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Help Needed: Looking to buy first pair of skis this season, tried a demo day but not sure I found the right ski for me

jmfd84

Certified Ski Diva
#1
Hi! :wave: I’m new to the forums - this is my first winter getting back into skiing at age 34 after skiing as a kid, snowboarding as a teenager, a little of both as a college student, followed by a 12-year hiatus. I’m looking to buy equipment this spring and I’m hoping for some input after my first demo experience yesterday.

I spent six days skiing in rental boots on Head rental skis at 160cm this winter. I’d describe myself as a mid-level intermediate who wants to ski more and advance. I live on the East Coast and ski on piste. 5’10”, 170lbs.

I should note that I was in a pair of demo boots that were the right size but had too much volume for the entire day, so I was able to move around too much in the boots. Unfortunately they didn’t have another demo boot option in my size.

I knew my mountain doesn’t have Blizzard skis so the Black Pearl 88 wasn't an option. I was hoping to try Volkl Yumi and a couple similar options based on the shop’s recommendations.

The shop rep was surprised I wanted to try the Yumis and called them a “high end” ski that “a lot of the female instructors wear.” I was a little thrown off as everything I’ve read suggested the Yumis are a solid intermediate ski.

She gave me Volkl Flair 78 Elite in 161cm as the first ski of the day. I had an awful time on them. I just couldn’t find the sweet spot - I could barely carve and the whole ski was vibrating. I assumed it was my skiing so kept them for probably 10 runs and it never got better. My dad (lifelong expert skier) was with me and said it was some of my worst skiing this season. He's been skiing with me this season and I appreciated his observation that confirmed my experience!

A different rep helped me for skis #2 and #3. The second ski they recommended I try was a “step up” from the first - Volkl Flair 81 Carbon in 163cm. These were immediately better - I was more stable and back to turning well. But the tips were bouncing a lot and I didn’t love them.

Third and final ski of the day was Head Super Joys in 163cm. I said I liked the Flair 81 but wanted to try a different manufacturer since the first two skis were both Volkl. I felt the best on the Super Joys after just a couple turns. Turning and being on edge was easy in these. No more tips bouncing. Observation from Dad was that I was skiing the best in these - like I had been skiing other days this season.

What’s confusing me is that the Flair 86 and Super Joys are both described as great skis for more advanced, faster and aggressive skier types. I would use exactly none of those adjectives to describe my skiing. :noidea: I’m wondering if I liked stiffer advanced skis at the 163cm length but perhaps I should try a longer (168?) intermediate ski.

Any thoughts or ideas are appreciated!
 

tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#2
All of these skis sound really short for your height. Your height is close to 178 cm and all these are skis are only 163. For comparison, I'm 5'1" so about 155 cm and my skis are 147 and 150 cm.

And I'm actually one who prefers my skis shorter than most people here. Even as an intermediate, I'd think you'd really want it no shorter than your nose just for stability alone. I'm wondering if you liked the stiffer skis since they provided more stability to offset the shorter lengths?
 

jmfd84

Certified Ski Diva
#3
All of these skis sound really short for your height. Your height is close to 178 cm and all these are skis are only 163. For comparison, I'm 5'1" so about 155 cm and my skis are 147 and 150 cm.

And I'm actually one who prefers my skis shorter than most people here. Even as an intermediate, I'd think you'd really want it no shorter than your nose just for stability alone. I'm wondering if you liked the stiffer skis since they provided more stability to offset the shorter lengths?
Thanks for your reply! I'm wondering the same. The longest ski I've tried this winter is 163cm.

The first shop rep did say the recommended ski length for me would be longer than the rentals I was using. I'm not sure why she gave me 161cm to start. The second rep's recommendations went off the length of the first skis without looking at my height/weight stats. It may be that the demo shop didn't have many longer options in women's skis. When browsing what they had in stock for sale, I noticed they only had a few women's skis above 163cm.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
Don't pay too much attention to skis that are rated as "advanced" etc. If you liked them, you liked them. I concur that those are quite short for you. If you liked the Super Joy, but want something a bit more all-mountain oriented, see if you can get on a pair of Total Joys in a 168.

When you say the tips were bouncing, I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean they were flapping a bit? If so, stop looking at them and just go with how the skis FEEL. A lot of lighter skis with carbon and tip rocker in particular will do that particularly on harder snow.
 

tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
Thanks for your reply! I'm wondering the same. The longest ski I've tried this winter is 163cm.

The first shop rep did say the recommended ski length for me would be longer than the rentals I was using. I'm not sure why she gave me 161cm to start. The second rep's recommendations went off the length of the first skis without looking at my height/weight stats. It may be that the demo shop didn't have many longer options in women's skis. When browsing what they had in stock for sale, I noticed they only had a few women's skis above 163cm.
It may be difficult to find long enough skis to demo this time of year if the shops have started selling off their demo fleets (if they even ever had the longer lengths). As someone on the opposite end of the spectrum, unless I'm at a large resort that stocks all the lengths, I just have to demo the closest length I can and then just buy the appropriate length for my height (if I liked it). You may also find you can ski men's/unisex skis at your height and weight so that's another option that will give you more options. You are correct that it will be more difficult to find longer skis. Most women's skis top out around 170 or so.
 

jmfd84

Certified Ski Diva
#6
Don't pay too much attention to skis that are rated as "advanced" etc. If you liked them, you liked them. I concur that those are quite short for you. If you liked the Super Joy, but want something a bit more all-mountain oriented, see if you can get on a pair of Total Joys in a 168.

When you say the tips were bouncing, I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean they were flapping a bit? If so, stop looking at them and just go with how the skis FEEL. A lot of lighter skis with carbon and tip rocker in particular will do that particularly on harder snow.
Thank you! Yes, I meant that the Volkl Flair 81 tips were flapping. I didn't see it - my dad noticed as he was skiing with me and watching. I definitely felt better in the Super Joys than the Flair 81s - though both were better than the Flair 76s.

I'll put the Total Joys on my list and see if I can find a pair to demo, along with some other longer skis.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#7
Hi! :wave: I’m new to the forums - this is my first winter getting back into skiing at age 34 after skiing as a kid, snowboarding as a teenager, a little of both as a college student, followed by a 12-year hiatus. I’m looking to buy equipment this spring and I’m hoping for some input after my first demo experience yesterday.

I spent six days skiing in rental boots on Head rental skis at 160cm this winter. I’d describe myself as a mid-level intermediate who wants to ski more and advance. I live on the East Coast and ski on piste. 5’10”, 170lbs.
Welcome! How far north on the east coast? I'm in the southeast, meaning south of Washington DC. Sounds like you are going to ski in New England. Completely understand the hiatus situation. I didn't start skiing regularly until my daughter came along, so it was more like 30 years after spent two seasons on skis as a teen before I started demo'ing skis.

I'm another petite skier and an older advanced skier at this point. I demo'd the Total Joy and Absolut Joy a few years ago before deciding to buy the AJ for mid-Atlantic and northeast skiing.

Perhaps @MissySki or @lisamamot have some ideas.
 

jmfd84

Certified Ski Diva
#8
Welcome! How far north on the east coast? I'm in the southeast, meaning south of Washington DC. Sounds like you are going to ski in New England. Completely understand the hiatus situation. I didn't start skiing regularly until my daughter came along, so it was more like 30 years after spent two seasons on skis as a teen before I started demo'ing skis.

I'm another petite skier and an older advanced skier at this point. I demo'd the Total Joy and Absolut Joy a few years ago before deciding to buy the AJ for mid-Atlantic and northeast skiing.

Perhaps @MissySki or @lisamamot have some ideas.
Thanks for the warm welcome! I'm in Rhode Island and will be skiing New England. My hiatus was actually due to living in DC for 13 years. Not too easy to get out to skiing down there and I didn't know anyone else who skied!
 

HikenSki

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
I'd go with the skis being too short. I am 5'10" 175 and ski 168cm and 170cm (actually a 173 but with lots of tip rocker). I was on 160 and 163cm last year and most of this year before it became very apparent my skis were too short for me. I could tell a big difference in stability going a little bit longer. I'd say you'd be find in a 166-170 range, depending on how much tip rocker you have. I only noticed the increase in length the first run or two and then never thought about it again.
As a fellow tall gal, I can definitely say most shops do not have longer lengths to demo, let alone even buy, around me here in the Mid-Atlantic. I want to support my local shops but when they don't carry my length, I end up going online. Sure, I can ski some of the mens skis, but I want to try out some of the very nice ladies skis out there. Ugh. I agree, if you find one that feels good, it will probably feel even better in the next length.
 

lisamamot

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
@jmfd84 , hello and welcome to the trials of tall girl demoing! I am 5’9”/140 and often struggle to find a demo long enough. I find I often do better at manufacturer demo days than mountain shops.

You definitely need to be on a longer ski. If they struggle to get you on a woman’s, some men’s may be appropriate. For example, if you run into Blizzard the women’s Sheeva 9 and the men’s Rustler 9 are similar if not identical. I own the Sheeva 9 172 and love it.

What type of skiing do you like to do? Details about terrain, speed, etc would be helpful. I am 53 and took a 25 year hiatus and just came back around 5-6 years ago. You will be amazed how quickly it comes back!
 

MissySki

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
Hi @jmfd84! I most recently lived in North Providence, before settling down in Uxbridge, so still quite close to some parts of RI anyway. It’s too bad this post wasn’t a week earlier, there was just a demo day last Friday at Waterville Valley.

I agree with everyone above saying the skis you were being given are short for your size and that might be what’s causing things to feel unstable. Also, don’t go by the descriptions of skis being for a certain type of skier, if they feel good to you then that’s all that matters.

Do you plan to demo more from the same mountain? If so, I’d ask specifically for an inventory of the ski models and sized they have and choose exactly what you want to try versus them choosing for you. Do they actually have the Yumi and just didn’t want to give it to you, or were they not available? If there are other specific skis you want to try that they don’t have, it will depend on whether you are willing to go to other places that may have what you want. I’m big on demoing because one person’s perfect match can be someone else’s miserable day. The right one will be the one that you don’t want to get off of!

I also have the Sheeva 9 as my daily driver, and love it for New England, it’s really versatile! Great on ice, zooms on the groomers, super turney in bumps and trees. Like @lisamamot asked, what terrain do you like to ski?
 

jmfd84

Certified Ski Diva
#12
@lisamamot and @MissySki, thank you both for your suggestions!

I ski blue groomers and would like to work on groomed blacks next year. Maybe bumps and trees are in my future (sounds fun!) but not something I've tried yet.

My home mountain is Wachusett which is 1.5 hours away and is about all I can get to for a day trip. I skied Bretton Woods for a couple days about 5 years ago, and while I desperately needed a lesson, I skied the blues there too. Now that I've got the skiing bug, I plan on doing some weekend or 2 day trips to other places up north.

I'm definitely going to call the demo shop and see what they have in longer lengths. They had the Yumi (not sure what lengths) but didn't want to give it to me. I also have a reputable local ski shop nearby that I'm pretty sure does day-rental demos, so I will see what they have. The only thing with that approach is that I'm stuck with whatever I get for the entire day.
 
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tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
I'm definitely going to call the demo shop and see what they have in longer lengths. They had the Yumi (not sure what lengths) but didn't want to give it to me. I also have a reputable local ski shop nearby that I'm pretty sure does day-rental demos, so I will see what they have. The only thing with that approach is that I'm stuck with whatever I get for the entire day.
Unless they had a stupid short length, I'm not sure why they wouldn't give you the Yumi to try. I think the Yumi is a really versatile ski that can work for both intermediates and advanced skiers. It's certainly no more advanced than the other skis they had you try. I would either ask them what lengths they do have to try or try to find it elsewhere to demo. Just an FYI, the Volkl Kanjo is the men's Yumi, basically so that's an option to demo too if it's easier to find in a length that works for you.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#14
My home mountain is Wachusett which is 1.5 hours away and is about all I can get to for a day trip. I skied Bretton Woods for a couple days about 5 years ago, and while I desperately needed a lesson, I skied the blues there too. Now that I've got the skiing bug, I plan on doing some weekend or 2 day trips to other places up north.
Did you notice that there is a thread for MA skiing?
https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/i...tt-berkshire-east-jiminy-peak-and-more.23118/

@diymom and I will be skiing Wachusett midweek in the next couple weeks. I'm driving up to pick up my daughter for spring break. Going to do the K2 Women's Demo Day on 3/15.

Are you limited to weekend skiing?
 

jmfd84

Certified Ski Diva
#15
Did you notice that there is a thread for MA skiing?
https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/i...tt-berkshire-east-jiminy-peak-and-more.23118/

@diymom and I will be skiing Wachusett midweek in the next couple weeks. I'm driving up to pick up my daughter for spring break. Going to do the K2 Women's Demo Day on 3/15.

Are you limited to weekend skiing?
Yes, I was lurking on that thread last week when I found the forums! I should reply so I get notifications. :smile:

I'm mostly limited to weekend skiing but am able to take a vacation day here and there for midweek. I'm actually planning on taking days off the week of March 18-22 and hoping to demo some more skis then.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#16
Because you're new, you wouldn't have access to the Diva's only section. We have Diva East coming up that week, but it's at Tremblant. So far there are 15 Diva's and family coming for 3 days of skiing. March 17-March 20th. And we have lots of demo options including the BP88 here.
 

jmfd84

Certified Ski Diva
#17
Because you're new, you wouldn't have access to the Diva's only section. We have Diva East coming up that week, but it's at Tremblant. So far there are 15 Diva's and family coming for 3 days of skiing. March 17-March 20th. And we have lots of demo options including the BP88 here.
Sounds awesome! Maybe I'll make it in the future. :smile:
 

diymom

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
Just wanted to say Hi. I have a bronze pass at Wachusett so am only there during the week, but give a shout if you might be there on a week day.
 

MissySki

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
@jmfd84 it just also occurred to me to mention the Ladies Day at Sunapee next Tuesday, they are going to have demos available (though I'm not sure which brands) as well as the option to do a clinic, and lots of other activities. I am attending and so is @diymom. Not sure if there are others who may as well.

Also, they are doing demo days with the following brands: Rossignol, Head, Volkl, Nordica, Dynastar, Blizzard, and Fischer from next Wednesday 3/13-Sunday 3/17. Might be worth checking it out if you are so inclined.

Info on each here: https://www.mountsunapee.com/mountain/calendar/?v=list&c=2&p=1
 

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