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Need help choosing a good all-mountain ski for upper-level intermediate

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I am looking to finally make the plunge and buy some skis and would appreciate any advice as to which one to go with.


I am 5'10", about 160-165.  I would classify myself as an upper intermediate.  I can handle any western ski resort blue square and would like to get better on the occasional single black diamond.  I avoid moguls and don't really ski the trees.  I typically ski the groomers about 70% of the time but want something that has at least some float so that I can also use it on moderate powder days (I will just rent powder skis for the deep stuff!).  Because of that I am looking for something a little wider in the waist (maybe something in the 78-90 range).  I also want it to be stable at speed and pretty easy to turn.  I make an annual trip to Utah to ski but otherwise don't get to ski nearly as much as I would like to.  I also tend to like lengths slightly shorter than recommended for my height.  I will probably look at something around 164-167 in length.


On a trip to Utah earlier this month I rented some Salomon X-Wing Furies and thought those were ok, so I am considering them, although I am thinking there may be something better out there for me.  Unfortunately ski season will be done in Ohio (for whatever that's worth) in about a week, so it would be hard for me to demo a bunch of stuff yet this year.  After reading reviews of many different skis, my short list at this point is:


Atomic Blackeye (probably the leader at this point)

K2 Apache Raider

Line Prophet 90

Salomon X-Wing Fury


Any recommendations from this group or is there any other ski I should seriously consider?


Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 6

As an all mountain, Fury is best of the bunch you list, and one of the better skis out there for lighter skiers. Prophet is pretty good too. Forget the Blackeye or Raider or anything under 80 mm. If you like lighter livelier skis, try the Blizzard Magnum 8.1. If you like beefier skis, you might try a Nordica Afterburner or Atomic Crimson, and for twins, I think a lot of Head Mojo 90's, which can be had cheap online, although no longer made, and K2 Extremes, which can be bought more cheaply as last year's Public Enemy.



post #3 of 6

I am exactly the same size as you although I'd classify myself more as a level 7 skier. 


Let me tell you that I think the Blackeye is going to be a little on the unforgiving side for you.  It is not an easy ski to bend for our weight and responds really only to aggressive and fast skiing.  I tried the Nordica Nitrous, the Watea 84, the Blackeye, and the Head im78 last season, and the im78's were far and away my favorite as a 70/30 ski.  At the 171 length, throw on some Head or Tyrolia "Railflex" adjustable bindings, and you will have yourself a most versatile ski.  It is forgiving but still stable at speed, easy to make any turn shape, perfect balance of hard and soft snow ability, good in crud for its class..pretty much good for anything except deeper snow (let's say more than a foot of powder). 


Honestly, no ski is going to give you great deep snow performance until you get up in the 100mm+. range, so I would advise just staying closer to the 78-84mm. range...yeah something 88-94mm. could be a little better than the 78's in shallow powder, but if you are really more of a 70/30 guy, I would personally stay at the 78-84mm range, unless you're main mountain is out west.  Even so, (for me it's Mammoth, CA), a versatile "skinny" midfat like the im78 shines as a 70/30 option. 


It's kind of amazing how much press and hype the Heads got last year..I admit I was skeptical..but in a rare occurence, I found this ski to live up to it and more.

post #4 of 6

I agree that the Head IM78 is a good choice to try.  Another option would be the Volkl AC50 or the Volkl Grizzly.  The AC50 is about 85 mm under waist and is a great all mountain ski. Grizzly is slightly wider and has the power switch which adjusts the stiffness of the ski.


Last point about west skiing.  I think there is alot of hype with mid fat/fat skis are ther only thing you can ski in powder.  It is clear that in deep powder a fat ski does help.  But for skiing 70/30 I think any ski that is for 75 - 85 under foot would be fine.  You want something that will deal with the everyday hardpack/ice that you see in the midwest as well (or at least I would)


Good luck.

post #5 of 6

Head iM82.  It's approachable for an intermediate, unlike some of the other skis mentioned here, but will take you into expert skiing and serve you well.  It's soft enough to ski powder and crud well, but also does well on hardpack.  Size it nose to forehead height. 

post #6 of 6

What beyond said...you may want to consider the Nordica Afterburner and Blizzard 8.1 (maybe 8.7 too).  These skis carve really well on groomers and perform pretty well off piste.

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