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Budget ski for aspiring intermediate

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for a budget ski in $250-$400 range. Thought folks might be able to provide some help on options to look at.

I'm Level 6/7 skier, ski mostly blue + occasional black.
5'9" - 150lbs, not super athletic, but not way out of shape either.
90% on groomed slopes, and don't venture onto bumps much.

That said, I'm kind of eager to get a ski that will help me try a bit more off-piste and advanced terrain, but I imagine I'll still be spending most of my time on groomed runs.

I ski about 10 times a year in Washington state with occasional trip to Whistler.

To keep within budget range, I'm look at 06/07 or 07/08 model year skis. Here are skis currently on my list:

- Dynastar Legend 8000 - 165cm (2007) - $400
- Head Monster i.M 77 - 163cm (2007) - $300
- K2 Apache Raider - 167cm (2008) - $400
- Volkl AC20 - 163cm (2008) - $370
- Atomic Nomad Highnoon - 164cm (2008) - $330
- Atomic Nomad Whiteout - 164cm (2008) - $375

The prices listed above include bindings.

I'm intrigued by the Dynastar 8k and Head IM77 after reading this forum, but not sure if they will be a good for my ski level and preference for groomed.

Any help or suggestions are much appreciated.

I'd like to stay within $250-$400 budget including bindings and prefer getting new skis.

Thanks.
post #2 of 19
I have a blizzard 7400 brand new -- all sizes. 299 shipped
post #3 of 19
If you can pick up a deal on a Monster 78/82 it's a much better ski.
I have seen a few pair show up on ebay, get a deal on a last year ski and be further ahead.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'll keep an eye out for IM78 - haven't seen any new ones for less than $400 with bindings.

Are there any other skis I should be looking for given my budget and skiing style?
post #5 of 19
8K = . Great anywhere ski, can do groomers just fine, and is just wide enough for occasionally off trail.

I have two pairs on the least coast, and one pair at Whistler as it's such a great do anything ski. Much better than a couple of others on your list.
post #6 of 19
Do some internet searching for the '07 Head Xenon 7.0 or '08 Head Xenon 8.0.

Those are the best skis no one has heard of. They are light, cheap, hold on hard pack quite well, great in crud and powder, and carve like a dream. Huge sweet spot, great for an improving skier. I used my Xenon 7.0's many days at Crystal last winter on all snow conditions, and they're FUN! I loaned mine to several folks ranging from dark-green-run skiers to instructors, and they all returned with huge grins. The 163cm size would be great for your size. I'm 200#, 6', and really like my 170's. A ski with an under-foot width of 73mm or less, and a sidecut radius under 14 meters will be sweet on the pack. Many of these are also very good off piste. A wider, straighter ski won't turn as easily on pack.
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
Do some internet searching for the '07 Head Xenon 7.0 or '08 Head Xenon 8.0.

Those are the best skis no one has heard of. They are light, cheap, hold on hard pack quite well, great in crud and powder, and carve like a dream. Huge sweet spot, great for an improving skier. I used my Xenon 7.0's many days at Crystal last winter on all snow conditions, and they're FUN! I loaned mine to several folks ranging from dark-green-run skiers to instructors, and they all returned with huge grins. The 163cm size would be great for your size. I'm 200#, 6', and really like my 170's. A ski with an under-foot width of 73mm or less, and a sidecut radius under 14 meters will be sweet on the pack. Many of these are also very good off piste. A wider, straighter ski won't turn as easily on pack.
I have to disagree on the hardpack performance of the Xenons (at least the 7.0). I demoed them last year, and they don't hold like a stiffer ski will -- but they ARE extremely fun if you don't have to ski on something resembling ice. Definitely an overlooked ski, and not as expensive as a lot of others. Head made them a little beefier in this year's model, which would probably help the hardpack performance.

I also have to recommend what I'm on right now: Dynastar Contacts. GREAT frontside skis, extremely versatile (but definitely not designed to be great for deep snow). They keep changing the model numbers from year to year, but the "9" or "10" or or "11/Limited" versions would be what you'd probably want (higher numbers being stiffer/larger-radius/more "advanced").

Monster 78s are also very highly regarded, but for 90% on-piste you might want to think narrower. But if you want something that can handle off-piste just as well, most people seem to think they are outstanding. Hard to find cheap -- although there have been some '08s up on Tramdock recently, so keep an eye out there.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks - i'll keep an eye out for Dynastar Contacts.

One problem with buying previous model years is you can't really demo them. I guess that's the downside of going cheap budget, so I'm relying a bit on other folks here!
post #9 of 19
I will have to second the Dynastar Contacts...
I ski the limited, and its a blast on the groomed runs...
I got it last year and have progressed quite a bit since last year, and it's still got more left in it that i do...
At the beginning of last year i classified myself as lvl6/7...
its real easy to ski, but has lots of performance..
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by omszz View Post
Thanks - i'll keep an eye out for Dynastar Contacts.

One problem with buying previous model years is you can't really demo them. I guess that's the downside of going cheap budget, so I'm relying a bit on other folks here!
You could try demoing this year's models; usually they change very little from year to year. The 2009 "Contact 10" is practically identical to the 2008 "Contact 11"/"Contact Limited Edition" (I think it's 1mm wider but otherwise the same ski).
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Should I add last year's Fischer Watea 78 to the list as well? Looks like I can probably get a pair for around $400. I've read mixed reviews about that ski on this forum. Also not sure how well it will match my needs.
post #12 of 19
PM sent
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
RiDeC58 - thanks for the offer, I'll PM you back in a day or two.

I'm making this post just so i can get PM privileges (need 5 posts before I can PM you)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiDeC58 View Post
PM sent
post #14 of 19
I'm pretty much the same size/weight as you and bought a pair of 2007(I think) Contact 9s over the summer (the thread's around here somewhere) after the recommendations on this forum. They were $400, and can probably be had for a bit less than that now. I'm going to try them out next week *finally*, and will let you know what I think.

I'm in Ontario-Quebec though - and will see mostly hard-pack groomers with some moguls and hopefully my first glads this year. If I was on the west coast, and looking at more powder skiing, the Head Xenons mentioned above are definitely worth a look at - especially the 7 or 8 models. They're supposed to be amazing in powder.

Also... if you want to buy skies for under $400, you're no doubt looking at previous year's models. I found realskiers.com to be a great site for reviews of previous years models. It costs $20, but is definitely worthwhile as you can compare skis from different years with each other.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
I ended up getting a pair of new 2007 Salomon Tornado 162cm with bindings for $259. Not suggested by anyone here, but the price seemed to good to pass up.
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by omszz View Post
I ended up getting a pair of new 2007 Salomon Tornado 162cm with bindings for $259. Not suggested by anyone here, but the price seemed to good to pass up.
I generally forget to mention the X-Wings, because I demoed a few and I HATED them, but they are a similar type of ski and many people do seem to like them. Hopefully they'll work out well for you!
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post
I generally forget to mention the X-Wings, because I demoed a few and I HATED them, but they are a similar type of ski and many people do seem to like them. Hopefully they'll work out well for you!
I hope so too. Some folks really like the 2007 Tornados, others are luke-warm. But I didn't see any reviews saying folks hated them, what specifically was the thing you didn't like?
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by omszz View Post
I hope so too. Some folks really like the 2007 Tornados, others are luke-warm. But I didn't see any reviews saying folks hated them, what specifically was the thing you didn't like?
As an intermediate skier trying to improve, I found it hard to initiate turns; they felt very sluggish in general to me. I didn't really care for the Volkls I tried (AC20 and AC30, I think) either, for similar reasons.

Other people seem very happy on them, so I don't know if it is technique, or something about the construction of the skis that doesn't fit me well. I'm a big, tall, fairly heavy guy (6'6", 260-270), and I don't think the X-Wing Tornados are particularly stiff, so that might be a factor.
post #19 of 19
I see lots of enthusiastic support for the Dynastar Legend 8000 among advanced skiers, but never any mention of the 4800. When it was introduced, the 4800 was a step down in Dynastar's line-up from the 8000, so I assumed it was a moderate version of the 8000, maybe good for intermediate skiers like myself. But the 4800 doesn't have anywhere near the popularity of the 8000. Does anyone know why?
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