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Thread: USA Ski tests

  1. #1
    Ski Shop Owner & Equipment Specialist - Voted Best Boot fitter in Australia (SIA Australia Awards 2013) Paul Oberin's Avatar
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    Default USA Ski tests

    Although all post here are from me, there were actually two of us testing the skis on my behalf.

    To clarify to start with, here in Colorado it is a bit light on for snow with no fresh snow for awhile now and popular runs are showing some serious wear and tear in the afternoons but in saying that, it is probably equivalent to our Aussie season at its best. For that reason I tried to test skis that would be suited to our conditions and not what were the latest and greatest reverse camber off piste wonders.
    It is expected to have the skis for short periods of time so we found a 3 run/ 2 lift run that gave 3 distinct pitch variations to test edge hold with a combination of short and long radius turns etc and there is no off piste worth trashing skis getting unwrapped in front of your eyes. Snowing now so hopefully that might change tomorrow

    1st cab off the rank

    1. Fischer Motive 80

    This was always going to be a hard spot for any ski as all others were going to be compared to it but after 3 days at Steamboat on my Watea 78's I thought I was standing on them well enough to make quick judgements.
    1st thought.... nice but nothing outstanding.
    Probably a ski aimed to fit between the RC4/Progressive style skis and the Watea's, but doesn't fill the gap between the 2. Best groomed snow of the day but still didn't give me that "wow" that it probably should have if that is where it is aimed.
    Has plenty underfoot to be an all mountain ski but not enough 'oh my God" edge hold to rival the RC4 on the hard packed.
    Would be a lovely ski in Australian conditions for a non racer style skier

    2. Watea 84's

    Unwrapped in front of my eyes so these things were the real thing.
    What a beautiful set of skis!!!!!
    I tested these on probably the best snow (groomed) of the day and they were so forgiving yet so responsive.
    Point them and they respond but they still have enough guts in them to kick you if not concentrating.
    Just a god damn lovely ski to stand on

    3. Nordica Hotrod Jetfuel

    1st thought was.............. bloody heavy!!!!! compared to the Watea's I was just on but when you load these things they stick!!!!!!!!
    Probably a little too much ski for the the conditions today for me but still a ski I would recommend as a Aussie all rounder for a solid/heavier person that doesn't mind throwing some really solid sticks around. I think they would be interesting off piste because of their weight and rather stiff shovel. A good GS style skier from Aus would love these things especially if they had some beef on them.

    4. Nordica Hotrod Igniter

    1st thought was "Oh yeah"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    76mm underfoot with 15m radius that just took everthing you threw at them and said "give me more" makes this a great all mountain ski
    Felt a bit softer in the front than the Jetfuel (without confirming construction with the manufacturers) so a little more responsive but still went the distance with anything asked of it.
    Very, very nice ski

    5. Blizzard magnum 7.6

    OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!
    Afternoon session on these things so you could expect some ordinary snow conditions but they ROCK!!!!!!!
    Once again 76mm underfoot with 15m radius but trasnsition is smooth edge to edge and they just stick at slicked off hard packed or piled up slop and just could not get these things to lose it.
    I want to take these things out again to confirm 1st impressions!!!!

    6. Blizzard Magnum 8.1

    Big brother of the 7.6 with a added titanium layer in them.
    Nice!!!!!!!!!!!! But.....................
    7.6's were better
    very very very very similiar to the 7.6's with same edge hold and responsivness but could not see the benefit of the extra 5mm underfoot
    Alot more effort to get the angulation right when getting from edge to edge but I would not knock someone giving me a set of these

    Todays Ranking............................

    1. Blizzard Magnum 7.6
    2. Watea 84's
    3. Nordica Hotrod Igniter
    4. Blizzard Magnum 8.1
    5. Nordica Hotrod Jetfuel
    6. Fischer Motive 80

  2. #2
    Ski Shop Owner & Equipment Specialist - Voted Best Boot fitter in Australia (SIA Australia Awards 2013) Paul Oberin's Avatar
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    Of course I would like the Fischer RC4 SC now called the super race SC, best edge hold for sure, not so forgiving at slow speeds, and if skied hard can be tiring simply due to the extra strong edge hold compared to most other skis.

    The Motive 80 was a good all rounder for upper intermediate level skiers, decent edge hold, very forgiving & comfortable even at fairly high speed.

    Head Magnum is a 13.5 metre radius version of my Super shape speeds, at slower to middle speeds it is fun and is easier to get over on an edge and carve sharp turns, but at Mach 1, I prefer the Speed model for the way I ski.

    The K2 charger is a replacement for the Recon, and just like the Recon is suited to 60/40 off/on piste.
    On piste it felt fairly easy to ski, but I felt if I tried to edge it hard like the Fischer Rc4 SC it would let go at lower speeds on icy snow, which is what we had today, yet at very high speed it really hangs on, and even on rough snow it was very stable and forgiving, almost effortless skiing on steep icy snow, which was strange for a ski that gives the impression at low speeds that edge hold would be average.

    The K2 Rictor, best fun I have had on skis for a long time, fantastic edge hold at all speeds, can really carve as good as most skis such as my Head Speeds, the early rise sees it very forgiving in chopped up crud and I am sure would be great in deep powder, to me a great ski for Japan.
    That was it for day one for me.

  3. #3
    Ski Shop Owner & Equipment Specialist - Voted Best Boot fitter in Australia (SIA Australia Awards 2013) Paul Oberin's Avatar
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    Day 2.
    Todays tested skis.
    Line prophet 90
    What can I say, it handled as expected, good at speed easy to use and for a 90mm under foot ski, the widest I have ever tried, I like them, good edge hold at all speeds, would be great in deep fresh snow based on the shape, yet still quite good on hard pack.

    Fischer Progressor 8
    The progressor 9 was above the RC4SC and below the RC4 SC Worldcup, but still too stiff to be a good alrounder, the progressor 8 is that little bit softer in flex making it a very easy ski to use but at the same time, has all the good high performance qualities like edge hold. I would rate the Progressor 8 as a very good choice for ski instructors as it is easy to use at all speeds.

    Blizzard G force pro
    The Blizzard G Force pro is the first ski in 6 years that is noticeably better than my old favourite bench mark ski the RC4SC, I have never skied a better ski, this thing is so easy to ski yet will go very quickly and all the time you are in total control, it reminds me a lot of the 2006 model RC4 SC before Fischer changed it.

    I did retest some other skis from yesterday and I also tested the same skis as my fellow tester, so no need to duplicate a test report on those.

  4. #4
    Ski Shop Owner & Equipment Specialist - Voted Best Boot fitter in Australia (SIA Australia Awards 2013) Paul Oberin's Avatar
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    OK Day 2 testing from me.... (this is not Paul)

    1. Stockl XXL Stormriders

    1st impressions... solid... strong 18m radius all mountain ski but a bit mwah, take them or leave them. I got the impression the Stockli guys didn't want to be there with only about 8 skis on display and a "whatever" type attitude

    2. K2 Aftershock

    a bit surprising this ski. One of the new early riser style with a fairly decent 84mm underfoot and 18m radius (I think from memory). Quite funny cruising on some link flat trails at speed seeing the 1st 8" of the ski flap in the breeze.
    I thought, well this won't do much but when you kicked into action it went rather well. Not my type of ski but for someone that likes to bomb some big GS lines both on and off piste, I reckon this would be on their list.
    I would hate to lug a K2 ski to far outback though!!!!


    3. K2 Richter

    The 15m/74mm underfoot (once again from memory) brother of the Aftershock but a lot more practical ski for todays conditions. Solid edge grip like the Aftershock but IMO a more practical radius for an Aussie all round ski. Wouldn't knock one back if they gave one to me.!!!!!

    4. Kastle FX 74

    What a funny little ski!!!!! Very good edge grip but it sounded like it was about to explode everytime it hit any sort of lump!!!!!!!!A weird sounding ski, very "tingy" but a very playful ski and would like to play some more on. Definitely what you would class as a carver and not an all mountain ski


    5. Elan Waveflex78

    A bit more of the same really but nothing really to write home about


    6. Head i.Speed

    Oh my God!!!!!!!!!!!!! Grabbed a pair of these at 180cm which is probably a bit to much ski for my aging body but the GPS said i hit 143kmh and was washing off speed in places. These skis are racers!!!!!! 18m radius and 66mm underfoot says it all really. Full blown racing stock which just wanted to go faster!!!!!! Inspiring!!!

    7. Blizzard ForcePro

    WOW!!!!!!!
    I think Blizzard's has been the stand outs at this test. The 7.6's I tested yesterday was a "apparently" an intermediate ski but obviously punches way above it weight and these are the advanced big brother and all I can say is WOW!!!! again. Awesome edge grip and definitely a keeper!!!! Paul pulled away from me when he was on these things and I wasn't

    OK todays ranking.........

    1. Head i.speed (but I would not have a pair for myself cause I would kill myself)
    2. Blizzard ForcePro
    3. K2 Richter
    4. Kastle FX74
    5. Elan Waveflex
    6. K2 Aftershock
    7. Stockli XXLStormriders

  5. #5
    Ski Shop Owner & Equipment Specialist - Voted Best Boot fitter in Australia (SIA Australia Awards 2013) Paul Oberin's Avatar
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    It wasn't my GPS, I doubt it was actually that fast also, but having done some racing a while back, I have an idea of how fast we were travelling and when on the G Force skis on a well groomed run with next to no people and a decent pitch I easilly would have been travelling at over 100Kph, on the other skis it would have been around 80Kph max.
    Vet, when I did my level 1 race coach certificate in Canada we had to do some very high speed skiing, we got fairly close to 130Kph then according to our examiner and coach, GS is slow compared to Super G and Downhill.

  6. #6
    Ski Shop Owner & Equipment Specialist - Voted Best Boot fitter in Australia (SIA Australia Awards 2013) Paul Oberin's Avatar
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    It would have been interesting to see who was quickest me on the G force pro's or the other tester with me on the Head I Speeds, both were capable of very high speeds.

  7. #7
    Ski Shop Owner & Equipment Specialist - Voted Best Boot fitter in Australia (SIA Australia Awards 2013) Paul Oberin's Avatar
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    The USA ski tests were very well run, all skis were as they left the factory as they should be, they weren't even waxed in some cases, we got to see some of them being unwrapped from the plastic as they were given to us to try, for years now I have been very critical of the Australian industry test days as they are re tuned from the factory finish, and often ski badly as a result, the USA skis were all good, some better than others of course.
    Each ski tester had a card to hand over to the ski supplier, this card was held on a board relating to which ski they had until it was returned, a simple but effective sucurity measure.
    Although it was offered we could also test poles, helmets, Goggles, boots and a few other products, we just ran out of time as it was.
    The USA SIA were obviously keen to have industry people attend, they provided free day tickets, free lunch and discounted rates on lodges.
    The test days were an absolute must for staff selling skis, I now know just how each ski that I will have in stock will handle in most conditions, some were quite surprising, also as a result of the test days I have placed further orders for stock for this coming winter.

  8. #8
    Ski Shop Owner & Equipment Specialist - Voted Best Boot fitter in Australia (SIA Australia Awards 2013) Paul Oberin's Avatar
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Oberin View Post



    Blizzard G force pro
    The Blizzard G Force pro IQ is the first ski in 6 years that is noticeably better than my old favourite bench mark ski the RC4SC, I have never skied a better ski, this thing is so easy to ski yet will go very quickly and all the time you are in total control, it reminds me a lot of the 2006/2007 model RC4 SC before Fischer changed it.
    I just found out this ski has been voted best ski of the year for Europe for next season, no surprise to me at all.

  9. #9
    Snowatch Owner & Snow Forecastor
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    Voted by whom? There seem to be so many different awards handed out to different types of skis by different mags it's hard to work it all out.
    Follow the Snow! snowatch.com.au

  10. #10
    Ski Shop Owner & Equipment Specialist - Voted Best Boot fitter in Australia (SIA Australia Awards 2013) Paul Oberin's Avatar
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    I don't know, but I will have to find out.
    The ski mag votes count for a lot here in Australia and any ski that gets voted ski of the year sells very well, if this ski has been voted by a decent Magazine with some credibility it will help sell them.
    Some magazines have a heap of categories and then have equal first place, equal second place etc, so up to 20-30 skis can be rated as the best, and maybe up to 30 skis can be said to be in the top two or so, and the fact that they are USA magazines where they test the skis in deep powder, it doesn't mean much here in Australia.
    If a magazine rates a ski as overall the best, regardless of category, it means a lot, like 2 years ago the Fischer Watea got it for Skimag, and I couldn't keep up with demand for them, last year it was the Dynastar 4X4 similar thing demand far out weighed the supply, I haven't heard what it is this year for Skimag.

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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    Paul do you have any turn radius specs on the new K2 Rictor in a 174 and a 181 Thanks

  12. #12
    Ski Shop Owner & Equipment Specialist - Voted Best Boot fitter in Australia (SIA Australia Awards 2013) Paul Oberin's Avatar
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    All I have regards the turn radius for the Rictor is they are 16m @ 174cm, so most likely larger radius at 181cm length.

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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    Thankyou Paul

  14. #14
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    Ski tests are basically a marketing exercise aren't they ?

    Also, huge bearing on how skis are tuned & waxed.

  15. #15
    Ski Shop Owner & Equipment Specialist - Voted Best Boot fitter in Australia (SIA Australia Awards 2013) Paul Oberin's Avatar
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    Quote Originally Posted by usacanada View Post
    Ski tests are basically a marketing exercise aren't they ?

    Also, huge bearing on how skis are tuned & waxed.
    The public ones are, which is why the Australian importers run them, it sells skis, as people get to try a few skis in a category that they think may suit them, if they find a ski they like which is usually the case, often they will purchase a set of skis in that model.

    As for tuning, yes as many companies have found out the hard way, present badly tuned skis at these public demo days and your product gets a bad reputation for a long time.

    As for the ski tests I do myself, they are put on by the USA ski industry and only registered buyers can attend, all the skis were as they left the factory, very few had even been re waxed, we got to see many of them being unwrapped from the plastic as they set them up for us to try out.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    Lindsay Vonn's sponsor might be letting our kids, teens, old faht racers, ex para Olympian, Europa cup racer and Winter Olympic Inst folk try out their product on the race course. I'll be interested to see if their time on their current skiis is better or worse.
    The Frog is a Prince

  17. #17
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    Paul

    How would rank the K2 Richtor, Blizzard magnum 8.1 and Blizzard G Force Pros in order of preference? I'm looking to replace the Stockli Stormriders with something for Masters 'racing + ski around' and I can use the Titan Argos on powder days.
    The Frog is a Prince

  18. #18
    Ski Shop Owner & Equipment Specialist - Voted Best Boot fitter in Australia (SIA Australia Awards 2013) Paul Oberin's Avatar
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    For speed the G force is a clear winner, although the other 2 skis are capable of very high speeds as well.

    For me the Rictor is a great all rounder and is close to a one ski quiver, it is good off piste and equally as good on icy snow and at speed.
    The G force pro is the fastest ski I have ever found, yet exceptionally forgiving at the same time, it is fine in moguls and even off piste.
    The Blizzard Magnum is a cross between the 2 and as it doesn't have early rise and doesn't quite have the edge hold of the G force pro, it is the one I would be less likely to buy, although is very close to both of the other 2 skis, I think you should go with some G force pro's if you can find any, they are becoming very hard to get now.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    Bugga. The only pair of well worn GForce Pros I know of are 250 kms north of me ....and that shoppe's shut for 6 months!

    I was hoping the Magnums were better ... and will take my Titans IQMax bindings (Look PX15W) because I want to save weight. (Lil Vet now wants to take both her board and her unused Elan phats which I bought her last Xmas).
    The Frog is a Prince

  20. #20
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    Default Re: USA Ski tests

    Thanks for your reviews Paul. There's only a few reviewers I trust
    The Frog is a Prince

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