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Need a crash course in Demoing 101

knolan12

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
Hi Divas,

My plan was to replace my skis next season, but was thinking I might be able to score a deal now as shops try and clear out this year's models. Would shops still have demo skis available this late in the season? We have plans to ski over the next few weekends so I was thinking I could use one day to test out skis.

I've never demoed before so I'm not even really sure where to start. I've been skiing on a pair of Rossignol Saphir LX for about 12 years and it's definitely time for them to go. Also, they're absolutely terrible in fresh snow haha I've been reading through all the different advice threads for skis here as well as different ski reviews and frankly, it's a little overwhelming. I've been making a list, but I'm not even sure if it's the right list so any feedback would be super helpful.

For background, I'd classify myself as an advanced beginner/low intermediate skiier. I am not a speed demon by any means and would say I'm a mellow skiier. I ski in the Northeast on groomed trails for the most part. I usually get out only a handful of times a season with this season being the most I've ever skiied (about 10 days). I think I'm looking for an intermediate all-mountain ski. I'm hoping to ski more and continue to advance skill wise, but I'm also entering into the stage of life where my husband and I are talking about starting a family so I'm not sure how often I'll be able to get out over the next couple of seasons.

To be completely honest, I have no idea about preferred turn radius or width. I generally get myself down a trail using small to medium S turns if that helps haha I also have no idea about length. I'm 5'5.5 and ~200lbs and my skis are 154 in length. The internet says for my height/weight do 164, but I also read if you're a more mellow skiier, to keep them shorter. Any thoughts?

Some skis that have popped up that seem like they might be promising:
  • Black Pearl 88
  • Rossignol Temptation 84
  • Fisher My Pro Mtn 86
  • Vokl Yumi
  • Black Crow Camox Birdie (though these might be too advanced?)

I'll take any and all advice on potential skis and demoing process :smile: If it's too late to demo now, I'll keep a list in my pocket for next season haha
 
#2
Where in the Northeast do you ski? There are demo days coming up at Sunapee and Waterville this month if NH works for you.

I think you have a nice list to start with for sure. I’ll just say on the Camox Birdie, that it wouldn’t be my first choice for your only ski to progress on. For one, it is more soft snow oriented so others will probably have more of the edge hold you’ll be looking for in a northeast ski, I also think some of the others would be more suitable with your preference for groomers. I’m a big advocate for demoing yourself though, so if you get on it and love it, take what I said with a grain of salt because it is truly what feels good to you!! I only mentioned it because I own it for soft snow days in New England, but use my Blizzard Sheeva 9 as the daily driver for their excellent edge grip and just awesome all around versatility.

If you get the chance try a couple of lengths for a ski you like so you can see which you prefer. I’m 5’4”, 130lbs and my happiest length is 163-165 though I do also own a couple in the 166-168 range as well.

Happy demoing!!
 
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knolan12

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
@MissySki ah I saw the Sunapee one, but I can't go this weekend :( We're headed to Ski Butternut, Stowe, and (maybe) Pat's Peak over the new few weekends. I figured I'd probably have to pay the demo fee at a mountain if I wanted to try anything.
 
#4
The shops where I live don't demo toward the end of the season, but this is when we have our demo days for next year's skis. So you'll just need to call shops and see what the situation is for you. if I'm in the market for skis I will make it a point to hit a demo day. Demoing what you want is probably going to take a bit of effort. I actually spent a couple years on skis I didn't like because I didn't make it a point to either demo early in the session when stuff was available to demo, or go out of my way to hit a demo day.

Before I do a demo day I will do quite a bit of research either in this forum and also in the annual ski magazine type guides that come out. It sounds like you must've already done some of that. Then I would start calling around to different shops to see who has what I want available to demo. If I make it to a demo day this time of year, they will have next year's skis, so you need to ask them if the ski is the same as last year or not. You can also ask the reps in the tents for recommendation, although I've never really found them that helpful. My experiences has been they just want to get you on a pair of skis and out of the tent. The other problem with demo days is people may be out on the skis you want to. There's generally supposed to be a time limit on how long they can be out, but not everyone obeys that. I have hung around a tent stalking a pair of skis I wanted.

I think it's fine if you don't pay much attention to turn radius, but do figure out width. You just want to get skis that reflect the conditions you usually ski in. If you typically ski in hard pack or a little new snow, then you'll want something narrower. I have the head total joy at 85 mm for my harder surface skis. A lot of people are totally fine on skis in the 80s even in new snow as well, though they wouldn't be ideal during a real dump.
 
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#5
@MissySki ah I saw the Sunapee one, but I can't go this weekend :( We're headed to Ski Butternut, Stowe, and (maybe) Pat's Peak over the new few weekends. I figured I'd probably have to pay the demo fee at a mountain if I wanted to try anything.
Darn, Sunapee has a bunch of days but I know that doesn’t help if weekdays are a no go. Ken Jones just recently announced theirs at Waterville, I believe Friday March 29’th.

I assume there should be plenty of demos around Stowe even thoigh you’ll have to pay. I think that’s where @Soujan just got a great deal buying demo skis this past weekend?? Maybe she can elaborate on what they had going on there.

https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/got-the-head-wild-joy-for-199.23767/
 

Peaheartsmama

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
You and I are pretty much the same in terms of height/ weight and skiing ability. I also mainly ski in the Northeast/ poconos. One thought is you might want to consider a narrower ski under 80mm. I’m currently on a pair of Volkl Flair Elite 76s. I used to ski in Rossi Temptations in 75 as well. I did a lesson in a pair of BP 88s and my instructor said that it’s a ski a could grow into - but at this level and for the conditions we ski in, it’s much easier to turn on narrower skis. We also don’t get as much “fresh” snow so Dont really get as much opportunity to use the wider skis. I’ve got knee issues so ski in short 147s but demoing will tell you what length you like the most. It’s also influenced by how much rocker the ski has. Definitely demo though - the right ski just feels right...
 
#7
I'm pretty sure Wachusett is still doing demos. They don't carry Blizzard though, or Black Crows. But they will be selling off this year's demo fleet pretty soon though. And when they have their demo sale, the skis fly out the door. Wachusett is $40 a day to demo, and they will credit that towards the purchase price. One of the cheaper demo places is Gunstock. I think only $10 for 2 hours?
 

lisamamot

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
I looked up the Rossignol Saphir LX and the hit I got is that it is 69mm underfoot. I expect they have served you well but would be tough in any new snow. I personally love an 88mm-92mm as a daily driver in New England but with you coming off a very narrow ski your next step to a mid 80s may be more comfortable. Something in the mid-80's range for waist width and the mid 160s for length could be a great all around ski for you.

If you find a place that has Nordica, I suggest adding the women's Nordica Astral 84 and the men's Nordica Navigator 85 to your list. With your specs the single sheet of metal in the men's Nordica Navigator 85 may be a good fit and bonus (if you like blue) the top sheet is a great crossover - I would be happy skiing on them! They both come in a 165cm. I am adding them to my list to try the next time I have the opportunity; I have read many solid reviews of these lines but they don't seem to have gotten the press that perhaps they should.
 

knolan12

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
Thanks @Christy! I'll definitely call shops. I'm not opposed to new models, I just like a bargain hahaha I appreciate the tips on width!

@MissySki I did see the Stowe post! @Soujan happy to hear if you noticed any other good deals :smile:

@Peaheartsmama Thanks for the recommendation! I've added the Vokl Flair Elites 76 to my list as well, I'll keep an eye out :smile:

@diymom Thanks for the heads up! I'll take a gander at those places to see what they have going on. That Gunstock price is awsome.

@lisamamot Yesterday it was snowing and I could barely move through it, it was annoying. I don't come across fresh snow often, but when I do, I want to be able to ski it haha I'll make a note for the mid-80s with mid 160s to try! I appreciate the suggestion. I'll also add the Nordica to the list as well.
 

Ski Around Sue

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
I just picked up the Nordica Astral 78 after struggling with some wider demos. I didn't try the 84. The 78 is an easy fun ski which I think will serve me well in Poconos. But I'll bet the 84 will be terrific for further north where you actually get snow!
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#12
Rossi Saphir was Rossi's first go at women's skis. They were just plain noodles!!

Not sure about the newer BP's that you might not over power them. The Yumi's with the metal might be better. Or those Nordica's that lisamamont suggested/
 

knolan12

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
Rossi Saphir was Rossi's first go at women's skis. They were just plain noodles!!
Ha! I agree. I had been planning on upgrading anyway, but I realized yesterday they're just straight up holding me back from skiing better especially when I was getting stuck in the powder on an easy blue haha I appreciate the feedback on the BPs!
 
#14
My plan was to replace my skis next season, but was thinking I might be able to score a deal now as shops try and clear out this year's models. Would shops still have demo skis available this late in the season? We have plans to ski over the next few weekends so I was thinking I could use one day to test out skis.

I've never demoed before so I'm not even really sure where to start.
Late season is definitely a good time to buy skis, assuming you have some idea of what is of interest. I noticed that one of the ski shops near Boston had new skis on sale at 20% off last week. Apparently some will go as low as 50% soon.

To be completely honest, I have no idea about preferred turn radius or width.
Wouldn't worry much about Turn Radius. Width is a good enough to start with. General advice for the northeast is 75-85 underfoot these days.

I'll take any and all advice on potential skis and demoing process
Probably can pick up some ideas from this thread. But note that the OP is not in the northeast. The principles are the same regardless of region but the type of skis differs.

https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/how-to-approach-a-personal-demo-day.22633/

If possible, try to demo one model at two different lengths. I find that I almost learn more from skis I don't like. I can't describe why in technical terms most of the time. But demo'ing helps me narrow down which brands tend to have skis that I find fun and which brands I might as well avoid. I demo as much to know what to rent when necessary, as to learn enough to know what to buy if I happen to be in the market.
 

knolan12

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
@marzNC This is all helpful, thank you! Do you remember what ski shop you saw the sale at? I'm on the South Shore so any nuggets of info are helpful as I keep an eye out :smile:
 
#16
Try to demo a slightly longer length, like 157-159, or even 161-163, depending on mfg, to see how you like them.
 
#17
@marzNC This is all helpful, thank you! Do you remember what ski shop you saw the sale at? I'm on the South Shore so any nuggets of info are helpful as I keep an eye out :smile:
The 20% discount was mentioned when I was chatting with the guys at Summit Ski in Framingham.

At this point in the season, most ski shops are discounting ski inventory. Folks who like to bargain can probably make a deal if they have done a little research about online prices.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
Keep track of which bindings are on the skis you like AND don't like.
Remember, the conditions will absolutely dictate your likes and dislikes by quite a bit.
The skis that make you giggle, take them out again. And again if you can. Try to take them out at a different time of the day so if conditions change, you have an idea of how they'll handle the different conditions.
 

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