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Finally ready for some short skis...but which?

Buttercup

Diva in Training
Don't laugh...okay, go ahead. I currently ski on 14 year old Salomon Women's skis, I think they say EXP on them and are purple/blue. I don't know their length, Salomon used their own system and they are Power 5. I LOVE these skis. But as the years go by and after some huge guy ran them over and slit open the top of one (argh), I have come to the decision to move on to modern day skis.

I found this lovely site, thank you for it, and read about some suggestions and demoed some skis over the past couple of years but am still undecided. So I will state my situation as many have done before me and hope for some words of wisdom from you Divas.

I am 5'6" and 115lb, am probably a solid level 7 skier, and only get out to downhill ski a few weekends a year at Tahoe. I ski mostly on piste but would like a ski that would help me handle going off more. My favorite way to ski is lots of short turns and when on my own I like to embarrass my way down the moguls in hopes of improving. But when with the family almost everyone else likes to bomb straight down and so I'd like a ski that feels solid when doing so, especially with my niece on her Lotta Luvs.

I unfortunately cannot remember the details of the skis I've demoed, but here's a try (lengths often limited by availability):
- 165 Dynastar Exclusive Legend - I liked it, but had a hard time gripping on the hard pack on the first run in the morning
- 152 Dynastar Exclusive Legend - I liked it too, but it felt squirrelly when going straight
- 165 Volkl Tierra - I liked it, felt solid turning and going fast but felt heavy
- ? Volkl Luna - felt slow, maybe needed wax?
- ? K2 One Luv - I liked it but it felt really heavy
- ? Nordica Victory - nothing special
- ? Atomic ?, had a wider waist maybe - I didn't like it

I'm tired of demoing and just want to have a pair ready to go this season. So I'm tending towards a 158 Dynastar EL, but I keep wondering: I didn't like Dynastar's when I demoed 14 years ago, what's with the heel lifting being in and maybe now out, would the 158 be less squirrelly, etc. Is there a better fit out there for me? Does Salomon make a ski that would be good for me? What about other brands? Unfortunately I haven't seen much else on demo. And why is it that I liked some skis that folks say are completely different?

Help me ladies! Money is not a limiting factor seeing as how I only get a new pair every decade or so but I do like to get a good deal. And yes, I should probably get new boots too but the skis are in sadder shape right now.

Thanks,
Helen
 

SnowHot

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Welcome to SkiDiva!!
You're on the right track with the demo list. Hope we can help you a little bit. I think you'll find that most of us have a solid base of knowledge about some skis, so you'll get tid bits from here and there about most of the skis you've listed.
The skis on your list that I'm most familiar with are bold, I'll elaborate below.

- 165 Dynastar Exclusive Legend - I liked it, but had a hard time gripping on the hard pack on the first run in the morning
- 152 Dynastar Exclusive Legend - I liked it too, but it felt squirrelly when going straight
- 165 Volkl Tierra - I liked it, felt solid turning and going fast but felt heavy
- ? Volkl Luna - felt slow, maybe needed wax?
- ? K2 One Luv - I liked it but it felt really heavy
- ? Nordica Victory - nothing special
- ? Atomic ?, had a wider waist maybe - I didn't like it
First of all, the skis you seemed to like most .....you commented on weight.
The weight of the ski shouldn't make a difference when you're actually skiing and will not likely be an issue unless you're planning on doing some hiking. If you're going to do some hiking, you should look for something different than what you have on your list.
The volkls:
The Tierra is an advanced ski designed to take you through some crud and varied terrain, which will serve you well for grip power and cutting it up.
The Luna is an intermediate ski that is probably not going to make you happy.
K2:
One Luv....if you like the one luv then you'll love the Burnin luv. Both of them are heavy, but fun.
The primary difference between the K2's and the Volkls' in this category is that the volkls have more pop and energy, while the K2's are a tad damp.
Nordica:
The victory is a fairly powerful ski but its got a damp cruiser feel to it that doesn't necessarily fit everyone's taste.
If you get a chance to demo Nordica again, try the Firefox!!

Hope this helps and hope you find what you're looking for.
 

SkiBam

Angel Diva
I'm pretty sure more gear-savvy divas than I will encourage you to get new, properly fitted, boots first. You don't say if your boots are as old as your skis, but if so, that's where you should start.

Last year a woman I know told me she was looking for new skis and was asking for recommendations. Her boots were of the very old, but comfortable, variety and she did not want to change. However, I convinced her to start with new boots, which she did - and has thanked me profusely! Only now is she looking for new skis.
 

SnowHot

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I'm pretty sure more gear-savvy divas than I will encourage you to get new, properly fitted, boots first. You don't say if your boots are as old as your skis, but if so, that's where you should start.

Last year a woman I know told me she was looking for new skis and was asking for recommendations. Her boots were of the very old, but comfortable, variety and she did not want to change. However, I convinced her to start with new boots, which she did - and has thanked me profusely! Only now is she looking for new skis.

I know this and I failed to comment.
Always always always boots first!
Properly fitted boots are liking having power steering.
 

MaineSkiLady

Angel Diva
Hi Buttercup, welcome to “our world” – hope we can give you some input.

The good news: I’ve got your specs for height/weight, and I’ve done some careful demo’ing in the past couple of seasons. However, keep in mind that I’m exclusively an eastern skier, so I have somewhat different preferences and hard-snow requirements for skis.

With that in mind, I sought an “all-mountain”- type of skis a couple of seasons ago and narrowed my choices down to K2 Lotta Luv and Dynastar Exclusive Legend. I ultimately gave the edge to the Dynastar and purchased it when the price hit my budget.

I have the 158's (08), with Look Exclusive bindings, bought separately (not as a system, which wasn’t available then). My boot is flat to the ski - there is no “riser” under my boot incorporated into the ski design. After a few seasons and skis in which I was “lifted,” this was an odd feeling and sight. (There is slight lift incorporated into the binding.) At my weight and ability level, these skis rock my world. They are light and fun and have taken me everywhere on a somewhat difficult eastern mountain: ice to bumps to trees, even 18" of new snow!

Here is the dilemma with ski construction: skis that are “light” and “lively” WILL have a tendency to chatter at a certain resonance point (based on a number of factors - I am regrettably not an engineer, although I just consulted one :wink:). This has been a conundrum in the ski manufacturing process forever, and many gimmicks have been tried and incorporated into the design and manufacturing process to attempt to elimination vibration. Ultimately, it’s a trade-off. Skis that are perceived as “heavy” and “solid” are designed to minimize this vibration. The trade-off with these can often be loss of liveliness. Everyone seems to gravitate toward one “feel” or another.

That being said, at your height and weight and with a good season on 158 EL’s under my belt, I have yet to make these “squirrel” on straight-lining. Or perhaps I’m just turning all the time?! :noidea:

If none of the skis you have tried rock your world, do yourself a favor and keep looking. Since you have enjoyed your Salomon’s, why not try something from Salomon’s Attraxion series? Jilly is our resident expert on Salomons; perhaps she will chime in with models here. There is a new one she’s hoping to test soon (Diamond?). There are also some terrific Atomics out there that you might like: Seventh Heaven, the new D2 series (D2 VF?). Skiing at Tahoe, you’ll want something in the mid-fat waist width, i.e., 80+. The Legend might be too narrow for your preferred geography -? (75) There has also been considerable love on this site for Head’s “Wild” series.

Before all else, however, I’d recommend replacing your boots FIRST AND FOREMOST. This is step one/Job One and will make a HUGE difference in how ANY ski feels and performs. If your boots aren’t dialed in, no ski is going to respond and feel nice.

With that step achieved, keep looking for a ski that makes you smile from ear to ear and go, “WOW. This is GREAT!” It’s an amazing feeling. And it happens PRETTY DARN FAST. You’ll know it when you find it.

Good look, hope you check back in and let us know how it all went for you.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
Gee thanks MSL. :D

Salomon has a line of ladies skis called Origin. The top of the line is called the Diamond. I haven't had a chance to ski it yet, but will before Christmas. They are at the shop right now!! But the Origin model is a really good all mountain ski too. A little softer and wider than the Diamond.

As for Attraxion, you might like the Rossi Attraxion 6. This ski is narrow under foot, but the shovel and tail are so wide that it floats great. I'm on the unisex version of this ski and hate to give it up, but the ski has seen better days.

Atomic has changed so many things in the last few years. The Seventh Heaven is an all mountain ski that really should work for you too. But with its wider waist you might not like it.

You sound like to you ski like me and maybe you should try the Atomic Heaven's Gate. If you ask around about the Metron skis of the past, this is based on it, but for women. I really liked it.

And boots - first and foremost. If you boots are 15 years old too, the plastic shell may not last the season. Get those looked after first and spend money on these. If your feet aren't happy, you won't be either.

And take some lessons. If your skis are first generation shaped, you are going to find a difference. New skis are not meant to go straight. They are meant to be on edge at all times. That could be where you are finding "the squirrelly" feeling.

Now did that just confuse you more!!
 

Buttercup

Diva in Training
Wow, it's unanimous on the new boots first. I did demo a new boot at the same time I tried the longer EL and Tierra and have to say that I did have a better experience with those skis. But the person at the ski shop said I should only vary one thing at a time and said to use my old boots to demo skis. But...I guess I should look into boots now.

- Does anyone have recommendations for where to go in the CA bay area, the closer to Palo Alto the better?
- Any recos on brands and models for someone with small heels and ankles?
- And what flex number should I be looking for?
- How much should a boot fitting cost?

And thank you for the additional ski suggestions. If I don't break down and buy something first I will try to demo them!

Oh, one more question, what should be done to prep a new ski and binding and how much should it cost?

Helen
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
Oh, one more question, what should be done to prep a new ski and binding and how much should it cost?

Absolutely NOTHING. New skis are ready to go. If you're buying skis from a shop it should include the bindings being mounted. If you buy the skis one place and the bindings elsewhere, then be prepared to spend extra to mount the bindings.

Sorry, can't help you with a fitter. And those flex numbers are not universal. They are only a guide of the flex within that brand!
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
New skis are not meant to go straight. They are meant to be on edge at all times. That could be where you are finding "the squirrelly" feeling.

I agree. The squirrelly feeling you describe, Buttercup, may be due to the new technology, rather than a particular ski. Shorter skis in a particular line of skis will generally be more "turny" than the longer ones in the same line, which would explain why the Dynastars in 152 felt more "squirrely" than the 165s.

I am regrettably not an engineer, although I just consulted one :wink:).

Lol.

Fwiw, I think it's impractical to demo boots the way one would demo a ski. Bootfitting costs are usually included in the price of the boot if you get the work done at the same place where you bought them. I recently paid $50 for heat molding and cuff alignment for boots I brought in from elsewhere.
 

volklgirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Check out the 2 boot threads in the Gearipedia, then find a very competent fitter and put yourself in their capable hands.

Truly, do not skimp on the boots.

Once your boots are an extension of your leg, try your demoing again....correctly fitted boots WILL make a difference. Keep trying skis until something lights your fire then buy it!
 

SnowHot

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Wow, it's unanimous on the new boots first. I did demo a new boot at the same time I tried the longer EL and Tierra and have to say that I did have a better experience with those skis. But the person at the ski shop said I should only vary one thing at a time and said to use my old boots to demo skis. But...I guess I should look into boots now.

- Does anyone have recommendations for where to go in the CA bay area, the closer to Palo Alto the better?
- Any recos on brands and models for someone with small heels and ankles?
- And what flex number should I be looking for?
- How much should a boot fitting cost?

And thank you for the additional ski suggestions. If I don't break down and buy something first I will try to demo them!

Oh, one more question, what should be done to prep a new ski and binding and how much should it cost?

Helen
The comment I put in bold can be typical of ho hum shop people, but true shop techs should know that the boots are where you start.

Getting new skis with your old boots is like driving a high performance car with the power steering on the fritz.
 

Robyn

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
The comment I put in bold can be typical of ho hum shop people, but true shop techs should know that the boots are where you start.

Getting new skis with your old boots is like driving a high performance car with the power steering on the fritz.
Great analogy! To give you an idea, when I got a new pair of skis with my old, too big boots they were fine I thought. Then, the next year I got new boots with custom liners and orthotics. First run out in them I nearly fell over on a turn because the response I got from my legs transferring through the boot to the ski much faster and easier. It was rather funny.
 

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