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Volkl Tigershark 12 or Nordica Top Fuel -- Should I Get Either of These?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Went to local ski store this past weekend to get some more Patagonia layers, and (of course) spent some time drooling over/on the skis.  Told the sales guy what I have, how I ski, etc., and he recommended two options: 

           1.  Volkl Tigershark 12 (without the switch), 168 cm for $600

           2.  Nordica Top Fuel, 170 cm, for $700


Are either of these a good deal for an end-of-season sale?


Are either of these what I need?


Or wait to see what comes out for 2010? 


Me:  5'8" 150 lbs.; this season went from skiing 40/60 greens/blues to 30/70 blues/blacks (1d); almost all has been on piste; so far only dabbling in moguls, glades, parks, etc.


Current ski: Volkl AC-20, 163 cm; have had for a year; two weeks ago at Sugarloaf I seemed to be reaching the limits of this ski -- felt ski chattering a few times going down hardpack blacks.


Any thoughts?   Thanks.   


post #2 of 14

I don't believe those are particularly great prices, but they are certainly popular skis.


With respect to your comment about your AC-20 chattering, have you considered that your current skis may be chattering because when it gets steeper you tend to rush the early phases of your turns and modulate them on edge a bit too quickly - because things seem to be happening more quickly than you're comfortable with? This is a common enough occurrence so it's very possible that if you are more patient in the early phase of your turns on steeper terrain, and don't rush back to and past the fall line, your edges will connect more reliably and not chatter in the later phase of your turns when you are using them to scrub off speed before your next turn.


They are both popular enough skis. I own a set of the Top Fuels and in general they are a nice all around ski and in my opinion a step up from the AC-20 and the Tigershark. I had the chance to ski on the Tigershark with the power switch when I was asked by someone I was skiing with to swap skis so he could try out my Monsters. We both have the same size boot soles and are about the same size in general, and both experts, so we just swapped with no adjustment. We also had the same tune on our skis (1d bottom/2d side), so it was a good comparison. I thought the power switch concept was way cool in that it really did change something, however, I personally thought it only switched the skis from dreadfull (off) to mediocre (on) so I really did not like those skis compared to what I was on just before, and after a half dozen runs was back on. You may like them though as you are already on the same brand, which frankly has never really been a brand I have ever really enjoyed. I believe the Top Fuel is the better ski, but I would encourage you to consider my earlier thought to try moduating your current ski on edge more progressively/smoothly.


post #3 of 14

I think these would be too much ski for you at your current level (they are both skis for strong level 8-10 skiers).  Focus on skiing the AC-20s with a clean enough carve that they don't chatter, then you will really be able to explore their limits.

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 


Originally Posted by CHRISfromRI View Post


With respect to your comment about your AC-20 chattering, have you considered that your current skis may be chattering because when it gets steeper you tend to rush the early phases of your turns and modulate them on edge a bit too quickly - because things seem to be happening more quickly than you're comfortable with?


ChrisfromRI --  I had to self-hypnotize myself to recall when the chattering occurred -- and YES, you've hit the nail on the head.  I would come around the top of the arc and then there is the moment of truth when I'd release the skis from edge and be facing down the fall-line. Then, the "holy sh*t" light starts blinking in my head -- it's serious hardpack (read: virtually ice) black diamond steep, with which I have all of nine ski days experience -- so I'd force into the turn back across the fall-line, and that's when the chattering would occur.  OK, I'll be more patient on the turns.


Chris and Skier219 -- thanks both for the thoughts on the other skis.  Sounds like I can get some more life out of the AC-20s before moving up.  And Chris, from your point, it's not like these deals are too good to pass up. 




post #5 of 14

Jimski - Glad to offer assistance, and no I don't think you're missing out on much of a deal. I bought my Top Fuels a couple of years ago near the end of the season for around $500 with the bindings and shipping. I had previously demoed them that season.


As to your continued success and improvement on the steeper terrain you will find a little patience goes a long way. One visual clue I wanted to give you is to think of your turns as an S shape and not as a Z shape. Also, and I hope this helps visually, the link below is me skiing on a black diamond slope a couple weeks ago where the conditions were boilerplate ice sprinkled with frozen granular crystals - thinly sprinkled in some spots and pushed into thick piles in other spots. I am skiing on 82mm wide Head Monster skis and while I certainly have my share of technique improvements that I'm working on myself, see if you can notice the round shape of my turns and how I smoothly modulate my skis onto and off edge.


<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/p/10DA698CA4892B7E&amp;hl=en"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/p/10DA698CA4892B7E&amp;hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 



Nice skiing!   I think just knowing what is causing it -- that it's me, not my skis -- will help me a lot.




post #7 of 14

Good advice here!  I would second the turn shape comments and the price is too high on both of those skis.  Between the two I think the Top Fuel is by far the better ski, but it is a sports car and might chatter more if rushed through a turn.

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

TPJ -- thanks.  In my gut, I guess I'm not ready to buy new skis yet, but needed reassurance that neither of these were too good a deal to pass up.  I've only had my current skis for one full season, and if I use them one more season, my son (who will then be close to 16) may be big enough to use them.  Also, I have yet to demo any ski.  I do have a preliminary shortlist, but neither of these skis are on it. 

post #9 of 14

I was in the ski shops yesterday and saw a pair of Nordica Afterburners for $450.  These come with bindings.  I think $700 will not sell.  There were lots of other good deals.  At one shop they told me to disregard the pricing and make an offer on all the stuff. 

post #10 of 14

I'm probably going to get flamed here.  But...Interesting about what people think that skis are worth.  The deals that the guy offered on the Volkl and the Nordica are very fair - very close to his cost.  He is not ripping you off.  If you find either one of these at below $500, the retailer is losing money - good for you, but it hurts the retailer and ski industry in the long run.  When a retailer is selling stuff at substantially below his cost, he is in big trouble and may not be there in years to come.  Today many retailers only sell a portion of his ski inventory with much profit,  the rest of the inventory sells with thin to no margin.  Guess what, profit is what pays the bills and keeps the doors open.  It makes no sense to sell stuff at cost or below, that's as bad as playing the stock market these days. 


I know that a lot of consumer's attitude is "so what" its good for me, but anytime a specialty retailer goes by the wayside, you lose expertise and service that is critical for this industry.  Good luck fitting boots over the internet, or fixing a ski with a problem, or properly tuning a ski to maximize its performance, etc., etc.  Support your local ski shop and quit bitching about prices.  I guarantee you that the ski shop is not getting rich. 

post #11 of 14

Wow, that's a different viewpoint - sort of current day Obama socialism applied to the ski equipment market.


Two years ago I demo'd a ski I really liked and I went to a local store to buy them as I had some minor boot fitting work done by them earlier that year. They quoted me a price of $100 over the Manufafurers list price for the ski as the "Street Price", and it sounded fishy to me so I didn't buy them - even though I wanted to trust them. Six months later I further realized that those boots they sold me as the current model and the current price, were actually left over from the year before and I was unfamiliar with how the manufacturer changed the colors.


My view then is to trust no retailer, educate myself on the current equipment line-ups, and to shop around and get the best price I can for what I'm buying. This defensive view was developed after the above experience, and has allowed me to get some great deals!


post #12 of 14

Have to add a comment to this one because I think you all may have missed something.  First, I think everyone is right about the ski, you are not growing out off the AC20, you need to work on your turn.  Second, the point everyone may have missed; how are your boots. 


Beginners tend to buy boots to big which contribute to sloppy "holy sh_t" turns.  Take the liner out of your boot and put your foot in the shell with your toes just touching the front.  If you can fit more than a hand between your foot and shell, your boot may be to big.  If the boot is okay than consider a set of custom foot-beds or at minimum a pair of SuperFeet (if you don't have them already).  This will stabilize your foot inside the boot and help you initiate the turn better.  . 


This is a common mistake a lot of people make because most boot shops have no f-in idea how to fit a boot to a person's foot.  When you find a good boot shop you'll know it because it will take at least 3 hours to buy the boot. 

post #13 of 14

Those skis for $700 are not a loser for the shop.  .  I agree that its not good for a shop to give stuff away, but I really think that leftover inventory loses value fast.  Someone buying skis now might not even use them until next year.  Buying in the spring for cheap is the way I have done it for years.  I'm limited to what is left over through the shop miscalculating on their buy.  The Nordica Top Fuel, Afterburner, ect have been around for a while with only minor changes.  They are still great skis, but $700 is not a "deal" or even in line with the market.  I don't consider this a flame...  Just the truth. 

Edited by tetonpwdrjunkie - 4/6/2009 at 01:42 pm
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Just got back last night from skiing at The Canyons in Utah.  No chattering of the skis, so I guess I can't use that as an excuse -- I mean, a good reason -- for buying new skis.  The snow out there was soft/unpacked for the most part, and even mushy in the afternoons.  Thinking back on when the chattering occurred last month in Maine, I think Chris nailed it: I was on icy hardpack on a BD1 slope and so was trying to rush the turn to get into the traverse. 


Bob4snow, my boots are Tecnica Diablo Sparks.  I have no idea if these are entry level, middle, etc., in quality, but when I got them 1.5 years ago, the store heat-fitted them for me.  I will try your test.  Thanks.


As for the price of the skis, I'm in favor of paying a little more than the "web price" at a non-franchise brick and mortar ski store, so as to retain local expertise for subsequent purchases, have a place I can drive to to touch the stuff before I buy it, etc.  But paying a couple hundred bucks more starts to become charity.  In any case, as I noted before, since these skis aren't clearly optimal as my next step up, I'll probably keep my current ones and get some more mileage on them next season.  


Thanks to all. 

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