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Introduction + Demo Ski Recommendations


Angel Diva
Hi everyone!

I’ve been “lurking” here for years, but am just now posting (apologies in advance for how long this is).

After 4 years of agony in my last pair of boots which I bought on vacation (mistake), I bought new boots in January. It is so great to ski with your feet not curled up in pain! I now have Lange SX 70s. Love them.

I signed up for the Alpine Meadows unlimited lesson package, and I try to get up there once or twice a week. I am an intermediate skier, I generally don’t ski on greens or blacks (although my last instructor said the blue slope we came down would have been a black had it been longer).

I am 51, not athletic and a cautious skier. I ski West Coast (North Lake Tahoe), with maybe a trip to Colorado or Utah once per year. My three kids are all on rec teams, and I’d like to get better. I generally stick to groomed slopes. I would like to venture into some bumps, but my fear limits me. I also don’t like to go super-fast. I don’t really see tree skiing in my future.

My current skis are Head Peak 72, size 156. I got them on sale three or four years ago. They feel a bit squirrely and not totally solid under my feet. They’ve always been this way, but feels like recently the squirrely-ness (not a word, I know) is worse. I’m not sure what is going on. I’ve been reading lots of advice here to demo, demo, demo, and I’m ready to try some new skis out. I can demo at Squaw, and my options are pretty broad:

  • Atomic Vantage WMN 90 CTI
  • Blizzard Black Pearl 88, Black Pearl 98, Sheeva 10
  • Head Total Joy, Great Joy
  • K2 Luv Sick 80, Alluvit 88, Fulluvit 95
  • Line Pandora, Soulmate 86, Soulmate 92
  • Nordica Santa Ana 93, Santa Ana 100
  • Salomon Lux 92, Lumen 99
  • Volkl Kenja, Yumi, 100Eight W, 90Eight W, Aura
I’m sure the people at the demo center will make some recommendations, but I thought I’d check in with the huge knowledge base that exists in this forum. I plan on demoing over the next month, so no rush to ski everything in one day.

Also somewhat complicating things is that I’m losing some weight (yay!). Started out the season at around 195, I’m now down to about 180, and would like to drop more weight for health reasons. I’m 5’4”, so aiming in the 140-150 range, but I probably won’t be close to that weight until late summer.

Are there any ski’s you would rule out, or highly recommend? Or should I just bag the new ski thing until I’m closer to goal weight?

Thanks in advance for any and all thoughts!



Staff member
I think you have a great list. Have fun!!

Add the Atomic Vantage 95C to that list. The CTi might be too stiff if you get to your goal!!


Certified Ski Diva
Don't wait to demo! I've found that when your skis are feeling squirrely, it's because they're getting overpowered. This is probably true for your Heads since they're a beginner ski that's pretty soft. You'll put out a little less force losing weight, but you won't get significantly weaker. Getting on a ski that can match your physics is so important to keep progressing - I've found that steeper slopes get easier on the right ski since I can trust them to do their part and handle the speed that comes with it.

I'm curious why you're looking for a shorter length than your current skis, especially when most of these have rocker to them and would feel shorter at 156 than your Heads. I'm your same height, lighter, but more aggressive, and I went through a 152cm and a 162cm ski in that intermediate/progressing intermediate stage, and I feel like something in the mid-150s will help with the squirreliness. Or since you have a lot of on-the-mountain options, I'd try to get on options from the 140s to mid 160s to really find the sweet spot.

The only option I'd skip is the Soulmate 86. It has a cap construction instead of a sidewall, which is cheap, but doesn't perform as well on edge/skiing groomers.

If I were to chunk your list into most compliant/most supportive, and a chunk for the ones in the middle, I'd ballpark that it would look something like this (ish, there's always some variation from ski to ski, and same goes for skier)

Compliant, but a little less supportive: head total joy, k2 alluvit, lux 92, yumi

In Between: vantage 90 cti, black pearl 88, great joy, luv sick, fulluvit, pandora,
soulmate 92, santa ana 93, 90eight

Supportive, but a little harder to ski: black pearl 98, Sheeva 10, santa ana 100, lumen 99, kenja, 100eight, aura

I'd dabble in each "weightclass" to find the one that feels right & play with length & ski options in those categories. And if you're on groomers primarily with an interest in dabbling in the bumps, something in the 80s to low 90s at the waist is great for the Cascades.

I'm excited for you! I've helped a few friends find a stiffer/wider/longer upgrade and it's always fun to witness. My favorite has been a text: "OH MY GOSH A SKI CAN MAKE SKIING EASIER AND MORE FUN?! THIS IS MAGIC! LOOK AT HOW GOOD I AM!!!"

Keep us updated on what you're loving!


Angel Diva
Thanks everyone for the welcome and replies!

Jilly, I'll definitley add the Atomic Vantage 95 C's to the list.

Thanks newboots for the welcome!

Analisa - wow, thanks for all of that detailed information! The "aiming in the 140-150 range" comment I made referred to my goal weight in pounds, not the length of the skis, which I'm totally open to. I might start with some skis in the "in between" range you detailed, and then see if I'm wanting something more compliant or more supportive. Thank you! I'll try to do some ski reviews once I've demo'd a few. I've got a bit of busy work schedule for the next two weeks, then things open up for me. I'm excited for me too! Last year I was thinking that maybe skiing wasn't for me, how could I be in such pain all the time when everyone else seemed to be doing ok? Now that the boots fit well I'm a true believer that the right equipment can make all the difference.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Welcome!! You have a lot of nice choices in your line up, I have nothing to add. I've tried several on your list, I loved the Black Pearl 88's, The Fullofit's were nice but seemed stiff to me how I ski. The Atomics are very nice. Last year the Lines had 'rock maple added to them I thought they were way too stiff compared to the prior Line 90's. Volkls and I don't mesh either. I'm glad you are demoing, it's amazing to me how skis ski for each of us! Can't wait to hear your reviews!

Have fun demoing! Hurrah on your boots and when you have a nice forgiving ski it will definitely be nice and enhance your skiing!


Certified Ski Diva
Hi welcome! Are you me? Our stats are so close, I’m like 1.5” taller and have also lost the exact same weight since the season started and posted after lurking about squirrelly skis. Seriously! I’ve been out on two demos recently, the Santa Ana 93 and the Black Pearl 98. Both gave me the stability I craved letting the speed crank up, especially when the run flattens out at the end and you just have to point them straight ahead. I could finally hear the wind whoosh past my ears and didn’t feel like my ski was going to catch a weird edge. It’s so hard to describe that squirrelly sensation other than it just feels like your foot is going to get kicked out from under you. The Santa Ana was definitely significantly heavier than my beginner ski and I was markedly tired after skiing them for a full day across two base areas. My joints actually ached that night and I’m only 33 (though I have creaky knees and wide hips so definitely at an alignment disadvantage joint wise). The BP98 was much lighter but I was still able to let them run faster and they were easy to control on the chopped up powder during night skiing that was starting to form small (seemed huge to me) bumps. I had a lot less fatigue and joint issues that night as well. They were quite fun to ski and I even got brave and went to the beginner terrain park and went of a flush with the ground box with a 1 foot drop at the end (woo!) and little rollers for fun! Definitely get on any of those skis on your list ASAP so you can get the feeling of a stronger ski. I was sooo lost where to start and my fave shop has a huge list too, once I got out on the Santa Ana I had a jumping off point to see if I wanted to try heavier or lighter skis.

Have fun!! The first runs out on the demos should be a blast!!


Angel Diva
Welcome and glad to have you join the conversations on the forum! I have nothing to add to your demo list other than to comment that I just got the black pearl 88s and I’m enjoying them. Have fun demoing!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
maybe try Rossi Sassy? the rossi series are pretty great at that connected to the snow feeling, it's fun and easy to ski. you could also try Atomic Clouds.

i would not go for K2 Alluvit as it's a high energy ski with some rebound and you described yourself as a cautious skier. and not knowing how the fulluvit skis, but knowing it's a bigger ski than the alluvit, i would probably stay away. i don't know enough about the other skis, or i could see the other skis working for you. best of luck in your search!

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