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A piste ski for someone who hates pistes

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Ok, so that's an exaggeration, I don't hate pistes but I've just ignored them and built up a quiver of off piste skis, leaving piste skiing duty to a battered pair of old twintips. With the current snow conditions I got them out of the loft yesterday to look at ahead of our trip in the 1st week of Jan, and thought... Hmmm, can't take these, they're shot. They've got less pop than a wet firework. Plus the purple really will clash with my new jacket....

And to be honest, since I did my last season, over half of the holidays I've done have featured little to no soft snow. So not having a piste ski in the bag is starting to look a little bit like an error. And it probably shouldn't be a twin any more. My days of pretending to be a park rat never really existed in the first place, but they're definitely behind me...

So, other than brushing up on my snow dances, my options are to rent something pistey, wobble around the man made snow on skis of more than 100mm or just maybe dust of the credit card and buy some piste biased skis. Since I'll be taking a double ski bag anyway, renting is just extra money, so maybe buying is more of an option...

About me. 2 seasons, quite a lot of skiing before and since. 6'3" of gangly beanpole weighing in at around 73kg and blessed with less leg muscle than the average stick insect.

Largely because of my gangly build I have a strong preference for light, fun, playful skis. Heavy, dull skis, anything anyone ever called a "charger" do nothing for me. I skied some Volkl Mantras once. Felt like I was trying to manoeuvre a couple of tree trunks. Bleugh. Biggest ski buying error ever was me buying some Line Prophet 100s. Waaaaaay too stiff for me.

Ski's I've liked. I really love my Movement Scoops. Lovely light, poppy, ski. I also skied a pair of Jams a few times, and I liked those. I also loved my twintips, Liberty LTEs, but they're toast now.

The list of skis I didn't like is much longer... The Line Prophets and Mantras above, a pair of GS skis I rented last year. No idea what they were but they tried to kill me, big heavy stiff things. They flat refused to go over a pile of soft slush and drove into it, stuck fast in it, pitched me over the handlebars and wound up sticking out of the snow vertically. And most things I've rented, as nowhere seems to rent light skis that aren't beginner skis.

So, what to buy? I'm drawn by instinct to the movement range, since I've owned a couple of pairs over the years and loved them, and I liked the Jams I tried. But then I can't work out whether I'd want the Outlaw or the Player... Is the Outlaw just thinner, or is it also less responsive? If I'm taking a 100+ ski as well, is there any point in something that is trying to be an all mountain ski of circa 90mm? Surely I'd be better off with something 80mm or less?

Or there anything else that comes into the category of "light, fun, playfull" skis that I should be considering?
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I hated the Mantras too and also have more of an off piste quiver. But these days most of my piste skiing is just done on a slalom ski. OK, they are not exactly light but by god they are so much fun for turning. 67mm underfoot so not much fun off piste unless it's frozen hard crust Laughing

GS skis don't really develop a fun factor unless you are doing pretty high speeds on them and making the ski work.

No idea about what is on offer at lighter weights I'm afraid, but light skis can often be a bit more unstable at speed.
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Scott "The Ski".....I was in a similar mindset to you and these appear to be able to hit the spot. Bought a pair that are fitted up with Jesters to accompany my Gotama and Baron set-up. 2 is as much of a quiver as I can manage...!

Volkl Kendos would be a stiffer alternative....but that's not what I think you are inclined towards...
Blizzard Brahma gets some brilliant write-ups too, so that might be worth a look, especially if you are going to Austria where they are easy to come by in rental shops...but they seemed a bit too hard-charging for me in the end....
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@Scarpa, A slalom ski is an interesting idea...

@HTL, That "hard charging" quote would put me off the Brahma. Might look out for them though, as off to St Anton this time. The Ski... I think to be honest both that and the Brahma would be fatter than I think I want... If I'm already taking a pow ski with me, why not have the other one in the bag an actual piste ski rather than a "one ski quiver" type?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
As is my current stock reply, "Cham97s". They will probably work for you and offer reasonable on piste performance unless you need to run gates.
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@AndAnotherThing.., Why would I buy a 97mm ski as a pure on piste ski? This ski will not have to do any Pow duty, I have my scoops and my Liberty Genomes (giggle giggle, super fun skis....) for average and deep days respectively.

The desire here is for a ski to put in the bag when the forecasts suggest days of piste only skiing.
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I would look at some of the new 95ish tourers that are excellent on piste, light, manoeuvrable, torsionally rigid due to newer materials - Blizzard 0g 95s, Scott Superguide, Movement Response (or w/ever they call it now) Cham 97 or Mythics etc.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
flaming wrote:
@AndAnotherThing.., Why would I buy a 97mm ski as a pure on piste ski? This ski will not have to do any Pow duty, I have my scoops and my Liberty Genomes (giggle giggle, super fun skis....) for average and deep days respectively.

The desire here is for a ski to put in the bag when the forecasts suggest days of piste only skiing.


I really can't think of any decent piste skis that fit in the light and soft category... Pretty much everything is more in the race ski build - i.e. stiff and lots of metal - as that's what you need to get good grip and stability on hard snow. I guess you could look at the narrower DPS options, but they're probably going to be silly money.

Perhaps a half pipe (NOT general park) might work? Should at least be designed to carve up icy pipes: https://4frnt.com/products/wise-2016
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@clarky999, Maybe I've slightly over egged the light thing. Like I say, I did really like the Jams, which were on the lighter and "poppier" side, but still a real piste ski (at least in my opinion). I'm just trying to avoid the really solid chargers that I stand no chance of flexing.
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@flaming, I might be tempted to look at Scott's Black Majic.
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@flaming, Try something like a rossi pursuit 600 basalt, quite light and poppy as no metal and a on piste ski

http://www.rossignol.com/GB/GB/pursuit-600-basalt-fluid-x--2016--RAEBV03--product--home-alpine.html

basically similar to previous pursuit 16 and even earlier z76 basalt

do have a speed limit as a lack of metal
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@RichClark, Oh I like the sound of that. Thanks, will check it out.
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@legue, Interesting idea. Is it just how it looks on my screen, or have they toned down the tip from the old Pursuit 16? I did ski them once, and wasn't a fan of the way that tip hooked up when you really railed them over.
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You know it makes sense.
RichClark wrote:
@flaming, I might be tempted to look at Scott's Black Majic.


Loads of people rave about them but I didn't get on with them at all the Hemel test...although admittedly 30 minutes isn't a completely fair reflection. They also felt very hefty to me.
Not cheap but I enjoyed having a play around on the Whitedot One in VT (and it's almost obligatory that any sH thread should mention Whitedots). If an amateur like me finds them easy to carve then they must be doing something right, although I did find them a bit grabby at the end of the turn.

I'd be tempted to follow what Scarpa suggested and get an SL ski that's narrow under foot and quick in the turn. In fact if I were you I'd be more inclined to get something second hand rather than splashing out for a ski that you don't particularly want anyway!
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There are some good deals on 2016 Scott Black Majics it seems... Am I right in thinking they haven't changed it for 2017....?

And then 177 or 184....? Hmmm...
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
SnoodyMcFlude wrote:
RichClark wrote:
@flaming, I might be tempted to look at Scott's Black Majic.




I'd be tempted to follow what Scarpa suggested and get an SL ski that's narrow under foot and quick in the turn. In fact if I were you I'd be more inclined to get something second hand rather than splashing out for a ski that you don't particularly want anyway!


There's a lot of logic in that, but if I could get a deal on 2016 skis I might be tempted...
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http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=128803#2977985
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flaming wrote:
@AndAnotherThing.., Why would I buy a 97mm ski as a pure on piste ski? .


Because they fit the requirement you outlined in your opening post and give the option for off piste if you need it.

Otherwise don't mess about, jump on a cheat SL or GS ski.
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Going to sound boring (cos I own them and love them) but 'light, fun & playful' = Rossignol Experience 84's . . .mind you at your weight maybe the 80's may be a better option . . .
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@flaming, From another current thread http://www.sportsdirect.com/atomic-red12-sl-mens-ski-set-922693?colcode=92269333 Buy these in 170 length and you will not be disappointed.
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Salomon Xrace and rail them. Nordica Dobermann Spitfire GS.

Get them sharp and grippy and lean on them. Alain Baxter did mine Happy

AB How do you want them.

GC: Don't know

AB: fancy them really grippy (smiles)

GC: Guess so

On BB in Arabba.

GC: WOW Ohhhh shittttttttt.

you could just lean and lean (if good enough)
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A little bit leftfield, but I remember demoing some Ski Trab Stelvio skis a few years back which fit exactly the description of the feeling that you are searching for - light, poppy, fun... they felt like you sprang from turn to turn down the mountain.

Looking quickly at the trab site now the sci maximo /supermaximo70 or supermaximo80 look like they may be the closest to a light piste ski that they do...
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I would stay away from the all mountain skis if you have the off piste sorted already. Last year I rented a pair of skies which I hated (too heavy), took them back and they gave me a pair of Blizzards as something lighter. Loved them right away! So much that I bought a brand new pair later. Power RC Carbon, which of course turned out almost impossible to find. I then skied the rest of the winter with a smile on my face. Short radius, 71 waist and very poppy and playful. Carves like on rails. My old skis were Volkl rtm which were very stiff and gs in comparison but thought they were great at the time. I would rent and keep changing skis until the right pair. Reading about skis gives you very little compared to personal experience. Rent from a shop next to lift for easy access to the skis.
I'm 187cm/88kg and still found my perfect ski from the light end of range by chance. Good luck!
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My suggestion would be the Dynastar Speed Zone 12 Ti
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stewart woodward wrote:
@flaming, From another current thread http://www.sportsdirect.com/atomic-red12-sl-mens-ski-set-922693?colcode=92269333 Buy these in 170 length and you will not be disappointed.


Do you know what year these are Stuart. Cant find any info on them / reviews but they do look tasty. My dome weapons have always been Head iSL or Rossi world cups, but for that price I might have to add to the collection!!
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Found them. They are the 2014s
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Another vote for slalom skis for piste use ... why bother with anything less?!
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
flaming wrote:
SnoodyMcFlude wrote:
RichClark wrote:
@flaming, I might be tempted to look at Scott's Black Majic.




I'd be tempted to follow what Scarpa suggested and get an SL ski that's narrow under foot and quick in the turn. In fact if I were you I'd be more inclined to get something second hand rather than splashing out for a ski that you don't particularly want anyway!


There's a lot of logic in that, but if I could get a deal on 2016 skis I might be tempted...


I haven't looked for a while, but Absolute Snow (?) had some great deals on 2016 Majics, so may worth checking there
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Irrev, Well, yes but.... I love my SLs on piste, that said though there are better skis for crud etc
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@flaming, Blizzard Latigo. Nuff said.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Head Rev 80/85

carve great, fun in soft snow, lightweight.
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Personally like Head Titan as my piste ski. Just that bit better in Crud than the magnums
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I thought the Blizzard skis @lmu2002 mentioned were ace but couldn't find a pair to buy anywhere so got a pair of Head Titans in the sales and am happy with them. They're reasonably hefty but not heavy. Nowhere near a full-on race ski so you don't need to be totally "on it" every minute of the day.

On balance tho I'm not sure for your situation it's worth buying anything rather than renting. It's not difficult finding a rental shop with a range of piste skis. The mainstream brands all make excellent piste skis. I rented those blizzards one week where my whitedots just weren't cutting it and it wasn't a lot of money to do so.
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Blizzard Latigo...light, 78mm underfoot. I have a pair and they are stiff enough for a good carve, but with the pop you may be seeking. However, had I a good reason to buy a new pair, I'd go for the Brahmas even though they are 88mm underfoot. I've tested them over a day on piste in Zermatt, and love them (even though I am a lightweight girly skier at 5ft 5). Hold an edge really well...better than my Latigos in my opinion. They do take a bit more effort, but were very rewarding.


Mr P really liked the Dynastiar Speedzone 12 skis, and I tested the Speed zone 10s. Of all the proper piste skis we tested in Zermatt in November (which included Head Magnum, Rossignol Elite Short Turn), the Dynastars won. Mr P also loves his Head Titans which he uses pretty much all the time if not off piste.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I too found myself with a similar dilemma this season. I also have the Movement scoop as my everyday ski, a pair of faction Royales for the deep days and hot some coreupt slashers for inbetween and popped some guardians on them for a bit of slackcountry.
I saw some coreupt Kaspers going for €129 so took the plunge on them, park and pipe ski but leaning more towards pipe so not too soft, 79 underfoot and expecting them to grip fairly well seeing as they were designed with ice walls in mind. Plus I can still kid myself into thinking I haven't got too old yet!
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Scott Black Majic or Blizzard Latigo - both come flat so you can QK a binding across from one of your wider skis with maybe a brake width change).

For a rail system ski the Dynastar Speed Zone 12 is excellent as is the Konect rail system wit the SPX Dual WTR bindings it has on it.
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@spyderjon, Yep, one of the Speed Zone's for me next.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
BTW, I picked up my SL skis from an ex club racer's dad for £75 (he threw in an amazing tuning kit too). I've been using them for 3 years and they are still fine. Although they feel heavy in the hand they are so nimble on the feet as they are the standard 165cm.
Some real bargains to be had if you keep your eyes open.
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How about some Kneissl? I lucked out on some via Ebay when looking for much the same thing as the OP. Stiffish, but not race-stiff, fast, poppy and they sure do rail.

I'm off to St Anton on Friday - they will be the only skis I am taking, given the snow situation.
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@AndAnotherThing.., you'd qualify for a hefty Speed Zone discount via Dynastars Pro deal programme. The factory is currently sold out of the Speed Zone 12 but, due to demand, they're doing another run to be shipped early/mid Feb. The qty made is to dealers orders plus the Pro deal requirement so if you want a pair Id need your order by end Dec latest.
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