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Demo Report

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

The kids (16 and 10) and I got in four days of skiing up here at Stowe. (Note to self: four days is not enough.)  I demo'ed the entire time, since at the moment I don't own skis (I gave mine to my son).  I came here wanting to try three skis:  the Volkl Kendo, Rossi S86, and Atomic Crimson Ti.  I got to try 2 out of the 3, plus one from left field recommended by the demo place (Pinnacle Ski). 


Stats:  5'9", 150 lbs, 57 going on 37.  Here at Stowe we skied everything from interesting blues (Cliff Trail) to single blacks (Upper Smugglers) to double blacks (Liftline).  We also tried glades, but the snow depth was not enough (IMO), to really cover all the underbrush enough to make it worthwhile.




1.   I can't do demo reports -- or, rather, I can do them about as well as I can describe a good wine ("It was good wine").  Makes me appreciate more the expertise of those like SJ, Dawg, etc., who can analyze a ski in a way that makes sense for the rest of us.


2.   In addition to not having the vocabulary, I find it hard to isolate the ski variables from the non-ski variables.  First day:  horrendous wind, and friggin' cold; third day: quads burning -- you get the idea.




Day 1:  I skied the Kendo.  We skied mixed snow trails, but not a lot of bumps.  It was fine; I can't remember anything bad about it.  It held an edge quite well on icy steeps.  But that's all I remember -- it was friggin' cold out (see caveat #2 above). 


Day 2:  Demo place didn't have either the Rossi or the Atomic in my size.  We went through a half dozen or so skis, pro and con, until the light went on for one of the guys there, who said I really should try the Volkl Bridge -- "just try it til lunch" he says.  I'm thinking, yeh, just what I need: a 95 waist park ski!  But when he brought it out, my 10-year-old daughter saw it and said "cool, Dad, you'll ski like a young guy!"  (I think they slipped her a five).  Took me a couple runs to get the hang of it, but it really grew on me.  We did a lot of bumps that day, as well as the typical Stowe hard-to-tell-if-it's-been-groomed trails.  The Bridge was like a freight train -- nothing stopped it.  Very stable, and considering that it's 95 mm waist and rockered, I was blown away on how well it held an edge on steep hardpack.


Day 3:  Just as I was returning the Bridge, another guy brought back the Atomic Crimson he had demo'ed that day, so I was in luck.  It too was fine.  The problems were:  (a) I had just skied the Bridge the day before, so this seemed like a lightweight by comparison; (b) this was the day we tried the glades, and I did not do well in them (OK, I sucked).  So, I have a less favorable impression of the Crimson: it carved extremely well, but seemed to bounce me around relatively more in the mixed snow.  Notwithstanding my less favorable impression, the whole time I was skiing it I had the idea that if I was a better skier (more finesse, more control) I'd probably like the Crimson more.


Day 4:  On both days 2 and 3 I asked for the Rossi S86 -- not in.  On day 4, I pleaded with the guys at Pinnacle ("check your records, call that SOB and tell him to bring them back!).  No luck.  I drove down to Skier Shop (met Whiteroom), drove down to AJ's -- nada.  Went back to Pinnacle and, seemingly streaming my inner 17-year-old, re-upped with the Bridge.  It's a fun ski.


Conclusions:   They made me a nice offer on the Bridge and I was tempted, but for me, it's too early to choose one.  I still want to demo the Rossi S86, and probably will have to retest both the Kendo and the Crimson. 



post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 

Tested a couple more.  Still don't have the vocab to adequately describe my gut reaction to these. 


My daughter and I went to Whitetail yesterday for a long, full day of skiing.  It's MLK weekend so the place was a zoo -- kids, snowboarders everywhere -- but a fun vibe (we in the Mid-Atlantic are just grateful to be skiing, period).  Snow: manmade, scraped off in many places.  Some piles to make it interesting; more as the day progressed.


The week before I had reserved LP 90s from my local ski store, and picked them up on Friday evening without really looking at them.  On Saturday I pull them out of the car at the Whitetail parking lot and noticed they had given me LP Flites.  I thought, what the heck, dance with the one you brung with ya.  So I gave them a shot.


I didn't like them.  They seemed clunky (here's where words fail) and kinda out of touch.  It was like I had to work to make them work.  My daughter and I did a couple warm-up blues, did some jumps in the terrain park, then hit the three (count them, three) blacks.  I could ski the LPs, but they just didn't have that "oh, yeh, baby!" feel.   Funny thing is, they felt wide.  I say "funny" because I had skied the Volkl Bridge three weeks ago at Stowe -- five cm wider then the LPs, but the Bridge felt narrower. 


So at our 2:30 PM hot cocoa break I went into the ski store at Whitetail to see if they had any demos.  The only ones they had that I was remotely interested in were the Dynastar Sultan 85s.  I've been thinking for two years I should try these, but for whatever reason I'd been reluctant.  But I was ready now and, thinking how noble it was of me to keep retail ski places afloat with constant infusions of demo money, I took them for the rest of the afternoon even though the meter was running on the LPs.


The Sultan 85s were great!  Why had I been hesitant to try these before?  Was it the 1970's graphics?   Was it that I thought they had been over-hyped last year?  Who knows, but I really enjoyed them.  The best way to describe it was that I didn't have to think about them -- I just went out and skied and had a ball.  They carve in hardpack without strain, they go through crud, they take jumps.  They made me think of the Kendos (yes, yes, I know, ya'll are gonna say, very different skis), but in this sense they were alike for me: these two were the only skis that when I was skiing them I wasn't conscious so much of what I was skiing. 


So, I can check LP Flites off the list, and put Sultan 85s on. 

post #3 of 8

Cool-glad you like the Sultan 85.  Seems like such a crowd-pleaser; everyone who takes it out seems to love it, at least out of our shop.  Same with the Sultan 94. 


Both are more firm-snow oriented than the Prophet 90, which may have been the difference.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Dawg -- what bindings do you typically put on the Sultan 85?   The ones I demo'ed had Look PX-12, which seemed fine, but I don't really know the Look line that well (which makes it sound as if I know other brands well).  Thanks. 

post #5 of 8
Originally Posted by Jimski View Post

Dawg -- what bindings do you typically put on the Sultan 85?   The ones I demo'ed had Look PX-12, which seemed fine, but I don't really know the Look line that well (which makes it sound as if I know other brands well).  Thanks. 

Yes, they work quite well.  I have used them on my own skis on several occasions. I am sure the Pivot 14 is awesome, but I can't really afford it, and the PX12 seems to get the job done quite well. 

post #6 of 8

PX12 is adequate for everyone but the heaviest skier.  BTW, LookPX/P, etc. is one of the most respected and beloved series of bindings, great stuff.  

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

On "impulse", I pulled the trigger on the Sultan 85s.  I was out running (there's nothing like winter running to clear the head) and thinking about the skis I've demo'ed: six different skis since last Spring (five mentioned in this thread and the Head Peak 88s last Spring).  Instead of looking at my charts and notes, and all the reviews, I just thought to myself, which of all these in my gut do I feel the best about -- and it was the Dynastars.  The Volkl Bridge actually came in second in my gut test. 


So, for all of you who've allowed me to soak up your ski knowledge this past year and a half, and have tolerated my questions, thanks!

post #8 of 8

I think you ended with great finalists and I'm sure you didn't go wrong with the Sultan.  I'm riding the Bridge from 2 years ago as my all-mtn ski (mostly out West) and it has been a great ski as well.  I think you made a good decision, so rest easy and start breaking those things in!

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