Hi guys, just did a full day of demoing at Holiday Valley on Saturday and figured I'd tell you all what I thought. Skis tested in chronilogical order were: Volkl Kendo (177), Fischer Progressor 10+ (170), Fischer Motive 80 (175), Fischer non-FIS SL (hole-ski, 165), Head i.Magnum (no chip, 170), Kastle MX78 (176), and even a pair of Carbon EX (I think) Anton Gliders (who knows what length). Conditions were great, very well groomed hardpack with only a few patches of ice. Here's what I thought:
Volkl Kendo- Demoed these in a 177. The first thing I noticed was that the ski was significantly more difficult to get on its edge than my 80 underfoot CX80's, despite the highly acclaimed wide ride bingings. Once I got used to them though, THEY RIPPED. Amazing edge hold, super stable, very very powerful ski, typical Volkl. The downside was it really didn't seem like it could be a viable option for anything other than your typical on-piste runs. Could they get through the trees? Yeah, but not well. Could they handle some pow? Yeah, but only a limited amount. And despite what you've heard, it's NOT an all-radius ski, meaning it would much rather be busting long GS turns at speed than anything else. As if the angle required to turn these monsters wasn't enough, you need even more edge angle to even have a shot of executing some short-radius turns. Lastly, crud busting was very good. That's really about it. Basically a really wide race ski that can dabble in other areas. Probably an ideal groomer ski out west.
Fischer Progressor 10+- Demoed these in a 170. Really, really great ski. As far as eastern groomers go, this ski does it all. It can and will literally execute any turn you tell it to. Not quite as quick and nimble as its predecessors, but still quick enough to throw down some slalom turns once in a while. And what the Progressor 10+ loses in quickness due to its metal construction, it more than makes up far in the GS turns/ stability at speed arena. This ski is solid. It even did okay in some fresh snow laidened trees (the wider waist probably helped). It is really the perfect east coast groomer ski. All in all, it's what you've come to expect with the Progressor line, with a little more waist for some added versatility and a lot more stability at speed.
Fischer Motive 80- Demoed these in a 175. As you read this post, I think you'll become aware of just how good Fischer's 2010-2011 line is. The motive is no exception. I really liked this skis balance of skills. Could easily be an everyday bump/ tree ski, yet doesn't give up too much on the icy groomer common in the East. Is it as good in bumps as its bump loving brother the Watea....no. But it did very good in the bumps, and IMO isn't a complete liability to be skiing on hardpack. Good edge hold, yet flexible enough to take into the bumps and trees with no hesitation. This ski does have a speed limit, and feels rather dead when carving the groomers, so if you're not willing to sacrifice your 40 mph GS-turns, look elsewhere. In the end, this ski really impressed me and actually might have a place in my quiver down the road.
Fischer non-FIS SL (hole ski)- Demoed these in a 165. All I really have to say is wow. I don't think I've ever had so much fun on a ski (I don't usually ski slaloms). Held like glue, super easy turn initiation, I felt like a World Cupper shreddin' down the slalom course on these. Downsides were that they didn't like to run straight (can be expected), they weren't the most forgiving ride, and they lacked a bit of stability at high speeds (but I think it was more that I went too small than that it wasn't stable). I really liked the 165, but I think I would have LOVED the 170. Ultimately, this is THE best ski (not necessarily Fischer, but just slalom in general) to own int the east, in the right conditions and on the right terrain. Nothing can beat this ski on a plain, old East coast groomer. The 170's could also be added to the quiver in the future.
Head i. Magnum (no chip unfortunately)- Demoed these in a 170. Extremely powerful ski. I was really surprised at the radius of the ski though, as I was expecting something similar to the Fischer SL's, but got something completely different. They seemed willing to do the short radius turns, but surprisingly were just as content in long GS turns. I actually did a run where I took 3 short radius turns and then was launched out of the third into the fourth. From there on out it was GS turns all the way down. As I was flying down the hill at speeds something like 45 mph, I felt remarkablly stable and controlled, and the skis held like a GS race ski. The only downside I see in this ski is that its not quite content at the lower speeds and really didnt seem to have life until I was flying down the hill. Some may disagree, but thats how they felt on me. IMO it's very similar to a Volkl, specifically the Tigershark, as it's not always labeled as a "fun" ski, but extremely powerful and always gets the job done. If you like speed, the Head i series is for you.
Kastle MX78- Demoed these in a 176. Actually felt a lot like my CX80's. Typical Austrian edge grip, stability, and performance. Was surprised that they're considered an intermediate ski by some, as they did fine with everything I gave them. Very smooth ski, won't really bite unless you ask it to. Not a whole lot to say. Definately geared towards the GS turns. Perfect ski for those who want to carve it up, but not with having to put in a lot of effort. Frontside ski though, don't expect it to perform in the bumps or trees, or pow for that matter.
Anton Gliders Carbon EX- Was shocked that they even had them, nevertheless were available to demo. Don't know what size I skied them in tbh, but they were definately short. Almost felt like snow blades. But once I got them on the hill, they were great. Don't be fooled by their size, these things are stable. Will do any turn you ask of it, and do it well. Feels very different on the snow than the longer carving skis I'm used to, but you just need to get used to their feel. Gripped very well on the hard snow, and were just fine with running straight as well. The folks at Anton Gliders are definately on to something here. Didn't get a chance to ski them in the bumps, but I'm convinced they'd be fantastic. Honestly can't think of any downsides, besides the price and the fact that they limit you to strictly hardpack due to their size. Great way to end the day.
It ended up being an awesome day, and I got to try everything I was interested in. If you have any questions, comments, or opinions, feel free to post.
Edited by eastskier44 - 12/20/10 at 2:48pm