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I got to try next year's skis!

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
For the past couple days, I've had the tremendous pleasure of attending the ski industry on-snow demo days at Pico, here in Vermont. It's a fantastic time -- ski companies set up tents, and you get to go from one to the other to try out next year's equipment. Most of the people who attend work in ski shops, so they can determine what inventory to order for next year and get a feel for what's in the pipeline. The whole thing is like a party. There's a festive, street fair quality to it, and it's a lot of fun. I felt like a kid in a candy store.

Here's just some of the tents. I took this photo looking right, but there are easily as many tents, to my left.


IMG_2977.jpg

As you can imagine, I skied a heck of a lot of skis.

Let me be upfront, though: I'm an awful ski reviewer. When I ski something, I know whether or not I liked it, and that's pretty much it. I don't analyze any of the usual stuff: torsion, tip, tail release, nothing. It's just thumbs up or thumbs down.Plus an event like this is, to put it mildly, simply overwhelming. There are SO MANY SKIS and so little time. If you want to try a lot, you don't get to spend a significant amount of time with anything. And that can make it very difficult to form a valid opinion. (It's sort of like speed dating with skis). To further complicate matters, I don't bother taking notes. It's just a pain in the neck that I don't want to deal with. SOOOO -- as best as I can, let me try to reconstruct some of the things I learned, and give you some (very) brief opinions of the skis I tried.

Oh, one more thing, before I continue: I'm an advanced skier, 5'1" and 112 lbs, who typically skis in New England conditions -- which means a lot of hard pack and ice. On Day 1, we had hard pack and ice. On Day 2, we had 4 inches of snow; it was exquisite.

Okay, on to the skis.....

Blizzard
I have -- and LOVE -- the Blizzard Sheeva 9. This is not being changed for next year. The Black Pearls, however, are getting some tweaks to make them fit in with the company's new Anomaly line. In the past, I really haven't been a BP fan, but I have to say, I ended up really liking next year's model. So perhaps it's a change for the better.

Volkl
No change for the Volkl Blaze for next year, with the exception of the 94 width. They're making it a bit burlier, but I really can't remember all the details the rep told me. He also said that the Yumi and Kenja are being subsumed into the Secret line. I skied the Secret and thought it was a lot of fun.

Nordica
Some of you may have heard that the Santa Ana line is being redesigned for next year. There are a number of construction changes "under the hood," so to speak, and they're giving them some tail rocker. This confuses me, because I had the 2018 Santa Ana 93 and thought it had plenty of tail rocker. Did they take it away in subsequent years? I don't know. In any event, next year's SA's will have tail rocker; they claim the ski will have a more "playful" feel. I'm a big Santa Ana fan, so I skied next year's SA 93. Yes, a great ski, but to be honest, I didn't find it any different than I did in the past -- which really isn't a bad thing. Could be the driver, instead of the equipment.

Stockli
I'd been dying to try to try the Nela 88 and yes, it did not disappoint. It's a wonderful ski. They've changed the graphics for next year, and really, it's a big improvement. I also got on the AW 80, which was a real hoot. Truly, I loved both of these skis, and if someone ever feels like giving me a pot full of money, I'll run out and buy myself a pair. In the meantime, though, Stockli is a bit out of my price range.

Here are other skis I tried and enjoyed:
Line Pandora
Head Total Joy
Fischer Ranger 90 W
Atomic Maven
Rossignol Experience
K2 Mindbender
Dynastar E-Cross

And here are a few I didn't care for:
Black Crow Camox Birdie
Salomon Stance
Kastle Obsidian

I'm sure you'll note that many, if not all, of these names look familiar. It seems to me that ski companies are more inclined to tweak the skis they already have, rather than adding new models. Oh, they may add additional widths and/or change the top sheet. And yes, there are some redesigns (more metal, less metal, and so on), but that's about it.

So there you go. My taste might not necessarily be the same as yours, and as they say, "your mileage may vary." Still, it's fun to get out there and find new skis to lust after.

Go forth and do likewise.
 
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AJM

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Wow I think would be seriously overwhelmed with so many choices !!
I am really looking forward to trying the BP 88's this coming season :ski:
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Thank you for your write up. I think thumbs up or down is a brilliant way to do your assessment of the skis. I find that I trust the word of someone who skis like me even if they are not keen on all the lingo and micro analysis. The Pandora must have changed a lot since their first pair, which I bought, and sold in one miserable day. Fun to read that you like the Stockli AW. Been toying with trying the AX. I have the camox and love it for icy backcountry, but an older version.

I would love to attend a day like that with no pressure to review, and just go out and try and ski. I have done so with nordic skis and it was so much fun.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Speed dating is the perfect description! It can be frustrating after awhile because we haven't gotten the chance to really know each other!

I tend to cycle through my skis but the Nela 88s, they aren't going anywhere. I'm glad you finally got to take some out for a spin. :thumbsup:
 

alpinegal

Certified Ski Diva
Nordica
Some of you may have heard that the Santa Ana line is being redesigned for next year. There are a number of construction changes "under the hood," so to speak, and they're giving them some tail rocker. This confuses me, because I had the 2018 Santa Ana 93 and thought it had plenty of tail rocker. Did they take it away in subsequent years? I don't know. In any event, next year's SA's will have tail rocker; they claim the ski will have a more "playful" feel. I'm a big Santa Ana fan, so I skied next year's SA 93. Yes, a great ski, but to be honest, I didn't find it really any different than I did in the past. Could be me.
My 2023 Santa Ana 88s have very little tail rocker, at least compared to my Sheeva 10s.
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
He also said that the Yumi and Kenja are being subsumed into the Secret line.
Can you elaborate? Like, the skis with Yumi and Kenja construction are now going to be the Secret 84 and Secret 88? Or are they going to disband the skis entirely and make narrower Secrets?

No worries if you can't remember. I'm just curious because my Kenja are now almost teenaged and probably should be retired, so I'm looking to replace them.
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
Curious if you can remember what you didn't like about the Camox Birdies? Before I ended up with 2023 Nela 80s, those were the skis on my radar - but no shops in my area carried them.

I believe my interest in them had to do with my body type - meaning that unlike some of the Head "___ Joy" models, they were suited to my weight range, but perhaps I'm not recalling that correctly...
 
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ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
Can you elaborate? Like, the skis with Yumi and Kenja construction are now going to be the Secret 84 and Secret 88? Or are they going to disband the skis entirely and make narrower Secrets?

No worries if you can't remember. I'm just curious because my Kenja are now almost teenaged and probably should be retired, so I'm looking to replace them.

Wish I could remember exactly. All I remember is that he said the Yumi and Kenja were going away, and everything was going to be in the Secret line. I could have misunderstood. I think it warrants further investigation.

Curious if you can remember what you didn't like about the Camox Birdies? Before I ended up with 2023 Nela 80s, those were the skis on my radar - but no shops in my area carried them.

I believe my interest in them had to do with my body type - meaning that unlike some of the Head "___ Joy" models, they were suited to my weight range, but perhaps I'm not recalling that correctly...

I don't know....they just felt kind of planky to me,; I didn't feel like I could flex them that well or get them on edge. Which is weird, because in this post, @Analisa said they were very flexy and had lot of energy. I didn't get that feeling at all. To be fair, though, I may not have been skiing them in conditions in which they could truly shine. Or maybe it was my size. As I said, your mileage may vary. That's why there are so many skis.
 
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Verve

Certified Ski Diva
@skidiva any impression of the new Pandora topsheet? I wasn’t a fan of this years and last years was worse in my opinion. And the “mens” Blade Optic and Vision 108 which also come in my length seem committed to being the ugliest and most boring skis out there, lol.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
@skidiva any impression of the new Pandora topsheet? I wasn’t a fan of this years and last years was worse in my opinion. And the “mens” Blade Optic and Vision 108 which also come in my length seem committed to being the ugliest and most boring skis out there, lol.

I can't recall it specifically other than it was arty and very colorful. Some of the top sheets on other skis were pretty blah, but the Pandora was definitely on the more fun side.
 

sashak

Certified Ski Diva
What a great write up, thanks! Of course I continue to dream of the Nela 88s now. Thanks.lol
 

Trailside Trixie

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
My dream in life is to work for a ski shop so that I can attend an event like this. I've never liked the black pearl so looking forward to trying the new one. Not really a Nela fan based on what I read/was told but as a long time stockli owner/lover and curious about the AW so plan to demo that. Very interesting about the Kenja merging into the Secret line. I'm a longtime Kenja lover so can't wait to try these. I love my Secret 96s. Other ones that are of interst is the SA series. I didn't love the 84 but curious about the others. Definitely curious about the maven also.
 

sashak

Certified Ski Diva
My dream in life is to work for a ski shop so that I can attend an event like this. I've never liked the black pearl so looking forward to trying the new one. Not really a Nela fan based on what I read/was told but as a long time stockli owner/lover and curious about the AW so plan to demo that. Very interesting about the Kenja merging into the Secret line. I'm a longtime Kenja lover so can't wait to try these. I love my Secret 96s. Other ones that are of interst is the SA series. I didn't love the 84 but curious about the others. Definitely curious about the maven also.
Not sure what size boot you wear but if it matches for the bindings you are welcome to try out my Mavens at an Epic mtn. I love them.
 

Trailside Trixie

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Not sure what size boot you wear but if it matches for the bindings you are welcome to try out my Mavens at an Epic mtn. I love them.

That's very sweet of you. I don't have an epic pass tho but thank you for offering. One of my ski buddies at Magic has a pair so I might talk to her to see what her BSL is.
 

Verve

Certified Ski Diva
I can't recall it specifically other than it was arty and very colorful. Some of the top sheets on other skis were pretty blah, but the Pandora was definitely on the more fun side.
That sounds promising!! Thanks :smile:
 

Kimberly.Long

Certified Ski Diva
My 2023 Santa Ana 88s have very little tail rocker, at least compared to my Sheeva 10s.
Yeah ive got 2020 93s and same, very little tail rocker it seems. Im going to try and demo the current santa anas but im also interested in the revamped ones. I love my SAs so much though
 

SquidWeaselYay

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
It's hard to believe that the Kenja is no longer going to be in production. Glad I picked up a new set this year before they go away for good!

Curious about those new BPs - adding them to my demo list for next year for a possible east coast tree ski. I demoed the 82s last Friday, and although I liked them, the 152 felt a bit short. Also curious about the Blaze 82 for glade/mogul applications as well.

Thanks for the demo report! :smile:
 

TiffAlt

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Wish I could remember exactly. All I remember is that he said the Yumi and Kenja were going away, and everything was going to be in the Secret line. I could have misunderstood. I think it warrants further investigation.
It's hard to believe that the Kenja is no longer going to be in production. Glad I picked up a new set this year before they go away for good!

I heard the Kenja and Yumi, while joining the Secret line, would not be changing in construction immediately, though it was being considered. So next years Secret 84 and Secret 88 will be the Yumi and Kenja in all but name.
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I heard the Kenja and Yumi, while joining the Secret line, would not be changing in construction immediately, though it was being considered. So next years Secret 84 and Secret 88 will be the Yumi and Kenja in all but name.
Thanks super helpful! I hope your intel is right!
 

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