During the SnowSports Industries America Snow Show (SIA), our friendly and fun Vista Bahn Ski Rentals staff ripped up the 20+ inches of fresh Rocky Mountain powder to gain knowledge on the newest and best equipment out there – You’re Welcome! With having the opportunity to demo products at the show, we couldn’t wait to get back to report on the latest and greatest equipment out there!
STAFF FAVORITES: (The overall favorite was the Rossignol E88)
Barclay Rabin – Blizzard Cochise: “I wasn’t familiar with the line, so I was surprised by how great it was. It’s a stiff ski for the advanced skier.”
Dominique – Rossignol Temptation 84: “Love them! Stiff carving ski and holds an edge well.”
Dan Copa – Liberty Helix & Solomon Enduro “I’m a big fan.”
Friends and family:
SNOW DEMO DAYS – FULL REVIEW
The VBSR’s team attended the SIA ski show and Demoed both men’s and women’s skis that will be available for the 2014-2015 ski season. We broke out the ski, skier ability and the review/recommendations into three separate categories:
- Novice to Intermediate
- Advanced Intermediate to Expert (82-90mm underfoot)
- Advanced Intermediate to Expert (98mm underfoot)
Men’s Novice to Intermediate Ski’s:
The three men’s intermediate skis are being compared against the Nordica Avenger, which was already demoed by the VBSR shop. Overall, none of the ski’s out preformed the Avenger but when compared against each other, noticeable observations were made. The Volkl RTM 77 was comparable and may a little more aggressive on the snow. While we liked the K2 X80, we would not recommend it for our shop because it is too soft for most intermediate skiers, however, the Solomon XDriver 8.3 would be a nice addition IF you wanted a softer intermediate ski as compared to the Avenger. Below are observations on each ski demoed:
- Nordica’s Avenger (their description): Made for intermediate to advanced skiers looking for a ski that will perform in versatile snow conditions, this ski offers a modern platform that will hold an edge on the groomers, dominate the crud, and allow you to explore all parts of the mountain with confidence.
- Solomon XDriver 8.3: Cap construction making it easy to turn, not going to hold on ice, but turns fine with a little snow. Felt secure standing on it, not going too fast. Allows customer to skid turn without being too unsettled.
- K2 x80 (without Ti): Little too soft and unstable for our customers purchasing the platinum package. For a ski of this profile (pure novice or lower intermediate), most of our customers would purchase the premium package instead of moving up to platinum package.
- Volkl RTM 77: Quick for short turns and holds fairly well for an intermediate ski (typical Volkl). Might be too much ski for our novice – intermediate customers. If looking to replace or supplement the supply of Avengers, this is the ski.
Men’s advanced intermediates to expert skis (82mm to 90 mm underfoot)
- Solomon XDriver 8.8: This is a very stable and strong ski that will be Solomon’s replacement ski for the Enduro. – it’s a great ski. Great ski. Holds really well on the ice/hard pack, it’s easy to turn and we suspect it would plow through the crud and be OK for some powder. It’s a perfect front side ski with the flexibility to do some skiing in crud and powder. A great overall ski.
- Rossignol E88:
Men’s advanced intermediates to expert skis (approximately 98 mm underfoot)
These are all excellent skis and capable of skiing on the hard pack and for having a good time in the bowls with some powder or crud. Although, we personally preferred the Mantra, the Q98 might be a better selection for our customers because it’s the easiest and most forgiving of the skis demoed in this category. The K2 and Volkl require a little more enthusiasm to ski properly and if you are tired they might buck you off like a bronco.
- Solomon Q98: (In the same family as the Q90). A nice wider ski without being too demanding and held well on hard pack, although not as well as XDriver 8.8. It was very predictable and good for a strong intermediate / weaker – older expert skier. It is really for the skier who does not want a super-demanding ski, but is a good Vail all-mountain ski.
- Solomon Enduro:
- K2 Annex 98: A stronger ski than the Q98 that’s very stable and strong under foot. . This ski is for the more accomplished expert who wants a little more ski than the Q98.
- Volkl Mantra: A new design for 2014/2015 – It’s truly a wonderful ski. A very stable ski inspiring confidence and was easily the fastest of the day! This ski is for the strong athletic skier.
- Liberty Helix:
Women’s Advanced Beginners to Intermediates:
- K2 Potion X series (front side): This is a new line call “Potion” and the main differences are the flex and width underfoot. They all have a modest rocker in the shovel. The difference in the skis are listed below:
- x=no metal, softer flex, also reinforcement in shovel in shape of an X, believe it’s available in 76, 80,84 & 90 width
- xti= metal, stiffer flex, reinforcement in shovel in shape of an X, believe it’s available in 80,84 & 90 width
- ti=metal, no reinforcement in shovel, available in 98 width with min. length of 170, believe had rocker in tip and shovel
- Potion 80x (154cm, formerly Superific): A nice and easy turning ski that is lively with a modest rebound. It did slide on the hard pack and would recommend for an intermediate skier as an easy and fun ski that has good performance. Would not recommend for someone looking to advance beyond intermediate level.
- Potion 84xti (160cm,formerly Superstitious): Has nice turning and good rebound, but slid some on the hardpack snow. A good ski, but we would have expected a better grip on hardpack for this type of ski.
Women’s Advanced Intermediate to Experts:
- Rossignol Temptation 84:
- K2 Remedy 102 (all mtn & powder): We recommend as an all mountain ski as well as a powder ski. The rocker style with classic camber underfoot, bidirectional with smaller length options make it easy to turn and fun to ski. This ski held well on hard pack and skied better than the Potion 84xti.
- Volkl Kenja: Great all mountain ski that did not change from last year’s model. This is labeled as an advanced intermediate ski and is 87 underfoot with early rise tip and classic camber underfoot. It skied quickly from edge to edge with good grip on hard pack. The Kenja is easy to turn with a nice rebound – just plain fun to ski!
- Volkl Aura: Great all mountain and powder ski. Complete new design for the upcoming season has full rocker and is 100 underfoot. A very, very quick and easy ski to turn. It makes nice rounded turns that are predictable and forgiving, holding on well to hard pack and packed powder alike. We would expect this ski to do well in powder due to the full rocker, it’s very easy to turn and preforms even better the more you get on edge. This ski is the newly designed men’s Mantra and is exactly the same except for graphics – such a dynamic ski!
- Blizzard Black Pearl: No changes from last year. A softer flexing ski to be skied with more forward pressure as opposed to the center or heel pressure. Ski held superb on hardpack and skied fast naturally through the fall line turns. Makes nice rounded turns and easy to control.
Were you at the SIA show? What did you demo? What was your favorite and why?