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Ski recommendations for a former racer

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'm looking to get back into skiing this year after a 10-year hiatus, but need some help with a list of skis to investigate.

180lbs, 6 foot
Former racer, excellent technical abilities, not nearly as strong as I used to be (working on that)
Last skis I used frequently were my 195cm Dynastar S9 (slalom) and 203cm G9 (GS) skis.  I believe at the time that the G9 was the race ski with the most sidecut, but I may be worng on that account.

I messed around with some demo skis after that when I worked in a shop, ended up buying a pair of Volkl P30 RC, (193cm- I think).  This was the second generation of the orange P30.  Only used them about 3 times and don't recall if I liked them or not.  I seem to recall that the Volk's I tried all seemed a little "dead", which I attributed to the wood core (I believe the Dynastars I had were both foam core).

I do remember that I wasn't terribly impressed with "shaped" skis for all their hype in the magazines at the time; I thought the tips were way too wide.  I think I would prefer a longer, expert-level GS-type ski with a narrow(er) waist and minimal tip width.  Primary use would be on groomed/semi-groomed trails, fast skiing.  I always used my GS skis in high school when freeskiing, they were more stable in the crud and could still turn pretty tight if needed.

Will not consider Volant
Will not consider anything without a vertical sidewall- I'm old-school
Personal preference for Marker bindings, but have no problems using the Look/Rossi bindings
Not too stiff

Would prefer to pick up something that's a year or 2 old to save some money.
post #2 of 14
Head Supershape Speed.
Fischer WC RC.
post #3 of 14
Dynastar Contact 4X4 in a 178cm
Fischer Progressor 9+ in a 175cm

I had the Fischer, which is great. The Dynastar is the better ski, IMO.

If considering a midfat, look at the Elan 888 in a 176cm size.

Where will these be used?

post #4 of 14
I also owned a pair of both the Volkl P30's in a 198 and the Dynastar G9's in the 203. Am currently skiing the Dynastar Contact 4x4 in the 178 as my everyday ski. Could be the only ski you need for the East. The Dynastar's have a wood core FWIW. Plus there are some really smokin' deals out there on brand new leftovers from last season.
post #5 of 14
Originally Posted by UtherUrquhart View Post


I do remember that I wasn't terribly impressed with "shaped" skis for all their hype in the magazines at the time; I thought the tips were way too wide.  I think I would prefer a longer, expert-level GS-type ski with a narrow(er) waist and minimal tip width........Not too stiff


What you have been suggested so far are very good, modern, shaped carvers. They offer very good edge grip and dampening, have quite a bit of sidecut, and generally are 70-75mm wide at the waist and ~~ 120mm at the tips (give or take). The skis suggested are very, very good choices and are quite versatile within their categories.

However.......they are not what you've asked for. You asked for a race ski.

If that is what you really want I can help you out. Our shop sells several hundred FIS legal race skis every year and we always have one or two around in the longer sizes from a year ago. A fair number of our customers free ski on such critters although usually not on powder days. I am talking in the range of 186-192 with the FIS legal  mens sidecut and built for your size. They will be current state of the art. (remember.......these days, a 180-183 GS is the womens sidecut and will have a flex for a lighter skier).

Think about it a bit.......if you do want a race ski I will get you a list.

post #6 of 14
Good news is there are plenty of 2 to 3 year old GS skis available for cheap... bad news is there is a reason most skiers don't want them. They are not what the GS skis of your memory were, they are more focused and more limited in what they are good at. If you enjoy skiing fast on groomed slopes with little need for quick turns you may be thrilled. If you want to venture off of groomed slopes into bumps/ crud/ steeps/ trees then they are just flat-out not a good choice.

I would suggest getting a ski for this season cheap, really really cheap. Go to a ski swap, buy a used GS race ski that still has some edge left and ski it for a while until you have your ski legs back. This will allow you to look around at what skiing has become... there is more 'open' terrain, people ski differently, ski styles have changed and the skis have changed with it. It is all but impossible to guess what you might like in the new era of skiing. So start off with something 'disposable' that you can dump and buy a newer ski after you decide where you want the sport to take you.

The other option is to take a look around here, pay attention to what other skiers are talking about and consider one of those skis. Fischer Watea, Head im 78, etc.

A reasonably good choice in this category would be a Dynastar Legend 8000 in the 184cm length, which can be found cheap with a quick google search... or take Sierra Jim up on his offer to hook you up with a good deal on a race ski.
post #7 of 14
Also consider Head WC i.Speed (radius 18 m at 180 cm, as opposied to FIS 27+ m)
post #8 of 14
Not to detract from SJ who offers excellent deals but if you want a very lightly used (or even new) GS ski that is useable fro free skiiing check out my GS skis in the gear swap.  183 cm Atomic GS either new or lightly used.  
post #9 of 14
GS skis are now 185-193!  Anyhow, the HEADs listed above are OK and are plentiful since most people today couldn't carve a turn to save their lives and never bought them.  Stockli Lasers (most people on this forum never skied them) are awesome!  Go with the non-FIS models so you can carve different length turns easier (wider tips and tails than the FIS models). Stocklis still win World-Cup races, even today with a tiny a race-marketing budget.   A bunch of Dynastar GS models are on sale, but you will want the stiffer ones.  Some are geared for J-2s or whatever.   E-Bay has someone blowing out 2-year old Atomics (the blue ones) in both the GS and SG models. 

You can't go wrong with anything having that wood-core Austrian/Euro "feel" of pressuring the ski and letting it carve (Volkl, Fischer, HEAD, Stockli, Atomic, etc.).  Believe it or not, you can ski a 165cm for SL or use a 170cm SL for an all around ski too.  You will also want a fat ski for powder days (I personally don't like mid-fats).
post #10 of 14

If you are convinced that you must have a GS ski, check out the Volkl GS Racing Titanium. This is a GS cheater ski with a vertical sidewall and a much smaller turning radius than a true GS ski, 18m vs 27m. At 6' and 180 lbs., I would recommend a 180cm length. They are a great ski for NASTAR or beer league racing. If you are going to be free skiing and not racing, I would suggest demo-ing the Volkl AC30. This ski loves to carve/cruise and has a much larger sweet spot than the racing skis.

post #11 of 14
The Dynastar G9 was the first of the new era GS skis that I skied.  I really enjoyed it for a couple of seasons, and then shifted over to Atomic which I liked even more.

With Atomic promoting the Doubledeck technology on their new skis this year, you have a good chance of getting good deals on last year's GS skis.  I'd recommend checking details of the core & construction before dismissing these as "cap" construction, but if you're really committed to a sidewall construction, Fischers also has first-rate GS skis.
post #12 of 14
Welcome to Epic and welcome back to skiing.

After a 10 year hiatus, you may find it helpful to get some coaching from someone that you trust and that is up on current ski technique, particularly as you are looking for high speed performance. Modern performance skis like to be on edge all the time, let them 'idle' and they may take control of you. They need constant attention and subtle yet strong control. Take it easy. Have a ball.

I like my Fischer RC4 193s r>21m for high speed cruising. On early season days with limited terrain and large crowds a 165 SL is nice, too.

post #13 of 14
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

Think about it a bit.......if you do want a race ski I will get you a list.

If you really do want a race ski, I'd definitely talk to Jim. 

Originally Posted by WILDCAT View Post

Where will these be used?

This, it seems to me, is the critical question.  We have no information whatsoever.

My advice would be to find a good shop in your neck of the woods and demo a bit.  Sidecuts are beginning to get more restrained, but not on narrow-waisted skis -- on wide ones.  Something like a PM Gear Bro Model 179 (125/99/114, 32m radius), 183 (125/99/114, 33m radius), 188 (125/99/114, 40m radius)  or 195 (121/91/111, radius not listed but probably in the 40m range) may well turn more like what you are looking for, but in a ski that's about an inch and a half wider than you've identified.  You won't know what feel you like better unless you give it a shot.
post #14 of 14
Get over the side wall thing. Most high end Volkl's have better edge grip then other skis in the same category.

Where do you ski ? I'm 6ft 190lbs ski on a 170cm ski or 162 in high end Rossi's Freerides. Lack of speed is not a issue for me. I would tell you to keep under a 84 waist ski, you may want to stay in the mid 70's mm waist in a All Mountain Expert ski. My son, a x-racer loves my AC4.

BTW I had the G9 203cm back in the day then went to the Volkl G30 then G31.

Check out the sept issues of SKi and Skiing magazines.
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