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2 ski quiver advice for Colorado

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
First post, be gentle please.

I've been lurking for a couple days and finally decided to post, as I have been unable to answer my question: what 2 ski quiver to get for Colorado?

About me: 6'2", 175lbs, 38 years old, expert alpine/telemark skier who skis fast, searches out steeps, trees, tight chutes, and still enjoys zipperlining moguls at Mary Jane or A-basin (although certainly not like in my teens and 20s). Love powder (who doesn't), but never seem to time it right, so usually settle for variable snow conditions (mostly tracked out crud) off-piste 80% of the time. Loveland is home mountain this year, where I hope to get 20+ days and do hike the ridge and pass. The season thus far has been grim. I telemark on 184cm Volkl Karmas, but could remount these with alpine bindings if necessary.

My problem is that I took a hiatus from skiing from 1998-2006 and really have been slow to adopt the new alpine ski technologies. I patrolled Mt. Hood on 200cm Volkl Snow Rangers during the 90s and them transitioned to tele gear for added challenge and have now slowly come back to alpine.

After demoing a bunch of skis in 2006, I settled on a pair of 176cm Elan Magfire 12. At the time I was mostly telemarking backside, so I only afforded myself 1 pair of frontside alpine skis for the hard snow days in between storm cycles. Now I am alpine skiing more and more, and the Elan's have significant limitations and I have found the 176cm to be small. Now I am looking for a second XXL pair of skis, and perhaps trading the Elans for something longer and maginally wider.

I would like recommendations on an optimal 2 ski quiver for a Colorado Frontranger, and whether the Elans could stay or a 85-90mm waisted ski would be a better call as a complement to a big mountain/powder ski. I demoed some skis at Loveland in Nov. 2009 in less than ideal conditions. I really liked the Blizzard line (Atlas, Argos, Answer). Seemed to fit my style and speed that day better than the Volkls (Gotama, Mantra), Line Prophets (Line 90 & 100) and Dynastars (Legend Pro, Sultan). Everything I tried was about 185cm. But again, the conditions were only hard-packed groomers, and demoing anything over 105mm wide underfoot was sub-optimal. I can't try to time a good demo day this spring (and demo availability is iffy), so I am deferring to the collective wisdom of the forum members.

I was thinking Blizzard Magnum 8.7 or Head iM88 (never skied either, just going by forum buzz) paired with the Blizzard Answer or Argos. Am I way off? Again, this is all kinda new...

I do believe a skilled driver can adapt to any ski in most conditions, but I want to up the fun quotient and am tired of just "settling" with one pair of short 76mm waisted skis. So really I am looking for some recommendations on specific ski combinations, but primarily getting the lengths and width right on both pairs. I don't have enough experience on diverse new equipment to dial in these numbers.

I do have a line on 2010 187cm Titan Argos mounted with Solomon STH 12 for $450. Is this an appropriate choice for the softer/deeper snow ski in the quiver, and a good deal?

Any advice from all the experts here would be much appreciated! Sorry for the long post; if you've made it this far, I know you can help.

Cheers --db
post #2 of 14
I demoed the Soloman Shogun. I skiied it at Alta and Park City. It got great edge on the windblown and hard pack. There was a dump of 20 inches at alta and since it's a rockered ski it floated great in the pow. Overall great ski for all conditions.
The dimensions and discription are below.
post #3 of 14
I used to have Elan 666s, which were great on piste, but dove in powder.  For resort skiing in softer conditions, look at a 2nd pair of skis like a Rossi S7 or 4FRNT CRJ, which have a cambered/sidecut section and tip/tail rocker.  The cambered section works well on the groom, and they ski shorter on groomers, but they ski to length in deeper snow.  IMO, a 188 will feel like a 178-180 on groomers, but will feel like a 188 in pow/cut up/crud.  I didn't like the S7 (too soft, not stable at speed), but I did like the CRJ.  

Here's a review of CRJs:  http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=147634

FYI, CRJs for sale:  http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=187328
post #4 of 14
I ski the same areas so I think I can give you some general advice.

I've distilled the needs of the CO front range skier down to this:
2 Ski Quiver = All-terrain Skinny (75-85mm : 16m) + All-terrain Wide (95-105mm: 22m)                       
3 Ski Quiver = Hard-pack (65-75mm : 12m) + All-terrain (85-95mm : 18m) + Deep-snow (105-115mm : 24m)   

I've gone with my 3 ski quiver approach, but you're looking for a 2 ski quiver so here are some thoughts.  Within the whole rage of everyone going wider and wider, I've actually gone narrower this season.  I've just upped the ante in my skiing skills and found that I prefer deeper sidecuts and quicker skis.  If you consider how poor the snow was in CO for most of this season you can understand the reasoning behind needing to keep at least one skinnier ski in the quiver.  In a 2 ski quiver I think something in the 75-85mm range meets the need with at least an 18m sidecut or less (preferably down around 14-16m).

We so rarely get big dumps in CO that if you only have 2 skis in your quiver I really think that the other ski doesn't need to be a huge pow specific ski.  It would rarely get used and if you did use it a bunch you would really be compromising on its intended use.  So that's my reasoning behind going with a 95mm-105mm ski as your "daily driver".  When the snow is decent in CO, a ski in this range is pretty much the go to ski.  The skis I have in this range are generally around 20-22m sidecuts, but there's a new push coming from the industry with a few manufacturers that have started putting deeper sidecuts on wider skis (Atomic Savage, Line Prophets, Dynastar Sultan 94).  I like this new trend and I don't find them hooky if I'm mostly skiing on edge and releasing properly.  So I'm actually in the market myself for a 95-100mm ski with an 18m sidecut.  I just like my skis to come around quick when I want them to and I have no problem with completing longer radius turns on deep sidecut skis.

Hope this helps.
post #5 of 14
I agree with Noodler. I have a pair of Mag 12s and dumped my skinny skis as they carve so well. They also kill crud and aren't bad in that oh so common 4" new. I've got Watea 94s as my 20+ radius soft snow ski and a pair of old Gots that rarely go out, especially this year. I'm curious about these 17m 90+ skis as it has the potential to combine the 80s ski and the 90s ski into one.

As a daily driver I still want 17m or less. If that can work in a 90+ ski great, but the one thing I know is I don't enjoy a 20m+ 90+ ski everyday when it doesn't snow.
post #6 of 14
Line prophet 100 for most days
Elan 1010, PM Gear Lhasa Pow or Praxis powderboards for big powder days

then some tigersharks for "those" days
post #7 of 14
I ski the I-70 resorts also and am an expert skier (26 years, parents were pros), 28 yrs old, 5'10, 165-170 lbs.

Even on the deeper days this year (which were waist-deep and blower in the sidecountry), my '05/'06 183 Gotamas gave plenty of float. They were also agile enough for the tight trees of Vail's stashes and the steep narrow chutes at Beaver Creek, including some awesome pillow and cliff hopping lines. I don't think it's all that beneficial to look at anything wider than 110 out here, unless you've got a larger quiver. I would look bigger if I was in an area that had thicker snow (Sierras/Cascades) or more snow (Wolf Creek/Utah), but I-70 in Colorado, I'd stick to a similar size as my Goats for a powder ski, maybe with a bit of tip rocker. At the rate the powder gets skied out here, a larger ski, or non-traditional shape won't be worth it, IMO. Even if you have stashes that you can hit for days after the storm (like I do), having a powder-slanted traditional shape to get you back to the lift will be a lot more fun.

The Goats could be a quiver-of-one, but I do notice some deficiencies due to width. They are sluggish to get up on edge and the width causes problems in mogul fields. While they can do both groomers and moguls, they're not anywhere near as much fun as skinnier skis in "hard" snow conditions. With that in mind, I think you'd find too much overlap with a second ski in the 85-90 range, due to the problems with the Goats being the width. You'll probably enjoy a skinnier ski a lot more for non-powder/days-late days out here in Colorado.

Personally, I have two other pairs, one at 78mm that is stiff and stable, and another at 75mm that is soft, poppy and playful. I find this quiver to be great, as I can pick to suit my mood - do I want to go fast or hit the mogul fields and really get a good workout. On these days I bring both pairs up and choose at the base - sometimes switching out the mogul skis for the cruisers as I get tired and/or as the gapers clear out. Get older models and slap some duct tape on the bindings, and just leave them on the rack - don't worry about theft. No one steals skis with duct tape on the bindings.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice! This season has been the worst since I moved to the Front Range in '05. My Elan Mag 12s are incredibly chewed up from all the thinly covered rocks. But with a good tune, I think I can keep them in as the smaller of a 2 ski quiver as Noodler and Steve suggest. 176 cm / 17.9m radius with sidecut of 116-76-102 seems to be adequate for most hard snow days. However the Elans don't float me well in softer snow, unless the pitch is outrageous and affords high speeds, but then I'm concentrating so hard on technique and balance--no flow, less fun. I'm now used to the 17.9m radius and despite being heavy, medium-stiff skis, the Elans are adequate performers in moguls. The integrated Fusion binding system has been 100% reliable. So one vote to keep the short Elans, rather than look for a similar ski in the low 180cm range with smaller radius.

As I mentioned, during my demo day I liked the Blizzard 95mm-105mm skis better than Line Prophets, Volkls, Dynastars, and Atomics. Kept returning to the Blizzard tent after Mantras, Gotamas, Savage, Sultan & Legend Pros. I tried the Atlas 187cm 20.5m radius with sidecut at 130-94-116, and the Argos 180cm 25m radius with sidecut at 135-105-121. I don't recall they rep had any 187cm Argos to demo. I do have an opportunity to get 187cm Argos 25.5m radius, but don't know how they flex comparatively. Would they be too much ski for my 175lbs?

Unfortunately these were all skied on groomers due to poor testing conditions, so all skis were underwhelming out of their soft snow element. I really wanted to love the Legend Pros, but they felt like lifeless wooden planks that day. I liked the Blizzards' slightly longer radius (except for the Legend Pros @ 26m in 186cm), as longer turns suit my style/speed. But perhaps I will re-examine ~95-100mm 18-22m radius skis in the future, as Noodler suggests. For now I'm comfortable at higher speed >25m arcs
post #9 of 14
I hear you about trashing skis this year. I think I've used more ptex than in the last ten years combined. I skied Vail today in 4" of spring pow and can honestly say I hit nothing. Probably first time this year.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Just to follow-up, I picked up a pair of used 186cm Fischer Watea 94. Will post a review once I get on them tomorrow at Keystone. Hopefully this week's 12" has helped to cover up most of the thin spots. Miserable snow base this season.
post #11 of 14
You just matched 2/3 of my quiver. Mag 12 + Watea 94. I think you'll like them. Watch out for some chatter on steep firm stuff.
post #12 of 14
 lots of good reviews on that ski.  There's quite a few that would fit the bill.
post #13 of 14
    Originally Posted by dbelin View Post

Just to follow-up, I picked up a pair of used 186cm Fischer Watea 94. Will post a review once I get on them tomorrow at Keystone. Hopefully this week's 12" has helped to cover up most of the thin spots. Miserable snow base this season.

Keystone's base is always "miserable" compared to the other Front Range mountains.  I rarely go there any more because they never seem to have the snow.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
As I type, Tramdock has 3 pairs of 186cm Watea 94 for $325.
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