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2011 Dynastar Sultan 94 (long)

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
 Ski tested: 2011 Dynastar Sultan 94, 178cm length, 94mm underfoot, 18m sidecut; ski was mounted with PX12 rental-style bindings.

 

Me: 39y/o male, 6ft, 187lb.  Expert skier, ~L8 on a good day, ski at Tahoe for 10 yrs, last 6 yrs exclusively at Squaw Valley.  Skis I liked/owned previously:  Dynastar Legend 8000 and MR, Dynastar HugeTrouble, Salomon XScream, Head Mojo 94.  Skis I didn’t like:  Blower, Mantra, Watea 94.   Current quiver: HT, Mojo 94, MR.

 

Conditions:  Squaw, the day after a powder day.  The previous day the mountain had a layer of gorgeous windpacked powder all over the place, which got cut up by the end of the day.  Today some of it got smoothed again, but the wind also opened some sheets of pure ice.  The weather got progressively worse during the day, with some whiteout periods by the end of the day; not surprisingly, the snow got progressively better. 

 

Background and physical dimensions:  I own and love the Mythic Rider- supposedly the previous incarnation of this ski, it is a rock solid ski that busts through any snow anytime.  The only thing I didn’t like about it was the lack of sidecut and the 88mm width.  So I was excited to hear that Dynastar is bringing out the 94mm Mythic replacement with the less than 20m sidecut.  I also think that the mid-90 is the ideal width for a western daily driver ski. 

 

Compared to the Mythic Rider:  Sultan is also a pretty substantial ski, quite heavy, full vertical sidewall (instead of a hybrid on the MRs), also conventional camber.  Dynastar claims to have some tiny rocker on the Sultan94, I don’t think it amounts to much, if you put the Mythic and Sultan side by side and squeeze, you can see a bit of a difference, but not much.  The running length is a few mm more than the Mythic (same 178 length).  The major difference is stiffness: Sultan is noticeably softer.  The flex is pretty even throughout the ski. 

 

Compared to Mojo 94 (my all-mountain ski): These skis have a pretty similar flex (Mojo may be a tiny bit softer), and a very similar dimensions; Sultan is a few mm wider in the tip and the Sultan’s sidecut is 18m as opposed to 19m for the Mojo.  Mojo is a twin tip, Sultan has a raised conventional tail.

Other notes:  I was not sure what the tune was on that ski, (Starthaus-tuned skis usually have a label) so I suspect that it was a factory tune.  

 

Skiing impressions:  (I am giving the names of the runs so people familiar with Squaw could understand the terrain).  
I ski with a friend who is a Squaw instructor, and he does not waste time on silly things like warmup runs, so we did our first run on the Red Dog chair through the trees.  This is a pretty steep run and the trees are pretty closely spaced, so I was concentrating on waking up and trying not to hit anything hard and immobile.  My first impression was that the Sultan was tracking through the snow very well, but took some work getting to carve a clean turn.  We then heard that the Granite Chief lift was open so we did a few runs there before it shut down for the rest of the day.  On the Split Tree run the Sultan was making fairly tight turns in a tight space as long as I kept my weight forward and skied it aggressively.  That ski does not tolerate backseat driving.  We all say that a ski punishes the backseat driving, but Sultan just does not work in the backseat on anything difficult.  If you remember to drive it properly, the initiation of the turn is super-quick, you blink and the ski has already come around under you.  It is definitely a slicer, as it was going through the snow, not over it.  The ski skied fairly neutral, I didn’t notice any preference for short turns or long turns, it is very competent all-around and it does everything you ask it to do fairly well.

The defining feature of the Mythic Rider was its rock solid stability, sadly that trait is not there.  Still the trademark Dynastar firmness is there, it is not a whimpy ski.  However, when the snow was rough, I felt almost every bump; rough snow does not quite deflect the ski, but you definitely feel it, which made me nervous.  On the Corkscrew I was sideslipping very carefully near an exposed area and at some point I just thought that on the Mythic I would have been a lot more relaxed and bold.  Blame it on the new ski.

We went back to the base area through some the windbuffed bowls and more trees.  Again the turns were solid and neutral, the snow feel was very good, but a bit on the nervous side.  I almost hooked up the tip a couple of times, which I blame on the 18m sidecut.  I only did one run on the groomers, as expected it is a solid groomer ski, but nothing spectacular, which is expected for a mid-90 ski.  The turn initialtion is good, the transition is also good and the finish is neutral, but it does not quite launch you into the next turn.  If you rip groomers all day, you need a different set of boards.

I then decided to focus on the skis a bit more and did a few runs alone on KT22 and Red Dog areas.  I usually look for a “wow” moment in the skis that I demo, my wow moment on the Sultan came on a run through a forested area in between the loops of the Champs’Elisee run (steep densely forested area).  I was practically flying through those trees, I could point the skis and they would turn faster than I could think about it.  Pretty impressive.  On the runs in the Olympic Lady chair area (steep rolling terrain, some sparse trees), again the Sultan did a very good job, but it was not begging me to go faster.  This is probably not the best ski for hard-charging the big bowls.  The weather got worse, so the visibility deteriorated.  I had to hop-turn the Diagonal Chute (yeah, I am a whimp), again very competent behavior, surprising given the weight.  Last run I did on the Sultans was Nose-to-Alternates on KT22 which involved some moguls on top, then a steep-ish chute that spitted me out on wide wind-packed apron.  I am not the best bump skier in the world, so for me bump performance at the top of the run was just adequate.  I noticed that the tip was too stiff to just stuff the tips into the bumps, I had to pick my line very carefully.  The chute was excellent, quick turns, no problem.  On the apron I was making big sweeping arcs, but I was again somewhat bothered by a lot of snow feedback.

I switched to my Mojo 94 and did the same couple of runs on them.  First impression was that someone just turned on the suspension, compared to Sultans Mojo is super-damp.  My turns were a bit more sluggish but also more round, felt cleaner and had better flow.  Bump skiing was much, much better.  I did notice that I missed the nimbleness of the Sultans in the trees and in the chutes.  The Sultan seems to have a bit higher top end, but for the normal expert skiing, Mojo gives it a good run and bests it in some pretty significant areas. 

 

Conclusion:  I have to split it in two parts:

 

For Mythis Rider fans:  It ain’t the new Mythic.  The Sultan is a substantially quicker and a much more all-around neutral ski, but the bulldozer feel that made Mythic famous is largely gone.

 

For everyone else:  This is a very good ski that would fit a very large number of skiers, although intermediates should not apply.  Sultan does everything very confidently, is very solid, and is a good candidate for a one-ski-quiver.  To me its biggest strength was in quick turns in tight spaces.  If I had my wish list, I would ask for a little bit more damping and a bit less sidecut.  If you “shred gnar” all day, this is probably not a good ski for you either, it is pretty solid but not damp enough.   This ski will be a big hit for Dynastar, it is much less of a polarizing ski than Mythic was, and is good enough to be on a demo shortlist of everyone who is looking for a mid-90 wester all-arounder.  

Superficial thoughts:  The new graphics will work well for a lot of people, and won't turn off anyone, although I personally think that it is worse than the current Legend series generation, a number of people told me that Sultan 94 looked boring. My personal gripe is the Sultan name- I thought that the Rider name served the Legend series very well; somehow Dynastar think it is cool to change the series names every few years. Trouble, then Six Sense, Intuitive, Rider, Sultan...  I am sure there is a method to this madness, but it confuses a lot of people...  Volkl has been making different skis under the Gotama name for many years now? 


Edited by alexzn - 4/7/10 at 11:38am
post #2 of 25
Great review on the Sultans and a very fun day at Squaw!  Sounds like you gave the skis a workout in varied terrain and newish snow conditions.

I am curious to how much you weigh and if you have ridden this year's Blizzard Titan Atlas (94mm) for another point of reference comparison against the new 94mm Sultans that you skied yesterday?  I am impressed with the 94mm Blizzard's stability over varied terrain and the quickness edge to edge, so I would love to hear how the two skis stack up head to head.


Also, with the stiffer tips, is the 94 Sultan ski going to be a decent crud ski?  Thanks.
Edited by altabrig - 4/5/10 at 2:18pm
post #3 of 25
 Excellent review Alex.  What's your height/weight?  The 94 sounds very similar to the 85.  I found that the 85 skied nicely for me everywhere but bumps, where it felt like the tips were too stiff and were banging into bumps rather than bending into turns around them.  The other trait I noticed, similar to your observation, is that the 85 was very firm and rough riding with a lot of feedback from the snow.  Not unstable for me, but definitely not as smooth as a typical Head ski.  On the Sultan, I felt every little nook and cranny in the snow.  As a footnote, I should mention that the Kastle MX88 has as good or better snow feel than the Sultan, with none of the roughness.  It's also got the smoothness of a Head with none of the Head's dead molasses feel.  I think Kastle has the best ride/handling balance right now.  It's almost uncanny how good it is.
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
 Just added that info, (6ft, 187lb); have one more review to write, but not tonight...
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by altabrig View Post

I am curious to how much you weigh and if you have ridden this year's Blizzard Titan Atlas (94mm) for another point of reference comparison against the new 94mm Sultans that you skied yesterday?  I am impressed with the 94mm Blizzard's stability over varied terrain and the quickness edge to edge, so I would love to hear how the two skis stack up head to head.


Also, with the stiffer tips, is the 94 Sultan ski going to be a decent crud ski?  Thanks.
No, I have not tried the Atlas, although now I curious about ti; I was thinking that the Sultan 94 has to be by far the best of the new crop of the mid-90's, so I didn't even plan to demo anything else. besides I already have a mid-90 ski that is pretty good.  

As for the crud performance- I should say that it is a decent crud ski, but not nearly as good as the Mythic Rider.   (A clarification- "crud" to me means the frozen cut-up snow that you get off-trail after one or two storm cycles).  At 94mm Sultan will handle cut-up powder just fine, it is not a whimpy ski.  

Truthfully, my impression was that that for the Sultans Dynastar decided to widen the envelope at the expense of some top-end performance.  My prediction is that they will sell a lot more Sultan 94's than they did Mythic Riders, so this move makes perfect sense. 
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post

 Just added that info, (6ft, 187lb); have one more review to write, but not tonight...

Hmm, I sort of think 178cm is too short for you on this ski (it would be on the 85, but I can only guess/extrapolate to the 94).  I bet the next size up would have improved the top end performance quite a bit.  I am only a little bigger than you.  Because of the sidecut, I considered the Sultan 85 at 184cm to feel about as short as I'd want to go on that ski.
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
 Indeed, I thought a few times that the ski felt short (in fact my iPhone notes taken on the lift say so).  For the record, I never felt short on a 178 Dynastar, and my 180 Mojo94 feels about right.  I am a bit surprised, as normally fall into the same ski size as SJ, and I believe he said that 178 in S94 felt right for him. 

Maybe I could try the 184 if and when that demo becomes available.  
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
 Another ski I want to try is Salomon Sentinel.  Jim- Are going to get the demos in?  Looks like we will have a loong spring...
post #9 of 25
My opinion: the new Sultan 94 will be great for a great number of skiers.  Super forgiving, easy to ski (progressive tip rocker shortens the contact length), small radius makes it easy to turn, forgiving flex, reasonably high performance envelope, great carver.  As others noted: basically a wider 85.  The downsides: skis short (that progressive tip rocker shortens the ski, reducing stability); shorter radius makes it not as solid at speed in rough snow, lacking a touch in the top end.  

The best, most aggressive skiers on the hill will want more ski, but for the majority of people, this should be a great ride.  I am still not sold on the "Progressive tip rocker"; after skiing the same style tip on this ski, the K2's, and a few others (all mid-width, all-mountain skis), it seems all they did was make the ski effectively shorter.  It is now easier to turn (as any shorter ski would be) but also feels shorter and loses stability and heft, so it really isn't an improvement as much as a trade-off.  Where it is a benefit is in soft snow, as you get that length back due to snow building under the tip.  On firmer snow, you are just skiing a short ski, which isn't any different than if you had chosen the shorter length in a non rockered tip ski.  To me, it still seems as much a straight-up trade-off as an "improvement".  This past year, the Elan 999 had that same early rise tip: gives it added stability in soft snow, but skis short everywhere else, and I ended up going up 1 size (to 185cm).  It makes tons of sense if you are talking about a ski that gets primarily soft-snow use (such as the Elan Olympus, which has the same tip) but less sense for a ski that sees a lot of groomer duty. 

It is telling that the 4 skis in the mid-width range I liked best for next year (Volkl Mantra, Elan Apex, Kastle MX88, Stockli VXL) didn't go that route; so they feel nice and hefty, with tons of stability, in that 178cm-ish length.  The Sultan 94 was even easier to turn, but the 178cm felt more like a 174cm in comparison to all of the others.  Still, that effectively shorter may be a good trade-off for a lot of skiers, but I like the longer running length on skis that are getting a bit of type of snow condition.    
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post

 Another ski I want to try is Salomon Sentinel.  Jim- Are going to get the demos in?  Looks like we will have a loong spring...

I think (hope) that I'll have a 177 and 184 after this weekend. I'll probably have them for the rest of the Spring.

SJ
post #11 of 25

I was really disappointed with the Sultan 85's last season.  I love the Mythics as they are rock solid and give you huge confidence at speed on any terrain.  The Sultan 85's felt flappy and unstable at any decent speed (admittedly snow conditions weren't the best when I tried them).  If the 94's are similar then I will remain disappointed and steer clear...

 

TY for the review.

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by spotDEspot View Post

I was really disappointed with the Sultan 85's last season.  I love the Mythics as they are rock solid and give you huge confidence at speed on any terrain.  The Sultan 85's felt flappy and unstable at any decent speed (admittedly snow conditions weren't the best when I tried them).  If the 94's are similar then I will remain disappointed and steer clear...

 

TY for the review.



I am sorry to hear that, it sounds like a tune issue.  They are definitely anything but floppy, and are also quite stable.  Maybe not the last word in energy though.  That is often the problem with demos; you never know if they are dialed or not.  I wouldn't be surprised if they were a bit convex, maybe been run hard on the edges by many skiers and not ground flat.

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by spotDEspot View Post

I was really disappointed with the Sultan 85's last season.  I love the Mythics as they are rock solid and give you huge confidence at speed on any terrain.  The Sultan 85's felt flappy and unstable at any decent speed (admittedly snow conditions weren't the best when I tried them).  If the 94's are similar then I will remain disappointed and steer clear...

 

TY for the review.


The sultan is an all mountain ski that favors versatility and is capable for any terrain or type of skiing (including freeride) but is not purpose built for any single type. If you want a purpose built freeride ski then you should buy one.

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by spotDEspot View Post

I was really disappointed with the Sultan 85's last season.  I love the Mythics as they are rock solid and give you huge confidence at speed on any terrain.  The Sultan 85's felt flappy and unstable at any decent speed (admittedly snow conditions weren't the best when I tried them).  If the 94's are similar then I will remain disappointed and steer clear...

 

TY for the review.


The sultan is an all mountain ski that favors versatility and is capable for any terrain or type of skiing (including freeride) but is not purpose built for any single type. If you want a purpose built freeride ski then you should buy one.

I actually think the Mythics are far more of an all mountain ski than most people give them credit for - but you have to put the effort in - not a lazy Sunday afternoon forgiving ski.  I know I can bomb the Mythics anywhere with confidence at any speed and they won't let me down.  I felt the Sultan 85's were nowhere near as solid, definitely less stable at speed and the very heavy deep snow we had was quite dangerous on them (it would be on most skis to be fair) as they had too little grunt to power through it.  I have skied the Mythics in some terrible conditions, thin breakable crust, chopped up heavy crud and horrible ice (as well as some great conditions thankfully) and never felt anything but confidence in them.

 

I guess my point was that I was expecting the Sultan 85's to be a Mythic replacement (to a degree) but they were nothing like them, then I read this hoping the 94's were more like the Mythic but alas it seems not - hence the disappointment.  I am certain they are very good for a wide range of people but just not for me.  Maybe I am just a little sad that my all time favorite ski didn't get replaced frown.gif
 

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by spotDEspot View Post

I was really disappointed with the Sultan 85's last season.  I love the Mythics as they are rock solid and give you huge confidence at speed on any terrain.  The Sultan 85's felt flappy and unstable at any decent speed (admittedly snow conditions weren't the best when I tried them).  If the 94's are similar then I will remain disappointed and steer clear...

 

TY for the review.



I am sorry to hear that, it sounds like a tune issue.  They are definitely anything but floppy, and are also quite stable.  Maybe not the last word in energy though.  That is often the problem with demos; you never know if they are dialed or not.  I wouldn't be surprised if they were a bit convex, maybe been run hard on the edges by many skiers and not ground flat.



I am sure the tuning wouldn't have done them any favors, but I guess maybe I was expecting too much from them.

post #16 of 25

Sultan 85s -- I found them to be un-flappy and quite stable.  Beyond that, they were the most versatile in diverse snow conditions of the seven skis I've demo'ed since last season.  I decided to buy them after only about three hours skiing on them.  That's a record for me -- as others on Epic can testify, I've been fairly Hamlet-like in deciding on new skis.   

 

Spot -- what length 85s did you have, and what's your height and weight?  I'm 5"9" and 150 lbs and skied the 172.  If' I had tried 188, for example, I too might have found them to be a bit "flappy" for me.

 

EDIT:  Also, my previous skis were Volkl-AC-20s.  Spot, you mentioned that you've been skiiing the Mythic.  I think you're right that a lot of how we react to a ski is relative to what we've  skied (just) before.

post #17 of 25

Nice review.  For the skis that you list under your dislikes, is that due to stiffness, turn initiation, or something else?

post #18 of 25

I'm 6'1" 180lbs with 178 so close to the op. 15 or so days now getting after it and a couple days cruising the groomers on these skis and I agree with this review. I wish they had more speed and stability when at speed maybe a 184 might solve that? maybe not? I like the 178 for the quick maneuvering. That being said the only time I truly notice the limitation is when trying to build a lot of speed for momentum say on a cat walk, the trade off is more than worth it because I think these perform great in pow. I have always liked Dynastar as I think they are a great ski for the $. A good western 1sq IMO.

post #19 of 25


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimski View Post

Sultan 85s -- I found them to be un-flappy and quite stable.  Beyond that, they were the most versatile in diverse snow conditions of the seven skis I've demo'ed since last season.  I decided to buy them after only about three hours skiing on them.  That's a record for me -- as others on Epic can testify, I've been fairly Hamlet-like in deciding on new skis.   

 

Spot -- what length 85s did you have, and what's your height and weight?  I'm 5"9" and 150 lbs and skied the 172.  If' I had tried 188, for example, I too might have found them to be a bit "flappy" for me.

 

EDIT:  Also, my previous skis were Volkl-AC-20s.  Spot, you mentioned that you've been skiiing the Mythic.  I think you're right that a lot of how we react to a ski is relative to what we've  skied (just) before.

 

Hi Jim,

 

They were 184's - I'm 5'10" and about 180lbs.  I am happy skiing the Mythics in the same length - which imo are quite a bit more demanding (in the sense you can't be lazy with them).

 

To be honest I have been doing quite a bit of research on tuning since dawgcatching wrote his reply - I didn't realise how seemingly subtle differences could make a huge difference to the ski's performance - and I suspect dawg was spot on.  I was skiing with another guy who was demoing them at the same time and he didn't dislike them anywhere near as much as me - maybe his were tuned slightly less badly cool.gif

 

With my own skis I have always kept edges sharp etc and looked after bases, filling any damage that will take p-tex and waxing before and after a trip etc but, thanks to this forum, I am learning a whole new world with regard to the difference a 3 degree edge bevel will make over a 1 degree (especailly with the snow I often have to make do with in Europe) and the issues with base bevels > 1 degree etc.  As I have found myself a pair of Mythics (now winging their way to me via Fedex) I want to make sure I look after them.

 

I really appreciate the advice from you guys.

 

Cheers,

spot
 

post #20 of 25

Question - Have you skied the Sultan 94s in the 184cm or only the 178?  I skied the 178s on a good eastern powder day and liked them, but wondered about the 184s for a some more stability in the crud - and more of a big mountain ski - thoughts?

post #21 of 25

Alex: Superb review, I demoed these skis last week in Killington, Vt. my experience was very similar to yours, but in addition, I tested it on eastern hard pack; edge hold is very poor. It slips and slides as soon as it gets slick and hard but not what we easterners call 'really icy'. I consider this a major flaw. since you never know where - lets say in an steep chute with exposure - you might encounter hard slipper conditions. I also feel too much "solidity and dampness" which are related to "edge grip", have been taken out of this ski. I wrote a review for this.

post #22 of 25

Asked in another thread, but will ask here as well.  The mounting line seems back on the 184's - I skied them w/ demo bindings but didnt think to look.  Just go with it?

post #23 of 25

I have 184s mounted on the line and get the same feeling.  In deeper snow they are money, but if you try to carve on steep & hard snow the tails just won't hold.  I'd like to try the newer 11/12 model with early rise tips.  The same binding position on hard snow would be effectively moved forward on the running surface.

post #24 of 25

^ thanks - i skied the 11/12's on look/rossi demos that seemed fine.  Im sure they were on the line - just looked a bit back.  

post #25 of 25

great review. you should be reviewing for ski magazine. the parts about damping, feel, and quickness of the ski in different conditions were especially helpful to me. thanks- john

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