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Elan 999 or Head John 94 for new Tahoe / Kirkwood everyday skis?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi all, just want to start by saying thanks to everyone who has posted so much great info on this site.  I've read a bunch of reviews on both skis but would like to get some first hand impressions since I won't be able to demo either before I buy.  I'm a college student so budget it first priority but its definitely time to upgrade my quiver. I've been on a pair of Blizzard Titan 8 169's for the last several years and I like them but I'm feeling the limitations in deep / off piste snow as well as getting them to bite on super hardpack and icier stuff.


I'm 5'9" and 170lbs, strong ex-racer but am NOT looking for a racing, ultra-stiff ski. I'm much more fun and relaxed now (after several REALLY bad crashes), but admittedly, still like to get after it every now and then. I like trees, pow, bowls, sidecountry, and fast GS turns back to the lift. Avoid bumps and big drops at all costs smile.gif


My main mountain is Kirkwood but I also hit Sierra, Heavenly, and Sugar too. A local shop has both the Elan 999 and Head John 94s from last year at can't pass prices and I know I need to upgrade. Will either of these fit what I'm looking for? I demo'd the Elan 888 and loved em but think I might need something a bit wider for everyday boards. How does the 999 Alu ski compared to the 888, hardpack and carving in particular?


I will also have some extra money come February so I will be buying a dedicated pair of powder / deep snow boards with a AT setup so I'm not looking for a 1 ski quiver.


Oh, and two skis I demo's and didn't really like was the Blizzard Atlas and Volkl Mantra which were just too stiff for how I ski now.

post #2 of 6

I have the older 999 wood. They are great skis and certainly more towards the stiffer spectrum of boards. They carve quite well for their width and plow through crud like maniacs. They certainly have a gs feel to them. I would classify them as 30/70 (front/back). If you are getting another set of skis for powder boards, given your weight and height I think you might be better off suited in the 80-90mm waist range. See Kastle mx's or sultan 85s.Good luck






post #3 of 6
I wrote one of the review threads on John 94 ( Actually on Mojo 94 which is the same ski) on this site, so I won't repeat. I do use it as an daily driver ski at Squaw, and if I could only have one ski, that would be my Mojos. There is a pretty devoted group of Mojo94 skiers here on Epic, they were a real sleeper ski a couple of years ago. I have not been on the 999, so cannot compare, but there are plenty of people on this site who tested them side by side. 999 seems to be a very reputable ski here as well. One more datapoint for you- I also hated how the Mantras felt, too stiff and too much sidecut. Heads are softer but much more damp, so they just make a much more fun and relaxed package that would still perform whenever you push.. One other thing that I like about my Mojos is how sturdy the bases are. I damage my Dynastar bases so much more often than my Heads, so it must be the plastic composition issue. If you buy the Heads you will most likely have to retune them immediately to a proper 1/3 tune, the factory tune is way off so if you ski on a factory tune, you will be saying" what the f&ck".... Good luck,


P.s. As a student, Kastle MX series is most likely out of your budget, even used.
post #4 of 6

I've got 07 m999s in a 192 cm (running length is actually less than 185).  They are great in deep snow and pretty good in crud and mush bumps. Compared to my other choices (GS skis and 80 waist skis) they are pretty pitiful on hardpack and packed bumps.  I'd give a big to them as a daily driver anywhere that doesn't get over a foot  or more at least four times a week.    I'd go with something a lot closer to or under 90 for a daily driver even at the best location unless you only ski on big snow days.

post #5 of 6

I have the first season of the M999 and they were considerably softer than last season's.  I do believe that Elan basically "adopted" the same construction for the 999 that they had been using in the 888.  I also have the 888 and it's a really smooth easy going ski.  It's also fairly light for its size, but still has a fairly damp stable feel.  I didn't ride last season's 999, but I would assume that they're fairly similar - just wider!

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi all, thanks for the great input.  I'm leaning towards the John 94's based on all the solid reviews on the Mojo.  Plus my shop will sell me a new pair for under $300 (which is what I think it costs to stroke a pair of Kastles) so its one of those, "can't pass" opportunities.  I figure I can swap my bindings over from my Blizzards and put all the money I save towards the perfect 110m+ deep / backcountry ski and take my time demoing everything I can.

I think the 94mm waist will give me a little more versatility too in variable snow over the Elans. My Blizzards are 169cm so would you recommend that same size or do the John / Mojo ski a little short or long. FYI I'm happy on the 169cm for trees and other tight spots but would like more float.

Thanks again!

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