Philpug

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..of Finesse to Power. We know all race skis are not created equal and all have their own feel which is somewhat subjective.

Categories:
Slalom
Giant Slalom

Brands:
Atomic (2)
Blizzard (1)
Rossignol (3)
Fischer
Head
Nordica (1)
Stockli
Volkl

TBD:
Bomber
Croc

(1) Blizzard & Nordica are the same skis
(2) Can include Salomon which is not offered in US
(3) Can include Dynastar which is not offered in US
 
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razie

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There is nothing finesse about the Head i.SL.RD 165 ... it requires manhandling and a lot of attention at the top of the turn - does that put it in the "power" category? The 160 is much sweeter.

The Atomic FIS 165 is really nice. I skied a softer one, a 37/27 and it's really nice to engage... I would say finesse, although it's really energetic as well.

Skied an Atomic 158 and a Fischer 158 as well and they are sweet - I would put them in the finesse category, although they're got lots of power - I don't think there's a FIS SL to be lacking in the power category...?
 
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Levy1

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Had the chance to demo the Head Rebel cheater line last year. Skied the rebel SL in 165 and rebel I speed GS in a 180. I immediately decided to sell my whole quiver and over the summer I have acquired both pairs. I bought the SL in 170 for eastern skiing.
 

Brian Finch

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I picked up the 168 Head Slalom for old man terra firma eastern skiing ; beast.
 

Levy1

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I'm assuming you mean a FIS ski since it is a 168?
 

cbk

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My 06/07 165cm Volkl Racetiger SL/WC skis I really like, and I also really like my 06/07 183cm "civilian" Volkl Racetiger GS (21m) skis; I've spent entire days on both of them. My 08/09 Volkl Racetiger GS/WC (27m) skis not so much...

That's all I have experience with as far as recent skis go. I had a pair of 02/03 Atomic LT:11m GS skis that were fun, and a pair of 05/06 Atomic GS:11 skis that were fun too...

"Back in the day" I had some Rossi 4S and 4SK skis, and a pair of Atomic ARC RS (RiesenSlalom, or GS) skis in the late 80s that I put to good use...
 

Swede

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This is the subject of the day in JR racing. Of every day actually. I find it interesting how it changes over time and how rumours and hear-say becomes "truths". For years I heard that Fischers were stiff mofo's and that only big and strong kids could handle them. And word on the street said Rossi/Dynastar were flexier and more suitable for light youngsters. I bought it and since my daughter is petit we went with the French. Now I have a pair of Fischer RC4 SL 145 cm in the basement and last night I hand flexed them and compared them to my daughters last season 146 cm FIS Hero SL. To my surprise the Rossi ski feels w a y stiffer. I mean it is quite a noticable difference. Either hand flexing is useless to tell how a ski skis, or ... what you hear people say ismany times old truths. Perhaps a combination of the two. Anyways, Rossi and Dynastar has been good. In spite of her petitness.
 
Thread Starter
Philpug

Philpug

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It is also interesting on how flexes change from size to size. Go in and try to flex a Rossignol junior SL in a 129...it can't be done. I will also add, I question if these smallest of sizes should even have plates at all.
 

ScotsSkier

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OK. GS skis first. And this is predominantly based on the current FIS W 188/30s since that is what I have the most extensive dat on, but, based on other experience with 23/25/27m skis it install pretty relevant in terms of brand characteristics. I might also suggest that a scale of finesse to power may not be the best lens since in this category they all are broadly similar in performance. All perform best with strong pressure on the forebode of the ski and good angles. To get the best results in gates, these really demand a,n early transition high turn shape and the turn more or less completed as you come past the gate,. This allows you to start the new switch earlier and the (relatively) softer flex on all the skis in this category really smooths out the ride and reduces chatter in the carp/ruts below the gate. The high entry and early switch is also an element of this as it means you are not still fighting trying to apply pressure in the ruts below the gate so you dont waste energy getting bounced about and it gets a lot smoother

Blizzard - probably the stiffest (relatively) in this category. Definitely a powerful ski, takes a bit more effort and strength to drive turn initiation (especially on tighter sets <23m) but once you start the turn it is strong and smooth all the way through (partially i suspect a product of the marker Piston plate) and doesn't get bounced around so you can start early switch (transition) as you come past the gate. Works best for a more experienced athlete who can work a high turn shape My current favorite and my race ski for (most of) last season.

Nordica. For GS skis the Nordica and Blizzard, while sharing some DNA, are not actually the same ski. Similar but different. The Nordica has an extended plate up front, a bit like the previous gen Blizzard power arm, and in 188/30 is slightly softer than the Blizzard and as a result a little bit easier on turn-in, perhaps with slightly less power but here (as with all the category) we are talking about very small degrees of difference.

Head. Now this will probably surprise lots of people, but Head is NOT a super stiff flex!. Surprisingly they are at the softer end of the spectrum. This does NOT mean though that they give up anything on edge grip. the days of requiring super stiff flex to get lateral grip are long gone. Please remember this! Being able to bend and flex the ski is THE most important aspect. In fact I would rate Head as one of the most user-friendly in the category as well as being one of the top performers. Great ski, inspires confidence and when you stand on it it goes.

Volkl. An excellent ski. One of my favorites as well. In the last few years Volkl have really stepped up their act in GS skis from being relatively soft but losing top end to being a top class contender. Turns in very well, holds through the turn and gives plenty of power. In some respects the best overall balance of the category wrt power/finesse. I raced on this in 14-15 season and also a couple of times last season when snow was soft and the easier initiation over the Blizzard made it a tactical choice.

Atomic. Again, possibly another surprise to people but not super stiff (at least not in medium or soft flex). Probably the quickest initiation of all these skis that I have tried. Just think about setting the edge and it is into the turn. Almost too quick at this for me as I like to be able to adjust the turn-in a little bit more to suit the set and the conditions. Great grip and smooth through the arc. Flex on them got a bit stiffer nominally last year when they went to a proper sandwich construction rather than the fake cap but feel remained pretty similar and perhaps a bit livelier

Fischer. Prior to last season I would have placed these as the stiffest and (IMHO) the hardest work in the category. the tip flex on these was a lot stiffer and i found them much more work to initiate. Last season however Fischer went a lot softer in the forebody of the ski across their GS range which was a definite improvement and made for better performance across a wider spectrum rather than being oriented towards rock hard conditions. Great power as always with Fischer provided you can stay on top of them. I have only had very limited time on the latest versions but initial impressions are that they have become much more useable

Stockli. Solid ski, good turn initiation, super stable, plenty of power. Have tested it with the Atomic/Salomon plate. Would like to try it with the marker piston combo to see if it made it a bit more lively.

Rossi/Dynastar. Not noodles like Rossi of old but more like Volkl in flex. Again very easy turn initiation. My only reservation is that int feels almost like too much early rise in them (all of these skis have an element of early rise in the tip). While it never lets go it doesn't feel quite as solid as one others to me.

Overall however, very little to choose between all of these. The differences are minor and more about feel than performance. Plate also makes some of the difference. I do like the marker piston set up with Comp 20s. If the skis were being supplied, rather than being self-funded I would happily race on any of them.
Obviously i have some affinity for Blizzard in GS as they have been pretty successful for me in the last few seasons and have given me all my bets results. IF I could get hold of some real deal Heads (Euro supplied) i would be very tempted to go there though.! (Are you listening Head?:) Unfortunately my source for real deal head slaloms was on the 195/35 GS ski ...... I do have some of these for playing about on this year though so more to come!

Hope this helps. And in advance of the ScotsSkier annual clearance I can divulge that I will have Blizzard, Atomic and Volkl 30m skis available.....:)

Slalom to follow...
 

Muleski

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SS, GREAT info ^^^^^.

SS knows that my son is a U16 coach. Has just moved to head up a new program. We were chatting this morning, and he explained that he was far behind the eight ball in terms of equipment. He JUST made this change, an had been coaching in Europe until 10 days ago, so he really doesn't know these kids yet. Has had some conversations, has seen some video, etc. But he's had no input on skis and boots.

So I asked if he was concerned. His comments re the 188, 30M GS skis {which he will have every bigger boy skiing} is a carbon copy of SS's. He feels that every company makes very good skis. If he's given the opportunity to get involved {i.e. the skis have not already been bought}, he will have some thoughts, but there are no bad choices. In the spring, they'll approach this differently, they do some testing in hard snow, put some science into it, and have this sorted out a couple of months earlier. Have kids on their new stuff, if at all possible in the summer. And have kids on what truly works best for each one.

But yeah, nearly identical comments to those ^^^^^. hard to find skis that are not good. And he's had some very small and light skiers who have ripped on Head, after overcoming fathers who insisted that they "were too stiff." No, some of the old legends opinions of various ski brands is ancient history these days.

He's much more concerned with making sure that these kids are in the right boots, which means the right fit, flex, mechanics and alignment. And once again, a lot of good boots, heavily dependent on your foot, and physiology. Only has a couple that he pretty much will redline out, like the Fischer SOMA. Has had to do a TON of work on Atomic boots for younger women in particular to get them dialed. Big fan of a few boots that the average race shop swears do not exist in this country. Getting off track, sorry. Fitting race boots for highly skilled young ladies, 14, 15, 16 is a skill. Knowing what's truly out there and having the contacts to source it helps.

And the boots make the skis work. Might be something to keep in mind. One has to compliment the other.

His overall comment is that SO much of this material is really good. Better than ever. The regular race stock stuff, for this age group, will work very well for most. And yeah, sometimes the financial deals for families swing the direction, too. It's not like it was 15 years ago, when he was their age. Back then it was pretty easy to be fully comp'd , and to be on lousy stuff. And the real deal skis were SO much better that you did everything possible to get on them. Normally bought them in Europe, out of the back door of various race rooms. Differences are less pronounced today.
 
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hbear

Out on the slopes
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698
At the FIS category I too find all the manufactures making a great ski. And then mainly coming down to personal feel. At the GS length I personally find them to be more similar than at the SL length where while all good, have greater differences (again coming down to personal feel).

I happen to like Head for my GS ski and Rossi for my SL.
The Head iGS RD I found to have plenty of edge hold but also didn't kick my butt when I am late or off optimal line. (E.g. Forgiving). Honestly all others I've tried aren't very much different, got a good deal on the Heads and do like the top sheet as well. :)

For SL I find the Rossi to have the same characteristics, lots of pop and edge hold but still user friendly. I find the Head SL to feel pretty balanced but also dead feeling. Fischer had a lot of snap and stiffer tails, could easily switch to them as well, but Rossi just feel like it's easier to be in the sweet spot.
 

Jimdh

Booting up
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Phil, you noted that Dynastar race skis are not offered in the US. Is that just FIS skis, or also Dynastar cheater GS skis? I need to replace my Speed Course Ti's - and was hoping to just duplicate with the newest Dynastar offering. thanks for your insight.
Jim
 

ScotsSkier

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Phil, you noted that Dynastar race skis are not offered in the US. Is that just FIS skis, or also Dynastar cheater GS skis? I need to replace my Speed Course Ti's - and was hoping to just duplicate with the newest Dynastar offering. thanks for your insight.
Jim
Think there are some misunderstandings here somewhere, Dynastar race skis are available here

for example
http://www.artechski.com/2017-dynastar-race-skis/
and
https://raceskis.ski-depot.com/products/skis?f[0]=field_brand%3A9
 

Erik Timmerman

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I'm looking at buying some FIS skis for my soon to be U19 daughter, and was looking for info on flex of the Fischer 158. This thread didn't have what I want, bu I will share what I do know. There are at least three flexes, 66, 64 and 62, this is the first two numbers in the serial number. Higher number is softer, I don't know what the units are, but they represent how far the ski bends when weighted the same amount. I think a 60 also exists. The men's skis are quite a bit stiffer, I think I've seen a 56 and I'm sure they come way stiffer than any ski I'd ever handle.
 

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