Need advice on full gear upgrade

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  1. #1

    Need advice on full gear upgrade

    Over the past 30 years I've been skiing an average of 7 days a season, but this past winter my wife became a snowboarding instructor and got her level 1 cert. Between that, and our toddlers just getting introduced to skiing, we'll be spending a lot more time on the mountain; I estimate 20-30 days a season going forward. I split my days between skiing and snowboarding, the latter of which I picked up 7 yrs ago. Because of the increased mountain time this past season, my skills have improved noticeably.

    As far as my level, I'm not sure- my guess would be halfway between type 2 and type 3. I can make it down any type of trail including moderately steep and technical glades but as of today, I won't be one of the aggressive types you'll see. On the more challenging terrain I need to take frequent rest breaks while being aggressive, or I need to go at a casual pace. The latter is more the norm. My goal is to be a solid type III at some point in the future. My technique needs some adjustments, but between a lesson or two and some off mountain physical training it feels attainable.



    I've been using the same gear for the past 15 years, Salomon 1080s (I know, not exactly a northeastern ski), and Salomon boots that I guess were considered all mountain type II at the time. These boots have been very comfortable and I haven't had any issues with them. On a recent gondola ride when I mentioned to two other skiers how long I've been using them they looked at each other in disbelief. I guess that my thinking that a comfortable fit is the only real important thing needs to get with the times. I wonder what they'd think about the shell I wear on warmer days that I've been using since before some of the lifties were born.

    So... I'm ready to do a full gear upgrade. My thinking is to do it now, at the end of the season to get a deal on the new 2015 models the manufacturers need to move.

    On a demo day, I tried out some of the makers' latest wares. The ones I really enjoyed were the Atomic Redster 3.0 GS 178s, and I decided that day that's what I'm getting.

    Since then I noticed that they seem to be marketed to slalom racing types, and are very pricey. I'm ok with spending the money, but will they be wasted on a skier like myself? I have no desire to do any racing at this point in my life, and don't want to appear as someone I'm not. I know the usual advice is "if you like them that's good enough", but are there any any other reasons this would not be a good decision? I haven't been able to find the 178 length available online anywhere except used on Ebay so far.

    Also, buying boots after 15 years feels like a real challenge. It's neither practical nor convenient for me to find shops where I can try on all the models from all the different makes. I've just trying to do my research online right now, starting to get a little up to speed. Do most of the internet retailers have good policies about boot returns / exchanges?

    Thanks in advance for all advice!

  2. #2
    Abubob's Avatar
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    Hi Joe. Welcome to the forum. I'm surprised no one else has jumped in here ... but anyway...

    It all depends on what kind of a skier are you and what kind of skiing do you prefer ie groomers or moguls or trees. Those preferences will dictate what kind of skis as well as boots you would get.

    My advise is to first find a ski shop you like and ask a lot of questions. A place like Rodgers in Lincoln NH is a great place because they have a huge selection of new and close out skis plus they have a fairly large and knowledgable staff. Smaller shops are fine but shop around because sometimes you'll find that sales people will try to sell you something that THEY want to sell rather than what you really need.

    You're looking at a good time because of close out sales and toward the end of summer there will be lots of tent sales as well. Take your time. When in comes to finding the right ski or boot IMHO it's harder than buying a car what with all the variety out there. So be picky.
    "Happiness equals reality minus expectations." Tommy Magliozzi

  3. #3
    Thanks Abubob, I am obsessively picky about my gear. It's rare for me to get a purchase wrong. In this sport though it starts to feel exhausting. I guess that's why I put it off for so long . As to my preference I love variety and I like to ski all types of terrain. I will continue to use my 1080s for moguls and trees. I really enjoyed the redster on groomers, significantly more so than the other demos I tried. My question is more about whether I'd be buying skis that only expert racers can utilize properly per their design.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Abubob View Post
    Hi Joe. Welcome to the forum. I'm surprised no one else has jumped in here ... but anyway...

    It all depends on what kind of a skier are you and what kind of skiing do you prefer ie groomers or moguls or trees. Those preferences will dictate what kind of skis as well as boots you would get.

    My advise is to first find a ski shop you like and ask a lot of questions. A place like Rodgers in Lincoln NH is a great place because they have a huge selection of new and close out skis plus they have a fairly large and knowledgable staff. Smaller shops are fine but shop around because sometimes you'll find that sales people will try to sell you something that THEY want to sell rather than what you really need.

    You're looking at a good time because of close out sales and toward the end of summer there will be lots of tent sales as well. Take your time. When in comes to finding the right ski or boot IMHO it's harder than buying a car what with all the variety out there. So be picky.
    Agreed tent sales during the summer are a good bet since they are clearing out previous years stuff. North Conway has several around July - August time frame. Also look on line since prices drop during the summer. That approach has worked out well for me. Evo.com is one place to look and you can talk it through with them over the phone. Advantage - no driving around.
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  5. #5
    Boots are not the place to try to save a buck IMO. Find a good shop that can help you fit your boots and do it right.

    Demo a few skis ... Once you are on some new technology stuff, you will never put you 15 year old skis on again. If you are a "one ski in your quiver" guy like me, try out the K2 AMP Rictors. I've been pretty happy with them. You will find they are better than your 1080's in the bumps and trees (I had 1080s) and they do pretty well carving as well. I'm sure other brands will have similar stuff too.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by six50joe View Post
    Thanks Abubob, I am obsessively picky about my gear. It's rare for me to get a purchase wrong. In this sport though it starts to feel exhausting. I guess that's why I put it off for so long . As to my preference I love variety and I like to ski all types of terrain. I will continue to use my 1080s for moguls and trees. I really enjoyed the redster on groomers, significantly more so than the other demos I tried. My question is more about whether I'd be buying skis that only expert racers can utilize properly per their design.
    A race ski is going to be much less forgiving than a more recreational "carving" ski. It also is stiffer than your typical carving ski and thus you might not be able to flex it properly unless skiing pretty aggressively, but more importantly you will probably have a tougher time on it slash a ski you can flex the appropriate amount you will enjoy more.

    I obviously don't know how aggressive you ski, but I'd highly recommend a more race inspired ski or a gs ski with reduced flex. This years dynastar's speed course pro comes to mind or the volkl RTM 84 or Rossi Experience 84. You might end up liking the redster more! But I'd recommend trying a carving ski geared towards the upper intermediate market.

    Having race training is not essential to utilize a race ski properly, some on this forum ski on race skis and love them, not a daily driver though

  7. #7
    I had a pair of boots for over 20 years. If you're only skiing 7 days a season 15 years is under 100 days on those old boots of yours. That said, you could probably use something stiffer at this point in your skiing life. Fit is everything.
    form is a 4 letter word

  8. #8
    hammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crank View Post
    I had a pair of boots for over 20 years. If you're only skiing 7 days a season 15 years is under 100 days on those old boots of yours. That said, you could probably use something stiffer at this point in your skiing life. Fit is everything.
    With boots it's more than the number of days...the plastic only has a certain lifespan. That said, even if the plastic isn't ready to shatter, the boot technology has to be better than it was 15 years ago. +1 on the comment on fit.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by hammer View Post
    With boots it's more than the number of days...the plastic only has a certain lifespan. That said, even if the plastic isn't ready to shatter, the boot technology has to be better than it was 15 years ago. +1 on the comment on fit.
    All plastics are not alike , have a set of ski pole grips that are 30 yrs old and are like new, had a set if Daleboots whose buckles cracked after 3 yrs and liners fell apart after 4 yrs.

    My Boots are 10 and are pretty beat but hate to give up on them , lots of outer wear from hiking mileage, Been hunting on Ebay for a used set , Dalbello custom NX 8.3 size 8.5 if anybody has some.
    Plastics ok yet but liners are a little compressed. Bought a set of Intution liners but just not the same.

    Using old boots is a roll of the dice , some vids on youtube of shattering while skiing, I quests you could rent a set temporarily if you had an issue .

  10. #10
    Thanks all. For new skis, maybe I won't be able to flex the redsters well enough to utilize them the right way, as of today. I'm ok with buying equipment Is somewhat beyond my ability. It gives me the goal of working it to the next level. If it's in a whole other other ball park though it's a different story. I guess it will come down to whether or not I can find the redster length I want at a really good price in the off season. If it doesn't happen, I'll start demoing again next season.

    Boots are another story, I don't want to screw that up. I'll probably wait until the shops are well stocked before next season starts and spend a full day trying them out.

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