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Time to upgrade my K2 Amp Strike beginner skis

NYSnowflake

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
Last year was my first year skiing (at age 41). I had an amazing season on my bargain bin K2 Amp Strike (children’s!) beginner skis. I am 5’2” and ~120 lbs. The Amp Strike skis are 146cm, 112-70-97, 12m turning radius. I skied in custom fit Nordica Speedmachine 85s. I skied 25 days and had about 18 lessons through my club. I live in the Northeast and ski at Mt. Snow, Stratton, Pico, Sugarbush, Bromley, Whiteface, Catamount, etc.

By the end of the season I had mastered blues and was getting pretty confident on groomed black trails. I had a double black moguls lesson at Stratton on my last day of the season. My Amp strikes performed great for me all season except when it was very soft/wet/bumpy/cruddy because I got tossed around too much and lost my form. This year I have an Epic Pass, will have access to frequent lessons through my club again, and may get out to Whistler in March to visit a friend who works there. I hope to break 30 days of skiing this year and am excited to check out Stowe. My husband is an expert skier and in training to be an instructor, so I get to pick his brain and get pushed pretty hard by him to progress.

I get the impression I might need to move up from my beginner skis and get something a bit longer and stiffer to progress with my skiing. Any advice on what skis would be best for me (and why)? Thank you for sharing your ski knowledge with this newbie!
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#2
It's a great sport isn't!!

Yes, you need new skis. A lot of the ladies here will say you need wider waisted skis etc. Go demo skis!! It's fun. Look for ladies skis. Read some reviews that are available online. Then make a list. Go stiffer and a little longer. Your K2's are really meant for a kid about 100lb. So a true ladies ski is now in order.

What brands do you have access to?
 

NYSnowflake

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
I don’t know what you mean by what brands do I have access to. Do you mean to demo? I honestly don’t know yet. The Head Total Joy skis have got my attention based on what I have read online. I think I want a ski about 153cm with a rockered tip or tip and tail and a waist no wider than 78mm.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#5
Joy line from Head would be a good choice. My rockered skis are all 10cm longer than my carvers. So if you can different lengths try it.

And yes, keep the waist under 78 until you get better. It won't take long....
 

NYSnowflake

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
Is it terrible that demoing sounds like a huge hassle? Once I get to the mountain I don’t want to stop skiing to go to the ski shop and wait in line, etc. I have also researched cars online and decided to buy without test driving, which some people think is nuts.

I kind of just want to research online, get suggestions, and make a “reasonable” choice and ski it!
 
#7
If you find a "demo day" it can be fun and not as much of a hassel. Tents set up at the base of the hill. You just pick a ski, they quickly adjust the bindings (helps to know your BSL and DIN going in), and you go ski a run or two. Go to the next tent, pick another ski. Lather, rinse, repeat. If you just want to see which you prefer from a couple of top choices, not much of a time commitment. I always bring my own skis to a demo day, so when I decide I have had enough demos, I just grab my own off the rack and ski. FWIW I have bought skis without a demo first and loved them. But I have also demoed skis that are popular and from descriptions should have been great for me and thought "glad I didn't buy these."
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#8
Is it terrible that demoing sounds like a huge hassle? Once I get to the mountain I don’t want to stop skiing to go to the ski shop and wait in line, etc. I have also researched cars online and decided to buy without test driving, which some people think is nuts.

I kind of just want to research online, get suggestions, and make a “reasonable” choice and ski it!
Well, you could do both. Find a pair of skis that are a good deal right now based on some research, then keep an eye out for a free demo day in Dec. You live in an area where selling skis is probably not that difficult. Have you heard of ski swaps?

There are also demo days in March. The Ladies Demo Day at Sunapee was the best demo day I've ever done. Well worth the registration fee.

https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/demo-day-at-sunapee-ladies-day-3-12-19.23810/

When I started skiing more as my daughter learned, I got a pair of former rental skis for $100 to start with. I was an intermediate who learned to ski for a couple seasons as a teen. But didn't ski much as a working adult. Next pair of skis were 74 underfoot and under $300. The same line as name brand skis I'd demo'd but different model. They were good enough for a couple seasons. By then I had a better idea of how to really shop for skis based on what terrain I was likely to ski for a few years.

As for the Head Joy line, I own the Absolut Joy and like it for northeast skiing. It's 78 underfoot. The advantage of a narrower width is that it's a bit easier to work on technique, especially the carving end of the turn spectrum. The Total Joy is the next wider model. Perfectly good for northeast . . . assuming it's a good fit for you. The Super Joy 74mm and is really better as a carver for high speed skiing on groomers. For reasons that aren't obvious, people either really find Joy skis fun or don't want to have anything to do with them.
 
#10
I am 5’2” and ~120 lbs. The Amp Strike skis are 146cm, 112-70-97, 12m turning radius.
I'm a little shorter and about 10 pounds lighter, over 60, became advanced in the last 10 years but tend to stick to groomers in the northeast. Not a fan of skiing frozen surfaces with bumps or in between trees. I ski off-piste a lot more on soft snow out west. My AJs are 148cm, my all-mountain skis are 85 underfoot and 159cm.

To give you an idea of skis that show up at demo days in the 70-85 width range, here are some models I've checked out in recent years. Usually just for a run or two at a resort demo day.

Note that the only reason I took out the Volkl Kama @161 was to confirm that I wouldn't like it, both because it was probably too long and because I tend not to like Volkl skis because they are relatively stiff. It was the shortest Kama available. I tend to learn more from skis I don't like than the ones that I find fun.

Nordica Astral 78Ti, @158, 114-78-99, R 14m
Nordica Astral 84 @158, 124-84-108, R 14m
Rossi NOVA 8ca @156, 126-74-110, R 12m
Blizzard BP78
Volkl Kama @161, 125-83-103, R 17.1m
Volkl Flair 81 @156
Volkl Flair 78 @149; 126/78/106, R 13.0m @156cm
Fischer MT84 @154, 124-85-112, R 13.5m
 
#12
@marzNC - that's a good list to start. I would stick to the less than 80mm though. That Rossi would be one to try for sure. That shovel would really help with the chop. Similar stats to the old Attraxion 8.
Ah . . . the Attraxion 8, my first good skis. They were a lot of fun @154cm and the wide shovel was great out west, 127/75/108, turn radius 12.8 @162. That was before I knew that turn radius varies with length.

With the combined list, can really see that skis with different widths can have the same turn radius because of other design factors. Usually not obvious when only checking out 2-3 pairs of skis.
 
#13
Atomic 8's are tamest, Atomic 9's have a bit more "Umph" to them and need to be a bit more attentive
Atomic Vantage series are more forgiving than the cloud series Imo
Check out the Blizzard Alight series too- they perform well too, great carvers fun ski.
My new found fun ski is Liberty V76-(I may have to buy) amazing fun ski for me! I skied on frozen cord then piles of spring snow they were a blast. There are wider models too.

Since you like K2 maybe try another? I hope you can demo several on the same day to really tell the difference in what kind of ski works for you!
 
#14
Just to add my +2 or whatever the count is for going to a demo day. I resisted demo-ing for 2 1/2 years for the same reason as you. I just wanted to ski. But I did the Mt. Sunapee demo day in March (women’s ski day with cheap ticket, demos, breakfast, lunch, prizes and who-knows-what. Oh, yes, lessons) It was great.

I learned a little about the skis I tried. I think I will try demo-ing again this year. It’s getting to be time for an upgrade.
 
#17
I started on rental K2 Amp Strikes last season, and switched up to rental Rossi Temptation 84s. What a difference on cruddy snow, especially at speed -- I felt like a whole new woman!
I don't have any specific skis to suggest, but I do think you'll see a huge difference with whatever skis you go with.

If you don't want to demo, and don't have your heart set on a specific ski, are there any sports shops near you that do season rentals? In California, season rentals (with free swaps) run for ~$250. For me, that was a reasonable price to pay to try a few pairs of skis in different styles for a season or two, until I decide on one to buy.

There's a little less choice in the specific skis, but the rentals have the ones I'm looking at (Rossi Temptation 80 + 84, Blizzard Black Pearl 82 + 88, plus maybe the Rossi Soul 7), and give me enough variety that I know what I'm looking for at a demo day.

Good luck :D
 
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#18
I started on rental K2 Amp Strikes last season, and switched up to rental Rossi Temptation 84s. What a difference on cruddy snow, especially at speed -- I felt like a whole new woman!
I don't have any specific skis to suggest, but I do think you'll see a huge difference with whatever skis you go with.

If you don't want to demo, and don't have your heart set on a specific ski, are there any sports shops near you that do season rentals? In California, season rentals (with free swaps) run for ~$250. For me, that was a reasonable price to pay to try a few pairs of skis in different styles for a season or two, until I decide on one to buy.

There's a little less choice in the specific skis, but the rentals have the ones I'm looking at (Rossi Temptation 80 + 84, Blizzard Black Pearl 82 + 88, plus maybe the Rossi Soul 7), and give me enough variety that I know what I'm looking for at a demo day.

Good luck :D
ah, I forgot to say -- free swaps also meant I got to try a few different lengths, too.
 

NYSnowflake

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
Thank you all for the super helpful advice here! I have a lot of great new strategies now! Mount Snow has a free demo day in December and I guess I will check that out. It is great to hear that switching out the Amp Strikes made a big difference! I am starting to think I may eventually want a carving ski under 80mm waist and also a 85mm spring and rainy day crud cutting ski. That way I can still work on carving hard groomers in the AM but switch out when the chop gets rough. I do tend to keep skiing until the lifts stop turning, rather than go in after lunch, so skis for both ice and chop are a necessity here in the east where afternoon snow typically one or the other!
 

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