Best skis for Ice, Icy Conditions and Very hard packed snow

jpi

Booting up
Skier
Joined
Mar 31, 2021
Posts
7
Location
Montreal, Canada
Hello everyone, long time lurker, new here and first time posting.
I have been scouring the internet for while to try to get an answer to one key question for me: What are currently the best skis for Ice, Icy Conditions and Very hard packed snow?
I am an advanced skier working hard to combat my back seat bad habit (getting there) and I ski in eastern Canada where these conditions are common.
I am looking for an "Ice" ski to add to my quiver. From what I gathered, low 70s mm width and higher torsional rigidity make a good ice ski. Am I right?
The ski I am looking for needs to allow me to ski all day without crazy efforts, some forgiveness, good edge hold and the ability to skid the tale when needed.

From what I have read so far some of the top skis in the category are:
Kästle MX 75, Salomon S/Max 12, Stöckli Laser SC, Blossom No 1 RC (in my quiver, bought it last week but have yet to ski it)

I have tried the Mantra M5 and M6 (both in my quiver now) and they are impressive on ice but looking for something more nimble and not as wide.
I have tried the Stöckli CX (too much ski for me).
I have a Blizzard competition 70 which for my skiing style lacks bite on the ice.
The Stöckli AX is praised everywhere but again looking for narrower (say 75mm and under).

I am eager to have the opinion and hear the experience of the SkiTalk community.
 

PinnacleJim

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Aug 21, 2017
Posts
588
Location
Killington/Pico, VT
The usual answer for an eastern firm groomer ski is some form of SL race ski. Either a full on FIS SL ski or a consumer SL ski like a Fischer SC. If you are looking for a more versatile slightly wider carving ski (like the ones you list), then add the Head Supershapes to that list. The Head Rally is very popular here in New England.
 

KevinF

Gathermeister-New England
Team Gathermeister
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
2,525
Location
New England
This comes down to how much versatility do you expect / want to have? Generally skis that are good on ice have qualities (flat tails, no rocker, stiff, etc.) that make them extremely poor in other conditions.

The ultimate ice skates are, to me, slalom skis. Short (generally under 170cm), narrow, stiff, short turn radius. They will provide immediate feedback on your admitted back-seat habit as there isn't a whole of ski behind you to "lean back" on in the first place.

I ski primarily in Vermont; we have the same snow conditions (i.e., firm, firmer, and firmest). My ice skate of choice these days is the Laser SC, but -- as good as it is -- it doesn't compare to what t a "real" slalom ski can do in terms of raw power and edge grip. But it does strike a new blend in terms of grip and versatility.
 
Thread Starter
TS
J

jpi

Booting up
Skier
Joined
Mar 31, 2021
Posts
7
Location
Montreal, Canada
This comes down to how much versatility do you expect / want to have? Generally skis that are good on ice have qualities (flat tails, no rocker, stiff, etc.) that make them extremely poor in other conditions.

The ultimate ice skates are, to me, slalom skis. Short (generally under 170cm), narrow, stiff, short turn radius. They will provide immediate feedback on your admitted back-seat habit as there isn't a whole of ski behind you to "lean back" on in the first place.

I ski primarily in Vermont; we have the same snow conditions (i.e., firm, firmer, and firmest). My ice skate of choice these days is the Laser SC, but -- as good as it is -- it doesn't compare to what t a "real" slalom ski can do in terms of raw power and edge grip. But it does strike a new blend in terms of grip and versatility.
So +1 for the SC. Thank you
 

anders_nor

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Jan 18, 2020
Posts
796
Location
on snow
for Ice Ice any 60 or 70mm proper stiff ski with race inspiration or actual race ski, with the desired turn radius, FIS SL are surprisingly fun for just hooning around on ice, but so is cheater GS and real GS. Skis with large radius you dont really notice your skiing on ice, its just railing :D
 
  • Like
Reactions: jpi

Cheizz

Craving camber
Skier
Joined
Aug 15, 2016
Posts
818
Location
The Netherlands
Stöckli SC is a good one indeed. Also, the Salomon S/Max 12 you mentioned. I would rate the Salomon best on actual ice in fact. Apart from the gripper race models (which I won't recommend since you found the CX to be too much ski).
 
  • Like
Reactions: jpi

bob.knox

Booting up
Skier
Joined
Mar 23, 2019
Posts
16
Location
Boston
Go faster...turn less.
Only half kidding. Personally I love a full on GS race ski for those conditions (like Sunapee the morning after 2" of freezing rain this year). Much more versatile than a SL, and when turning on ice doesn't slow you down, you want a high speed stable ski that will let you ride it out until there is a patch of snow cone to stop on. Buy quality (Stöckli, Blossom, Augment) and it will last forever too.
 

markojp

mtn rep for the gear on my feet
Industry Insider
Instructor
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
4,792
Location
PNW aka SEA
The eRace/eRace Pro is excellent on really hard snow... even with piles of junk dust. Have a couple of friends that ski the iRace and ski the heck out of them. The 14-15m turn radius is more versatile than a FIS SL or cheater GS. The e Race/ eRace Pro share the same layups as the Rebels eSpeed/eSpeed Pro, which are also outstanding hard snow skis. If you find a new 'old' stock iRace or Rebels iSpeed, you'll save some $$$ and have equally great edge grip. The 'pro' designation gets you the full on race plate, so things get a bit more damp... maybe too damp if the Stöckli SC feels like too much ski.
 
Last edited:

ScottB

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Oct 29, 2016
Posts
1,033
Location
Boston
Usually FIS race skis have the strongest grip on ice. Take your pick of turn radius between SL, Cheater, and GS. I use a Salomon X-Drive 8,8 as my crappy snow ski (ie. ice or frozen) because it is really damp, holds pretty good on ice, and doesn't transmit much through to my legs. I also skied a K2 Supercharger which impressed me with its grip (I could stand on it will all my force) but I wasn't on ice at the time, but the ski is very strong and I would expect it to have really good grip on ice. Ski Logik actually made a ski they called the ICE PICK, but they are out of business. I never heard from anyone that bought one.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jpi
Thread Starter
TS
J

jpi

Booting up
Skier
Joined
Mar 31, 2021
Posts
7
Location
Montreal, Canada
The eRace/eRace Pro is excellent on really hard snow... even with piles of junk dust. Have a couple of friends that ski the iRace and ski the heck out of them. The 14-15m turn radius is more versatile than a FIS SL or cheater GS. The e Race/ eRace Pro share the same layups as the Rebels eSpeed/eSpeed Pro, which are also outstanding hard snow skis. If you find a new 'old' stock iRace or Rebels iSpeed, you'll save some $$$ and have equally great edge grip. The 'pro' designation gets you the full on race plate, so things get a bit more damp... maybe too damp if the Stöckli SC feels like too much ski.
Actually the SC maybe just right, the CX is the one that was more challenging. My son skis the CX now, having been on the mountain's junior race team and used to FIS SL and GS skis, he handles the CX with ease, he even says they are almost too easy to ski.
 

François Pugh

Making fresh tracks
Skier
Joined
Nov 17, 2015
Posts
4,479
Location
Great White North (Eastern side currently)
The usual answer for an eastern firm groomer ski is some form of SL race ski. Either a full on FIS SL ski or a consumer SL ski like a Fischer SC. If you are looking for a more versatile slightly wider carving ski (like the ones you list), then add the Head Supershapes to that list. The Head Rally is very popular here in New England.
I Agree with PinnacleJim, so long as you keep it under about 45 mph. I own a Fischer SC for that purpose. If you want to ski faster, then you should have a GS or cheater GS. Let's assume you're happy not skiing faster than that.
 

mdf

entering the Big Couloir
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
4,829
Location
Boston Suburbs
Definitely another vote for a real slalom ski. I don't use them often, but when you need them, you need them. One time I took one white knuckle run and then walked back to the car to swap to them (and a great rest of the day).
 

Doug Briggs

Ski to live or live to ski? Yes!
Industry Insider
SkiTalk Tester
Joined
Nov 9, 2015
Posts
5,708
Location
Breckenridge, CO
Note that any ski that is good on ice, many of the ones already suggested included, do NOT work well from the back seat. Getting in the back seat on a SL ski is a sure way to get hurt. The tails will engage and fly off off to the inside of the turn quicker than you can say, well, anything. It is instantaneous. On the flip side, they will constantly remind you that you are in the back seat and force you to fix your back seat habit post haste.

I think a radius of 15 - 17 m would be more productive as well as more forgiving and less deadly than a full on SL ski, FIS or otherwise. The key element you are looking for is torsional rigidity. This enables the edge, once engaged, to remain engaged.
 
Top