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Old school expert needs new equipment

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am 46yo 180 lbs. I am an expert skier who enjoys bumps and short radius turns. I was a ski instructor for many years so my form and skills are much better than most. I have a pair of 1984 Atomic Slalom skinny skis size 207 cm. Believe it or not I have skied many times on outer limits at Killington with these skis. Its time for some new equipment. I know very little about shape skis but i now need something that I can turn easier than my old 207's. A 1/2 day skiing and my legs are shot. I'm planning a trip to Killington this winter with the family and need something that won't kill my legs.  I ski mostly groomed trails now but still want to be able to hit the bums a little.  Since I only ski on the east coast I need something that can hold on icy conditions.  Please include size recomendations in your answer. TIA
post #2 of 17
Head Supershape Magnum 177cm.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Why Whiteroom?  I need to learn about the new equipment.
post #4 of 17
yeah magnums rock! i would even look for an older head carver you can catch some savings like xrc 1100. i like this deal ive been sharing ( i want um) and would be just like the magnum but thinner under foot.

think snow
post #5 of 17
Because it is an unwritten rule that people only recommend the ski that's "in" this year.
post #6 of 17
I have just picked up the new Dynastar sultan 85,   I ski hard pack, glacier bumps and heavey powder here in Alyeska in Alaska and also spend a week each year at Alta.  Translation -lots or variation.  The sultans are an expert skiers ski and recomended to Eastern all mountain ski.  Give them a look.  
     I too like the short radius ski and these are 16 meters so you will crank the turns yet it is stable at speed they say.  I am 55 and am interested in checking speed through the shoots and bumps yet have a energetic ski.  These I hope will fit the bill.

post #7 of 17
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

Because it is an unwritten rule that people only recommend the ski that's "in" this year.

Yeah, Head is so 'Hot' right now...

Anyhoo... why that particular ski? Well you are on an old Atomic ARC SL, that had a very 'Austrian' feel to it, a smooth damp quiet yet muscular feel. That has gotten a bit rare. Skis are getting easier and easier to ski (not a bad thing)... but for you it might be. Here's the deal- you are used to an old ski that is now very, very unlike what you will 'feel' on modern skis. Most of us have been through numerous pairs of skis as designs shifted so for us it was a somewhat 'gradual change'. We bought (or at least tried) lighter weight skis, like foam core Dynastars for instance, we tried cap skis. then we tried shaped skis in slightly shorter lengths, then even shorter more shaped skis then wider twintip skis then even wider skis... oh yeah, no one skis 'race' skis anymore as their primary skis (OK, I know a few jack-asses do, but I know people who ride scooters. Just because someone 'does' something doesn't make it a good idea).

Do you see where I'm going?

New gear will be shocking in how different it is. The Magnum is a ski that is a wood-metal-laminate ski (similar feel to your Atomic), it has plenty of sidecut and is a modern length and design, but it won't be totally alien feeling.
post #8 of 17
Originally Posted by AKskiman22 View Post

I too like the short radius ski and these are 16 meters so you will crank the turns yet it is stable at speed they say. 


He (the OP) is on a 207cm ski with a 50 meter turn radius.
post #9 of 17
Originally Posted by notashoobie View Post

Why Whiteroom?  I need to learn about the new equipment.

Actually you don't.

You are going from a Horse and Carriage and looking at modern cars. You don't need to know how internal combustion works, you need to get yourself a car that won't hurt you or hold you back and you need to go figure out how to drive it.

If you do want to figure it out, then demo, demo, demo.
post #10 of 17
Just to pipe in:  I too am (was?) an old-school expert.  "If your skis aren't clacking together, you're not doing it right."  I got involved in Corporate Cup racing (think Nastar) four years ago, and found my old K2 VO Slaloms definitely lacking.  I came across a very good deal on some Head iSL skis (180cm, 15m radius) and bought those. 

It took me a couple seasons to really get the carving down -- laying down two trenches w/o skidding.  I still have my feet too close together, but I'm working on that too...

All this to make two points:
  1. It is a completely different way of skiing from what you're used to.  There *will* be a learning curve.
  2. Demo.  Try different skis that fit into the niche you're expecting to ski in (frontside, backside, groomed, bumps, etc.).
I had never been a fan of groomed slopes, but now I can't get enough of 'em.  :D

- Eric
post #11 of 17
HEAD Supershapes, the Stockli Laser SC, and the Volkl Tigersharks are good choices.  But everything has changed since you last skied, and the typical 207 CM SL ski you used is now good for nothing.  You may want a wider ski with the waist in the mid-70's.  Above that you will have to change your technique too much to carve.   With the new skis you will literally crank your knees and they will carve.  In other words, you will not get as tired.   You can actually ski the above skis in the new SL length (165 cm) up to 177cm and be fine, probably below 173 cm if you like moguls.  That is right, the guys with the tree-trunk legs are skiing 165 CM SL skis on the World Cup (the rules won't let them go smaller).

Many of the new skis are sold with sintered racing bases.  They should be waxed. Side bevels are now 2 degrees or more for carving skis.  You old 90 degree file guide won't cut it.   If you want to keep your old boots, considered replacing the old liners (that are probably shot to hell sitting in your garage) with Intuition liners. 

I work out on the Skier's Edge starting mid-October every year and my legs don't tire.  You may want to check it out...or hit the gym.  I am much older than you and have no problem skiing most of the day.  I do, however, get my legs in shape for two months before the season
post #12 of 17
I am you a couple of years ago but on the left coast and older (chasing 60).  You are about to have your skiing world rocked!  Went through the change of ski life 3 years ago and been having a blast.


If you have not skied any of the new stuff yet, take a day or two and demo first, the variety today will positively blow you away.  As always the different brands have different general characteristics, so feel out a couple of brands, the majors are all good it comes down to preferences.  I did not demo first,  and took the advice of a 'pro' at a local specialty shop.  Wasted $600, but have a near new pair of rock skis now.  2nd try was a longer pair of Atomic Crimsons (an all mountain ski), much better.  You will probably end up with something between eye height and top of head.

First day out with the new toys would strongly recommend you take lesson, it will astronomically increase the fun factor for you.  An hour will probably get you near the groove.  Forget pride think of it as a clinic, but these things really do respond to different things than the old straight skis, and a good pro can help you dial it in quickly.  If you value your free time as I do it will pay a huge return.

Be very careful with these things it is very easy to get a goofy smile stuck on your face that you can't get off.  Enjoy.
post #13 of 17
I think I'm agreeing with Whiteroom here (although he might pop in and disagree) but I don't think you need to demo.  I think I was in a similar situation last year except I was just starting out and didn't have to "unlearn" much of my technique.  I simply bought a newish pair of skis that were nicely reviewed, and learned to use them last year and get comfortable on them.  I think the skills do apply across skis, but the one time I tried a different ski I was befuddled by the equipment and my technique suffered.  That might be good for a more advanced user, but when you're really focusing on technique, I think one should just have one pair of skis that you can rely on through the bulk of the learning curve.  So I don't think demoing at this point will do much good since you will be trying to learn to use the ski at the same time you are demoing and it just won't be very productive.  And who's to say the ski you prefer is really the best one to learn on.  Perhaps you prefer it because it permits old school technique instead of pushing you into "new school".

So I'd just recommend following the advice of experienced people here and then next year (or later this year if you really pick it up quickly) you can start to demo and feel out the differences in skis.  

Also, there's a thread by quickfoot that's a little dated but he gives some nice info on how he thinks some popular skis perform in the bumps and also suggests how a ski of particular characteristics handles the bumps. 
post #14 of 17

I'll just echo Whiteroom's suggestion.  I'm a rep for Head (so my opinion may be suspect), but I think the Head SuperShape Magnum is one of the smoothest and most versatile high performance skis out there.  I ski it as my everyday ski here in Jackson Hole anytime it hasn't snowed or when there's new snow of less than about 6".   

It's not so technical that it's going to kick your butt on every turn if your weight's not in the perfect place, but it will also reward you with very high performance (and huge smiles) as you develop the new turning skills that skis like this make possible.  For an Eastern skier in particular, I think it's a nearly perfect choice.

Stranger puts is perfectly above.  These new skis allow a completely different way of making a turn.  Learning how to take advantage of the new technology is just a blast.  Your eyes will be opened.

If demoing is a viable option for you, ten by all means get on some different models.  If it's not, the Magnum is a great choice (as is the Stockli Laser SC, the Volkl Tigershark.  I haven't skied the Dynastar Sultan 85, but I've skied some predecessor models and loved them.  There are so many GREAT modern skis out there.

Here's a link to several EpicSki reviews (mine included) of the SuperShape Magnum:  http://www.epicski.com/products/head-supershape-magnum-skis/reviews

post #15 of 17
I agree with all of the above recommendations above about DEMOs!  You absolutely will not be prepared for the radical difference that shaped skis will make and the only way to really find out is go out and demo as many different skis as you can.  All of the classifications are completely different that what you're used to; now there are race, all-mountain, free ride, freestyle, high performance, all-round, etc.

I'll be 59 before this season starts and have been skiing for 30+ years.  I stopped for about 5 years from 1993 to 1998 and shaped skis happened while I was away.  What a huge difference!  Even after being off for 5 years I was able to ski all day, every day on our 8-9 day ski trips.  My wife and I rented demos for years at every resort that we went to so they were always the latest models.

You don't mention your height which is pretty critical for length suggestions.  I'm 5' 9" 160-170 lbs and I used to ski 198 skinny skis.  On shaped skis I ski 170cmcm.  Unless you just want to do high speed cruising on blue runs (unlikely given your background) go shorter rather than longer, especially since you're getting closer to 50.

Don't buy skis just for your Killington trip.  Every resort I've been to has several slopeside ski rental shops that rent high performance demo skis.  You can rent them for a week and try out a different pair every day if you want.  You won't be sorry!
post #16 of 17

As others have said demo, demo, demo. I stopped skiing before getting hooked on shape skis as well. When I started again I did what you are considering, picked up some reasonable shape skis (atomic metrons) and headed out to the hills. A little re-learning and I was having blast chasing the kids around the groomers and stealing away to the steeps or bumps whenever I could. As the kids got older and better I decided to upgrade. I demo'd a bunch of skis and I was absolutely floored by most of the skis that were geared to the terrain that I prefer (freeride). For the terrain and conditions I was skiing the demo'd skis were heads and tails above the Atomics. Bottom line is it's a whole new game out there, try a bunch and I bet a few will clearly stand out for you. Probably even give the comfort and confidence to easily accelerate you back to where you used to ski. I skied very hard in my 20's and at 42 now, I still ski the same terrain but manage to hold a much better line and it's not from my physical conditioning!

good luck.....demo

post #17 of 17
Demoing is good, but be sure you don't take the results seriously until you've adapted to shaped skis.
Your tastes will change rapidly at first.

The biggest problem I had adapting was traverses (by which I mean the paths through the woods, not going across an open slope).  My unweighted uphill ski wanted to hook up and fly off the track at random moments.  But I got over that fairly quickly.

Still, it took a couple of seasons to really take advantage of the differences.
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