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Skis of the Future - 2017 (Part 1) - Head/Blizzard/Armada/Fischer

#1
I see some questions starting to pop up about what’s happening in 2017, what’s new, what’s there to look forward to, and so on…and I’ve finally found the time to sit down to write a bit about a couple opportunities I had to demo some of next year’s skis. This is Part 1 of 2...Volkl in Part 2

2017 Preview Demo Day

Loon Mountain

Conditions: Variable between east-coast ice and hard-pack corduroy.

Tester: 5’5” approx. 135lbs. Advanced-ish (I never really know how to rate myself)

Head Super Joy (158) – I’ve been itching to try this one out for a couple years now. Structure-wise they haven’t changed the ski. East-coast friendly ski, definitely a joy on groomers (pun-intended). I probably could have skied this one longer and enjoyed it a little bit more. It was quick to turn, responsive and liked to be pushed, but still quick to recover from any missed step. Overall, a bit softer than I had hoped for, for such a hard-charging women’s ski (my opinion could change on this if I get a chance to try a longer size).

Head Super Shape Magnum (163) –

They’ve changed up the Super Shape series slightly from last year, and added more metal. The metal sheets now go from tip-to-tail and edge-edge. Within the series, the tip rocker has also changed, the wider the ski, the more tip rocker. The Magnum is the second skinniest Super Shape, and coming from someone that normally doesn’t chose a carver ski, I had an absolute blast on it. I never needed to worry about it slipping out or pushing it too hard. Wide turns, short turns, whatever I wanted it to do, it did it. Due to wind hold on the day, much of the mountain was closed, including many of the steeper pitches. I can’t wait to try this one again when I can REALLY open it up and let it grip-it-and-rip it. This may be the first actual carver-oriented ski I’m going to own (I liked it that much).

Blizzard Black Pearl (166) –

They switched up the core a bit on this ski, I can’t speak for the actually technical terms on how they did it, but overall it made the ski lighter, without changing the way it skied. It was hard-packed conditions, and as many of you can attest to, that’s not where this ski excels. With that in mind, I’m going to end this review here, and maybe come back to it another day.

Armada Invicta 87Ti (160’s-ish) –

Armada has now made a full women’s Invicta line, modeled after last year’s men’s Invictus. And wow, these skis were great. They had lots of pop and energy, yet were stable, solid and loved to nail down some railroad tracks. I had an absolute blast on these skis, didn’t really want to give them back, but ultimately had to. I’m really looking forward to see where this line goes and how they’re accepted into the skiing community. Side note: The lady I was with tried one of the wider Invicta’s without the Ti, and also had an absolute ball.

Armada ARW 98 (170) –

Armada is also expanding their ARW into two skis, keeping one in the low-80’s width, and adding one in the upper 90’s. This ski felt like home to me and my personal skiing style. With a 98 waist it was really easy to maneuver and control even on the hard-pack. It did much better when hitting grip-able corduroy, but still held its own on the ice-pack (fresh factory edges probably helped with this one a bit). This is another one that I’m going to cut the review a bit short due to the conditions creating a lack of really seeing what this ski can do.

Fischer Ranger 98W (172) –

I always love Fischer skis, and this one was no exception. The Ranger series is exceptionally light-weight, I could see this making a fantastic AT setup. The ski was damp enough, but had a lively pop that made short and long turns fun and easy. The ski definitely skis short, 172 is normally not my go-to length, but this was the perfect size for me. I’d love to see what this ski has to offer in some deep fluff. The wide and light-weight shovel seems like it would create a perfect balance for float without having an absurdly large waist.

Fischer ProMTN 86Ti (175) –

This is the replacement for the Fischer Motive, a ski I have wanted to try for a while, but never did. This was my chance to try the new and improved model, and talking to the rep, the 175 was the smallest size they had. I almost moved on, until he said “you’ll be fine, just give it shot”…didn’t take me much convincing. And I must say, I was very happy I tried it. This was a great, versatile ski. When you get on most skis, you can pinpoint whether it’s a beginner, intermediate, or more advanced ski. Honestly, it was such an easy ski to ski that I could see anyone of absolutely any level skiing it. I tried to push it to find a speed limit and couldn’t (someone more aggressive, faster and larger than me might have been able to, but who knows). It’s wide enough that you could easily make it a one-ski-quiver, or find it a place in your line-up.
 
#2
Great reviews, thank you so much! Time to start le demo list for next years skis so I don't forget.
 

volklgirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
Oooooh, after skiing the Invictus 95 Ti last year and totally loving it, I'm super geeked to try the Invicta!
 
#4
@volklgirl - I think the only one in the line with Ti is the 87....but boy was it sweet. Unlike anything I had skied before, sooooo light for having any metal in it. Glad to hear you're stoked about the line too, cause I know I am.
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
I didn't get a chance to try the Head Magnum, but I own a pair of the Head Titans (80 underfoot). You're going to LOVE pushing this ski to speed. With the KERS, the faster and harder you drive these skis, the stiffer and more responsive you get. The more I ride mine, the more I like them.
 

BrookeK

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
I love reading these reviews, but at the same time feel I shouldn't.
Just bought my 2016 Fischer Motive 86 to and LOVE them!
Had an opportunity today to ski a friends 2015 Volkl RTM 80 @171 and I'll tell ya what...if I had skied them the day I decided on the Motives, I wouldn't have been able to decide.
And now I come read your reviews and starting thinking 'oh, Armada, haven't seen those, would Love to find a pair to try, oh, and they improved the Motives I should try those .....no. no. Brooke, you don't need to be tempted by anything else, just stop'.

Is it possible to have too many skis? How do you girls do so much demo ing and not need an entire room dedicated just to gear?!
 
#7
Its hard and something I struggle with :smile:.... the struggle is real I tell ya. I seriously only try to demo when I'm on the hunt for a pair of skis because otherwise you usually like what you demo and want to buy them. I had 4 pairs and just sold a pair so down to 3. Trying to fine tune things and not have extra skis. We don't have a garage and don't have the room for a lot of skis.

I know you like your motives so just try and remember that :smile:..... there will always be other skis out there that will do it for you. Just remember you liked those volkls and maybe you'll see a deal on them one day. Then take out the motives again and see how you feel. Maybe next season your opinion will change on them, who knows.

My first pair of skis were my 87 underfoot Kenjas, then I realized I prefefred a narrower ski for those icy/hard pack all day long skis so I bought a 80 underfoot carver. My carvers and Kenjas get plenty of snow time. Then I realized I wanted something that's even more playful in softer snow and great on a spring day and I got my Elysians. You'll find a place for all your skis, just depends on what you want to focus on, what your budget is and how much room do you have for skis.

Many divas are downsizing, many have several pairs of skis. I have found a 3 ski cocktail that works for me.

Some people have one pair of skis and are perfectly happy. You'll find your happy place, everyone is different.
 
#8
Just bought my 2016 Fischer Motive 86 to and LOVE them!
The key to demoing when you don't need anything, or aren't looking for a new pair of skis is exactly this statement. You always have to remember that you LOVE what you have...I mean you bought it for a reason. Occasionally, you'll find something that will blow your mind compared to what you already have, and those are the ones to tuck into your back pocket (the name of the ski, not the ski itself) and search for a good deal on.

Is it possible to have too many skis? How do you girls do so much demo ing and not need an entire room dedicated just to gear?!
Personally, I don't think I could have too many skis. If I could, I'd have an entire demo fleet and have my pick of the litter everyday. I'm also not someone that gets hung up on what ski I have on my feet, I could be just as happy with a one-ski quiver. Housing the gear is a whole other thing, over time you learn to store skis efficiently (they really don't take up too much space). Hang them on walls, basement rafters, garage rafters...we have a gear locker at our condo, so that helps out immensely.

Knowing yourself and how much you can try skis, love them, and be okay with not owning them is important. If you're someone that sees (or tries) something they want and always buys it, then demoing for the sake of demoing, is probably not for you. I go to demos with the mind-set of having fun skiing whatever skis I want for that day, and learning a thing or two about new technology in skis. I know that every time I demo I'm going to have a new favorite, and knowing this at the end of the day has prevented me from going over board.
 
#9
Is it possible to have too many skis? How do you girls do so much demo ing and not need an entire room dedicated just to gear?!
Absolutely. Is there not a fine line between enthusiasm and obsession/compulsion/hoarding? :wink:

Many of us do ski shop or resort-sponsored demos that are low cost, and we do it just for fun, not even looking for anything to replace what we already have. It's like test driving cars. Not looking to buy, just enjoy. :thumbsup:
 

canski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
Yes, there is a thing as too many skis (the ones that just sit there after finding something you like better.....).

I do love to demo - always looking for the 'next' ski, but also for eliminating the bulk of them. The hardest part of demoing in New England is being able to demo the kind of ski you are looking for, in your size, in the conditions you want them for.........
I sometimes walk away being very happy that I did NOT find a ski that I liked better than my existing ski.....
 
#11
Yes, there is a thing as too many skis (the ones that just sit there after finding something you like better.....).

I do love to demo - always looking for the 'next' ski, but also for eliminating the bulk of them. The hardest part of demoing in New England is being able to demo the kind of ski you are looking for, in your size, in the conditions you want them for.........
I sometimes walk away being very happy that I did NOT find a ski that I liked better than my existing ski.....
So agree. I love to demo also but try to limit myself.

I agree that is a big challenge about demoing in new england is being able to demo the kind of ski you are looking for, in your size, in the conditions you want them for......

I am one where I only try to demo when I'm looking for a ski. When I demo I usually find something I like and end up figuring out how to work it into my quiver. When I was dating I finally got to the point where I could just date, have fun and not think every date was my next relationship. I need to get to this point in skis so I can demo and have that be it.

I did sell a pair of skis that was extra recently so I'm proud of myself for that, baby steps right.....
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
I sometimes walk away being very happy that I did NOT find a ski that I liked better than my existing ski.....
Yeah, when I did my demo day for the Heads I thought I wanted to get, I started it out by demoing this years' model of my usual daily driver, the RTM 84. The whole way up the lift I was hoping that I wouldn't like the new RTM a ton more than I like the pair I have. I was happy to find that not only didn't I like it a lot more, but I actually liked it less since some of the changes they made removed features that I liked. So I came off the hill from that run being even more satisfied with my current ski than ever, and very happy about that...

I still got the Heads, I just wasn't confronted with a burning desire to replace an existing ski with a brand new one that was almost identical.
 
#13
I am planning a demo day next week but just need to work the perfect day to "achooo" be sick. This is quiver update research and maybe a couple curiosity demos if I have time. This will be my last demo day of the season and will give me something else to do during the summer/fall while I scope for deals, etc. My goal is to not demo at all next season but I said that last season. However, it turned out I don't love my carvers so that of course means demo right...............
 

BrookeK

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
Absolutely. Is there not a fine line between enthusiasm and obsession/compulsion/hoarding? :wink:
:thumbsup:
Hmmm. I may be just the type to cross that line.

Case in point : I'm sitting in the lodge after having skied for about an hour...because it is raining. Heavily. I knew it would be raining, I came anyway. Now I'm soaked, my fingers are cold, sitting on the chairlift is awfule, but I am.not even a little bit sorry bc the snow is terrific!

I like the dating comparison. Just out to have a little fun. No commitment expected!

I was given a pair of skis last year, old salomon straight skis. I ended up giving them to someone off craigslist. That was easy, there was.no reason for me to keep them. I should probably sell the atomics, I won't ski them again...but sentimentally, I'm attached. And they do have a lovely place to hang on the wall.

My coworker wants me to come with him to Kickers demo day on Friday. I'm torn. I feel like the more skis I ride, the more experience inget....like trying different types of horses! But I don't need to add anything else to my want list.
 

BrookeK

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
I am planning a demo day next week but just need to work the perfect day to "achooo" be sick. This is quiver update research and maybe a couple curiosity demos if I have time. This will be my last demo day of the season and will give me something else to do during the summer/fall while I scope for deals, etc. My goal is to not demo at all next season but I said that last season. However, it turned out I don't love my carvers so that of course means demo right...............
Seems reasonable to me!

What are you riding for carvers now?
 
#16
Seems reasonable to me!

What are you riding for carvers now?
I have Blizzard Magnum 8.0 ti that are VERY EFFECTIVE in hard pack and ice but missing the excitement factor. I trust their ability so much that I won't get rid of them until I find their replacement. I bought these on a wicked clearance and they were brand new so I am glad I bought them.
 

BrookeK

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
I have Blizzard Magnum 8.0 ti that are VERY EFFECTIVE in hard pack and ice but missing the excitement factor. I trust their ability so much that I won't get rid of them until I find their replacement. I bought these on a wicked clearance and they were brand new so I am glad I bought them.
The 'excitement factor'. I like that. Actually, I used a similar phrase when I was on the volkls ('these excite me') and when I tried me fischers ('wow! Wow!').

Well...when you find something, I trust you'll give us a thorough review!
 

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