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Upgrading skis - advice on demos appreciated!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I'd appreciate your thoughts on what to demo as I consider upgrading my skis.

About me: 36 yo, 190 lbs. male, learned to ski and raced occasionally as a teen, then took many years off until two years ago.  I skied approx. 15 days on Mt. Hood two years ago, then took last year off due to a severe non-skiing related ankle injury.  I just moved to Aspen and am now skiing 3-4 days per week (and rapidy improving).  I'd say I'm probably a level 7, and prefer long, fast GS type turns.  I ski all blues comfortably and occasionally ski groomed blacks, but am not interested in lots of bumps or trees.  I'd like to work up to skiing the bowl at Aspen Highlands by spring.

My current skis are K2 Apache Raiders in 163.  Lately, I've been a bit bothered by their chattering and stability at speed on anything but perfect snow (we've had a lot of crud and manmade snow here this year, with some icy spots).  I'd like to move up to something that will inspire a bit more confidence given my skiing style, conditions here in CO, and aspirations.

Any thoughts on what I should try out, including thoughts on length?  I really appreciate your feeback, thanks in advance.
post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 7
Colorado Rockies. Throw out the need for good bump performance and you can use one ski for everything you describe. If you want damp, stable high-ish speed skis, everyone likes the Mantra. Blizzard Titan Argos is a comparable ski. Dynastar the Mythic. Focus on metal sandwich construction, wood core, the width you want for Colorado (90 to 100 as you get your legs back) and avoid super stiff skis. that's it. there are so many good skis! enjoy the hunt.

Pick up some used noodly piece of cr#p for the bumps and rocky days, don't compromise everything else for them on your daily ski.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot, I appreciate the comments!
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

I appear to have wasted a lot of money and good snow on my last ski purchase.  I was undoubtedly too conservative in estimating my level, and ended up with very soft skis and boots, so I decided to kick this thing off with a new set of boots.  Change one thing at a time, right?

Anyway, I ended up with Black Diamond Methods - they fit great (thanks to the guys at Ute Mountaineer) and give me the option to flog myself on the uphills whenever the mood strikes.  My last boots were Nordica Beast 10's, and the Methods were an instant improvement.  I didn't realize how much work the combination of soft skis and boots was making me do as I start to regain my old GS style - they were really exhausting me.

First demo up: Volkl Mantra 177's with Dukes.  I looove the edge hold and stability!  These were just screaming "give it to me baby!"  With the ski/boot combo, I was literally skiing twice as fast with half the energy.  I do wish that they were a little easier to initiate turns on at medium speeds, though - not a big deal, but something I'll be looking out for in other skis.

Unfortunately, the Argos are not available for demo in my area.  In the Blizzard line, I have the Atlas, Cronus, 8.7 and 8.1 available to me (as soon as Fed Ex drops off my alpine soles).  From what I've read, the Atlas might be a bit much for me and the Cronus probably won't have the same features that I like about the Mantra, but I'll try them all anyway.  I also have Kastle MX 78's and 88's available, both of which I'm looking forward to trying.  Lots of other nice skis from Salomon and Atomic are available, too, but I'm not sure how many are actually available flat.

Anyway, I'm sure that this post is of no interest to anyone, but being boring is better than being rude by not reporting back!


post #6 of 7
Nah, it's not boring, it's just that I have little to add.  It sounds like you're going about it the right way.  Demo demo demo.  Buy what you like.  The Mantras are nice skis.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
I skied the Rossignol SC 87's and 97's last week.  Both were nice, but neither set my hair on fire.  Sorry, I know that's not very technical, but they just seemed sort of meek...

I also spent a day on Line Prophet 90's, which I was excited about due to previous reviews and the price ($320).  To be fair, I wasn't able to do a good comparison because I had them on a powder day, but I have really been gravitating toward models with two full layers of metal (which the Lines do not have).

I passed on Dynastar's because the topsheet graphics just do not speak to me.  They are probably great, but I wouldn't want to look at them every day.  We all like different things.

Last up were Kastle MX 88's and FX 84's.  The MX's felt great at speed, made me howl when I put them on edge for high-speed turns, plowed through some rough stuff and were very confidence inspiring.  I enjoyed the sensation of forgetting about my equipment and just skiing.

The FX 84's were also very, very nice.  On groomed trails and at speed, they matched all of the qualities that I liked about the MX's.  In fresh, soft snow they felt wonderful - they are slightly softer and lighter.  However, in tracked out powder and crud they felt a little springy to me - not necessarily a negative thing depending on how you like to ski and how often you venture into the bumps, but I enjoyed plowing through the same conditions at a higher speed on the MX's.

So...I bought the MX 88's with Barons and pick them up tomorrow!
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