THE ski for fun skills development on pre-spring hardpack?


At the base lodge
Apr 30, 2017
Hi; long-time reader @ EpicSki, first time poster here. I appreciate what I’ve read, thanks!

I’m looking for 1-2 ski recommendations for next season. I’m a 6’4” 205 lb 52 year old late blooming advanced+ Squaw skier (some Alpine Meadows). For decades I only got in 3-24 days/year. I started at age 18 with terrible form but these past couple years I’ve skied about 75 days each year. I like buying skis and currently own:

• pre-rocker Vokl Mantras

• Kastle FX-94

• Atomic Automatic 118

I’ve demo’d many others but generally they are wider than 88mm under foot and am wondering if my west coast quiver should get narrower.

I love skiing trees, uneven or unique terrain and enjoy working on skills in bumps and chutes…as long as the conditions are right (at least kinda soft). Some of my favorite terrain at Squaw is under appreciated stuff between Squaw Creek and Red Dog)

Crazy perhaps but I spent every one of my 75 days this year on the 117m-wide Atomic Automatics in ALL conditions because to me they are ridiculously fun and easy to ski in ALMOST all conditions...

…except pre-spring icy hardpack.

Those have been strictly groomer days for me, where I like going fast, working on staying forward and practicing turns or spinning round and round while I wait for my wife (but I don’t want a ski for it’s ability to ski backwards)

I've done a lot of ski research and am hoping that one of you brilliant hardware matchmakers could make the right introduction for me.

Can you recommend for me, 1 or 2 top notch skis for me for those pre-spring icy hardback days? I want GRIP with FUN and to:
a) develop my skills while skiing groomers faster than I can on my Automatics or FX94s (is that a race ski with a flat tail? )
b) ski bumps or non-groomed expert terrain in hard-pack conditions (is that a narrow shorter ski without a flat tail? )

I feel like I’ve wasted money buying some skis that I like but don’t love. I want a classic* top notch ski, even if it means spending more to get it. I spent a lot of time skiing and think it’s worth it to be on something super fun.

* what feels like one — it doesn’t need to have a classic reputation.

Some skis that sound like the might work for one or both of my requests above include:

• Stockli SX or other Stockli - I’ve never skied a Stockli but I’d like to!

• Kastle MX78 MX88 — I’ve read SO much about the MX88 - I’d love it if these could fit the bill but I wonder if they’re too wide for the conditions I am targeting.

• Vokl RTM 84

• ?

I dont know why but I really dislike Vokl Kendos. I like the Cochise but I don’t like other Blizzard skis. I loved my FX 94s at first but my Automatics replaced that. Maybe I like them because they are so forgiving in difficult conditions but I want to have fun developing skills with a narrower ski in hardpack conditions before my 8 yo ski-team kid surpasses me. ;)

Thanks in advance!



Notorious P.U.G.
Pugski Ski Tester
Nov 1, 2015
Reno, eNVy
What is it with all the the big guys we are getting right now. I am thinking about starting a vurtual Beer League Softball team. OK, since you are asking about a tecnical ski for Squaw/Alpine you actaully brought up some great options (especially the Stockli). It also sounds like you are looking more into the premium end with your initial choices. The skis that I owuld ad as other options would be the Renoun Z77 and Z90, If you read any of the reviews here there is a lot of well deserved love for these and I will say do not be afraid of the width of the 90 getting to close to your 98mm Mantra, they are two totally different skis.

As far as being better than your 8 yo? you can only hope to prolong it. As Warren Miller says "Your kids are only as good as you one day, the next day they are better". Enjoy your time in the sun, and look at the bright spot, your kid will only make you better too.


I don’t see any holes
Mar 22, 2017
Take a look at the Head super shape series and see if there is a flavor you like. I personally have the I.speed's and love them. You can really let them rip with no stability issues at all. They excell on the hard/icy groomers and do surprisingly well in most other conditions and areas as well. I'm 6'4 265 and use the 177's. the magnums or even the rally's would work well too if you want a bit more waist width.