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Dynastar Sultan 80's and Sultan 85's...Need some help deciding!

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone,

I need some help deciding on my new all mountain 2010 ski!  I have narrowed it down to these two skis and could use some advice on which one would be better suited for me.

About me:  I am 29 years old, been skiing about 5 years, 5'9 and 175 pounds.  I ski about 10-12 times per year and would say that I am an intermediate level skier (mostly blues and single blacks)...I still skid some of my turns, I am not overly aggressive, ski at medium speeds, and spend 70%-80% of my time on the groomers but want to start exploring more off piste as I get better.  All in all, I'd say that I am a pretty average skier.  I want something that is going to help build my confidence, continue to help me get better with my turns and using carving to control speed vs. skidding, and something that I can use for a few years.

I live on the east coast and take about 3 trips  2 trips a year to various resorts out west...to places like Colorado, Tahoe, and Canada.  This would be my only set of skis, so it would be nice that they can perform in varied conditions and why I am looking at something 80-85mm underfoot.

I have read great things about the Sultan 85's but I am concerned that this may be a little too much ski for me at this point given my current ability.  My concerns are mostly the width and getting them on edge since I still skid some turns and if they are going to be too stiff for me. 

Getting information and reviews on the Sultan 80's has been more difficult.  I know that they are narrower under foot than the 85's, and according to Dynastar have a much softer in flex and are more of a forgiving ski, but I am curious about edge hold on hardpack, how they actually ski, and if they will be able to handle the trips out west.  I think they may be better suited to my current ability, but I am not sure if this is a ski that I am going to "grow-into."

Any help is much appreciated!

Thanks!

BC
Edited by BeevCreek - 12/29/09 at 6:50am
post #2 of 33
I would recommend the Sultan 80. It is probably better suited to you, and until you grow to "solid advanced" level, skiing 20+ days a year, you probably won't want for more. The 85 is great, but definitely more ski than you need at this point.  You can always get something more aggressive down the road, perhaps a wider ski that would pair well with the 80, but I would recommend the 80 for you at this point.  It should give you the platform to increase your skills and venture off piste and into bumps, without pushing you around to much.  The 85 is very forgiving for what it is, but the sweet spot is quite a bit narrower, and the ski is quite a bit stronger in terms of steering input, as well.

At your size, the 172cm might be the better bet, but if you want a more stable ski, the 178 would work well too, at a bit of trade-off in maneuverability, though.

Not sure if you are in the market, but we (Village Bike and Ski) are running a special right now: free binding (in this case a Dynastar PX12 or NX11) with any ski purchase. It brings the purchase price down quite a bit. Epicski also gets a cut of every sale. 
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thanks Dawg!

I am in the market to purchase whatever ski I end up choosing and I will be sure to keep Village Bike and Ski in mind.  How long is that special going on?  I hope to make my purchase within the next 7-10 days.

 

Also, when I went to a local shop in GA they suggested going with the 165cm length on both the Sultan 80 and Sultan 85.  Would the 165 be too short?  The 172 comes to about the middle of my forehead and the 165 comes about to nose level.  I know that 178 is out of the question for me.

post #4 of 33
Thread Starter 

And how do the Sultan 80's handle the eastern hardpack conditions?...are they more hard or soft snow biased?

post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeevCreek View Post

And how do the Sultan 80's handle the eastern hardpack conditions?...are they more hard or soft snow biased?


See my review here. And use the search feature. I agree with Dawg's recommendation, but see below.

One thing that's a little confusing about your post is that you say you live on the east coast, ski 10 days a year, and "take about 3 trips a year to various resorts out west...Colorado, Tahoe, and Canada." At the same time, you're asking about eastern hardpack. Your trips out west must be just weekends, if you're taking three of them, ski a total of 10 days, and also ski in the east. Anyway, my point is simply that if your PRIMARY surface - i.e., more than 50% of your skiing - is eastern hardpack, the Sultan 80 might not oughta be your first choice. Assuming that this is something you have to deal with on only a couple of your "10 days," then you will be fine.
post #6 of 33
I registered here on Epic just to post this for ya :)

FWIW, theres another thread about them here

Anyways, I skied alot when I was younger, and then stopped until this season.  Skiing is like riding a bike, you don't forget, but you can always work on the technique.  I am 6'3, 185, and I'd say currently I am intermediate level skiier.  Just my 4th day back on the hills in 4 years, but as I say, like a bike.  I've done just a few single blacks and thats it.  Boots are Salomon Shoguns 100 Flex.

I was looking around for a ski that would handle all the eastern conditions and perhaps I could bring out to use on a trip out west (and rent some fat powder skii's if the conditions were such as) I did lots of looking and was looking at the Contact 4x4, Black Eye TI, Salomon Lords and the Sultan 80 and 85.I ended up with the Sultan 80s for a few reasons.

One, the 80 may sound narrow, but with the 126-80-108, it can fool itself into thinking is fatter than it is.  Today at Blue Mountain up here in Collingwood, Ontario, the morning and afternoon were hard pack and icy in places, lots of sugar snow everywhere from the rain the days before but the sides of the runs were decent in places so thats where I stuck.  Anyways, I was hitting medium to short turns in places and going from crud, to sugar to ice to powder I never felt out of control wanting something else on my feet.  The skii's held an edge and got my ass downt he mountain each time.

Two,  price.  I paid $699 CAD with bindings and for the price I can afford to pick up another set of fatter 90+ skiis if I want some for the west.  Thats not gonna happen this season, maybe next when I get more comfortable but I have no issues with the Sultan 80s.

Three, the flex and stiffness were perfect for me.  Knowing it would take me a day or two to "grow into" these skii's I knew what I was getting into.  I did not want something super flexible because as fast learner (or should I say re-learner) I did not want to outgrow my $800 purchase and leave my wanting more or something else (ie. stiffer)

Anyways, I am rambling and don't really know what to include in a ski review, but for me, on the eastern hardpack and groomers, they work great, handled the powder dump that we got at the end of the day today fine and left me wanting to stay out on the mountain.

I'd say go for othe 80's, because the 85 as you say is a bit stiffer with less flex, and for the east, a 80 with a fat front you can get away with when the powder or conditions change.

Any more questions just post up and I'll do my best.
post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeevCreek View Post

Thanks Dawg!

I am in the market to purchase whatever ski I end up choosing and I will be sure to keep Village Bike and Ski in mind.  How long is that special going on?  I hope to make my purchase within the next 7-10 days.

 

Also, when I went to a local shop in GA they suggested going with the 165cm length on both the Sultan 80 and Sultan 85.  Would the 165 be too short?  The 172 comes to about the middle of my forehead and the 165 comes about to nose level.  I know that 178 is out of the question for me.

We are doing the special indefinitely at this point, or until we run out of bindings to give away!  I just ordered some more, though. 

The 165 seems awfully short: I would say 172 is a much better length, unless you talking strictly hardpack. Since it sounds like you want to do a bit of everything on this ski, the 172 is a much better choice. I am guessing most of the skiing near Georgia is manmade snow, therefore the shorter carver-length recommendation. Out West, you will find that length pretty short.  

The 80 is quite forgiving. for a more powerful ride, you can find a stiffer ski in that 78-82mm width, but it won't be as forgiving and therefore will be somewhat of a tradeoff.  Dynastar makes the Contact 4x4 for the skier who wants a very good hard snow ski, close to race performance, but it is nowhere as forgiving, and is more of a handful in the bumps.  A ski like the 80 is probably one of your best bets for a "developmental" ski that will grow with you, but not punish you for your mistakes. Other skis similar in performance that might be worth checking out that our customers have been very happy with and that end up being in that high performance, yet forgiving range: Head Peak 78 (171cm, very good all around ski, quite smooth yet with some power in the tail); Elan Magfire 78ti (168cm, damp yet smooth GS-like ride, quite stable and versatile), K2 Apache Recon (174cm, very smooth and damp, more of a Cadillac ride). In fact, I would say that the Peak and Magfire may be a bit higher performance than the 80, closer to that of the Sultan 85, but more forgiving than the 85. Kind of halfway in between the 80 and 85 in terms of performance (edgehold and stability, mostly).  I just had a customer demo all 3 today and buy the Magfire 78ti: said it just had a little more substantial feel to it and a bit more energy in the tail than either the Peak or the Sultan 85, yet was very easy to ski. 
post #8 of 33
Thread Starter 


QCanoe - I made a typo in my original post...I make about 2 weekend trips a year out west to places such as Colorado, Tahoe, and Canada.  The rest of my skiing is mostly east coast...so I would say I am 60% on the east and maybe 40% out west.  That is one of the reasons I am asking about performance on hardpack.

ScottyG - Thanks for your imput.  How did the 80's hold up at speed?  Did you feel they were stable at medium speeds or get a little "squirrely"?

 

Dawg - I agree and think that 172 is going to be the right length for me in the Dynastars.  I also appreciate the other suggestions and I am going to start looking into those.  Would the Rossi Phantom 80 be another good choice?...I have heard mixed reviews.

 

post #9 of 33
I was in a full tuck doing miror turns just to scrub off some speed when I felt I had to or to move around other people and they held up greating going down blues.  Never once did I feel like I was out of control or going to fast for what I felt the skiis and I could do.

They also work well in the park, with the semi twin tip and flex I was hitting some rails and jumps :)
post #10 of 33
Listen to Scott (Dawg), he will point you in the right direction.............
post #11 of 33
Thread Starter 

scottyG - Thanks!  I was concerned about the lack of metal causing them to chatter at speeds and become a little unstable.  From the sounds of it, you have not experienced those issues.  I also do like the fact that they have a slight kicktail like you mentioned!

 

Dawg - Of those three alternatives that you mentioned, do any of them have a slight kicktail like the Sultans?

post #12 of 33
I demoed both the Sultan 85 and 80 two weeks ago on hardpack in NH.  I have over 100 days on my 170 RX8s and am looking for a replacement that still holds on the hardpack, but is a little more versatile for mixed conditions.  I skied the 85 first and was extremely surprised at the edge hold and the ease in carving at 85 under foot.  The Sultan 80 had even better edge grip.  I thought that each held up well at speed, but I felt that I could do more with the 85.  At your level, I would have no problem recommending the 80 as an eastern hardpack ski that gives you some flexibility for out west.  I'm 5'11" and 210 pounds and skied both in 172.  I intended to demo each in 178, but they weren't available.  I'm not an agressive skier and the 172 held up fine, but I'll try to get on the 178 before I pull the trigger.
post #13 of 33
For me, the 178 was a must, being 6'3. the 172's as slightly more nimble as they were were just not as stable.
post #14 of 33
Thread Starter 

Dawg, Prowl and others -

Since you have been on the Sultan 85's...is it true that they do not like to go sideways and don't like to be skidded on turns?  There is a review posted that says that and was curious about your thoughts on that.

Thanks!

post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeevCreek View Post

is it true that they do not like to go sideways and don't like to be skidded on turns?


I did not get a chance to try them in bumps / trees, unfortunately, where I would have been most likely to notice that behavior. However, on the groomed I did not have any trouble backing off the edge and introducing varying amounts of slippage into my turns on demand. Personally, the way I experience skis that "only want to carve" is that I can't modulate the skid / grip ratio in scarved turns easily; there tends to be an abrupt transition from skidding to locked-in on the edge. I did not have that issue with these skis. Dynastar does not have a reputation for making 50/50 skis that are really carvaholics in disguise, so I would doubt that a ski like this would be likely to cause a lot of trouble of the kind you describe, assuming you are comparing apples to apples. (I.e., if your reference point is a 15-year-old ski, then I'm sure you would find the Sultan reluctant to skid, but then you would feel the same way about most of its contemporary peers too.)
post #16 of 33
Beev ,I demoed the 80 last season and loved it .It will carve different size turns with surprising edge grip in a broad range of snow conditions at moderate speeds ,I found the speed limit adequate for me and my level (6 sh) .The thing that delighted me the most about this ski is its uncanny smothness ,agility in bumps and tight twisty glades and smashing through piles of crud .                                                                                    
                                                                           This summer I purchased 09 Legend 8000 because I was told by the ski shop that they were similar in characteristics to the Sultan 80 and half the price .The Legend 8000 has 2 sheets of metal and is more similar to the 85 in construction and turn radius .After skiing the Legend 8000 's twice I was convinced that they were nothing like the Sultan 80 .The Legend 8000's had a higher speed limit carving big turns ,but were too much work for me and my skill level in the bumps and woods .I have not ski'ed the Sultan 85
Originally Posted by BeevCreek View Post

Dawg, Prowl and others -

Since you have been on the Sultan 85's...is it true that they do not like to go sideways and don't like to be skidded on turns?  There is a review posted that says that and was curious about your thoughts on that.

Thanks!

post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeevCreek View Post

Dawg, Prowl and others -

Since you have been on the Sultan 85's...is it true that they do not like to go sideways and don't like to be skidded on turns?  There is a review posted that says that and was curious about your thoughts on that.

Thanks!



They skid and sideslip very nicely.
post #18 of 33

I think there's plenty of good advice and input here already, but fwiw to the original poster, our skiing styles are sim (though I grew up at a resort and consider myself "above average" in terms of skill) and I just bought the 80's yesterday after demo'ing them, the 85s, K2 Recons and Kastle MX88s.  I wanted to love the 85s for ego-type of reasons revolving around them being the more expert ski, etc, and what I've read here, but I honestly liked the the 80s more.  Go for them.

I'm 5' 9", 160lbs, 35 years old.  Probably a 7-8 out of 10 skier (grew up in an eastern resort town) but get out only 10 times a year.  Couple of young kids so I'm much more moderate than the old days.

Hope this helps.  PM me if you have more specific questions.

post #19 of 33

I'm a new member so couldn't PM you back, but here's what I was sending:

Hey BC,You're right, I don't think you can go wrong either way.  But here's the biggest takeaway I'd leave you with: I found the 85 to be very rewarding when I got everything right BUT if you get anything wrong they're all over the place.  For example, get into the backseat AT ALL on them and they're completely skidding out.  You really need to work the shovel.Now I consider myself to a good skier but for whatever reason... conditions, laziness, or I'm just not as good as I think I am... the 85 just felt like too much ski for me to enjoy.  Is it a ski that you can grow into?  Absolutely.  It encourages perfect technique.  But I'm just not perfect all of the time, and I get the sense I have some experience on you.  Believe me, I wanted to love the 85s after reading everything here and knowing that it's considered the more expert ski with better construction, yada, yada.  But I just didn't have as much fun on it.  I was proud of myself for buying the 80s because my ego wanted the 85s and I could admit that I liked the 80s more.Answers to your specific questions: I got the 172s.  I ski mostly VT about 10 days a year but used to go to Steamboat for a 5-day week.  Honestly I don't know how the 80s would be out there but I suspect fine in anything but big powder, in which case I'll demo some wide boards for the day.  BTW the day I was on the 80s 3-4 inches of fresh snow fell and there was crud (if you looked for it, but otherwise groomed), so I felt I got to test the 80 on the type of day that people say the 85 excels at, and I still liked it.  On hardpack the bite was awesome.  I like short turns and I live to carve.  The 80s had plenty of bite and didn't skid out on me.At the other end, when I opened it up to ludicrous speed and made longer turns I found absolutely no chatter.  The 80s ARE stable and can handle the speed.  I was really surprised by this aspect of the ski.Couple other points that might be useful:  Carving worked in the bumps too.  And since I'm not an over-the-top mogul skier this was great.  I'm coming off of 12 y-o Dynastar ATVs.  They're shaped but with a pretty narrow midwidth.  I might like the 80s because I just can't jump to a wide ski underfoot so quickly.  But then again, I really liked the Kastle MX88 I tried (in a 168) so I think I'm over that issue.I hope that helps.  I'd also note that I agreed almost completely with the the second or third poster in your thread.  Bottom line... if you're an average skier -- like you say -- and not a Warren Miller star, you'll probably love the 80s.Have fun!!

post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeevCreek View Post

scottyG - Thanks!  I was concerned about the lack of metal causing them to chatter at speeds and become a little unstable.  From the sounds of it, you have not experienced those issues.  I also do like the fact that they have a slight kicktail like you mentioned!

 

Dawg - Of those three alternatives that you mentioned, do any of them have a slight kicktail like the Sultans?

The Recon probably has the most of one, but not really like the Sultan. 
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeevCreek View Post


QCanoe - I made a typo in my original post...I make about 2 weekend trips a year out west to places such as Colorado, Tahoe, and Canada.  The rest of my skiing is mostly east coast...so I would say I am 60% on the east and maybe 40% out west.  That is one of the reasons I am asking about performance on hardpack.

ScottyG - Thanks for your imput.  How did the 80's hold up at speed?  Did you feel they were stable at medium speeds or get a little "squirrely"?

 

Dawg - I agree and think that 172 is going to be the right length for me in the Dynastars.  I also appreciate the other suggestions and I am going to start looking into those.  Would the Rossi Phantom 80 be another good choice?...I have heard mixed reviews.

 

I have no idea on the Rossi, as I have never skied it. They aren't too popular around here, so it is hard to grab one for a demo.
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeevCreek View Post

Dawg, Prowl and others -

Since you have been on the Sultan 85's...is it true that they do not like to go sideways and don't like to be skidded on turns?  There is a review posted that says that and was curious about your thoughts on that.

Thanks!

They are fairly laterally stiff, but not overbearing.  It really depends on the tune, I think, as the ski is a little sketchy out of the wrapper, and needs a full base grind to really come into it's own.  Once you have a very consistent edge and base bevel on there, it releases very well and doesn't feel railed.  But, it can be very railed feeling out of the wrapper, for some reason.  We have sold several, and that is the feedback I am getting from customers, and was my impression as well.
post #23 of 33

I found the 85's turns could be easily manipulated.  It held well on the hardpack, but could be skidded.  OTOH, the pair of 80s that I demoed the same day locked in on edge and I found them tough to skid predictably.  As Dawg, pointed out, it could be the result of the tune or lack thereof.

I went back for more yesterday and demoed the 85s in 178.  My original demo was on 172 which I was pleased with, but at 5-11 and 210, I wanted to try a longer pair.  We woke up to 18 inches of powder in NH and I had a blast on the 85s.  Most of the day was spent in tracked up powder, soft bumps, crud and some exposed ice toward the end of the day.  The Sultans blasted through everything with ease and were very manueverable.  Again, they held well on the ice and could be skidded.  I am not as strong a skier when conditions are not groomed, but this ski gave me a ton of confidence.

post #24 of 33
How do the Sultan 80s compare to the Head Peak 78s on ice, crud, bumps, powder?

Thanks.
post #25 of 33
Bump...Would also like to know the answer to Jimski's question.
post #26 of 33
Beev ,I did not get a chance to finish my last post .I see you are still on the fence ,thats good .After skiing the L8k twice ,disappointed that it did not have the same characteristics as the Sultan 80 ,but thinking that the L8k was a very interesting ski with characteristics I had never experienced before , I decided to spend the extra cash on the Sultan 80 ,I was also not crazy about the heel piece on the px12 lifter binding .I went flat w/Head Mojo 12 ,much more user friendly and I did not notice any decrease in edging leverege with the lower stand profile .                                                                                                                                                              
                                                        The Sultan 80 is a dream ,I am more and more impressed with this ski every time I ski it (5 days so far).This ski is easy to skid and slither between volkswagen sized bumps and has instilled alot of confidence in my limited bumps skill and ability .It is a hard charger on the grommers compairable to my Elan Speedwaves ,yet I can instantly put the brakes on and skid into the trees and chase my kids .It is also easy to adapt to changing surface's and does not hurt like the L8k ,but will let you know your being lazy. It is with no doubt the most versitile ski I have skiied .                                                                                 
Quote:                                              I think I have learned two things from this whole experience .One being the fact that buying a ski that does not overlap your skill range enough and extends too far into the expert range is hard to handle confidently .I was tempted to use the the logic that it will force me to progress faster ,maybe so if I could ski every day alone .Two being that the demo process is the only way to buy a ski and it will also help to accurately pinpoint your current level and weaknesses . all that said I am extremely curious about the Sultan 85 also ,but I think you would be happy with the 80 ,althogh you may be a little more advanced than me and are 14 yrs yonger .good luck
Originally Posted by vwr1vwf View Post


Beev ,I demoed the 80 last season and loved it .It will carve different size turns with surprising edge grip in a broad range of snow conditions at moderate speeds ,I found the speed limit adequate for me and my level (6 sh) .The thing that delighted me the most about this ski is its uncanny smothness ,agility in bumps and tight twisty glades and smashing through piles of crud .                                                                                    


 
post #27 of 33
Thanks for all the replies.  The Sultan 80 does sound intriguing.  I demoed the 85 for a day and liked it quite a bit.  However, as my first entree coming from a 10+ year hiatus, I did find it a little too much to handle. I agree with the review I read (mentioned above) that states the ski does NOT like to go sideways.  Maybe, once I get my sea legs (or ski legs) back, I will revisit the 85, but I'm thinking next time out I might try the 80.

For comparison sake, I'm a 6'0", 185, 37 year-old level 7-8 and ski mostly in the West (NM/CO/UT/WY)...no NE skiing for this kid!
post #28 of 33
Demo on the Sultan 85, and Vokl 50 on Monday.  Both 172

Cold, weekday at Loon Mtn, in NH.  As they are getting ready for school vacation week, good snow cover and guns a running.  After 1pm, some hard pack, glaze cropping up.

I'm 5'10" 245, mid 50's .   I carve the greens, but mostly skid the blues.   I avoid blacks for the most part.  Once or twice a day at the most, and I skid them.   Just don't want to work that hard.

The Sultan 85 is awesome.  Stayed hooked up tip to tail, carving or skidding.  Great predictability, with enough forgiveness.  Carve or skid, it was great. 

Vokl not so much.  Tendancy to wander
post #29 of 33
If the Sultan 85 this demanding then I will stay with Legend 8000 and Rossi 9 oversize for now. And will check it out when my skiing skill get better.
post #30 of 33
I demo'ed both the 80 and 85.  I am 5'8", 170, and intermediate (soon to be intermediate-almost advanced I hope).  I ski groomers and glades (with some room) and chase my friends on the bumps.  I would say I am an aggressive skier on the groomers...

I have the bug now and demo'ed about 6 different skis at Stowe this year, including the Sultans, Salomon Tornados, Apache Crossfires, and a pair of carvers.  The 80's and 85's were both awesome, but the 80's were phenomenal on the groomers and wide enough for off-piste.  Flatter tail so you can skid on the icy portions of the steep runs if you have to, without losing grip. 

I am price-shopping shopping for the 80's now - winner chicken dinner.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Dynastar Sultan 80's and Sultan 85's...Need some help deciding!