EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Mini Review - – Nordica Mach 4, Volkl Gotama, Icelantic Shaman
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Mini Review - – Nordica Mach 4, Volkl Gotama, Icelantic Shaman

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I skied Halloween at Loveland and demoed 3 skis. (There’s a trip report here www.epicski.com/forum/thread/87386/loveland-on-halloween.)  Conditions were man made with some new snow that was packed but still nice.  For context, the skis I own are the Rossi B3 and the K2 Coomba (and I share a Fischer WC4 slalom ski with my son).
I started off on a slalom ski, the Nordica Mach 4 Power in a 178 length (121-74-106). 

The shorter lengths have 13 m radius, but this one says 15.8 meters.  Still pretty tight. This is a good ski, but to be honest I don’t see a lot of personality differences among skis in this class. But then again, I'm not racing and my reaction time or commitment or something isn’t sufficient to get as big angles as I would like on these skis. After about an hour I got tired of making very short turns. Though they did seem to run well in longer turns, recent threads about potential safety issues made me think it was time to trade to something meant to make bigger turns.
Next was the 178 Volkl Gotama (137-106-122).

This based on a recommendation from someone I rode the chair with, who was on these skis. This was the first time I had been on a rockered ski, and the first time on a Gotama from any year. Wow! What a ski. Once you lay it over enough that the whole edge is touching, it makes beautiful turns. Turning it was effortless. And it even looks pretty – I like this years graphics. I can only imagine what it would be like in soft snow.
The Gotama wants to be ridden with even front-back weighting and soft flexing boots. At first I wasn’t weighting the inside ski enough and it tended to wander, but that only took a run to figure out. As you might guess, the ski is a little vague for small turns (like threading through the crowd at the top of the lift) but it is not a big deal. For real turns I found it very easy to get big angles on this ski.
At 2 pm I decided I ought to use my third choice. I wanted to try the Gotama in a longer length to do a head-to-head comparison and see how much difference length made. Unfortunately, someone else had taken the longer pair out in the meantime. So I asked the shop guys to give me something weird.
What I got was the Icelantic Shaman (184). (160-110-130)

This ski has a huge shovel. At first I had a little trouble with it grabbing, but then I figured out it wanted to be skied with a significant amount of front-weighting. When I stiffened up my boots that made it easier to use. (Wait – you guys on modern boots don’t have on-the-hill forward flex stiffness adjustment, do you? Your loss.) Once I got used to it this ski worked well also, and wasn’t too hard to get big angles on too. But it definitely was more work, physically and mentally, than the Gotamas. It also seemed harder to progressively engage the Shamans – I had more of a tendency to set an angle and ride it through the whole turn. 

Since I got home, I found this on the Icelantic web site: "With a truly unique shape and design, The Shaman balances the skier’s weight allowing a forward, powerful powder turn unlike anything you have ever believed possible."  So I guess I figured the trick out correctly.

Torwards the end of the day, small proto-bumps started to form along the edge of the run under chair 6. Based on that limited experiment, I think the Shamans would do pretty well in real bumps.

The only run I really went fast was my second to last, when I wanted to make last chair. The Shamans ran very well turning just enough to keep them on edge. Very stable at speed, and that big shovel sliced nicely through surface variations. In retrospect, I should have tried a fast run on the Gotamas to see how they took it, but I didn’t think of it.
Summary: Mach 4 – a competent short radius carver. Gotama – wow.  A great ski.  Could be a daily driver, even on hard pack.  Shaman – different and fun, but probably too much work to ski every day (unless you go fast all the time) -- but then I realize it is not meant for these conditions.
post #2 of 9
 What is nice about the new Gotama is that it still actually has some shape, so in mixed conditions and even hardpack it can actually be skied. 
post #3 of 9
What do you weigh? How tall are you? Would you play with different lengths? How would you guess  the Gotama changes in handling as it scales? Did you try skiing it switch at all?
post #4 of 9
Is it me or does it look like both the Goat and Shaman are mounted pretty far rearward?
post #5 of 9
I knew I forgot something --  do you know which mark your midsole was on?
post #6 of 9
From looking at the photo:
it appears as if the ski has an asymetrical sidecut and where that binding is in the op's photo is pretty close to where you'd want it. That's pretty general though.
post #7 of 9
Tog, the sidecut on the shaman is pretty dramtic for the dims but it's not asymetrical. The mount points are bit back for my tastes. I usually end up about +1 or +2 (forward from BC) on all of them in longer lengths. My 168's Nomads were BC and my 173 Shamans were +1. My pilgrims and 181 Nomads are +2.  That makes the front of the ski easier to manage with all that sidecut. Especially on the Shaman.
post #8 of 9
I have 2008, 173 Shamans. At 6', 227 lbs I still found excellent float in waist deep powder, quick turns through trees and easily maneuvered through soft bumps. Surprising they were very manageable on soft groomers. Definately worked best with a slightly forward stance.

If you get a chance to retry with a shorter length, you should the skis much less work creating bigger smiles. 

I also own 2008, 184 Goats and also a blast but more of a big turn ski compared to my 173 Shamans
Falcon_O aka Chatlie
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

What do you weigh? How tall are you? Would you play with different lengths? How would you guess  the Gotama changes in handling as it scales? Did you try skiing it switch at all?

I am 5'10" and 210 pounds (yikes! how did that happen?). 

I was a bit disappointed that my "clever" idea to compare lengths did not work out;  I don't remember ever comparing different lengths of the same ski back to back.  On the other hand, I'm not sure that one length up would be enough difference to make an obvious difference.  I guess I could have skied a really short one, cause they did have that one in the rack.

The only time I skied backwards was to take pictures, and that was so slow and straight that I wouldn't dignify it with the description "switch".

I did not think to ask about mount points (or to look closely).  I don't know if the full resolution version of the pics would show.  I suppose if someone really cared they could call the shop and ask.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Mini Review - – Nordica Mach 4, Volkl Gotama, Icelantic Shaman