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Dynastar Contact 4x4 as an Eastern everyday ski?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

I am considering the Contact 4x4 as my everyday ski for the East coast.   The reviews are great here and on Peter Keelty's website. 

 

I am 185lbs, 5'11'' level 8-9 and ski upstate NY and VT mostly.

 

Currently most of my skis are race oriented, giving great hold on our commonplace Eastern ice.( as Peter Keelty states:  "The kind that reflects light and repels ballpeen hammers")

 

I hate to give up much edge grip , but would like the new ski to be slightly wider in the waist, and more friendly in bumps. I also enjoy occasionaly  skiing with my teenage snowboarder son through the trees.  

 

The closest I have ever come to accomplishing this is with my Head Supershape Magnums 08-09.  They are good in bumps, are great carvers but are slightly lacking in edge grip on ice.  I feel as if I can overpower the ski at times on steep icy terrain.  This is my widest ski at 71mm waist.  The Contact 4x4 has a wider waist at 75mm yet retains a similar shape.

 

As an example:  A typical run at Stowe might be skiing the bumps on Goat until it ends and then carving the blue trails back to the lift. All of which can be icy. ( I only choose Stowe as an example as more people may be familiar with it.  You may insert Freefall at Smuggs or Paradise at MRG.)

 

At the last demo day I enjoyed the following skis:

 

Dynastar Contact 4x4 178cm:  GS race carver feel

Dynastar Contact 4x4 172cm:  More SL feel, possibly my favorite

Volkl Tigershark 11 175cm:  Hands down the best edge grip.  Possibly too stiff for bumps.

Fischer Progressor 9+ 175cm:  Great carver, but too narrow in the waist for any off piste.

 

 

I also would consider:

 

Elan Waveflex 82 Xti:  I am concerned the 82 waist may be too slow edge to edge and too wide for bumps

Kastle MX 78

Head Supershape Titan:  possibly too stiff for off piste

Atomic Blackeye Ti

 

I was unable to ski the Dynastar on any ice during the demo.  (rare for us on the East coast).   Would the  Contact 4x4 be an improvement over the Supershape Magnums on Eastern ice?

 

If anyone has some real life experience with the Contact 4x4 any input would be helpful.  Thanks


Edited by Dauntless - 9/19/10 at 12:45pm
post #2 of 28

I agree with you on the SS Magnums ice performance, but as you see from reviews, lots of folk think it handles ice just fine.  I guess it depends on what you're comparing it to. You might get lots of people telling you the contact is the bee's knees on ice when it might not be. 

 

Hopefully you will get a response from someone who has tried both, can tell you which is better and is experienced enough to tell if the difference is because of the tune or the ski.

 

In the meantime, for what it's worth, I got the impression the reason I couldn't extract the same g-force on ice out of the magnum,  tuned by the same tech to the same specs as the other heads that day (SS and SS Speed) was the magnum allowed more torsional flexing.  You might be able to tell something about the skis torsional rigidity by hand torquing the skis in the shop.


Edited by Ghost - 9/19/10 at 11:59am
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 

Ghost:  I feel the same way about the Magnum.  Otherwise it is a great ski.  Perfect Western frontside ski. 


Edited by Dauntless - 9/19/10 at 12:44pm
post #4 of 28

Most of the skis you list above are not going to be too friendly in the bumps and trees and especially not on the trails you describe. Take a look at the Blizzard Magnum 8.7 or 8.1. They are going to be alot more versatile than the others and you won't give up much in edge hold. A few others that you can consider are Dynastar Sultan 85 or Volkl Kendo. 

post #5 of 28

You don't need a full on race ski for run of the mill eastern hardpack conditions. 

 

The fact that you are over powering your magnums is something that is probably curable via a technique improvement. You can learn to ski more smooth and dynamic and not over power the ski. 

post #6 of 28

well when the groomer at the bottom stowe is icey you can just go to the woods!

 

there not such thing as runout.

 

the 4x4 skis like an Ibeam, I am sure a great skier can make it great everywhere but I prefer to not work.

 

Out of what you mentioned Id probably try the Progressor, but would personal lean towards the Kastle 78s if you have the loot to get them.

 

post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dauntless View Post

 

 

Currently most of my skis are race oriented, giving great hold on our commonplace Eastern ice.( as Peter Keelty states:  "The kind that reflects light and repels ballpeen hammers")

 

I hate to give up much edge grip , but would like the new ski to be slightly wider in the waist, and more friendly in bumps. I also enjoy occasionaly  skiing with my teenage snowboarder son through the trees.  

 

 

 

If anyone has some real life experience with the Contact 4x4 any input would be helpful.  Thanks


I've got the 178 4x4, and use it as an all-round daily type ski when it hasn't snowed for a bit.  I also appreciate a real race ski, but the  4x4 feels just fine on ice, unless of course, I ski one of my race skis the same day, then it seems to offer about 70% of the grip of a race ski.

 

They are pretty good at bashing through chopped up crud, where the race skis suck.  You can pick your radius, and slice through things nicely.  They don't flap or wimp out at speed.  I grew up on New England ice, and I think a pair of those would be right at home there.
 

post #8 of 28

I suggest you make a pole:

1) Dynastar 4x4 deliver more g-force on ice than Head SS Magnum all other factors being equal;

2) Head SS Magnum deliver more g-force on ice than Dynastar 4x4 all other factors being equal; and

3)Flawed pole.

Allow all options as 3 will certainly apply whether 1 or 2 is applicable.

post #9 of 28

The 4x4 is a fine ice ski and IMHO better than the Supershape, my main knock against it is really its weight, it is a tank. It is far from an everyday ski, it is fine for a quiver but as an everyday ski, I think you can go wider w/o sacrificing hard snow capacity. Like NESB, the Blizzard 8.1/8.7 are the first skis that comes to mind. 

 

post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

, my main knock against it is really its weight, it is a tank.



Just curious, what is it about heavy skis you don't like?  I used to like light skis, say when we had to throw around 207s in a slalom course, but with modern skis, I find all my favorites are heavyweights.  Lay 'em on the snow and let them do the turning.  I think that weight is part of of their crud bashing power.

post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

The 4x4 is a fine ice ski and IMHO better than the Supershape, my main knock against it is really its weight, it is a tank. It is far from an everyday ski, it is fine for a quiver but as an everyday ski, I think you can go wider w/o sacrificing hard snow capacity. Like NESB, the Blizzard 8.1/8.7 are the first skis that comes to mind. 

 

Your reference to it not being an everyday ski; is it the weight or its width?  Just curious as the Blizzards are quite a bit wider.
 

post #12 of 28

Concur about the 8.1 or 8.7; even latter is surprisingly well behaved in bumps. I think Phils' comment probably pertains to the stiffness and mission of the ski (race carver), rather than its width. And many of us here use skis in the 80's as "everyday" skis. Back here I tend to ski 66-72's for hardpack, or mid to high 80's if there's any crud or man made to work with, even a few inches. Which is probably the case more than 50% of the time. Haven't skied the Head Magnum, but owned SS's forever, plenty of torsional stiffness, were really heavy (not a bad thing on ice or in crud), OK but not great edge grip even at 1/3 

post #13 of 28

I ski the 4x4 172s some and am told the 178 is a lot more ski than the 172. I find the 172s appreciate an aggressive approach. They are a little tiring since they require some attention.  I'm sure the 178s would be too much ski for me.

One week last year I did not change skis for several days despite changing conditions. The 4x4s were fine in crud and the uneven conditions you find after a light snow. Then one night we had a good snow and I pulled out a pair of old Chubbs to see how they felt. Was I surprised to see the 4x4 tips and tails are actually wider than the "King of the Fatties". The 4x4s would not have been as good in true powder but in the more typical 6 inches of fresh snow that gets cut up by 11AM they would be pretty darn good.

Wow - skis have really changed in the past 20 years.

post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 

Newfydog and Steveturner:  Thank you for your actual experiences with the ski.  Steveturner, what level of skier do you think you are?

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post





Just curious, what is it about heavy skis you don't like?  I used to like light skis, say when we had to throw around 207s in a slalom course, but with modern skis, I find all my favorites are heavyweights.  Lay 'em on the snow and let them do the turning.  I think that weight is part of of their crud bashing power.


I have no problem with a ski being heavy if it is heavy for a reason. I think that binding system on the 4x4 is too heavy for its application.

post #16 of 28

Dauntless,

 

I'm 6'1", 170 lb, 63 years old, took up skiing in my 30's not an athlete but in good condition for a flat-lander, never spent more than a week at altitude in my life. I've reached that point in life where I know I'm not invincible and there are things I can not do that I want/need to do if I break a leg on the slopes. I can ski faster and harder but I choose not to. I do not subscribe to the "If you're not falling you're not learning" school. I am probably not a good as the typical frequent poster on EPIC.

 

I think I am realistic about my ability. This is probably the closest of any of the official LEVEL descriptions I've seen. 


Level 7 - Links turns on black terrain, working on technique in various snow conditions and carving blue terrain.

 

As far as stability the 4x4 172 is very stable at the fastest speed I'd ever choose to ski. My guess is if the 172 was not enough ski for you, you would already know it.

 

Steve

post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 

Steve: I appreciate your input and candor.  I actually skied the 172 and  the 178.    I liked the 172 more.  It seemed more lively.   The 178 seemed like GS ski to me, very damp, more of a one trick pony.  I had the chance to ski both of them relatively fast and neither was ever unstable.  I understand your comments about the 6 inches of fresh snow that is cut up later in the day.  I was looking for a ski that could carve and still handle those conditions.  This may the ski I am looking for.

 

post #18 of 28

I've owned both the 4x4 in the 178, and the Magnum in the 177. Ski mostly in New England. The Magnum was surprisingly good in soft snow, bumps and crud, but not all that great on hardpack. Had a pretty soft tip, and didn't hook up particularly well in a carved turn. Probably would make a better choice for a western skier. The 4x4 was a more dynamic ski, better hold on ice, more stable at speed, but not as forgiving as the Magnum. But BushwackerinPA is right, the 4x4 is an I beam, and a lot of work, particularly at slow speeds. So if you don't want to go balls to the wall all day, you might want to look at something else, especially if you plan on skiing bumps. I could ski bumps with them when I was fresh in the morning, but after lunch when I started getting tired, they were too much for me. At your weight, I would definitely not consider the 178. I weigh about 210, and the 172 would have been a better choice for me, no question. I also own a pair of the 176 Elan 82 Ti's. Very quick edge to edge for a wider ski. But it sounds to me like you're in the market for a ski in the 78 waist range. The Elan 78 ti was part of my quiver two seasons ago (okay, I admit to being a gear whore), and that was one of the quickest 78 mm skis I've tried, and one of the most versatile. Was at home on ice or powder, and fairly stable at speed to boot. It did, however, seem to lack that certain fun factor for me. Might have been better suited to a lighter skier. Another great all around ski for east or west is the Head im 78 (yeh, I've got one of those, too). Had to be one of the most popular skis of all time. Have never tried the Kastle MX 78, but some of my friends that have them who know what they are talking about say that they are the best all around skis that they have ever tried. If I was going to sell everything else and only have one ski, I would seriously look at that one.

post #19 of 28

Especially if you've got a race oriented ski or two in the quiver for the pure ice days, I'd go for an 80+, not mid-70's.  You'll adapt quick enough; kept sharp they provide plenty of grip; and it'll add more range to the quiver than mid-70's .  I've never skied the Blizzard 8.1 or 8.7 that were suggested  but if the Elan Waveflex 82 Xti is still in the running, it could be a good choice.  FWIW I spent a day on these in mixed conditions out west -- 5'9", 170lbs, 176cm length.  I mostly skied tight trees with a lot of soft snow, but also groomers and bumps, admittedly not the wide open eastern variety, and one wide open bowl that involved a long hike out from the list and was comparable to eastern off-piste skiing.  Seemed very nimble and versatile for an 80+ ski, but very stable when cranked up.  I also spent an hour or two that day on a Rossi CX80 (170cm) which seemed much more of a one-trick pony.  The Elan matched the CX80 on groomers (at least as far as I could push it), but was much better off piste and in trees and bumps.  I'd be real happy with the Elan as eastern daily driver, 

 

 

 

post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac View Post

I've owned both the 4x4 in the 178, and the Magnum in the 177. Ski mostly in New England. The Magnum was surprisingly good in soft snow, bumps and crud, but not all that great on hardpack. Had a pretty soft tip, and didn't hook up particularly well in a carved turn. Probably would make a better choice for a western skier. The 4x4 was a more dynamic ski, better hold on ice, more stable at speed, but not as forgiving as the Magnum. But BushwackerinPA is right, the 4x4 is an I beam, and a lot of work, particularly at slow speeds. So if you don't want to go balls to the wall all day, you might want to look at something else, especially if you plan on skiing bumps. I could ski bumps with them when I was fresh in the morning, but after lunch when I started getting tired, they were too much for me. At your weight, I would definitely not consider the 178. I weigh about 210, and the 172 would have been a better choice for me, no question. I also own a pair of the 176 Elan 82 Ti's. Very quick edge to edge for a wider ski. But it sounds to me like you're in the market for a ski in the 78 waist range. The Elan 78 ti was part of my quiver two seasons ago (okay, I admit to being a gear whore), and that was one of the quickest 78 mm skis I've tried, and one of the most versatile. Was at home on ice or powder, and fairly stable at speed to boot. It did, however, seem to lack that certain fun factor for me. Might have been better suited to a lighter skier. Another great all around ski for east or west is the Head im 78 (yeh, I've got one of those, too). Had to be one of the most popular skis of all time. Have never tried the Kastle MX 78, but some of my friends that have them who know what they are talking about say that they are the best all around skis that they have ever tried. If I was going to sell everything else and only have one ski, I would seriously look at that one.


Mac : Could you tell me more about the Elan 82Xti, it is the other ski I am considering.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ts01 View Post

Especially if you've got a race oriented ski or two in the quiver for the pure ice days, I'd go for an 80+, not mid-70's.  You'll adapt quick enough; kept sharp they provide plenty of grip; and it'll add more range to the quiver than mid-70's .  I've never skied the Blizzard 8.1 or 8.7 that were suggested  but if the Elan Waveflex 82 Xti is still in the running, it could be a good choice.  FWIW I spent a day on these in mixed conditions out west -- 5'9", 170lbs, 176cm length.  I mostly skied tight trees with a lot of soft snow, but also groomers and bumps, admittedly not the wide open eastern variety, and one wide open bowl that involved a long hike out from the list and was comparable to eastern off-piste skiing.  Seemed very nimble and versatile for an 80+ ski, but very stable when cranked up.  I also spent an hour or two that day on a Rossi CX80 (170cm) which seemed much more of a one-trick pony.  The Elan matched the CX80 on groomers (at least as far as I could push it), but was much better off piste and in trees and bumps.  I'd be real happy with the Elan as eastern daily driver, 

 

 

 



Ts01:  Thanks for your input on the Elan.  I liked the CX80 but only skied it on groomers.

post #21 of 28

Depends on what year model Elans you are looking at. They changed them from the 2009 model to the 2010. The ones I have are the 2009 82 Ti, which are orange, and have one layer of titanium. The 2009 XTi have two sheets, which made it a burly ski. I was looking for an off piste specific ski that could be skied in bumps, that's why I went with the 82 Ti with less metal. In 2010, which is a green color, they only made the XTi, they didn't offer the 82 Ti any more. The 2010 has two layers of thinner metal, not as burly as the old XTi. In effect, they were looking to combine the best of both worlds. I never skied the 2010 model, but it got rave reviews on Realskiers.com. The main difference that I find between the Elan 82 and the Elan 78 is that with the 82, you can feel that you are on a wider ski, where as with the 78, you really can't tell that you are on a wider ski. By contrast, the Head 78 has more of a 50/50 feel. But both of them are fairly snappy and easy to ski, but are still pretty stable in most conditions. I would say that the Elan 82 is more biased to groomers than some other 82 mm skis out there. So I guess it boils down to whether you like the feel of a wider ski or a narrower ski. If I could only have a one ski quiver here in the east, I would go with something in the 78mm range. If I lived in the west, than I'd think about the 82. But then again, you're getting into personal preferences. A lot of people on this forum will tell you that you need a 90mm+ ski for your everyday ski, even here in the east. But for a one ski quiver, I would prefer to have a ski that is better suited to the terrain I'm going to be skiing on the majority of the time. A 78mm ski will easily handle the 6-8 inches that we typically see on an all too infrequent basis, and be far more enjoyable to ski on the hardpack and boilerplate conditions that we normally see. But then again, you're getting back to personal preference, and that's always a subject for another debate.    

post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac View Post

Depends on what year model Elans you are looking at. They changed them from the 2009 model to the 2010. The ones I have are the 2009 82 Ti, which are orange, and have one layer of titanium. The 2009 XTi have two sheets, which made it a burly ski. I was looking for an off piste specific ski that could be skied in bumps, that's why I went with the 82 Ti with less metal. In 2010, which is a green color, they only made the XTi, they didn't offer the 82 Ti any more. The 2010 has two layers of thinner metal, not as burly as the old XTi. In effect, they were looking to combine the best of both worlds. I never skied the 2010 model, but it got rave reviews on Realskiers.com.    

 

To clarify the one I demoed was the 2010 green version.  Rave reviews well deserved. 
 

post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac View Post

Depends on what year model Elans you are looking at. They changed them from the 2009 model to the 2010. The ones I have are the 2009 82 Ti, which are orange, and have one layer of titanium. The 2009 XTi have two sheets, which made it a burly ski. I was looking for an off piste specific ski that could be skied in bumps, that's why I went with the 82 Ti with less metal. In 2010, which is a green color, they only made the XTi, they didn't offer the 82 Ti any more. The 2010 has two layers of thinner metal, not as burly as the old XTi. In effect, they were looking to combine the best of both worlds. I never skied the 2010 model, but it got rave reviews on Realskiers.com. The main difference that I find between the Elan 82 and the Elan 78 is that with the 82, you can feel that you are on a wider ski, where as with the 78, you really can't tell that you are on a wider ski. By contrast, the Head 78 has more of a 50/50 feel. But both of them are fairly snappy and easy to ski, but are still pretty stable in most conditions. I would say that the Elan 82 is more biased to groomers than some other 82 mm skis out there. So I guess it boils down to whether you like the feel of a wider ski or a narrower ski. If I could only have a one ski quiver here in the east, I would go with something in the 78mm range. If I lived in the west, than I'd think about the 82. But then again, you're getting into personal preferences. A lot of people on this forum will tell you that you need a 90mm+ ski for your everyday ski, even here in the east. But for a one ski quiver, I would prefer to have a ski that is better suited to the terrain I'm going to be skiing on the majority of the time. A 78mm ski will easily handle the 6-8 inches that we typically see on an all too infrequent basis, and be far more enjoyable to ski on the hardpack and boilerplate conditions that we normally see. But then again, you're getting back to personal preference, and that's always a subject for another debate.    



Mac:  Thanks for the info on the 82Ti.  With regards to the 78mm waist skis you mentioned, the  first one that comes to mind is the Salomon X-Wing Tornado Ti.  Realskiers also gives it great reviews.  I have never skied it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ts01 View Post



 

To clarify the one I demoed was the 2010 green version.  Rave reviews well deserved. 
 

ts01:  I will demo the new one in mid December.  There is a great demo at Hunter Mt.  Elan was there last year.

 

post #24 of 28

Dauntless,

 

Have you made a decision? I just demoed the Elan 82 xti and Kastle LX82 this weekend. I also rented the CX80 last year. I am curious what you decided and if you still needed ideas.

post #25 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mia1220 View Post

Dauntless,

 

Have you made a decision? I just demoed the Elan 82 xti and Kastle LX82 this weekend. I also rented the CX80 last year. I am curious what you decided and if you still needed ideas.



I bought the Contact 4x4 in 172.  I will try them this weekend and let you know how they are.

post #26 of 28

Agreed, the 4x4 in my opinion is way better in 172cm verses 178cm and I'am 225lbs, I owned both. This ski is fine on the ice and really shines in the crud and varied terrain. I also owned the Supershape Magnum in 177cm and much prefered the 4x4. I just bought a pair of Kastle MX78's in 176cm but haven't tried them yet, I'll keep you posted. If they work as well as expected I'll have a like new pair of 4x4's in 172cm for sale if your interested!

post #27 of 28

Just skied the MX78's in 176cm, a great ski but not exactly what I was looking for. To sum it up, this ski is a wide GS race ski! I was looking for for an easier going all conditions cruiser ski, the MX78 likes to be ridden hard and fast. It took awhile to figure out and feel comfortable on, it needed to be skied more old school. It was very edgey feeling, you really needed to pay attention and not get lazy. The ski rocked on the mix of hardpack, ice and mushed at very high speeds. The ski is the best quality I have ever seen, the edges and bases are superior to those on my race skis. The ski is super stable, has no speed limit, great edge grip and easy initiation. The ski felt much longer tha 176cm and wasn't as quick as I'm used to. The ski is damp but not dead, the tail is power full and provides some good rebound. Overall its a great ski but too much for the midwest, would be a great eastern all mountain ski or frontside western ski. If I were to own only one pair of skis this may be it, but for my needs I prefer the Contact 4x4 and skinnier carving ski.

post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 

I guess I can now answer my original question.

 

 I just spent a few days in Vermont on the 172 cm Dynastar Contact 4x4.  I would say hands down this is the most versitile ski I have ever owned for varied Eastern conditions.  We had every condition from chopped up powder to ice and slush over the last few days.  It seemed to handle everything very well.

 

It is a very damp ski and seems to glide over crud, broken up powder and slush with ease.  It does not get bounced around even when running flat.

 

Tip them on edge and you easily slip into a GS turn.  Pressure them a little more and slalom turns are no problem.

 

I thought the edge grip was on par or exceeded that of my race carvers.  These skis really hook up.  A few times I had to release my edges and transition into the next turn as my quads could no longer handle the G- forces!  

 

I could not get the skis to chatter at any sane speed. 

 

With the warm spring like conditions today there were big moguls.  To my surprise these skis were pretty good in the bumps.  It seems the skis have a moderate longitudinal flex and are very stiff torsionally.  This allows decent bump performance with tremendous edge grip.

 

If there is any negative, I would say that these skis can be somewhat demanding.  I would think you need to be a very high intermediate to an expert to appreciate them.

 

All together I really like this ski.  It really can do everything on the East coast and would probably make a great Western frontside ski.

 

One last note:  This ski is really a sleeper, a "Wolf in Sheeps Clothing" if you will.  I have the 2010-2011, and while the graphics are nice, the appearance of the ski is understated given its performance level.  There is no mention of two layers of metal as is usually advertised on most higher performance skis.  Heck, you can barely see the model designation unless you look at the tail of the ski up close.  No one around here really knows what this ski is or what its capabilities are.  I have never seen anyone skiing another pair.

 

If you are looking for a ski that is relatively unique, and has versitility with very high performance, the Contact 4x4 is a good choice.

 

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