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Thinking of getting back into skiing after about 20 years off

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello,  I just found this site which appears to be full of great advice so I though I would post a question.

I'm currently 40 years old, Male, 5'6" tall and weigh 160lbs.  I used to ski on the ski team back in high school but was only an average slalom racer, nothing special.  I just dug out my old 190cm Dynastar Slalom LS skis and Salomon SX 91 boots that I purchased back around 1985 and have not used since 1991.  Although they are old they are still in great shape because they weren't used all that much.  I have no interest in doing any racing from here forward, still not even sure if I want to start skiing again or maybe try snowboarding.  That being said, if I do decide to give skiing another go, would you recommend I ditch the old skis even though they are almost like new for a more modern pair?  And If so, what size (I'm not sure how they are sizing them these days) and make and model would you recommend for just some casual skiing (I'm in northern Michigan).  I'm pretty sure no matter what I will be getting new boots if I start skiing again because my old boots are too tight now.  So I could use some recommendations for boots and bindings as well.

Thanks for any input.
Edited by PCCC - 1/19/10 at 2:20pm
post #2 of 21
Go to a great boot fitter and spend some $$ on quality, well-fitted boots! I'd recommend Bahnhof in Petoskey. Or go see Jim Riley at Crystal Mountain.

Take a lesson on current carving techique at Crystal or Nubs, then head to Nub's Nob and demo some skis out of their extensive selection.
post #3 of 21
Try out your old skis and see if they still work for you. as for the boots, get them fitted well at a nice sports store, but look online once you;ve got your size and all that or go to somewhere cheaper to buy them...

skis are now measures upto your chin (intermediate) and forehead (advanced)

I've been skiing for about 7-8 years now, and i just bought a pair of rossignol racing skis, but I bought them a biut shorter as they will be easier to manage. so It really depends on your level.
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by volklgirl View Post

Go to a great boot fitter and spend some $$ on quality, well-fitted boots! I'd recommend Bahnhof in Petoskey. Or go see Jim Riley at Crystal Mountain.

Take a lesson on current carving techique at Crystal or Nubs, then head to Nub's Nob and demo some skis out of their extensive selection.
I couldn't have said it better.  Jim is one of the best boot fitters around, and in fact does my boot work.  
He also has a good selection of demo skis to try out and can steer you in the right direction.
As for Sali's suggestion to try out your old skis, uh........no!   
Trust me when I say, you will be happy you made the investment in new gear.
Shoot me a PM if you'd like some information on hooking up with Jim, or help picking out demo skis.  We can find some fun stuff for you!
Edited by Trekchick - 1/19/10 at 6:16am
post #5 of 21
Trekchik, I just meant he should try them out once and see if they still work for him... why waste money? But if you are planning on getting back into skiing, then I agree invest into NICE ($$) equipment cause it'll last you for sooo long!
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by sali View Post

Try out your old skis and see if they still work for you. as for the boots, get them fitted well at a nice sports store, but look online once you;ve got your size and all that or go to somewhere cheaper to buy them...

skis are now measures upto your chin (intermediate) and forehead (advanced)

I've been skiing for about 7-8 years now, and i just bought a pair of rossignol racing skis, but I bought them a biut shorter as they will be easier to manage. so It really depends on your level.




Quote:
Originally Posted by sali View Post

Trekchik, I just meant he should try them out once and see if they still work for him... why waste money? But if you are planning on getting back into skiing, then I agree invest into NICE ($$) equipment cause it'll last you for sooo long!


Sali, you suggest going to a "nice sports store" to get them fitted, have them do the do the work to get him properly fitted then go on line to buy them? What about when he needs adjustments in the future? plug the boots into a modem? Down load a fitting? 
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by sali View Post

Trekchik, I just meant he should try them out once and see if they still work for him... why waste money? But if you are planning on getting back into skiing, then I agree invest into NICE ($$) equipment cause it'll last you for sooo long!
Sali, beyond the suggestion to ski his old gear, you suggest theft of service, which IMHO is bad business.  The reality is that he can go to a shop like Jim Riley's place of work, get great service and a decent price.
Shop loyalty can and will serve him well.
post #8 of 21
I was in your boat (or boots) a few years ago.   And, yesterday I rode the lift with another one of us that just came out of retirement. He was rocking Rossi 4SKs with Salomon boots.He had a great time but asked me a lot of gear questions on the ride up.  I don't live close to any really good ski shops so here was my advice.  If you don't have enough extra cash to get set up professionally with brand new gear, or there are no good shops nerby that you can demo gear from.... try trolling Craigslist and eBay for some more recent used gear.  If it turns out to not be a really good fit, you haven't wasted a lot of cash if something doesn't work out.  Just be sure that you are comfortable working with bindings and setting your DIN. If not, then try to work with one of the recommended dealers that posts here.  Whatever you need  they will provice for a reasonable cost.and make it right for you.
Philpug, Whiteroom, and Dawgcatching are three that are top of mind with good ski shop connections here.  All of them are excellent, best in the business.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies!

OK, so here's the deal.  I don't have money to buy new gear this year, or even used gear for that matter.  Maybe next year if I really decide that it is something I want to get back into.

So, I'm going skiing again for the first time in years this Saturday.  Would I be better off just renting this year just to get a feel for the more modern equipment?  I mean heck, my old skis are a good 8 inches taller than I am which is obviously not how they are fitting them these days.  I'm assuming this is simply due to the turning characteristics and stability differences in the new skis?

I'm not opposed to renting for now if that would be my best option.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PCCC View Post


I'm not opposed to renting for now if that would be my best option.
If you're going to be there all day do both.  Bring your gear, AND try out some rentals.  Sometimes (usually) they have better gear you can demo all day for a bit more money if you ask them.
post #11 of 21
Listen to volklgirl, Trekchick, Philpug and crgildart and distill what you need to do from that info. I had an 18 year layoff and I didn't do it that way. I used my retro gear for 5 years before getting new stuff. The skis were not a big deal, but the boots were five years of pain. Too tight and too loose at the same time and not the best control of my skis.  If I had it to do over again, I'd have made a concerted effort to get new boots the first season, and skis as soon as possible after that. My budget was so tight even renting was not an option.

This is my third season with the new gear and the boots have really made a huge difference. I still ski the retro skis on occasion but most of the time I use my new sticks. I bought closeout skis from the previous or earlier seasons to save money.

Your skis will surely work for a while.I suspect your boots may work for a while too. I think there are still a few of those out there, in use. You didn't mention your bindings. They would be the weak link. Shops won't work on bindings that old. Some work just fine, some are dangerous. Some dangerous ones look like they would work just fine. Some that worked just fine the last time they were used, years ago, are now among the dangerous. I was lucky. New bindings on old skis is a workaround that could get you by until you can afford new gear all around. Boots first, when that times comes.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morrison Claystone View Post

Listen to volklgirl, Trekchick, Philpug and crgildart and distill what you need to do from that info. I had an 18 year layoff and I didn't do it that way. I used my retro gear for 5 years before getting new stuff. The skis were not a big deal, but the boots were five years of pain. Too tight and too loose at the same time and not the best control of my skis.  If I had it to do over again, I'd have made a concerted effort to get new boots the first season, and skis as soon as possible after that. My budget was so tight even renting was not an option.

This is my third season with the new gear and the boots have really made a huge difference. I still ski the retro skis on occasion but most of the time I use my new sticks. I bought closeout skis from the previous or earlier seasons to save money.

Your skis will surely work for a while.I suspect your boots may work for a while too. I think there are still a few of those out there, in use. You didn't mention your bindings. They would be the weak link. Shops won't work on bindings that old. Some work just fine, some are dangerous. Some dangerous ones look like they would work just fine. Some that worked just fine the last time they were used, years ago, are now among the dangerous. I was lucky. New bindings on old skis is a workaround that could get you by until you can afford new gear all around. Boots first, when that times comes.
 
My old bindings are Salomon 647's.  Same vintage as the skis (1985ish).  What makes old bindings dangerous?  Is it from previous wear and tear?  I really only used this setup for one full year then I used them a couple times a year for the next 4 years or so.  How would I be able to tell if they are dangerous?  I had to crank them down a little bit because I'm heaver now than I was the last time I used them and they seemed to release fine when testing them.
Edited by PCCC - 1/20/10 at 6:59am
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PCCC View Post



My old bindings are Salomon 647's.  Same vintage as the skis (1985ish).  What makes old bindings dangerous?  Is it from previous wear and tear?  I really only used this setup for one full year then I used them a coupld times a year for the next 4 years or so.  How would I be able to tell if they are dangerous?  I had to crank them down a little bit because I'm heaver now than I was the last time I used them and they seemed to release fine when testing them.
 
Oh oh  Those may be prone to having the plastic housing on the heel pieces blow apart after several years.  The plastic gets brittle and just cracks  when you try to use them.  If they've been stored in a non-climate controlled location like a shed or garage it is all but certain this will happen.  When they get cold and you step in BLAM   My 626s did that in 1994.

Go look on Craigslist for something more recent.   I've picked up several pair of skis on good working order with bindings for under $50.00 on Craigslist.. and you buy them in person so you get to see them and there's no shipping to deal with.

http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PCCC View Post

So, I'm going skiing again for the first time in years this Saturday.  Would I be better off just renting this year just to get a feel for the more modern equipment?  I mean heck, my old skis are a good 8 inches taller than I am which is obviously not how they are fitting them these days.  I'm assuming this is simply due to the turning characteristics and stability differences in the new skis?

Yes and yes.  However, you might be better off using your old SX91's (assuming they were appropriate for you and were properly fitted) over rental boots.  It might even benefit you to demo some higher-end retail skis as opposed to messing with rental-only-model skis.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PCCC View Post

My old bindings are Salomon 647's.  Same vintage as the skis (1985ish).  What makes old bindings dangerous?  Is it from previous wear and tear?  I really only used this setup for one full year then I used them a coupld times a year for the next 4 years or so.  How would I be able to tell if they are dangerous?  I had to crank them down a little bit because I'm heaver now than I was the last time I used them and they seemed to release fine when testing them.
 

Materials degradation.  Plastics degrade with time, esp. when bindings are lubricated with petroleum-based greases, which I think most are.

The main reason shops won't work on bindings that old is because they're no longer indemnified, that is, legally protected/assisted by the equipment manufacturer if the bindings fail after they work on them.

Also, when bindings fail, you either 1) lose the entire ski at a point where you need them to bear the most force, pretty much ensuring a hard crash.  That, or 2) they fail to release and destroy your joints and soft tissues with the really long lever that are your old skis.

(edit: ok, maybe they can explode on entry, like crgildart's did.  That's quite lucky in the full spectrum of things.)
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
  When they get cold and you step in BLAM   My 626s did that in 1994.

 

Only BLAM? I hear some of them go KABOOM!!

If PCCC had a Look N77, he'd be in fat city. Set for life, as it were.

I got away with the retro bindings because I had Salomon 444/502/505 and pre-DIN 727's with the metal housings. My 444/502/505's managed not to suffer the toe piece roller degradation that was common with that model. Otherwise, I'd have been out of luck.
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info guys.  Looks like I'm going to ditch to old sticks.  I'm not taking a chance on blowing out a knee.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for reminding me about Craigs List.  I took a quick look and saw this.

Quote:
Downhill Skis, Bindings & Poles - $125

Brand new Head Carve 6 downhill skis, (160's) "Pretuned Racing Base Laser Controlled" made in Austria. I bought these from a friend who was relocating and have never used them.
Tyrolia bindings (SL 100 Full Diagonal Equipped with ABS) are brand new also and never mounted on any skis.
A pair of Scott Aluminum Alloy ski poles (#2 Mountain) is included.

These skis are absolutely new, they have never been drilled or had bindings put on them. The poles appear to be new also.

I can't really find much info on these skis or bindings though.  Do you know anywhere I might find some info on these skis and bindings?  Any idea if they are a beginner, intermediate or advanced ski or what type of skiing they are designed for?  Price seems a little high after looking at other listings for these same skis.  Only difference is these haven't been drilled yet.

Is this the size you would recommend for my height and weight?  (5'6" 160lb).

Any input?  Thanks!
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
After some more digging it looks like those Head skis are pretty old (1999ish?).

I also saw these on Craigs List, but I think they may be too short for me.

Quote:
Skis-Elan Speedwave 10 - $200

Beautiful 152 Elan Speedwave 10 skis/with elan fusion integrated bindings. These skis are 2007 but have only been used 1 season. They are in great condition! Excellent carving ski for intermediate to advanced skier. I have more pics available if needed.

Looks like these same skis can be purchased new on Amazon for $350.

Think a 152 would be long enough for me?
Edited by PCCC - 1/20/10 at 7:56am
post #19 of 21
you might also check PlayItAgain Sports. There are a bunch of locations in US and CAN.
http://www.playitagainsports.com/alllocations.aspx
We have one in town and everytime I now go in I find a new 'bargain'!
Just recently found a pair of Volkl Motion Vertigos with Marker Bindings for about the cost of a Mammoth 1 day Ski Pass.
Skied them for 3 days at Mammoth and they are Awesome!
I've bought some 9 yr old K2 Axis there and found them to be a great allround ski.
with some inspection for condition, I wouldn;t rule out 9-10 yr old 'shapers' as a good ski to get the legs back with. especially if you're skiing groomed or 'harder' snow...
course I do have some binding and ski tech knowledge and handle setup and maintenance myself.
a five yr old 'shaper' may not be the latest tech, but still quite current and skis just fine, even in the off-trail junk/chunk
buying 'used' was what I did, and its all worked out very nicely.

EDIT: at 5'11" & 165, I guess I'm close to your size...
I'm was accustomed to 205cm and now find 181 to 185 is about right for me in older shapers and tried a pr of 177s in some newer 82 waist skis - they seemed fine also.
so I guess about a 10% drop in length for older (5+yrs) shapers might be a good start and maybe 15 to 20% for newer designs.
Haven't ridden any of the 'new' (to me) slalom designs yet. I hear it's a wild ride, so I'll wait til I get a little more snow time before takin a spin on those swizzle sticks
post #20 of 21
Play It Again Sports is a good option. 

I'd say that the important thing here is to get out on the hill and remind yourself of how much fun it is to ski.  Finding the "perfect"  gear shouldn't be the goal at this point, just get something that's relatively modern (this century), inexpensive and works (safely), and get out and ski on it.  If you buy used, you can sell it next year for almost what you paid for it should you decide to upgrade. Or you can just rent for a while.

Boots are the most important piece of equipment.  Plastic fatigue/degradation affects boots as well as bindings, so your old boots should be retired - I've seen old boots "explode" - the lucky ones had their boots disintegrate on the walk from the parking lot, the less fortunate at the top of the hill at the worst possible moment.

As for which brand / model of boot, the important factor is that they fit your feet.  Since I'm unfamiliar with your feet, I can't possibly say what to buy.  But think fit - brand, model, features, gimmicks, color, etc etc pale in comparison to the fit question.

Where are you going skiing on Saturday?
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post

Where are you going skiing on Saturday?


 

Sorry I didn't see your question earlier.  I went to a small place called Mt. Holiday in Traverse City.  It's a pretty small place but was still fun.  Well, other than watching my 10 year old son take a bad wipeout on his snowboard, it was fun.  He caught an edge and went on his head and then the weight and momentum of his snowboard threw him into a flip landing him on his back.  He immediately complained of back pain so I asked him if he could wiggle his fingers and toes and he said yes. I didn't let him move until I could get the ski patrol over to check him out.  Luckily he was not seriously injured and was probably more scared by the wipeout than anything.  He's still a bit sore today but no problems.  I'll tell you what, it is a pretty helpless, scary feeling watching your kid go on their head like that knowing that you can't stop it from happening.  I'm sure he will have many more wipeouts but I hope he never has any serious injuries from them.

Other than my son's big crash it was great fun getting back out on the hills.  I just used rental skis for this outing.  I told them that I was an intermediate skier since it had been so long since I have skied.  They gave me 150cm Fischer XTR's.  When I first got on them they seemed really short since I last used 190cm skis.  But they actually seemed pretty stable and they were very easy to carve on.  However, I have checked a few of the manufactures web sites and they all pretty much suggested a 160cm ski for my height, weight and skill level so I think next time I go I will ask for 160cm skis to see how a little bit longer shaped ski feels.    The rental boots just plain sucked.  They didn't have the size I needed so the ones I ended up getting were a little too big which was a problem from time to time.  From what I remember from years ago I always seemed to have problems with boots fitting properly so I will take your advice of spending money on some properly fitted boots from a good boot fitter if I decide to purchase my own gear again.
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