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lightweight eastern skier - 50/50 ski for bumps, softer snow, and very tight trees

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Me: 5’7”,  47y.o., 135lbs, level 8. My native element is hard groomers, but trying to bring my bump and tree skiing up to an comparable level, when conditions permit.

Looking to replace my 172cm 2004 Dynastar 4800s, which currently comprise the “soft” half of my quiver. (Other part of quiver is 08-09 Blizzard Supersonics 167cm.)

Driving my desire to change are:

1) I want to go shorter with the new pair, as a couple of demos have made me realize that 172s are too long for me in the dense spruce understory.  Probably my ideal length is somewhere in the 162 – 166 range.

2) I’m no longer satisfied with the way the 4800s hook up on the groomers. The tips are too narrow relative to the waist, and/or they’re too soft torsionally. Or maybe they’re just beat. I don’t think it’s the tune. Obviously I don’t want a hard snow specialty ski here – I have that – but I do want something with a bit more sidecut and/or more grip. (I’m an eastern skier, so the reality is that even with my “soft snow” ski I’m going to end up spending a lot of time on groomers.)

Something I do NOT want to change much from my 4800s is the (longitudinal) stiffness. I’m not a big guy, so I need to stay away from a stiff flex and/or too much rebound when I’m in the bumps; I like the quiet feel of the Dynastars in that respect. The kind of ski I want to stay away from is represented by the Volkl AC pattern - too similar in flex and feel to my hard snow skis.

I am on a tight budget for this, so am really looking for something I might be able to get used at a reasonable price – probably a prior model year’s ski.

My inclination is to go with a wide-but-turny  board, leaning on the upside for soft / cruddy / spring conditions. (Not to mention the upside on a theoretical powder day … that currently looks like it may never happen again during my lifetime, here in Maine.)

Some skis I’ve managed to try are:

Fischer Watea 84 ’09 176cm. A bit stiff and long-turning for me at this length. Light weight was nice. Not excited by the rather glassy feel. Would like to try the 167. Did not like the weird noise they made. Maybe worth trying the KOA (Women’s version) @ 167cm?

Dynastar Sultan 80 ’10 172 cm. These were fun, but I liked the calmer snow feel of the 85 much better. Would like to get on a pair of 165s just to see.

Dynastar Sultan 85 ’10 165 cm. Liked these a lot but did not get to try off piste. Good hard snow grip with adequate shape. This is clearly a good length for me, and meaty enough not to fold under pressure as some skis do when I ski them too short (case in point: the 165cm 4800s that I owned briefly).

Dynastar Sultan 85 ’10 172 cm. Loved these in the more open bumps and on the groomed, but too unwieldy in the trees at this length. This ski has a supremely fluid feel that’s addictive and confidence-inducing. Easy to see what the fuss is about with this model.

Dynastar 6th Sense Distorter ‘10 167cm. Absolutely hated these. Even though they are only 2mm wider at than the Sultan, they felt like water skis in any kind of bumps. Awesome top sheet, though. Can I get that graphic scheme on a Sultan?  ;)

Rossi Phantom SC 87 ’10 162cm. Objectively, I skied very well on these in the bumps and trees - probably better than on any of the other skis, including my own. A bit squirrelly at speed on the groomed. Subjectively, however, they didn’t sing for me at all. Some kind of personality issue, I guess. Yawn.

Based on these limited trials the Sultan 85 165 is the clear front runner, BUT:

•    I hate the graphics
•    They’re still expensive

I’m interested to hear from others about skis to think about. The Head IM 78 or 82 might be obvious candidates. The 78 is probably at the top of the list because it’s turny and has a reputation of being smooth and not too stiff (I think), but I do worry that the 78 might exhibit too much overlap with my 72mm hard snow skis. A part of me that’s probably irrational just thinks it wants a wider ski. On the 82, the sizing intervals are a little off – I’m concerned that a 161 might be too short – and the radius is a bit long – at least on paper.

For those of you who remember a similar post from me a year ago - apoloiges. Slow decider.
post #2 of 13
I'm 5'8", 150lbs, level 8/9 and have a pair of Dynastar 8000 in 165cm as my eastern power day and western vacation ski.  I like them very much.  Don't have the grip on ice as my Fischer RX8s, but that's to be expected.  The Sultans 80 or 85 should be similar.
post #3 of 13
I don't know if you get a chance to demo but if you do than try the Volkl Bridge. It is an all mountain twin tip that skis exceptionally well in all conditions. I originally gotit as a play ski and now it has become my every day ski. I patrol and have the Volkl Tigershark in which I love. However, I enjoy the Bridge so much that I have gone to it as my primary ski.The reason why is that even being 92 under foot it carves very well on even the hardest of hard pack.There is no metal topsheet in the Bridge so it has a totally different feel as any of the AC series skis.Bumps and trees are very fun with these as well and because of its generous size it is naturally good in fresh. You can probably find a leftover 09 for a good price in a 169 somewhere,as they have only changed graphics,the ski shape and makeup have remained the same.The 169 skiis like a 160ish due to it being a twintip.Just plain fun!!!!!!
post #4 of 13
The Rossi Phantom series, 87mm waist a versatile ski, may really work for you, after you warm to the idea. It has the sidecut you want for rolling it on edge, has a medium flex, comes in a 165 approx, and is really durable. The tail is slightly raised and rounded to work through bumps and trees. The ski is light for maneuverability, damp for  variable snow, med flex for performing in a range of conditions. 

I skied a Bandit series ski for 3 years, probably 250 days, and it was a great ski (and was finally laid to rest).
The Phantom has a dark and non-descript top sheet, which is a good thing, no wild graphics to tire of.

There are similar skis by many manufacturers. Check comparable models for the qualities you require and buy from a company you like and gives you a good price.
post #5 of 13
Try the K2 Extreme.  I have 05/06 or 06/07 (forget which) PE's--same ski as the Extreme--which are great in the bumps and soft snow.  They can also hold an edge on Eastern ice.

You should try the Dynastar Troublemakers if you like Dynastar.  They have a reputation for being good bump skis and I can tell you the older, narrower (05/06?) version handled nicely in the bumps.  I have not tried any Troublemakers of more recent vintage.  The Troublemaker got a bit fatter in '07 or '08, and I think they changed the name and made them fatter still this year (I'm not in the market for new skis, so I haven't followed the evolution that closely).

Good luck,

post #6 of 13
Having owned the K2 PE / extreme 179 and skied the rossi phantom 87 178... The PE/Extreme is a much better ski  on groomed runs. $.02.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

Having owned the K2 PE / extreme 179 and skied the rossi phantom 87 178... The PE/Extreme is a much better ski  on groomed runs. $.02.


Hm. Interesting thought. Thanks. I had not thought about these. I will keep my eye out for an opportunity to try. I would not buy untested, as the one ski that I tried that I really disliked - the Dynastar 6th Sense Distorter - was similarly a twin tip with a relatively low taper angle. The skis with a fatter tip relative to waist - e.g., Sultan - went over better with me. The fact that SkiTheEast liked the Troublemaker - which I think was a precursor of the Distorter - only deepens my suspicion that I might not be thrilled by the Extremes. But I will reserve any other judgement until I get a chance to try them.
post #8 of 13
Try the Bridge, you will be pleasantly surprised.
post #9 of 13
 I never got a chance to demo the Volkl Bridge and wound up getting a pair of Fischer Watea 84s at 184cm.  I'm 200 lbs, which should explain the length.  I ski back east and have loved them everywhere except in bumps.  They're not bad in bumps, especially considering their width, but a bump specific, narrow under foot ski would be better.  

I don't notice any weird noise from the ski, other than wood-core chatter on boiler plate.  I've skied them on hard pack/ice at Mt. Snow's north face and, other than chatter in the morning, they were great.  In the trees at Mad River and Smugglers they're fantastic.  All in all I've found them to be a solid all around set.
post #10 of 13
Good, I am glad you enjoy them,I have hearda lot of great things about them. That is the beauty of skis, there are boat loads of excellent ones ,we just have to find the ones that work best for each of us.
post #11 of 13
Trouble maker is one of the best bump skis out there!! 78-81 mm depending on the year. They carve well  and are super cheap. you can find for under 200.00 Only thing they don't do too well is heavy snow.
post #12 of 13
Try the Salomon Lord in 161 cm, soft & quick in the bumps & trees. Pick up a pair out at Taos in Jan, had a ball with them. FYI, bumps & trees don’t get much steeper and/or tighter than those at Taos. These babies sing. I’m usually an atomic/volkl guy but these kept me real happy. Silky in the bump & tree but won’t crap out on the groom – mean something to a German/Austrian ski guy . These beat my atomic ‘09 blackeye hands down in the bumps & trees. BTW, I’m 5’7”, #165, 70+ days/year (Split 30/40+ between east & west). Ski very fast (aggressive but smooth). The 161 is enough ski for me.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by KingGrump View Post

Try the Salomon Lord in 161 cm, soft & quick in the bumps & trees.

Thanks KG. Sounds like a good candidate. I probably would have passed this over as too new school. (It's a twin, right?) I will keep an eye out and try it if possible.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › lightweight eastern skier - 50/50 ski for bumps, softer snow, and very tight trees