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Holiday skier in the US - rent or buy

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I used to own one or two pairs of skis when I lived within a two-hour drive from a skiable mountain. Now that I am in London, UK, and I can only get up to 10-20 days a year skiing, I worked out that renting (skis, not boots) is the better option (I somehow always manage to find hidden rocks and scratch my bases quickly and badly...) It costs me up to Euro 100 to rent top quality, very well maintained skis for a week in France or Austria, compared to new ski prices of Euro 400-800. However, next year I hope to ski in the US (Snowbird). I heard that rental equipment in the States is generally of lower quality/less well maintained and more pricey than in Europe. I apologise to all of you US skiers if this is wrong - just overheard comments.

I'm looking for some advice on whether to shell out for new skis or continue to go with renting. One drawback with buying skis is that I won't be able to afford two pairs (one for on-piste, one for off-piste) and I will need a do-it-all ski - the Volkl G3 is a top contender.

If you do recommend buying, suggestions for picking up bargains are most welcome! Thanks...
post #2 of 20
Cedric,
Buy a reasonable all mountain ski.
You should be able to get a good deal right now in some of the smaller ski shops. Forget Ellis Bingham or Snow & Rock - they don't give much discount. Go to some of the other shops (where you'll also get better advice, IMHO).
Depending on what you see as your main area of skiing - is it on or off piste? Are you wanting high speed? How good a skier are you?

Skis you might consider if you're a reasonably good intermediate:
Rossi Bandit XX or B2
Salomon Crossmax 10
...
I shall let others add to the list.

S
post #3 of 20
Oh, and most importantly: buy here - it's cheaper than the US.
post #4 of 20
As usual, I'll provide a dissenting opinion.
Try out demos from:

Canyon Sports $30. US per day for 3+days, most convenient if you are staying in the Sandy or SLC area. (They may also have a shop in the canyon.)

or

Deep Powder House (at Alta)
$23-40 US per day, more convenient if you are staying in the canyon.

If you aren't sure what you want or want to have fat skis for off piste days and carving skis for on piste days, demo skis are definitely the way to go. Both places offer top notch skis in their demo lines.

Edit: Rates are for skis only, BYOB (Bring Your Own Boots [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] )

[ May 28, 2003, 09:42 AM: Message edited by: teledave ]
post #5 of 20
Cedric, I have the G3 and love it. Great all mountain ski here in New England. When I went to WhistlerBlackcomb I took my Atomic 10EX's. There was only a couple of runs where I would have rather of had the G31's that I had at that time.
I would recommend that you bring your own boots that you like and fit your feet good. Then rent skis at the area your skiing and ask them if you can change skis during your stay. I would not worry about getting junk. If a shop lets junk out the door they will not be in bussiness very long.
You may want to try one of the new 77cm waist skis, but I would caution you not to get one that is to stiff.

Hope you have a good time here in the states.

Anyone who is thinking about renting the 04' crossmax 10 be careful, it is a very different ski then the 03'.

[ May 28, 2003, 09:00 AM: Message edited by: smithby ]
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the replies to date.

It does look like renting is more expensive in the US (about twice Euro prices...makes buying more attractive). At least the quality is top-notch.

Right, since I am starting to get tips about the skis I should buy, I might as well provide more info:

I am 5 11, about 82kg (is that 181 lb?) and a Level 7 skier. (Used to think Level 8, but Arlberg technique just doesn't cut it anymore). I ski quite dynamically, but I'm not into fast GS-type turns all day. I need an all-mountain ski which I can use both on groomed and on offpiste. I am willing to sacrifice some ultimate on-piste performance and also bottomless powder capability, but I would like a ski that 1) performs well in short turns, 2) is stable at speeds up to 40mph, 3) will like some offpiste and (if possible) 4) is reasonably good in bumps.

Ideas to date include Volkl G3, K2 Axis XP, Rossignol Bandit XX (too soft?), Nordica Beast 74 TT, Salomon Crossmax 10.

In the last two years, I skied on Salomon Crossmax 10 and on Atomic GS 9.21. Both were excellent on-piste, but maybe I could get something that performs better in the deeper stuff?

I do have my own boots, Nordica GP with a pretty stiff flex. Maybe custom-fitting them would be a good idea, since they always give me hell on the first day out.

Any suggestions are much appreciated. (Skis apparently cost less over here, so I may need to buy before I try them over in the US).
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by Cedric:
but I would like a ski that 1) performs well in short turns, 2) is stable at speeds up to 40mph,)
If you want stability at 40+ go for the Volkl G4 or Explosiv, or Fischer Big Stix 86. Fat stiff skis are hard to come by, And from someone who has spent some time skiing hardpack and ice on 80+mm waisted skis the tradeoffs involved with a fat ski in hardpack performance are much less than the ones involved with a skinny ski in the pow. Fat is where it's at (within reason, I wouldn't go over a 90-95mm waist).
post #8 of 20
I will present a dissenting opinion to teledave.

I will wager you will find the majority of the instructors at the Academy on a ski that is no wider than 70 mm underfoot.

Certainly a big wide ski is preferred in bottomless conditions. How often is snow bottomless?

Some of the short shape skis are so wide at the forebody of the ski that they provide a little float.

Based upon your height and weight I would suggest a 170 cm ski with dimensions of 115-68-98. I honestly picked that because it is the shape of the Fischer RX8. Every manufacturer will make a ski with those approximate dimensions.

If you jump on a wide ski and come to class there are going to be a great many things that the group will be able to accomplish easily and you'll be frustrated.

Cedric I sent you a pm with more info.

[ May 29, 2003, 06:10 AM: Message edited by: Rusty Guy ]
post #9 of 20
Rusty - I've got to agree with your recommendation for something roughly like the 115-68-98 shape that you recommended to Cedric.

I have a bunch of skis, but I spent most of my time this season on a 184 cm long 123-68-106 ski (which would be more like 115-68-98 in a 165-ish length). (For the record, I'm not recommending the 184 length to him, just the shape.)

OTOH, I'm not fully in agreement with the assumption behind your statement, "...Certainly a big wide ski is preferred in bottomless conditions. How often is snow bottomless? ...".

Wide skis are also *really* good for heavy, wet, sloppy conditions which occur much more frequently than bottomless powder. In such sloppy conditions, I have done many back-to-back runs on different days comparing my 123-68-106 ski (xp100) to my 10ex's and my Explosiv's. While the xp100's probably did somewhat better in such conditions than many 70-ish mm waisted skis because of their fat tips, they were *much* poorer and less versatile than my 83 mm 10ex's and the 95 mm Explosivs in slop.

I'm also in agreement with TeleDave's comment, "...from someone who has spent some time skiing hardpack and ice on 80+mm waisted skis the tradeoffs involved with a fat ski in hardpack performance are much less than the ones involved with a skinny ski in the pow (or slop)...". In the first case, you give up the benefits of a tight sidecut radius, but you still can get down the hill just fine by adding a bit more scarve to each turn. In the second case of a deeply sidecut ski in powder or slop (especially when cut up), you get hyperactivity from the skis which can be anywhere from unnerving to dangerous. For example, I seem to remember BobB saying that he broke a rib one day when he found himself on his short hypercarvers on a cut-up day.

If I truly didn't know what conditions awaited me, I'd much rather have my 10ex's along than my xp100's. However, as you correctly suggest, for most days in a given area, you *do* know what conditions are likely and Cedric would probably be better with the 70-ish mm skis and rent for the less frequent pow/slop days.

Just my $0.02,

Tom / PM
post #10 of 20
PhysicsMan,
123-68-106 ?!? :
What's the turn radius on that?
I didn't even know they made skis with that much sidecut in a 184. WOW!
Personally, I prefer a ski with less sidecut to more. It's just not all about a perfect carve to me.

So, I guess the real answer for Cedric should be....
Try before you buy!

And not to hijack the thread but... what's the deal with the biggest ski anyone here reccomends is a 167-170? I know all about the shaped ski revolution but on an alpine ski (current generation, Axis XP, and G3 specifically) I've found that I frequently overpower anything less than a 180 and that they are both lacking in torsional stiffness and too "squirrely" feeling underfoot. I'm not a particularly big guy (5'7" and 165 lbs.) and I don't approach speeds anywhere close to 40 mph, my mogul/chute skis are 173 and my fat skis are 180's. Personally I can't imagine reccommending a 170 ski to someone that is 5'11" and 180 lbs that is wanting stability at 40+mph and improved off-piste performance. But then I'm not a Level III instructor either.

IMHO, Short skis have thier place, on piste, race courses, ski schools, but for ungroomed areas and big mtns (like Snowbird and Aspen Highlands) big skis (length and girth) rule.

OR am I just showing my age since I came up skiing with the creedo "Short skis suck and Long Skis Truck" ? (I have downsized from 205's to the above mentioned lengths.)
post #11 of 20
> ...PhysicsMan, 123-68-106 ?!? What's the turn radius on that? ...

The sidecut radius on my xp100's is 13.9 m in the 184 length.

The turn radius is whatever you make it.

In a 165 length, to have the sidecut radius 13.9 meters, the dimensions would have to be a more svelt 115-68-97, pretty close to what Rusty recommended.

With respect to your question about lengths, I also agree with you - the trashier and softer the snow, the longer and fatter I go.

The shortest ski that I use is a 170 Atomic 9.16. This is obviously for hard, groomed, on-piste conditions. As I go towards all mountain use, I have my 184 xp100, and then a 184 10ex. For the trashiest, soft snow conditions, I use my 190 Explosivs. Much to the surprise of a lot of people since that they are now considered quite long skis, they are quite easy to turn. The only place I might like a shorter fat ski is in tight trees in soft snow.

Tom / PM

[ May 30, 2003, 11:14 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #12 of 20
Yes I should have added heavy wet snow to conditions where wider and longer is better.

I would say Bob B spent 80% of his time on short slalom skis this winter in a wide variety of conditions and the worse the conditions the better he skied.

As stated, I'm 5'10" 180lbs and ski a 160 and a 170.
If I was at Alta or Snowbird would I have different skis....probably.

Eldora has 1400 feet of vertical,however, a majority of the trails are fairly narrow and a short snappy ski does best. I still grab the short ski at Copper or Loveland most of the time.

It is interesting, the really top notch bumpers at Mary Jane are all on 180's and longer.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hijack the thread all you want, guys! It just helps bumping it to the top and getting me the odd extra reply or piece of technical info [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #14 of 20
Teledave, I don't want to sound mean here, but at your size there should be no way you overpower one of todays high end shorter skis. I don't know you or you skiing ability. I have found that people who don't buy into the proper technique with shaped skis have a hard time using them.

I'm 5'11" 195lbs. and have no problem on my 170cm Atomic 10.20 widebody's from 4 years ago. My other skis fall into the 177cm range.

[ May 30, 2003, 12:07 PM: Message edited by: smithby ]
post #15 of 20
Fischer Sceneo S500

Salomon X-Scream 9

Salomon Scream 10 Pilot

170-180 cm.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by smithby:
Teledave, I don't want to sound mean here, but at your size there should be no way you overpower one of todays high end shorter skis. I don't know you or you skiing ability. I have found that people who don't buy into the proper technique with shaped skis have a hard time using them.
Maybe not using proper technique is the problem then, but then I really don't care. I look for an exciting run where I am in control in any condition and where I can't say I should have been doing this or that better. I probably pressure the tails a bit too much from time to time, but there is soooo much more to skiing than making railroad tracks on corduroy with skis that have a super sidecut. Frankly, that bores me within about half an hour. Big slopes/mtns, off piste, and variable conditions are circumstances where a versatile technique and versatile skis are my personal choice. Not necessarily a better choice than yours, but my choice.
post #17 of 20
teledave Ok, as long you you let the skis do most of the work. All you ski, becomes much easier when you let the skis do the work. When I'm in difficult conditions, friends remind me to relax and let the ski do the work.

But we're getting off Cedric's topic. Enjoy your summer not much snow left on Killington.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by smithby:
teledave Ok, as long you you let the skis do most of the work. All you ski, becomes much easier when you let the skis do the work. When I'm in difficult conditions, friends remind me to relax and let the ski do the work.

But we're getting off Cedric's topic. Enjoy your summer not much snow left on Killington.
smithby,
Do they make a mtn bike that will let you relax when the conditions get difficult? I'm a bit out of shape presently and I could really use something like that to keep up with those 15 yrs my junior.

Enjoy Killington, and have a good summer.

Cedric: Try before you buy, and don't let a bunch of internet people tell you what you need. Obviously there are a lot of opinions floating around, and few are any more correct than the others.

As far as attending the Academy, regardless of the type of skiing you prefer you will love the venue of Snowbird and Alta. I don't think that there will be any dissension on that issue.
post #19 of 20
My thought is unless you can save enough by buying skis to buy a new pair every other year it is not worth it to buy. By demoing you will have a fresh pair every time and you will always be on new skis and bindings. The big plus, however, is that you can ski the perfect ski for the conditions every day, even if you have different conditions each day.

If you buy your own gear you will be skiing on whatever you bought regardless of the conditions for many years. You will also have to maintain the skis and if they break or bend or some other damage occures its usually on your dime.

Do a good analysis of the cost of purchase and the cost of demo and then see if it works out for you to demo. I would default to demo.

Mark
post #20 of 20
Cedric, I buy and sell skis quite frequently, and always make it a point to demo all the new stuff every year. I am currently skiing on the Crossmax 10, and recently bought some Head IC 180's. I was in a similar situation as you, I wanted one pair I could bring everywhere with the confidence that I wouldn't be out of my element with them no matter what. They would have to meet all the criteria that you mentioned, which is a pretty tall order. Of the ones I've tried, I'd recommend the Head IM 70 and the Atomic R.11. Both of these skis have similar demensions as the Crossmax 10, but are more versatile for off piste conditions while not sacrificing anything on the groomed. Truly two of the best do it all skis I've ever tried, even in deep snow. And there's some real good half price sales to be had on this years leftover stuff. Also, another one to consider would be the the new 2004 Head IM 75 Chip. This ski has been on the shelves now for a few months, and has been getting rave reviews. For a fairly wide ski (114-74-103) this ski is amazing on hardpack and ice, and just about everywhere else, for that matter. I made the mistake of demoing it too long, and later went back and tried it again in a shorter length. This is one you don't want to go too long with. I also now where there is a pair of these for sale in a length that would be appropriate for you at a very good price, the owner bought them in the wrong length, skied them for two days, and is now trying to just recoup some of his money so he can buy another pair in the right length for him. If you're interested, I'll put you in touch with him. I'm also going to be buying a new pair of these for myself, as I can get a good late season deal on a new pair.
Happy hunting
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