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Time to upgrade my K2 Amp Strike beginner skis

#21
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.
Sorry I meant to say Head Super Joy but Total Joy might be ok as well
In my opinion, I think the Total Joy would suit your needs as a one-ski-does-it-all better than the Super Joy. They're very similar skis, but the Total Joy will add that extra little bit of versatility in a wider range of conditions. They're still a front-side shaped ski (with a fairly flat tail), so they carve well despite their width being a bit wider.

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!
I'm one of the (probably few) people on this site that would say this isn't a terrible idea at all. I've bought many skis without trying them first, 3 out of 5 of my current skis were bought without demoing. If you are to buy without demoing, I would recommend first doing your own research (which it seems like you're starting to do), but then buying from a reputable local shop.

Do your own research first, so you have some idea if they're selling you short (literally and figuratively). Buying from a shop and developing a relationship with them will set you up for more success in the long haul. If you end up reeeeaaaallllly hating the skis, most shops will work with you on exchanging them (maybe not full refund...but something) if you bought based on their recommendations. This gives you some security.

Personally, I would go a bit wider...venturing into the low-80's for width. I think the extra width can provide an advancing skier a lot of confidence in those tricky conditions, without sacrificing much edge hold when perfecting your carving skills. I think you're spot on with your length, 153cm, that you mentioned. Anywhere in the low to mid-150s should suit you well for an all-mountain ski.

Lastly, I will add that demoing does have it's advantages. It will start to get you familiar with how different shapes and constructions affect your skiing. It'll give you an opportunity to experiment with things you probably wouldn't have bought...and sometimes those are the skis you end up liking most. Without demoing, you don't know what you don't know...The ski you purchase will probably feel great in comparison to what you've been on, but there could be a better ski for you out there (some people are okay with that mentality, and others will wonder "what if". The fact that you'll buy a car non-test-driven tells me you'll be fine without demoing, and you won't overthink the "what if's").
 
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contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#22
When I saw Super Joy my initial thought was "too stiff" and I still think that. The Total Joy is not as stiff and would be a better option IMO. They DO ski similarly but having owned the Super Joy and having skied the Total Joy a few times over the years, I'd steer you away from the Super Joy for now.

Other good options that have been previously mentioned: Black Pearl 82, Astral 84, Experience 84. I know there are more groomer oriented skis out there that would also work, but I haven't spent time on most of them except some K2's from two seasons ago (they were awesome, and the carbon only versions would also not be a bad choice.)

Those three above would give you a nice blend of versatility without kicking your butt as you try to progress, and would allow you to progress as they are all REALLY great skis that can take things up a notch when you are ready, but will be forgiving enough otherwise.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#23
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!
In your case, no question that getting new skis will make a noticeable difference.

I had a pair of all-mountain skis, 75mm with wide shovel tip and wide tail for a few years as much first good skis. You are on the right track thinking that two pairs of skis will be best in the long run. One reason I've kept my 2011 Black Pearls, 88mm, is for spring skiing in the east. Especially fun with Phantom treatment.
 

2ski2moro

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#24
Demo until you find a ski that puts a smile on your face.

If you are looking at a ski that has rocker, you will probably need something longer than 153. I'm 5'0" and ski 156 or longer.
 
#25
Lastly, I will add that demoing does have it's advantages. It will start to get you familiar with how different shapes and constructions affect your skiing. It'll give you an opportunity to experiment with things you probably wouldn't have bought...and sometimes those are the skis you end up liking most.
My first demo ever was last February. I knew I wanted something longer and stiffer than what I was on and just wanted to see what was out there. That demo really helped me to feel different shapes and constructions and even try different lengths. One pair I couldn’t get off my feet fast enough after one run. They were way too stiff and felt like planks. One pair I didn’t want to give back because they put such a smile on my face. I was a little fearful when they gave some 174 length skis. I wasn’t sure I could handle them as I had never been on anything above 168. I didn’t have any problem at all and am confident about going longer for my next pair. I am hoping they have another one this coming season so my husband can demo and feel those differences I felt and find the type of construction that works for him. I’m hoping they have the Santa Ana 88/93 and Rustler/Sheeva 9 this time as I want a comparison to the Head Core 93w I fell in love with. Sure, I didn’t get as much time on the snow as I would have if I hadn’t done any demoing, but I learned a lot and had a lot of fun chatting with fellow testers on the lifts getting their thoughts on what they were skiing.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#26
Digging in my notes I see that the Super Joy and Total Joy are the same except the Total Joy has more rocker. I knew it was just a tad easier to ski--I skied both in the 163 length and the Super definitely skied longer. So, if you DO go that route, you might want to keep that in mind.
 

NYSnowflake

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#27
Today I skied for the first time on my new 2019 Head Total Joy 153s! I was worried if they would be too much for me to jump to from my 146 K2 Amp Strike newbie skis. I read all the comments on here and decided to go for them at $399 price tag with bindings, even though I knew that they might be a tad wide or perhaps a tad stiff ... or maybe I would just hate them for some unknown reason, because some people seem to hate these skis and we don’t know why. I figured if I hated them I would just bring them back out again in the spring time in the crowd and see if they worked better then.

Well, I took them out for a spin at Mount Snow today and I really like how much more stable they are! I felt very confident on them from the first run and had no trouble getting them on edge at all. They were really fun and smooth to ski on the easy greens. When we moved to the scraped clean blue run after lunch, I wasn’t loving the hardpack/near ice but my skis held an edge and I stayed confident and in control all the way down. My husband watched and laughed when I got to the bottom. He said that I was definitely the most in control skier coming down that run today. As I was skiing down there were minimally in control people whizzing by me at Mach 10. I didn’t really care for that part, but the skis did awesome. Tomorrow we go back to Mount Snow with my club and I will get a real lesson on them. To be continued…
 
#29
Well, I took them out for a spin at Mount Snow today and I really like how much more stable they are! I felt very confident on them from the first run and had no trouble getting them on edge at all. They were really fun and smooth to ski on the easy greens. When we moved to the scraped clean blue run after lunch, I wasn’t loving the hardpack/near ice but my skis held an edge and I stayed confident and in control all the way down.
Thanks for the update! Sounds like a pretty good fit to me.

I still plan to demo this winter because I wish I had a pair of carving/technical skis, and a fun twin tip to pair as well. Budget doesn’t allow for that at this moment but a girl can dream.
Demo'ing is a lot of fun even if a purchase won't happen for a few years. At least, that's how I feel about making the effort to be around during a demo day. Not only can learn about different types of skis, sometimes you'll also learn about your skiing. Especially if you take out skis that you think you won't like.
 

NYSnowflake

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#32
Update on my experience with the Head Total Joy skis-

I skied very firm/hardpack/large icy patches at Mount Snow on Saturday and these skis performed very well. No falls. Sunday conditions were less icy, but still fairly firm in the AM and I had a private 1/2 day lesson. I crossed my tips a couple times on pitches but caught it and recovered without falling. Also caught an edge but released it without falling a few times. My instructor thought these skis were a great choice for me and my skiing improved noticeably as the day went on- rounder turns, less crouched posture, less bracing my outside leg, better upper/lower body separation.

Today I skied in about 20” of fresh (but tracked out) Powder at Hunter Mtn. It was my first time skiing at Hunter, and the light was flat, which I hate. No friends on Powder days so I skied alone. Lap after lap on beltway. First time sking in this type of snow. The Head Total Joys Killed it today! They cut through all the chop, and sailed/lightly bounced over baby moguls! They were extremely stable and seemed sickeningly fast in the chop compared to my old K2 Amp strikes. I just had to stay balanced over them and they got the job done. I was able to keep working on keeping my hands forward and shoulders down the hill while my legs and feet went wherever they needed to go underneath me. I could edge/carve turns or practice flat skiing in these conditions, both of which worked great. Flat skiing seemed to help me keep the speed down. They got pretty fast with edging. The super flat ligtht and snow falling today made it really hard to tell whether there was any pitch or not. I think there was a lot more pitch that I realized because when I looked back it looked steeper than it did looking forward. These skis were very forgiving, in that if I noticed I got too far forward or back, or scrunchedup, or caught an edge, that I had time to correct it and recover instead of crashing. I could not be happier with these skis!!
 
#33
PS- I still plan to demo this winter because I wish I had a pair of carving/technical skis, and a fun twin tip to pair as well. Budget doesn’t allow for that at this moment but a girl can dream.
I love to demo and take notes then if I have the $ I buy them the following year or even 2yrs later. A ski that "wow's" you is worth investing in. I'm happy you love your Joys!
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#34
Update on my experience with the Head Total Joy skis-

I skied very firm/hardpack/large icy patches at Mount Snow on Saturday and these skis performed very well. No falls. Sunday conditions were less icy, but still fairly firm in the AM and I had a private 1/2 day lesson. I crossed my tips a couple times on pitches but caught it and recovered without falling. Also caught an edge but released it without falling a few times. My instructor thought these skis were a great choice for me and my skiing improved noticeably as the day went on- rounder turns, less crouched posture, less bracing my outside leg, better upper/lower body separation.

Today I skied in about 20” of fresh (but tracked out) Powder at Hunter Mtn. It was my first time skiing at Hunter, and the light was flat, which I hate. No friends on Powder days so I skied alone. Lap after lap on beltway. First time sking in this type of snow. The Head Total Joys Killed it today! They cut through all the chop, and sailed/lightly bounced over baby moguls! They were extremely stable and seemed sickeningly fast in the chop compared to my old K2 Amp strikes. I just had to stay balanced over them and they got the job done. I was able to keep working on keeping my hands forward and shoulders down the hill while my legs and feet went wherever they needed to go underneath me. I could edge/carve turns or practice flat skiing in these conditions, both of which worked great. Flat skiing seemed to help me keep the speed down. They got pretty fast with edging. The super flat ligtht and snow falling today made it really hard to tell whether there was any pitch or not. I think there was a lot more pitch that I realized because when I looked back it looked steeper than it did looking forward. These skis were very forgiving, in that if I noticed I got too far forward or back, or scrunchedup, or caught an edge, that I had time to correct it and recover instead of crashing. I could not be happier with these skis!!
Thanks for sharing your experience! I don't know why, but I always forget about these when people ask for great all-mountain skis in the mid-80s width, yet when I skied them last February, I thought they were awesome, and easy, and would be great for aspiring intermediates on up to experts. They'll also be a great instructor ski. So glad you liked them!
 

NYSnowflake

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#38
When I saw Super Joy my initial thought was "too stiff" and I still think that. The Total Joy is not as stiff and would be a better option IMO. They DO ski similarly but having owned the Super Joy and having skied the Total Joy a few times over the years, I'd steer you away from the Super Joy for now.
I just watched a video made by Head that explained that the 2019 Super Joy and 2019 Total Joy are the *exact same ski* except they have different widths! I was not aware of this until just now! #mindblown


That kind of changes my idea that I want a set of super joys as a carving ski. It would be a little redundant I think.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#39
I just watched a video made by Head that explained that the 2019 Super Joy and 2019 Total Joy are the *exact same ski* except they have different widths! I was not aware of this until just now! #mindblown


That kind of changes my idea that I want a set of super joys as a carving ski. It would be a little redundant I think.
The Total Joys have more rocker, I just looked into this recently because I had skied the Total Joys and loved them, skied the Super Joys, bought them, then found them less "agreeable" to ski and I really think that was why. Anyway, yes, it would be kind of redundant to have one of each.
 

skisenyc

Diva in Training
#40
After skiing on a pair of (season rental) Elan Black Magic 146s for all of last year, not getting the speed or the oomph that I wanted, it was time for a grown up pair of skis. I didn't even consider demo'ing, because why do the most obviously responsible thing?! Instead I did comparisons, and days of research, read a million reviews and walked into my local ski shop and got myself a pair of Head Total Joy 153s. @NYSnowflake, thank you so much for your detailed review. Your thorough review and enthusiasm helped me with my decision immensely.
Holy smokes! What a difference from those Elans!!!
They are easy to stay balanced, responsive to both sharp and long turns, easy to go fast and easy to stop, even on ice and crud. I love them!
Something I realized, my legs got more of a workout on these than they were used to with the Elans. That might very well be because we did 4 hours of blue/blacks on Windham.
 

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