STEVE LEE REVIEWS – Skis for the First Time Purchase

June 28th, 2011
  


Steve putting the skis through their paces on the green runs. Image:: Chris Hocking

Equipment Review | Steve Lee

With rental playing such a major roll in the industry these days, it’s a wonder people buy skis at all anymore. However they do and after boots, which are the very first bit of serious kit you should purchase (see the boot blog for more detail) skis come next.

In an intermediate/entry level ski, you want something you are going to be challenged by and improve with, not something you’ll out-grow within a few weeks. So aim a little higher than you perhaps think. Go for something fairly traditional, a ski that will compliment and improve your technique and style. You certainly do not need a park, or big mountain ski, even a twin tip is pushing it, I mean are you really going to be going switch intentionally?

A good directional ski is the go, with just a few bells and whistles, and there are lots of options, in fact a ridiculous amount to choose from. However if you are ready to buy your first ski here is the “type” of ski I would suggest and just a few of the options.


Name of Ski: K2 Rictor
Category: Entry level to advanced
Tested by: Steve Lee
Overall impression: Again a second generation ski, following on from the very popular Recon. I have not had a lot of time on rocker skis as yet, and the very first impression was just how easy they turned at low speed. My immediate thought was they would certainly suffer at the other end when going hard. I can categorically say this is not the case. The more I pushed this ski the better it skied, even on very hard manmade snow. It was the widest ski of the selection I tried, and I have to say the one that impressed me the most. I could imagine this as a fantastic off-piste ski, at 80mm underfoot, however the construction and style allows it to rip on the groomers also.
This it seems is the future direction of skis, and I’m all for it.
Strengths: Modern, killer graphics and super fun
Weaknesses: A heavier ski at first feel, but not the way it skis.
Most suitable for: Beginning parallel, male and female, all the way to advanced.
RRP: On sale for $1390 with bindings.
Available at: Central Sports Falls Creek and most good retailers around the country.

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Name of Ski: Rossignol Zenith
Category: Entry level to early advanced
Tested by: Steve Lee
Overall impression: I was impressed from the first turn with this ski, coming from a racing background I really like a ski that grips, especially when you put some effort and power into the turn. To be honest, with this level ski I was not expecting to much. However I was pleasantly surprised and that goes with all the skis I tried.
I tried to put myself at the level of these users, skiing easy runs first without much pace, doing some flat sliding turns with not much edge, building up to a solid powerful carve turn. I found the Zenith capable of handling all of that. Right up to real high speed power GS turns, and only then did it start to wobble just a bit. But remember that is at my level of power, which very few skiers could manage. I would say this ski suits perhaps just above the first buyer, however if you dropped in length, then it’s still going to work fine right down to beginners.
Strengths: A light and fairly powerful ski. Looks good too.
Weaknesses: Tuning could let you down – have it tuned down for you level and you will not find a weakness, ask for a bevel of the edges tip and tail to begin with for an easier turn. Then as you start to carve and are looking for more performance, have them flat ground and go for more of a race tune and let them rip.
Most suitable for: Beginning to parallel, male and female, all the way to advanced.
RRP: On sale for an absolute bargain at $600 with bindings, limited stock.
Available at: Central Sports Falls Creek.

 

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Name of Ski: Head 78
Category: Entry level to early advanced
Tested by: Steve Lee
Overall impression: Again, a very good ski. As spoken about in the video, this ski suits a very wide level of skier. It’s the follow on from the very popular monster line. A very traditional type of ski, with tried and tested dimensions and standard camber.
Right off I could feel that this ski wanted to perform, however talking with the shop they were very confident this ski suited even the beginner, providing they were on a suitable length. It brought back some memories from my race days on head, especially the day I changed to Tyrolia (no Head) bindings. The put you in a much more forward position as they are higher in the heels, really the way I like my set up, but I would say perfect for those that struggle to get out of the back seat.
Also have to say I could really feel a bit of race pedigree in this ski. It was really punchy in the short, swing turns and very similar to the Zenith as you stared to crank them up. I would say it handled a little more power at the top end, so a ski that pretty much any level skier could enjoy.
Strengths: Suits a very wide range of skier.
Weaknesses: Have to say I was impressed, not much in the way of weakness, again if you have them tuned to your level this ski will go all the way with you.
Most suitable for: Beginning to parallel, male and female, all the way to advanced.
RRP: $1390 with bindings.
Available at: Central Sports Falls Creek and most good retailers around the country.

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