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Volk AC20 vs. Fischer Red Heat

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hey all;

First time poster looking for advice. I'm probably riding the line between Type II/III, level 7/8, male, age 48, 5'7" and 180lb. just coming back after a 10 year layoff due to knee problems. The knees are still bad but I couldn't stay off the hill, hence the shift down from a formerly solid Type III. I ski pretty nearly 100% on-piste but found myself last year getting really thrown around in the New Hampshire crud.

First season back last year was on a pair of too-soft Blizzards that I borrowed from a friend and I've narrowed down my research (and price range) to either last year's Volkl AC20 or Fischer Red Heat, both of which I can get for around $400 mounted and shipped. Opinions? Recommendations for other sticks in a similar price range are welcome as well. Thanks in advance!

P.S. Yes, I know that I should demo but I've decided to take advantage of the low prices on last year's gear and take a chance. I'm still a solid enough skier to adapt to my gear.
post #2 of 16
I'm thinking you will get thown around in the New Hampshire crud with a too-soft AC20. Go AC30. Go a little longer if you expect lots of crud.
post #3 of 16
IMO they are both relatively similar skis but if you are looking for a ski with a bit more performance I'd side with the Red Heat. The Red Heat is probably on of the best skiing skis under $1K and is a blast in most conditions. You get a ton of tech in the skis for the price as well, that may be why it skis so well.

Now when we talk about the feel of the ski I consider this a damp, stable ski that has boat loads of grip that make it a great ski for east coast ice. If you would like to check out something that will feel fairly similar but will give you more performance in the crud check out the Nitrous by Nordica. It has a 78mm waist and will feel fairly similar to the Red Heat except it will handle crud better.
post #4 of 16
I own a pair of AC20s and love them. For me they are very stable and forgiving. But this is the first pair of skis I've owned, so I am comparing them to rentals. Also, I weigh only 150 lbs and am only a level 5/6 skier. So, based on those differences you might want to try AC30s.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Red Heat wins... length?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sierra_canuck View Post
The Red Heat is probably on of the best skiing skis under $1K and is a blast in most conditions.
OK, so it looks like the Fischers will be the winner. Last question; not having skied much since the length selection rules changed I'm not sure whether I ought to be looking at a 165 or a 170 in this ski. Since I'm 170cm tall the "-5 to -15" rule would indicate 165... any more expert advice?

By the way, thanks for the quick and highly useful replies!!!

post #6 of 16
I'd go with the 170 given your weight and skiing ability. If you have a preference for shorter skis, then consider the 165.
post #7 of 16
I just picked up a pair of last season's Red Heats on eBay for about $360 shipped. I guess I'm a 6/7 skier and I run about 6'2", 220 lbs...I could probably really use skis longer than the 175s I picked up, but they've gotta be better than the 167 Atomic Izor 3:1s I've been using. I could have gotten Cool Heats in 180 for about $30 more, but I was worried that they would be too much ski for me.
I'm very excited to try these out...I was out on opening day at WV and was just getting buried skiing under the snow guns. I'm sure my technique was part of the problem, but I also started looking at the starter level toothpicks I was skiing on and thinking that it was well past time for a change.
We could sure use a big storm in the Whites! At least it's been cold and they've been blowing lots of snow. WV is starting to get their little row of blacks/double blacks open, skied Gema yesterday and it was actually pretty sweet!


Crashing Elvis, have you tried out your Red Heats yet? I'd be interested in a mini review if possible, even though I've already committed to mine.
post #8 of 16
Sounds to me like the AC20 would be "not enough ski" for you. It's fairly soft and forgiving, but washes out at speed. Might be a good choice if you do a lot of Eastern Firm bumps, but for general usage on the groomed and recently groomed, I'd say you should go for something with a bit more "oomph"

AC 40s or Tigersharks would be the offerings from Völkl that would suit you best. Both are excellent crud busters that power through the junk without bouncing the driver around. Not familiar enough with the Fischer line to really comment. Is the Red Heat the successor to the RX8? If so, that would be a good bet.
post #9 of 16
I would go Red Heat in a 170 maybe even 175. You could step it up to the Cool Heat in a 165/170 which would give you a better binding.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtus_Probi View Post
Crashing Elvis, have you tried out your Red Heats yet? I'd be interested in a mini review if possible, even though I've already committed to mine.
Got out to Mt. Sunapee here in NH yesterday on the Red Heats for the first time (in a 165 BTW) and while I wouldn't claim to be a qualified reviewer, I'm exceedingly happy with the decision.

Conditions were a thin skin of machine powder over ice, and we had a little snow through the day so I got to try out a microcosm of most typical NH conditions, including the dreaded "mashed potatoes" in the PM. The Red Heat was great at speed, carved at least as well as my Blizzards from last year and busted the crud with ease. They were also very tolerant of my early season back seat driving.

I can't contrast them with the Volkls that I was considering or the Nitrous that I tried to shop for as I haven't demoed anything in the last couple of years but the Fischers certainly got the job done for me! Of course YMMV.

Now of course it's time for boots... much more costly than the skis in this case. Oh well... nowhere to go now but down!

post #11 of 16
I thought AC20s were primarily rental fleet?
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrashingElvis View Post
Got out to Mt. Sunapee here in NH yesterday on the Red Heats for the first time (in a 165 BTW) and while I wouldn't claim to be a qualified reviewer, I'm exceedingly happy with the decision.
...
Now of course it's time for boots... much more costly than the skis in this case. Oh well... nowhere to go now but down!

Thanks, Crashing Elvis!
The fact that you're happy with the 165s gives me a better feeling that 175s will do it for me at my higher weight. Glad to hear that you're so pleased.
Conditions were highly variable at WV yesterday...the Valley Run started off really hard and icy in patches and actually improved from being churned up. Tippecanoe and its neighbors were OK but getting skied off fast, but Gema was just in really sweet condition, somehow. I ski with my little girl and try to not force her to stay out, so we were out at 8 and done by 11. We would have skied much longer if the whole mountain had been open.

I will probably start thinking about boots at the end of this season...I need to educate myself in the meantime. I have Lange boots from Sports Authority, a buddy of mine told me they were good for skinny feet and I think he was right. But, I want to be really educated for the next pair.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
I thought AC20s were primarily rental fleet?
The AC Unlimited (no number) is the ubiquitous fleet rental noodle. The AC 20 is geared towards aspiring intermediate skiers - forgiving, but still has some performance.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtus_Probi View Post
I will probably start thinking about boots at the end of this season...I need to educate myself in the meantime. I have Lange boots from Sports Authority, a buddy of mine told me they were good for skinny feet and I think he was right. But, I want to be really educated for the next pair.
In a word (a few words, actually)... go to a boot fitter! You'll most likely have your boots much longer than you'll have your skis and they have far more to do with your overall experience than your skis do. The "Ask the Boot Guys" forum here has a solid list of fitters all over the country, and while you'll pay for the service, you'll pay much more in pain and suffering when dealing with the big box monsters.

In that vein, props to Paul Richelson at Feet First here in NH. He's a rockstar among boot fitters!

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrashingElvis View Post
In a word (a few words, actually)... go to a boot fitter!
...
In that vein, props to Paul Richelson at Feet First here in NH. He's a rockstar among boot fitters!

I have gone from never having heard of a boot fitter to being very interested in the idea in the space of a week here!
Richelson is quite close to our place in Waterville Valley...I'll most likely at least give him a call sometime this season.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtus_Probi View Post
Richelson is quite close to our place in Waterville Valley...I'll most likely at least give him a call sometime this season.
By all means talk to Paul. He's only about 3 minutes off I-93 on your way north and getting a full eval and boot list from him was the best $60 that I've spent in my years of skiing. His number is 603-536-3338.

I know, sounding like an advertisement but if you look in the boot forums and at the skiing press then you'll find his name everywhere, and we're lucky to have him so close by.

Well, time to pack up my peanut butter and 'nanner sammiches and head for the hills... enjoy your season!
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