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Looking to upgrade from Volkl AC30

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I am currently a level 7-8 skier. My current skis are Volkl AC30. I bought these during the summer last year and have been using them this year. I think they are extremely good and I really like them.  However, I am thinking about handing down these ski's to my dad for next year so that he can start skiing the harder slopes with me a little more often and his skis right now aren't that good anyway (some $200 Rossignol's from several years ago).


I am thinking about waiting to buy something around April-May time when the season is over, I figure that's when I could get a good deal on this season's skis.


In terms of what I'm looking for, I usually ski groomed open runs as I ski often with my dad and some other friends that aren't as skilled as me. I do a black run as often as I can. I've skied before in powder snow and done some steep moguls, and also done two glade runs so far (in the trees with powder snow). I'm looking for an all-mountain ski, but I'd like it to be just a bit better for non-groomed runs than my AC30s.  I do often times go skiing without my dad, so I could potentially use whatever ski I get as a 2nd ski to the AC30s.

My current shortlist of skis that I've come up with:


Volkl AC50

Volkl Mantra

Nordica Enforcer

K2 Explorer

Fischer Watea 94


I go skiing about 15-20 times a year by the way. I live in Calgary, so there's four resorts that are within driving distance for just 1 day. So far this year I've gone 14 times, and will to go another 5 times at least, hopefully twice this upcoming weekend.

post #2 of 11

I'll throw in my two cents here since I recently demoed the AC50.


Some context here, I currently regularly ski the AC Motion, AC30, and Head Supershape.


The AC50 is a great ski but I think the question you have to ask yourself is are you really going to be skiing powder that much?  Alternating back and forth from the wide AC50 to the other skis confirms what everyone says.  AC50 is great on groomers for a ski of that width but not as adept as AC30 or a true carving ski.  I guess I am stating the obvious here.


But if you are going to be skiing powder then maybe it is the best option at an all mountain ski but (as others say) you do give up a little in other areas.  I think most would find the difference on the groomers to be signficant but then it might be less than what any other ski of that width would feel like due to the advances of the integrated wind bindings.


Maybe someone who skis almost exclusively powder might have the oppposite warning; it's good in powder but not as adept as a true powder ski?


But then I have heard that's the general critique of the all condition ski: good in everything, excels at nothing....story of my life.


Good luck.

post #3 of 11

As far as edge grip on hard snow, I'd rank your list as follows....


1) Volkl AC50

2) Volkl Mantra

3) Nordica Enforcer

4) K2 Explorer

4) Fischer Watea 94


For versatility in soft snow, moguls, and mixed conditions It would go like this.....


1) Fischer Watea 94

2) K2 Explorer

2) Nordica Enforcer

4) Volkl Mantra

5) Volkl AC50


The ranking I put up here is based very little upon waist width and is much more about flex and especially torsional flex. When you have a ski that is torsionally very stiff it can grip like crazy but not be very forgiving in inconsistent snow. Of course the softer torsionally that a ski is, the reverse becomes more true. As in all things about ski gear you have to pick your compromises.


The model you would choose would be based upon how you prioritize the two factors. If hard snow is still the most important thing to you then you should look toward the top end of the first list. If a forgiving ride in variable snow is more important, then go for the top end end of the second list. If you can't decide on what your priorities are then pick from the middle of the lists.






post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the responses SierraJim and akaplan.


I will go skiing twice this weekend, once to Lake Louise and Kicking Horse here in Rockies to get a better idea of what I'm looking for.


On one side, I wouldn't mind having the AC50 which is like a wider but just as stiff version of the AC30.


However since I already have the AC30s and whatever ski I buy I could always turn around with my dad, I'm leaning towards the Nordica Enforcer. I will shop around town here to find what some of the prices for these skis are.


From what I've shopped today, I've seen these prices:

Volkl AC50 170 - $1100cad (ideally this price would go down to $900cad on a sale)

Volkl Mantra 177 - $930 cad with Marker Jester bindings

Nordica Helldiver - $950 cad with ?? bindings


How do the Nordica Helldiver and Hellcat fit into all this? My guess is that they are similar to the Volkl AC50 from the way their edge and overall build look.

post #5 of 11

Mustang, if you were expecting to pay over $1000 for the AC50 I have great news for you, they are on sale all over the web.  Backcountry, o2 Gear, Helmsports.  Tramdock has them occassionally in the low $500.


Also check ebay, some good prices there too. Lastly, put it in Epic's search and people have also posted observed some other great pricing deals.  Good luck

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi akaplan9, thank you for the advice.  I was actually looking at ordering off backcountry.com, but they don't ship anything Volkl outside of USA.


I'm actually going to New York in may for a couple of days. I'm thinking if I do decide to buy something, ship it to the buddies I'm staying at in New York a few weeks in advance and pick it up from their house when I get there.


Also it doesn't help that the canadian dollar is quite low right now. So like if o2gearshop was to ship to Canada, the AC50s would cost me the $650 for the skis, ~$100 for shipping + any duties. In CAD, that's nearly $960 CAD, plus possible duty/tax.

post #7 of 11



Google Scottie's in Whitby, Ontario and give them a call.  They have all their skis for 50% and I just bought a pair of AC20s for $498 with bindings.  I think they will ship and I'm pretty sure they had the AC50.  No duties and you avoid the PST.



post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Ok a bit of an update.


I was at Lake Louise today with my AC30s and I skied some of the higher difficulty blacks and also some double blacks in what they call "powder bowl" and "ultimate steeps".


What I've come to realize of my skis is this:


- they absolutely rail on groomed runs

- they don't have a lot of flex (they are stiff)

- they require a lot of effort in powder snow

- it is basically a frontside ski with backside abilities

- extremely stable edge

- bindings are excellent


Now there's nothing wrong with that, most of the time I do "frontside" (wide open runs) and do just a little bit of "backside" (trees, powder).


However I have to realize that I would make a mistake if I was to buy the Volkl AC50 since it's probably the same ski really and would require a lot of effort to do the "backside".


So now I'm looking at these ski's only:


Volkl Gotama

Volkl Mantra

Nordica Enforcer

K2 Outlaw

Nordica Blower

Volkl Katana


The more I ski in the following weeks, I will find out more about what I really want.  At the moment, having discovered some great powder runs at Lake Louise, and seeing how I sometimes go to other places that have powder (Revelstoke, Fernie), whatever ski I get should be able to compliment the AC30 and be able to do the "off-piste" runs better.

post #9 of 11

Personally, I really wasn't happy with the Helldivers, which I demo'd after the AC30. Edgehold and grip was nowhere near as good, and you really had to drive the tips hard forward on groomers, and even in powder (Had a foot of fresh up at Snoqualmie today). Not to mention the balance didn't feel nearly as good.


I'm going to be trying the AC50's next


post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Well after reading a lot of reviews and opinions online, I think I will go for one of these two:


Volkl Mantra

Nordica Enforcer


It's gonna come down to which one I can find cheaper in town and which one will have better bindings for the price.


Now I need to consider saving up for a new pair of boots as well, as my current ones are lacking a bit. At the moment, I'm using some Salomon boots from a few years ago, not sure what model. They cost about $100 at the time and I figure that some of these modern Tecnica or Nordica boots that are more expensive are probably quite a bit better.


I also figure that new boots in my case would probably make a bigger difference than ski's. Anyway, the idea that I've settled on is that whichever ski I get (Mantra or Enforcer) will act as a 2nd ski for me when I happen to go out on a day with some fresh snow (which happens about roughly 40% of the time).

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

I bought a ski yesterday. It was the Nordica Enforcer. I read a lot of reviews and opinions and I talked for half an hour with the guy at the ski shop and I settled for the Enforcer.


I will be getting to try it out tommorow at Lake Louise in the west canadian rockies. I hope I will be enjoying it greatly.

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