Author Topic: All-mountain shortlist, please!  (Read 777 times)

Johnny2R

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All-mountain shortlist, please!
« on: January 09, 2012, 11:58:56 am »
I'm going to be hiring skis in an Italian resort, and I may not be able to get what I would ideally go for (Head Peak 78 or 84), so I'm looking for a shortlist of skis I might be able to find. I'm looking to spend probably half time on piste, half off (depending, of course, on snow conditions). I'm what would be described over here (UK) as advanced level (not expert), able to ski all pistes pretty well, but inexperienced in deep powder. I'm a PMTS-style skier, concentrating on tipping/flexing to turn, rather than steering, pivoting, etc. I'm pretty lightweight (145lb) for my height (5'11"), with a wiry long-distance runner's build.

Fire away!


Liam

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Re: All-mountain shortlist, please!
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2012, 07:38:40 pm »
Check out Dawgcatching's reviews over on Epic.  Particularly his 95mm waisted ski reviews and his sub 90's review (and last years 80mm and under review ).  His reviews make great sense, are very detailed and seem to really isolate the virtues of each ski and each ski category.

I love Peter's reviews,too, but dawg's focused reviews are really great.

It'd be hard to give you a list as there are so many good skis that apply to you intended terrain.   All mountain is a broad and often nebulous term.


Svend

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Re: All-mountain shortlist, please!
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2012, 06:32:38 am »
Johnny - a few quick recommendations in the 80 to 90 mm range, suitable for a guy of your dimensions:

Dynastar Sultan/Legend 85 -- I skied this for a day last year, and loved it; light, agile, excellent edge grip on hard snow, stable at speed, very good crud and soft snow handling (see my review in the Reviews section); skis short, so go longer than your usual; highly recommended.

Nordica Steadfast (90mm) -- I've not skied it, but it is getting outstanding reviews over here; sounds similar in character to the Dynastar.

Fischer Motive 84 -- ditto; getting excellent reviews; said to ski like a wider version of the Progressor 10 (which is no faint praise)

Blizzard Mag 8.1 -- high performance; versatile; perhaps more hard snow oriented.

Kastle MX78 or MX88 -- there are lots of Kastle fans here, and reviews too; some of the best skis currently made.

Others in the Nordica line may suit as well, but do avoid the Tempest -- it's tip is way too stiff to be useable or versatile in crud or off-piste.  If they have older models, the Nitrous (78mm) has won several Best of Test awards in past years.

There are lots of great skis in this category, so you should have no trouble finding something suitable.

Have fun, and post back here with a trip report.  Italy is a country I would love to take a ski trip to.  The Dolomites area looks just stunning, with charming little villages.  Is that were you're headed? Include pictures, please!

Cheers!

Johnny2R

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Re: All-mountain shortlist, please!
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2012, 12:37:47 pm »
Check out Dawgcatching's reviews over on Epic.  Particularly his 95mm waisted ski reviews and his sub 90's review (and last years 80mm and under review ).  His reviews make great sense, are very detailed and seem to really isolate the virtues of each ski and each ski category.

I love Peter's reviews,too, but dawg's focused reviews are really great.

It'd be hard to give you a list as there are so many good skis that apply to you intended terrain.   All mountain is a broad and often nebulous term.

I've read a lot of Dawgcatching's reviews and they're certainly good. It's really the specifics of something for me I'm needing help with. So many of the skiers on Epic seem to weigh a good 40-50lb more than me, so what works for them may not work so well for me. Also the ski style is relevant - some skis probably respond better to PMTS-style movements than others (and PMTS cannot be mentioned on Epic).

As to 'all-mountain', I'm really thinking of something from maybe 76mm up to 90mm waist.

Johnny2R

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Re: All-mountain shortlist, please!
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2012, 12:50:34 pm »
Johnny - a few quick recommendations in the 80 to 90 mm range, suitable for a guy of your dimensions:

Dynastar Sultan/Legend 85 -- I skied this for a day last year, and loved it; light, agile, excellent edge grip on hard snow, stable at speed, very good crud and soft snow handling (see my review in the Reviews section); skis short, so go longer than your usual; highly recommended.

Nordica Steadfast (90mm) -- I've not skied it, but it is getting outstanding reviews over here; sounds similar in character to the Dynastar.

Fischer Motive 84 -- ditto; getting excellent reviews; said to ski like a wider version of the Progressor 10 (which is no faint praise)

Blizzard Mag 8.1 -- high performance; versatile; perhaps more hard snow oriented.

Kastle MX78 or MX88 -- there are lots of Kastle fans here, and reviews too; some of the best skis currently made.

Others in the Nordica line may suit as well, but do avoid the Tempest -- it's tip is way too stiff to be useable or versatile in crud or off-piste.  If they have older models, the Nitrous (78mm) has won several Best of Test awards in past years.


Thanks for the tips! The Dynastars and Fischers were already on my list (along with the Watea models), but I hadn't considered anything from Nordica - that might be a handy one to look out for. I've heard loads of good things about the Kastles but I doubt I'll find them in a rental shop, alas. Rossignol and Salomon tend to be the most popular brands for rentals where I go. I really liked the CX80 (or European equivalent) I hired a couple of years ago but that's more a GS ski despite the 80mm waist and is maybe a bit too stiff for the off-piste. I hated a Salomon X Wing Tornado I hired - couldn't get on with it at all. (Actually that's a problem I seem to have, for some reason - I really get on with some skis and find others unskiable, so I guess I'm just not very versatile).

Quote
Have fun, and post back here with a trip report.  Italy is a country I would love to take a ski trip to.  The Dolomites area looks just stunning, with charming little villages.  Is that were you're headed?

Yes, Italy is great. I've skied a couple of times in the Dolomites (beautiful), but this trip is back to the Monte Rosa area where I've been the last 2 years. Three linked valleys, huge amounts of skiing both on and off piste, and great food!

Svend

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Re: All-mountain shortlist, please!
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2012, 06:35:36 pm »
Sounds like a fantastic trip.  Sorry I couldn't be more helpful in recommending skis in that size range.  I haven't rented or demoed many of that type -- most have been in the 70 to 74mm range, which I've rented for a day or two when near the Rockies on a business trip (and no fresh snow).  The Dynastar Sultan 85 and Nordica Tempest were the exceptions.  I own a Dynastar 88mm ski (the Mythic Rider), but as it is no longer made, I can't suggest you seek it out.  Kind of a heavy ski for a lighter fellow, too.....I'm 6'2", 220 lbs....so maybe not the best choice for you.  Excellent ski, though....great off piste.....

Enjoy the holiday, and remember to post back here with not only a trip report (photos!!!) but also equipment reviews.  We're all gear nuts here, so love hearing other's experiences.

Cheers, and have fun!


LivingProof

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Re: All-mountain shortlist, please!
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2012, 08:23:44 am »
Johnnie2R,

Dawgcatching is very much your size and he tips into some pretty nice angles. An issue with Epic reviews is they are dominated by western USA skiers who seem to live wider skis. My understanding is the in Europe, narrower skis still rule, you would know better and we would appreciate any insights you have. Is it easy to find an 88 or wider ski? In the USA, it's hard to find and rent a narrow, around 80 mm waist ski on trips to the west.

In the US, most shops who do weekly rentals will let you do exchanges, and, there is  different price structure for premium skis. Is this true in Europe? Also, I think that the actual conditions expected during that weekwould serve as a guideline to what waist ski rent. You are doing the right thing to make a short list as a guide.

I like clear thinking. Don't get muddled up in a perfect ski. If you like PMTS tipping, find a 78 or less, which has off-piste capability and just do it. Of course, if you can find a HH approved Head, go for that. Selecting a ski is just a starting point..it takes many turns to figure them out. I remember a Dawg quote stating that he thought a ski was just ok, before, he realized he just needed to stop being technique sloppy. He then gave the same ski a great review.

Johnny2R

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Re: All-mountain shortlist, please!
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2012, 11:00:21 am »
Yes, narrower skis are more typical here in Europe. However, the area I'm going to is probably one of the 2 or 3 best places in Europe for off-piste (Monte Rosa is Western Europe's second highest mountain and it's HUGE), so it tends to attract serious powder skiers from all over Europe (particularly Scandinavia, it seems), and wide skis are a lot more common than in most places. I can't see myself hiring anything really wide, though - all I want is something which won't let me down too much on either hard or soft snow. Last time I skied (in Bulgaria) I hired Head Monster 82s, which I loved, and which I didn't feel compromised my PMTS carving attempts too much, so something akin to those is probably what I'll go for, if I can find anything.

The last couple of times I've been here I've hired skis from a great place which allowed me to change as often as I like and had top quality skis, well tuned. I'm staying in the next valley this time, though, so I don't know what the rental place is going to be like. (I'd hire skis from the shop I've used before, but the only way to get there from Gressoney is on skis...).

Johnny2R

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Re: All-mountain shortlist, please!
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2013, 07:20:00 am »
A quick follow-up on this, a year on...

What I ended up hiring were Scott Crusades - which I absolutely fell in love with! Far and away my favourite skis now, for the mix of skiing I typically do. Heading back to the same place in Italy next week and hope to hire the same skis again. I have aspirations to PMTS-style skiing (although completely self-taught from books and video), and I felt the Crusades worked pretty well for PMTS. Certainly I didn't feel too hampered by the 90mm waist - I expected it to feel much slower edge to edge than I did.

I know HighAngles is a fan of these, but it's a shame they're not better known over in the US and Canada. I think they might be a favoured ski among the PMTS brigade if they were.

HighAngles

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Re: All-mountain shortlist, please!
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2013, 08:34:44 pm »
I've been skiing the Crusade's little brother, the Scott Neo, lately.  IMHO, another great ski that rewards good skiing movements.  I'll post up a review after I get a bit more time on them, but they're a narrower and more nimble version of the Crusade.  They have 2 sheets of metal, but they're not really a stiff ski (the Hart Pulse is stiffer).

Johnny2R

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Re: All-mountain shortlist, please!
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2013, 11:37:37 am »
Didn't manage to hire the Crusades this time. Instead I went for Scott Punishers, in the same length (172cm), which I didn't get on with at all. I couldn't seem to find the 'sweet spot' with them at all, and it was really taking it out on my quads (I'd be interested to know why). Also we had icy conditions after 3 days and they appeared to me to have no edge hold to speak of. I think the problem may have been that these ones were simply too old and worn (they had clearly lost their 'spring', and when the skis were held together, base to base, there was no gap between them in the middle).

I changed them for some brand new Scott Ventures, which were longer (178cm) and wider (96mm), and which I had doubted would be suitable for the mix of skiing I was doing. But I couldn't have been more wrong - the improvement was huge! I found them bizarrely easy to carve tight turns on piste with, considering their width, and in the variable off-piste snow I encountered, they were amazing.