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need recommendations for a new pair of skis

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I ski mostly on the East Coast with a few (3-4) ski trips out West every season.  I currently have a pair of 163cm Volkl AC20s.  I would put myself at intermediate or perhaps slightly above.  I ski black groomers comfortably and I'm working on getting comfortable on double blacks (at Sugarloaf in ME, if anyone is familiar with their runs).  I've progressed quite a bit on my AC20s and I'm now looking for something which will help me progress even more.  I'm 5'8'', 150lbs.  Do you guys have any suggestions for skis that I should be looking at? 

post #2 of 24

Wump -- are you my twin??  I'm a 5'9" 150 lb. East Coaster whose current skis are 163 AC-20s, and I too am actively looking to move up. 

 

Question: do you want to stay on groomed? -- the DBs at the Loaf are a nice challenge, especially with a sheen of ice on top.   When you ski in the West, do you stay on groomed slopes?   

post #3 of 24

If the Volkl AC20 worked to get you to progress, stick with the Volkl line - go to the AC30.  It's a very popular ski for hard and soft pack - great carver and quick edge to edge.  It will be a little more than what you have, but you indicate you are ready to go to eh next level.  I have skied on all the top unlimited skis, AC4's, 40's, and now 50's.  I have found them all to be oustanding.  I ski in the Rockies, and have found them to be versatile enough to be a one quiver ski.  Alot of skiers comment that the AC50 is alot of ski, but I've never found that - they just take off right out of the wrapper.  As an advanced intermediate, and for more hard pack, you may prefer the AC30.  I also think that the skis that always rate high in on mountain tests and are reasonably priced are the Head skis.  You may want to look at the monster 82 and 88.  Also I have an instructor friend who skis on Blizzards - the model escapes me, but they are the all mountain ski - 90 mm. under foot.  He says they are a very forgiving ski that turn easily.  I'm not a believer in going longer unless there is a reason, so I don't know if I would go above your current 163 cm. for now.

 

post #4 of 24

I demo'ed AC30s (170) this past season and thought they were fine -- predictable and reliable.  I was only on groomed slopes though.  Out West (Snowmass) I demo'ed Head Peak 88s in 164 on groomed, ungroomed, trees and bumps -- and loved them.  Many on Epic advised me to get that ski, although I also got off-line advice to: (a) go with the Head Peak 82 in 172, and (b) go with the Line Prophet 90 in 165 or 172.   So, in the grip of indecision, I switched to demo-ing tennis rackets.....      

post #5 of 24

OK, I'l rain on the Volkl parade. You may find the AC's peachy. Until you try their in-every-way slightly superior younger brothers, made by Blizzard. Even using some of the best engineers formerly with Volkl. Just go try a pair of Magnum 8.1's, and you'll realize what you've been missing. Nothing wrong with the Volkls, y'understand. Very nice skis. Just last century's version of the Blizzards. 

 

Other skis to try: Fischer Watea 84's, if you are more into bumps and softer snow in the trees, want a lively feel like the Blizzards but less stiff; Nordica Nitrous CA for more of an all-mountain feel that will thrive out west or in variable snow, still handle ice, damper than the Wateas or Blizzards.

 

Note to OP plus Jimski: You guys need to go next increment up in length for next round. Seriously. You'll gain stability without any real loss of maneuverability. In a narrower unisex all mountain ski, the lowest increment is for very light people. As in 110-140 lbs. Or people who never go over 30 mph. (And recall I'm the guy who argued that we're skiing too long...) 


Edited by beyond - 6/25/10 at 2:47pm
post #6 of 24

You know what I would do?  I would buy something that is a further stretch than what you are currently on. 

 

I see the Volkls everyone is discussing are only 6mm apart underfoot, and in the same line of skis.  I can see where this would make a transition easy, but why not have two completely different skis you can switch back and forth from?  If your AC20 works well why stop using it?  If you only upgraded one model away, you probably wouldn't have a need for them as much.  On the other hand, if you bought a Powder/Park/Race/Big Mountain ski, you could get an entirely different experience than the AC20/30 would provide.  I never skied there, but I understand powder isn't plentiful out on the East Coast.  If you bought a ski larger than the AC30, in theory you could be that much better when it does snow alot.  Contrary you could buy something that goes faster and carves harder as well.  Some sort of Slalom or GS ski.  I've been on this kick lately about expanding my repertoire to keep it exciting.  I'm not one for brand loyalty either.  I like to try different things and see how they work.  It may make the immediate jump from one to another more difficult, but it's fun.  I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to buy something non-volkl.

 

My lineup next year will be

 

Hart BarHopper  188 cm  129 - 102 - 120   (Powder and Big Mountain)

 

Kneissl Fly Star 183 cm   123 - 87 - 109  (All Mountain Before Park)

 

K2 Public Enemy 179 cm  118 - 85 - 109  (Park Before All Mountain)

 

Hart Javelin GS  191 cm  106 - 67 - 88  (Groomers and Racing)

 

 

As you can see...something for every condition.  I figure the following year, I will add a bigger and probably rockered powder ski.  A twin tip 90-95 mm Big Mountain Ski.  A Slalom Ski.  Or any combination thereof.

 

For you, I would get something in the 85-90 mm waste range, and keep using the AC20.

 

(Oh and Hart BarHopper =/= Hart Javelin....they were made in two separate factories on different sides of teh world, so they don't count as brand loyalty) :)~

 

post #7 of 24

You ski groomed east cost runs.

Go up in performance level, not width.

Get a consumer race ski, or a one-step down from race ski.

ie. Fischer WC,  Head SS Speed, Rossi Radical RS WC.

 

These skis will grip sooner when you begin to put them on edge and keep gripping when you turn harder.  All they ask is that you tip them, stay balanced, and let them run.

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 

Wow thanks for all the responses guys!  I'll have plenty of skis to check out.  What length would you guys recommend for me?  I was thinking mid 170s?  Should I try longer than that?  

 

Also I would definitely like to ski off-piste/get off groomers but I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do that at Sugarloaf.  When I ski in the West I have been staying on groomers but I would definitely like to move off of them when I'm good enough.  I guess I need something that can handle both, perhaps with an emphasis on groomers since the majority of my skiing will be in the East.  Also learning to ski bumps is definitely on my list of things to learn next season.  

 

Thanks again for all the recommendations!

post #9 of 24

The Jury is in.  You want at least 80 mm for skiing off-piste.

Buying an off-piste ski when the majority of your skiing isn't western off-piste, but  is eastern groomers, is like driving a lifted 3/4 ton 4x4 pick-em-up truck for freeway commuting and track days because you go off-roading once a year.

 

Get a ski suited to what you do most of, and rent when you go west (or buy two pair). 

post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

 

Note to OP plus Jimski: You guys need to go next increment up in length for next round. Seriously. You'll gain stability without any real loss of maneuverability. In a narrower unisex all mountain ski, the lowest increment is for very light people. As in 110-140 lbs. Or people who never go over 30 mph. (And recall I'm the guy who argued that we're skiing too long...) 

 

Well, to confess, even though my driver's license says I'm 150 lbs, that's only true after a big meal.  Yesterday, after two hours of tennis in DC heat, I was probably closer to 145....  

 

But, to your point -- you're probably right, and in fact that is part of the reason I haven't yet pulled the trigger on Peak 88s.  About the time the post-season deals starting showing up, you started the discussion on ski length.  I had demo'ed the 88s in 164, and started thinking that length might be too limiting for me -- if not next season then maybe a couple seasons down the road.  But some here had counseled that a ski that you love in one length might not be right for you in another length.  So, I want to demo the 88s in the next size up (169) before buying.  As to the others on my list, the Head Peak 82 and the Line Prophet 90 are both available in 172, and the recently-added-to-my-list Icelantic Pilgrim is available in 169.   

 

I demo'ed the AC-30 in 170 and it was fine for me, although, as a I mentioned, I skied mainly on groomed and semi-groomed that weekend (choices are limited at the Wisp resort).  This past season, my kids and I spent probably half our time either getting to or skiing in bumps or trees, so I need a ski that will not let me down for that. 

 

 



 

post #11 of 24



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wumple View Post

 

Also I would definitely like to ski off-piste/get off groomers but I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do that at Sugarloaf.  When I ski in the West I have been staying on groomers but I would definitely like to move off of them when I'm good enough.


One thing you can do to ease into true off-piste is to try some ungroomed or semi-groomed slopes.  At Sugarloaf, for example, there are a handful of slopes designated on the trail map as not groomed: e.g., Ripsaw, Double Bitter, Upper Bubblecuffer.  Also, on any given day at many resorts -- particularly after a big snow dump -- there may be several slopes designated on the trail map as groomed but the grooming equipment couldn't get to them the night before.  These are a lot of fun, and often less crowded than groomed slopes. 
 

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimski View Post

Well, to confess, even though my driver's license says I'm 150 lbs, that's only true after a big meal.  Yesterday, after two hours of tennis in DC heat, I was probably closer to 145....  

 

But, to your point -- you're probably right, and in fact that is part of the reason I haven't yet pulled the trigger on Peak 88s.  About the time the post-season deals starting showing up, you started the discussion on ski length.  I had demo'ed the 88s in 164, and started thinking that length might be too limiting for me -- if not next season then maybe a couple seasons down the road.  But some here had counseled that a ski that you love in one length might not be right for you in another length.  So, I want to demo the 88s in the next size up (169) before buying.  As to the others on my list, the Head Peak 82 and the Line Prophet 90 are both available in 172, and the recently-added-to-my-list Icelantic Pilgrim is available in 169.   

 

I demo'ed the AC-30 in 170 and it was fine for me, although, as a I mentioned, I skied mainly on groomed and semi-groomed that weekend (choices are limited at the Wisp resort).  This past season, my kids and I spent probably half our time either getting to or skiing in bumps or trees, so I need a ski that will not let me down for that. 

 


Hmmm. OK, I can't comment on the Peak in 169, although I have a hunch it would be fine. The iM88 in 175 worked for me, and it had an extra sheet of metal. The Peak 82, though, is another matter. It's still the iM82, two sheets of titanum. I owned it in 172 and it was as much/a bit more than I needed. At your weight, maybe not a starter for bumps, trees. Prophet 90 skis short, so yea, the 172 would work well and fits your mission. Can't speak to the Pilgrim, although I sense it's optimized for ungroomed. 

 

Other skis you might think on that I find versatile and lighter skier friendly: Fischer Watea 84's, Blizzard Cronus, Volkl Bridge, Nordica Burner.

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Hmmm. OK, I can't comment on the Peak in 169, although I have a hunch it would be fine. The iM88 in 175 worked for me, and it had an extra sheet of metal. The Peak 82, though, is another matter. It's still the iM82, two sheets of titanum. I owned it in 172 and it was as much/a bit more than I needed. At your weight, maybe not a starter for bumps, trees. Prophet 90 skis short, so yea, the 172 would work well and fits your mission. Can't speak to the Pilgrim, although I sense it's optimized for ungroomed. 

 

Other skis you might think on that I find versatile and lighter skier friendly: Fischer Watea 84's, Blizzard Cronus, Volkl Bridge, Nordica Burner.


Beyond -- thanks!  Good thing I've got six months to decide.  Some thoughts/reactions:  

 

       Head Peak 82 -- thanks for the heads up (no pun intended).  Do you know whether Head will take some more metal out of the 2011 Peak 82?  (course, then I'd have to wait a year for off-season deals).

 

       Watea 84 -- it's practically free online (saw it last week for $239 flat).  Heard it's good in bumps but maybe a little shaky on cue-ball hardpack.   
 

      Blizzard Cronus -- Hadn't considered this one.  But in my length range, is only available in 166 (too short?) and 173 (too long?).

 

      Volk Bridge -- 92 waist?  LOL, back in November I was looking at the Nordica Nitrous and the Atomic Blackeye.  Waist width creep has set in!   (OK, true, I've already got the Prophet 90 on the list...) 

 

     Others  -- I've seen good online prices for these two recently:  Dynastar Sultan 85 (avail. in 165 and 172) and Stockli VXL (in 169).  What do you think of either of these for my purposes?  Who knows why I didn't have either one on my list initially -- probably because I was thinking 80 waist max when I did the list.  I'd have to get past the whole Good Friday motif on the VXL (or get out the spray paint....)

 

Thanks.

post #14 of 24

yes, the pilgrim is more adept on soft snow but don't count it out on firm groomers either.

post #15 of 24

Gotta second the Blizzard Magnum series.  I ski the 8.7 all the time here in the east (PA).  While I do run out of room quite often, you would probably find the 8.1 as a better compromise.  I have also skied all conditions out west with them.  The only weakness I have seen is tip diving in crust(due to the stiffness), but that is such a limited regime for where you will be skiing.  I am looking for something wider, but I don't see a reason to go smaller than the 8.1 on groomers.  I have skied the Monster 82 and SS Speed as well.  For reference, I am 5'10" and 180 lbs.  You may find the Speeds too stiff and would probably fair better on the Magnum 8.1s due to your weight.

post #16 of 24

Haven't checked into the ski forum in a while as it's deep into fishing season here on Cape Cod. But seeing this thread made me think about my past season with my Blizzard 8.1's. I really, really enjoyed them. When I skied Sugarloaf first time out on them, I felt like I could do no wrong. Just RIPPED down the groomers and did fine in everything else. I have to give them a nod as well. Similar experience on other mountains as well in the east.  I still have a pair of older Volkl's and I skied them a little toward the end of the season (rock skis), but kept thinking of how much I enjoyed the new sleds.

 

Good luck.

post #17 of 24

The new 2011 Peak series skis have a system called Fluid Ride, which is a flex point around 15-20 cm back from the tip.  It seems to be Head's answer to K2's slight tip rocker on their 2011 skis.  Fluid Ride softens up the skis and should help turn initiation and float (to a degree). I guess you could say the 2011 Peak series is an evolution of the old Monster series, but they're not going to be the same animal - especially the 88 which has been softened considerably from a couple of years ago.  Initial reviews that I've read are very positive on the new system.  In short, take care relying on older ski reviews of the Monster/Peak series.

post #18 of 24

Get the red ones. The red ones are fast.

post #19 of 24

On a more serious note, you may want to give something from the Tigershark series a try. I'm not sure what the hell Volkl is doing nowadays with the Tigersharks, but when I got mine a few years ago they had the 12ft, which was 78 underfoot and performed like a monster in everything. My Tigershark 12ft's are the single reason why I fell in love with crud and heavy wet crud, which I HATED before.

post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimski View Post
Beyond -- thanks!  Good thing I've got six months to decide.  Some thoughts/reactions:  

 

       Head Peak 82 -- thanks for the heads up (no pun intended).  Do you know whether Head will take some more metal out of the 2011 Peak 82?  (course, then I'd have to wait a year for off-season deals). Don't know. PM Bob Peters here; he's a rep.

 

       Watea 84 -- it's practically free online (saw it last week for $239 flat).  Heard it's good in bumps but maybe a little shaky on cue-ball hardpack.  Yep. If you plan to hit a lot of ice, not a first choice. Superior in bumps and light soft, very easy for its level of performance.  
 

      Blizzard Cronus -- Hadn't considered this one.  But in my length range, is only available in 166 (too short?) and 173 (too long?). These ski short. You'd like the 173. I owned one, it was a touch short for me, but rocked in tight places. Insanely versatile, made all turn shapes on all surfaces. Very light handling but smooth. Blizzards have the best binding setup in the industry; you put anything you want (or they come with a modified Marker) on a plate that the ski flexes around. Comes off with one screw for travel. Only weakness is maybe stability maching hardpack. If you like that, get a Stockli or Head.

 

      Volk Bridge -- 92 waist?  LOL, back in November I was looking at the Nordica Nitrous and the Atomic Blackeye.  Waist width creep has set in!   (OK, true, I've already got the Prophet 90 on the list...) Yeah, hear you about creep, but it handles hardpack pretty well, and is great in soft snow. Lot of instructors back here use this on soft days for bumpy trees.

 

     Others  -- I've seen good online prices for these two recently:  Dynastar Sultan 85 (avail. in 165 and 172) and Stockli VXL (in 169).  What do you think of either of these for my purposes?  Who knows why I didn't have either one on my list initially -- probably because I was thinking 80 waist max when I did the list.  I'd have to get past the whole Good Friday motif on the VXL (or get out the spray paint....) Hear a lot of good things about Sultan 85, based on other Dynastars I've skied, bet it's good at everything, maybe more disposed toward softer snow or crud, strong in bumps. The VXL is a great ski for good lighter skiers, period. I find Stocklis a bit more demanding to ski, and more traditional in feel, meaning they don't make your turns for your. But they have a bigger upside than many skis. They'll really grow with you. They like plates and like Heads, 1/3 tunes for hardpack. You could do fine on the 169 cm here. 

 

Thanks. Absolutely.

post #21 of 24

Beyond -- Thanks!  Lots of good skis to choose from.  Six months to go....

post #22 of 24

My 2 cents. You do not need a wide ski to ski Off Piste. Not too long ago the AC 20 was considered almost a midfat. I think (particularly int he east) you may lose more in than you will gain if you go very wide. Also, I agree you need to demo the length you will buy. If you're one of the experts on this forum you can interpolate the differences in Lengths but for the average Joe I think it would be a mistake to find a ski and a length you like and then "take it up a notch" just avoid the dreaded performance gap in skis that are too short, too narrow or too soft. Last thought: Be sure to buy what you will enjoy RIGHT NOW. Pay attention to what you're doing so you don't make a mistake of buying something that's not appropriate for you. Just moving from an AC 20 to and AC 30 is a step up the performance ladder. If you're improving so fast you outgrow them in a year or two it's a good problem to have. To my way of thinking it would be the ultimate proof you bought the right ski.Buy something you don't enjoy and it will limit both your fun and improvement.

post #23 of 24

This is good advice!

post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 

I'd love to demo skis before I try them but I'm afraid that if I wait till mid-season when I can do so, the prices will be up to full retail - I'd really like to buy during the offseason when prices are low, unless anyone has any advice for snagging mid-season deals? 

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