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2009 Elan 777 review

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
No, I am not back skiing yet but soon! I figured I would post a follow-up on this ski that I didn't write last spring. I skied it first at Snowbasin, then again right before I broke my leg. In the Vicodin-induced haze after my operation, I forgot all about the review!

Me: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, solid skier, really getting to the point where I felt like I had close to absolute mastery in crud and that speed was a function of how cleanly I was releasing, not how fast I was trying to ski. The big speeds seemed to come naturally when I was releasing down the fall line and staying centered naturally over the skis.

Skis: Elan 777, 176cm. 19.4m radius, 77mm underfoot, basically a little brother to the 888. This ski was designed for those people not looking for a wide carver (such as the AC50, or to a lesser extent, the Elan Mag 82 ti/Xti, Blizzard 8.7, and Sollie Fury). It is intended for those people looking for a backside, GS-feeling ski (bumps, crud, trees) with a big sweet spot that isn't as hooky as the typical "wide carver". Probably a good choice for those who ski alot of off-piste conditions but don't have a ton of new snow to go with them, and therefore wide skis don't make much sense. Places like Sun Valley, many of the East resorts.

Review: this was a surprising ski, and pretty unique in today's market. Most of the skis this width are really carvers, intended for use on groomers, or under a better pilot, off-piste. That crowd of skis has it's upside (great edgehold; a very powerful, precise feel; lots of energy; minimal efford to get the ski up and carving). The Elan 777 is different: bigger sweet spot and a delay when engaging the edge at the top of the turn (a little slower and less reactive on groomers, more predictable in crud as it has less of an emphasis on turning and being laterally reactive), softer tip (very useful for terrain absorbtion in soft snow and bumps) and a GS feel (un-heard of for a current ski at 77mm underfoot: 19.4m radius!). It is the primarily backside ski for those of you who don't get a whole lot of new snow. You could make a case that this ski is a narrower version of the 888, and that is pretty much the conclusion I came to. It sucked up bumps (better than the 888 in that regard), was quick onto edge (although not as quick as the Mag 82ti), had a big sweet spot, a GS feel, and a flow and smoothness to it that really felt like I was skiing it in slow motion sometimes: predictable yet powerful release, float down the fall line, smooth engagement at the top of the turn, tip it up onto edge and let it ride, get more edge angle and let it load up, then relax/release and start the whole process over again. Nothing unpredicatable in the way it skied, no quick unexpected edge engagements in bumps or in 3-D crud. It was one of the smoothest skis I tested all year: like a fine wine, subtle but powerful and complex, rather than an in-your-face ski that can wear you down or get tiresome with an overly racy feel. Totally confidence-inspiring. I would say the 176 is a little less stable than the 888 in the same length, a little turnier, and skis shorter, but other big guys have been on the 184cm and found it totally bomber in those conditions. Stability was a little lower than the 176cm Mag 82Xti and 177cm iM78, so you may want to size up on this if you are between sizes and like to ski big open crud fields (then again, those customers are looking at the 888). For those of us who need the smaller ski feel (in bumps and tighter spaces, which is definitely where this ski shines) sizing head-height is perfect. It felt like a bit more ski than the iM78 in 171cm, and perhaps comparable to the Watea 84 in 176cm, stability-wise.

Overall, I really liked it. It would be a great choice out West for the narrower of a 2-ski quiver, especially for a skier who would trade bump and non-groomed snow over a reactive, power carver feel, and they could pick up something 100mm+ for the deeper days. Or, for people living back east who want a modern all-mountain and bump ski, this could be the ticket. Our Elan rep, who skis Sun Valley mostly, says it is his favorite ski in the line.
post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
perhaps comparable to the Watea 84 in 176cm, stability-wise.
I'm gathering the 777 is slightly better in firmer snow than the Watea 84.. correct? Worse in softer? Where do you find big differences between these two?
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ManDown View Post
I'm gathering the 777 is slightly better in firmer snow than the Watea 84.. correct? Worse in softer? Where do you find big differences between these two?
They are different. I think the 777 feels a little smoother and more snow-hugging, the Watea 84 a little livelier, but edgehold is probably similar. the 777 engages more quickly when onto edge and feels a tad more stable. The 777 is also great in deeper snow (I skied it at Snwobasin for the first time, on a day with at least 2 feet of fresh: it was a great ski) but based on width alone, the Watea 84 should float better.

Skis being better or worse in certain conditions have as much to do with design as they do with width. Float isn't a primary concern in crud, for example, but ability to move through and absorb uneven terrain is key. Some skis, although wide, tend to be stiff and aggressive and won't be as stable as other skis that are more designed with off-piste skiing in mind.
post #4 of 9
Dawg,
Can you please compare the 777 with the 82ti?

Planning to demo the Mag 82ti at Schweitzer on Thur, but after reading your review of the 777 I'm thinking to demo that as well. I bought Head im 78 from you late in Mar'07 and pretty happy, but always looking for a little better.

Profile: 5'10 168lbs athletic 50+ skier, probably level 7, but not sure. Only ski in the West, 50-50% off trail, but most off trail in bumps. Want a mid fat for crud performance more than for powd.

Thanks,
Bluebear
post #5 of 9
Sorry Dawg,
After re-reading your review you answered most of my questions. I guess I'm up too late.

Thanks anyway.
post #6 of 9

Dawg-- How do you think these would do on hard frontside Eastern conditions? Ski yearly at Whiteface, where conditions are very variable throughout the day and this year the steep blacks when we went were 2-3 inches of "fresh" man-made over ice from biblical rain earlier in the week. Had a couple of unexpected edge engagements at speed coming off ice into man-made "crud" that were interesting.  Hadn't skied for many years but love the ease of the new equipment.  However, as I get better I don't like unexpected turns much (starting to understand the term "death cookie")... Looking at skis like golf clubs. I want them to do what I want when I want them to and will give up a little help if it makes me learn more and ski better in the long run... Long-winded way of asking if you think the 777 or the 888 could be an everyday/all-condition Eastern 1-ski quiver with a little more flexibility than say the 82xti and at what length. I know I could use it out West or just rent/demo when I travel by air or for real powder days if I ever get the chance to actually ski some... (BTW me: 6', 205-210, 42-yo, ski with my kids, ski Whiteface blacks comfortably, like to vary my turns, small bumps, prob no aspirations for significant tree-skiing or hard-core backcountry but would like to be able to do wider chutes and steep open bowls someday...)

post #7 of 9

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by keniski View Post

Dawg-- How do you think these would do on hard frontside Eastern conditions? Ski yearly at Whiteface, where conditions are very variable throughout the day and this year the steep blacks when we went were 2-3 inches of "fresh" man-made over ice from biblical rain earlier in the week. Had a couple of unexpected edge engagements at speed coming off ice into man-made "crud" that were interesting.  Hadn't skied for many years but love the ease of the new equipment.  However, as I get better I don't like unexpected turns much (starting to understand the term "death cookie")... Looking at skis like golf clubs. I want them to do what I want when I want them to and will give up a little help if it makes me learn more and ski better in the long run... Long-winded way of asking if you think the 777 or the 888 could be an everyday/all-condition Eastern 1-ski quiver with a little more flexibility than say the 82xti and at what length. I know I could use it out West or just rent/demo when I travel by air or for real powder days if I ever get the chance to actually ski some... (BTW me: 6', 205-210, 42-yo, ski with my kids, ski Whiteface blacks comfortably, like to vary my turns, small bumps, prob no aspirations for significant tree-skiing or hard-core backcountry but would like to be able to do wider chutes and steep open bowls someday...)

My son is skiing my 888's in the types of conditions you are talking about. Love that ski. 

post #8 of 9

Well cool... I'll check them out when we do the boots in the fall.  Someday I'll obsess about a cheaper sport! 

post #9 of 9

Dawg,

 

How do these compare to PEs in terms of edge hold, weight and stiffness?  I'd be looking at the 168 cm for an East coast bump/tree ski.  My ideal ski would be a slimmed down (skinnier + lighter) version of the PE, with the same flex as the PE, but with a bit better edge grip.  I understand the 777 is back-side oriented, but I ski a lot of ice (upstate NY) so I need to know if these skis would be able to hold an edge on an icy patch (or on the back side of an icy bump).

 

As always, your thoughts are appreciated.

 

STE

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