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2011 Elan Apex 177cm

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Review: 2011 Elan Apex, 177cm.  Mounted with ELX 14 bindings (basically Tyrolia Mojo 14 bindings, with an Elan graphic)

 

Conditions: a couple of inches of new snow, soft bumps, courdoroy groomers.  2nd day: wet, heavy new snow, frozen bumps, challenging conditions.  3rd day: blue sky, 12-18” of untracked, light snow, and very light crud. 

 

About me: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, competent all-mountain skier, and could zipper-line expert-level bumps for the first time in my life by early spring.  Probably ski 40-50 days per year.  I tend to enjoy big open, high speed bowls, bumps, trees, fast groomers.  My skiing speed is fast to full-on. 

 

I was able to get lots of time on this ski in the past spring.  It is a new ski from Elan for 2011: they added a bit of tip rocker to the ski, and changed out the core. It is now a different wood core (a bit denser) with a milled out profile. The ski now has a bit softer flex at the tip, but retains the lateral stiffness of the 888. It still has more of a GS and backside dimension to it: 88mm underfoot, 21m radius in the 177cm length tested. 

 

Review: This ski is pretty much everything I could ask for in a one-ski quiver.  It really doesn’t lean toward one condition over another.  The first day I tried this, in soft but not deep snow, we were skiing bumps and steeps most of the day.  Straight away, this ski just had the “flow” that I like, where it flexed to meet terrain, but wasn’t too soft or mushy. In soft bumps, it was perfect for absorbing through the trough and coming back up the backside.  In crud, it had a great “terrain-absorbing feel” and released very easily out the bottom of the turn.  The new tip, which is quite a bit softer, is a big improvement. In comparison, the old 888 could hang onto the turn a bit long, due to it’s stiffer nature.  This ski was almost wanting “to come up for air” at the belly of the turn, whereas the old 888 took a more active relaxing and pulling back release to get it to dis-engage.  Yet, it wasn’t slarvy or spoony-feeling like some of the skis around these days; it felt like a high performance machine, tuned for any condition under a reasonably technically skilled skier.  Holiday noted that I was making “the best turns he had ever seen me make” on this ski.  I was feeling the same way: the ski just felt “right” underneath me.  Groomer performance was similar to the 888: GS in feel, longer arcs preferred, no real speed limit, and it starts the turn when prompted. It also likes edge angle and pressure.  I felt it comparable to the VXL on piste, but it had a bit lighter feel to it, not unlike the old Blizzard race skis from a few years back, which were more lively than heavy and damp. 

 

Day 2: terrible conditions, really heavy wet, new snow, and some frozen, rain-infused bumps on the lower mountain.  The new Apex was again a revelation. I tested it back to back against a bunch of other 88mm type skis: the Volkl Kendo, Blizzard 8.7, Nordica HR-Pro Jet Fuel i-Core, Kastle MX88, Stockli VXL, Dynastar Legend, 94, K2 Aftershock, Head Peak 88, and several others.  What I took with me about the Apex was that it was definitely 50/50 oriented, very similar to the Kendo, but with a bit lighter on snow-feel.  In that soft snow, it released at the tip with relative ease: similar to the Kendo, and better than the other 2 mentioned, as they are a bit stiffer and more hard-snow oriented, IMO.  This snow definitely required a more aggressive release, but the Apex made it as easy as I could have hoped for.  Again, smooth, predictable, stable, and damp: in short, no surprises, and very confident.   In bumps, it was predictable, with a soft tip and not too much shape. I liked it better than any other 88mm type ski I have tried for bumps over the past year.  Personally, I think non-fussy skis are the best skis in bumps.  The Kendo and Apex are nearly identical in feel: the Kendo is just a touch stiffer (similar to how the Mantra tends to be stiffer than most skis if this width) and the Apex a bit softer in the tip and more responsive for me.  Almost seems like they could have come out of the same factory. 

 

3rd day: a gorgeous powder day. I did the whole morning on the 1010’s, and switched over to the Apex for the afternoon, mostly hiking and skiing untouched steeps. This ski was so much fun for deeper, uncut snow that was relatively light. I enjoyed it more than the 1010 in those condition: on the Apex, I had enough width not to get bogged down, but not so much that I was just surfing the snow on top.  It was thrilling to be in the snow, hit the belly of the turn, release and retract, get out of the snow, start my COM flying down the fall line, and extend into the pow again, building pressure until the next release.  On the 1010, it was more like just carving the new snow like it was a groomer. Fun, but not as much fun as that feeling of swimming like a porpoise, motoring up and down through the snow, turn to turn, which really extends that weightless feeling between turns.   There is little better in life than the weightless feeling between turns of well-executed fall-line skiing on untracked snow in steep terrain.  Again, this ski was breeze to pilot, but really unshakable at high speeds, and down lower, in cut-up crud, it was just as confident as the 1010, although I did have to watch it a bit more, as it was slightly easier to catch an edge than a wider ski.  It handles cut-up snow as well as any ski I have yet skied, yet does not have an overly damp, noodly feel when stepping on the gas.

 

There are other skis I have tried that do crud slightly better, those that are better in really heavy, uncut snow; those that are a bit more nimble in bumps, those that are more groomer and hard-snow oriented, those that are more powerful carvers, and those that are narrower and quicker in steeps.  I have yet to find a more well-rounded, agreeable ski that is adaptable and provides excellent performance in most any condition than this one.  I have always liked Elan and feel they offer great value, but even when tested against the competing ski from every other brand, the Apex more than holds it’s own.  There are a couple of other skis that are this good in pretty much every condition, but they don’t sell for $599 or whatever the Apex goes for.  Elan has done a great job with the Apex, designing a true one-ski for every condition quiver.  To give you an idea; if the "best I have ever skied" for each condition were a 10 (example, not necessarily my personal opinions: Stockli XXXL best high speed crud ski=10, Dynastar Huge Trouble best big-mountain ski=10, Head iSupershape Speed best GS carver=10, that type of rating) then I would have to give the Apex a 7.5 or 8 for every single category.  For a ski to be that good across a range of conditions is no mean feat.  

 

Look for a review soon on all of the other skis I tested.  I am doing reviews first on those that I skied multiple times this spring, and some of the others, on which I have less time, will be reviewed together, and updated as I ski them more this winter.    

 

Ratings based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the tops for this category I have yet tried.

 

Stability at speed: 8.5

Forgiveness: 7

Sweet Spot speed: 20mph+

Skill Level Required: L7 to L10

Float in soft snow: 7

Bump suitability: 8

Likes to run in big arcs:  7.5

Likes to be on edge and turning: 5

Trilling or dull?: Not super peppy, but contains a lot of horsepower that won’t get away from you.

post #2 of 22

Great informative review as always, Dawg. You are making me rethink my purchase of Head Peak 88 from you last Spring. So many choices.

Bluebear

post #3 of 22

Dawg,

 

Thanks for the review.  Is there a ski that you would classify as more peppy than the Apex but similar in performance and 85-98 underfoot?

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnus_CA View Post

Dawg,

 

Thanks for the review.  Is there a ski that you would classify as more peppy than the Apex but similar in performance and 85-98 underfoot?



Sure, but they aren't as good in crud, I don't think. Any of the "midfat carvers" will get you there: Blizzard 8.7 Magnum, M-Power 8.7, Volkl AC50, Legend 85, Legend 94.  The Legend 94 probably comes closest to being a more energetic, carver style ski while still skiing very well in crud. That ski is a great mix of attributes. 

 

The others are slightly more piste-oriented, and due to stiffer flex and a bit more sidecut, seem to get a little more hooky in crud than a straight-up crudbusting type ski with less sidecut and softer flex.   FX94 from Kastle is fairly energetic, as is the Aftershock (which skis short and feels like a carver).  Skis like the MX88, Volkl Kendo, Elan Apex, trade a bit of energy on groomers for superb off-piste stability and confidence.  

post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnus_CA View Post

Dawg,

 

Thanks for the review.  Is there a ski that you would classify as more peppy than the Apex but similar in performance and 85-98 underfoot?



Sure, but they aren't as good in crud, I don't think. Any of the "midfat carvers" will get you there: Blizzard 8.7 Magnum, M-Power 8.7, Volkl AC50, Legend 85, Legend 94.  The Legend 94 probably comes closest to being a more energetic, carver style ski while still skiing very well in crud. That ski is a great mix of attributes. 

 

The others are slightly more piste-oriented, and due to stiffer flex and a bit more sidecut, seem to get a little more hooky in crud than a straight-up crudbusting type ski with less sidecut and softer flex.   FX94 from Kastle is fairly energetic, as is the Aftershock (which skis short and feels like a carver).  Skis like the MX88, Volkl Kendo, Elan Apex, trade a bit of energy on groomers for superb off-piste stability and confidence.  


Not as good in crud is not a good thing since I ski Tahoe exclusively.  I'm still a Watea 94 fan (pre-boat hull tip) but I'd like something a touch more beefy that still retains a playful feel.  The Kendo intrigues me but I hand flexed one and it impressed me as stiff throughout.  The FX94 is on my short list as well but the price tag scares me.

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnus_CA View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnus_CA View Post

Dawg,

 

Thanks for the review.  Is there a ski that you would classify as more peppy than the Apex but similar in performance and 85-98 underfoot?



Sure, but they aren't as good in crud, I don't think. Any of the "midfat carvers" will get you there: Blizzard 8.7 Magnum, M-Power 8.7, Volkl AC50, Legend 85, Legend 94.  The Legend 94 probably comes closest to being a more energetic, carver style ski while still skiing very well in crud. That ski is a great mix of attributes. 

 

The others are slightly more piste-oriented, and due to stiffer flex and a bit more sidecut, seem to get a little more hooky in crud than a straight-up crudbusting type ski with less sidecut and softer flex.   FX94 from Kastle is fairly energetic, as is the Aftershock (which skis short and feels like a carver).  Skis like the MX88, Volkl Kendo, Elan Apex, trade a bit of energy on groomers for superb off-piste stability and confidence.  


Not as good in crud is not a good thing since I ski Tahoe exclusively.  I'm still a Watea 94 fan (pre-boat hull tip) but I'd like something a touch more beefy that still retains a playful feel.  The Kendo intrigues me but I hand flexed one and it impressed me as stiff throughout.  The FX94 is on my short list as well but the price tag scares me.


Since you are a Watea fan, check out the new Motive 84 from Fischer. It probably has about what you are looking for; true 50/50 versatility, can do anything, but is a better carver than the Apex-Kendo-MX88-FX94.  

post #7 of 22

I bought this ski after reading Scott's review and also talking to him on the phone.  After spending some time on this ski I agree with everything in his review.  They are the most well rounded ski I have ever been on and also one of the best mogul skis I've tried. 

 

post #8 of 22

Got on a pair of 177 Apex's today for the first time under less than ideal testing conditions.  I'll do a full review after I've been on them a few times and get to experience them on something other that rock hard manmade snow.  First impression however is very positive.  A couple of notes on the ski quality and base and edge finish.  I was very pleasantly surprised when I looked at the skis out of the box.  Fit and finish on the base and edges was very good.  The skis closed nicely with only a hint of gap forward of the bindings.  I made a few very light passes on the base edge with a 1 degree file guide, just enough to smooth out the edge, and then put a diamond stone in the guide and polished the edge.  Same drill on the side edges using a file with a 2 degree guide followed by a diamond stone and a ceramic stone.  Edges were not hardened from the factory stonegrinding and there were no waves in the edge or base finish.  These are the best finished base and edges that I've seen in quite a while.  I normally do not associate Elan with super quality, but these were as good as you can expect from a factory finish.  Much better than skis from Head, Blizzard and Volkl that I have prepped over the past few years.

post #9 of 22

After 9 full days on the Apex in varied terrain and conditions, I have only positives about these skis as well. My thoughts echo Dawg's.

post #10 of 22

I've been on the Apex for 4 days in widely varying snow conditions and the jury is still out.  I think I have an edge finish issue that I have to work out.  Switching skis (changed after two runs today) helped a lot which leads me to believe that that is the problem.  The finish and bevel angle is good, but I'm thinking that I need to take a little more metal off the base edge.  They're close, but I'm I'm still not as balanced and relaxed as I should be.  Stay tuned.

 

Here's an update.  I did go back and refile the base edges.  Still a 1 degree bevel but just took off some more metal.  The waxing iron still dragged a bit (that suctiony kind of drag) particularly in the tip and tail.  Performance did improve.  Worked the tip and tail sections just a bit more and got the skis to work very well.  I'm now very happy with the performance of the skis.  I have also found that new skis need a few days of use to get everything in sync. The flexing of skiing breaks down the glue lines and the ski starts to bend correctly so that you get more consistent pressure on the edges.  All of the above have combined to make the Apex exactly what I was hoping that it would be as a touring ski that I can ski in resort and not feel like I'm giving up much of anything.    

 

Further update.  I discovered that the skis work better when I skied in my touring boots (Dynafit Titan) as opposed to my alpine boots (Nordica Dobermann Pro 130).  This is a big plus because they are my touring skis.  They are mounted with a Marker F12 touring binding.  One explanation for this is that with the touring boot in the binding, the afd is lower and as as a result my balance is better with the toe a bit lower vs. the Nordica.  Who knows?  Anyway, the skis do everything you ask of them without any strangeness.  Strong points are the stability and predictability.  They are rock solid at speed (not really a requirement of a touring ski) and don't do anything that they shouldn't do, which is a big plus on a touring ski when you get into sketchy snow and terrain conditions.  I have pulled my Dukes (and sold them) off of my old Mantras (red ones) and am putting F12's on them.  It will be interesting to do a compare and contrast between the Mantra and the Apex with identical boot and binding configurations.


Edited by choucas - 2/14/11 at 4:00pm
post #11 of 22

great ski super fin

post #12 of 22
Bump... I got these skis last year I am just realizing how awesome they are. After railing "iceface" and bumps back east, I am now skiing them at kicking horse in deep powder. The wailers 112 and bonafides are sitting on the balcony. Yea... I like the apex that much.

Anyways, the edges took a punishment. I only have my travel tools with me and I cant measure their edges. I usually use a 1 & 3 angle but I don't want to change anything about these skis. Anyone know their factory angles?
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by daught View Post

Bump... I got these skis last year I am just realizing how awesome they are. After railing "iceface" and bumps back east, I am now skiing them at kicking horse in deep powder. The wailers 112 and bonafides are sitting on the balcony. Yea... I like the apex that much.

Anyways, the edges took a punishment. I only have my travel tools with me and I cant measure their edges. I usually use a 1 & 3 angle but I don't want to change anything about these skis. Anyone know their factory angles?

 

Great skis!  Too bad Elan canned them, instead of updating them.  It is just such a reliable ski: you can ski it anywhere, in any condition, and it is predictable, stable, has plenty of performance, yet won't beat anyone up or take them for a ride. 

 

I am pretty sure they are factory 1/1 bevels. 

post #14 of 22
Thx.
Too bad they got cancelled. What do you think about the spectrum series? Or what else comes close to them? Maybe the non metal blizzards?
I dont know why I like these skis so much. On paper they are nothing special, but their flex perfectly matches me. Guess at the end of the day a good flex pattern beats any funky shape or rocker.
I am using these in some gnarly terrain, and I dont plan to take it easy. I have no idea what I will replace them with when I blow them.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by daught View Post

Thx.
Too bad they got cancelled. What do you think about the spectrum series? Or what else comes close to them? Maybe the non metal blizzards?
I dont know why I like these skis so much. On paper they are nothing special, but their flex perfectly matches me. Guess at the end of the day a good flex pattern beats any funky shape or rocker.
I am using these in some gnarly terrain, and I dont plan to take it easy. I have no idea what I will replace them with when I blow them.

 

I just replaced the Elan triple 8 (older Apex) with the Spectrum 95.  The flex pattern is a big part of why I stayed with Elan over the Cham 97 or Soul 7.  If you get a chance demo the 95  although a much different ski with the tapered tip/tail, Amphibio rocker and Alu top sheet the damp feel and versatility are all still there.

 

jb

post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbuhl View Post
 

 

I just replaced the Elan triple 8 (older Apex) with the Spectrum 95.  The flex pattern is a big part of why I stayed with Elan over the Cham 97 or Soul 7.  If you get a chance demo the 95  although a much different ski with the tapered tip/tail, Amphibio rocker and Alu top sheet the damp feel and versatility are all still there.

 

jb


I skied the Spectrum 95 on a slushy spring day, it was quite fun, although much different than the 888/999 with the ski profile.  Definitely more soft-snow oriented, not unlike the Rossi Soul 7/Sin 7.

post #17 of 22
Sold my wailers 112rp. Need a new fattie. Found that 95% while I was on them I would have rather been on the apex. With that said the apex has it's limits. Being IN the snow on rocky terrain can be scary.

I am not to keen to try something new when I am so close to find something so dialed in for me.

Would it be worth tracking down a 1010/olympus if I like the apex so much? My second ski in line is the scout. How would their float compare? The scout is rockered but can the 1010 flexy tip float just as well?

Any one wanna sell me their 184ish 1010/olympus?



Sent from the future using my GOLDEN iPhone 30 SS
post #18 of 22

I have a pair of Elan Olympus in 183 cm for sale.  Not many days on them. Drop me an email if you wish to take this further.  I am at amakitalo@foresteosystem.ca

post #19 of 22

If interested, I have a set of Apex 177 with the Elan din 14 bindings in like-new condition that are gathering dust. Hit me up via PM if anyone wants them for a good price.

post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by daught View Post

Sold my wailers 112rp. Need a new fattie. Found that 95% while I was on them I would have rather been on the apex. With that said the apex has it's limits. Being IN the snow on rocky terrain can be scary.

I am not to keen to try something new when I am so close to find something so dialed in for me.

Would it be worth tracking down a 1010/olympus if I like the apex so much? My second ski in line is the scout. How would their float compare? The scout is rockered but can the 1010 flexy tip float just as well?

Any one wanna sell me their 184ish 1010/olympus?



Sent from the future using my GOLDEN iPhone 30 SS

1010 has better tip float than the Scout. It flexes more and has more sidecut.  Scout has more stability and beef. 

 

Someone read this thread and grabbed our last pair of 1010's in 183 that I didn't even know were still at the shop.  Found a pair of 191's as well, that might make a fun fast new snow day ski for personal use :)  183 is a little short for deep snow, but great for fall-line riding. 

post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel View Post
 

If interested, I have a set of Apex 177 with the Elan din 14 bindings in like-new condition that are gathering dust. Hit me up via PM if anyone wants them for a good price.

Bump, I am sure this pair is in great condition, and it is a great ski.  

post #22 of 22

Any elan fans try the elan himalaya or the alaska? Veeeery tempted to go with them for my dynafits. Wonder how they compare to the apex.

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