for this winter are Jackson Hole, Steamboat, Vail, and Winter Park. Jackson, Steamboat, and Vail being at the top of my list...have a friend that is encourging me to go to Whistler also. If I can make two of those locations I'll be happy. I'm not afraid to buy good equipment now and demo more during the season, I think I'd try to do demos in the mtns though, and I don't want to fool around with renting locally simply because of convenience of having my own skis.

With all of that, I'm second guessing the 170s and thinking of going to 177s in the Volkl AC40. Feel free to shoot holes in the AC40 selection...I'm more than willing to listen and learn from real life experience. I feel like I've exhausted all the info from the local shops.
Thanks -
Paul
ac40's sound fine for skating around in the midwest and for a few trips out west, but they are NOT 50/50 skis. more like 70/30. nothing wrong with that (especially for your home hills)... just wanted to clear that misnomer up. 177 should be fine for you. when you get better and add another ski, it will probably be a longer (mid-to-high 180's) and fatter (100mm+) ski, and then you'll have a pretty solid 2-ski quiver. if the price is right, i'd say go for the ac40 now in that length.
post #7 of 17
If you go with the most excellent Head iM88s 175 should be fine for you. The next step up would be the 186, which a few here say skis like an aicraft carrier....HUGE.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post
If you go with the most excellent Head iM88s 175 should be fine for you. The next step up would be the 186, which a few here say skis like an aicraft carrier....HUGE.
given that the OP skis mostly in the midwest and that he is in a transitional state, ability-wise, he has two options (as i see them). he can either get intermediate gear that he will eventually discard once he progresses for more properly optimized gear. OR, given his size, athleticism, and attitude (all positives, imho), he can get a ski that he will have to learn to work with now, but that will also still serve him once he becomes a better skier and expands his quiver (which will almost certainly mean going fatter and burlier with his next ski)

now it's virtually impossible to design a ski that will be MANAGEABLE to an intermediate that will ALSO still be able to truly CHARGE once that intermediate becomes an expert. so... and stick with me here now... THIS is what i propose: get a ski now that you can WORK with (but will force you to grow), but that will still be DECENT for you later, once you become an expert. that means, you will eventually find something lacking in the ski, but it won't be so GLARING that you don't want to ride it anymore and just discard it. rather, have it be good enough for those days when you're riding at a mediocre hill (i.e., the midwest) and then add a SECOND ski to the quiver that will give you that extra bit for when you go to a REAL hill (i.e., a bigger, more charging ski for when you head out west).

so if you've followed me this far, then i will be more explicit. i think the head monster series would serve you well (they are pretty beefy, but also pretty manageable, with a good mix of freeride capability and edge grip for groomers). but i DONT' think you should go with the monster 88. rather, you might consider the monster 78 or 82, instead, as a ski that will force you to grow a bit now (as would the 88), but will be more useful in the FUTURE when you (presumably) expand your quiver and add a ski that is even MORE charging and oriented for out west (unless you think you are really gonna CHARGE that sweet midwest off-piste that i hear so much about). so, if, or WHEN you reach that point where you need a bigger, stiffer, fatter, longer ski for going really hard off-piste, you will still have a ski that is pretty damn good ON-piste that you can keep in your quiver (where the you will wish your ORIGINAL ski was more groomer oriented than the mid-to-high 180's cm, 100mm+ that you just bought because you are now an expert... where you will wish you went narrower than 88 for your first ski, because you're from the midwest)

sorry if that was hard to follow. basically, i'm thinking of what will work for you now AND in the future. think really hard and i think you'll get it. or maybe i'll get some rest and come back to explain it better.
post #9 of 17
I'm not sure what MidWest skiing is like, but if it's like Ontario Canada skiing you need a totally different ski than you would take with you out west.

If you are an ex-racer, I will assume that you are familiar with riding the edges in a carve, and will prefer to carve your turns on hardpack and ice. You want a fairly high-level ski with a narrow waist (today's narrow seems to grow by about 2 mm every year, but say 66 to 75 mm). If not, then you might want a more forgiving ski.

The other factor is turn radius, which is related to how fast you can go. How much vertical do the hills where you will be skiing most of the time have?

About length: 165 cm for slalom turns on very small hills. 170 to 175 for medium size turns. 180+ for big turns.
post #10 of 17
AC40 in a 177 would be a good choice for your size, ability and terrain you like to ski. It's a ski you could grow into and as mentioned earlier is definitely NOT 50/50 but more geared to frontside than backside....70/30 is about right. It's 82 in the mid, fairly stiff and is a very good eastern hardpack ski which handles powder pretty well too.
Great one ski quiver for the East and I would take it anywhere on a trip West as well. Some will try to talk you into the 170 but go longer you won't regret it. ( I ski the 184)
The Head Monsters I can't compare to as I have never skied them but from what I hear would be a good choice too.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Excellent advice from all of you...Thanks! This dialogue really clears up some of the foggy details that I've been contemplating over the past few weeks.

I now have a few more skis on the list to check out, and hope to make a purchase soon. I'll report back on what I finally end up with.

All the help is greatly appreciated!

Paul
post #12 of 17

Opinions from a fellow Minnesooootan

First, welcome to Bear country! As you have noticed, there is a lot of good advise here, so keep reading. As you have noticed, there are tons of different skiis to pick from these days. Good skiers pick a ski that has preformance characteristics that fit how they like to ski. Hence, a lot of different opinions on "what is best". So keep reading and ------ either you will get more confused by all the choices or more optiomistically you will zero in on what you want. My opinions follow:

1. Be careful about where you shop and get suggestions. Stay away from the big box sport stores like Dick's. Not alot of knowledgable advise found there. Go to the specalized ski shops and you will get better (but maybe not the best) advise. I like Pierce Ski and Skate. Best advise, keep reading what "the bears" say.

2. To maximize fun you need 2 (maybe more) pair of skiis.
One pair for the the most fun in the Minnesota Mountains (humor intended).

Go short, stiff and with a lot of side cut. A high end (for stiffness) ski, less than 170cm, with a turn radius of around 13 m. These will allow an aggressive skier to milk our short runs for lots of high speed carved turns.

And one pair for when you go west. Longer -- at least 180, fatter -- 95mm or more at the waist, less side cut -- turn radius of 20m or greater. The skiis they call 70 off and 30 on. These will bring longer faster turns on the groomed. But more importantly, they will allow you to venture off the groomed into the steeps, skiied up crud and powder with confidence and stability.
These are hard to find in the midwest, but you can find them on eBay, the swap forum here, "demo" sales out west and some other internet dealers selling last years stock (some sites are mentioned in these forums). I picked up some older Volkl Explosives at a swap several years ago for $200 and love them. I am now looking for something in the 110mm waist (like the Gotama)

3. One other thing: as you read these threads you will find lots of different opinions on the "best" ski for off the groomed. So you can -- not buy a ski for the west but rent/demo some of these bigger boys during your trip. Or as I did find a cheap pair that looks like it will fill the bill, buy it and learn to like it.

Again, welcome back to the sport, be assured that a lot of good times are ahead of you.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
OK...so I was thinking the Volkl AC40 which comes with bindings. After more research on a suggestion, the Head M82 is being more heavily considered.

Bindings for the M82? It seems that bindings are more difficult to research than skis and boots. If you're up to it, pick your top three and we'll see how many are common amongst the responses.

Again, all the help is very much appreciated.

TIA -
Paul
post #14 of 17
For Head skis the natural choice is always Tyrolia/Head. They are great bindings you wont go wrong. Choose a non railflex model for the i.M82, as recommended by Head. Mojo series or LD-12.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by brit2wheeler View Post
OK...so I was thinking the Volkl AC40 which comes with bindings. After more research on a suggestion, the Head M82 is being more heavily considered.

Bindings for the M82? It seems that bindings are more difficult to research than skis and boots. If you're up to it, pick your top three and we'll see how many are common amongst the responses.

Again, all the help is very much appreciated.

TIA -
Paul
Never skied the Heads, but I have the Volkls. With your build I would get the 177 if needing a little confidence boost or the 184s if your ready to rock. I like the longer skis
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for all the input and advice. I pulled the trigger on a new pair of AC40s, length 177. Really excited to get back into the sport.

Cheers!

Paul
post #17 of 17
Awesome! Report back when you get some time on them!
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