EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Help with ski choice, K2 Apache Interceptor, Explorer, or Volkl AC50?
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Help with ski choice, K2 Apache Interceptor, Explorer, or Volkl AC50?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
First question what is the difference between the Apache Interceptor & the Explorer besides $200? The guy at our local REI could not tell me, so I need to ask the experts.

Second, I will give some profile & ask for opinions. Me, male, 35 years old, 5'10" 240 lbs, (but hoping to get down to the 200 range) from Wisconsin. Skiied for about 10 years, then took 10 years off. Just got back into skiing last year as I was going to Utah & wanted to ski when I was out there. Forgot how much fun it was, so I am back full time. Took my 1st lesson this year when in Tahoe, mostly to get some pointers & have a guide for the day. He told me I am a level 7 - 8 skier. I have no powder experience, but would love to learn to ski it. Just starting to get good at bumps, & actually  seeking them out rather than avoiding them. Conditions are rarely ideal around home, try to get out on snow days but it is usually crud really fast out here. Otherwise typical packed powder & midwest ice is what I get to deal with. I am going to try to make at least 1 trip out west every year. I have been looking at the Volkl AC50 & the K2 Apache Explorer. The AC50 from what I have read appears to be the better ski for me based on my circumstances, but I do have a couple of concerns. I am a strong skier, but my form does seem to go away from time to time, ie get thrown in the backseat on bumps or big piles of crud. From what I have read the AC50 is less forgiving for such errors & you have to work a little harder to ski  it. The Explorer appears to be a little easier to ski & more forgiving from what I have read on here. The likelihood of being able to demo both here is pretty non-existent. I am going to Utah in April & will try to demo both while out there, but would like opinions from you experts just in case I don't get to.
Also would like an opinion on length. My current ski's are Salomon X-Wing Typhoons at 170. They are fine but I am thinking of going up to a 177? Will this be better for me, worse, the same, and why?

Thanks in advance for your input.
post #2 of 12
I'd go with the xplorers, they can do a bit of every thing.  The AC50's are quite stiff, which is common in Volkls.  If you are even thinking about going into bumps, go with the Explorers.  They will allow to to become better also.
post #3 of 12
I'm pretty similar to you (33, took several years off). Tried a bunch of skis (incl the AC50, which I did not like, was ok on the groomers but pretty meh on soft snow), got the Xplorer, love it. I ski in wildly varying conditions and it copes with everything just great. Easy to ski and smooth, I have the 177 @ am 80kg (180ish pounds)/6ft.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Anyone else? Based on a PM & some other research I am now looking between the K2 Explorer & The Dynastar Sultan 85. What should I know when comparing these 2?
post #5 of 12
I just demoed the AC50 here in Maine on a "New England powder" day - firm, firm firm - and thought they were terrific. But I'm 51 and have been skiing for 43 years. I love to go really fast on expert-level terrain. I was surprised by the AC50s's solidity and responsiveness, given how wide and stiff they were. They would carve big GS turns on ice and near-ice, snap off slalom turns in powdery stuff on the trailside and cut thru junk like butter. I'm even considering the AC50s as my everyday Maine skis, despite their width under foot. But they might be intimidating to an intermediate, even an upper-level one. Have you considered the Volkl AC30? I just rented some at Brekenridge and enjoyed them, tho not as much as the AC50s. While the AC30s are a stiff ski, they are very responsive and fun and aren't as demanding as the AC50.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
I thought about the AC30's but want something a little wider under foot for powder days.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonetree View Post

First question what is the difference between the Apache Interceptor & the Explorer besides $200? The guy at our local REI could not tell me, so I need to ask the experts.

I don't have either ski, but am researching these and others.

The difference between the Interceptor and the Xplorer is that the Xplorer has MX 12.0 bindings and includes 2 metal laminate sheets in the ski, whereas the Interceptor has M2 11.0 bindings and leaves you with 2 hundred-dollar bills in your wallet. From the K2 web site:

"Metal Laminate Technology

"With two sheets of lightweight titanium alloy running the length of the ski, metal laminate skis are the highest performing and most complex constructions available from K2. Built from the base up, this construction consists of alternating layers of fiberglass and titanium above and below the wood core. Metal laminates provide damp, accurate, unshakable performance, ideal for expert level all-mountain skis."

-Jeff
[1st post]
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonetree View Post

I have been looking at the Volkl AC50 & the K2 Apache Explorer. The AC50 from what I have read appears to be the better ski for me based on my circumstances, but I do have a couple of concerns. I am a strong skier, but my form does seem to go away from time to time, ie get thrown in the backseat on bumps or big piles of crud. From what I have read the AC50 is less forgiving for such errors & you have to work a little harder to ski  it.
I demoed the AC50s for 4 days at Bretton Woods NH in February 2010. These were my first demo rentals. I abandoned my narrow skis when I left Colorado in 1990, and got back into skiing on crappy rentals the last 2 years as my kids have been learning. I want to get new equipment for next season. I started by buying a pair of boots that fit me (Atomic somethings) before this trip.  I am an advanced skier but not an expert; grew up skiing at Tahoe and in Colorado but am now on the East Coast; 46 years, 190 Lbs, 6'0".

So, about the Volkl AC50s. These were, quite simply, the best skis I have ever used! However, that's not saying much because on that trip I changed too many things: I was using my new boots for the first time, demo skis instead of normal rentals, and 170cm instead of the 180s I had been renting because the shop had nothing longer left. I skied all over the mountain. They worked great on hardpack/ice as well as on the small amount of fresh snow we had one day. I always felt in control and that the skis responded easily. I felt like I skied better in bumps with these than other skis, but I'm not great in large bumps so I don't know if that's just because the skis were so short. I did not much like the icy, rutted "glade" runs, but that wasn't the fault of the ski. At high speeds the tips wobbled somewhat if I wasn't turning at all; maybe a longer ski would have helped.

In short, I liked the skis but feel I should be sensible and demo a few others next season in 170, 177 and 184 cm. I am considering the Recons and Interceptors based on things I've read here and elsewhere, but I'm sure there are plenty of other great skis. I am tempted to throw caution to the winds and just buy a pair of *something* decent at post-season sales--I don't want to wait until I can demo and buy at in-season prices next year.
post #9 of 12
 I don't know much about the Explorers, but from the description you give, I think you could pick something you'd enjoy more than AC50s.

AC50s are some of the best versatile frontside carving skis ever made and are okay in bumps and powder, but it sounds like you might prefer something more oriented toward bumps and powder even at the cost of some carving ability.

And while I doubt it would be a big issue for any 10-year skier, yes, the AC50 is not a particularly forgiving ski. It wants to carve and wants to go fast, and it can get pissed off if you don't oblige.

Usual advice (which I can't vouch for) that I see on this board for questions like yours would tend toward Blizzard Magnum 8.7 and Sultan 85.

By the way, I ski (and love) AC50s.
post #10 of 12
Like you say, the AC50 loves to carve. I felt that skiing on it was the first time I had really benefited from the "new" shaped skis, and that I had been skiing on crappy rentals as if they were old-style skis.

I've read in several places that the AC50 will "get pissed off" or "spank you" if you don't handle it well, but I didn't experience that at all. Maybe that's because I was skiing purposefully on them.

All that being said, you're right that I might want a narrower, softer ski for bumps that can also handle groomers and East Coast hardpack. That's why the K2 Recon is on my list.
post #11 of 12
I demoed both the AC 50 and the Xplorer last season. I hated the AC 50 and loved the Xplorer and bought them in 177cm just over a year ago. On the AC 50s I felt like I was skiing on bus springs. They were fine on the groomers but stiff and harsh on the bumps and off trail. I am a long time K2 skier and like a damp ski but can certainly make them pop when I want to. To me the Xplorer is a great 1 quiver ski. Edge hold is outstanding for typical western conditions and they shine off trail in the crud (where I spend most of my time). Now after 25+ days of skiing on them, I'm enjoying them even more. I haven't had a chance to ski them in anything deeper than 6" of new. Not a great season out here for that this year.

I'm 53 years old, 5'9" and 170 lbs and have been skiing 35 years.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
I found and bought a pair of flat, new 08-09  Xplorers for $300 , soI decided to buy them. Got a new pair of Marker M12's closeout for $100, so I got set up for cheap. Have not had a chance to ski them yet as our season came to an abrupt halt 2 weeks ago. Even if I don't like them, I should be able to sell them & break even. I think I am going to demo a pair of Sultan 85's when I am in Utah in 2 weeks.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Help with ski choice, K2 Apache Interceptor, Explorer, or Volkl AC50?