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need advice for a new pair of off-piste skis

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Happy new year to all!

 

I'm looking for advice for a new pair of back-country skis.

Some data points: 160lbs, about 5'9, 45 years old, former ski-instructor, technically very fit, physically not so much anymore.

Currently have a Slalom-carver for the hard-pack-only days and a All-Mountain Nordica Jet Fuel with 84mm under foot in 178cm for most of my ski-days. I like the Nordica very much also on groomed, since it offers a GS character and excellent on high-speed. What I don't like is the weight of this skis.

 

However I'm now looking for my 3rd ski in my quiver focusing on off-piste, so have min. 100mm under foot and a touring binding (Marker Baron, Fritschi Freeride,..).

 

Elan Olympus

4FRNT CRJ

Liberty Helix

LINE Sir Francis Bacon

K2 ObSETHed

Atomic Blog

Rossi S7

Fischer Watea 114

Voelkl Gotama

....

 

My basic idea is to have a rather soft tip rocker (for better easier floating) and a not so soft tail-rocker, but still reasonable performance on groomed to get to the next lift station. I will not go into any parks/mogules or do jumping and use the touring option only for maybe the last 100 to 300m uphill to get to nice powder runs.

Easy to tell I'm skiing in the Alps (places like Davos, Arlberg,....)

 

Looking forward to your comments and recommendations....

 

Thanks,

elkam


Edited by elkam - 1/3/11 at 2:56pm
post #2 of 15

Elkam, I have not tried any of the skis you listed, but I can however recommend you the PM Gear 183 BRO. 

 

I am of similar height and weight and I love them.  100 underfoot, they just underwent a new layup with half carbon fiber/half fiberglass, making them much lighter and snappier.  I have toured and skied them in many conditions and have yet to find a situation they do not excell in, except maybe very tight places, but even there they do quite well.  They lay GS trenches like you wouldn't believe, and will still be significantly lighter than any of your current frontside carvers.

 

Hess core, carbon/glass layup, new lhasa-esque shark-shape nose for cutting through crud, small tip rocker for ease of turn initiation in 3D conditions, and VERY slight tail rocker- almost nonexistent. 

 

They also make a fat version that is 110 underfoot, which I just did a review of last week.  Very impressed to say the least. 

 

Moment is another company you should really look at.  VERY fun skis, my Tahoes are my go-to for anything frontside uner 8" of fresh but  Bellafontes might just be your ticket!  105 underfoot, very stiff, enough camber and flex to be playful and fun...  I'd be stuck between the BROs and the Moments if I was in your exact position.   

 

Just my .02, good luck! 

post #3 of 15

The activity you describe is called "side-country" and "off-piste", not "backcountry".  For what you want to do, pretty much any ski you like will work. Real BC, usually called 'randonee' in Europe, is a completely different story, and you would really want a totally different type of set-up.

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks Raspritz for your hint! changed accordingly - hope to get more feedback now.

Best regards,

elkam

post #5 of 15

The Rossignol S7 188cm

It's a SENSATION!

You gotta try them, I thought fatties were crap until I got leant a pair to try.

Off piste and on they are amazing

post #6 of 15

I have just started skiing on Lib Tech Magic Pow,191 and 115 centers, fantastic, but not sure about with a touring binding as I have the marker Jester binding which allows the binding to be moved forward and backwards, have a look at my review on them. they are quite light for there size, get great lift and, with the bindings moved forward rip up the piste too.

 

I hope it helps.

post #7 of 15

My new off-piste setup for deep Tahoe area snow is the Line Prophet 115 with Barons for skinning.  I am 58, an experienced backcountry skier (I used telemarks in the lightweight skinny days), 5'4", 135#s.  I am on a 172 because of my size, and these skis ROCK, and are amazingly maneuverable even in Sierra cement.  The skis are 153 at the early rise tip (only 5mm rise) and 142 at the twin-tip tail (no rocker except for the the twin tip).  The skis with a mapleblock core, and a die cut titanium laminate has a nice overall stiffness except for the wide rockered tip (only 25 cm from the tip.  The ski has a fairly flat normal camber, which with the beefy sidewalls give ridiculous stability when charging high speed gs turns on the way back to the lift.  Although these skis are very quick and maneuverable on groomers, I usually switch over to my 182mm underfoot AC 4s when spending more than 30% of my time on the piste (too much work going edge to edge with my short legs on 2d snow conditions).  I have skied on these about 10 days this season, in conditions ranging from snow cone consistency to what Californians call blower (most don't know what rocky mtn powder is like!).  These skis will maneuver through any trees that will allow me to squeeze through, but will also let me charge fairly straight lines through chutes or steep bowls.  The titanium gives the skis plenty of pop and with the fairly stiff tails will initiate my turns even in the thick Sierra snow. In lighter snow conditions these skis also can slarve your turns to dump speed. These skis are effortless in conditions that would have me panting with the gorilla turns required by my AC4s.  For living in an area that gets high density snow (yes, even when cold), this is fantastic choice for the 3d conditions I love.  If I still lived in the Rockies, I would probably want a longer ski with a pin tail, and more extreme rocker.

For Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood, and Alpine Meadows where I ski these keep my turns cranking and my smile frozen.  Depending on how much tree skiing you do, for your size you would want the 179, or 186.  These skis are lighter than my Volkls, but if I were doing multi-day touring, I would probably want a lighter setup.  Oh and did I mention - the grapics kill!

Happy hunting!

 

IMG_1366.JPG


Edited by hoffmnj - 1/4/11 at 12:03pm
post #8 of 15

I think if you search, you will find some recent very similar questions/discussions with useful info. Likewise, some searching at TGR may prove interesting.  Although one thing you did not do is make clear whether "off piste" to you is highly variable conditions or mostly powder (given what others have said about the Alps, I'd guess the former).

 

I have a strong bias toward both tip and tail rocker (for real - not just marketing "early rise") - so I'd suggest adjusting your list to remove anything lacking those. At this point, the S7 is almost iconic wrt to this kind of ski. I'd also consider the following (of which I have skied/own both Praxis & would personally probably use one of them for what you describe - but I am an admitted Praxis cheerleader...):

 

Praxis BC

Praxis Concept

DPS 112RP

Atomic Bent Chetler

Salomon Rocker 2 (if you can get them)

Armada JJ

 

While I personally prefer tail rocker, it is worth mentioning that many people are loving several ON3P skis for what you are discussing (I liked the Wrenegades when I skied them).

 

I think many of these skis are capable of doing what you want. Members of my family have skied the current Obsethed, Sir Francis Bacon, Praxis models and Gotama. Each for at least several days. In short, I think we'd agree that they all have their strong and weak points depending on intended use and personal preference - but all would probably be better for what you want than a conventional cambered ski. So, again, reading specific reviews & demo-ing if you can will probably fill in the gaps as much as possible.

 

If you are looking at more powder oriented skis, you may want to consider even fatter boards.

 

If you decide you are interested in the Praxis, the code "EPIC" will get you 10% off. 


Edited by spindrift - 1/4/11 at 12:26pm
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Many thanks for the feedback. To answer the question about off-piste conditions, yes it is rather highly variable than mostly powder.

 

From all what I've read and what is available in ski-shops around me the Rossi S7 is my favourate currently. Haven't seen Praxis Skis overhere but read about in some German forums. ON3P - never heard of here.

What I like about the S7 is the radius of below 20m at 188cm lenght. I expect this will give me quite some good on-piste capabilities matching with my style....but a guess only. I will not be able to test as usual, but since this is my 3rd ski as said I don't regard this as too critical. I'm also convinced now that I need a tip and tail rocker ski.

 

Best regards,

elkam

post #10 of 15

sierratradingpost had some K2 Pontoons... or one could just strap snowboards on their boots

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/3074,2414N_K2-Pontoon-Alpine-Backcountry-Skis.html

 

One of the skis I've been eyeing are the K2 Coombacks http://k2skis.com/skis/adventure/coomback

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by elkam View Post

Many thanks for the feedback. To answer the question about off-piste conditions, yes it is rather highly variable than mostly powder.

 

From all what I've read and what is available in ski-shops around me the Rossi S7 is my favourate currently. Haven't seen Praxis Skis overhere but read about in some German forums. ON3P - never heard of here.

What I like about the S7 is the radius of below 20m at 188cm lenght. I expect this will give me quite some good on-piste capabilities matching with my style....but a guess only. I will not be able to test as usual, but since this is my 3rd ski as said I don't regard this as too critical. I'm also convinced now that I need a tip and tail rocker ski.

 

Best regards,

elkam



Hi there-  You are looking at some good options.  Out of everything you initally listed, I would say the Gotamas would be the best fit for what you want.  However, as others have mentioned there are other, maybe better options.  The Rossi S7 is pretty much the standard in this category, but be aware that it is rather heavy.  I would choose the Armada JJ over the S7 based on weight alone, but also for performance and durability.  They are more or less sold out of the 185s in the states.  I definitely second the ON3P recommendation.  You have not heard of them because they are a small start up company, but they are already making some of the best skis in the industry.  Check out their Billy Goat or Vicik, I have skied both and they are amazing.  Vicik for a more traditional skiing stiffer board with rocker float, BG for more slarvy and jibby type skiing.

post #12 of 15

That's a wide range of skis you're considering, with radically different reputations for different characteristics like float, pop, energy, dampness, liveliness, swingweight.

 

If you like to feel engaged edges you might be frustrated or even annoyed by tail-rockered skis or twin-tips, both of which can (but don't necessarily) have very loose tails that don't want to stay engaged.  Or, you can just learn to smear things.

 

I would suggest going with a ski that will seem familiar to you, similar to your Nordicas' feel. 

 

I ski the Elan 1010 whenever there's more than 3" new.  It's a stable ski with great float, feels like a very wide GS ski.  I like being able to ski crud and pow like they're groomers on carving skis, I am not crazy about smearing turns or having a loose-feeling ski.  I've read dawgcatching's review of the 1010 and Olympus and I would agree with his assessments.

 

I also own a Fischer Watea 94 that I ski when skinning for turns.  Totally different feel, light and lively but still stable and damp.  Not the best when the manky snow is heavy, but excellent when it's frozen chickenheads or boilerplate.  Because I drag them uphill I avoid having metal in them, although generally I prefer metal sandwich sidewalled skis.  Apparently the Watea 114 is the same ski just wider.

 

As with all such Qs, you can research the heck out of things and make an informed guess, you can demo a few and use that data, or you can just buy what "looks good" and learn to love it.  I've done all these things and they each have merit.

 

The only thing I'd say from experience:  be honest with yourself on what you plan to do, backcountry wise.  If you are going to get serious about skinning uphill, Marker Dukes are awfully heavy, so if you skin with a bunch of rando-racers on uberlight stuff and Dynafits, you'll be hating life.  On the other hand, if BC skiing turns out to be a bust for you, the Duke is just about an alpine binding so it will stand up to more regular lift-served skiing than a set of Dynafits.

post #13 of 15

I don't usually post on equipment

But Ive recently purchased ninethward Rori Silva skiis for the soft snow etc. I was not a wide ski fan at all , Im a little older then you and a bit heavier, but like you use to instruct and ski meny days a year. Im limited to the number of days I ski now usually less then 30 or so.

Anyway getting back to the ski it is a wide twin tip that turns when asked in the deep and you can still carve it on the groom ( not like a SC but I was really impressed)

Like I said I wouldnt normally post on somthing like this but you might wanna have a hard look at them ( oh ya US company also, never hurts to support the home crowd)

post #14 of 15

Hey, Old Boot

 

Where did you get your Ninthward skis? drool.gif

post #15 of 15

I had a similar question and ended up with 186 JJ's and they are great.  Spent two days in UT after a rain in mid January and the conditions were bullet proof.  The JJ's held and edge and did great.  The next trip out was 12"+ in Vail and they were a dream in their element.  Great ski overall.  If you can find them get them.

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