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Returning to the fold and looking for my first ski purchase - need help choosing what I need.......

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi,

I'm looking at purchasing my first pair of ski's and would be very grateful for some advice on what I should be looking for as after a long break from the sport I feel a bit bemused at all the choice thats out there.
Sorry if this question has been beaten to death but I could not find the "search" button on the forum.

I'm 5'11", 140lbs and to be honest, not the strongest physically.
When I last skied I advanced to get my Silver badge and certificate up at Aviemore and was able to make my way down the White Lady's moguls some 20 years ago.
I have not skied for probably fifteen years now and am looking at getting back into the sport but don't want to have to put up with the cr@p rental gear I endured when I was younger.
I never was, or ever will be an aggresive skier so was wondering what lightweight and short turn orientated carving ski's would be worth me looking at?
Anything that would be suitable for throwing down groomed blue and red runs will be considered for improving my technique.
In the next few weeks I will probably book myself in at Castlefords XScape and demo some ski's from EB but with time being limited could do with some help drawing up a short list of ski's to demo that may be suitable for me.
If anyone would be kind enough to offer any advice will be gratefully received Smile

Thanks,

rockyrobin
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
rockyrobin,
Hi, You should pick up some hints here and the choice is huge. If you have not been on skis for that long you are in
for a nice shock. In the last 5 years ski technology has gone through the roof and skis of that vintage are completely outclassed. For bombing around on reds I would be looking at Atomic skis but you will have a large choice and there are probably very few duffers out there.
I am sure one or two posters will be more than helpful when they come online but try before you buy is the best.
One thing about rental, the ONLY resort I had a poor-ish selection from was Sauze and I am quite prepared to accept it was not the best shoop in the resort. Everywhere from Obergurgl to Merringan, Gressoney to the larger resorts like Chamonix, Val D, St Anton, and in fact over the alpes offer good quality skis at around £75.00 a week with preminum skis a bit hire, in my experience So much so that I always hire to save on carrying, even if we travel by car. I have used Gatwick Skis before and would do so again. This is a collection/hire service from....Gatwick!!!

My preference is for performance skis which suit the conditions of the day so I have the option to change in the resort.
You may or may not be aware that airlines charge to carry these days.

Sorry if you know all this but 15 yrs is a long time away...!!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
rockyrobin, welcome to snowHead snowHeads snowHead. I too was away from skiing for many years and came back to it in '94. Bought some longish, straight Kastles and used them quite happily. Skiing mainly groomed reds and blues - as you intend to. Couple of years ago, couldn't be bothered to carry them and rented up-to-my-eyebrows Volkl Carver Motions. I was amazed at the difference. As JT says, you are in for a very pleasant surprise. Can't help with ski suggestions but others will. There are several threads on the board. The Search engine is in the drop down menu 'User Facilties' on the top left.
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rockyrobin, equipment has moved on a LOT, you may find that a Castleford session is not enough time to find out what they really do and make an informed choice. You'd be better off getting a deal from a rental place where you can use a pair for a day or two, then swap for something different. You may find that short turn oriented skis are actually quite hard work, when used well they can exert a lot of force on your knees.
The important thing to own is a good, modern pair of boots. These days you CAN get something that's comfortable and able to flex forward.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
OK, a demo list for you... (all these are available at EB, but whether they have them all for demo in Castleford, I'm not sure)

K2 Omni 4.5 - not so much for the short turns, but will open up more of the mountain. (also based on one of the top ski lines for the last 5+ years - Axis, then the 4500)
Salmon Streetracer 8 - great on the short turns for the blues & reds.
Head iC 160 - haven't skiied it, but it does get good reviews.
Atomic M9 - again, haven't skiied it, but the Metron range do well in the reviews.
Volkl 4 star - its big brothers are great skis, this one is worth a look
Rossignol B2 - possibly the most advanced ski of this bunch, and also one of the best all-round skis on the market for good skiers.

In terms of length, i'd say around a 165 would be the top end, given your weight, and my preference would be to put you on 160s.

Hope this helps snowHead
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Welcome to snowHeads rockyrobin, snowHead

I only really have much experience with the Salomon range but from there, I'd recommend checking out the Crossmax and perhaps the 1080 and Pocket Rockets.

The crossmax is probably the most suitable for your ctiteria but since u describe your skiing style as 'relaxed', you'd be best to at least give the others a once over. (and anyway, as anyone will tell U, I always recommend Pocket Rockets, cos I'm in love with them rolling eyes )

The Crossmaxes handle in a fairly typical way with a strong turning action on the front of the ski. The other two are twin tips and as such, flare almost as much at the back as they do at the front. This leads them to handle well with your weight more centred and hence their suitability (IMO) for a relaxed skiing style. They are also fairly soft (flexible) so again this suggests a less agressive technique.

In the end though, test test test.
Many shops have an excellent range of current models and, especially if U let on early that U are in the market to buy, will let U swap skis as often as U like throughout the week. Many will also discount your hire charges from the cost of the skis if U subsequently buy from them too! Though it might be good to arrange this at the off.

Whilst a sess at Castleford is a good start and might give u enough insight to get the guy in the hire shop to take u seriously, there is such a wide range of skis these days, some designed for niche skiing, some attempting to cover-all, most really good, that unless U know exactly what U want because, for example, the colour scheme matches your ski-suit, a couple of full days dedicated to testing should be the bare minimum in my view.

Finally, what it all boils down to is: how can anyone else know just what U will like? As U know, I ski Pocket Rockets. At the snowHeads skiTest at Milton Keynes I checked out the Volkl Gotamas and the K2 Seth pistols. In theory, each of these should have suited me great. As it turned out, I loved the Seth Pistols and hated the Volkls but I know there are many who have come to the opposite conclusion.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
rockyrobin,

To rent at first is the best advice. More good advice is avoid Aviemore at the weekend and school holidays, but you probably knew that!!

Happy testing wink
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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!
Hello again everyone,

Thanks for the very warm welcome Smile
Hehe, digesting all the above posts has got me working overtime.
Very much appreciated you guys taking the time to help point me in the right direction.
I just popped into my local shop 2 miles down the road and had a looksee at what they stock.
They have the full range of Atomic and Fischer ski's.
I had a looksee at the atomics and one thing that struck me was how heavy they were!
Was so busy I never got to the Fischers Sad
They're having a demo evening over at Castleford this Tuesday evening, so i'll go have a play with some, then combined with EB's offerings over the next few weeks hope things may become easier in the choosing.
Looking at previous recommendations i'm going to try and pin it down to the following at EB:-

Salomon Streetracer 8
Volkl Supersport 4 Star
K2 Omni 4.5
Head i.c 160

What would you guys recommend I look at in the Atomic and Fischer ski ranges?
The Metron M9's I picked up were like lead! I don't think I could live with them as when I get tired I could see me losing it with that kind of weight on each foot Sad
I don't think I really would benefit from having an all mountain ski at the moment till I have honed my piste skills first.
Maybe with a couple of years more experience under my belt first to save me getting into trouble Laughing

Hope you guys won't mind me badgering you again when i've had a chance to play Laughing
If anyone would like to offer me any further advice/tips will be gratefully received Smile

Thanks,

rockyrobin
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Hi Rocky, bad news is that EB don't carry Fischers.
The M8 may be slightly lighters, but I'd doubt if it will be by much.
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Foxy - Do you know if this weight in the Metron line will translate into feeling heavy and unlively to ski?
When I bought my boots a few weeks ago I asked one of the assistants about this and they reckoned I would'nt notice it on the snow.
I'm not convinced but am always keen to be proved wrong if it helps.
They said it was down to the heavy weight of the binding and the actual ski itself wasn't heavy.
Am I worrying with no need due to my 15 year old experience of ski tech?

With my local Glide/Slide taking the whole Fischer range to XScape, are there any particular models I should keep my eye open for to concentrate my testing on that EB don't offer?
I noticed that EB did'nt have many Atomic ski's that were'nt all mountain as far as I can tell.
Are there any lighter more Piste orientated Atomic models that may suite me better?
Those Atomic M8 and M9's have a pretty fat midwidth and I feel that I would be better off with a midwidth in the mid to upper 60's.
If GS are taking the whole Atomic range as they say i'm keen to also look out for any more piste orientated ski's they have also to concentrate on, rather than spreading my attention too thinly across the whole range.
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rockyrobin, many skis may feel heavy until you get them on snow, so I wouldn't get too concerned about that.

As for Fischers...
RX4
S7.7 (or maybe the 5.5)

If you ski in Europe on icy slopes, I'd say the Fischers are worth considering, as they have some of the hardest edges around, so, after a day on ice, they will still have plenty of grip left.
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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.
rockyrobin,

The first thing I have learned about the Atomics and the weight issue is that it is only a problem if you drive them
with an older technique. If you tend to pick up the ski then they will feel heavy but if you can just sit on them then you are less likely to notice. I have read that Volkl's lend themselves to a more trad' style.

The choice of on-piste skis are huge. Here is a sample from the good ski guide of this years models.
On piste, recreational top picks are Head C120, great turns and grip but not so hot at high speeds..!!
Dynastar Omecarv 8A1S smooth with great grip, does float too well but it is apiste ski,
Hon mentions Atomic C7, a classic that has been around but great price and Rossi OPen 300, ditto.

On Piste Advanced, suitable for two weekers to Blacks...so it says..
K2 Omni 5.5 Good in Ice and good in deeper stuff.
Salomon Street Racer 8.0, High speed cruiser with great edge grip, akin to a slalom ski but more forgiving, but the graphics are an aquired taste.
Volkl Energy 420. ski with pop..!!

And Dynastar legend 6200 which is a free ride ski on the lines of the classic Intuitives. which is what I will be seeking out along with the Atomic M B5, Volkl's 924 EXP's and Elan 666's...phew..!!

As you may see, these questions have been in the round and we are all looking...!!

good hunting and good luck..!!
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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
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
rockyrobin,

A carving lesson or two and a good pair of boots will do more for your skiing than a new pair of skis.
If possible, I would suggest picking up a cheap pair of second hand carving skis or renting and waiting until you know you can carve on shaped skis. Otherwise you may pick a ski that suits your old style but isn't the best for you long term. If you are planning to keep with your old style then a less shapely ski or one that tolerates skidding would probably suit you better.

Welcome to snowheads and welcome back to skiing snowHead
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
JT - Thanks for the heads up on the Volkls being particularly good with old technique.
My style used to involve pushing the downhill hill ski on edge (skidding) while lifting the uphill ski and bringing it along for the ride parallel until it became the uphill ski, then wash rinse and repeat Very Happy
Was really handy if on really steep terrain that required really quick turns to keep myself in control and the speed sensible.
The idea of just sitting on both ski's and changing edge to steer where i'm going is only what i've been able to do when going at a good lick.
These new ski's are going to take some getting used to I reckon :/

How do you guys digest all these different models etc.
Its all too much. You could spend all your spare time mulling over all the models specs, reviews, opinions etc and still be undecided.
Maybe its time to take note of all the pretty graphics on the ski's too! Laughing
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
DB wrote:
rockyrobin,

A carving lesson or two and a good pair of boots will do more for your skiing than a new pair of skis.
If possible, I would suggest picking up a cheap pair of second hand carving skis or renting and waiting until you know you can carve on shaped skis. Otherwise you may pick a ski that suits your old style but isn't the best for you long term. If you are planning to keep with your old style then a less shapely ski or one that tolerates skidding would probably suit you better.

Welcome to snowheads and welcome back to skiing snowHead


DB - I think your probably right about a couple of lessons first.
I had a look on XScapes site but they're lessons are a bit pricey IMO so shied away from the idea on tight @rse grounds Laughing
I'm going to go over to Castleford next week to get my snow legs back in motion after the long break and will ask while i'm there about lessons.
I do wonder if I would be better going over to Rosendale for some one to one lessons which are nigh on the same as the cost of group lessons at Castleford.
The new boots I got covered the other week getting a pair of Salomon XWave 8's.
Maybe some videos and self tuition might be the easier and cheaper way to teach myself new technique before ski testing and purchase?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
rockyrobin,

One to one lessons are probably what you need, but be specific when you book the lesson what you want (old/straight to carving ski lesson). Maybe they will even let you try a few skis while you are there.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks DB,

I just did a search on XScapes web site for "Carving" lessons and using their search facility showed they have nothing available!
I'll ring Rosendale on monday morning and see if they can help me out like you say.
Forgot to thank you for the warm welcome Smile
Thanks to everyone else also. Nice to be able to join such a friendly forum as this.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
rockyrobin, You will definitely need a couple of lessons to show you how to use the new skis - it shouldn't be a problem. I would suggest that you DO rent though. Renting is quite different these days, you can get top skis in all major resorts for racing, off piste, carving, all terrain etc. Much better to get to grips with the new technique first and buy your skis later when you know what you like. I too remember the bad old days - once in Meribel ..... but it's all changed now. Don't book in advance - walk around the town and look at the price various shops will give you and their range. If you tell them you're thinking about buying they'll let you change skis to try different ones.

BTW welcome back to ski-ing - you won't believe the changes. Laughing Laughing
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It's interesting to hear that Volkls are considered good for old school technique when their 5 & 6 stars are generally considered to be two of the best carvers on the market.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
spyderjon wrote:
It's interesting to hear that Volkls are considered good for old school technique when their 5 & 6 stars are generally considered to be two of the best carvers on the market.


and the most fragile, I really, really wouldn't buy another pair. In fact I'm going to be speaking to Volkl to get their comments on how I can nearly destroy a pair so quickly.

The cap is stunningly brittle and the base is incredibly thin. Deeply unimpressive. They ski OK but I do expect a season out of them.
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rockyrobin, I had not skied for 12 years until I had 2 hours at Milton Kenyes recently, and it really is like riding a byke, it came back so quickly. Where are you skiing? It is now possible to book your quality skis online, specifing the make, model and length. They can be delivered to your accomadation and if you find them unsuitable, most decent hire shops will be quite happy to change them. I'm still using my own boots, must be 15 years old but still comfortable, so see no need to hire any. Leaving my 2m planks in the attic.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
ise,

Have you thought about returning them to Volkl as maybe your 5's have a fault?

I say this as Volkl's were recommended to me by a Scottish race trainer pal who said that they were the only make that held up to rough the Scottish conditions. I'm also just back from a Warren Smith course in Verbier & Warren also reckoned they were pretty bulletproof. I know he's sponsored by Volkl but I've found that he always gives an honest answer/comment.

Perhaps you have a case for a warranty claim - I hope so or I'll be starting to get worried about mine.
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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!
It's not likely they have a unique fault, that the base is thin it's not going to be a one-off on mine alone and the cap is fragile/brittle, the odds of both being freak manufacturing faults is pretty minimal I think. I'm sure they'll go for 30 days use so I'd not worry but I expect/need nearer 80. My last pair of Atomic 11.22's date from spring the season before last and have over a 100 days and are still in a better shape, I'm expecting to be back on them by spring.
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ise, is any of the damage visible and can you post pictures?
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Wear The Fox Hat wrote:

If you ski in Europe on icy slopes, I'd say the Fischers are worth considering, as they have some of the hardest edges around, so, after a day on ice, they will still have plenty of grip left.


Do they still do the plasma-hardened edges and hasn't this caused problems with steel edge files?
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
comprex wrote:
ise, is any of the damage visible and can you post pictures?


The base damage isn't, I've been busy with the repair kit Very Happy I'm not alone in this, I was having coffee with a colleague the other day and he mentioned a friend of his had similar issues with some Volkls.

Shame really, they do ski quite well. If the base repair rips out (which it will sooner or later) I'll see if the macro focus on the camera will pick it up.
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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.
Hello again,

Thanks easiski for the welcome back Very Happy
I'm going to take your advice and others and stick to hire gear this season so will look into following your advice about not prebooking hire gear till I get there.
Glad to hear the bad old days are gone. I skied on some right rubbish when I was a nipper. The few times I managed to get a lucky draw of suitable ski's my technique was transformed.
Fingers crossed Toofy Grin

Headplanter - thanks for the info on the online gear booking. I'll bear that in mind as I get nearer to finalising my holiday(s) Toofy Grin
Just hope I won't need any stabilisers for that pushiron Wink
I'm not sure where i'm going yet for my first outing, but am looking at last week in January, though I can go anytime if I wish.
Currently toying with the idea of going to either Wengen, La Rosiere or La Plagne.
Only problem is that I will be going alone and don't want to get stung with single accomodation supplement.
Early stages of planning though, so hope to learn more as I search and read through the forum before posting a new thread for more advice.

Shocked - 3:19!
Must get some sleep or tomorrow's going to be a non starter!

Laters,

RR
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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
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
I only started skiing in 2003 when I did 4 days in Canada... caught the bug big style. But last year was out climbing in La Grave, they have a Rossignol test centre there that let me try a pair of B2's free of charge for a couple of days. Fell in love with the ski, even as a beginner they enticed me to leave the groomed stuff, fall over a lot hitting icey snowboarder tracks and attempt small jumps.. if only I knew how to land snowHead I waited until the summer sales and bought a pair so am now counting the days to when I can use them. As others have said, try out plenty of skis from hire shops and perhaps buy your most liked pair in the sales.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Scarpa - Thanks for the recommendation on the B2's
If I get the chance i'll take a look in the gear shops during the summer if I decide to buy for the folloowing season.
At the moment ski's are at the back of my mind as i'm really struggling to choose where to go.
Time for me to do another post I guess.

Cheers everyone for your advice.
Appreciated.

Warm regards,

RR
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