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Advice on Selecting Skis

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
 Hi All,

I just recently got into skiing and quickly realized that I love it.  I already own boots that are properly fitted according to this and other websites' guidelines.  I'm now looking to get my own pair of skis and am hoping that you all can give me some advice.

So some background info about me:
Age: 27
Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 175 lbs.

Skiing Experience: This was my first season. I went 6 days. I'm feeling fairly comfortable/confident on blue runs with basic rental skis, though I do still fall.

Skier Style: I like to feel in control with a nice turning rhythm, I don't have an overpowering need to go fast.

Skiing Location: So. California (Mt. Baldy, Big Bear), Eastern Sierra (June Mountain, Mammoth)

Terrain Preference: Thus far I've mostly done groomed runs, and some packed powder.  I see myself mostly sticking on piste but venturing off piste from time to time.

I'm looking for skis that won't be too much for me to handle at my current ability but that I can grow with and eventually do black runs on.  

What would you suggest as far as ski lengths and waist widths that I should be considering?

Do you have any specific ski suggestions? I've looked at the following:
Vokl Unlimited AC20
K2 Apache Ranger & Raider
Salomon X-Wing 8 & XW Storm
Dynastar Booster 9 & 10
Fischer Heat 74 & 76
Elan Magfire 74 & 78

Any opinions?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you provide.
post #2 of 12
I have the Volkl AC-20; it's a great intermediate, on-piste ski that is fine on groomed black slopes.  Also in this category, I've heard/seen good reviews of the Blizzard Magnum 7.6 and the Atomic Smoke TI. 
post #3 of 12

Welcome to Epic.  Hard for me to recommend intermediate skis, but I would suggest getting something used- Good chance that as you get more experience, you will improve and/or want a different style ski and/or want to have more than a one ski quiver.  Should be some good used values as people look to dump stuff at end of season. 

Not sure how it would do for an intermediate skier, but I find my '09 Contact 10s (prev Ltd & 11) to have a "good turning rhythm" and be enjoyable in a variety of conditions (but do have other skis for deep days). 

post #4 of 12
Anything by Blizzard, like the 7.6 or 8.1 Magnum, will give you more of a performance upside than the Volkls, but ask for some attention from an intermediate. K2's are not a great choice for southern California snow (grew up there), and feel like riding a cadaver anyway. The Elan 78 is a solid all around ski, think also about this year's 82XTi if you spend more time at Mammoth etc. This year's Rossignol Avenger 82 Carbon is a great ski for your level and mission. Dynastars generally are not my call for serious edge hold and stability except for their expert models. Fischer's are light and lively, so will get moved around a bit in heavy wet snow if you're not tending to your edges, but they are the best of the bunch to get better on, are really fun, if you go that way and like Mammoth, would choose a Watea instead, and really low prices right now on the 78's and 84's. Sallies are nice skis, Tornados will work well for you if you're lighter and less aggressive, but you may outgrow them in a season or two.

TAKE LESSONS!!

Good luck. 
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
 Thanks for the help thus far.

So it seems that I should be looking at skis with an ~80mm waist, is that right?  I've only skied on rentals with 70mm waists, what difference should I expect in controlling a ski with a larger waist?

Also, what lengths should I be considering? I was think 165-170cm.
post #6 of 12
People are recommending 80ish waist skis so that they will be more versatile for where you ski.  You won't notice much difference with the added width over the 70mm waisted rentals after you've skied them a few times.

Fischer Watea 78 or 84 would seem like a good choice for you.  They are forgiving, but are high enough perfoming that you won't outgrow them quickly.  I would lean towards the 84 since it will perform better on soft snow and will still carve a nice turn on harder snow.  You will outgrow the 78 way before the 84.

I'd stay in the 170 range for length.

Mike

P.S. Welcome to Epic! 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sturmonium View Post

 Thanks for the help thus far.

So it seems that I should be looking at skis with an ~80mm waist, is that right?  I've only skied on rentals with 70mm waists, what difference should I expect in controlling a ski with a larger waist?

Also, what lengths should I be considering? I was think 165-170cm.
 
post #7 of 12
The 72 - 80-ish waist range is good for groomed blue slopes, and won't hurt you as you move to (groomed) black slopes.  There are exceptions -- Beyond mentioned the Rossi Avenger 82 CA, for example -- that you might want to demo.  IMO (others may disagree), if you stay under 80mm for the next couple years (e.g., 20-40 ski days depending on your natural ability, your focus, and whether you take lessons), you'll be better able to build good carving skills.  

Caveat:  when you've arrived at that skill level, you might start hungering for new thrills -- ungroomed, off piste, etc. -- and at that point you may want to go wider.  So MEfree's suggestion of looking for good used skis now may be the way to go -- or look for a really sweet off-season deal on new skis.

Length: my view -- around 170 cm. 
      5'11" = 71" = 180 cm
      180 cm - 170 cm = 10 cm = 4" 
So when you're standing next to a 170 ski it will be 4" shorter than you, which is about right for an intermediate, IMO.  Others here will tell you to go longer but, when they do, ask them how long they've been skiing and what kinds of slopes/snow they ski on.
   
post #8 of 12
I'm also at about the same level of experience and looking at ski options. Any thoughts on ski preferences (or lengths) for someone a little taller (6'4") and heavier (200lbs)? I was looking at the Dynastar Sultan 80s as well as some of the other skis mentioned here. I'm mostly at Squaw or Heavenly these days.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Jimski, thanks for the help.  

So, it sounds like the skis I mentioned in my original post may be of a more appropriate waist width.  

Is the main thing I sacrifice by going to wider waists the ease of carving?  
What are other pros/cons of ~75mm vs. ~80mm waist skis?
post #10 of 12
Sturm -- a lot of factors in addition to waist size determine how a ski skis.  But everything else being equal, a narrower ski will be easier for carving than a wider ski.  It may also hold onto ice or ice-like hardpack better.  However, in other conditions -- when the slope is not nicely groomed after a big snow dump, has random mounds, tracked out snow, etc. -- a ski that is wider may give you a relatively easier time. 
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

 K2's are not a great choice for southern California snow (grew up there), and feel like riding a cadaver anyway.


Now THAT is funny, and just about spot on (regarding one particularly vile all mountain model anyway - you know who you are).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sturmonium View Post

So it seems that I should be looking at skis with an ~80mm waist, is that right?  I've only skied on rentals with 70mm waists, what difference should I expect in controlling a ski with a larger waist?

Also, what lengths should I be considering? I was think 165-170cm.

There's one intermediate ski I tried that I thought was a real laugher if you want something to have fun on for a year or so while you steepen your learning curve. The Dynastar 4800 isn't as stiff as the 8000 so it's more accomodating of mistakes, but was a great enjoyable ski in most all conditions (aim to go off piste more as a serious goal), and you can get them used really cheap as they don't have the 8k's rep.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sturmonium View Post

Is the main thing I sacrifice by going to wider waists the ease of carving?  
What are other pros/cons of ~75mm vs. ~80mm waist skis?
 

The width underfoot really shouldn't impact your skiing much whether it is 78 or 88. As a fellow Mammoth skier, I would encourage you to buy a 78 waisted ski this time around. Next up a 99 and then in a few seasons a 115 as you progress out into the off piste. Those 3 sizes will give you a nice quiver to choose from.
Your next ski will likely be 170 in length due to your brief time on skis, but a 177ish wouldn't be out of the question either. Just try and get a ski that has a turn radius of 18M or less and I think you will be happy with most anything this early in the game. At your stage, I would buy used if I was you. Skis with intergrated binding systems that are adjustable to different boot sizes would be a winner so you don't have to remount the bindings. Try and buy a solid intermediate to advance ski so you can ride it a few years. I think a ski that pushes you to handle it is a good thing, but may be a challenge at first.
Enjoy the ride.
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