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Buying for the Alps

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I recently moved to Austria (Tyrol) and am looking to buy some new skis. I'm 22 (male, 5 ft 9, 145), and I've been skiing all my life in the Northeast U.S. (apart from a couple trips to Europe, where I got a little powder experience). I would classify myself as in between an advanced and expert skier, perhaps leaning toward expert. I raced when I was younger and am a proficient carver, but nowadays I am all about skiing glades, bumps, steeps, chutes, or whatever, usually at pretty high speeds. I want a maneuverable, quick, and responsive pair of skis that will suit off-piste skiing in Austria. I don't care if it's useless back home because I'll be putting in an absurd number of days this year, and I could also opt to stay here for another season if I feel like it.

Based on reading these boards for a while and going to shops in town, it looks like a Watea 84 or Head Monster 82 might work for me. I wouldn't know what size to get -- I'm used to quite short skis, and I'm kind of afraid of going really long, especially since I'm a small guy. I would like to demo these skis, but unfortunately they don't stock them in town (or any other freeride type skis), so I might travel somewhere to go demo them (for this reason I want to be prepared).

I'm in absolutely dire need of personalized advice because my German isn't quite good enough to have a back and forth with salespeople on the technical aspects of buying skis. I should have done all this in the U.S. before I left. So, I would especially appreciate anything you could offer me (it would be great to have some comments from people who are familiar with conditions in the Alps). Thanks!
post #2 of 9
Hi Salom,
Where in the Tyrol are you going to be skiing most?

There are Austrians on here, and I've spent some time there myself (next trip will be St Anton for Christmas)
post #3 of 9
I think that you should get some old-school skinny skis so that you will only be able to ski short radius (Austrian squiggles) turns while skiing off piste. The local guides HATE it when anyone makes huge big mtn. style turns in BC.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
East Tyrol mostly. Relatively unknown by American standards. Big resorts are Matrei/Goldried (now Grossglockner Resort), Heiligenblut, Moelltaler Gletscher, and maybe St. Jakob. I live in Lienz, where there are a couple places to ski immediately in town. Last poster: I have no idea what you're talking about.
post #5 of 9
My experience in the alps offpiste is that the snow ain't Montana smoke, or even Cascade cement; more like back east, lot of settlement, heavy ice cream if you're on glaciers, and partly refrozen crust/crud between dumps. So not optimal for a big fat rocker, but IMO, you're still thinking too narrow.

If you only bring one ski, and say plan to be 30/70, and you want a Head, at your weight the 175 iM88 will work if you really charge as advertised. It'll definitely give you versatility all over the mountain. Beefy and damp, will be a handful at low speeds. A Fischer Watea 94 in the high 70's would also do the trick, be livelier than the Heads if you like that feel, probably better in bumps and more float/flex, not as grippy on piste or quite as rock stable in muck. I'd also take a close look at the Blizzard 8.7 or Cronus with a Baron. Former at 174 better in crud and on ice, latter at 173 or 180 better in soft snow and bumps, 180 will want more open space. These are comparatively light, medium flex, nice for lighter skiers like you or me.

If you're thinking more like 10/90, and will just do piste to get to the off-piste, then: Blizzard Argos with the Baron, 180, flex pattern like the Cronus but more float, beef, enjoyment of speed; Movement Goliath Sluff, stiffer, especially in the tail, and heavier, so rides more like an inbounds ski; Volkl Mantra in 177, also stiff, much revered AT sidebounds ski for its lightness and crust busting. These three can also handle groomed nicely when they need to, are fairly nimble in moderate lengths. Good luck.
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by salom View Post
Last poster: I have no idea what you're talking about.
That's cuz you are Austrian! Seriously, I LOVE the Arlberg region!
post #7 of 9
So southeast Tyrol which is on the dryer side, although the Defregger Valley see some decent dumpage sometimes.

For off-piste get s.th. around 100 mm underfoot in a 180ish length for maneuverability and you're all set (Völkl Mantra o.e.). Plenty of choices in that category but at your midget weight look for a plank not too stiff and with not too much sidecut. Off-piste there doesn't always mean powder but breakable crust at times.
Or start eating a burger.
post #8 of 9
i'm not going to recommend any skis to you as i don't have the experience to do that, but... i can recommend you go and ask over on www.snowheads.com. there's a lot of folk there who have lots of experience of skiing many many places in the alps.

pay particular attention to what smallzookeeper says, he know his stuff.

hope that helps.



ps. i also have no idea what the guy above was talking about
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpmacd View Post
ps. i also have no idea what the guy above was talking about
I do!

Anyway, I was in Lech for a few days last Feb/March, and skied every condition from pouring rain to refrozen groomed slush to off-piste powder to a short little race course ... I was on a 177 Aura (women's version of Volkl Mantra), and it was perfect, handling everything with aplomb. I'm close to your size, too: same height, a little lighter.

So that's a recommendation for the Mantra. Have fun!
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