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Thinking of buying skis

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi,

My first post to snowheads. I'm considering buying skis for the coming season - based on the amount I shelled out for rental last season.

A couple of questions...

Where do people generally buy their skis - in a resort after narrowing down a selection to test? Or test in resort and buy back in the UK (depending on price of course)?

I've got a trip planned for Dec which will probably be in Tignes. I'd like to try Precision Ski, anyone used them? Only issue will be I think they do the ski testing in Val D'Isere and to be honest I'd like to spend a few days testing rather than an hour on each ski. I guess my other problem is going to be finding a shop that carries the range of skis I'd like to test.

Second question, what do people do about ski maintenance? Any recommendations in the South East or London area? I'm not sure how the usual Snow and Rock and Ellis Brigham brigade fair in this matter?

Thanks
Darren
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
dsyzling, welcome to snowHead snowheads snowHead

Can't help on the buying topic as the only pair I bought was in Brighton 10 years ago. I now rent. There has been quite a lot of previous discussion on some of the questions you've asked. Try the site's search facility and you'll find opinions and advice.

On servicing, Snow & Rock at Cherstey (off the M25) were pretty good. They've recently been sold so the new management may affect things........ ? Most people however reckon it is both cheaper and better to have it done in the resorts.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Usually a good place to buy is the resort, they will normally let you try several pairs of skis befor you buy, but the best deals are usually available after the February Holidays, unfortunately this also means less stock. Have only heard good reports as to the servicing skills of S&R at their M25 place but I usually do my own servicing
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Precision are good place to go, they do a testing service so you try a few. A lot of places of do this but it's good at precision and they have a large range. Details on their web site. I bought a pair there at the end the season. You need to be flexible on what you want, the guys in Precision are good and can help, having pre-conceptions based on the advertising and branding isn't helpful, there's nothing wrong with being informed of course.

As for servicing, I do my own personally.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
dsyzling, Welcome to Snowheads.

I bought my first pair in the UK and always regretted not having tried them out first. I've just bought a replacement pair in resort and it was great to be able to try out various models/lengths before making a decision. Shops usually do this on the basis that you're hiring the skis but they only charge you if you don't actually end up buying something. It ended up being a little bit more expensive than buying in the UK due to the Euro rate at the time but well worth it to get the right pair of skis.

As for servicing I usually use S&R off the M25 - they've always done a really good job and will do while-u-wait if you need (restricted times etc!) which allows you to go and waste a few hundred pounds buying things you don't need to kill the time! I use them because they can turn skis round in a very short time whereas my local shop needs about six weeks notice - I'm not that organised!!

Having said that last time I used them they managed to give me someone else's skis by mistake! Panic set in when I hadn't got mine back with just a few days to go to my hols....but they did come up trumps and rushed them down just in time together with a gift voucher for my troubles.
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Thanks for all the advice. Looks like I'll have to find a reputable shop in the alps and do some testing. Ski Presicion would be my first choice at the moment, they seem to have a good reputation and range of skis.

I've pretty much narrowed down my selection, since I spend most of my time on piste I'm thinking in the recreational slalom, skiercross type category. I spent 9 days in the US on some Atomic SX11s and really enjoyed those. My main concern is over my weight (5"7 140lbs) and the stiffness of the ski which is why I'd like to test in different conditions. Personally I thought the SX11 (after reading reviews) would be too much ski for me but I found them responsive and not as tiring as I was led to believe. I did find them tricky in bumps at time - but that could be down to my technique. Hence I'm on the lookout to try similar style skis that may not be so hard charging with a little more versatility.

Pretty much this pushes me into something:

Atomic SX11 or SX9 - the 9 may be a litle more versatile
Atomic SL11 or 9
Volk 5 Star - never skied a Volk but heard really good things
Fischer RX8? not sure I'd get these in the Alps
Atomic Metron - intrigued by these having read a few comments over on the Barking Bear forums.

Which is another reason I'd like to use Precision if at all possible to discuss these skis (and others that I might not have considered) with someone who can give me good advice.

Interesting comments on ski maintennce/tuning, I found a thread on custom maintenance on this board I'll take a closer look. I also seem to remember seeing a few courses being offered. One area I'd like to explore further.
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dsyzling, have you considered Dynastar, they are made in Sallanches near Chamonix so you can usually find a good selection in France. Their skiercross range always gets good reviews and from personal experience, we keep a selection of Dynastars in our chalets fro guests to use, they are very hard wearing and well made. Unlike certain other ski brands.
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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!
dsyzling,
I have some SX9's - I also demoed some SX11's and found them a bit much for me. I've used my SX9s in pretty much all conditions - they are not the greatest powder ski in the world (though not bad considering), but rock pretty much everywhere else. Sx11s are slightly more stable at speed (unsurprisingly) but to be honest I hammer (though this may of course be a relative term!! snowHead ) my SX9s and I've not really noticed too much instability.
I found Volkl 5 stars a bit heavy (though the Atomics aren't exactly lightweight - especially after you've carried them across town!!)
I'm pretty intregued by the Metron B5's too - can't wait til next season to try a pair out - I've heard they're pretty 'different' Smile
At the mo I can't justify another pair, but I'm sure that'll change part way (first week!) through next season Cool
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The best Test experience I had was over in Val Thorens with Goitschel Ski. They're right on the edge of the piste and they allowed us to take anything from their hire stock for 2hrs at a time, Free! Added to this was the good fortune that I was skiing with someone who had exactly the same binding fit as me. So, we could A/B sets of skis on alternate runs down the same piste.
By the end of the day, not only did I know the 'feel' of a whole range of skis but I had come to understand the boundary between my ski technique and the character of the skis I was on. It was quite simply an Epiphany!

The following day we hired two different sizes of Pocket Rocket and swapped between them all day. We both now own PR 175's.

I actually picked mine up in Tignes Val Claret. I went round every ski shop in town looking for 'deals' and at the very last one(right under our appt) found PR 175's on consignment as a private sale but in perfect condition. "Zis man, e' is crazy! " said the guy in the shop, "E av 3 pairs of ski and e change always one pair evry year". An effective sales pitch to be sure but at just over €300 incl bindings he didn't really need to work too hard Toofy Grin
U may well find there are some good deals to be had on 'last years models' if u are looking around inDec.

As Homphomp said above, it's very common to find a shop who will allow u to take out a whole range of skis throughout the week on the basis that, if you buy, no hire fee will be charged. Of course, your not in the strongest of positions to haggle about the price then but, considering the fact that u will be walking away with an unused set of skis having used theirs for a week, the hire can be seen as quite a valuable discount. eg. 1 week's wear and tear.

In my opinion though, the most important factor in choosing a shop to test skis from is its convenience to the piste. Any more than a dozen steps in ski boots becomes a factor to me in whether to 'bother changing the skis'. A friend of mine arranged to test skis from a shop in Val-T next to our Appt but although u could just about ski to it, it was rather off the beaten track and u would never be 'just passing' it so requiring a detour should he swap skis during the day. Accordingly, he never did but after a couple of days, cut his losses and changed shops.

This might seem OTT, the idea of swapping skis so incessantly. But, there is so much to learn from the experience of skiing the same piste on 2,3 or 4 different sets of skis in quick enough succession that the conditions don't change.
I recommend it, whether U plan to buy skis or not snowHead
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u brain wrote:


In my opinion though, the most important factor in choosing a shop to test skis from is its convenience to the piste. Any more than a dozen steps in ski boots becomes a factor to me in whether to 'bother changing the skis'.


Definitely.
In Whistler thay save you the hassle by bring the shop to the slope Smile (also the manfs have their stands too) so on demo days you can take a pair out for an hour, ski up and imediately swap them for something else to compare them in the same conditions straight after. They don't charge you anything and you can keep them for ages - I nearly didn't give the rossi scratches back!! (had to give them a proper workout you know!) snowHead
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David@traxvax, I'm not discounting Dynastar although my short list is starting to become..err...not so short Very Happy Generally Dynastar seem to be highly underated may be due to the marketing muscle o companies like Salomon. I skied their Legend slalom ski a few years ago in Les Arcs and wish I'd have taken out the Omeglass for my last day. To be honest that pretty much got me into the rec slalom category. So yes I would still test their skiercross skis and possible one of the Omecarves.

Good points about the shop being close to the piste.

May be I'll just have to book myself an even earlier trip for Val D'Isere and spend a couple of days on some skis. I'll have to check rough dates for Val D'Isere opening...or may be do a late Nov/ early Dec in either Tignes or Val Thorens.
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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.
Interestingly saw this review of the Metron B5: http://www.ski-review.com/content/view/44/30/

Also Peter Keelty over at http://www.realskiers.com has just posted the 04/05 ski reviews for Atomic, the B5 got an excellent review, described as the most versatile ski to date. Obviously can't provide the full details you'd have to sign-up for the full info.

Looks like I owe to myself to demo the M11 and B5.
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