Comparison Review Some 2020/2021 Skis - @ Two Day SIA Demo, February 3rd & 4th, Winter Park, Colorado

Wasatchman

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That's cool about the TC demos. Do you often get multiple brands there at once? At Hutt they kinda show up haphazardly, generally between 0-2 brands there with demos on any given day.
Yeah, you get multiple brands at once. The demo days are usually tied in with a particular retail store, so you typically get most or all of the brands that store carries the day they are there hosting the demo day. Really awesome and the demand for those demos aren't that high for some reason so you can really talk with the people and as I said, no problem to try a ski for a few hours.
 

Paul Lutes

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I'm jealous of people that can evaluate a ski in just a few runs. It's a talent that is far beyond me. In fact some of my worst ski purchases were after such demo experiences. I'm so bad at it that I immediately get suspicious if I like a ski after the first few turns. Almost all the skis that are on my top 10 (20? 50?) did not immediately jump out at me as being the one for me. I assume that this is more my adjustment to the strength of the skis, and for whatever reasons, it takes my body longer to settle in. And if you can evaluate a ski under foggy, icy conditions ...... you're superhuman!
 

markojp

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FWIW, I general, I can figure things out in a run, but occasionally need to take a ski out for another lap or on another day a few weeks later. What's important is that lap, the paces you put a ski through, and consistency of your runs. I have a pretty clear routine I go through. Some years the test day snow is pretty one dimensional, so I can only deduct what it 'should' do, but in the PNW, we can generally find a pretty nice range of conditions on a top to bottom of Mission or Crystal. Of course it's work, and not about looking for a personal ski. It's all about who a particular ski is for. Of course a couple will really stand out as a personal pick, but I also know from experience that if I recommend my happy place favs, we'll have alot of unhappy customers.
 

chopchop

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Of course it's...not about looking for a personal ski. It's all about who a particular ski is for.
This is useful. This kind of objective mindset seems like it would help a skier become a better observer of ski traits rather than what we often do: just decide if we like it or not. I'm going to remember this.
 

markojp

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This is useful. This kind of objective mindset seems like it would help a skier become a better observer of ski traits rather than what we often do: just decide if we like it or not. I'm going to remember this.
This is really only relevant and IMHO important for testing general retail product.
 

Tony S

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How many runs do you think it takes to really get a feel for what a ski is like.
Another factor is what the purpose of your demo is. If you are just trying to figure out which ski to buy for yourself then it's enough to know "loved this one, hated that one."

On the other hand, if you are planning to publish a report for others' use, you arguably need to form a more articulable reaction. Why do I love this one and hate that one? Sometimes that takes an extra run, IME.

Edit: Hadn't read to end of thread. I see this already came up.
 

Tony S

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And if you can evaluate a ski under foggy, icy conditions ...... you're superhuman!
Well if you're looking for a fog and ice ski - don't laugh! - those conditions are perfect.
 

Andy Mink

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11) Augment All Mountain 77
(“10” flex, 10 being softest, 1 being stiffest)
A good ski, better than many skis I've tried, but just didn’t “wow” me. Maybe it was the time of day, or tune at the end of the day, or the conditions in
fading light, but.... (my second to last ski out of twelve). 3½ stars. For many, a “yes.” For me, not sure w/o further testing. And not on this day.
I'm curious about this one. As you're probably aware, the 77AM got a lot of glowing reviews from Pugsters over the course of last season. What was missing for you on this one? I found it to be a fantastic ski but I also realize not every ski is for everybody and it's good there are a lot of choices.
 
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S

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I'd talked with the Augment reps at this SIA and the previous one also, and had really liked what I'd heard: top skis from a company with a great racing ski background, an intriguing semi-custom approach in offering different ski flexes, and ski prep and finish above any ski available to the general public at this time, starting with race skis.

I too had read those glowing reviews, and was hoping for great things, at the end of a day skiing on many really wonderful new skis.
On old snow days, I usually tend to prefer a ski with a bias towards carving, and like that sort of ski off piste also, to a large extent. So I figured I was a candidate to appreciate the AM 77. (I'd thought the first ski of the day for me, the Stockli AR, might be a similar type of ski to the Augment AM 77, perhaps a good comparison. Nope.)

My first impressions were of disappointment with the edgehold in working the ski in a normal way, adapting to what that ski did. At the same time, there was an unusual, neat underlying flex, carve quality and precision there, tantalizing. I don't want that type of ski to slip or slarve a bit with most turns
unless I'm careful - unless I want the ski to do that, and it's by choice. So that particular ski at that flex, in end of day, old snow conditions, was just okay, even though these were conditions one might guess a frontside biased ski, or a ski with a race background pedigree, might excel at. It took extra work, and caution, to keep that ski performing as a result, and the results weren't all that great: follow the carve/flex the ski liked and offered, feel it slip out, next time use more caution and find the point where the slip wouldn't happen. (Was the flex for someone heavier than me? But the flex seemed a bit too soft, actually. Was the problem the tune or tune deterioration? Don't know. But for me, frontside bias skis can be carved hard all day long and lose almost nothing of their edgehold or carve ability.)

Relatively speaking, I'd been on a long list of amazing carvers that day already (see the list in order skied), and my next pair, an Augment Masters type GS ski, was also so much the opposite of the AM 77 that day, so perfect a carver/flex for me, that the contrast was pretty obvious, and relative weakness of the All Mountain 77 became even more apparent, for my particular skiing at least.
 
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ski otter 2

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FWIW, I general, I can figure things out in a run, but occasionally need to take a ski out for another lap or on another day a few weeks later. What's important is that lap, the paces you put a ski through, and consistency of your runs. I have a pretty clear routine I go through. Some years the test day snow is pretty one dimensional, so I can only deduct what it 'should' do, but in the PNW, we can generally find a pretty nice range of conditions on a top to bottom of Mission or Crystal. Of course it's work, and not about looking for a personal ski. It's all about who a particular ski is for. Of course a couple will really stand out as a personal pick, but I also know from experience that if I recommend my happy place favs, we'll have alot of unhappy customers.
For me, the biggest problems with evaluating for others, especially a wide range of skiers (different sizes, styles, skill levels, ages, gender), is not so much the ski evaluation itself (though that is certainly one unknown, to begin with). It is as much, if not more, not having lots of experience on the retail end, with many different types of skiers and their feedback on what skis they liked and didn't like - and why; nor deep experience as a ski instructor teaching a wide range of folks how to ski, and getting experience with so many different ski needs that way. These amount to the weakness in my own ski evaluations that I am most aware of. (And this has been an overall weakness I've confessed to in preliminary or end notes to some of my demo days reviews over the years, and part of why I tend to offer a counterpoint demo report, rather than a fully primary, across the board type of review when I've posted: because what goes with this is that I can notice the more narrow point of view of what is missing from other reviews, that I either appreciated or disliked, rather than fully what makes a particular ski generally good for a wide range of skiers, especially those most different from myself.

P.S. I also have a particular routine I'll put skis through at each area, on a given demo day, to be able to compare skis more directly. I don't really think much about it, I'll just set it with the first pair of skis I'm on that day.
 
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Andy Mink

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I'd talked with the Augment reps at this SIA and the previous one also, and had really liked what I'd heard: top skis from a company with a great racing ski background, an intriguing semi-custom approach in offering different ski flexes, and ski prep and finish above any ski available to the general public at this time, starting with race skis.

I too had read those glowing reviews, and was hoping for great things, at the end of a day skiing on many really wonderful new skis.
On old snow days, I usually tend to prefer a ski with a bias towards carving, and like that sort of ski off piste also, to a large extent. So I figured I was a candidate to appreciate the AM 77. (I'd thought the first ski of the day for me, the Stockli AR, might be a similar type of ski to the Augment AM 77, perhaps a good comparison. Nope.)

My first impressions were of disappointment with the edgehold in working the ski in a normal way, adapting to what that ski did. At the same time, there was an unusual, neat underlying flex, carve quality and precision there, tantalizing. I don't want that type of ski to slip or slarve a bit with most turns
unless I'm careful - unless I want the ski to do that, and it's by choice. So that particular ski at that flex, in end of day, old snow conditions, was just okay, even though these were conditions one might guess a frontside biased ski, or a ski with a race background pedigree, might excel at. It took extra work, and caution, to keep that ski performing as a result, and the results weren't all that great: follow the carve/flex the ski liked and offered, feel it slip out, next time use more caution and find the point where the slip wouldn't happen. (Was the flex for someone heavier than me? But the flex seemed a bit too soft, actually. Was the problem the tune or tune deterioration? Don't know. But for me, frontside bias skis can be carved hard all day long and lose almost nothing of their edgehold or carve ability.)

Relatively speaking, I'd been on a long list of amazing carvers that day already (see the list in order skied), and my next pair, an Augment Masters type GS ski, was also so much the opposite of the AM 77 that day, so perfect a carver/flex for me, that the contrast was pretty obvious, and relative weakness of the All Mountain 77 became even more apparent, for my particular skiing at least.
Great explanation. In my case, I liked it as a ski that I could carve, but also work around by slipping the tails. Perhaps different expectations, tunes, etc. It's difficult to love a ski when you expect one thing and get another. The one thing that stood out to me, not only on the AM77 but also the AM88 and SC, was the supreme dampness without feeling dead. They're just sooooo smoooooth.
 
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ski otter 2

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Great explanation. In my case, I liked it as a ski that I could carve, but also work around by slipping the tails. Perhaps different expectations, tunes, etc. It's difficult to love a ski when you expect one thing and get another. The one thing that stood out to me, not only on the AM77 but also the AM88 and SC, was the supreme dampness without feeling dead. They're just sooooo smoooooth.
The Augment AM 77, for you, had some of the damp, smooth stability I felt with the Augment GS Pro 185/25. I can relate.

With the Augment AM 77, for me it's maybe a relative thing. So many good skis give you a moment to moment choice of whether to hold an edge or slarve it, pivot or carve, no extra effort either way. They nicely balance between the two options, including both with ease. And I tend to use the dependable carve side of that spectrum to stay in charge when I ski. (All mountain skis that come to mind here are the Bonafide/Brahma and next year's Enforcer 100.)

(What flex did the 77 version you tried have, by the way?)

Then there are skis that are really playful and adept at off piste and bumps by pivoting/slipping, where unavoidable slippage is fine, mostly a good thing, since they are just so good at what they do best, in off piste, uneven and bumps. Some of these skis will carry speed also, but in the way that fits them. Dunno. Some really great designs here too. (Examples, to me, are the Dynastar Menace 98, and the Enforcer 104 Free, both skis that @GregK has favored.)
 
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ski otter 2

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Yes, I'm around 5'10"/150 lbs. But I tend to like lengths and skis that fit my height as much as weight. Also, I remember thinking that I'd probably like those flex 10 77s a good bit better if they were stiffer, say flex 7 like the GS Pros. The ones you tried I might well have liked more, maybe closer to the flex of the GS Pro 185/25s.
 

Aquila

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The one thing that stood out to me, not only on the AM77 but also the AM88 and SC, was the supreme dampness without feeling dead. They're just sooooo smoooooth.
Yeeeess. The SC70 definitely ticked that box for me. Interestingly I didn't gel as much with the AM77, but that could have been due to anything from the stiffness to the different lengths of the skis I tried. It was an absolutely fine ski, just not super fun to me like the SC70 turned out to be!
 

Vinnie

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I got the 179
I’m 5’4”, 155 lbs and went with the MB 108 @172cm mounted on the line. If you read the blisterreview the more freestyle oriented reviewer liked a forward mount point while the directional oriented reviewer didn’t feel any need to adjust from the recommended mount point. I’m a directional skier and agree. Mounted on the line let’s you drive the tips without tip dive and still release the tail easily.
 
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