Michigander Seeks Advice on New Skis (Intermediate/Advanced)

Subarctic Crawdaddy

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Hello All,

Long time reader, first time poster, looking for help with selecting new skis for this season. I appreciate all the experience and wisdom on this forum; it’s been a great help narrowing down candidates. But, before I hit the local ski stores, I was hoping the crowd here might be able to give me some personalized advice.

I’m a high-intermediate, borderline low-advanced, skier. I’m 5’7” (170 cm) and about 155 lbs. Before last season, my skill-level was one-step above “hazard,” and my goal on the slopes was to neither die nor kill someone. But I worked hard last season to up my game through lessons and a lot of work. Now it’s time for some new skis to help me take it to the next level. This season, I’ll be out there a lot again, focusing on bettering my carving and possibly—if I can make enough progress—trying moguls.

I’m from Michigan and almost all my time—and perhaps all these skis’ time—will be spent there. The local hills are low, with groomed runs that are narrow and short. My typical pattern is to wake up early and be on the slopes right when they open. I spend much of my time, therefore, on fresh corduroy, although it can get choppy later—especially if I make it a longer day. I’m never on fresh powder locally, and even if I take a few trips “up north” (as we call it in Michigan), significant powder is unlikely (although the hills will be higher and the runs longer).

My current skis are 2019 Volkl Kanjos in 168. I like them, and I’ll be passing them on to my son. But the turn radius, 17.5 meters, is too large for the local slopes. When I started carving last season, I was thrilled—but I was traveling across almost the entire skiable area of the run with each turn, making it hard when the slopes got crowded and limiting the number of turns that I got in per-run on our shorter hills.

I’ve done a lot of reading and narrowed it down to the following skis, based on factors that include local availability:

Head e-Rally
Stockli Laser SC
Stockli Montero AX
Volkl Deacon 72
Volkl Deacon 76

I’ve read all the reviews of these that I can find and spent a lot of time considering the pros and cons—but, given my inexperience, I’m looking for some help to be sure that I’m on the right track. What says the wisdom of the crowd, as to both ski and length? I’d like to keep it to these models to keep the discussion focused, but I’m open to other suggestions if my profile screams out a good candidate that’s not on my list.

Thank you very much in advance!
 

tomahawkins

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Hi! Welcome!

This season, I’ll be out there a lot again, focusing on bettering my carving and possibly—if I can make enough progress—trying moguls.

The first doesn't necessarily lead to the second and these skis, though great carvers, could be a setback for an intermediate in moguls. If your goal is to be a great all mountain skier (aka. carving+moguls), how about something like a Head V10, Dynastar M-Pro 85, or Salomon Stance 84?
 
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Subarctic Crawdaddy

Subarctic Crawdaddy

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Thanks for your reply. To clarify, I am not looking for a "mogul ski." It's just that several of the hills in my area have mogul runs, and it's something I'd like to try someday. While that could be a tiebreaker, I'm not going to nix a ski that's otherwise the right choice for me because it's not perfect for moguls. My priority is a short radius carving ski that won't go awry in late afternoon choppy conditions.
 

Tricia

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Before last season, my skill-level was one-step above “hazard,” and my goal on the slopes was to neither die nor kill someone.
That is quite the description.
Glad you've invested in lessons and are on the right track.

You can't go wrong with any of the skis you mentioned.
I will say, I was pretty impressed with the Deacons when I got on them back in January. They were a bit of a sleeper ski for me until then.
They may be a bit more versatile when you're getting into moguls.

But perhaps you'll want to have a dedicated carving ski and add another ski that works better in moguls when you get into that a bit.
 
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Subarctic Crawdaddy

Subarctic Crawdaddy

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Well...maybe the "hazard" comment was a bit of an exaggeration. ;) But I wanted to get across that I really improved a lot last season!

Seems the mogul comment is throwing a red hearing in the path...sorry. It is a long term aspiration, but not the focus I want to have for selecting my next skis. Getting better at carving with skis that match my local short, groomed runs is the priority (with a bit of flexibility for late-day chop being ideal).
 

chris_the_wrench

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Before last season, my skill-level was one-step above “hazard,” and my goal on the slopes was to neither die nor kill someone. But I worked hard last season to up my game through lessons and a lot of work.

love the description! Nothing else to contribute… carry on.
 
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Subarctic Crawdaddy

Subarctic Crawdaddy

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I did come across Shaggy's in my initial research. They look like a cool company, and it seems like they make a great product.

I'm not sure they're right for me though. Given my lack of experience, I'm a bit nervous about going with a boutique, mail-order company for my first pair of serious skis. More significantly, I think--but don't know for sure--that I should get something narrower than 80mm and a bit shorter radius than they offer, given that I'm essentially 100% on piste and almost exclusively on well-groomed runs (for now, at least).

But Shaggy's is on my short list for a when I inevitably want a wider ski, a few years down the road. ;)
 

GregK

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I like the recommendation of skis like the new M-Pro 85 as it would have the tighter turn radius and lower taper tail for good edge hold while carving but would have a tip design that would be less catchy in afternoon crud than a typical carver. Also would be more forgiving in “future bumps” too.
The latest Rossignol Experience line would also be a great option for a very versatile all day/all mountain carver.
 

GregK

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A few videos on the M-Pro 85 and what descriptions of intended use which mirror yours.




Another excellent video explaining the differences between the carving skis that you first mentioned(left racks) Vs skis like the Rossignol Experience or MPro 85(middle to middle/right racks) which add more versatility when not on perfectly groomed slopes.

 

Dwight

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I would go with @GregK recommendations. I have always liked the Rossi Experience for the Upper Midwest. I used to have a pair, that I used to get better at carving.

Since you are from Michigan, this year find a demo day for the Shaggy's and see if you like them. They did make a new Carver 88 and the Brockway 80, which might work. There are better brands for the same price or cheaper.

Midwest moguls = ice bumps.
 

Quandary

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Given that you are in Michigan you may very well spend time skiing Boyne, Nubs Nob etc. Before buying you should stop by Shaggy's in Boyne City. They have a complete "showroom" where you can handle their skis, chat with them about the right ski for you and check out the manufacturing process. They are great people and can definitely put you on a great pair of skis for Michigan.
 

chilehed

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My current skis are 2019 Volkl Kanjos in 168. I like them, and I’ll be passing them on to my son. But the turn radius, 17.5 meters, is too large for the local slopes. When I started carving last season, I was thrilled—but I was traveling across almost the entire skiable area of the run with each turn...
I'm in SE Michigan and am quite familiar with the four Detroit area hills. A 17.5 meter sidecut is perfectly reasonable here, and with the right technique in pressuring them you should be able to make turns significantly tighter than that even at slow speeds. I respectfully suggest that you might be better off continuing to take lessons and working on your skills.
 

tch

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While I haven't skied in Michigan, I've skied plenty of small, icy hills here in the northeast. If developing carving skills is the goal, I'm not sure I'd go to anything wider than 78 at most. While an 80+ ski might be more versatile, it doesn't appear to be the primary focus; the OP Is only getting crud and chop at the end of the day.
Myself, I'd look towards the original list a lot more than some of the other suggestions. I might even consider a true slalom-style ski like the Head Espeed or an Atomic Redster.
 

Mendieta

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That is quite the description.
Glad you've invested in lessons and are on the right track.

You can't go wrong with any of the skis you mentioned.
I will say, I was pretty impressed with the Deacons when I got on them back in January. They were a bit of a sleeper ski for me until then.
They may be a bit more versatile when you're getting into moguls.

But perhaps you'll want to have a dedicated carving ski and add another ski that works better in moguls when you get into that a bit.

I couldn't agree more. I would add that, given the stage that you (@Subarctic Crawdaddy ) seem to be in, I would start with the carving ski. I can only say good things about the Rallies. And I have a previous generation, that I think has been improved in the current one, with a smoother, less hooky shape. The rallies are both a serious carver, and a gentle one. They will be too much work on bumps, but great for short radius turns practice on groomers. Here is my own experience.

For a carving ski, please don't oversize, they ski the full length. Once you zero in on a ski, check for sizing here.

And, btw, no need to be snarky, folks, we've all started somewhere, and that included not being fully aware of where we are in our development stage, which also takes time. I am still a beginner, to be sure. And loving it!
:yahoo:
 

The Retired Skier

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Sounds like the Rossignol Experience 82 Basalt should be a great match. The Experience 82 Ti version would also be nice, but the Basalt will give you a bit more forgiving nature if/when you jump into some moguls.
 

spudbumkin

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I would put my money into well fit ski boots over skis. A snug, properly fit boot can make most any ski work just fine on a typical groomer.
 

Tricia

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I did come across Shaggy's in my initial research. They look like a cool company, and it seems like they make a great product.

I'm not sure they're right for me though. Given my lack of experience, I'm a bit nervous about going with a boutique, mail-order company for my first pair of serious skis. More significantly, I think--but don't know for sure--that I should get something narrower than 80mm and a bit shorter radius than they offer, given that I'm essentially 100% on piste and almost exclusively on well-groomed runs (for now, at least).

But Shaggy's is on my short list for a when I inevitably want a wider ski, a few years down the road. ;)
You're smart to focus on a ski that will assist your carving prowess. Shaggy's are fine and all but not ideal for someone working on carving skills with a short(ish) turn radius.

Also, if you refine your short turn skills that will naturally work well when you do get into your aspirational goals of slaying the moguls. :cool:
:daffy:
 
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