Author Topic: Quick reviews: Dynastar Sultan 85 & 94; Nordica Tempest & Mach 3  (Read 1120 times)

Svend

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On the recent trip to Banff that Gary and I took, I had the pleasure of being able to try out four different skis over the five days.? Because the reason for me being there was a business trip to a nearby project site, I did not bring my own skis; just my boots and other gear.? Skis were all rentals (sort of....see below.... ;D).? Here are some snapshot reviews of these, in the order they were skied:

Nordica Hot Rod Tempest, 2011, 178 length, sidecut 127-80-111, R17
I skied these at Louise, in groomed snow, broken snow and crud, and in some untracked bowls w. a few inches of two-day old snow over crust.? These skis were fine on the smooth groomed, but I just did not like them in any other conditions.? There was good energy and oomph in the tails, with a nice smooth powerful release, but the tips were just too stiff and jittery to really be of any use in the crud and broken snow.? Edge grip was poor, possibly because of the demo shop tune, but also because the front half of the skis were just too stiff to really arc properly and engage the full edge (at least that was my impression).? Turn initiation was slow; steering was OK; energy input was high to get them to do what I wanted.? Very stable and smooth at high speed, in long radius turns. Very fast.? Summary:? not versatile because of the stiff front end, which made them too jittery and lively in the tips; tiring because of the energy input needed to work them; low fun factor.

Dynastar Sultan 85, 2011, 178 length, sidecut 126-85-110, R17
Again at Louise, ski day 2, similar conditions as above; about 2 inches fresh snow overnight.? (BTW, thanks Gary for dragging me into the shop and setting up the Sultan demos for me.? Much appreciated!)? I really liked these skis a lot.? What an incredible, versatile ski.? No wonder they are so popular.? On the groomers, they felt like a light, quick, snappy, GS ski.? Great edge grip, even on hard snow.? If I didn't look down, I would swear I had a 72mm ski underfoot, rather than an 85.? Quick initiation, went where I pointed them, easy to steer and roll on edge, lots of life in the tails, compliant tips rode over soft bumps and crud with fluid ease.? Smooth, damp, stable.? My only gripes are that they felt a bit twitchy in soft untracked snow, but that may be lack of familiarity with a new ski, and lack of experience of the skier in this stuff.? And, they felt too short (early rise tip?).? I would probably fit onto a 184 much better -- the 178 felt like a 170 underfoot.? Summary:? a great do-anything, go-anywhere kind of ski, very versatile, huge surprise on hard snow, nice balance of liveliness and smooth dampness, not jittery.? Would a be great one-quiver ski for east or west.

Dynastar Sultan 94, 2011, 184 length, sidecut 132-94-118, R20
Looking to see if I could trade up a length on the Sultan 85, I went back to the rental shop at Louise but all they had in a 184 was the Sultan 94.? "Go for it!" said Gary. So what the heck, let's try 'em.? Totally different in feel to the 85's.? Longer, wider, stiffer, more damp, slower initiation, more power in the tails.? Not as quick and agile, as expected, but no slouch -- still easy to turn, go where pointed -- but just more deliberate and measured in their pace.? This is a stronger, damper ski than the 85, more solid and weighty underfoot.? Very fluid and smooth, very stable at speed.? Surprisingly good edge grip on hard snow groomers (I was amazed at how I could carve on a 94 waisted ski...never expected that), blew through crud like nothing there, great float and steering in soft snow ( I noticed and appreciated the longer turn radius over the 85's).? I loved them.? Very similar in feel to my Mythic Riders at 178 -- in fact, I'll bet if I had skied these in the same length, I would hardly be able to tell them apart.? This is a big compliment coming from me, as my Mythics are one of my favourite skis ever.? Summary:? another winner, and for the right skier with the weight and/or energy to arc these, a smooth, stable, powerful ride; excellent in soft snow and crud; great edge grip; surprisingly good on groomers.? Perhaps lacking a bit of spark and liveliness, but still most impressive.? (Can you tell I like Dynastar skis?? 8))

Nordica Speedmachine Mach 3, 2008, 178 length, sidecut 119-72-104, R16
I had skied these last year, and this year again, when clicked into a friend's pair for a few runs; same length.? So I knew what I was getting.? A bit of background first:? I travel to the Calgary/Banff area at least once or twice each winter on business, and pay for rentals each time.? This year I thought "Why not buy a cheap pair of ex-rental skis and leave them at my sister-in-law's house in Calgary? Save myself hundreds on rentals".? So, I found a pair of '08 Mach 3's, in great shape, looked like they were skied on maybe 20 times, in my length.....for $100!!! Tuned and waxed, then retuned by none other than Gary the Tune-Meister in our hotel room, and I was ready to rock and roll! No need to demo, as I had already skied them -- just bought them on sight.? Smooth, damp but not dead, stable, great in crud, light but solid underfoot, reasonably agile with input, short turns require more torque, but medium and long turns are effortless.? They tracked perfectly through the bumped up and cruddy snow, and never got deflected.? These have a super smooth silky feel to them on the snow -- sweet!? Great energy, but not jittery or demanding.? They don't feel too soft for my weight, even without any metal, and held a high speed edge without problem and without losing any stability.? Very fast; no speed limit that I could find; very stable and predictable at speed.? Summary:? hard snow, ice, soft snow, crud, bumps...you name it, these skis can go anywhere (and they did, for 3 solid days).? Short of boot-high or deeper powder, you could take these anywhere on the mountain and have a blast.? A total delight, and one of the most versatile, fun skis I have ever skied.? Definitely in my top 5.? Not a ski that jumps up and calls attention to itself, or demands it from you....but rather one that calmly goes about doing great work wherever and whenever asked.? Overall, excellent, and a shame they are no longer made.


Hope these reviews are interesting and helpful to you all.

Cheers,

Svend


« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 06:37:22 pm by Svend »


jbotti

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Nice Job Svend! We definitely need more skis reviews here on this site.

gandalf

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Svend:

I agree with John on both counts.  Well done.   8)

LivingProof

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Svend,

Thanks for the reviews, it takes a fair amount of time to review 3 skis and you did a very balanced write-up. From the Epic equipment sale section, I noticed the John Botti sold his Sultan 85's to may have been bought by Greg Merz. Not quite an insider transaction, but, close as it's all in the family.

I also liked that you wrote up an older ski that still works for you. It's effective to benchmark a ski you are familiar with when comparing new models.  Many, or at least some of us, ski models that are several design years old and continue to find them as excellent skis. My ski choice is dominated by where I ski 80% of the time....east coast hard snow, and, carving skis rule. My belief is that narrow waisted carvers have not advanced as much as the all mountain skis, and, my Supershapes and Blizzard SL's will continue in my quiver next year.

gandalf

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Svend:

After a month or so I'll probably move your Ski Review to a ski reviews section.  The search feature appears to only look in the current Board.  So if someone goes to Ski Reviews and searches for Sultan they wouldn't find your review.  If they happened to do a search from the main menu, then the search is done against all Boards and your review would be found.

I was actually quite surprised at how many ski reviews had been created, but the old structure of having a Board for each manufacturer really didn't create a good place for a multi ski review like yours, so they wound up in the Discussion Board or even in the Ski Length Board.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 09:47:42 am by gandalf »

Svend

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.....I noticed the John Botti sold his Sultan 85's to may have been bought by Greg Merz. Not quite an insider transaction, but, close as it's all in the family.

Gasp! Insider trading!  :o  Quick Gandalf! Do something! 

Quote
My belief is that narrow waisted carvers have not advanced as much as the all mountain skis....

Mike, I agree.  I really don't think there has been that much advancement in the construction and performance at the higher end of the narrow carver category.  Waists are a titch wider than was typical five years ago, but otherwise, all that has changed is mostly just the graphics.  For example, there is one Head model that was essentially unchanged for about the past 5 or 6 years, save for name and appearance:  started in '05 (I think) as the XRC 1200 SW (112/66/98); became the Supershape Speed for '07 and '08 (my wife has the '07 model; her favourite ski); then they became the women's Power One in '09, until this year; not sure, but it might have even appeared as the Chip 66 last year. Same ski, different clothes.  My point being, that skis in this category that are four or five years old, may really be no different than current models.  They are still relevant, perform the same.  While they may not have the cache of being shiny new and the "latest and greatest", it's the substance under your feet that counts.

Quote
My ski choice is dominated by where I ski 80% of the time....east coast hard snow, and, carving skis rule.
Agreed, again.  That is essentially the reason that I have not bought a pair of wide rockered skis -- I have little need of them.  Until I ski 24 inches of fresh powder more than three or four days per season, my quiver of Progressor 9 and Mythic Rider serves me perfectly.  Until then, if it dumps, and I happen to be out west, I will rent some fatties.  Looking forward to that, actually....just haven't been lucky enough to be in the Rockies at the same time they've had a good whack of it.  Oh well....maybe some day.....sigh....


Svend

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Svend:

After a month or so I'll probably move your Ski Review to a ski reviews section.  The search feature appears to only look in the current Board.  So if someone goes to Ski Reviews and searches for Sultan they wouldn't find your review.  If they happened to do a search from the main menu, then the search is done against all Boards and your review would be found.

I was actually quite surprised at how many ski reviews had been created, but the old structure of having a Board for each manufacturer really didn't create a good place for a multi ski review like yours, so they wound up in the Discussion Board or even in the Ski Length Board.

Sounds good Jim.  That's where it belongs.  Hoping I can add some more to the review section as time goes on.  I'm sure I'll end up at some other resorts in my business travels and will just HAVE to ski there....SLC, Denver, Vancouver.....  8)  and of course will rent/demo something fun.


Svend

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Waking up this old thread.  I just received delivery of Living Proof's former Legend Sultan 94's, and skied them for the first time yesterday at Blue Mountain north (Ontario). 

What a great ski!

LP had them flat-mounted with Griffons, and they just needed a heel piece remount to accommodate my shorter BSL.  This put me about 1.5 cm forward of factory mark, which is right where I wanted to be.

What a difference a flat-mounted binding makes! I was amazed at how it transformed this ski.  From my original half-day demo on skis that had the Look Fluid (rail) PX12 system, these skis with the Griffons were way lighter (naturally), softer flexing, easier to arc, much more agile handling.  They now feel more like a wider, slightly heavier, more stable version of the Sultan/Legend 85.  Whereas with the Look Fluid bindings, they felt just like a Mythic Rider (which is not a bad thing at all).

Most of the changes are for the better, but gone is the rock solid crudbusting feel of the Look Fluid setup (which is what the Mythics are so good at).  With the Griffons, they seem to be somewhat less stable at speed (although I wasn't really paying attention to that aspect), and deflect easier in broken snow and crud.  But by no means are they wimpy lightweights; they are still very stable and solid in this kind of snow, still have that big sweet spot, very smooth and quiet at speed.  Just not as bulldozer solid as with the Look. 

OTOH, the lighter feel and easier flexing should really improve things off-piste in powder and soft snow.  I am looking forward to taking them out west in a couple of weeks.

Snow conditions yesterday were a few inches of soft snow (some fresh, some granular) over ice, with some scraped off icy patches here and there for amusement.  I was delighted at the ice hold of these skis - set the edges in and they held.  Very nice, and impressive for a wider ski.  This is where my Mythics basically suck -- their hard snow grip is far from stellar.

Dynastar no longer makes the Legend line, but there are still deals available on ebay, etc., on these and last year's Legend 94 (same ski, different topsheet). 

Highly recommended.  I haven't had that much fun on a ski for a while now, which is really saying something considering that eastern snow conditions are not what this ski was made for.


LivingProof

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Svend,

Great that you enjoy them and will await a big mountain review.

I'm wondering how to explain the difference between Look Demo and the Marker bindings on ski performance. I'm thinking that the position ahead of the line should be better in harder snow. Does the Look demo have that much more stackheight over a Griffon? As you stated, the Look demo's are well known for being heavy, but, I can't think weight alone would account for your differences.

In hindsight, I wish that I were able to move the mounting position to be more forward. The boots I used on that ski were 20 mm longer than yours, making my mount position 1 cm behind the line, more suited to softer snow. Philpug skied the Sultan 94 for a year in Tahoe, found them to be capable crud busters and he skis with a fair amount of velocity. I kept my Jester demo bindings for my next foray into a wider ski, whatever that may be.

Another "in-house" ski swap for our forum. Gary delivered these to Svend, and, brought a pair of Svend's Progressors back for use by G's son Jason.

Svend

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Hey Mike -- yup, I'm liking those skis.  A lot! So a big thanks to you for giving me first dibs on buying them.  Much appreciated.  It's really too bad that they never clicked with you, and I hope you soon find a sweet wide ski that works well for you.  There are lots of matchmakers here that will not be shy about firing off their recommendations for a suitable mate.   ;D

As for the binding differences, I think it's that the Fluid rail that the Look bindings are mounted on, makes the ski a whole lot stiffer under the boot.  It's similar to a Railflex/Powerrail.  This really limits the amount that the ski can flex underfoot, making it much stiffer overall.  I have these on my Mythics, and I don't recall there being a central flex hinge in the rail.  I'll check 'em out next time I'm in Calgary and ski those (that's where they reside now).

Stand height is definitely higher on the Look Fluid system...I think the rail gives +13 mm stand height increase, but I could be wrong on that.  That is actually the first thing I noticed with the Griffon flat mount, is how much more effort it took to get the skis on edge than with the Look bindings.  Took a couple of runs to get the feel of it.

BTW, the Look Fluid system is a stock retail binding for Dynastar (Rossi uses it too, being a sister company).  They have them in one form or another on almost all of their narrow to all mtn. skis.  Some have the lighter NX series bindings mounted on the Fluid rail; more advanced skis have the stronger PX series.  They are good bindings, and have a solid locked in feel.  The demo/rental shops keep this binding on because it is so easy to adjust and is solid and strong, much like a true demo binding. 

And yes, there was a little insider ski trading going on this weekend -- Sultans came here; Progressor 9's went south with Gary.  Jason skied them for the first time today and apparently really likes them.  He is coming off a Fischer RX8 in a shorter length, so the P-9 is a solid step up in performance for him.  Nice when this kind of stuff works out.   ;D

« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 10:21:04 pm by Svend »