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Loveland demos, November 2008

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Just got back from the demos at Loveland. Wanted to try skis in several categories: 66-70mm carvers; 78mm-88mm midfats; and a few wider skis around 94mm-105mm.

Conditions: Cold temperatures; firm, but not icy, hardpack.

Me: Copper instructor, 5' 10", 165 lbs., modern technique. I'm what's called a "feeler," so my reviews are quick impressions of well-regarded/well-reviewed advanced-expert, high-performance skis. Notes were scribbled on the chairlift after a run: totally subjective! I like skis that are just "there" underneath me as a natural extension of me, whatever the condition: not so stiff that my legs are always being pounded (see 2006 Volkl Allstar), not so soft that they don't hold on hardpack or at speed. So, with that disclaimer, and taking into account that a 240-lb. linebacker would probably prefer the skis I felt to be too stiff or burly, these were my notes (starred entries were favorites):



NARROWER-WAISTED, CARVE ORIENTED (all 165-170 length):

*Head Magnum (120/71/106): Very nice. Firm, solid, powerful, precise.

Head Supershape (121/66/106): Didn't like them as much as the Magnums. Quick-turning and and powerful; just felt too stiff for me.

Kastle RX70 (118/70/100): Distinct feel. Made with two sheets of metal and a wood core, but didn’t feel excessively stiff or burly. Very solid, fast, and confidence inspiring.

Blizzard Sonic IQ (121/68/105): Solid ski, solid feel, but just not quite right for me.

Dynastar Contact Groove (118/66/102): My only note was "OK."



MIDFATS (all 170-175 length):

*Fischer Watea 78/Watea 84: Nice! Very smooth and user friendly. Lighter feel than most other skis in the category. Always “there” without being abusive or wimpy. Perhaps not as effective as the more firm/powerful skis in heavy crud or super-hard snow, but probably better in bumps. Similar feel and construction in both waist widths. Go wider if you will be skiing deeper snow more often.

*Head Monster 78 (124/78/110): Very solid without being abusive. Smooth and more powerful alternative to the Fischer. Similar feel and construction to the narrower Magnum.

*Kastle MX78/MX88: Distinct feel, much like the RX70 (similar construction), but somehow felt even better. Powerful, precise. Terrific 50/50 skis.

K2 Apache Recon (119/78/105): Dependable, solid. Still a very nice ski after 5 years of production. Integrated binding felt like it was tipping my heel up. I'd try to get it flat (if available that way; some question about that).

*Fischer Cool Heat (123/82/109): Very nice ski, very firm feel. Not a ski to relax on, but not abusive. Somewhat similar feel to the Head Monster 78s. Terrific for hard-snow carves.

Blizzard Supersonic IQ (123/72/105): Like all the new Blizzard models, more user friendly than prior years, but still solid and precise, with a bit of a race-ski feel. Liked it better than the Sonic. Very good ski, but not my favorite.

*Blizzard Magnum 7.6 IQ (124/76/107): Now, that's more like it! Very similar feel to the Fischer Cool Heat. Powerful, precise. Terrific hard-snow carver.

Blizzard Chronos IQ (125/88/111): OK ski; just didn't feel as good underfoot as other skis of the day.

Dynastar 4X4 (122/75/106): Very good ski, perhaps would be liked even better by a heavier skier. A little too burly for my taste.

*Atomic Nomad Blackeye (122/79/108): Just a nice ski! More supple, less stiff and powerful than some others, but precise, accurate, and very user friendly.



WIDER WAISTS (all 175-185 length):
All surprised me by being comfortable on hardpacked groomers. No short-radius turns, perhaps, but reasonable edgehold and not squirrelly at all:

*Kastle MX98 (132/98/117): Same feel as their narrower-waisted skis. Firm, but not abusive. Aggressive and stable. Best on hardpack of all the bigger skis.

*Fischer Watea 94/Watea 101: Similar feel to their narrower-waisted skis: Lighter than other brands, more quick and playful without being wimps.

Volkl Gotama (133/105/124): Firm, solid. Should be very good in powder and crud.

*Nordica Enforcer (135/98/125): This one was a surprise. I was expecting a bruiser, but found a dancer. Nice feel underfoot. Not as firm as the Gotama, but not wimpy. Just felt good! Might not power through heavy crud like the Gotama, but probably as good or better in everything else. More solid-feeling than the Fischers. Just right.

K2 Kung Jujas (126/95/120): Twintip. Similar feel to the Enforcer; perhaps a bit lighter and quicker.

Atomic Snoop Daddy (129/94/118): Just didn't like the feel.


Long day, lots of skis, lots of fun. Hope this is of some use!
post #2 of 10
Thanks for the reviews...

I posted that very question several hours before your post...

I hope we start getting some more snow...at least stop the warm weather...

How were the crowds during the demo day...?
post #3 of 10
Thanks for the report, there were several ski's that you tried that I was considering! What else can you tell me about the Dynastar Contact Groove that made them just ok, I'm looking to buy a pair in a 172cm ? I'm also looking at the Kastle RX70 in 176cm, anymore thoughts? I bought the Head Supershape Magnums today, I'm glad to hear you felt they were solid feeling. At 225lbs I went with the 177's. What are your thoughts size wise for an aggressive, heavier skier on the above mentioned skis?
Thanks again,
Buck
post #4 of 10
Nice reviews!

I think you mean to say Fischer Cold Heat, thats the ski with the 123/82/109 dims. The Cool Heat is skinnier.

Michael
post #5 of 10
Yeah, Cold heat is a bit wider and slightly softer than the Cool Heat. Cool Heat is a better power carver (close to the Progressor w/hard snow performance) while the Cold Heat is a bit more all-mountain and softer/better in bumps.

Too bad you didn't try either the Blizzard 8.1 or 8.7: it would have been interesting to see how you liked them.

Question regarinding the SuperSonic IQ from Blizzard: I am considering them, along with the 4x4 (which is what I will likely purchase): Could you compare the two more specifically. I loved the 4x4 when I skied it last year: it was a power carver that was also versatile and easier to ski (for me as a lightweight) than the stiffer Austrian carvers (Supershape Magnum, Fischer Progressor, Nordica Mach 3 Power) which all ski very well but seem a little stiff for someone of my weight. Since I like the Magnum series so well, I was looking at the Supersonic IQ as my frontside ski, but haven't ever tried it. I did ski a Blizzard Magnesium IQ (the race carver) a few years ago, and it was one of the best frontside skis I have tried.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Rspacher: Crowds weren't bad, actually. I was pleasantly surprised.

Buckwild: The Contact just didn't have any quality the really stood out for me (again, totally subjective). Not super lively, not very dynamic, perfectly adequate, but that's all I got from it. As far as skier weight in regards to ski length, some might say to go longer if you're a heavier guy. That's certainly one option, but it eliminates shorter turns to some extent. Perhaps a better choice is to pick a stiffer ski that will bend appropriately in the length that is best for the kind of turns you want it to do and the kind of snow it will be skied in. For your weight, I'd probably suggest approximately 170-175 for a frontside carver; 175-180 for a midfat; 185-190 for a fatty. Did you mean to say that you have purchased the Magnums already and are also considering the Kastles with the 70 waist? If so, that would seem to be a duplication. Have you considered a wider-waisted ski (80-95) in a longer length to give you some versatility? I was very impressed by the Kastles in the wider waists. Perhaps you might consider one of those? Also, the wider-waisted Blizzard Magnums that Dawg mentioned would probably suit you well.

Wildcat: Yes, I meant to say the Cool Heat (117/76/103). That's the one I tried. Thanks!

Dawg: First, let me say I've always enjoyed your excellent reviews. Really well written and very comprehensive. Generally, we have very similar responses to a ski. Very helpful!

I didn't try the wider Blizzards because the reps told me the feel was similar; just a bit slower edge to edge because of the wider waists. You'd probably like them very much. As far as the skis you asked about: The Supersonic was a very good ski and certainly worth considering. It wasn't my favorite frontside carver of the ones I tried, but it was certainly in the ballpark. It is quicker edge to edge than the 4X4, and more focused on hard snow carving. The 4X4 would probably be more versatile in regards to bumps or variable snow.

One other ski I was really impressed by was the Rossignol CX80 (124/80/112). I forgot it in the first post. I have avoided Rossis for a number of years (the Dualtec era) but read some nice things about this new line (wood core) and thought I'd try it. It was really nice! Seemed very quick to initiate for a ski with an 80 waist. It was a bit less work than the Heads or Fischers or the 4X4, but wonderfully stable. Seemed extremely versatile. You might give it a try!
post #7 of 10
Nice pocket reviews.

That's a lot of skis in a single day.

A great way to survey the field.

Valuable insights.
post #8 of 10
Buckwild: The Contact just didn't have any quality the really stood out for me (again, totally subjective). Not super lively, not very dynamic, perfectly adequate, but that's all I got from it. As far as skier weight in regards to ski length, some might say to go longer if you're a heavier guy. That's certainly one option, but it eliminates shorter turns to some extent. Perhaps a better choice is to pick a stiffer ski that will bend appropriately in the length that is best for the kind of turns you want it to do and the kind of snow it will be skied in. For your weight, I'd probably suggest approximately 170-175 for a frontside carver; 175-180 for a midfat; 185-190 for a fatty. Did you mean to say that you have purchased the Magnums already and are also considering the Kastles with the 70 waist? If so, that would seem to be a duplication. Have you considered a wider-waisted ski (80-95) in a longer length to give you some versatility? I was very impressed by the Kastles in the wider waists. Perhaps you might consider one of those? Also, the wider-waisted Blizzard Magnums that Dawg mentioned would probably suit you well.


So in otherwords the Dynastar Contact Groove ski's like a Rossignol (sister company)!
I just bought a used pair of Supershape Magnums but really wanted the Kastles. I just didn't want to spend that much money, especially without the opportunity to try it first. I'm not confident that the magnum is the ski for me, I owned last years "Chip" version and wasn't impressed. The Magnum seems a little stiffer with the plate verses the rail, we'll see. If I found a killer deal on some Kastle RX70's I'd pull the trigger! Living in the Mid-West I don't need a ski much wider than 70mm under foot. My preference on length are skis in the 170-178 range.
Thanks again for the report!
Buck
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Buckwild: I wouldn't say that model of Dynastar was similar to the Rossi (CX80) I tried. I much preferred the Rossi.

The Magnum is a livelier ski than the Chip. The Chip is very damp and heavy feeling to me. The Magnum is quite a bit different. (By the way, I don't recall a plate on the one I tried. Is it removable on yours?). In any case, you may well like it a lot!

Would it be possible to call the shops near the mountain you'll be skiing and see if they have any of the skis you're considering and demo them there? Good luck!
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_m View Post
Buckwild: I wouldn't say that model of Dynastar was similar to the Rossi (CX80) I tried. I much preferred the Rossi.

The Magnum is a livelier ski than the Chip. The Chip is very damp and heavy feeling to me. The Magnum is quite a bit different. (By the way, I don't recall a plate on the one I tried. Is it removable on yours?). In any case, you may well like it a lot!

Would it be possible to call the shops near the mountain you'll be skiing and see if they have any of the skis you're considering and demo them there? Good luck!
The Rossi's I was referring to was geared more towards their 9S Oversize models or Rossi's in general, not the new CX80. I'm glad to read your comments on the Magnum, thats what I was looking to hear!
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