Ski recommendations for a 70 year old (dad)

musicmatters

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I’m looking to get my father a new pair of skis for XMAS. He has skied most of his life and is a solid intermediate, but will go down double blue or easier blacks once in a while, is on the groomers 90% of the time, but isn’t afraid to hit a little powder, and I drag him into the sparse/easy tree runs once in a while. I have noticed that he has “slowed down” a bit in recent years, (I find myself waiting longer for him at the lifts at the bottom of the runs), is a solid skier but generally skis with some caution and not too fast. He takes a few trips out west every year, Utah/Colorado. He is 70 years old, 5’11” and 195lbs. He is currently on a 10 year old pair of Völkl’s.

I will probably get him to demo a few pairs from Cole Sports in Park City during a trip over XMAS. Recommendations on some things we should try out?
 
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Henry

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Think of the general category, not any specific models. You'll get some wide ranging suggestions. I'd suggest skis no more than 80 mm wide...it has been documented that they're easier to turn when the flotation of wide skis isn't needed. With his age and ability level, consider shortening a length to get softer skis. I'm a 100% fan-boy of Stöckli Laser AX (maybe 167 for him) for exactly the snow you describe--those are my grab & go skis for those conditions. You might also consider Head Supershape i.Rally or Supershape i.Magnum (163 or 170 in either), and there are others from all the usual brands. By the way, if you or your father is a vet, Jan's in Park City offers a 15% discount. About length...I'm a bit stronger skier than your description of your dad, and I pick skis one length less than the max for the line; I figure the longest are the stiffest for the biggest, fastest, strongest skier on the hill. I don't look much at the actual centimeter length. If I like one size down, he might do very well two sizes down from the max in that line. If you two get the chance, do try those size options. (My powder skis are 180, my everyday skis are 175, and my fun carvers are 165, all one size less than the max in each line, and they work great for me.)
 

tch

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I'm not sure I'd go as short as Henry is suggesting. Even at 70 years old, he's medium-tall and on the heavier side of average. Personally, I'd rather see him go to a softer ski in the right length than a stiffer ski on the short end. I do think Henry is right on about category. Perhaps you could find an "easier" frontside ski that is OK in chop. I think the Head Rally is a decent suggestion, as is the Stockli AX (though you might have to take out a 2nd mortgage on that one); you might also consider the K2 Ikonic 84, ti or non-ti, depending. A new ski that seems interesting here is the Dynastar Speed Zone 4x4 82. Others will have other suggestions.
 

JWMN

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I have a friend that fits your dad's description. He is on Rossignol E84's and loves them. They should be easy to find to demo. Be sure he demo's a few before buying!
Good luck and have fun!
 

François Pugh

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The advances in skis have come for skis meant for deep snow in tight trees. 10 year old carving skis and skis meant for groomed runs still work perfectly fine on groomers (unless they are truly worn out).

My suggestion is stop dragging him into the deep-snow tight-tree runs while he is skiing a carving/groomer ski. Buy him a tight-tree deep-snow only ski, and he will be dragging you into the trees.

A Head Rally is not a ski meant for deep snow and tight trees (unless the snow is frozen hard-pack). Get him something wide with rocker and don't expect him to take them out to enjoy the groomers. A Solomon QST or the latest edition of the Blizzard Bonified is 10 x easier, both in terms of skill required and effort required than the Head Rally in deep snow and tight trees, and in cut up week-old powder remains. For length, I agree with the weight method for a starting point, which puts him in 2nd longest length (of 4), then move up or down a length based on his relative speed (notice I make no assumption on how fast he skis due to his age or ability - you have to wait for him, but for all I know you could be the fastest skier on the hill).

Yes he can ski a groomer ski in deep snow. Yes he can ski a Head Rally in deep snow and tight trees. I did so two years ago. Heck, thirty years ago I skied SG racing skis in deep snow and tight trees. The Bonafide, Volkl 100-eight, and Elan Ripsticks I demoed were much easier than the Rally I demoed in the same week, and much more fun. A challenge is fun for some, but you can also have a lot of fun when you don't have to concentrate on technique and effort to the nth degree all day long.

If his old groomer skis are shot, get him two pairs of skis; It's about time he joined the modern age and got a quiver.
 

trailtrimmer

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What volkls is he currently on?

We can make suggestions till our fingers bleed, but he's much more likely to be happy with a more modern ski in the same class or an adjacent one. Sticking him on a 90mm ski if he's currently on a 72mm carver will certainly go over like a lead balloon as will the opposite.
 
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Slim

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+1 what @François Pugh said. But at the same time, maybe the wider skis are a bit hard (on the knees) on hardpack.

If easy (on the knees) on firm snow is a lus, but you still want easy in soft snow and trees, grab a pair of K2 Pinnacle 95ti while you can still find them. It consistently gets revived as ‘easy’ ‘smooth’ and escpially as punching above it width in powder.

https://blisterreview.com/gear-reviews/2018-2019-k2-pinnacle-95-ti


realskier.com has ‘silverskier’ awards that focus on smoother, less force required skis(but still some that will handle some very fast skiing).
 

Jerez

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I am def. not a gear expert, but I do know old men skiers. ogwink

70 is not THAT old! My DH is 76. He is probably a bit more adventuresome than your father, but may have fewer ski years behind him. He has a 2-ski quiver and uses a K2 Pinnacle 108 in a 170. He is 5'11" and 170 lbs, so 165 is too short for your Dad IMHO. He used it as his only ski for a few years, but recently bought a K2 Ikonic for hard pack days and just loves them. It really improved his groomer skiing too.

Bottom line, I agree with @François Pugh

You could find a ski that is more "all mountain" and forgiving in the 90 to 100 range that would make his excursions off piste more fun and still allow him to do well on the groomers. (Maybe a Liberty Evolv? @Ron ?)
 
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Ron

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If you are going to buy him a pair of skis I would suggest getting him a gift card and write up a note letting him know that your intent is for him to demo some skis and then pick a pair out, For what you describe, 85-90 is probably all he needs but not all 70 y/o are the same. I know of a lot of really good skiers at that age and @Jerez DH is a prime example. There are so many really good skis out there in that band width it’s really a matter of what personality of the ski more than ski performance. It seems like you aren’t really looking for a powder ski and it still needs to be good on the groomed. FWIW, the evol 90 just might be a great choice. Good suggestion @Jerez
 

Henry

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There are so many really good skis out there in that band width it’s really a matter of what personality of the ski more than ski performance.
Exactly. The quality of the various skis is tops. The feeling of each ski model--that's what makes each of us happy in our own unique way. Three rules for picking skis...demo, demo, demo.
...solid intermediate...is on the groomers 90% of the time...he has “slowed down” a bit in recent years...a solid skier but generally skis with some caution and not too fast...70 years old, 5’11” and 195lbs. He is currently on a 10 year old pair of Volkls....
All important observations. If his trend of slowing continues as he gets older, you might be putting him on his last pair of skis. All the more reason to find the ones that he really likes and will keep him happy for years to come. I hope he isn't brand-loyal. Volkls are great, but their current offerings, what's sitting in the shop racks when you're there, might not be his favorites. 10 year old skis will feel like antiques when he's on suitable new skis.

I've had two trips to PCMR & DV in the last few years. I know they can get great powder, but I missed it. Fun groomer skiing, and I'm glad I had fun groomer skis. The main thing I like about the Stöckli Laser AX is that they're so good, so versatile, on multiple snow conditions. They feel about the same, and ski about the same on everything from boilerplate to deep crud. I've had fun on them in 6" of heavy fresh snow. They aren't too expensive for Dad's last pair of skis. Let him demo the 167s (If he was faster, higher energy, I'd suggest the 175s--try both). Try to pry them from his hands after a day....
 

Andy Mink

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Another one (or two) to consider are the DPS siblings, the Foundation Cassiar 87 and 94. Very easy to ski slowly and smear but don't fold when the hardpack comes through. The 94 is a bit better in the choppy stuff on the edges or some fresh. The 87 has a bit of an edge on the hardpack. There is also an 82 in the family that is definitely more geared towards groomers but can still handle a bit of chop or shallow fresh.
 

Uncle-A

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Head Rally is a fine ski, I have had mine for three seasons and I picked them up new in the spring so they are a four seasons old. My age is 73 next month and about 195 - 200 lbs. The only conditions that I have not used them is deep snow. I have also skied the Head Titans, it is an 80 MM not a 76 MM like the Rally. The Titans are a lot of ski and would handle the softer snow better. Both of these skis were a 170 CM, if your choice of length is less then 170 the Titans would work for an older gentleman if 170 is the choice go with the Rally.
 

Andy Mink

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Head Rally is a fine ski, I have had mine for three seasons and I picked them up new in the spring so they are a four seasons old. My age is 73 next month and about 195 - 200 lbs. The only conditions that I have not used them is deep snow. I have also skied the Head Titans, it is an 80 MM not a 76 MM like the Rally. The Titans are a lot of ski and would handle the softer snow better. Both of these skis were a 170 CM, if your choice of length is less then 170 the Titans would work for an older gentleman if 170 is the choice go with the Rally.
The Ralleys and Titans are fine skis but don't overlook the Head V8 and V10. They are more forgiving than their Supershape brethren while still offering excellent performance. As @Ron said, so many to choose from!
 

Jerez

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FWIW and YMMV... I own the Laser AX and love them, but I wouldn't put my DH on them... They are "good" skis if you are skiing them with intermediate skills and just roaming around the mountain and, IMO, get "great" when they are skied with intentional technique.

They are very expensive skis to have them be less than "great." The Liberty V series is, from what I understand, only a little bit less of a ski than the AX, but easier and a whole lot less $$$. (might be hard to find in Utah though)

But the consensus above is right... DEMO. The gift card was a terrific idea -- maybe with photos of the demo fleet skis that might be in the ballpark inserted?
 
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Uncle-A

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The Ralleys and Titans are fine skis but don't overlook the Head V8 and V10. They are more forgiving than their Supershape brethren while still offering excellent performance. As @Ron said, so many to choose from!
I am sure that they are good skis but how many have a great deal of time on them to give a strong recommendation.
 

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