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Recommend an affordable, light, powder-ish ski to supplement my Volkl AC50

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I broke my Metron B5's last season, and wound up getting a set of Volkl AC50's to replace them.  Great ski in curd and hardpack.  Awesome edge hold, although a little less responsive than the B5's (wider underfoot).

 

I hear they're so stiff they aren't the best thing in powder though. 

 

My main ski area is Taos.  I don't make it up on powder days very often, so I'm looking for an affordable powder ski- hopefully an older model on clearance.  Also, the lift-serviced powder tends to get skiied out pretty quick, but you can still hike to powder, so I need something that doesn't fall on it's face in hardpack and crud, and is preferably light enough where it isn't too burdensome to through over my shoulder for a hike up to 45 minutes.  I'm also throwing around the idea of using them for some occasional alpine touring, but I'm not sure about that yet.  So, my priorities are...

 

1) 70% backside powder, fresh to cut up, 30% on piste (when it snows, it's softer hardpack, and often totally covered in small moguls)

2) AFFORDABLE.  This will be an occasional ski, and I just bought a pair I only have a couple of days on, so it has to be cheap

3) Light/suitable for potential very light alpine touring use (mostly skiing up a local ski area, Sandia Peak, after work and skiing down the groomed runs in the dark...maybe a trip or two to Silverton or some late spring skiing at Taos)

 

I'm 6'1", 175 pounds, 33 years old, and have been skiing for 29 years (wow- I feel old saying I've been doing something for that long!).  I'm a good, fast highspeed carver, pretty decent in the moguls and seriously steep chutes, but still "getting my feet under me" in deep powder.  Seems like my tips always sink and make me endo.

 

I demoed the Coomba last year.  Probably a good powder option, but I wasn't particularly happy with it in the hardpack.  I have nothing similar with which to compare it though.  What else do you all recommend?  Volkl Mantra?  Maybe something in the Black Diamond lineup?  Coomback?

post #2 of 26

Liberty Helix would be a good option, it can be found cheap rather easily, it's light and fun... but with some of the skis you seem to like, AC50 and Atomic B5, you may not actually like light and playful. If you are considering touring you'll need to also budget for an AT binding, that will add $$ to the equation. A touring binding will also effect the way the ski skis, how much touring do you expect to do with this ski? It may add more cost/compromise than it's worth.


Edited by Tyson Rockwood - 10/14/10 at 3:04pm
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

I'm not familiar with those.  I'll look them up.

 

I've always been a 1-ski quiver guy, and the B5 and AC50 are pretty good for what I like to do.  However, if I'm going to get another pair, I'd like it to be notably different, and powder is where I need the most help, so I want something powder focused, but not something that compromises everything for powder performance (so I don't have to run out to the car and switch skis).

post #4 of 26

A 105mm wide ski like the Helix isn't a huge compromise at all, I meant you mention cost constraints and thinking about a touring set-up, I'm saying that a touring binding on an inbounds powder ski adds $$ and will effect the way it skis. I'd suggest thinking how much you want to / will tour IF saving money is a big priority for you. 

post #5 of 26

If you're interested I can hook you up on a hell of a deal for the 2010 ZAG Heli Gold (in 181 or 189).  The Heli Gold sounds exactly like the ski you described.

post #6 of 26

 

 

 

Quote:
Great ski in curd and hardpack.

 

great ski in curd... so, something that skis well in cheese ?

 

If Noodler can hook you up with a good deal... definitely worth looking into. 

 

Unfortunately, if your looking to buy on the cheap.... now is about the worst time to shop for a deal at most ski shops or online.  End of season, as I'm sure you know, is the time to 'stock up' on cheap deals on good skis. But, if you need them for early mid season, better getting them than not.

post #7 of 26

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by carve View Post

1) 70% backside powder, fresh to cut up, 30% on piste (when it snows, it's softer hardpack, and often totally covered in small moguls)

2) AFFORDABLE.  This will be an occasional ski, and I just bought a pair I only have a couple of days on, so it has to be cheap

3) Light/suitable for potential very light alpine touring use (mostly skiing up a local ski area, Sandia Peak, after work and skiing down the groomed runs in the dark...maybe a trip or two to Silverton or some late spring skiing at Taos)

  

I demoed the Coomba last year.  Probably a good powder option, but I wasn't particularly happy with it in the hardpack.  I have nothing similar with which to compare it though.  What else do you all recommend?  Volkl Mantra?  Maybe something in the Black Diamond lineup?  Coomback?


If you are going to balk at a ski that is not happy on true hard pack (relative to an AC50 or metron)  then your choices will be limited. Light tour and pow oriented skis do not going to rip on hard pack anywhere close to what you are used to. Either learn to make them work or plan to compromise on the light tourable feel or on the cost. 

 

My personal recomend would be to search here and on TGR for any decent lightly used boutique skis from the last few years, 99-115mm under foot on3p, praxis, icelantic, DPS, PMgear, moment, etc... Mount with barrons or dukes, buy appropriate sized BD asscention skins, Total ~$700. done. 

 

If you want dynafits then you will need to budget for boots and any fitting work as well.

post #8 of 26

Curd & Noodler? a skiing version on Mac and Cheese? 

 

First of all, going from the MB5 to the AC50 was a very logical choice. If you went from this ski to that ski, there is no doubt you like beefy skis. You would not be happy with a Liberty, it will feel like wafer under your feet. The first ski that comes to mind for you is the Line Mothership.

post #9 of 26

High Society Free Rides have been showing up on Tramdock.  My kid grabbed one of the last 185's,  but they still may put up some 179's.  Haven't skied it yet,  but it is a stiffish,  105mm waisted ski that reportedly does well in powder and is versatile enough to use all over the mountain.  Just a thought...

 

AM.

post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies.  I do like beefy skis, but I'm looking for something that excels in conditions where my beefy skis are marginal.  Powder skis must necessarily be softer in order to bend properly in the soft snow, don't they?  I know if I get a powder ski, it won't match up to an AC50 in the hardpack and crud.  If such a ski existed, everyone would own it smile.gif  It's all a compromise, and I'm looking for something that leans heavily to the powder side of the equation, but not so heavily that they're just too compromised to enjoy on the rest of the mountain after the powder gets cut up.  After all- on days with no fresh snow, I'll be on the AC50's all day.  The zags look like interesting all mountain skis, but are only 1 cm wider underfoot.  I suppose that does make it about like a Mantra with wider tips and tails though.  Might be interesting.

 

Something used would be fine as well, as long as they aren't too banged up.  I'm just not familiar enough with the huge multitude of options out there, and their pros & cons to know what I should be looking at.

post #11 of 26

I believe that there is very little in common between the Mantra and the Heli Gold.  Please make sure you're looking at the 189cm version of the ZAG since their dimensions change with length.  Also note (as stated in another current thread) dimensions never give you the entire picture when comparing skis.

 

The ZAGs have a significant long early rise tip.  My 189s have an effective edge length of 161cm and a running surface of 155cm.  Those numbers are both less than my Stockli VXLs at 179cm.  If you Google on the Heli Golds you should find a video of them during a South American ski trip where you can see them in action in the soft and deep stuff.

 

The ZAGs are light (no metal layers) and snappy, but I haven't skied them yet.  The Mantra is more of a power ski and has been noted by many to not be an ideal deep snow ski (although I've never skied them in deeper stuff).  I think the Mantra is a great ski, but it sure wouldn't be my first choice for a deep day.

post #12 of 26

I would look for some Fischer Watea 94's or 101's.  They are light and do well in soft snow situations, actually will handle about anything but truly hard snow.  Shouldn't be too hard to find a pair cheap.

post #13 of 26

Rossi S3s in a 186 length.  Do a search and you'll get plenty of feedback on them and similar.  Good luck!

post #14 of 26

I wouldn't buy any Zag.  I demoed a pair last season and didn't like one thing about the ski.  I even hated the sound it made on the snow.  YMMV.

post #15 of 26

What about the Ninthward Rory Silva twin tips at levelnine.com for $299? I've been eye balling these for a few weeks and got a decent recommendation from BWPA to get them over the ultra stiff and no sidecut Head Monster SW's which are even cheaper!

 

Has anybody skied the Rory Silva's in powder and what did you think?

post #16 of 26

I would be inclined to never buy any Ninthward product after reading Caucasian Asians' thread on here recently.  Sounds like he got jerked around by a company that should have tried harder, or tried at all.  I couldn't figure out how to link the thread, but check it out here and on TGR, then look at Ninthwards homepage and make your own decision.  The price is good and you might have better luck so....

post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

I wouldn't buy any Zag.  I demoed a pair last season and didn't like one thing about the ski.  I even hated the sound it made on the snow.  YMMV.


Which ZAG model? What length?  What conditions?

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post


Which ZAG model? What length?  What conditions?



Don't know what model.  I had never heard of them before.  They were silver and kinda mid-fat, maybe 90 something.  They had an early rise tip and were probably 180 something.  My friend had them because he was considering carrying them in his shop.  He skied on them in the morning and I took them out in the afternoon.  Conditions were not very good.  I think there was some crud and funky groomers, and some funky bumps.  I don't remember for sure if I was on my Goats or my Mythic Riders in the morning.  I do remember that which ever ski I used in the morning was much better than the Zag.  It's not that I couldn't ski the Zag because it was a poor tool for the conditions, it felt more like the ski lacked any kind of personality.  It did what I wanted it to, but never felt that solid and had a funny kind of a vibration to it....  A sound it made on the snow that just felt wrong.  I've skied a fair number of skis and rarely find one I don't like.  I almost hated this ski.  I even liked it less than the woman's version of the Rossignol B3.  My friend didn't like them much either and won't be carrying them.  Sorry I don't have a better review for you.  

post #19 of 26

Just a comment on Zag design- the key is not only the early rise tip, but also the shape of the shovel- its widest point is quite a bit down the ski from the tip, so on hard surfaces the ski would feel much shorter.  I believe it is very similar to the design of the Rossi S7 shovel.  

I tried a Zag only once, a long time ago (in Chile and in crappy rental boots as well, long story...), but I loved how it skied.  In fact, the profile picture is on the aforementioned Zag on that day.   The Heli Gold actually sounds quite intriguing, as it has what seems to be a very effective soft snow tip on a sub-100mm wide tight sidecut radius ski with straight stiff tail.  If I had my crystal ball, it should be a very versatile ski, but chattery in crud and maybe nervous in cut-up stuff, but in smooth soft snow it should be dream-like (of course in that kind of snow what ski would not be dream-like?).  It should also ski short.  I wish there were more demos opportunities for Zag skis, I really thought that their shovel shape concept made some practical sense.   

 

(BTW, Julien Lopez is a Zag-sponsored athlete).  

post #20 of 26

I second the 187 Liberty Helix nomination.  They can handle any snow condition but rock in the powder.  Their only drawback on hard snow IS their width- kinda hard to get around that fact that a ~ 100 mm waisted ski just transitions slower on hard stuff.  Two other great boards to look for would be the 09 non-rockered 183 Volkl Gotama and the 181 Icelantic Nomad. 

 

Now IS one of the worst times to be buying skis, but you will still see occasional deals, especially on the non-rockered Gotamas, as the same ski was made for what, 4 years without significant modification.  My two favorite skis for what you describe are the Moment Tahoes and Scottybob Headrushes- both probably a bit out of your price range.  If you can find some beater sticks (I actually have some beater Gotamas I would sell you) you might want to wait till spring, when some of the newer tip rocker/trad camber stuff (e.g. K2 sidestash) go on sale...

post #21 of 26

Actually in Colorado we're coming up on one of the best ski sales of the Fall - the Colorado Ski Expo at the convention center.  As long as Colorado Ski & Golf carries the brand you're looking for you'll probably find pretty good deals.

 

Word of warning - manufacturers definitely seem to have cut back on production in this economy.  Many of the more popular skis are now selling out during the main season and aren't available for the end of season sales.  This is especially true for the fun shape skis (S7, JJ, etc.).  They were all gone - and I was bumming.  Looks like I'll be buying the DPS Wailer 112RP at almost full retail if I want that ski.

post #22 of 26

There is another thread somewhere comparing Zag to the S7.  The Zag I skied on had a funny shaped tip.  IMO that tip relative to the waist was part of the problem.  Other people might love them, me and my friend didn't like them at all.  I did some demos on the S7 in a variety of conditions and loved them.  I don't want to ski them every day, but am pretty convinced they would have been OK on the day I rode the Zags.  I will be on a pair of S7s this season because I liked them that much.  I might demo another pair of Zags if the opportunity came around again, but I won't pay for that privilege and I won't go out of my way to seek them out.  When I was looking at the Zag ski in the locker room I also thought the tip shape made some sense.  On snow not so much.

 

I'm looking forward to demoing on Liberty Skis this season.  The Helix looks really good to me.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post

Just a comment on Zag design- the key is not only the early rise tip, but also the shape of the shovel- its widest point is quite a bit down the ski from the tip, so on hard surfaces the ski would feel much shorter.  I believe it is very similar to the design of the Rossi S7 shovel.  

I tried a Zag only once, a long time ago (in Chile and in crappy rental boots as well, long story...), but I loved how it skied.  In fact, the profile picture is on the aforementioned Zag on that day.   The Heli Gold actually sounds quite intriguing, as it has what seems to be a very effective soft snow tip on a sub-100mm wide tight sidecut radius ski with straight stiff tail.  If I had my crystal ball, it should be a very versatile ski, but chattery in crud and maybe nervous in cut-up stuff, but in smooth soft snow it should be dream-like (of course in that kind of snow what ski would not be dream-like?).  It should also ski short.  I wish there were more demos opportunities for Zag skis, I really thought that their shovel shape concept made some practical sense.   

 

(BTW, Julien Lopez is a Zag-sponsored athlete).  

post #23 of 26

I went from AC4/50s and got a pair of Line Motherships too. When I went on vacation I never took the ACs off the roof of the car as I found the Motherships did everything the ACs did (for me)

plus improved my powder skiing ability 100% on the first run. I use stiff 130flex boots which have possibly aided my enjoyment of the Motherships.

post #24 of 26

If price is the major consideration, scare up a 2009-2010 Line Prophet 100. Historically, they're overproduced and end up dirt cheap by September. Also some nice prices right now on fatter Heads, but they could never be accused of being light. You can find cheap Helix's in August, less sure about right now, and Phil's comment is reasonable. Also Google Dynastars from last year. Their fats are also overproduced, otherwise excellent skis. Not super light, but not tanks, either.  

post #25 of 26

 

These guys have a few 1/2 price powder boards, including a couple Volkls.

 

http://www.sierrasnowboard.com/skiing/skis_0.asp 

post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

Actually in Colorado we're coming up on one of the best ski sales of the Fall - the Colorado Ski Expo at the convention center.  As long as Colorado Ski & Golf carries the brand you're looking for you'll probably find pretty good deals.

 

Word of warning - manufacturers definitely seem to have cut back on production in this economy.  Many of the more popular skis are now selling out during the main season and aren't available for the end of season sales.  This is especially true for the fun shape skis (S7, JJ, etc.).  They were all gone - and I was bumming.  Looks like I'll be buying the DPS Wailer 112RP at almost full retail if I want that ski.


I have a feeling that your and my definitions of a good deal differ somewhat.  Didn't DPS have a good summer pre-sale a few months ago?  Case in point.  OP- you could score some Line Prophet Flites on Evo.com for around 250 new for the next 2 days using the current discount code.
 

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