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Demoing Skis

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Everyone says that Demoing skis is the best way to pick a new ski. Is that really true?

My current skis are Salomon Axendo 9 in PR 5/6. They are skied out, and the left one has been bent just in front of the binding for three years. I didn't get new skis two years ago because I got a pair of Rosignol 120cm short skis, and I didn't get new skis last year because I went to the Green Mountain Orthotic Lab in Stratton Vermont and got new boots. Maybe this year I can get new skis.

My thinking on demos is that if I demo a bunch of skis I will pick the ones that I feel most comfortable skiing on, which means the ones most like the ones I have now, so I will get skis that are too long, too straight, and too soft and I will miss the benifits of the new skis.

I think I would be better off getting some good advice on the new shaped skis and getting some skis that are really different from what I have now, that I would initially not be comfortable on, but could get used to and learn to ski on.

What do you all think about that?

A lot of my skiing is done in instructor clinics. My own preference is medium radius turns on groomed black runs, but in clinics I do every thing from short turns and bumps to skiing in crud or slop to falling leafs on blues to skiing on one ski on green runs. I usually get short skis from the rental shop to teach level 1 to 3, but for level 4 and 5 I use my own skis.

Since I started teaching in 1997, no one has told me what leavel I am. I was a level 6 then. When I ask the level III instructors, they get kind of vague and wander off. A couple of years ago an examiner told me that I was a "good solid advanced skier", and I have gotten better since then. Maybe I'm a level 8 skier, but I don't know.

Any good recomendations?
post #2 of 17
PLEASE demo! Just buying without trying is not necessary or advisable.

Also, do some reading on this web site and in the magazines to get some idea of what skis you'd LIKE to demo.

After you've decided which skis to demo, try each model in at least two lengths, maybe three. For example, I had a lot of fun on the Salomon Crossmax 10 Pilot in 170, but absolutely hated it in 160 - the 160 was mucho scarey. I now own the Rossignol Bandit XX in 170 and find it to be the most fun ski I've ever owned or skied, and certainly the most versatile. But when I first tried it in 177, I hated it. The Bandit X [single X] was nice for me in 177 but just too squirrelly in 170.

As for skis to try, I do of course recommned the Bandit XX as well as the Bandit X, but also a really great ski, very solid but very forgiving, is the Dynastar Intuitiv 71 - which I happen to love and would own but for the Bandit XX.

Finding something uncomforatble to "grow into" is, in my view, a very bad idea. Comfort is GOOD. When you have comfort with the skis on your feet, you can then "push the envelope" and stretch your comfort level in the things that you learn and do.
post #3 of 17
How do most of you demo? Do you go through a shop at the resort, or do you wait for some kind of demo day when the equipment reps show up?
post #4 of 17

I would suggest before demoing just any skis that you at least have a preconcieved notion of what kind of ski it is you want to get. Carving, racing or all-mountain would be a broad breakdown of categories for you to consider. By your description of skiing in the east mostly groomed black runs and then offpiste in bumps trees, and crud I really think you could benefit from a mid-fat with a moderate shape, The materials in these skis are really solid and they hold an edge well on firm snow. Then you also get the benfits of a slightly wider chasis when skiing softer, deeper snow. Something like a Salomon Crossmax (like Oboe said, hi Oboe) or Volkl G30.

But definaltey try them out. An on-slope demo center is easier then a shop because you can switch skis quickly. But having an idea of what you wnat going in will save time and also you do not have to listen to the guy there just spewing. Hope this helps.


[ September 08, 2002, 09:47 AM: Message edited by: ESki ]
post #5 of 17
Hi TT,

I seem to be in the minority here in that I have not found demoing to be particularly effective for me. Some bears seem to be very effective at figuring out skis quickly, but I'm not one of them! It took me a season to figure out that a pair of skis sucked!

Season before last, I demoed many skis. I found that they were all very nice, but they were all different.

The very best ski was a Rossignol Viper Z in 191. Unfortunately, this is essentially a straight ski that supported my old technique, exactly as you suspected! Luckily, I think, I didn't buy them. I think I would have been very happy, and made no progress.

You say that you make medium radius turns on black groomers. Buy a ski that supports that activity! Buy an Atomic BetaCarv 9.18 (millions of them on Ebay) or a Rossi Bandit X. Ski on them for the first half of the season, and if they aren't what you want, sell them! Either of these skis will have good resale, and you'll get half a season to see if you like them. This is like a 1 or 2 month demo program which is pretty much free if you buy them off-season.

While thousands (millions?) of people seem to be perfectly happy with mid-fats, I find that, FOR ME, they are skis that do nothing well. I am moving toward a 2-ski quiver, a narrow waisted ski for the front side and an almost-fat for the back side.

Let us know what works for you.

Lurking Bear
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

When an intermediate who skis five days a year buys an expert ski in the hopes of growing into it, that's when there is a problem. If an advanced skier who expects to ski 30 days gets an advanced ski, it won't be a problem.

Thanks for the ski recomendations. I will try to look at the Bandit XX, Bandit X, and the Dynastar Intuitiv 71.


Thanks for the recomendation of the Salomon Crossmax or Volkl G30.

Lurking Bear

I like to make medium radius turns on black groomers, but in clinics I do all terrain. I need a ski that supports that too. I have been looking at the Atomic BetaCarv 9.18, but I have also been looking at the Atomic 9.12.

Can anybody give a good explanation of what the Atomic numbering system means? The number to the left of the decimal point is the skill level, but what doe the number to the right mean?

oboe also mentioned the Rossi Bandit X, so I'm going to try to look at that too.

I like your suggestion about buying them on ebay, Sking on them for the first half of the season, and if they aren't what I want, sell them on ebay.

Mid fats are supposed to be great for crud, but I don't like the idea for eastern sking.
post #7 of 17

I believe the number to the right is an indication of their turning radius. 9.11's are hyper-carvers, 9.12's are slalom, 9.18's GS.......

post #8 of 17

Demoing is the right way to go. However, you will need to do some honework in order to develop a short list of skis to demo. Suggest you visit: www.technicalsupportforskiers.com/ read the ski mags, visit the ski shops, visit manufactures websites, and soon you may get an idea of what type of skier you are, and what skis you should demo.

I do want to mention that it may also be time for new boots, or least find a good bootfitter, and have your present ones evaluated, do get some footbeds [ custom made are better than the ones off the shelf] if you don't already have them, and get properly allingned.

Poor fitting or out dated ski boots won't give you the proper skiing experience. So this needs to be done first !! Then demo. Not sure, find a ski shop that will let you rent skis for a season, and change them as the season progresses. Boots first, then demo, then buy this spring when the prices are good ,and there is still some ski season left.

[ September 09, 2002, 07:21 PM: Message edited by: wink ]
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your suggestion to visit: www.technicalsupportforskiers.com/. I will do that, but I know that there are people who read this list, who keep up with the new skis, and I am hoping to get recomendations from them.

As I said in my first post above "I didn't get new skis last year because I went to the Green Mountain Orthotic Lab in Stratton Vermont and got new boots. Maybe this year I can get new skis." I also got new foot beds made while I was getting my new boots.

post #10 of 17

Well, my opinion is worth exactly what it's costing you, but here goes...

The Bandit X is supposedly a very good all-around Eastern ski, but I'll suggest another option. If you're doing *most* of your skiing on eastern conditions and during lessons at that, why not get a ski that performs best in those conditions?

What about one of the recreational short slalom skis? They perform extremely well on hard snow, whether you want to crank short turns or just let them run a little (or a LOT!). Many of them are *way* more forgiving than you might think, so you can relax on them if you feel like it or practice your World Cup technique. They also work great in bumps if you find yourself going there once in awhile. Their only real downfall might be deeper powder and crud, but how often will you be skiing that?

If you decide to look at those skis, buy them a bit *longer* than what might be recommended if you were buying them purely as a race ski. I have a 180cm pair of Head World Cup TI Slaloms that I just love. If I were a serious racer, I would ski that ski in a 160 or so, but the 180 makes an excellent all-around ski.

Some to try might be:

Fischer World Cup SC
Rossi T-Power Viper S
Head World Cup I Race
K2 Mach S (if they still make it)
Atomic 9.12

And ones that I think are in a similar category but I haven't tried:

Volkl P50 Platinum
Saloman 3V
Elan Hyper HCX

Just some thoughts.

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Bob Peters

"What about one of the recreational short slalom skis? "

This is the sort of advice I was hoping for. I'm kind of weak on short turns anyway, and I could use some help there, especially in the bumps. I am already interested in the Atomic 9.12, Do you think a 170 would be too short? I'll try to find out about the other skis as well.

"Their only real downfall might be deeper powder and crud, but how often will you be skiing that?"

Deep powder. We had some powder for about four hours in January of 1996, but crud we have almost every afternoon.

Thanks a lot for your advice.

post #12 of 17

I can't recall if you posted your weight.

I weigh right at 200# and the 180's seem just fine. I think if you weigh a little less than me you'd find a 170 to be killer.

post #13 of 17
I guess all of us are different but I personally ski on 20 - 30 different models each year and am shocked at how different they are. I can see TT's point that we are often attracted to familiarity in a ski. I guess one way around that is to ski terrain that you wouldn’t normally ski.

I’m also looing at a second ski at the other extreme to the slalom I normally use. At the other end of the scale you have something like the Pocket Rocket. I have yet to try it, but have only heard good things about this unusual ski.

Personally I’ve gained a great deal from trying different skis, some I expected to be great I found awful and sometimes the converse was true.


post #14 of 17
They still make the Mach S, but it is now a part of the Axis line up.

As for trying out skis before I buy them, I never have. For my last pair of skis the opportunity came up to get them at a ridiculous price so I took it. I actually hadn't even thought of getting that ski.
post #15 of 17
The number on the right of the decimal point, on the Atomics is suposed to be the side cut radius in meters. So the 9.18 has an eighteen meter side cut radius.
post #16 of 17
For those of you who want to calculate the turning radius of a ski the forumula is:

RSC = C^2/(8*(tip+tail-2*waist)

RSC = Sidecut Radius
C = Contact length (this makes it hard to calculate because most manufacturers only give overall length) Note that this needs to be put in the equation in mm.
Tip, Tail, Waist are the respective dimensions

So, for an Atomic 9.12 in a 160 with dimensions of 115/65/100, assuming the contact length is 90% of the overall length, or 1440mm (a good guess, but not correct)

RSC = 1440^2/(8*(115+100-2*65)) or 12.2 meters
post #17 of 17
I really can't imagine why anyone would want to buy a short slalom in a longer length (i.e. 170cm+). If you're going that route, a carving ski like the Atomic 9.18 or a GS-ish ski like the Atomic BetaRace 9.20 would be more like it. When it comes to the short slaloms, all of the commonly held concepts about ski length are pretty much out the window.

I ski 160cm Atomic 9.16s as my slalom race/training/groomer ski. A bit beefier than the 9.12 with a little less sidecut, they are pretty much what I'd call more of a shorty GS when compared to their recreational brethren. Even at 160cm (and shorter from what I've seen) they are capable of speeds well in excess of those that would get your ticket pulled at most resorts. They'll tell you when you're out of balance or any number of other bad habits, but when you're on them- you're on them. Fun. I tried them in 150s and 170s, but at 5'11"/190lbs the 160cm was my favorite.

The 9.12 was a little more forgiving, but still a lot of fun. I didn't like it as much as the 9.16 in gates (more for rigidity than sidecut- which I liked more), but it more than made up for it freeskiing. I only had a chance to ski 150s with the 9.12, but I did more than I ever thought was possible on a short ski. While probably not my favorite powder ski, I spent a few powder days on them and wasn't displeased enough to go back to my car to get my fats.

What I would do is try out the recreational slaloms out there (like the 9.12 or Mach S) and then try a few race-oriented models(like the old 9.16 or the new Dynastar Omeglass). Peter Keelty lists both types, and you have quite a few to pick from in each category. What I would focus on when first demoing is category and length. Within a given category, brands are usually just shades of the same color for the most part. I may like one shade more than another, but they will all pretty much do the same thing to a similar degree.

If I was back on the East Coast (a recovering Virginian, myself), I'd probably lose the rest of my quiver and just run my GS skis and short slaloms.
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