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Ski Test Reviews

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
As promised in an earlier thread, here are the reviews of my ski testing in Val D’Isere last week. Thanks largely to snowHeads’ suggestions I went into Precision Ski with a lengthy shortlist, and by the end of three days of testing had demoed 9 skis. I even tried one fat ski to keep parlor happy. wink

For a bit of context, I’m a 17 week ‘intermediate’ skier, the first half of those weeks spent on 195cm straights, and more recently on a pair of 175cm Atomic C9 18s – a very soft intermediate ski, great on flat and well-groomed blues and reds but hopeless off-piste, little stability, and no grip on hardpack. I was looking for a slightly stiffer freeride ski which would allow me to enjoy venturing off-piste a little more without compromising grip or stability. The 9 skis I tested were:

- Head Monster 77 170cm
- Rossignol Bandit B2 166cm
- K2 Apache Recon 167cm
- Scott Aztec Pro 165cm
- Salomon Scrambler Hot 174cm
- Head Monster 72 170cm
- K2 Public Enemy 169cm
- Dynastar Legend 8000 165cm
- Atomic Sweet Daddy 163cm

For my ‘test tracks’ I used Plan/Piste M from the top of the Solaise Express, which was hardpack at best and sheet ice in places. Those that passed that test got a further outing at the top of the Solaise area to see how they handled on groomers and moguls, and the best also had crack at the bottom half of La Face (from the top of the Bellevarde Express chair).

Head Monster 77
With hindsight this was probably not the best ski to test first off after several weeks on my old Atomics. I found them very sluggish and not very responsive at slow speeds, but once I realised I actually had to put some effort in I began t o enjoy them a little more. On the hard pack their grip was phenomenal, and for the first time ever I was skiing over ice with a massive grin on my face rather than a look of sheer terror. However round the bumps these were just too much like hard work for me, and not enough fun on the groomers.

Rossignol Bandit B2
I had skied last year’s B2 for a few days in Squaw Valley, and was interested to see how this year’s would compare. Unfortunately it was just as good – I really wanted to dislike the B2, purely for its image and ‘punter’ connotations, but I couldn’t really fault it. Far more lively than the Monster 77, it’s grip and stability were almost as good (only a couple of times did I feel the tails twitching on the ice). This really is a fantastic ‘one quiver’ ski, and I rapidly came to the conclusion that I was the ultimate punter.

K2 Apache Recon
This was just terrible. Admittedly this ski was first up on Christmas morning and I had the hangover from hell, but I just couldn’t find anything positive about it. From its atrocious graphics (should it be marketed as woman’s ski?) to its lack of grip and stability, I just couldn’t see the point of it – probably the only ski I tested that wasn’t a million times better than my old Atomics. Very unresponsive.

Scott Aztec Pro
This ski was a lot of fun. Very light and responsive underfoot, amazingly quick edge to edge, and I could really feel the ski react to every twitch of my foot. What let the Aztecs down was a lack of grip on the hardpack – never gave me the confidence to really push it hard on the ice, and spent more time moving sideways than forwards down La Face.

Salomon Scrambler Hot
This is a great ski. Very responsive, quick edge to edge, smart graphics, stable, and with fantastic carving abilities on the groomers. Handled the hardpack well, and would definitely be worth a re-test.

Head Monster 72
Felt much softer than the 77, and while it was a little more responsive it just didn‘t have the stability or grip of its bigger brother.

K2 Public Enemy
I promised parlor I’d try one fat ski, and as Precision didn’t have any of the Line Prophet series I thought I’d give this a go, as recommended by WTFH. Before getting onto it I really didn’t think I’d have a clue how to ski it (what the hell do I do with those twin tips?), but it really surprised me. A very stiff ski, it’s grip on the ice was excellent. It was also far more responsive and quicker edge to edge than I imagined possible. However still not as nimble as I was looking for. Very glad that I tried it though, and I wouldn’t be shy about trying something similar (maybe even the K2 Seth Vicious?) in the future, conditions permitting. Thanks parlor and WTFH.


At this point my original shortlist of 7 was exhausted. I had narrowed my choice down to the B2 and the Scrambler Hot, and planned to re-test them both in quick succession the following morning, in a final ski-off.

The next day conditions were even icier, and the Scrambler (which was the ski I hoped would come out top) frustratingly really struggled for grip down La Face. The B2 unfortunately performed better, though didn’t give me the confidence it had previously. I was sure that there must be an intermediate ski out there at least as good as the B2 but without the B2 stigma. Back at the test centre the ski tech suggested a I try a couple more, after all I’d paid for three of days testing. He handed me a pair of Dynastars.

Dynastar Legend 8000
The first thing I noticed about this ski was the vile graphics – bright orange and very dated, it looked like a rental ski from 1997. However, don’t judge a book by its cover. This ski was fantastic. While not as quick edge to edge as the Scramblers or the Aztecs, they were at least as responsive as the B2s. What was most impressive was their grip on the ice and their stability – I felt that I could really drive the edges and never once felt that I was going to lose the tails. The ski just ploughed through the rubble and over the smaller bumps, without any jolting or loss of control. A very powerful ski, I felt I could do anything on it. This was the ski I’d been looking for!

Atomic Sweet Daddy
The last ski of the test. Great graphics, but just didn’t really perform. Good fun on the groomers, but too soft to offer sufficient stability over bumps, and couldn’t hold its edge on the ice.

So, after testing nine skis I took the Legend 8000s out for the rest of the day, and they still didn’t disappoint. Bought them that evening (unfortunately not only the ugliest skis in the shop but also the most expensive) and skied them with a huge smile on my face for the rest of the week. They massively improved my skiing, and at times they made me feel that I actually knew what I was doing! Taking them back to Val in three weeks, and just hope there’s some powder for them to enjoy snowHead .


PS: Apologies for the long post.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Dave Burt, Great to hear how it went. Very good review and extremely interesting. I'm glad you've found a ski you really like, and I'll look forward to seeing you on them at the EOSB! Very Happy
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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?
Mwahahaha....the Legendistas will take over the forum! Twisted Evil Great review - especially as you came out with the right answer Wink ! So I think you're about the 4th who's bought a pair of these recently then. I'm sure you'll really enjoy them, they just get better as you get to know them. That side lip on the tails and in front of the binding just screams out for the ski to be put on its edge, and they're also great at speed (despite some on-line reviews I saw talking about chattering - don't know where they got that idea). One of the Val d'I instructors I had (BTW did you notice that the Val d'I custom skis that many of the instructors use are also 8000s with different graphics), kept on telling us how they came top of the all-mountain ski in the high speed/stability tests. It's interesting that you got them in preference to some of this year's B2s, as I've witnessed a few people much preferring them to last years B2s, but not previously seen a comparison against this years model - which is supposed to be more stable and stiffer with better hardpack hold.

If it's any consolation though, one of the few even uglier skis (if we exclude all those ghastly womens skis with the pink and flower power graphics) on the slopes are last years model (i.e. mine Sad ).
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Dave Burt,

Great reviews, you certainly got through some work.... 9 skis...!!!

GrahamN,

I'll be on them next week and will run them up against the 8800 and some Stormriders if the conditions are good..
As you know I liked them at the PSB so know they will work, not sure what lenghts they do but I'll try skis upto 90mm if the conditions are condusive. By that I mean not total hardpack

My predicttions are the XL will ski ice better but the 8000 will float better. It will then be a question of what else makes a diference like moguls etc... And if it is a big snow day I'll want to try the 8800's and Scott Smidth's...!!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
easiski wrote:
Dave Burt, Great to hear how it went. Very good review and extremely interesting. I'm glad you've found a ski you really like, and I'll look forward to seeing you on them at <a href="http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=9948"><b>The EOSB</b></a>! Very Happy


To be honest, apart from the Recons I really liked them all, particularly when compared to my old Atomics. I'd like to think that my skiing has improved to the extent that I've now outskied them, but I guess what has actually improved is the ski technology, and it's this that makes it easier for us hackers Embarassed . Can't wait to let them loose in Val Thorens!
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GrahamN, I hadn't realised that the Legends were growing in popularity - I hadn't heard of them previously, and they hadn't figured in my reckoning at all.

I only got to ski last year's B2 in the Tahoe powder (life can be tough, huh? Very Happy ), so didn't really get to test them out on the hardpack. However this year's Legend is definitely slightly more stable than this year's B2 (for me anyway - I guess different skiing styles favour different skis).
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
JT wrote:
Dave Burt,

Great reviews, you certainly got through some work.... 9 skis...!!!


I wouldn't call it work... snowHead
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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!
Dave Burt, Are you able to clear up some confusion(in my mind at least wink )
I'd not come into contact with the 8000's before but,thanks to your review and others,am now looking seriously.However,there are a few generations of these?We have Red,Fibre,Orange.05/06.A couple of reviews have suggested this years(06?)model is softer and,whilst this 'may' beef up its off piste,its at the detriment of its on piste performance?Is this the Orange model?There are several eBay shops(US and Germany)selling Red 8000's.Obviously last season(05?)but where does the fibre come into it,and how do you tell?Interestingly,most of these sellers are fixing Frishi(?)freeride bindings.Prices are good so where's the catch??
No one in my area stocks Dynastar,so a look see is not possible.

Opinions anyone?
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
snowskisnow, sorry, don't know anything about the technical stuff. Although mine are bright orange, judging by this website they seem to be called the 'Fibre' model:

http://www.skireviews.co.uk/en/dynastar/2006/legend-8000-fibre/legend-8000-fibre-review.html

But no idea what 'Fibre' means. The guy in the shop did try to explain their construction to me, but after the first couple of words I had a Homer Simpson moment.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
snowskisnow, it's very odd, Dynastars do not seem to be well supplied in the UK at all. Whereas in France just about every ski shop carrys them.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Dave Burt, Excellent and informative reviews - sounds like you had a great time. Mrs Ax and I were in Val the same week as you, but mostly skiing over at Tignes as the snow was better.

Only one query - what's this "B2 stigma" ??? Puzzled There's nothing wrong with B2's, or VW Golf's, Or BMW's (any model) , or indeed Val D'isere itself. Ten Million 'punters' can't all be wrong snowHead snowHead snowHead


B2 owner and not afraid to admit it!

(might have to try the Legends in Alpe d'huez next month tho Very Happy )
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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.
Snowskisnow, 05 and 06 models are different in that the boot midsole mark on the skis has been moved backward this year by 1.5cm. Speaking to a dynastar rep, he said there was no difference in construction between red and fibre. However using the product selector on dynastars website. If you class yourself as good then 4800 and 8000fibre are suggested. If you class yourself as expert the 8000fibre and 8000red are suggested. This seem to indicate there may be a difference? but the website tech specs are the same!


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Thu 5-01-06 17:36; edited 1 time in total
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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
carroz, Exactly,hence my confusion.Across the various reviews I've seen,there would appear to be slight differences.Whether this makes any actual difference to the performance is difficult to say Confused I've yet to find any comparative tests.
Starting to look as if I may have to abandon this particular ski until I'm actually out on the snow.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Dave Burt,

Great review. I have the B2 and the 8000 on my shortlist to demo this year. I tried the Legend 4800 last year and liked it, but am looking for something with a bit more oomph.

What height/weight are you? I see you were testing in the 165 range, which sounds about my size also (5'7" and 65kg).
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Just down at Sallaches, and asked a tech. As in many cases, changes to skis year on year, are availiability and consistancy of the wood product. The new timber is in the 8000 fibre, binding mounting is set forward for the lighter or lady skier, the red is the older timber and keeps things in line with its stiffer profile of previous years. There are no problems with either, just new supplies and different consistancies. Twisted Evil
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
carroz, snowskisnow, the information I have seen is that the fiber/fibre is a bit softer than the red - but the internet being what it is this could just be a whole load of posts (just like this one Wink ) repeating what they've half seen somewhere else and all the references could be just from one misguided comment. I've also seen comments about the binding position being moved either forwards or backwards.

If you're short on hard information, I bought mine off of eBay from a Dynastar test-centre in Germany; you could try calling/emailing them (Holger speaks good English) on info@sport65.de . SMALLZOOKEEPER probably has an inside track to authoritative information - as the skis are made only a few miles down the valley from him - so you could try a PM to him. (Ah - I see he's popped up while I've been typing this).

Also FWIW - I've just looked at huckingfellers' recent review on epic, and I think he's got one of his facts wrong. I also have the 04/05 model, which is virtually identical in appearance to the 'red', and I disagree with his comments on the underfoot dimension - mine is definitely 79 (i.e. the same as this year), both by my measurement and by what is printed on its tail! Looks like he needs to recalibrate his callipers Very Happy .

snowskisnow, if you do decide which version you want, www.telemark-pyrenees.com probably have some of the best prices on the net. I did also once see a good deal from a shop in Chamonix, whose name I can't remember. BTW, if you're unsure when looking at any eBay listings whether a 'red' is this year's or last year's, the most obvious differences in the graphic are (unless you're confident on assessing the shade of red/orange in a picture - in some pictures the 06 'red' looks more red than last years model) a) the diamond flash above the "8000" logo on the shovel is gold for 2006, silver for 2005 and b) the white border around the Dynastar logo on the tail is a single smooth curve from tail to binding on the '05, whereas it's sort of kinked to partially enclose the logo separate from the rest of the ski for the '06 model (look at the picture on their website to clarify this rather rubbish description rolling eyes ). Mine also has a black stripe across the tail with the dimensions printed on it.

Acacia If it's this year's models you're looking at it's probably the B3 that should be on your shortlist rather than the B2, as I understand that's the more appropriate all-mountain ski.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Acacia wrote:
Dave Burt,
What height/weight are you? I see you were testing in the 165 range, which sounds about my size also (5'7" and 65kg).


A bit bigger than you - about 5'9" and 12 stone. Not sure if that's enough to make a significant difference?

I was surprised at how short all the skis were that the tech gave me, as I'd been used to skiing 175s (and it had taken me a while to get used to them after my 195s!). But although it's short it's still got plenty of oomph.
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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?
I ski last season's B2's and love 'em. Also feel no stigma attached to using them ... not that i'd care too much anyway!

I'd rather be a punter than a ski snob!
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Great review and will be a help when I'm deciding which skis to test in Sestrier later this month. At the moment my ever changing list is:
-B2's keep getting superb reviews, but I they just don't do it for me. - I might just give them a blast anyway.
- 8000, weren't on my list but are now.
- Fischer RX8 or AMC73RF
- Nordica Hot Rod Eliminator
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
BrightonSki wrote:
I ski last season's B2's and love 'em. Also feel no stigma attached to using them ... not that i'd care too much anyway!

I'd rather be a punter than a ski snob!


That was how I felt until I was indoctrinated by a number of fellow snowHeads (I am very feeble minded)! The B2 is a fantastic ski, no matter what anyone says, however I found an even better one snowHead
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Dave Burt, why so short on the Sweet Daddy?
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Dunno - that's what the guy gave me!
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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!
I agree with that question! I demoed many skis, and chose these over all. I ski them 2 - 3 times a week in all conditions and am VERY pleased! Great in tight trees, powder, bumps, crud, etc.., Yeah, maybe not the strongest edge grip on real hard snow, but i can give that up to get the rest of the package. Maybe more a Western ski than the East or Europe in a mediocre year... Very Happy [/quote]
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
skiguy4, welcome to snowHeads snowHead .
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Spent last 10 days on XL's, Snakes and 8000'S..
Will post on them in more detail when I get back..

But they are all very good skis....!!
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Quick thoughts from Fall Line Skiing:
We reckon the last couple of years have seen the mid-fats get stiff enough to handle pretty well any conditions. Some skis suit stronger/heavier/technically expert skiers better - Stocklis are for the latter, for example. We voted the Nordica Eliminator Ski of the Year because it works well everywhere, really powers up on piste and hangs in very well. The B2 is still right on it, tho. The Volkl Karma is a good one to try, too - strongly made, powerful ski with plenty of float and works pretty well on hardpack. Also the Scott Santiago Mission - performs way better than it should on piste and ideal off it. Finally - the Head Mojo 80. Loads of twin-tips to think about, but they're the future, or so say the yoof.
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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.
Quote:

K2 Apache Recon
This was just terrible. Admittedly this ski was first up on Christmas morning and I had the hangover from hell, but I just couldn’t find anything positive about it. From its atrocious graphics (should it be marketed as woman’s ski?) to its lack of grip and stability, I just couldn’t see the point of it – probably the only ski I tested that wasn’t a million times better than my old Atomics. Very unresponsive.



GET REAL. you must have had the hangover from hell. This is one of the most critically acclaimed skis of all time and without doubt a great allrounder. How can you claim a foam cored ski with no imagination like the Scrambler Hot is better than the Recon. I know what i would rather have under my feet.
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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
Quote:

snowskisnow, it's very odd, Dynastars do not seem to be well supplied in the UK at all. Whereas in France just about every ski shop carrys them.



Ellis Brigham sell a fairly big range of Dynastar. Was in Covent Garden Branch the other day and they even had a few on sale. Dynastar are a great brand its funny more UK stores dont sell them. I used to love the old intuitiv 74.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Dave, great thread you started. My short list is B2's and Scott Aztec's. I want to choose the Scotts but think I will join my wife who just loves her B2's (lets face it, you dont want to be beaten by the missus !)
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Nice review - even though it is from a YEAR ago!

Next you need to try K2 Burnin Luvs, Head Supershapes, Salomon Equipe GC Race. (oh, and maybe the Head 1200SW, Dynastar Contact 10 and Fischer RX9)
They are a bit more piste oriented, but they're worth a punt - and not just to see the look on the face of the hire shop staf when you ask for the Burnin Luvs!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The older B2's did seem to favour the lighter skier (I have loved mine for the last 2 years); I too would say that the B3's seem to be their replacement.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Dave Burt, Is this a 70's ski test? Toofy Grin
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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?
well I tested both the Scott Aztec and Rossignol B2. Although the dimensions are almost identical, the B2's won the day because they felt alot stiffer & therefor more planted and positive. Shame I then put a massive hole in the base on day 1 !!! Crying or Very sad
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Duffer, was it the Aztec, or the Aztec Pro that you tested? The Aztec Pro is probably a better competitor to the B2. The B2's are very good skis IMO, however the state of the art has probably moved on and left them slightly behind.
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