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Off-piste on Volkl 5 Star's??????

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A question please to all those 5 Star skiers out there.

I'm 5'9"/185lbs (although I should be about 170!) and I ski the 02-04 model 5 Star's at 168cm - and I think they're just superb for me on piste.

I would describe my ability level as a comfortable black runner with the level 7 description on the current S&R scale having been specially written for just for me!

However, I'm just getting into the off piste stuff and I've only done a little off piste skiing, well more 'adjacent to piste' to be honest.

I have off piste tuition booked for Dec and Jan and I realise that wider/slightly longer for off piste is best but I'm interested in people's experience of the 5's when going off piste.

In particular:
Suitability as an off piste learner?
Will they help or hinder my learning etc?
Should I hire some freeriders/fats for my off piste lessons/practice?

Longer term, when I feel that I'm good enough to test skis properly off piste, I'll be happy to switch to either freeriders or get an additional pair of skis for off piste. It's the getting to that stage that I'm interested in.
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
spyderjon, Fat skis definitley help - you'll get much less tired. Don't know about the 5s, but unless they are wide (at least 80mm) underfoot, you'll be better off hiring - Pocket Rockets and Bandit 3s are easy to get on with.

Once you've got the hang of it, you can ski off-piste on any ski....but fatter makes it easier......hope that helps.

Where are you going ?
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A lot of skis are called "all mountain" or "freeride" these days and people believe that they can be skied all over the mountain. I have seen someone ski deep powder on race skis without problems but you have to be dam good(expert level). Whatever your ability wider/longer skis are much easier in power mainly because the increased surface area gives more float and the powder ski allows you to get more feedback. An expert might be able to ski the whole mountain on ca 70mm waisted skis but I would bet 99.99999% of offpiste begineers will not.

I had a pair of "all round" 74 mm waisted skis the first time I tried deep power (80cm +). My thinking was the all rounders would be fine, spent most of the day picking my skis out of the snow (which is really tiring). 80cm deep power is a lot different than the bits by the side of the piste. The next day I and a few others took the guides advice and rented a pair of longer/wider pocket rockets, the difference was amazing. So much easier, a bit like stabilisers on a bike. Once you pick up the powder technique you may wish to try a narrower ski but I bet it won't be so much fun as fat skis.

PS Your height and weight are important when selecting skis. Powder skis are softer and once you get hold of the technique you may wish to step up to a stiffer powder ski so renting powder skis in the early days is better.
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DB wrote:
A lot of skis are called "all mountain" or "freeride" these days and people believe that they can be skied all over the mountain. I have seen someone ski deep powder on race skis without problems but you have to be dam good(expert level). Whatever your ability wider/longer skis are much easier in power mainly because the increased surface area gives more float and the powder ski allows you to get more feedback. An expert might be able to ski the whole mountain on ca 70mm waisted skis but I would bet 99.99999% of offpiste begineers will not.

I had a pair of "all round" 74 mm waisted skis the first time I tried deep power (80cm +). My thinking was the all rounders would be fine, spent most of the day picking my skis out of the snow (which is really tiring). 80cm deep power is a lot different than the bits by the side of the piste. The next day I and a few others took the guides advice and rented a pair of longer/wider pocket rockets, the difference was amazing. So much easier, a bit like stabilisers on a bike. Once you pick up the powder technique you may wish to try a narrower ski but I bet it won't be so much fun as fat skis.

PS Your height and weight are important when selecting skis. Powder skis are softer and once you get hold of the technique you may wish to step up to a stiffer powder ski so renting powder skis in the early days is better.
Really depends on the conditions. If it is new snow than most skis will be ok.
I hire all the time and I think the old bandits 2X's are great all round. As is the Extreme ski still the ski to beat for the whole mountain, for me. As much as I would like to say otherwise I need a ski that will do it all in the conditions I get.
B2's may be great in deep snow but I thought they were planks on piste and not quick enough. So I never go for a really wide ski unless I am sure of the conditions for the day. Dynastar Intuitive are good. I am looking at Volkl's this season but as I am starting in France I might have to stick with Rossi's or Saloomon/Dynastar...
I think the choice is really differcult this year and I am slightly confused as to what's out there.. If the trend is towards B2 types then I am struggling.. Cool Cool
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JT wrote:
Really depends on the conditions. If it is new snow than most skis will be ok. I hire all the time and I think the old bandits 2X's are great all round. As is the Extreme ski still the ski to beat for the whole mountain, for me. As much as I would like to say otherwise I need a ski that will do it all in the conditions I get.
B2's may be great in deep snow but I thought they were planks on piste and not quick enough. So I never go for a really wide ski unless I am sure of the conditions for the day. Dynastar Intuitive are good. I am looking at Volkl's this season but as I am starting in France I might have to stick with Rossi's or Saloomon/Dynastar...
I think the choice is really differcult this year and I am slightly confused as to what's out there.. If the trend is towards B2 types then I am struggling.. Cool Cool


Have you spent much time on a 90mm+ wide ski in deep (80cm+) powder? For me and many others I know there is no comparison against a 74mm waisted ski (unless the tip and tail is very wide). A bit like comparing a toyota RAV4 to a Range Rover for off roading. The RAV4 will be OK until the conditions become more extreme.

The B2 seems to be a love it or hate it ski. Although I have a pair of Bandit XX's, most of my time is spent on a pair of Head Mad trix Mojos. http://www.telemark-pyrenees.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=1_53_163&products_id=654

Rossi's have had some durabiliy problems in the past, Salomon are not the best value for money in my opinion, too much advertising costs and a construction not built to last. The Dynastar Legend 8000 and Völkl 724 get great reviews. Elan skis are also getting some cracking reviews although I haven't tried them yet.
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No, not enough time in those conditions. If it was a powder day I would go wide and agree with you. If I could have them for the day, then sure. But for all round skiing I would want an all round ski. The likes of the B2 are not versatile enough for me. Made me look an idiot in bumps and skied like planks. In fact I would not want to go anywhere near the piste in them.
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JT,

I suspect you are light and/or like a light ski (edit by "light" I meant "softer flexing", some skis are heavy but have a soft flex). The dynastar Intuitive and X-screams are not as burly/stable as say the Rossi Bandit XX's or B2's. The main reason for this is that the Rossi's have a metal sheet in them. This could make them feel like planks and too hard in the bumps for the lighter rider. Whereas different manufactures do have different traits it's not just about the manufacturer of the ski, in my opinion the construction is at least important. Rossi's and Salomons tend to have a lot of foam in them and they lose their pop earlier than wood core skis. If you don't put many days on the skis or don't plan to keep them for long then these sort of skis can be the best option, especially for the lighter skier.

Also suspect that what would suit you are softer skis without metal layers (you will only know yourself when you try them). The same ski would be too soft for a heavier skier and wouldn't be stable as stable at speed from them.

For all round ski's try some of these .....
Volkl V-Pro / expression
K2 APACHE X
Head Mad Trix mojo
Elan "A" series

An "All-mountain" ski means you are making a compromise somewhere, although it does give the benefit that you don't have to buy two skis and carry them around with you. A sportscar won't compete with an offroader in the mud, a BMW X5 gives much the best of both worlds, but at a price.

Not skied them but the Völkl 4, 5 and 6 stars get great reviews although the buyer should be aware of the limitations of piste skis in the deep. When it gets really deep and the novice powder skier is spending more time picking his skis up than riding them, that is the time to rent a pair of pocket rockets for the day.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Sat 4-12-04 21:12; edited 1 time in total
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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JT, although Volkls maybe not as prevelent as Rossis or Salomons in France, I've never had a problem finding them in most French resorts.
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DB, valid points.

My response is two fold:

- I am certainly not a light weight skier, but I did object to the B3 (and the last XXX) as being mounted too far forward from my (normally Germanic flavor) preference, and the longer tail resulting therefrom was actually slowing transitions on almost all terrain (unless I did a huge pole plant, but we've come away from that no?) Have not tried a B2 since the early XX- cannot say.

- Much as a kayaker may not want to surf just the top of an eddy, there is much fun to be had in sinking into the snow, especially when there is complicated crust on top and refrozen bumps beneath. If my legs are feeling strong I will generally choose the M10s (555) over the Chubbs or Explosivs just for this, and I don't know that the 5* wouldn't provide someone with good skills like spyderjon with just this bit of excitement, that a fat ski never could.
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Comprex,

Take your points also noticed that the Rossi's are mounted further forward than my other skis.

Spyderjon said he was a level 7 on this scale

http://www.snowandrock.com/advice/buying_guides_skis.asp

but yes agree with your second point for a level 8/9 skier.


"7: You are now able to link confident parallel turns and are comfortable skiing on most black runs. Steeper and icy slopes may cause you to lose a little of your style, but you are still able to get to the bottom in one piece. You have now started to get the feeling of ‘carving’ your turns and this has brought a whole new dimension to your skiing.

Expert
8: You are now able to ski all the pisted runs on the mountain with a good degree of technique and style. You have mastered the steeps, moguls and icy race pistes and are looking for a new challenge - off piste skiing. You’ve watched all the ski movies and want a bit of the action! You’ll start off by spending more time falling over than skiing, but this is perfectly normal so stick with it. It will take time, to master but it’s well worth it!"
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DB, Thanks for the info. As level 8 I am looking at Atomoc B5's or Dynstar 4800 at the moment as they seem to be a replacement for Intuitiv 74's. I want a that I can blat on piste and also get them round in difficult steep stuff. For this reason I prefer a lighter ski. I'm 6 ft and 13 stone, so not too light.
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right now my main ski is the atomic sx:9 which is comparable to your 5 star, off piste, yes i can ski it, and id like to think i ski it pretty damn well, buttttt, man does that burn start early, so to answer the question, yes, you can ski off piste with ur volkll but it will be tiring and will make you work for success. from what i hear, the seth pistol may be a good choice, im thinking about a pair at least
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Spyderjon
the lord has allowed me to use his computer to reply.

I am level 7 going on 8 although on the description its a big jump up in class.

Earlier this year I did a course to start off piste, trees rocks and all that good stuff.

In anticipation I tested a lot of ski's at whistler on and slightly off piste.
There are big differences!
But if you are like me you want something to do an adequate job most of the day, a bit of cruis'n, some bumps and then off into some inviting fresh.

I had Volkl's but they were not up to it , I loved them on piste so i tried out the 5 Star and the AX- 3's. Sadly they weren't the best for the job at hand.
I ended up buying a pair of Elan 555's which are really good on most stuff although not my favourite on piste!
The dynastars I tried were pretty good as well.
The jump from 68 under foot to 70 makes a big difference.

On the elans I was able to manage some deep stuff reasonably well.
In retrospect I might have been better off with a shorter ski but again on piste that might have been a compromise.
(being in Australia means I have to manage all conditions in one day ice,crud, snot, powder and thats just on one run!)
Good luck gotta go the lord is coming back.
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JT, spyderjon,

One thing to bear in mind that makes a huge difference to all of our skiing and is summed up neatly by DB's X5 analogy is that you can buy/rent/use an all-round ski that will cover all your bases adequately but none of them perfectly. As an ex-level 10 skier, now retired to level 9 I have a vast quiver comprising 12 pairs of 1, 2 and 3 year old skis. Yet I only use 2 pairs regularly. The first is for the early season artificial hard pack and late season ice and spring snow, and the second is for everything else, including extensive ski mountaineering. What are they? The former are a pair of last year's Atomic SX:11 at 180 with the SX614 binding (from which I have never actually released, so not too sure of the binding yet). This ski is phenomenal for the piste and is akin to the Volkl 6 star. Off-piste it is manageable if you happen across a spot of by-the-piste soft, but not for routine off-piste skiing. The price tag alone means that you will not want to ding it on that unseen sub-surface rock fang. Based on my experience I would recommend you leave the 5 star at home.

The second set is a pair of 2 year old Volkl G4 Vertigo with Diamir freerides, size 198cm. This ski is unbelievable. It holds its edge on the piste extremely well, batters through icy crud without flinching, skis chop fluidly and on the soft stuff feels light and manouevrable despite the weight of the ski to carry. The noise it makes as you ski on anything hard is an extremely satisfying ceramic clatter, the ski equivalent of a Ducati exhaust note. This ski has been superseded by the 724 range, which is far less full on, and probably more suitable for a level 7/8 skier. Go for a test drive on them and see how you get on. For the record I raced on volkls for a season and never got on with them at all (P40s) but the new ones are a different story. As for Rossi's, I have just given away a pair of B2s which were weak and sloppy and under powered. If you are at all aggressive you may not enjoy them.

Good luck. Skiing off-piste is the reason for skiing and once you crack it you will never look back, perseverance is the key!!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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I think I have narrowed it down to Atomic B5's but they may be a bit heavy for my style, Head Monster 70;s or Dynastar 6200's. Oh and Stockli have light Stormrider which I fancy. I accept they will all have their compromises but I want a ski that will cope with the weeks conditions, be it bumps, hardpack or fresh snow..!!

Thanks, Bon ski..!!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
JT,
Stockli's are powerful beefy skis, even their "light" version may not be to your liking. Best to demo but not easy to find a shop with them to rent / demo.

Here's a few other skis you might want to try ....

Monster i.M 75 Chip SR2
Völkl 724 EXP
Elan S10
Elan M666 or M555
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
DB wrote:
JT,
Stockli's are powerful beefy skis, even their "light" version may not be to your liking. Best to demo but not easy to find a shop with them to rent / demo.


You'd think they run tests here more but they don't. There's a test day this weekend at Adelboden, maybe they'll have some.
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DB,

Yes, thanks, I tried a Stockli a few seasons back and I liked it.
They have a bit of a cult following in the Alpes and you find them when you
find them. I now have a wish list which should be ok. I noticed Salomon's
don't feature much for discerning skiers.
I am intrigued by the Volkl and Elan skis. I am quite confident I shall find
something pleasing this year.
Next season I will go on one of these test weeks..!!

Thanks
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DB,

Just checked out the Elan's and Volkl's on www.techsupportforskiers.com and you can be sure if I see 724 EXP or M666 I will jump right on them.
Thanks for the info...!!
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ise wrote:
DB wrote:
JT,
Stockli's are powerful beefy skis, even their "light" version may not be to your liking. Best to demo but not easy to find a shop with them to rent / demo.


You'd think they run tests here more but they don't. There's a test day this weekend at Adelboden, maybe they'll have some.


If you do get a chance to try some Stockli's I would be grateful of your opinion on these.

http://www.telemark-pyrenees.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=1_53_163&products_id=1290
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I have a friend who skis on telemarks and he is thinking about the Stockli pit light this year. If between us we get on them I will post a review..
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DB, I may get on some tomorow, there's a test weekend at Adelboden and the snow looks better than elsewhere.
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