Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Peek at the 2010's: Part 4

Nordica
Nordica has made some modifications on the Drive, increasing its waist size from 74 to 76 and giving it an integrated binding. The Mint is also 74 vs. 72. I didn't get around to skiing any of these.

They still have the Conquer, a ski I’ve demoed before and really like, but I’m not nuts about the new color scheme: black and white with chartreuse accents. Bleh.


K2
The Lotta Luv has gone up to 82 in the waist, and they’ve replaced the One Luv with the Free Luv. I took the Lottas out because I know a lot of women like them, but I couldn’t get these off my feet fast enough. I just felt like I was all over the place, forcing them into the turns and not having any fun at all.


Rossignol
Rossi has an extensive line of women’s skis. At the low end is the Harmony, with a side-cut tail that’s supposed to make it easier to come out of a turn. A new ski that I found especially interesting is the Eco(sp.?), which they say is an environmentally friendly ski. The base is made of recycled plastic, and they say they used less petroleum products in its production. 75 underfoot. They’ve also replaced the top end of the Attraxion Series, the 11, with the Attraxion 12, and done away with the arms they used last year (these were supposed to allow you adjust the ski's flex, depending on conditions and terrain. I thought they were pretty gimmicky) This is based on the men’s Classic 70.

I had to try the Eco, which turned out to be a really nice ski. Responsive, a good carver, light, quick. And I tried the Voodoo 80, which has a slightly turned up tail. I tried the Voodoo last year, but maybe in a different waist size (it comes in several). Whether it was the conditions or the waist size, I liked it this year a lot better. Very responsive, came out of the turn nicely. I’d like to get this in some off piste stuff. I liked this even better than the Eco. A very fun ski.


SO – in a nutshell, my favs of the skis I tried:

Favs of the two days I was there:

Volkl Aurora (yes, I still love these skis)
Volkl Aura
Fischer Koa 84
Rossi Voodoo 80
Elan Free Spice
Head Wild One
Rossi Ecco
Head Perfect One

Thumbs down:

Atomic Double Deck
K2 Lotta Luv (sorry)

The bottom line: there's something for everyone, and everyone's different. What appeals to me may not appeal to you. So be sure to try before you buy.

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, the online home especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Peek at the 2010's: Part 3

Fischer

Fisher has replaced its popular Vision series with the Koa. Available in a variety of widths (75, 78, and 84) the Koa has a sandwich vertical wood core instead of the glass fiber wood core found in the Visions. The rep says this makes it a lighter, stronger ski with better edge hold. The graphics of the Koa are a big departure from the Visions, too. Dark with a bold, abstract design that’s not at all girlie. I really liked it.

Fischer still has the Vapor, which I really wanted to demo, but since they only had it in a 165, I decided to pass. Instead, I took out the Koa in the 75 and 84. The 75 was nice – lively, good rebound, good edging, easy to ski. But I liked the 84 even better. For a wide waisted ski, this thing skis like a carver. I’d give this a big thumbs up.

Blizzard Skis

Blizzard has an addition to their Magnum Series: the Magnum Viva 7.4. They also plan to introduce the Viva Max in a Magnum 8.1 soon (81 underfoot), but they don’t have it yet. Some of you will also be pleased to hear that they’ve brought back the Eos this year (88 underfoot; the same ski as the men’s Chronus.)

Anyway, I took out the Magnum Viva 7.4’s, and what a nice ski! Good edging, easy to turn, nice rebound. I also took out the Viva 7.6’s just for comparison -- a more advanced, all mountain ski with a wood core and an integrated binding system. This ski wants to go, yet it’s stable and smooth with good edging.


Dynastar

Dynastar is adding two new women’s skis to its line-up: the Exclusive Eden, with an 85 waist, a wood core, and a vertical side-wall, and the Exclusive Elite, which will be a high-end groomer with a 72 waist, wood core, and a straight side wall (this’ll be above the Exclusive Fluid). Unfortunately, they didn’t have either ski at the Demo Day, so I couldn’t give them a try.

They’re also discontinuing the Exclusive Legend Powder.

All the skis have new graphics. I took out the Exclusive Legend, a carry-over ski and their top seller, It’s a very nice, maneuverable ski that’s a jack of all trades. The 2010’s have a new graphic that’s white with a weird pastel image of a woman’s face, which I really didn’t like.

(To Be Continued.....)

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, the online home especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Peek at the 2010's: Part 2

Head:

Yes, I have a weakness for Head skis, directly attributable to jealousy over my sister’s Head 360’s in 1969 or 1970. Actually, I had Head Monster IM-70’s a few years ago, and I really liked them.

In 2010, Head is offering the same line up with one new addition: the Perfect One, a carver with a 67 waist. It’s pretty bland looking, but a nice ski, nonetheless. The narrow waist makes it go from edge to edge very nicely, and it has good rebound. The other skis are carry-overs from this season, with new graphics. I also skied the Wild One and the Every One. The Wild One is the equivalent of the company’s Monster IM82. It’s a very stable, solid ski with an 81 waist and a vertical sidewall. Good energy to it, too. And I love the graphics. The Every One is white with the name available in either orange or blue. It’s a versatile, nimble ski that’s light and quick. I neglected to get the waist size on this; I think it’s in the lower to mid 70’s.


Elan

These take the prize for the most beautiful graphics. The Black Magic is gorgeous: black with little flecks of colors embedded throughout, and a little crystal embellishment. The '10 Black Magic is a little stiffer than this year’s model (they added wave technology). I skied them, and found them to be a good intermediate ski.

I also skied the Free Spice. This is a wider ski (88 waist); I wish I could’ve tried this in powder , but alas – no new snow. It has really cool new graphics -- kind of a splattered paint look. Other than that, the ski is the same as this year's. The Free Spice is based on the men’s 888 Alu, without the metal.

Lastly, I tried the Speed Magic. This is Elan’s top of the line. It's 67 or 70 underfoot (can't remember), and very fast and responsive. A fine carver and very lively and easy to turn.


Goode

When you walk by a booth where there’s a sign saying they have the lightest ski out there, you just have to give it a try. I couldn't resist. Goode Skis are made entirely of carbon fiber. And they ARE very light. You especially notice it when you go up the lift. But this lightness comes at a price: I found myself getting knocked around in the snow a bit. So no.

(To be continued.....)

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, the online home especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

Friday, February 06, 2009

A Peek at the 2010's: Part I

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. This week I spent a couple days at the Ski Industry Demo Days at Stratton, VT, to preview the 2010 skis.

I absolutely love the Demo Days. Manufacturers set up tents filled with their new equipment, and the lucky participants have three days to try them out, talk to the reps, and learn more about next season's skis. Truly, I felt like a the proverbial kid in a candy store! So many skis to try, so little time.

Two overall impressions, however: First, there didn't seem to be a lot of new models this year. I don't know if it's the economy or what, but manufacturers seem to be more focused on refining their current skis, such as upping the waist size, or giving them new graphics. I guess it's a less expensive way to freshen their product line. Second, I'd say that the manufacturers have really stepped up their graphics. There are some stunning skis out there for next season!

So here’s what I saw and tried. I didn’t take as copious notes as I did last year, with the stats for each ski. This year I was much more casual (read "lazy"). So for what it’s worth, here goes:

My vital stats:

Advanced skier, 110 pounds, 5’1”

Most of the skis I skied were either 157, 161, or 163, depending on what they had available.

Volkl:

Volkl doesn’t have any new models coming out next year. However, they’re introducing a new technology called “Bio-Logic,” which they claim puts a female skier in a more neutral stance. According to the rep I spoke with, traditional bindings have the heels jacked up. When you combine that with the higher ramp angle you typically find in a woman’s boots, you end up being tipped too far forward.This can actually cause you to crouch, pushing the calf forward and really working the quads. (It's like doing wall sits all day; your quads end up killing you.) To combat this, Volkl has raised the toe in the binding. The result is better balance of the hamstring and glutes and more efficient muscle use. They’ve also tapered the tail angle so it releases more readily at the end of a turn. The tip is a bit wider, and they gave the ski a more consistent flex pattern.

The only new model they have for the coming year is the Estrella (not sure of the spelling), which they say is suited for aspiring intermediates. I didn’t try it, but I re-tried the Aurora, Tierra, and yes, the much loved Aura. Yes, I am still in love with the Aurora. What a ski! If I were in the market, this is the one I would buy. It feels like a Cadillac under foot: smooth, stable, and strong with that great Volkl edge. A terrific all around ski (too stiff for the bumps, though). As for the Aura, they’ve changed the graphics once again. Actually, they’re very similar to this year’s, except in a different color scheme (a silvery gray background and not as much color). I think I like this year’s better.

Atomic

The new women’s ski from Atomic is the Double Deck. And it’s really lovely: a white topsheet surrounding a raised black area, all covered with thin silver hatch marks. It’s really elegant. If you went to a black-tie ski event, this is the ski you’d bring. The technology sounds way cool, too: Simply described, it has two decks which are essentially one ski on top of another. Although the two skis are produced separately and joined together, each can move freely. The lower deck (adapter deck) adjusts to the slope while the upper deck (control deck) distributes the power generated by the skier.

Sounds great, right? Well, no. I found them very, very heavy, extremely torsionally stiff, and unresponsive. Perhaps they just need a bigger, stronger skier. A man I know tried the men’s version and loved it, so maybe it’s me.

Atomic still has the Heaven’s Gate and the Cloud series. I didn’t demo any of these this year, though last year I really liked the Cloud 9’s when I skied them last year.

To be continued.....

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, the online home especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.