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All Mountain Ski advice

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Dear EpicSki Community,

I'm in the market for an all-mountain ski, and wanted get some thoughts from others to see if I'm on the right track. I've done plenty of research over the last several weeks (including much if it by reading forums on this site; thanks everyone) and have narrowed the selection down to Head 78's or Head 82's (either iM's if I end up getting an older version, or Peak if I decide to go new) that I am interested in. Not only have they gotten great reviews on this site, but seem to be just a good all around ski from what I can tell.

Let me tell you a little about myself, so you can get an idea of where I'm coming from: I'm 27 years old, 5'8", 160lbs, and would consider myself a solid level 7 skier with high aspirations. I live in Michgan, and grew up learning how to ski on the "hills" around here, but just started going out west a couple years ago to visit a friend who lived in Vail, and have skied all the surrounding mountains in that immediate area. Going out west really re-kindled my love for skiing, and I now look forward to at least getting out west (or east; another friend of mine just moved to Vermont) a couple times a year; we'll say maybe 10 days a year on the mountain. I'm planning on Park City at the end of January for 6 days this year, and wanted to grab new gear before then. I decided since this is something I'll be doing for the rest of my life, it'd be worth it to finally buy my own skis, and would pay for themselves in just a couple years. Up until this point, I've always rented.

I'm always trying to keep up with my buddies who live out west and ride all year long, who love the back country powder tree runs. It took me a few times to get used to it, but now I can hang with them threw the pow and tree's, the thought of which sometimes keeps me up at night with excitiment. These off-piste runs are what I look forward to skiing, and why I go out west in the first place, although blazing down the groomers is still fun to me too.

Like I said earlier, I'm liking the Head 78's or Head 82's, which seem to be a good all mountain ski. I like that Head is made in the USA (Right?), and although its not a huge factor, I like the graphics on the head more than other brands, and figure if I'm dropping $1000+ on gear, I should like how they look too.

Right now, the 78's seem to be the more logical choice to me, because although I wish I could have all powder days, the fact is that I only am gonna have limited time out west, and in reality, will probably only have a couple good powder days if I'm lucky. I want something that will stay up in the powder, but that also has some grip on the steeps. I also would like a ski thats not too stiff and hard to turn, but not flimsy either; but I know you can't have it all : )

I'm probably looking at getting a ski from the past season or two to save a little cash, so I'm looking more at the Monsters than the new peaks. I'd prefer to buy the skis with the bindings mounted, but it looks like I'll also need to buy those separate (I'm looking at mojo 11's to go with the head skis).

Although I'd love to demo the skis first, there just isn't many places around here in lower Michigan to do that, so odds are I'm just going to end up buying these skis online somewhere and hoping for the best.

Any advice that anyone has for me would be much appreciated; whether to just let me know that I'm on the right track, or make other reccomendations of gear for me to check out.

Thanks for taking the time to read this LONG post (I felt the more details, the better advice I'd get) and happy riding!!!



post #2 of 13
A few years ago I bought a pair of IM 78s and love them (I demoed both).  I am 5'10 150 and probably around your level of skier.  I like how the 78 holds an edge and comes around quick but at the same time, when you get a nice powder day on them, you wish you had a bit more underfoot.  If you do not mind a tiny bit more work moving edge to edge, I think you would make up for it in the powder. Especially if you are trying to hang in the trees.  I may even suggest the 88s if you really love the pow runs.  My two cents.  I am sure other members can give you tons of info.
post #3 of 13

It sounds like you're in a similar situation to me, looking for a good pair of skis that you can grow into. If you're skiing in Colorado/Utah, you should consider some wider skis. Wider skis will serve you better when you want to go off the groomers into the bowls. Also, assuming that you don't go too wide, you won't be giving up much (if any) grip and edge hold on groomers/icy runs. 

Take a look at the Blizzard Magnum 8.7. I demo'd these a few weeks ago at Loveland Ski Area and was blown away at how well these skis gripped groomed runs and even ice. I don't think that I slipped/skidded once. There wasn't enough snow to test them out off-piste, but, with an 87 mm underfoot, they should handle much better off the groomers than the skis that you're looking at. Needless to say, I was sold after trying the 8.7's out and will be buying a pair.

 

post #4 of 13
I agree with xDaunt. My daily skis now are 88 underfoot and carve quite nicely. You see nothing but rave reviews for the Monster 88 (since you seem to like the Head line) and Blizzard & Nordica also get very favorable comments on their skis around that width.
And, if I may philosophize just a bit, 10 years from now you will far better remember the additional fun you had on those deep-powder tree runs  than the occasional skid on Michigan ice.
post #5 of 13
Hope you don't mind any derail, but.....

I'm in a similar situation. I just moved to NorCal from the midwest. I got to be probably a 6-7 level skiier over the course of several trips to Vail/Beaver Creek/Keystone. Now I want to start heading up to Tahoe, as well as make it out to CO once this year. I've been looking at some of the advice in this thread, as well as Dynastar Legend Mythics and maybe even Volkl AC30s. Any advice? I like jimintokyos advice that I should get something a touch wider; I want to be able to maximize any powder days I might hit.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Right on guys, thanks. And you are right, Jimi!

So it sounds like everyone is saying go a little wider... After reading these replies, I looked at some reviews for the 88's and they do look nice. One thing that threw me off though is that from what I've read, the 88's are a little stiffer with a larger turning radius? I don't want flexible grandpa skis, but I also don't wanna kill myself trying to make short turns in the woods either. I think at this point, I'm down to the 82's or 88's based upon what everyone has said here, and it doesn't sound like either choice will make a HUGE difference...

Its funny for me to think about... I mean, how much difference can a few millimeters make?

I think I'll probably just look for the best deal and let that help me to decide. Beside e-bay, which I found to have a limited selection, anyone got any recommendations for websites with good ski deals???

Consigliere, I did look into the Volkls quite a bit, and the grizzly was actually the original ski I started to research. From what I found, Volkl makes a stiffer ski which seems to be more suited for bigger, heavier guys, or if you just wanna bomb it down the hill. Also, if its a factor for you, the Volkl AC 30's aren't twin tipped, which I found to be kinda turn off. Not that i'm blazing downhill backwards, but its nice to have the option.
post #7 of 13
FYI, apparently this year's Peak 88 is softer than the older iM88;
http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/88116/according-to-the-head-rep

This will make certainly make them a bit easier going and somewhat more 'turnier' than previously I would imagine.
Sounds like the Dynastar Sultan at 85 underfoot could be a nice fit for you too - read lots of good things, you should have a look.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsp1ns View Post

One thing that threw me off though is that from what I've read, the 88's are a little stiffer with a larger turning radius? I don't want flexible grandpa skis, but I also don't wanna kill myself trying to make short turns in the woods either. I think at this point, I'm down to the 82's or 88's based upon what everyone has said here, and it doesn't sound like either choice will make a HUGE difference...
 
post #8 of 13
 Since you are looking at Dynastar... Mythic is really a western ski, made to ski crud and everything else off-piste. It does groomed well, but it is not at home there. So if you live in Michigan, you may want to have something more "carvey".  I have not tested the Sultan 85, but I heard very good things about it.  Good graphics too, much better than Head's
post #9 of 13
 I wouldn't recommend the Monster 88 unless you wanted a brute of a ski and were prepared to drive it hard.  That ski does not have a low gear.  I have no idea about the Peak replacement, though reviews from last spring made it sound like a dud.  The iM82 is a great ski if you want something smooth and easygoing, and it's one of my favorite skis in recent years (you can find older models for about $350, and they have been showing up on www.tramdock.com/ recently).  The Sultan 85 is fantastic, and has all the charge of the iM88 without the required muscle.  It's not as smooth as the iM82, but feels racier.  I like the Sultan quite a bit out of all the 09-10 skis I have tried.

If you want to go wider, the Head Mojo 94 (that was last year's name, I think it's the John or Jimmy this year) is a fun easygoing ski.  Though, it lacks the refinement of the iM82 and definitely the Sultan.  The 94 has also been on Tramdock recently for about $330.

BTW, most Heads are made in Voralberg, Austria.
post #10 of 13
dawgcatching appears to have mythic riders in your size for pretty cheap. I bought my IM78s from him, great service, great prices. look up his 2009 closeouts.

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/87232/dawgcatching-lookin-to-move-some-2009-product/0

he also has reviews of most of the skis you are looking at, I remember the IM82 at least.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post

 I wouldn't recommend the Monster 88 unless you wanted a brute of a ski and were prepared to drive it hard.  That ski does not have a low gear.  I have no idea about the Peak replacement, though reviews from last spring made it sound like a dud.  The iM82 is a great ski if you want something smooth and easygoing, and it's one of my favorite skis in recent years (you can find older models for about $350, and they have been showing up on www.tramdock.com/ recently).  The Sultan 85 is fantastic, and has all the charge of the iM88 without the required muscle.  It's not as smooth as the iM82, but feels racier.  I like the Sultan quite a bit out of all the 09-10 skis I have tried.

If you want to go wider, the Head Mojo 94 (that was last year's name, I think it's the John or Jimmy this year) is a fun easygoing ski.  Though, it lacks the refinement of the iM82 and definitely the Sultan.  The 94 has also been on Tramdock recently for about $330.

BTW, most Heads are made in Voralberg, Austria.
I skied the Peak 88 yesterday in a few inches of crud, and it was, IMO, better than the old Monster 88.  Keep in mind I am only 150lbs, and it wasn't icy.  Most of the complaints I have heard have related to lack of edgehold (not really an issue around here) and softer flex. I loved the softer flex: no loss in stability for me (I was hauling ass most of the day) and a better flex than the old 88 for crudbusting and soft bumps.  Extremely smooth, and the tail had plenty of energy for an 88mm ski. This ski made me a better skier; I wasn't getting pushed around too much when I made a mistake, and could push it hard without it falling apart, and it liked more aggressive edge angles and energy. I was expecting to hate it, and I can see how bigger skiers who liked the older, really stiff iM88 wouldn't think it was an improvement, but for me, it was probably the most fun mid-width ski I have tried in quite some time. 

A total surprise, but a big 2 thumps up from me.  Perhaps it was just skiing some new snow and getting away from the crusty snow we had been skiing, but I would say that the ski at least played a part in my skiing quite well.  The graphics suck though; definitely not the ski to impress your friends.  
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by calski14 View Post

dawgcatching appears to have mythic riders in your size for pretty cheap. I bought my IM78s from him, great service, great prices. look up his 2009 closeouts.

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/87232/dawgcatching-lookin-to-move-some-2009-product/0

he also has reviews of most of the skis you are looking at, I remember the IM82 at least.

 

Thanks for the props calski14! We still have the Mythics, and they are great skis for that wider all-mountain flex; not too soft, not too stiff, great crudbuster and wider GS-feeling ski.  No more iM82's, but we have the current Peak 82 (same ski, new name); current special is a free binding (Mojo 12 or PX12) throw in with ski purchase.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the posts fellas.

Heads are made in Austria, eh? Funny. Not that I care too much, but in these tough economic times, I try to buy local (especially being from Michigan and all).

After doing some more reasearch last night about the 88's, I kinda agree with skier219; it might be just a little too much ski for what I'm used to/looking for. I think if I were living out west, it would be a different story and probably be the best all mountain choice, but for what I'm going to use it for, I'm not sure it'd be best.

I'm intrigued by the Sultan 85 and Mythics, and will have to look into those. Pending some big discovery though, I'm pretty sold on the iM 82's, although I'm surprise to hear you say they are "easy going"; some other websites I read said they are for bigger, heavier guys, which I am not. But everyone has a different interpretation I guess, and I'm just trying to read between the lines. 

Dawgcatcher, any chance you can order some more iM 82's? Or are you totally sold out, or it wouldn't be worth it for you? Its not that I don't want the new peak 82's, its just that they are going to be more expensive, not to mention the less cool graphics. What is up with that by the way? Head went from intense graphic and artistic design, to what looks like the laziest and lamest graphics on the peak line I've seen. I mean, it seems like these companies would provide at least some more graphic options considering the price. Not that graphics have anything to do with performance, but I doubt many people would buy a corvette if it looked like a dodge stratus....

That said, thats why I'm more interested in last year's monsters than the new ones; price and looks. Let me know if anyone's got the hook.....
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