EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Switching from Straights to Shaped Skis - Where to Start when buying new skis?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Switching from Straights to Shaped Skis - Where to Start when buying new skis?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My info:
-35 yrs old
-Female
-6'4" tall (yep, that's not a typo)
-175 lbs
-Intermediate/Advanced Skier
-I am generally a controlled, "ski within my comfort zone" kind of skier at moderate speeds 
-I ski in Colorado (mostly groomers)
-I live 45 minutes from Powderhorn ski resort and ski just about every weekend all winter long

I am just coming back to alpine skiing after a 15 year hiatus (lived in Florida for 10 of those years, then had kids).  When I left the sport, I was skiing on 210cm straight skis!  My how things have changed.  I would like to buy some new shaped skis, but don't really know where to start.  I've demo'd a couple skis (K2 Xplorer, Volkl AC2) , but didn't fall in love with either.  The Xplorers were too much ski for me, I think.  They were too flared in the back and I felt like they wanted to go faster than I am comfortable skiing.  The AC2's were okay - but I guess I don't really know what I should be looking for.  I want a ski that I can grow into, as I hope to improve my skiing ability with my new proximity to the mountain.  

The skis I have had my eye on are: 
K2 Recon 
Volkl AC3 (can get a great deal on these at $399 w/bindings)
K2 Apache Raider ($449 w/bindings)
Solomon X-Wing Tornado ($599 w/bindings)

I am thinking that I will go with a 170cm - 177cm ski.  

Any opinions or advice would be soooo appreciated.  Thanks!!
post #2 of 10
My two cents on this - apologies to those who have seen them in other very similar threads - is that if you haven't begun to understand how to ski on the new skis, then there is not much point in investing a lot of time and energy on ski choice and demoing. Go ahead and buy a pair of skis if you need to. Or find some kind of longer-term rental so you have something to be on for your next half-dozen outings. Either way, make sure your skis are well tuned and stay that way. Next, take several lessons with a focus on un-learning your old pivoting habits and on learning to let the ski do the turning for you. You will know when you "get it". Trust me. Once you get to that point, then it makes sense to start testing skis to see which ones float your boat.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
 Thanks for the input.  I understand your point.  I am actually getting the hang of the shaped skis pretty quickly I have taken a couple of private lessons that were wonderful in helping me break some of my old habits (from my straight ski days).  That said...

Any opinion on any of the skis that I listed?

Thanks again!
post #4 of 10
Three rules to pick skis...demo, demo, demo. 

My feelings is that K2 are the Chevrolet of skis...not bad, not great.  For the same price you can find better performing skis.  Volkl (same outfit as K2), are different, but again not the greatest.  I've heard more bad lately about Salomon than good.  For brands that seem to be a cut above average, consider Head, Fischer, and Elan.

About length--it is not clear what how the lengths relate to ski performance until you (or someone skilled at describing the skis' performance) ski on the skis.  My rule for myself, 6', 200#, advanced skier, is to buy one size below the max.  My 170cm carving skis and 178 cm powder skis are each just right for me, and each is one size below the longest (and stiffest) made in that make and model.  As skis get longer they get proportionally stiffer.  As the model line goes up the manufacturer's line up chart, they get stiffer in all sizes.  You need skis that come alive for you with your size, weight, skiing style, and the energy you put into the skis.  Do not pick a size until you demo the make and model you'll buy.  Don't be surprised if 165 cm or 170 is the size that puts the biggest smile on your face, but definitely try before you buy.

For really great ski reviews, I think the $20 subscription to Peter Keelty's [url=http://www.realskiers.com/index.html]Real Skiers[/url] web site is money very well spent.  With his in depth reviews you can develop a demo list and maybe even find a ski that suits you without demos--but that's risky. 
post #5 of 10

The advice about demoing is right on.  That said, I would think that as an intermediate/advanced skier in Colorado on mostly groomers, you should be looking at all-mountain skis with a waist width of 80-90mm.   I am not a big fan of K2s, but the Recon is very popular and might work for you.  I would also look at skis like the Fischer Watea and Dynastar

Sultan in the widths suggested.  Length of 170 or so sounds about right.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimH View Post


I would also look at skis like the Fischer Watea and Dynastar

Sultan in the widths suggested.  Length of 170 or so sounds about right.

I haven't seen the Fischer Watea's or Dynastar Sultans at our local ski shops...But, I'd be willing to order online if need be.  I'll check them out.  
Thanks so much for the suggestion.  
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

My two cents on this - apologies to those who have seen them in other very similar threads - is that if you haven't begun to understand how to ski on the new skis, then there is not much point in investing a lot of time and energy on ski choice and demoing. Go ahead and buy a pair of skis if you need to. Or find some kind of longer-term rental so you have something to be on for your next half-dozen outings. Either way, make sure your skis are well tuned and stay that way. Next, take several lessons with a focus on un-learning your old pivoting habits and on learning to let the ski do the turning for you. You will know when you "get it". Trust me. Once you get to that point, then it makes sense to start testing skis to see which ones float your boat.

1st, making assumptions on 'how' someone skis, from just a Q on an internet forum, is a mistake.
So the OP may be totally able to tell the difference between skis, even coming from straights and having a long hiatus.
There's really nothing to be lost in demoing.
As for 'unlearning', good ski technique works regardless, its our poor habits which we could ALL stand to unlearn.
I personally haven;t been blown away by anyone I've seen recently. Sure, plenty of great skiers. but nothing so awesome that I;d say - haute route! and I've been keepin my eyes wide open, lookin for those awesome ski godz!
I say (having just done the whole 'update' thing myself) try what you'd like. Buy something or just demo. Avoid the rental scene, its only mildly better than the olden days.
I'm not hugely choosey, so I found plenty of fun, 7-9 yr old shaper stuff on craigslist for supercheap, some of which I kept and plan to enjoy for yrs to come. I mean, how could you go wrong with a pair of skis and binders for well under a $100 bucks (one awesome pr was less than $50 for skis and binders !!!!) Then I was lucky to find a real new design which just blew me away with its capabilities.
But I still drag the old straights along most days, and take a run or 2 on them. still a bunch of fun.
Don't get me wrong, I'm no longer a reto straight ski grouch; but a good ski is a terrible thing to waste. And occasionally making sure you can still turn a pr. of long straights well, makes skiing the 'new' skis just so much total playtime.

... you'll prolly want new boots before anything, though... and iff'n you're gonna demo, nice boots is always gonna make that moe betta.

just make sure to enjoy the re-entry! I gotta say, I haven't had this much fun in years.
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post

Three rules to pick skis...demo, demo, demo. 

About length--it is not clear what how the lengths relate to ski performance until you (or someone skilled at describing the skis' performance) ski on the skis.  My rule for myself, 6', 200#, advanced skier, is to buy one size below the max.  My 170cm carving skis and 178 cm powder skis are each just right for me, and each is one size below the longest (and stiffest) made in that make and model.  As skis get longer they get proportionally stiffer.  As the model line goes up the manufacturer's line up chart, they get stiffer in all sizes.  You need skis that come alive for you with your size, weight, skiing style, and the energy you put into the skis.  Do not pick a size until you demo the make and model you'll buy.  Don't be surprised if 165 cm or 170 is the size that puts the biggest smile on your face, but definitely try before you buy.

For really great ski reviews, I think the $20 subscription to Peter Keelty's [url=http://www.realskiers.com/index.html]Real Skiers[/url] web site is money very well spent.  With his in depth reviews you can develop a demo list and maybe even find a ski that suits you without demos--but that's risky. 
I agree with the above.

I would add that you should demo a lot of different skis, while paying close attention (writing down if you have to) to the turn radius, flex, length, width, etcetera of the skis you demo, and what compromises you have to make with each one.   Then when you have a few demonstration landmarks to go by, you will be in a better position to extrapolate to the skis in Keelty's reviews.  You will have a pretty long, short list covering a few years and should be able to find a good deal.

It's fun to demo a bunch of high end skis, and you can justify the expense.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by moreoutdoor View Post

1st, making assumptions on 'how' someone skis, from just a Q on an internet forum, is a mistake.
So the OP may be totally able to tell the difference between skis, even coming from straights and having a long hiatus.
There's really nothing to be lost in demoing.

Didn't mean to ruffle any feathers. Sorry if I did. The OP did a pretty good job of outlining her experience and ability. I absolutely did make an assumption based on that. Where I ski, at least, 90% of the folks on the hill have shaped skis, but half of them are still blissfully unaware of what shaped skis can do. Anyone who does have this awareness and watches from the lift can see this in 30 seconds of observation. This is not a value judgement; it's just objective reality. (Example from outside skiing: You can be a great road cyclist or hardtail rider, but the first time you get on a full-suspension bike you have a job to do. You have to learn to stop your stand-up mashing on the hills, and sit down and spin, or you will blow all your energy on compressing the suspension and not moving forward. The fact that you need to make this adjustment obviously does NOT mean you are a poor rider or stupid or whatever; it just means that you have to change your habits in order to take advantage of a different technology.) Having observed this, I don't think it's impertinent or a stretch to suppose that FB User may be in the same boat.

I totally agree with you and other contributors that demos are good - and fun - irrespective of any other considerations. I agree that the $20 for the Keelty site is worthwhile. And I particularly agree with Ghost's advise to keep a detailed log about what you ski and what you like. However, this kind of demoing does take significant time, energy, and money, which not everyone has to spare. I know I don't. I'll just speak about my own experience, without projecting onto the OP: When I started going through the straight ski transition ten years ago or so, I ended up on skis that were 10cm shorter than what I was used to - i.e., way too long - which seemed like a huge decrease at the time. I tried some skis that were roughly the right length, and, because I had no first-hand guidance on the slope, thought they were laughably unstable. I believed that the way-too-long boards felt great when I demo'd them. Of course I had fun on the hill anyway, and of course none of this ruined any of my ski days, but I would have made much faster progress, picked skis more intelligently, and possibly been much happier all around if I had been exposed by a good teacher to some of the basics of how to ride a shaped ski around a turn first, and worried about exact ski choice second. I'm having SO MUCH FUN now on the new gear that I'm just sorry I didn't catch on quicker, and I don't want anyone else to suffer the same fate. That's all. No criticism intended in any way.
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post


  I'll just speak about my own experience, without projecting onto the OP: When I started going through the straight ski transition ten years ago or so, I ended up on skis that were 10cm shorter than what I was used to - i.e., way too long - which seemed like a huge decrease at the time. I tried some skis that were roughly the right length, and, because I had no first-hand guidance on the slope, thought they were laughably unstable. I believed that the way-too-long boards felt great when I demo'd them. Of course I had fun on the hill anyway, and of course none of this ruined any of my ski days, but I would have made much faster progress, picked skis more intelligently, and possibly been much happier all around if I had been exposed by a good teacher to some of the basics of how to ride a shaped ski around a turn first, and worried about exact ski choice second. I'm having SO MUCH FUN now on the new gear that I'm just sorry I didn't catch on quicker, and I don't want anyone else to suffer the same fate. That's all. No criticism intended in any way.
 
  Fascinating.  I recall finally biting the bullet half a dozen years or so ago.  While I didn't expect the new skis to compare in stability to a Super G ski, I did not find them laughably unstable.  Maybe that's because on of the first short shaped skis I tried was the SX11, which was more stable than a 20 cm longer Bandit..  I also found it very easy to adapt to the new skis, but I was already tipping the ski and riding the edges, just not in quite so small an arc as was easy to do with the newer stuff.  I ended up with a 165 cm ski (down from 208).

You don't have to demo all that many skis to figure out what turn radius, stiffness, etc. you like and how the reviews relate to your own impressions, and once you do, the reviews make more sense.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Gear Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Switching from Straights to Shaped Skis - Where to Start when buying new skis?