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K2 Xplorer '09, Dynastar Legend 8000 '09, or Rossignol Phantom SC80

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
A few facts on me:

Height: 5'10
Weight: 180
Level: 7 (Intermediate/Advanced) east coast, mid-atlantic, skiier with occasional skiing out west.

I want a versitile all mountain ski with 90% of my skiing being done in the east in WV and PA. I want enough waist for the occasional trips out west but also versitile enough to hit the moguls in the east and handle the wet/icy conditions.  

My local shop (Ski Chalet in Arlington, VA) gave me the following options. Please feel free to analyse the current selection while also providing any other options that would work in my situation:

K2 Apache Xplorer 2009 with Marker 12.0 Bindings (172/84)
Dynastar Legend 8000 2009 with Look Bindings (172/80)
Rossignol Phantom SC80 2009 with Look Bindings (175/80)

TIA all
post #2 of 21
None of the above.

You'll get the full explanation when I post my ski reviews this week.  I demo'd 18 different pairs of skis over the past two days.  My recommendation for any East coast skier looking for skis with the best hard-pack/ice grip is to go with something from Volkl or Atomic - Blizzard wasn't too bad either.  Almost all of the the Rossis, Dynastars, and K2s pretty much get a fail from me when it came to hard snow grip - they're just not in the same league.
post #3 of 21
Here are some things for you to consider. Having lived in the east for four years, I can certainly testify that edge grip is important. To get said edge grip, a ski needs to be stiff torsionally and usually pretty stiff overall. To go along with, that adequate dampening is a good quality as well.

However, the black fly in the Maple is that the very things that give one great grip, can also make the ski less tractable in moguls where you have to skid your turns more than carve them. Also, the very stiffness that makes some skis great on the very hardest conditions can make them considerably less fun in many softer western conditions.

For all skiers, making a ski choice involves compromises. The more a ski is geared toward ice pick edge grip, the more it will compromise in other, softer conditions. The flip side is that the more a ski is geared toward softer snow, the less grip and precision you will get when the snow is at it's very hardest.

I can't tell you what your priorities will end up being. You may opt for that ice pick thing or you may compromise a bit of that in favor of the versatility that you mentioned. IAC there are many skis that could work quite well for you and WADR to Noodler, they are not all made by Atomic or Volkl.

SJ
post #4 of 21

Buy the ski you need for where you ski regularly; rent in the West. Some airline's going to make you pay to check skis one day and you'll curse yourself for not renting.

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Sierra Jim:

I went to the link at the bottom of your post and found a nice deal on the Blizzard Magnum 8.1 skis in 172. Can you give me a description of this ski/how they might compare to the models i checked out at my local shop? I feel very wary about considering a ski without first getting my paws on it to at least feel its flex and see it in person...
post #6 of 21
Of the three you mentioned, the L8K is the better hard snow choice with the Phantom and the Explorer being more soft snow biased. The Mag 8.1 is on the stiffer side of the scale relative to the Legend but not all the way to the stiffest. As such is a a bit of a compromise down from the ice pick feel of some Atomics or Volkls skis. OTH, it is not all the way to the softer side like the Explorer or the Phantom. If you go back to that product offer and open the page a little farther (click more details), you will find a fairly long review that I think describes the compromises involved in this type of ski pretty well. Keep in mind that while the Mag was a bit recalcitrant in chalky winter bumps.....there are skis that are much worse without being a ton better on the hard stuff.

I like the L8K a lot and have advocated it for years as a versatile all around ski. Having said that, the Mag 8.1 is probably a better eastie ski.

SJ
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks SJ
post #8 of 21
Is there a reason you are only considering skis from last year?  The Legend 8K was a pretty dated ski; you may be better served on the Sultan 80 or 85. The 85 especially has great edgehold and is stiff torsionally, while not skiing like a 2x4.  I skied the 8.1 today, it is a great ski, but in softer bumps and crud, it is a pretty stiff ski. I like my pair for groomer duty, but would probably say the Sultan 85 is more versatile.

The Explorer is a pretty good ski, I haven't skied the Rossi.  There are lots of good skis out there, not just Volkl or Atomic.  Let's see: Stockli, Kastle, Atomic, Elan, Head, Fischer, Dynastar, Rossi, Volkl, Blizzard and Nordica all make real race skis used in the WC, and so I am sure they have the know-how to make a ski that is suitable enough for a recreational east-coast skier.  Perhaps it was that the Volkl and Atomic reps actually cared enough to tune their gear the night before, and the other reps didn't?  Having done a ton of industry demos over the year, I can say without a doubt that the tune on the ski is EVERYTHING.  For years, the some of the very best skis at our regional demos were always Blizzard. Then, the Blizzard rep became the Elan rep, and everybody starts raving about the Elans.  Some of the other reps just took the skis out of the wrapper, threw a binding on there, and called it good.  Well, that lack of care shows up on the hill.  There is a difference between a kind-of 1 degree base bevel from the factory (with no bevel at the tip and tail, and maybe a 1 degree side, or a 2 degree side-who knows?) and a ski ground flat that has been given a .7 tip to tail, and a 2 degree razor-sharp edge bevel throught the side. Ski B will ski better, pretty  much no matter the brand.  Skiing on hard snow is so exacting, and the forces so great, that a poorly tuned ski won't even perform at an acceptable level.
post #9 of 21
All the tunes were good this time around (at least upon visual inspection).  Of course I didn't pull out any measuring tools!

Sorry if you guys think my advice comes on too strong, but I'm just passing along my own personal observations and experiences based on 2 days of skiing some CO ice.  We get to ski softer conditions in CO the majority of the time, but I still want a ski that's going to hold well when things get sketchy.  The implication that a ski that holds well will then have to suck on softer conditions is pure garbage.

The common idea that's continually given on this site is that all skis are good and any of them will do the job for you.  I disagree - completely.  Sometimes it's OK to say a ski sucks.  Here try it for yourself - say it aloud "the Rossi Avenger 82 Ti sucks".  Now don't you feel better?
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
I am only looking at '09 ski's because of the advice my local shop gave me.

I went into the shop looking to buy the Sultan 85... The guy at the shop agreed that the 85 was a good ski for what I am trying to do, but that the Xplorer would do everything for about 40% of the price... Then upon further inspection I found the 8000 for even less... Year to year I figured there was not much difference in models, and for the price, i thought the 8k was the better investment than the Sultan 85 (I think i read that the 8k last recieved a major upgrade in '07, which certainly causes some concern, I obviously I do not want dated tech on my brand new ski).

I agree that it sounds like the 8.1 might not be as versitile as I am looking. Obviously i need something that is stiff enough for ice, but i am more concerned about getting a ski that is flexible enough to be fun in the bumps and that i can take threw the woods.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jedge04 View Post

I am only looking at '09 ski's because of the advice my local shop gave me.

I went into the shop looking to buy the Sultan 85... The guy at the shop agreed that the 85 was a good ski for what I am trying to do, but that the Xplorer would do everything for about 40% of the price... Then upon further inspection I found the 8000 for even less... Year to year I figured there was not much difference in models, and for the price, i thought the 8k was the better investment than the Sultan 85 (I think i read that the 8k last recieved a major upgrade in '07, which certainly causes some concern, I obviously I do not want dated tech on my brand new ski).

I agree that it sounds like the 8.1 might not be as versitile as I am looking. Obviously i need something that is stiff enough for ice, but i am more concerned about getting a ski that is flexible enough to be fun in the bumps and that i can take threw the woods.
Jedge,

All the people that have replied to you in this thread have way more experience than me, but let me just say the Sultan or the 8k are likely going to work great for what you need. In the 6 seasons I have been back skiing, I have yet to meet a ski I didn't like. Ok, there were those 187 Bluehouse Districts that did disappoint me a bit, but they open my eyes to using longer skis. I am your size and I believe ability and I have found any ski that was well reviewed, that I skied, I liked. Frankly, at our level, all this demo this and demo that really does not matter. Take SJ's word for equipment and I thik you wil be very happy. I am somewhat surprised no one has mentioned some Nordica Nitrous for you. When looking for skis similar to your request, SJ recommend those to me, I bought them in a 178 and really enjoy them when there has been no fresh snow for awhile. They turn very easily and maintain great control, are strong in bumps (but I kind of suck) not my fastest ski (not as stiff), but very enjoyable to use and can often be found for $300-$400 new with bindings at the end of the season. Now $550 was the best I found at: http://www.peterglenn.com/node/42555??utm_source=Shopping&utm_medium=PPC&utm_term=Nordica+Hot+Rod+Nitrous+XBS+Ski+System&utm_campaign=Shopping+Feeds
Edited by liv2 ski - 11/24/09 at 7:39am
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jedge04 View Post

I am only looking at '09 ski's because of the advice my local shop gave me.

I went into the shop looking to buy the Sultan 85... The guy at the shop agreed that the 85 was a good ski for what I am trying to do, but that the Xplorer would do everything for about 40% of the price... Then upon further inspection I found the 8000 for even less... Year to year I figured there was not much difference in models, and for the price, i thought the 8k was the better investment than the Sultan 85 (I think i read that the 8k last recieved a major upgrade in '07, which certainly causes some concern, I obviously I do not want dated tech on my brand new ski).

I agree that it sounds like the 8.1 might not be as versitile as I am looking. Obviously i need something that is stiff enough for ice, but i am more concerned about getting a ski that is flexible enough to be fun in the bumps and that i can take threw the woods.

The only thing that changed on the 8K in '07 was a VERY slight widening of the tip./ I have 06, 08 and 09 8k's, and to be honest, the older ones are still my favorite - just seem a littler snappier.

In any case, you won't go wrong with the 8K from last year. Great ski.
post #13 of 21
The Explorer is one of the better K2s and is quite good at some things, hard snow just isn't one of them. I suspect that you would find that the L8K is significantly better on hard snow than the Explorer. The technology (meaning the build) of the L8K is more or less similar to many other similar skis however the shape is fairly dated. Having said those things, I agree with Scott that the Sultan 85 is even better than the L8K by quite a fair bit. The build is generally similar to the 8K but the shape is very nicely upgraded and the flex balance is improved. Given your criteria and within that width range, I'd put the Sultan right at the top of the heap for versatility.

SJ
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help everyone. I ended up purchasing the 8k and Look PX12 TI (lifted) bindings. Paid $550 at my shop. Certainly could have found a better deal online but wanted to buy local. Paid $375 for the skis and $180 for the bindings. I probably could have found the bindings for half that price on tramdock, but i digress

Thanks again for the help!
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jedge04 View Post

Thanks for all the help everyone. I ended up purchasing the 8k and Look PX12 TI (lifted) bindings. Paid $550 at my shop. Certainly could have found a better deal online but wanted to buy local. Paid $375 for the skis and $180 for the bindings. I probably could have found the bindings for half that price on tramdock, but i digress

Thanks again for the help!
Enjoy - they're great skis.
post #16 of 21
jedge04,

Great ski for what you are wanting to ski. I encourage you to get them tuned properly, which means checking the bases for flatness and beveling the edges. Skis do not come from the factory ready to ski, as most people think.

They perform best with some base edge bevel (.5-1degree) and some side edge bevel (2-3 degrees). Check with the shop you bought them from to see if they have experience doing this, and ask them to do it before you pick them up.  THEN, they will perform the way they were made to.  
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

The common idea that's continually given on this site is that all skis are good and any of them will do the job for you.  I disagree - completely.  Sometimes it's OK to say a ski sucks.  Here try it for yourself - say it aloud "the Rossi Avenger 82 Ti sucks".  Now don't you feel better?
 
It is certainly true that some skis do suck!  No arguing with you there. There are a whole lot of good skis too.  I think it more ski-specific than brand-specific, with the possible exception of a couple of brands that are marketing to certain demographics and or skier types. 
post #18 of 21
 Quite refreshing to see you say that dawg.  Maybe my perception is a bit fuzzy on that lately due to my lack of participation.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post



It is certainly true that some skis do suck!  No arguing with you there. There are a whole lot of good skis too.  I think it more ski-specific than brand-specific, with the possible exception of a couple of brands that are marketing to certain demographics and or skier types. 
 

I'd love to hear the rest of "certain demographics or skier types", such as...... Care to expand?

Truly, I've been on some real stinkers (including some that get mentioned here regularly ), and it's more a ski specific than brand specific thing. I was on some Blizzards a couple of years ago that made me even want for Recons they were so bad, but many of Blizzard's models appear to get love from folks whose opinions I respect. And then there's the B2.....
post #20 of 21
Some skis suck?...................uhhhhhhh..........IMO, notsomuch.

I think making a statement like that overlooks something that should be pretty obvious. There are skis that will suit different needs or even different tastes. There are certainly a lot of skis that I like and a few that I don't. However, those I don't like do not suck, they simply don't fit what I may want out of a ski. 

When I test skis, I usually figure out pretty quickly whether the ski is tuned correctly. After that, I'll be looking to see what it's capabilities are. If it is not great on ice that's fine, I'll go find what the ski IS good at. If it's a little recalcitrant in bumps or short turns, that's all good, I'll try it in some bigger turns or in crud.

At the end of a run or two, I'll have a fair idea of the skier profile that a particular ski will fit. If that profile fits into my sales mix, then I'll buy that ski for my customers. If I do buy it, I'll know who I'm going to sell it to and why.

It has almost nothing to do with whether I like it or not and BTW...........they don't suck.

SJ
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

I can say without a doubt that the tune on the ski is EVERYTHING.  For years, the some of the very best skis at our regional demos were always Blizzard. Then, the Blizzard rep became the Elan rep, and everybody starts raving about the Elans.  Some of the other reps just took the skis out of the wrapper, threw a binding on there, and called it good.  Well, that lack of care shows up on the hill.

This is a great and spot-on comment, dawg. I went through a period a few years ago when I was going out of my way to show up at demo days. Although obviously much better that just caressing skis leaning up against a wall, I came to realize that these events weren't quite as informative as I'd hoped they'd be. What dawg mentions here was number one on the list of reasons why. (Others included inability to score particular models and sizes I was interested in, and the fact that these events invariably are held at the very beginning of the season here in the east, when I may only have had one day or even zero days on the hill and my skills are not at their best.) On one memorable occasion a Head rep handed me a pair of well-reviewed skis I'd been angling for all day - the 1200 SW. My jaw pretty much stuck to the ground when I saw immediately that the bases and edges looked like they'd spent six months rattling around loose in the back of a van with about three dozen other pairs of skis and maybe some garden tools and masonry supplies. What were they thinking? Aren't they being paid in the end to sell skis? Some other brands weren't quite so visibly neglected, but skied poorly on the hill in a way that led me to suspect poor tuning. (One good thing about early season eastern demos is that you're pretty much guaranteed some consistent boilerplate to test edge grip on.) Other skis were perfect-looking and - I could tell - skiing as designed, even if I didn't always love what that meant. Elan has often fallen into this category in my experience.

This summer I attended a similar demo event for mountain bikes being held at one of the local trail networks. Conditions were very wet and slippery. This is not unusual at all for my location, but it was problematic for purposes comparing bikes. After a couple loops on different models someone asked me how things were going. My response was, "Well, I learned which tires I hate." Sort of the same deal with demo days: For amateurs like me it's just really hard to get all the variables constant enough that you can do a meaningful comparison, and tuning is probably the biggest one of these variables.
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