Snowcat

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Hi everyone! Looking for a ski recommendation for my friend's son and hoping you lovely people can help. He's graduated college, very athletic but a pretty new skier.

Here are the details:
  • Intermediate skier with just a few years of skiing...working hard to improve
  • About level 6 per Aspen Snowmass scale (https://www.aspensnowmass.com/while-you-are-here/see-all-guides/guide-to-lessons)
  • Lightweight ... 60-65 kg (say 140 lbs), 5'8"?
  • East coast - 70%/30% on / offpiste
  • Want it to be great on eastern hard snow and afternoon crud (not worried about performance in powder) ... they would just rent for powder
  • He's set up with boots and has even seen a bootfitter. I think they are 100-110 flex boots.
  • I suggested demoing skis but they say he doesn't have time to do this without a clear shortlist. That's where I'm hoping you all can help.
  • He's renting for the most part but has skied the following
    • Head iRally 2017: he really loved this but felt like it required a good amount of work to drive (due to the flex and his light weight?)
    • Head Experience 84 (non HD): he thought it was fine but thought it performed much worse than the Rally in hard snow and also didn't do well in the crud.
    • Experience 88HD: he thought these were fine but required much more work to tip on edge compared to the Rally.
What do you all suggest as a short-list for a ONE SKI QUIVER? I was asked because I'm also on the lightweight side (but unfortunately don't know that much about gear). I'm thinking it should be 75-85 but beyond that don't know what would be a good short-list that would perform as well as the Rally on hard yet be less work to drive and still be good in afternoon crud and could be used as a one ski quiver.

Does he look for a ski with a less stiff flex around the 80 waist size? Which ones? Are the navigator 80, the new experience 80 hd or 84 hd good options? What about the Nordica GT line or the Volkl RTM? Others?

I told them that he'd need to compromise if he went with one ski (great thread by the way!). Would appreciate your suggestions - thank you!!
 

Philpug

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Hmmmm. What about a previous generation Head Rally? It is a more relaxed, let the hair down version of the current Rally. Another ski that we had as a Steals & Deals last year is the K2 Charger, the little brother to the SuperCharger. Atomic Vantage X 80/83 are two additional options too.
 

jo3st3

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My take is this... buy a ski that's at least one level higher than you currently are at / want to be. If a person puts in any kind of time on the mountain, they are going to progress quickly. In one season people can go from beginner snow plowing green runs to carving black diamonds, so keep that in mind (otherwise you'll be upgrading after 6 months).
  • Head iRally 2017: based on the info provided, I wouldn't recommend this one at this point in time. Great ski, but It's a stiff carver, and if looking for an all mountain ski, this isn't really it.
  • Head Experience 84 (non HD): I would choose the 88HD over this if they are both in the running, as it's much better imo. The E84 will end up being a 6 months and sell if he really wants to get into skiing.
  • Experience 88HD: this is more of an all mountain ski with a little more torsional rigidity so it will keep up as he likely quickly progresses.
If these are the 3, I'd say E88HD

If you want to go outside those suggestions, the Nordic Enforcer 93 is probably the best all mountain east coast ski sold. I'm a little bias, given I own a pair, but I've tested enough at demo days, and have read enough reviews, and it lives up to the hype. The Head Kore 93 would also be interesting choice, and given his weight, might be a little more friendly and light to whip around the mountain. Also consider the Atomic Vantage 90 or similar as other good light options that are all mountain. I would stick in the 83-93 range to tackle all the east coast conditions.
 
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Snowcat

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@Philpug. Thanks for the suggestions for the older skis. Hard to keep up with skis let alone how they change through the seasons. They are going to buy him the skis as a delayed present so will be happy to have less expensive options.

@jo3st3. Thanks for your comments. Good reminder about buying a level up. Those aren't the short list...just the list for which he has any experience beyond the really basic rentals. Interesting to hear about the Kore 93. Will he find them easier to tip over than the E88HD? I think he wanted to like the E88HD but was spoiled by how much easier the iRally is to tip over into a carve. I don't know if it's the flex or the width or both.

Separately, given his feedback that he found the iRally easier to tip on edge than the E88HD and that he is an east coast skier, should he look on the narrower side? What about the Navigator 80? Will that be too soft even at his level / size?

Question: More generally, what about softer flex + narrower? Is that a bad idea for his situation?

Thanks again and please keep the ideas coming!
 

Tony S

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If you want to go outside those suggestions, the Nordic Enforcer 93 is probably the best all mountain east coast ski sold.
Sorry, but this does not at all fit the OP's stated requirements - 70% east coast groomers.

@Snowcat , what length were the Rallys that were too much work?
 

Tony S

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Separately, given his feedback that he found the iRally easier to tip on edge than the E88HD and that he is an east coast skier, should he look on the narrower side?
Yes. You are on the right track. Phil's suggestions are good. (I am the same size as your prospect and have 50 years' experience skiing the east.)
 

Philpug

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@Philpug. Thanks for the suggestions for the older skis. Hard to keep up with skis let alone how they change through the seasons. They are going to buy him the skis as a delayed present so will be happy to have less expensive options.

@jo3st3. Thanks for your comments. Good reminder about buying a level up. Those aren't the short list...just the list for which he has any experience beyond the really basic rentals. Interesting to hear about the Kore 93. Will he find them easier to tip over than the E88HD? I think he wanted to like the E88HD but was spoiled by how much easier the iRally is to tip over into a carve. I don't know if it's the flex or the width or both.

Separately, given his feedback that he found the iRally easier to tip on edge than the E88HD and that he is an east coast skier, should he look on the narrower side? What about the Navigator 80? Will that be too soft even at his level / size?

Question: More generally, what about softer flex + narrower? Is that a bad idea for his situation?

Thanks again and please keep the ideas coming!
The Charger and Vantage X 80 are still in the currect collections so it will be just a matter of finding them. The Nav 80 is a nice ski and will be a versatile 80mm option in this range and a ski that performs above it's price point.
 
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Snowcat

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Thanks for the additional thoughts @Philpug and @Tony S.

@Tony S:

They remember the iRally's to be in the 160s. At that length, he finds the iRally's to be work to drive and they are better when he has room to run, less so given his skill level when he needs to ski slower and there is lots of traffic.

Given your experience and size, it would be great to hear any other thoughts you may have for the shortlist!
 

Philpug

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Thanks for the additional thoughts @Philpug and @Tony S.

@Tony S:

They remember the iRally's to be in the 160s. At that length, he finds the iRally's to be work to drive and they are better when he has room to run, less so given his skill level when he needs to ski slower and there is lots of traffic.

Given your experience and size, it would be great to hear any other thoughts you may have for the shortlist!
Rallys were probably a 163. @Tony S is a great resource for you, he is about the size reference you need and is great at conveying the attributes of a ski.
 

Tony S

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They remember the iRally's to be in the 160s. At that length, he finds the iRally's to be work to drive and they are better when he has room to run, less so given his skill level when he needs to ski slower and there is lots of traffic.
Okay. That's good info. I just wanted to make sure he was not on the 170, which would be too much in that ski, and therefore not conclusive with regard to the suitability of the model. Presumably he was on the 163.

Given that, I'd step back to something less in the "performance carve" category, per Phil's suggestions. One ski worth looking for is a Blizzard Latigo. I think they stopped making it, but it would be a good fit and cheap if you can find a "new old-stock" pair. Because of the design, a 170 is probably not too long in that ski. Lots of grip, easy to tip, but the significant early rise makes it more forgiving. Good luck!
 

otisshirley

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Question: More generally, what about softer flex + narrower? Is that a bad idea for his situation?
I'm a similar build, and two skis I'd like to demo (although hard to find in these widths) are the Kästle LX73 (even though marketed primarily for women) and MX74. (We can't have a ski suggestion thread on this website without mentioning Kästle or Stöckli, of course.) I know the MX84 is way too stiff for the OP's friend, and the new LX85 may be as well, but the MX74 and LX73 should be more flexible for the same construction simply by virtue of being narrower. So I'm curious if people have thoughts about them for people in our weight range.

Or, if you could find an old LX82, that might be perfect for the OP's friend. (I skied them for four days a few years ago and they were remarkably easy.)
 

jo3st3

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Sorry, but this does not at all fit the OP's stated requirements - 70% east coast groomers.
It was mentioned in the title and in the description they were interested in an all mountain ski that could be considered a "ONE SKI QUIVER". I don't think my suggestions are off the mark.

I ski east coast groomers 70% of the time as well, and I really like the Enforcers, as do many others. It's a ski that is seen very often in the east. They perform well on groomers, but can also handle a foot of fresh snow, making it a true all mountain ski.

The rally is not an all mountain ski imo. I also own the Rallys so I feel confident in saying that. Ever try skiing them off piste in a foot of new snow? They are purpose built skis that carve on corduroy really well. As part of a two ski quiver, it's an excellent choice.

If they want to compromise, and need a little less all mountain than groomer ski, perhaps the iTitans would be the perfect choice. The additional rocker will be more all mountain friendly when there is some fresh snow, but can still carve similar to the Rally.
 
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Josh Matta

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Rally ski fine off piste, as fun as the E93 no... but as long your not skidding it will not be to bad..
 
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Snowcat

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Sorry for being away for a while. I wanted to gather more information from them before posting back. Thanks for the additional suggestions. My friend (i.e., the parent) is buying the skis so want to keep it to a manageable budget. I'll pass those suggestions along. On the RTM 84, he was considering those but thought they might be as stiff as the Rallly. It's a little awkward trying to seek advice for someone else and acting as the go-between so I think I'll pass along your recommendations and suggest that he demo :).
 

crgildart

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I suspect the dilemma of ski is either a bit too hard to manage or doesn't bust crud or hold as well on hardpack will resolve itself as the kid gets more ski days under their belt and might pack on a couple more pounds. I added a couple after college. Trying longer versions of the softer (easier) ski or shorter versions of the beefier skis is also part of the equation. Those skis that PP and TS suggested would all be fine. Just keep in mind the kid is shooting up that learning curve so get a ski that they can "mostly" handle now instead of one they will outski after another 20 days or so under their belt..
 

Ptrqc

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Just have been using the Elan Amphibio XTi 84's in various conditions : can this see being a good ski for an aspiring intermediate (I consider myself quite experienced and don't feel these to be "not enough" ski for advanced/experts).

I typically like Head skis, and compared to the REV85's, the Elan's feel a bit more playful and find them at the same time better gripping on hardpack. Skis seem to have a broad sweet spot, easy to turn.

Would certainly see these as a versatile east coast ski.
 
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