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SKI magazine says I should...

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

SKI says (I think) that I should get the Blizzard Magnum 8.7 IQ Max, Kastle MX88, or Nordica HR Pro Helldiver CA, or maybe the Atomic Snoop, Rossi Phantom SC97, Nordica Enforcer, or Volkl Mantra.  But, the little paragraphs and the fancy numbering scheme are not doing the trick for me. 

 

I figure I would jump on the bandwagon of asking knowledgeable folks about what skis to get.  Basically, what recommendations would people give me if I walked into their shop, or what recommendations would people who constantly do gear reviews give me based on their experience and exposure.

 

For the last five years or so, I have been skiing out west a handful of days each year and a number of days on a small hill in the east. I have been renting “demo” skis for the days out west, and that gives me some flexibility to adjust based on the conditions, but not much.  Frankly, it is easier to travel without skis, expense wise it hasn’t been all that different, and I just haven’t been getting that many days at big hills.  This year I am going to get some more days out west, and I think I can get some deals on skis.  My predicament is that I really cannot demo skis before I buy.  If I wait to demo, I can’t get the deals, so I won’t buy.  So, I am soliciting input on skis for my western trips. 

 

I am mid-thirties, 173 lbs, just about 5’11”, and have been skiing for 30 years.  Once upon a time I was a level nine, or so, and now I ski somewhere near there.  I ski primarily on short turny sticks back east, and, as stated, I ski on demo skis out west.  My boots are Nordica Speedmachine 14 from ’07, which I have never moved off of the soft/GS bolt. 

 

I haven’t been in the market for skis, as I expected to keep demoing whatever was available at the most convenient shop, so I haven’t focused too much on what I have been on.  As for recent skis, in ‘07 at Whistler, I skied the Mantra and liked what I seem to recall was a ski that was stable and predictable on- and off-piste, but there was a fair amount of fresh snow the entire time we were at Whistler.  In ’08, I went narrower and skied the Salomon X-Wing Fury (I think) and found it to be nice (I expect that for many folks here positive comments about Salomon lead to questions of my credibility), definitely turned more than the Mantra but not as stable.  I also tried the K2 Recon (I think) and found it boring.  In ‘09, I tried the Nordica Nitrous and thought it skied fine, but not fun.  I also returned to the Salomon, which felt a little more lively.  I was generally skiing all of the skis in the low to mid 170’s, primarily because I ski on sub 160s back east.  I guess I really should be aiming for at least the upper 170’s with a new ski.

 

I spend some of my time on groomers with the family, and I do like to lay down some higher-speed carved turns.  I absolutely want to be able to enjoy the bumps, understanding I am not getting a bump ski.  My first focus, though, is something for steep off-piste.  I am used to a ski with a short radius turn, so I definitely want the ski to like to turn.  This is also related to the fact that I am somewhat more cautious than I used to be – I want a ski that I feel like I can rely on when it gets tight to help me get out of the fall line or make it through whatever needle I need to thread.  I don't want to have to muscle it.  Maybe something that is light would be good – though the Mantra certainly isn’t, and I liked that.  Then again, I was skiing the Mantra in Whistler, and not in anything particularly tight.  Gosh, was any of that helpful?

 

I have never skied a ton of powder, so a ski that makes powder easier would be great.  But, since I rarely get fresh lines, I should probably be thinking more about crud and chopped up powder.  If there were ever two feet of snow, I would probably demo a powder ski, but I don’t want to plan on always doing that.

 

I like to think I ski more with technique than brute force, but I sometimes have to muscle the ski if I get out of balance – remember, I don’t ski all that much anymore.  I shy away from skis that people say one needs to stay in neutral for – whatever that means – as I don’t think it is uncommon for me to move across my skis and downhill and let my skis catch back (and even too often pass me).  However, due to the time I spend on my turny sticks back east I probably also use a cross-under move a little too much.  (And, no, I am not trying to start a discussion about why this is an outdated, confusing term, I am just using it as shorthand to describe something I do, maybe too much.)

 

I don’t go in the park out west, but I wouldn’t mind a ski that I could land switch when playing around, or ski backwards on with the family.  That would be a nice addition, but certainly not a requirement or even a “want to have.”

 

I don’t get to pick and choose when I ski based on conditions.  So, I want something for the average day.  I expect most of my skiing out west in the next few years will be out of Denver and SLC, just based on the fact that they will be short trips and airfare and flight times work well.  This year four days out of SLC and four likely in Steamboat.

 

So, what do the folks who think about this stuff way more than I do, think I should be thinking about?  What skis should I consider as the one ski best suited for me?  Should I just stick with whatever the shop at the bottom of the hill has to demo?

 

Smiles

post #2 of 19
I know nothing about the new skis, but would suggest you find some Rossi B2's (with green on bottoms) in 174 or Dynastar Legend 8000 in 178.  I ski about the same as you, with more of an emphasis on bumps, and a little less on high-speed turns.  I have both skis and love them both. 
post #3 of 19
One more.  I demoed the Apache Recon (i think in 174) last season in Winter Park and thought it was also a great ski.  Did not buy it simply because I am happy with the two mentioned above. 
post #4 of 19
I manage and buy for a shop in Tahoe and have tested all the skis you list, had two in my personal quiver and will be carrying probably five of them. If we were standing next to the ski wall, and you handed me that list and said I want to buy one of these, I'd probably suggest the Snoop or the Enforcer because they will handle the bumps easier than the others. The Volkl, Blizzi, and (surprisingly) the Rossi are pretty beefy skis and the Kastle while very nice is super expensive.

From outside your list, I think the Fischer Watea 94, Blizzi Cronus, or Volkl Bridge, (among others) are all better choices than most of the stiffer skis on your list.

SJ
post #5 of 19
Get the red ones, they're the schlitz!
post #6 of 19
I'd check out a rossi S5, it will meet all your criteria and it's relatively cheap.
post #7 of 19
I read the Ski Magazine reviews, and I was surprised to see so few Fischers among the chosen skis.  I am a fairly loyal Fischer customer, and in recent years I have gotten better value in a given class from the Fischers.  I am not sure what is going on.  I was also surprised at how the trend to wider skis has grown.  I find that skis above an 80 mm waist (give or take) are more difficult to turn quickly.  It seems as though the magazine is recommending skis for big areas out west.  I think that most Eastern skiers would be better served by the narrower choices.  I also think the trend toward longer radiuses is not as good for many Eastern area resorts.  My guess is that skier visits correespond roughly to the number of instructors, so we would expect to see about 45% of visits in the East.  Further, many Central area ski resorts are tight and have hard snow, and even the majority of trails at most Western resorts are groomed.  The bias toward skis for a powder day may be wishful thinking on many customers' parts.  Am I missing something?
post #8 of 19

Using a ski w/ a cut of 70-74 underfoot makes more sense to me as even out West at Mammoth or PCMR most skiing is on snow that has been cut or groomed. Relatively rare is the untracked day. W/ a 74 there is adequate support and the increase in turning agility is a benefit.

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOG View Post

 Am I missing something?

No.

SJ
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOG View Post

My guess is that skier visits correespond roughly to the number of instructors, so we would expect to see about 45% of visits in the East.

Dividing things up by region can be difficult given that we all may think of them differently.  Perhaps you are thinking about this based on PSIA regions?  In any event, approaching it from the areas' perspective I think it is estimated that the East, meaning the Northeast and Southeast, make up a bit over thirty percent of skier visits.  If you toss in the midwest then you do get up to nearly forty-five percent.  

Not trying to hijack my own thread, so I will get back to the topic at hand in a little bit. 
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
SJ and Whiteroom,

It seems like you are both suggesting skis with waists in the mid to upper 90 skis.  I think the Cronus is the only sub-90 ski in the bunch. I would have thought my description would call for a slightly narrower ski.  Am I underestimating these wider skis and their versatility?  

Smiles
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiSmiles View Post

Hi all,

SKI says (I think) that I should get the Blizzard Magnum 8.7 IQ Max, Kastle MX88, or Nordica HR Pro Helldiver CA, or maybe the Atomic Snoop, Rossi Phantom SC97, Nordica Enforcer, or Volkl Mantra.  ...........


That is the width range (87-98mm) you axed about. Generally, if someone posts a list like that, I assume those are the skis they are interested in and I try to answer the question as asked. Nothing at all wrong with something narrower.

SJ
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiSmiles View Post




Dividing things up by region can be difficult given that we all may think of them differently.  Perhaps you are thinking about this based on PSIA regions?  In any event, approaching it from the areas' perspective I think it is estimated that the East, meaning the Northeast and Southeast, make up a bit over thirty percent of skier visits.  If you toss in the midwest then you do get up to nearly forty-five percent.  

Not trying to hijack my own thread, so I will get back to the topic at hand in a little bit. 

 

I did not intend to hijack the thread, but I was ruminating on what appeared to be weaknesses in the Ski magazine reviews.  You are correct in that I based the rough estimate on PSIA numbers.  I apologize if I got them wrong.  My only point is that the article seemed not to serve most skiers well, and therefore I was wary in accepting its conclusions even where the skis are appropriate to a particular goal, such as a mix of powder and off psite that leaned toward the softer stuff.  I had pretty good luck with the the 85 mm Fischer, I think the White Heat, at Snowbird in 2007, in conditions such as you describe, but it seems not to be available this season.  I did get to ski the same ski in fresh snow at Killington in Dec 2007, and had a great time.  I am not sure I would ski those skis on an average day in the East though.  I think it would just be a lot of extra work.  I tend to like some of the stiffer skis, but that is very much a matter of taste.  I also tend to like skis with wide tails, so that the carve happens throughout the ski, also a matter of taste,  What the magazine seems to be doing is guiding skiers to adopt the same tastes as the testers.  I think some skis are a bit of an acquired taste in that they will perform well if you understand them and ski them as designed.  I also think those skis with such a period of getting used to them are less likely to do well in the relatively short magazine tests.  This is where advice from guys like SJ would seem to be extremely valuable.  Then you could order skis from him at a great price and feel like you got a good deal all around.  FWIW I have no connection to SJ, other than appreciating his advice on this list.  I have seldom found reason to disagree with any of his judgements when I have had the opportunity to demo skis, or ski my own skis.
post #14 of 19
As a consumer that recently bought fat (is 102 still fat?) skis, I think this is key:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiSmiles View Post

Hi all,

I am used to a ski with a short radius turn, so I definitely want the ski to like to turn.  

 

Smiles





Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiSmiles View Post

SJ and Whiteroom,

It seems like you are both suggesting skis with waists in the mid to upper 90 skis.  I think the Cronus is the only sub-90 ski in the bunch. I would have thought my description would call for a slightly narrower ski.  Am I underestimating these wider skis and their versatility?  

Smiles
 


While wider boards tend to be less turny, that is a design choice not a necessary correlation.  There are some wider skis that turny and many that are not.  I chose a K2 Coomba precisely because it seemed turnier than many others.  One other that I tried that was really turny was the Nordica Hellcat -- I would describe it as a fat slalom ski.

I skied a few of the other skis you mention -- liked the Mantras, but didn't love them.  The Enforcers seemed similar to the Mantras, except for some reason a few time I got off-balance aft so the tails caught (that was the only skis that happened on). 

Some other skis were freight trains -- notably the phantom 107 (108?) -- they were not interested in turning at all.  I hated them.

By the way, I've decided that the right way to demo is to buy it when you find something you love.  There is no way you can try every ski, so don't even try.  The first time I bought serious skis (back in the 80's) I spent an entire season.  In contrast, on my current skis I skied two runs and bought a pair over the summer.  Last year, 1/5 of a day (it was a try 5 skis demo package) on the Coombas, and I bought a pair this summer. Too much comparing leads to buyers paralysis.
post #15 of 19
As you move from groomers to soft snow to deep snow, turn radius matters less and less. I'd suggest not looking for 2D charactoristics in a  ski you want to use in 3D snow. I'd also suggest exploring a little more - there's tons of ungroomed snow out west.
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post

As you move from groomers to soft snow to deep snow, turn radius matters less and less. I'd suggest not looking for 2D charactoristics in a  ski you want to use in 3D snow. I'd also suggest exploring a little more - there's tons of ungroomed snow out west.

I suspect it is stiffness/softness more than sidecut that determines how turny a ski is in soft snow.  But whatever the reason, there is a big difference in how they feel.  (On the hardpack runouts, it goes back to being sidecut that matters most.)
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiSmiles View Post
 Am I underestimating these wider skis and their versatility?  
 
Yes you are. As Jer says there may not be powder but there is always lots of ungroomed out west and that's where the fun is. This translates into a wideish (is that a word?) ski about 90 - 100mm for stablilty and float but with some 'pop' and a releasable tail to allow quick turns. It should also have a reasonably short radius and maybe a bit of metal for occasional groomer fun. In other words not a groomer/carver ski nor something 'dead' like a Recon. BTW out West 100 mm is only midfat these day- true Fat starts about 110 mm. I suggest you look at the Line Prophet 100 in 179 with 17.2 m radius. It will do it all and many people even use it in the East.
Check the reviews esp from Sierra Jim and on Teton Gravity Tech forum
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FOG View Post

I did not intend to hijack the thread, but I was ruminating on what appeared to be weaknesses in the Ski magazine reviews.  You are correct in that I based the rough estimate on PSIA numbers.  I apologize if I got them wrong.  My only point is that the article seemed not to serve most skiers well, and therefore I was wary in accepting its conclusions even where the skis are appropriate to a particular goal, such as a mix of powder and off psite that leaned toward the softer stuff.  I 
FOG, I didn't mean to imply that you were hijacking the thread.  In fact, I was referring to my own pointless follow-up to the point you made in passing.   I actually think that the stats point out that a large percentage are not skiing in the west.  That said, there is a place for a wider ski some places in the east, some of the time. I do agree with your point that the SKI magazine list, as with most lists of its type, has its own biases, whether from testers, the testing environment, what manufacturers provide, etc. That is why I posted here, I was looking for insight from this group, not necessarily someone to select from the SKI list.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

That is the width range (87-98mm) you axed about. Generally, if someone posts a list like that, I assume those are the skis they are interested in and I try to answer the question as asked. Nothing at all wrong with something narrower.

Thanks SJ.  That makes sense. I guess I wasn't clear enough in my original post.  There are two things I take from what you were saying.  1. Skis in the upper 80s to upper 90s underfoot are close enough that other factors quite often or should outweigh the waist difference.  2. I am not sure that I have your perspective on what makes sense given the environment I described, without regard to the initial list.  

Smiles 


 
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiSmiles View Post 1. Skis in the upper 80s to upper 90s underfoot are close enough that other factors quite often or should outweigh the waist difference. 

Smiles 


 

This is a crucial point that is generally overlooked in the rush to categorize skis by waist width alone. Here is an example of this.........three skis with nearly identical waist widths and general shapes.

Fischer Watea 84: Very good in soft snow.....challenged by very hard snow
Volkl AC 40/50: Very good on hard snow.....notsomuch in soft snow
Dynastar Sultan 85: Tweener

The differences in these three skis have nothing at all to do with width or shape. The overall flex and the balance between that and the torsional stiffness produce the skis personality. There are other subtle nuances as well but basically; if one has a priority toward performance in the softer conditions, then the selection should be made accordingly.

This little batch is a good start with several widths and other variations in the mix.

Softer: Watea 94

Tweeners: Sultan 85, Bridge, Cronus,

Stiffer: Atlas, Enforcer

I could go on and on...........

SJ
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