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East Coast One Ski Quiver Help

Slow

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Now that my kids are getting up to speed and looking to ski all over on and off the mountain I am coming back to Alpine from Tele (where I spent the last decade).

I have done the homework and am running out of days to test the rest. I am hoping somebody who knows more about skis and ski construction can make something of my results to date. Here is what I have skied and what I think I thought. Unfortunately, I have not had multi-skis on the same day I have had to try skis on successive days and weekends so conditions varied. These are in order based upon when I skied them.

I am an Advanced/Expert skier who tends to like the smaller classic N.E. trails, bumps and woods/out-of-bounds. I do not hike for turns but can end up on some long run-outs/traverses in search of fresh lines. Favorite spots in order are: Burke, Mad River Glen, Stowe...the rest (probably would include Jay and Sundayriver in the rankings but haven't been to either in the last 20 years). I am 39, 5'11", 185# and active. Because this is N.E., and because I like to ski with my wife 50% of the times, while l like the woods, narrow trails, and secret staches, I end up carving nice big GS turns on groomers (which is why Burke beats out MRG) 50% of the time.

Nordica Steadfast (178: Skied them at Stowe in mid-January. Loved carving steep groomers (that's where the snow was and we lapped all day one day) with these. I even got a rare day when Nosedive was buffed out...the ski was AMAZING on that stuff at some crazy high speeds blasting through chopped up crud. I pointed, they went, no questions asked and no doubts. After skiing these, I thought all of these new (wide) skis were going to "crush" all over the mountain...I was wrong (more on that later)

There was not much snow so, the bumps were small and soft for the most part (so not a great test) but the ski seemed to respond "well". But, when the bumps were better formed I found I bounced out of a couple of lines I thought I had. I also found I ended up blasting out of the bumps (at speed) rather than really skiing them. Never caused a probelm but made me feel like I was not totally in control. Trees were thin and I only had a buddy for a couple or runs but, my impression was ok in the woods but I missed a couple of turns I thought I had and stuffed the tips a couple of times. To be clear, the bumps and trees issues (if this doesn't make sense based on based upon what you know about the ski and my other comments) may have also been because it was early in the season.

Rossignal Experience 88 (@175): Skied them at Loon in late January. All skiing was on the trails. Fine for slower speed quick/slalomy turns but, did not like them, at all, at speed on the groomers carving GS turns (felt like they just were not enough ski). They did not have any redeming qualities in the bumps (I could not get them around on my own terms. I had to turn them when they wanted to turn). Did not like them in the soft snow at the trail edges (tips wandered). Never got them in the trees.

KS Hardside (181): Skied them at Burke during my kids February vacation. They were the first 98 underfoot that I skied. When I first got on them I had some trouble on the groomers (the uphill ski kept climbing up the mountain on me) but, that seemed to subside over the days. I never liked them quite as much as the Steadfasts on the groomers but I did find a way to get along with them making GS turns; just never got them to really carve and scoot out of a turn at speed and, never developed the same fearless confidence that I could blast anything with them with no concerns.

But, I liked the size while still being able to get them around quick in the bumps and trees. By the end of the week I felt like a hero in the bumps and trees on them. One thing I am unsure of is, there was not enough snow for big, troughty, steep, bumps. So, if I started stuffing them into real bumps, I do not know what would happen. When I did ski I could get up on top and blast right down East Bowl. I would like to think that would continue as the bumps got bigger and fiercer but, I do not know, I worry it might become too much ski in the bumps (and might ski more like the Bonfide when the bumps got big...below).

Dynasatar Outland (172): Skied at Mad River Glen the last weekend in February. Did not like them. Did not like them on slalom turns (coudn't get them to accelerate out of turns), did not like them at speed (just didn't trust them), did not like them in GS turns (did not hold an edge well), did not like them in the bumps (couldn't get them to hold a line so I could get on top...they seemed to want to tell me when the turn), did not like them in the soft snow in the woods (stuffed and sunk them everywhere). Did not like them.

But, had a great time because that mountain is great.

Blizzard Bonafide (180): Skied them at Sugrabush last weekend. I had done some reading and expected to jump on these and love them as something between the Steadfast and the Hardside (a lot of ski but great on piste too). On the lift up I told my wife they were demo/buy and, if I liked them, I might buy them. On the second lift up I said, nope not gonna happen.

They do not carve short/slalomy turns. They do not hold an edge well on big, hard, GS turns. I did not love them at speed as they seemed to wander and ski like much short skis (unlike both the Steadfast and the Hardside). In the bumps at first I did not love them. But, I put in some laps on the bumps and got them worked out. You have to ski them aggressively in the bumps. Really stuff them into the bump and flex out the front 1/2 of the ski or get your turns around very far and very quick when you get unweighted. Doing this gives you the speed control you need and allows you to pick your line. My problem is that I am too old to be this aggressive in the bumps. I am much happier sitting back a little and letting the quads do the work as I go across the tops in a nice controlled fashion. (but the bumps were big, well formed, and steep so my "having to work" may have been more a function of trail/conditions than skis).

Here is the dilema. I may get 2 more days. Any ski I still need to try based upon what I have said?

I clearly like the Steadfast and the Hardside but want that perfect ski that blends the two. Is it out there?

Would the Hell and Back ski like the Steadfast on mountain and the Hardside in the woods/bumps? Is there a Hardside equivalent that may ski like the Steadfast at speed and GS turns?

If someone told me more time on the Hardside and I would love it on mountain I would go for it. But, if I had one more day on anything I would go spend more time on the Steadfast in the woods and bumps to check my early impressions since I LOVED it at speed (was truly unreal how much I trusted that ski 3 runs in)


Thanks for your thoughts.
 

bdfreetuna

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Curious why you only seem to be looking at the newest model skis?

There is probably something made 2-5 years ago that fits the bill for you. You'd save a lot of money too.
 

deadheadskier

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One advantage with going new is the ability to demo, which is what the OP appears to be doing.

I've found it increasingly more difficult in the past 2-3 years to find decent "new" older model skis. 5-6 years ago it was relatively easy, but it seems like most manufacturers have really tightened up their inventories and there are fewer left overs.

OP - I have you tried the Rossi Experience 98? I've heard much better reviews on that ski than the 88.
 

BenedictGomez

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The best east coast one ski quiver I've thus far skied is the Line Prophet 90.

It's a great jack-of-all-trades ski, and I personally think 90 underfoot is a perfect east coast balance.
 

Blanton

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This sounds really similar to a lot of my friends that grew up on traditional skis and have looked at getting something new after being out of the game for quite some time. Most skis now really cater to helping the intermediate skier make weak turns on groomed terrain. What works for that is generally terrible for someone that knows how to carve a ski making different sized turns, hit bumps, trees, etc.

The few that have found a ski they are really happy with have ended up on the Blizzard Bushwacker.
 

Nick

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^A friend of mine demoed the Bushwackers at Sugarloaf during the AZ Summit (DJGlades!) and liked them a lot, subsequently purchasing them.

He is in Breckenridge right now, actually. I'll be interested in hearing his take on the skis.
 

steamboat1

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Surprised you didn't like the Dynastar Outland. I have the 80XT in 178 length & have been very happy with them. I'm about the same height & weight as the OP but almost 20 years older.
 

Cheese

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Powder - >100mm underfoot, soft, rockered tip and tail and >180cm in length (Pro: Great float and easy to turn. Con: Challenging at speed on hard pack or ice)
Bumps - <80mm underfoot, soft and <170cm in length (Pro: Light and quick turning. Con: Challenging at speed on hard pack or ice)
Slalom = <80mm underfoot, stiff and <170cm in length (Pro: Quick turning on hard pack or ice. Con: Challenging at speed on hard pack or ice)
Giant Slalom = <80mm underfoot, stiff and >180cm in length (Pro: Stable at speed on hard pack or ice. Con: Challenging to turn quickly)

Above are the things you're trying to do and the ski types I feel are designed to do it easily. What you'll notice are differences in widths, stiffness and length for each category that just don't mix. Honestly, I don't think you're going to find a ski that's quick and responsive on groomers, bumps and trees but is steady making larger GS turns at speed. There are fundamental design differences there. But, you're after an All Mountain Ski so I'll just leave you with the categories and let you decide which is most important to you.
 

wtcobb

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Line Prophet and Bushwackers were two models I was looking at before my new purchase a couple years ago. I'm a lightweight, so I went with Dynastar Legend 85s, but I would agree that 85-90 underfoot is perfect for east coast.
 

Gilligan

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I see a lot of Mantras and Kendos at Killington. To the OP, any reason why you did not test any Volkl's?
 

St. Bear

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I apologize for sounding like a broken record, but I love my Palmer Titanial All-Mountains. 89 underfoot, I think they really hit the sweet spot for the East Coast. 15" of chopped powder at Magic, 8" at Ragged, PP bumps at Wildcat and Cannon, they take it all like a champ. The only condition I would rate as "below average" is frozen groomers, but I'll gladly take it for the performance in other areas. Kind of hard to find, though.
 

yeggous

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You really need to decide what kind of conditions you want to focus on. You will not find a ski that holds a grips the bullet proof like a race skis and still has the float and forgiveness in the soft or choppy stuff.

I have Kastle MX78 that absolutely rail on the hard groomers. They hold to the bullet proof and love irresponsible amounts of speed. Get a cheater ski like this if you prioritize high speeds on ice. Blizzard Magnum, Rossi HP, Nordica Fire Arrow, etc.

I also have the Rossi Experience 88. No, it is not a GS ski. They are amazing in softer mixed snow. They are very agile, thrive in the crud, cut up snow, and spring conditions. Take a trip to Wildcat or Cannon when there is soft snow (heavier snow or yesterday's powder) and you will lots and lots of advanced skiers sporting E88s. I put these away when the snow is so hard I can't stick a pole in it, or gets more than ankle deep. Any ski with no metal and rocker tip and tail is purpose built for mixed snow and not hardpack. This is the ideal width for mid-season and spring conditions.

I have Nordica Enforcers which are like the Bonafide (lots of metal, 98 under foot). These are really hard charging skis. Want to straight line that chute or drop off that small cliff? This is the ski. Want to do icy groomers all day? Not the skis. I can't see having a ski this wide as my primary ski in New England. They really need to be driven hard on the hardpack.
 

andyzee

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You really need to decide what kind of conditions you want to focus on. You will not find a ski that holds a grips the bullet proof like a race skis and still has the float and forgiveness in the soft or choppy stuff.

I have Kastle MX78 that absolutely rail on the hard groomers. They hold to the bullet proof and love irresponsible amounts of speed. Get a cheater ski like this if you prioritize high speeds on ice. Blizzard Magnum, Rossi HP, Nordica Fire Arrow, etc.

I also have the Rossi Experience 88. No, it is not a GS ski. They are amazing in softer mixed snow. They are very agile, thrive in the crud, cut up snow, and spring conditions. Take a trip to Wildcat or Cannon when there is soft snow (heavier snow or yesterday's powder) and you will lots and lots of advanced skiers sporting E88s. I put these away when the snow is so hard I can't stick a pole in it, or gets more than ankle deep. Any ski with no metal and rocker tip and tail is purpose built for mixed snow and not hardpack. This is the ideal width for mid-season and spring conditions.

I have Nordica Enforcers which are like the Bonafide (lots of metal, 98 under foot). These are really hard charging skis. Want to straight line that chute or drop off that small cliff? This is the ski. Want to do icy groomers all day? Not the skis. I can't see having a ski this wide as my primary ski in New England. They really need to be driven hard on the hardpack.


I love the Enforcers on just about anything. When it get really hard and icy I'll breakout my Jet Fuels, only cause they handle it better, but the Enforcers do an adequate job.
 

Slow

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Thank you everyone. A few responses

First person's question: yes, they are all relatively new skis because that is what I can demo. I would love to save the money and go a couple of years old but, I have learned through this demo season that skis that spec/sound similar can be vastly different. The one thing I know for certain is I will have skied my next pair of skis before I buy them (off of the year before's/year end rack).

For the guy who speced out the ideals for each. I understand and agree with your point but, am pretty well resigned to needing a one ski quiver All Mountain Ski and simply dealing with some of the shortcomings. The 90 underfoot Nordica Steadfast was the best GS/High-Speed ski I have skied all season...bar none..it does not have metal and, by specs, it is not a "GS" ski (excpet the turn radius is long). I am also happy to slide my tails rather than carve my turns when I shorten up my turns to slalom.

A friend has the Volkl Mantras and LOVES them (his second pair): torsionally stiff with plenty of float and enough flex (for him) in the tip and tail. I would have demoed them if I found the day to get them in the right size. Reading on them (which I now only kinda listen to) I expect they ski a lot like the Blizzard Bonafide which prooved to be too stiff for my taste. A lot of reviews of the Mantra say you need to get aggressive with them and dont be undersized (at 5'11" and 185# I am just big enough for their 180ish ski)

Line Prophet 90s were were really the only other ski than the Mantra's (and maybe the Hell & Back) on the list but I did not get the chance to demo them either.

Thank you for the Blizzard Bushwaker looks like it might line up well.
 

BenedictGomez

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How about Line Sir Francis Bacons?

For one-ski east coast?

Those things are almost 110 underneath!

 

gmcunni

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i too am (was??) in search of the perfect single ski for east coast . did a bunch of demos last spring @ okemo

my short list was:
Atomic Alibi
Line Blend
Blizzard Bushwacker

but i think i'd give a lot of consideration to the blizz bonifide instead of the bushwacker as it is wider.
 
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