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kdaffy

16/17 mid fat reviews

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I was in the market for new skis this year to replace my 2011 Dynastar Sultan 85s.  I was looking for a OSQ to replace them that is good in everything I like skiing...trees when there is enough snow, steeps, bumps, and rip groomers as well, so I needed a do it all type ski.  

Short Reviews of my demo's:

 

Rossignol Experience 88 HD, 180 cm; 135 - 88 - 124

Location: Wachusett Mountain

Conditions: Powder/Groomed Powder, mountain reported 16" that day

If I had to sum up this ski in a phrase, i would say its a decent all mountain ski with a carving bias.  Handled all but the deepest powder that day with aplomb, quick turning, solid at speed, and just loved to be tipped on it side and rip GS turns, but equally capable on bumps and various turn sizes.... Decent float in the powder.  At the end of the day I was wondering why I would want a wide carver. 

Head Monster 88, 177cm; 133 - 88 - 114

Location: Wachusett Mountain

Conditions: Spring conditions...april in february

One phrase sum up...decent ski to go everywhere in any condition. They can do everything OK, but nothing excellent...reminds me of the sultans in this regard (but they ski totally differently). Seems like you need to get over the skis and push em, and really tip them (especially inside ski) to get them going.  This would be a great ski for someone who has an off piste bias (60/40 maybe), and doesn't dream of carving groomers all day long.  not as quick turning as other options, but overall a very capable  go anywhere ski.

Kastle MX89, 180cm; 129 - 89 - 113

Location: Wachusett Mountain

Conditions: Spring conditions...april in february

They are what everybody says they are, great for aggressive all-mountain skiers, folks who demand the ski on their feet to be smooth on any part of the mountain, and are willing to pay for it..Except, not for me, as im not on my game 100% of the time, and you need to be 100% of the time to make the most of these skis. Great edge grip, very powerful, but require an equally competent driver, 100% of the time.  I think if I were buying skis 7 years ago when my days were multiples of what I get now, my search would have ended with the MX, but alas I am down from 60+ days to <20, with a few sparse years in between

Stockli Stormrider 88, 180cm; 127 - 88 - 113

Location: Sugarbush 3/18

Conditions: Bluebird day, no wind, post Stella remnants, soft snow, bare patches, hardpack, ice...you name it, they had it (except for really deep pow).

They handled everything I threw at them, and when i did get a little lazy, they would give me a friendly reminder rather than the Austrian punch I got from the Kastles.  Great edge grip (although the tune wasnt to my preference, cant wait to try them once i've had mr skimd work his magic), quick turning, handled (excelled!) everything from bumps to the trees to high angle carved GS turns, to short turns without any complaints.  Definitely what I was looking for; a do everything ski for sure.  Highly recommend, and I've put my money where my mouth is.

 

Other skis I was interested in but didnt get a chance to test:

Blizzard Quattro

Blizzard Brahma

Volkl RTM

Salomon QST

Nordica NRGy

 

I think all the skis I tried will be carryovers for next season or NGT.

What did you try this season?  Lets get some gear stoke going!

Edited by kdaffy
typo

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The RTM 84 I've heard is the real deal, though I have yet to try it. Potentially the NRGy series is up your alley, my cousin skis the NRGy and likes it a lot. 

I tried and picked up an old pair of used Volkl Kinks (122, 89, 112 twin tip) to be used as rock skis after my previous rock skis bit the dust at an inopportune time (my other skis were too new to warrant rock ski use). They are actually a great ski to boot. Handle powder, bumps, trees nicely, and happen to carve well too.

I also tried the Nordica Enforcer 93 (124, 93, 112) and LOVED it. This will be the next ski I buy I think. I tried them on a demo day at Ragged. There was no fresh snow, but they handled tracked out trees just fine, hard bumps wonderfully, and could maintain an edge on a mid-February groomer just fine. This is the first Nordica I've ever tried and I did not find the ski burly at all (a critique I've heard of other Nordica skis), but it never seemed too soft on a groomer either. 

I got a chance to ski the Blizzard LatiGo (115, 78, 102) the demo tent did not have any Brahmas which is what I wanted to try). I found it a little soft for icy groomers, but felt great in bumps and trees. Compared to a wider ski it handled ice in the mogul troughs and trees better. I can clearly see where this ski could fits into someone's quiver.

I also tried the Head Strong Instinct Ti (130, 83, 115) for a day out west and was surprisingly impressed. It held to western carvers reasonably okay, though got choppy at higher speeds, handled 6" of untracked in the trees decently, and bumps were good. Overall it is a decent intermediate ski that does a bit of everything. I cannot speak to how it handles ice though.

Finally I tried the Kastle FX85 (119, 85, 108) and really enjoyed it, also out west. I thought it was a huge improvement over the Head that I skied the day before. It had superior float while not compromising any turn initiation or stability. I also found this had a little bit of a speed limit, but I'm also used to race skis in terms of stability at speed. The ski was quite nimble on the steeps, in the trees, and in bumps. I think the Nordica e93 slightly edges it out, however I have not tried the e93 in powder. 

 

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Thanks for the reviews!

I'm surprised that the Latigo felt nice in the ungroomed. It's a bit narrow for a backside ski. I never really understood what it's purpose in the market is. The Brahma, on the other hand, is clearly targeted right down the center of the All-Mountain East category. I thought it was a solid ski that handled the hard pack capably

I bet the Kastle FX85 was nice. The FX series has a good balance to the flex, whereas the MX are really dedicated carving machines. I used to have a pair of MX78s, and those things really hauled. They were very stiff and you had to drive them or else. They really only woke up at top speed.

I've heard nothing but good things about the entire Enforcer line. I went to a demo day with the new 2017-18 skis from several manufacturers. The standout of the day was the Nordica Enforcer 110. A ski that wide has no business carving as well as it did. I also tried the Nordica Enforcer 110 Pro, which was the same but even stiffer.

I tried out a wide assortment of 2017-18 mid-fat skis (Volkl Kendo, Blizzard Brahma, Atomic Vantage 90, Elan Amphibio 88, Dynastar Legend), and to be honest nothing stood out to me. They were all very capable. Maybe in capable hands there really isn't much of a difference between skis in this category.

I also went out looking for a new beer league ski. The reps didn't have much to offer, but the K2 Super Charger didn't suck. I never thought that K2 of all companies would produce a decent race-oriented skis. Typically the Head Supershape series would be my first instinct, or the Rossignol Hero LT.

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1 hour ago, kdaffy said:

Rossignol Experience 88 HD, 180 cm; 135 - 88 - 124

Location: Wachusett Mountain

Conditions: Powder/Groomed Powder, mountain reported 16" that day

If I had to sum up this ski in a phrase, i would say its a decent all mountain ski with a carving bias.  Handled all but the deepest powder that day with aplomb, quick turning, solid at speed, and just loved to be tipped on it side and rip GS turns, but equally capable on bumps and various turn sizes.... Decent float in the powder.  At the end of the day I was wondering why I would want a wide carver. 

Head Monster 88, 177cm; 133 - 88 - 114

Location: Wachusett Mountain

Conditions: Spring conditions...april in february

One phrase sum up...decent ski to go everywhere in any condition. They can do everything OK, but nothing excellent...reminds me of the sultans in this regard (but they ski totally differently). Seems like you need to get over the skis and push em, and really tip them (especially inside ski) to get them going.  This would be a great ski for someone who has an off piste bias (60/40 maybe), and doesn't dream of carving groomers all day long.  not as quick turning as other options, but overall a very capable  go anywhere ski.

The Rossignol Experience 88 remains one of my favorite skis. There is something about the moderate flex and sidecut profile that really appeals to me. In a questionable situation, this is my weapon of choice.

I also own the Head Monster 88. I find this ski to be a stiff charger. In spring conditions it can rip as it likes to bust open the piles. If things get too soft toward full mashed potatoes, I'll move to something wider like my Nordica NRGY 100 which is my go-to spring ski. Back to the Monster 88... I find it hard, flat snow oriented. If I take it into firm bumps or narrow chutes it is a bit much for me to really thrive. Perhaps that indicates I am more of a finesse and less of a power skier.

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I'm reasonably certain the Brahma will perform better in the ungroomed, but the Latigo took scratchy ungroomed well. If it were spring conditions or powder chop, I wouldn't want that ski.

I would use the latigo for January or February days on the east coast where it hasn't snowed for a few weeks so trees and bumps are getting a little scratchy. I too consider myself more of a finese skier in the ungroomed, so the nimbleness of the ski appeals even if I can't drive it 100mph through chop. If I saw it cheap i would consider pulling the trigger.

K2 got its fame from fiberglass race skis right? I haven't heard much about their race ski line since Phil Mahre retired though.

I probably need a heavier mid fat ski, maybe something like the monster 88, or maybe the enforcer would do the trick in heavy spring conditions. I don't have a ski that can really bust open piles but still float a bit on top of the mash. 

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19 minutes ago, Jully said:

I'm reasonably certain the Brahma will perform better in the ungroomed, but the Latigo took scratchy ungroomed well. If it were spring conditions or powder chop, I wouldn't want that ski.

I would use the latigo for January or February days on the east coast where it hasn't snowed for a few weeks so trees and bumps are getting a little scratchy. I too consider myself more of a finese skier in the ungroomed, so the nimbleness of the ski appeals even if I can't drive it 100mph through chop. If I saw it cheap i would consider pulling the trigger.

K2 got its fame from fiberglass race skis right? I haven't heard much about their race ski line since Phil Mahre retired though.

I probably need a heavier mid fat ski, maybe something like the monster 88, or maybe the enforcer would do the trick in heavy spring conditions. I don't have a ski that can really bust open piles but still float a bit on top of the mash. 

If you like a slashy finesse ski, try some Libertys. I really like the weight of bamboo core. I have the Liberty Sequence (95 underfoot, directional twin tip), and those things dance through the trees and ungroomed. It's my favorite for the day after a storm when I'm going into the woods. Unfortunately for that same reason they tend to take a beating from me.

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1 minute ago, Flying Yeti said:

88-89 is mid fat? I thought that waist was racing ski width. 

I get what you're saying. I consider that to be a frontside oriented ski for sure.

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Kidding of course. I think if more people tried bigger (100+) they would realize fat skis can really do it all. Even in New England hardpack. 

Edited by Flying Yeti

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I raced on my sultan's so maybe mid 80s is the modern racing ski width...

 

My new sticks for next season, gonna mount them on attack 13.

.

IMG_20170425_200102.jpg

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2 hours ago, Weatherman said:

If you like a slashy finesse ski, try some Libertys. I really like the weight of bamboo core. I have the Liberty Sequence (95 underfoot, directional twin tip), and those things dance through the trees and ungroomed. It's my favorite for the day after a storm when I'm going into the woods. Unfortunately for that same reason they tend to take a beating from me.

I'll put that on my list to try for sure. Know anyone offering Liberty demos in the area? 

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This is great! I'm also replacing a Sultan 85's I think it was 2009-2010 (the one with the stormy looking graphics) I recently bought the Motive 95 at 180 and love them, edge to edge I didn't feel much difference and they are so smooth, soft early rise tips, great carvers, but they aren't great on icy, end of day mashed potatoes. To compliment them I'm thinking of grabbing a pair of Monster 83 at 170 length (the 170's has a 82 waste and 16 turning radius). I hope they bust end of day crud and have a good top speed while being decent in trees with it's turning radius and reported forgiveness and performance at slower speeds. I can't wait to try them out next season! Anyone have experience on the 83's?

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2 hours ago, Blikkem said:

This is great! I'm also replacing a Sultan 85's I think it was 2009-2010 (the one with the stormy looking graphics) I recently bought the Motive 95 at 180 and love them, edge to edge I didn't feel much difference and they are so smooth, soft early rise tips, great carvers, but they aren't great on icy, end of day mashed potatoes. To compliment them I'm thinking of grabbing a pair of Monster 83 at 170 length (the 170's has a 82 waste and 16 turning radius). I hope they bust end of day crud and have a good top speed while being decent in trees with it's turning radius and reported forgiveness and performance at slower speeds. I can't wait to try them out next season! Anyone have experience on the 83's?

Yeah, it's time to replace those. The Sultan will make good rock skis. How many days per year do you ski? Is it worth building a quiver? I'm a big proponent, but the number of days you get out and where will dictate the size and focus of your quiver. But quiver theory is an entirely new thread.

I didn't try to Monster 83, but think it's a viable option for you. It's definitely frontside oriented, and dials back the stiffness a bit compared to the Monster 88. All of this makes it a better option for an intermediate skier. At long as you have a 95 mm option (the Motives), I wouldn't worry too much about performance in the ungroomed.

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This is great! I'm also replacing a Sultan 85's I think it was 2009-2010 (the one with the stormy looking graphics) I recently bought the Motive 95 at 180 and love them, edge to edge I didn't feel much difference and they are so smooth, soft early rise tips, great carvers, but they aren't great on icy, end of day mashed potatoes. To compliment them I'm thinking of grabbing a pair of Monster 83 at 170 length (the 170's has a 82 waste and 16 turning radius). I hope they bust end of day crud and have a good top speed while being decent in trees with it's turning radius and reported forgiveness and performance at slower speeds. I can't wait to try them out next season! Anyone have experience on the 83's?


It sounds to me like you should demo the M83 before you buy. Generally speaking a wider ski like your 95s are going to handle mashed potatoes better than something narrower. There's just more surface area to push the loose snow around.

If ice performance is really what you are after than yes, narrower and stiffer is what you should be looking at. I haven't skied them, but from everything I've read the Head Titan or Rally would be a better choice than the M83 for hard snow.

Sent from my XT1565 using Northeast Mountain Sports mobile app

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Just now, deadheadskier said:

 


It sounds to me like you should demo the M83 before you buy. Generally speaking a wider ski like your 95s are going to handle mashed potatoes better than something narrower. There's just more surface area to push the loose snow around.

If ice performance is really what you are after than yes, narrower and stiffer is what you should be looking at. I haven't skied them, but from everything I've read the Head Titan or Rally would be a better choice than the M83 for hard snow.

Sent from my XT1565 using Northeast Mountain Sports mobile app
 

 

Those Head iSupershape series are excellent carvers. Frontside carvers and spring skis are very different animals. The attributes that make a good carver (sidecut, square tail, stiff flex) are counter to a spring ski (early rise, moderate to stiff flex, 100mm-ish width).

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I would love to pick up a set of the Rally's as a hard snow ski for Wildcat, they're just hard to find a deal on. I typically try and keep my total cost for a set of skis and bindings under $500. I have seen the 15-16 Rally's for $600 with bindings, but those didn't have the graphene yet in their construction.

Sent from my XT1565 using Northeast Mountain Sports mobile app

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2 minutes ago, deadheadskier said:

I would love to pick up a set of the Rally's as a hard snow ski for Wildcat, they're just hard to find a deal on. I typically try and keep my total cost for a set of skis and bindings under $500. I have seen the 15-16 Rally's for $600 with bindings, but those didn't have the graphene yet in their construction.

Sent from my XT1565 using Northeast Mountain Sports mobile app
 

Yes, you want to wait until you find the new 2017s. I've seen deals on the Titans, but not the Rally. I haven't tried the full spectrum, but my understanding that they are just variations with very similar construction and performance. The main differentiator seems to be subtle differences in width.

For a hard snow carver I have my Volkl Racetiger SL. My hangover carver is a K2 Rictor 82. Maybe after this weekend I'll update my signature to show off my quiver.

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On 4/28/2017 at 8:04 AM, Weatherman said:

Yeah, it's time to replace those. The Sultan will make good rock skis. How many days per year do you ski? Is it worth building a quiver? I'm a big proponent, but the number of days you get out and where will dictate the size and focus of your quiver. But quiver theory is an entirely new thread.

I didn't try to Monster 83, but think it's a viable option for you. It's definitely frontside oriented, and dials back the stiffness a bit compared to the Monster 88. All of this makes it a better option for an intermediate skier. At long as you have a 95 mm option (the Motives), I wouldn't worry too much about performance in the ungroomed.

I ski about 20-30 times a season, I would say I'm an advanced intermediate (on most terrain except powder and trees) if that makes a difference. I'm thinking giving the Monster 83 (I bought the 170's btw) a shot and start demoing <80 waste ski's and see where things fall. Maybe I'll find a better fitting narrow ski and sell the Monsters mid season. Maybe I (as I believe at the moment) will find the narrower skis too limited in their versatility even though they are great at what they are made for. I don't mind a little overlap if the overlap is something I like enjoy about both skis. I'm trying to set myself up for the long term where I won't even look at what the new hotness is every year.

 

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On 4/28/2017 at 9:37 AM, deadheadskier said:

 


It sounds to me like you should demo the M83 before you buy. Generally speaking a wider ski like your 95s are going to handle mashed potatoes better than something narrower. There's just more surface area to push the loose snow around.

If ice performance is really what you are after than yes, narrower and stiffer is what you should be looking at. I haven't skied them, but from everything I've read the Head Titan or Rally would be a better choice than the M83 for hard snow.

Sent from my XT1565 using Northeast Mountain Sports mobile app
 

 

Hey Deadheadskier,

Yes I've heard great things about the Titan and looking forward to demoing them. One of the things that makes me hesitant is they are reported to be not as great in trees as the M83's and I'm hoping to spend way more time in trees then on ice, the 170's are actually 82 waste at 16 turning radius which sounds good for small mountain, hard pack, also I hear the word smooth to describe them a lot and that is always welcome. The last and least important but still a little important is that I grabbed the M83's at a really great price (not much in terms of reviews online so maybe they didn't sell well) and would lose very little if I resell next season, the Titans are still close to full retail and unchanged for next season so I have time and prefer to demo those before dropping that type of coin. Blizzard Quattro 7.4 (middle in stiffness and demand of that line) is also on my list.

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29 minutes ago, Blikkem said:

Hey Deadheadskier,

Yes I've heard great things about the Titan and looking forward to demoing them. One of the things that makes me hesitant is they are reported to be not as great in trees as the M83's and I'm hoping to spend way more time in trees then on ice, the 170's are actually 82 waste at 16 turning radius which sounds good for small mountain, hard pack, also I hear the word smooth to describe them a lot and that is always welcome. The last and least important but still a little important is that I grabbed the M83's at a really great price (not much in terms of reviews online so maybe they didn't sell well) and would lose very little if I resell next season, the Titans are still close to full retail and unchanged for next season so I have time and prefer to demo those before dropping that type of coin. Blizzard Quattro 7.4 (middle in stiffness and demand of that line) is also on my list.

The Titan is in a totally different caliber than the M83 or Quattro 7.4. But none of those skis are intended for the trees or ungroomed. I'd be sticking only to the groomers with them. They just don't have the width or tail profile that you want off piste.

Don't get hung up too much on the turning radius. All things being equal it makes it a more nimble ski, or the flex is equally if not more important. A slalom ski has a short turning radius, but you would never take them off the groomers. Likewise a short radius ski is not always the best for hardpack because the lack of stability at speed will catch up with you on the steeps.

I rarely consider depreciation / residual value when selling skis. If that is a concern, then a system ski (integrated binding) has a major advantage of having adjustable bindings. That will greatly expand your market.

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On 5/1/2017 at 3:27 PM, Weatherman said:

The Titan is in a totally different caliber than the M83 or Quattro 7.4. But none of those skis are intended for the trees or ungroomed. I'd be sticking only to the groomers with them. They just don't have the width or tail profile that you want off piste.

Don't get hung up too much on the turning radius. All things being equal it makes it a more nimble ski, or the flex is equally if not more important. A slalom ski has a short turning radius, but you would never take them off the groomers. Likewise a short radius ski is not always the best for hardpack because the lack of stability at speed will catch up with you on the steeps.

I rarely consider depreciation / residual value when selling skis. If that is a concern, then a system ski (integrated binding) has a major advantage of having adjustable bindings. That will greatly expand your market.

Maybe I neglected to clarify that I'm at the point where I'm only really comfortable on skied out, not very steep trees. I was hoping that I can improve on the M83 without giving up the hard pack groomer abilities. Of the three I've read the M83 to be the most versatile so I think they would be good for me for a while. If I start doing steeper softer tree runs then I could switch to something softer and wider. My main purpose for the M83 are groomers but with 20 percent use in packs out trees. 

At this point I'm probably about 90/10 or 80/20 groomers/trees (when the conditions permit). I'd probably be in them more often if I lived someplace where there is always snow in the trees. As I improve and my skills allow me to steeper, softer trees then I'll look into something else. 

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5 hours ago, Blikkem said:

Maybe I neglected to clarify that I'm at the point where I'm only really comfortable on skied out, not very steep trees. I was hoping that I can improve on the M83 without giving up the hard pack groomer abilities. Of the three I've read the M83 to be the most versatile so I think they would be good for me for a while. If I start doing steeper softer tree runs then I could switch to something softer and wider. My main purpose for the M83 are groomers but with 20 percent use in packs out trees. 

At this point I'm probably about 90/10 or 80/20 groomers/trees (when the conditions permit). I'd probably be in them more often if I lived someplace where there is always snow in the trees. As I improve and my skills allow me to steeper, softer trees then I'll look into something else. 

Given this context, I'm going to throw a curve ball at you. Get an all-mountain ski from K2. They are well known for forgiveness, and this translates to accessibility in the ungroomed. I learned to ski as an adult not so long ago, and the K2 Aftershock was the ski that I took off-piste for the first time. A trip to Sutton in packed powder, tracked out conditions is what really opened it up to me.

For an on-piste focus, get the K2 iKonic 84. For a soft-snow bias, look to the Pinnacle series -- perhaps the K2 Pinnacle 88. Neither of these ski lines is intended for expert skiers, and if you were telling me you were an experience skier looking for a ski that trips I would tell you to look elsewhere. For an advancing intermediate, I think they will help open up the mountain to you. And once you "get it" and reach that next level, these will become great rock skis for early season days when you're out of shape. You should not have a hard time finding these skis on sale over the summer. If you find some of last year's demo skis and bindings at a tent sale, offer them $300 as your final offer.

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On April 25, 2017 at 8:08 PM, kdaffy said:

I raced on my sultan's so maybe mid 80s is the modern racing ski width...

 

My new sticks for next season, gonna mount them on attack 13.

.

IMG_20170425_200102.jpg

you got those from Scott?? I have gotten a couple pairs of Kastles from him. good guy and good deals

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12 minutes ago, Brad J said:

you got those from Scott?? I have gotten a couple pairs of Kastles from him. good guy and good deals

We've got some high roller here. Stockli and Kastle buddies.

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