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2 Quiver suggestions for level 9 in the CO Rockies?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
5'10, 165lbs, 27 yrs/old, aggressive skier, level 9 in the CO Rockies, a good amount off-piste and I want something that I can take sidecountry - will probably change to AT bindings and boots at some point in time to expand the boundaries of the resorts after a year or two. Will probably get into backcountry, as well, which would include skiing some 14ers out here (windblown crusted powder and couloirs up to 50 degrees). I also go on a ski vacation 1-2 times a year with my parents which can include places like Whistler, Tahoe, and the Alps.

I'm recently divorced with a kid, so this is my first season in 5 years with a pass. I've been skiing ~10 days a year but hope to be up there almost every weekend and a few weekdays (sick days - powder days) this year. As such, I've been very out of touch as to how skis have changed. I have been skiing X-Screams 179cm from 2002 (? - the yellow/black ones) that were hand-me-downs I got when I was in college in 2003. After last season, they've pretty much become rock skis.

Not having had *any* experience on a variety of skis, the best I can do is describe how I tend to ski. As said, I'm a strong and aggressive skier that likes to commit on steep slopes and couloirs with rocks, cliff bands and trees being the typical obstacles - go for broke type of committal. I definitely want a ski that can take what I throw at it - both in terms of muscle and terrain. I also enjoy the big bowls (i.e. Vail). I tend to avoid groomed runs - it's usually either steep trees, faces, couloirs, or bowls, with a rare bump run until the afternoon when the top closes, and then I'll do just a few speed-demon runs with GS turns on the groomed to round out the day as a cool-down. The former is definitely top priority. Park and riding switch really doesn't have any appeal to me.

I'm gonna try and buy used/closeouts, so no new models please - aiming for around 400-800$ after bindings for both pairs. I'm completely open to all suggestions (including ski length), but here's what I was kind of thinking:

For one of the skis, I'd like something that I can float well in most (or all - asking too much?) powder days, but something with enough maneuverability to handle narrow and steep coulier entrances and chutes (like Jackson) and steep tree skiing in the same conditions. I don't want to be limited in terrain on nice powder days. I'm also planning on doing some heliskiing in Alaska next winter, but I'm thinking that I can't have it all and would be better off renting some real fatties just for this? For this pair, I was thinking something in the 95-105+mm range like Goats, Wateas, P4, Legend Pro, Nomad, Prophet, Obsethed etc, or maybe even 110-115mm like Czars, Katanas or Huge Troubles?

For the other pair, I'd like something that can handle bumps on occasion (the screams were good enough for me), but stable while cutting through spring crud at very high speeds (wide arc turns) on black faces. These would be for old snow days. The screams were barely passable at this - I could still muscle through it, but had to take a wide stance to control deflection and reduce leg fatigue, and it wasn't fun at all near the bottom when the slope started flattening and the snow got harder - they turned into a real chatterbox. I realize whatever I choose will still chatter, but anything that can improve on what I'm used to would be nice. For this pair, I'm not really sure, but maybe something in the 80mm range like the K2 Public Enemies, Head iM82/iM76 or Dynastar Contacts or 8000s? Or maybe I should aim for the wider powder skis to take care of spring crud and power through it? Not sure.

On lighter powder days, I'd still like to be able to float, but also have a little fun on the groomers on the way back to the lifts. Not sure which ski I'd choose for this, but one of them should be suitable for both floating on light powder and cruising on groomers - if I'm not pushing my luck. This would be lower priority to the other stuff I've mentioned.

Edited by Brian Lindahl - 10/9/09 at 3:23pm
post #2 of 17
Skiing easier powder means almost anything wide will work just fine.  The question is how versitile the ski will be?  Most of what you mentioned will work OK.  Add this one to the list: Stockli Stormrider TT.  It works amazingly well through the tress and skiing at slower and higher speeds (unusual for Stocklis that are often times GS boards with different side cuts).

There are so many good carvers out there for your groomer/mogul ski.  I am partial to HEAD, Stockli , Volkl and Atomic, but who cares?  Demo a bunch and find something that works for you, including getting the right set-up.  That means getting a binding that you can move forward and backward at bit to help center you properly on the ski.  That is more important than playing around with the base and side angle.  If you like shorter turns go with a 165 (slalom) length. At that length you have skis that can be used to teach your kid.  If you like arcing slightly wider turns on the hardpack, go with around a 170-175 cm.  It is still short enough to teach with and short enough for the bumps. 

I do the two-ski thing differently, by adding a third ski.  You can find great GS boards for cheap (used or a few seasons old "new" skis) giving you a longer-arcing hardpack cruiser to go with the carvers and powder skis.  I ski my GS skis short (180cm) and they have a 23m arc, almost twice as wide as my 165 cm carvers. They are too stiff for comfortably skiing bumps or smearing teaching turns to teach little kids, but they do arc some seriously fast turns through anything.  Note well: If you are carving turns you will love trying a "softer" racing ski.  If you are like 98% or skiers who only smear turns, stay away.

 If I had only two skis I'd go with a 170cm carver and a powder boards between 177cm and 188cm.
post #3 of 17
You have a good list there and seem to have it pretty much worked out. You are not going to get many sweet deals before the season starts (unless you have a hook up) so I would start off by demoing something around 100-110 width skis like the Goats, obseth, P4, etc... Ski them on groomers and bumps and crud see if you like them for everyday use. Alot of people use that sort of ski on an every day basis. Then see what you want for the second ski. You might want something even bigger for the second pair. Or you might want a more specialised  carver or bump ski.

As far as touring bindings. If you want a 2 ski quiver for touring and in bounds your touring setup (the 100-110 wide boards) the best choice (imo) is the marker duke type bindings.
post #4 of 17
I'm also in CO and am your size. I have  a set of Dynastar Huge Troubles with px14 bindings - skied 7 times last year in Vail - that I'll be looking to move. Would work great as your powderski.

Shoot me a message if interested.
post #5 of 17
For the first ski, I'd go with the Prophet 100. It has a nice waist and from what I have heard (haven't skied them) is the quickest ski for its waist. Which is what you need for steep tree skiing. I don't think these would be good for heli-skiing in Alaska. You should definitely rent some skis for this occasion. A charging ski like the Armada Ant.

I don't have any advice for the second pair. (sorry)

good luck!
post #6 of 17
 Try a Gotama for ski 1 if you can find a deal.  A Top Fuel (Nordica) might be good for number 2.  It's an older ski and should be fairly cheap.  Not the best for bumps, but I like it.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Found a pair of near-perfect '05 Gotamas in 183 (the softer ones with less sidecut and solid German construction) for ski number 1 for a good deal ($250 w/bindings). Getting tuned and remounted for my sole as I speak. Looking forward to my first powder day!

I also spotted a pair of Volkl 724 Pros in 177cm for very cheap and was wondering if this would meet the criteria I'm looking for as a CO 'hard snow'/old snow/spring crud fall-line charger/carver on double-black faces (~45 degrees) for ski number 2? Everything I've read about it so far seems to match up really well, except that I've read people love it for boot-high soft snow - thought that seems contradictory to everything else I've read about the ski (stiff, loves speed, etc.). Seems like it would zip on the groomed, as well. My only reservation is it's ability to do bumps, but at the price, if I'm having trouble, I can probably snag a softer ski on the short side like an old Dynastar Trouble Maker or K2 PE that would rock it in the bumps (and might be fun in really tight light snow trees).

Would the Volkl 724 Pro in 177 at my weight/height likely match how I'd ski the number 2 ski? Or would they be a bit too much for even me (more cheeseburgers)? Also, I know they won't have the same short-turn capabilities, but would it have a similar kick out of the tail like my old X-Screams? Haven't seen a Nordica Top Fuel priced right, just yet (after tunes/mounts/etc.).

Edited by Brian Lindahl - 10/26/09 at 10:08am
post #8 of 17
Yes, the  724 Pro would be fine for a harder snow ski.  I think the Gotama/Pro will make a fine quiver. 
post #9 of 17
 The 724 Pro was a great ski in its day.  A lot of people used it as a one quiver ski here in JH when it came out.  It's been a long time scinse I've seen one on the hill.  You can do better.  I might still ski it if it was cheap.  I mean really cheap.
post #10 of 17
I would keep the goats and ski them as a 1 ski quiver to start off with. Then decide where to go from there. My guess.... you will like them well enough to ski em every day and not really want to touch a narrower ski unless its been high pressure for a while.

I would pass on the 724, there are better skinny skis around and IIRC, the bindings are system so you can't even take them with you to another ski down the road. If you want to get a second ski in hand immediately, there is a guy selling PEs for like 125 in gearswap right now. That would be a much better ski imo.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hmm, ok. I had read that the Top Fuel skied a lot like the 724 Pro by a few reviewers on here - super stiff crud blaster and railing carver - and for $100+tune, I figured it'd be a good/cheap substitute. I've read that PEs are pretty bad in crud/hard snow - too soft, so I don't think that's the direction I want to lean in, no? Just to feed my curiosity - what has made the 724 Pro an obsolete ski?

Looking around a bit more, I found some Head iM77 Chips w/bindings from 2006 for $200. From the sounds of it, they'd be pretty good hard snow crud blasters/carvers as well as pretty manageable in bumps and might suite me for ski #2?
post #12 of 17
Thats a good price. But don't expect a great crud ski. The conversation has moved on and that 724 is a skinny frontside ski in todays world. The im77 and topfuel are better options as 70/30 skis that are also hard snow biased. None of those is going to be better in crud off piste than your gortamas.

I think you have a bad report on the PE as well. Its not soft. Its medium stiff and is a solid all around 50/50 ski. It a lot of fun and very versatile. Its more soft snow optimaized I think. In varibale mixed salad snow off piste they tend to float a bit more and are less damp than a dedicated crud buster. Other than that they are solid.

I spose the 70-30 skis would have less overlap with the goats. Just depends on what you want.
Edited by tromano - 10/26/09 at 10:32pm
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
I see - I think I now understand a bit better how all this works. The width of the Goats makes them a lot more stable at speed in crud than just about anything narrower (~80s). I think I had posed that question in my original post, albeit, well-hidden - glad to have an answer, thanks. And while not quite up to par in crud with the wide chargers that run stiff like the LPs, Stiff Bros, or Zealots, the Goats would be better on powder days as well as being more maneuverable? And the mid-fats wouldn't really be something I'd want for thick crud, but instead, for old snow days, light snow days, skiing bumps, and as AM skis?

I guess why I'm hesitant to give the Goats a shot as a one-ski quiver, is that I'm going to be skiing in the PNW (either Whistler or Crystal Mtn) this December, and I'd like to have a more frontside ski for that early in the season. The last thing I want is to take the Goats up there and find that the snow up there isn't right for them just yet, or that I'm struggling to adjust my technique to how wide skis handle hard snow (remember, I'm coming from 68mm waists). Trips out there at that time of the year (Christmas) are pretty common for me. I'd take my Xscreams with the Goats, but those are the definition of rock skis after last season - a 4" edge bulge and a nasty 13" coreshot down the middle (one rock in the Lake Chutes at Breck - ouch!), so I'd also like to have something that can rip a bit more reliably. Ah... decisions.. decisions. :D
Edited by Brian Lindahl - 10/27/09 at 7:54am
post #14 of 17
My 724 Pro's are flat w/P-14's and one of my go too,  hard snow skis.  Sure, there are better skis now, but they work just fine. 
post #15 of 17
 Goats and Mantras would be a great 2 ski quiver for CO (my haunting ground also).

I also suggest the Elan 888 with the 1010 as a great one two punch (and probably the best bang for the buck).
post #16 of 17
As one who is about your same size and ability, and one who has owned 724Pros, Top Fuels, Stockli XXL's, Head iM 82s & im78s, Gotamas, Mantras and a myriad of others, price is going to be your biggest obstacle to some that have been suggested. Not that they can't be found but staying within your budget($400-800 for both pair with bindings could be a challenge.)
Your Gotamas will serve you well; for your second pair I would probably look in the 77-88 mm waist range. The 724 Pro is/was a very good and versatile ski especially given your recent skiing and financial status.
Again with price a consideration, I know there have been some Atomic R-EXs(also known as D$$$)(waist 84mm.)Available around Denver from Denver Wholesale; you would want 170-177cm. These are not great bump skis but will do everything else superbly. My latest pair, I ski with Fritschi Freerides for Randonee and they do very well for all conditions. Other possiblities are older Head iM 82s, Rossi B3s, K2 XPs/Recons,etc. Some Bears may not agree with some of these choices but they've all been chosen as top skis in mag reviews in their day. Again price and availability.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help, everyone. The Head Monster im82s/im77s/etc. are out - looks like for the same $200+remounting/tuning I can get two pairs of skis that are a bit more snow/mood specific that will perform better in each of their respective conditions.

Went ahead with the 724 Pros in 177cm for $100 - the guy is tuning them for me. Low number of days (3 seasons, and a pair in a 3-quiver set). Decided to buck up and also pick up a pair of either K2 PEs or Dynastar Trouble Makers, that can be found for around $150 after remounting/tuning. Due to the abundant availability of these models on craigslist, I'm going to reserve my judgement as to which one until I get some time on these skis to find out whether a softer (TM) or a stiffer (PE) ski would be a better fit to fill the hole for my fun, quick, mogul-ish ski. Any pre-trial advice here? Also, any suggestions on whether I should go with 165/169 or 175/179s for this kind of ski?

For older snow days, I'll choose the 724s if I feel like cruising/charging steeps, or the PEs/TMs if I feel like goofing around in trees and bumps or snappy turns on groomers. For light powder days, I'll choose the PEs/TMs if I feel like steep, very tight tree/chute skiing or goofing around, and the Goats for everything else, perhaps the 724s on really light days if I feel like serious charging or have a quick-edge-to-edge craving. For heavier powder and crud days it'll probably just be the Goats, or maybe the PEs/TMs if I'm up at a place like Steamboat where I want to play around in really tight trees and feel like riding the waves up and down (less float).

Looks like I've been bitten by the quiver-bug. I'm definitely looking forward to an adventure with a variety of skis for the first time in my life. It should also help me better narrow down what kind of ski I really would love to own for future purchases by exposing me to such a variety.

Maybe I'll see some of you folks on the mountains. Bring on the dumps!
Edited by Brian Lindahl - 11/2/09 at 4:30pm
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