Volkl 5-Star with integrated Marker Bindings/Salomon Ellipse 9 Boot Review

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  1. #1

    Volkl 5-Star with integrated Marker Bindings/Salomon Ellipse 9 Boot Review

    I got to ski on my new gear Sunday for four hours at a very small local mountain in Warwick, NY (Mt. Peter). Very impressed with this small gem of a ski hill with its excellent grooming, great ski school/staff, friendly attitude and great programs for kids. Unfortunately it only has about 700 vertical feet to work with so a run takes all of 30 seconds or so, but at least it has some steep pitches for advanced skiers to enjoy, unlike some other tiny areas that don't.

    First a little background on myself: I'm 48 years old and while I have been on skis since age 8, I didn't ski for 8 years until two weekends ago due to back problems (several operations). My chronic pain lifted somewhat over the past year, enough for me to try to go out on the slopes-while swearing to myself to avoid bumps in the interest of preserving my somewhat fragile lower back. I'm 5' 11" and somewhat overweight now @ 200lbs. I consider myself to be an advanced skier - I cringe at the term 'Expert' if only because I know what a true Expert is, and that I am not. But I love high speed (25-50mph) cruising with super GS and GS turns. I also like to ski steeper slopes (the ones with widely spaced or few bumps) right down the fall line with short swing turns.

    The Volkl 5-Stars/integrated Marker bindings: I've skiied a ton of equipment over the years (skiing for 40 years) but NOTHING like these skis. They're only 175cm long, 30cm shorter than my last laminated skis, but that's considered longish for these new 'shaped' style skis that have swept the industry. I was laying out one Super GS turn after another on some serious hard pack at speeds of 30mph +, my inside ski off the snow and all my 200 lbs on the uphill edge of my outer ski, and those bad boys were carving turns like nothing I've ever skiied. No chatter or vibration no matter how hard I pushed them. When I went to short swing turns on steeper terrain, skiing straight down the fall line, they initiated turns instantly and effortlessly and never skidded out from under me. I even got into some gnarly junk snow and they plowed through it without a whimper. It was an incredible ski experience. I skiied so hard that my legs were rubber after 4 hours. I drove home with a big smile on my face.

    Salomon Ellipse 9 Boots: Excllent ski-edge feel, superbly comfortable. Absolutely the most comfortable boots I've ever worn. 10 or 15 years ago you'd have to sacrifice performance to get this much comfort in a ski boot. Salomon has integrated innovative technologies from snowboard boots and created a high performing boot that won't beat up your lower legs and feet.

    I've never had a new equipment experience quite this positive. I banged hard turns for 4+ hours, never fell (when I sat back or lost composure the boot/ski combo made it fairly easy to recover). The only time that I can remember being this juiced about gear was after a day of skiing deep powder in Grand Targhee Wyoming (1995) on a pair of 'fat' skis that they had lent us for the day when I went Snow Cat skiing there. That was a similarly revelatory experience. The difference is that I ski in the East on hard pack 99% of the time and I can use this gear every time I go out there. I had heard an awful lot about capped/shaped skis but the demos I had tried never quite lived up to that. I can honestly say that this ski/binding/boot combination elevates the level of gear excellence beyond anything I have ever experienced. I expected good things and had a gear revelation. That has only happened to me a couple of times in 40 years.

    One final note about Ski Barn in Paramus where we bought the gear, and about purchasing ski gear in general. Ski Barn took a lot of time to LISTEN to me and reccommended what turned out to be the PERFECT gear for me. They also spent a good hour helping us to pick out boots for my wife - she tried on four different models before settling on a women's version of the same Salomon boot I chose. No, their prices aren't always the cheapest around. But they are thoroughly professional about fitting you to the gear, and if you save $50 on boots and they don't fit right, you'll be miserable for years every time you ski. Skiing is expensive - the gear is the cheapest part - and I'd rather spend a couple of hundred bucks more and get the kind of advice and guidance that we received at SB. And their pricing is relatively competitive if not the lowest. But their service is about the best that I've gotten in the North Jersey/Southern NY area where I've lived - and shopped for ski gear - for several decades.

    Almost as if to underscore this point, I'm on the chairlift Sunday with this older gentleman who pointed out his new ski boots. "$80, great deal..." he says to me " but they hurt my shins right THERE -" pointing with his poll. I looked at him and I said - if they hurt you, how good of a deal WERE they? He looked puzzled at that question. My new boots by the way were like wearing a pair of friggin bedroom slippers - they didn't hurt anything.


  2. #2
    But I love high speed (25-50mph) cruising with super GS and GS turns. I also like to ski steeper slopes (the ones with widely spaced or few bumps) right down the fall line with short swing turns.
    you definitely got the right ski. i tried the 6stars earlier this year which i think are a little stiffer and less forgiving. they are quite the ride.
    -Steve
    TheSnowWay.com "Skiing is not a sport, it is a way of life." - Otto Schniebs

  3. #3
    Ski Barn told me that the 6 Star and Superstar would be stiffer. The 5 Star was more than stiff enough for me. Like a rock. I'm not sure why anyone would want something stiffer. The 5-Star struck me as great for high speed cruising (and again, I weigh 200lbs +) but didn't eject me in the limited bumps I ventured into. Very good and versatile ski. It's tough to get a ski that's good for everything, and even tougher when you can't demo everything. I don't like buying skis based on a 20 minute conversation with a ski shop employee, but this time it worked out.

    The only other shaped skis I demo'd recently were the Rossignol B1 and B2's. The Volkl blew them away.

  4. #4
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad
    Ski Barn told me that the 6 Star and Superstar would be stiffer. The 5 Star was more than stiff enough for me. Like a rock. I'm not sure why anyone would want something stiffer. The 5-Star struck me as great for high speed cruising (and again, I weigh 200lbs +) but didn't eject me in the limited bumps I ventured into. Very good and versatile ski. It's tough to get a ski that's good for everything, and even tougher when you can't demo everything. I don't like buying skis based on a 20 minute conversation with a ski shop employee, but this time it worked out.

    The only other shaped skis I demo'd recently were the Rossignol B1 and B2's. The Volkl blew them away.
    Welcome to the forum, Patentcad. I'm glad to see that you wrote a gear review and hope that it will help other posters. Thanks and see you on the boards!
    Live, Ski, or Die!


  5. #5
    Trailboss- thanks. At 48 years old with a bad back I wonder if I'm too old for this stuff, but watching Warren Miller ski @ age 76 in a 2002 ski film on satellite TV the other day made me realize that it's all in your head. I'm getting back into it because I want to share it with my kid - who is now 11 - before she gets any older. I regret that when she was younger - I originally wanted to get her on skis by age 5- my back was too painful to contemplate skiing again. Yes, I pay a price after a day of skiing in back pain for the week afterwards. But if guys with one leg can ski, so can I.

  6. #6
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad
    Trailboss- thanks. At 48 years old with a bad back I wonder if I'm too old for this stuff, but watching Warren Miller ski @ age 76 in a 2002 ski film on satellite TV the other day made me realize that it's all in your head. I'm getting back into it because I want to share it with my kid - who is now 11 - before she gets any older. I regret that when she was younger - I originally wanted to get her on skis by age 5- my back was too painful to contemplate skiing again. Yes, I pay a price after a day of skiing in back pain for the week afterwards. But if guys with one leg can ski, so can I.
    Well, at the very least, you can chat with all of us about it (cause we are all at work or at home wishing we were skiing... )
    Live, Ski, or Die!


  7. #7
    TB- Yep, the computer and all these Forums are my water cooler. I'm a self employed technical illustrator with a couple of employees, but I do most of my jawboning on bulletin boards like this one. Nice to find one for skiing...

    If you have any interest, check me out at:

    http://www.patentcad.com or http://www.cotsiscad.com

  8. #8
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad
    TB- Yep, the computer and all these Forums are my water cooler. I'm a self employed technical illustrator with a couple of employees, but I do most of my jawboning on bulletin boards like this one. Nice to find one for skiing...

    If you have any interest, check me out at:

    http://www.patentcad.com or http://www.cotsiscad.com
    Cool...and be sure to let us know of your ski adventures and heck, let us know if you ever want some ski buds...most of the folks in here can really rip!!
    Live, Ski, or Die!


  9. #9
    TB- How can I get a photo of myself skiing on the left side of each message like you guys have? I do have several photos that would be pretty cool. They're all 10-15+ years old, but we don't have to mention that part : ).

    I take it you're in Massachusetts. Where do you ski in VT/NH/NY? We will be doing the Bromley season pass thing next year with the family with occasional side trips to Stratton/Okemo/Killington. My kid will also be enrolled in the Mt. Peter learn to ski-race program for kids next year (local to us in Warwick, NY, about 8 miles from my house).

  10. #10
    Greg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad
    TB- How can I get a photo of myself skiing on the left side of each message like you guys have? I do have several photos that would be pretty cool. They're all 10-15+ years old, but we don't have to mention that part : ).
    It's called an avatar. Log in to your Profile and scroll to the bottom. You will find a section for uploading your avatar image. Please realize its width can be no greater than 100 pixels, the height no greater than 100 pixels, and the file size no more than 10 KB. If you need me to make you one Email your desired photo to me at contact@alpinezone.com and I'll set it up for you.
    I ski double black diamonds.

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