Skifreak

Skifreak

Spokane, WA and surrounding areas.

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Troy's Passions

Mountain Biking
Paddling
Alpine Skiing
Swimming

Troy's Bio

Community Ski Expert on Backcountry.com. 42 year old male, skiing since I was 3. Average 30+ times a year unless I want to lose my day job. I love to rip everything and anywhere. Slalom, GS, bumps, trees, deep stuff, make a fool out of myself in the park with my kids, you name it. Addicted to the gear of the sport and l LOVE helping skiers make the difficult decisions of ski buying. I'm married with four kids that I keep in the best gear and as you can imagine this just fuels my gear addiction. Snow skiing is my passion followed by water skiing a close second. Excellent mountain biking trails out my backyard and I do enjoy swinging the sticks when I can. We all love anything to do with snow, sun, water, and fun.

Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 20, 2014

Every Dynastar Cham I have picked up seems on the heavy side to me so haven't pursued them yet, but I will try and demo next season.

I have tried to replace my older non rockered kendo with other skis in its category but I always have a blast when I jump on it. The only ski that I have considered selling it for is next years Blizzard Latigo or a Bushwacker. I would give up hard snow carving and grip for the Buschwackers more free spirited approach to moguls and terrain. It's a specialty ski for me also, we all need those!

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 20, 2014

Hey there,

Thanks for asking for my help, I'm glad to see I have a few fans out there. I try my best to hopefully make skiers decisions easier but sometimes it's not as easy as you think.

Right off the bat I don't have any experience with RAMP or Klint but I have a local shop that sells Liberty and hear good things about their products but have not skied them yet. My original Kendo's are 177cm and I compare them to the 180 Brahma and Bushwacker but I only weigh 176-180lbs.

If you want the ski to be more energetic, slightly lighter with a more balanced feeling, don't mind the stiffer tail, stable as hell, absolute knife on groomers, destroys crud, great in moguls but not very forgiving in the tail, go KENDO it's that much fun!

If you are looking for more of a 50/50 ski that has more all terrain versatility in different depths of snow go Brahma. Brahma is a heavier feeling ski in my opinion, it's the way Blizzard designs them, swing weight is higher than a Kendo or when comparing Bonafide to Mantra. This is a very powerful ski for strong guys that want the added benefit of rocker in tip and tail for that surfy and pivoty feeling when needed. I feel my Kendo is quicker edge to edge in a mogul field and on groomers but lacks the easier to release tail of the Brahma. The Brahma swing weight can bog me down after awhile when hammering a lot of bumps but you can let the ski absorb more of the mogul when tired vs the stiff tail Kendo.

If I lived on east coast and was buying this ski as my primarily hard snow ski and didn't care about soft snow/off piste versatility hands down its Kendo. If you are putting more emphasis on making sure you cover a broader range of conditions and want to go one ski quiver then Its hard to beat the Brahma. Your extra weight won't notice the heavier Blizzards the way I do.

Let me know what you are thinking or if you have other questions, all depends what your target for this ski is.

SF

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 19, 2014

Awesome, hopefully I will here from you next year. There is no way that the 180cm doesn't charge and play harder than our 185JJ's do.

I will be looking forward to a review!

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 18, 2014

Hey Phil,

I honestly don't have a clue what Palmers are but what lengths are they? I'm 42 6'1" 178lbs and own 185 and 195 JJ's. I personally have not skied the Magic J yet but know the ski.

I think it really depends how aggressive you are. Do you charge hard, ski fast, want maximum float and power? Or prefer the ski to remain playful, lighter, easier to swing around and willing to give up a little bit of deep day float and have to stay a little more center balanced to prevent feeling over the tips?

Also depends what part of the country you live in and how big your terrain is. The 190cm is a pretty stout ski from everything I read but at your size it should work very well for you. Only you know how strong you are at 63 plus your ability level. If you said you were 33 years old without a doubt I would say 190cm but I want to make sure you have fun on the ski without it being too much.

Again I'm not familiar with the Palmers so that makes my recommendations more difficult.

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 17, 2014

I would base what weight you will be using the ski for the majority of the time. I don't consider pack weight but if that's what you will be using a lot then it is a consideration at your lighter weight.

Please remember that nobody anywhere says the Soul 7 is a charging ski at any length. If you ski a lot of NW heavy crud you will be disappointed in its performance. Playful, light, agile, quick, surfy, and fun are it's characteristics.

Tough recommendations for you, I wish I could be more black and white.

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 14, 2014

You didn't sound like a kid but wanted to make sure. I'm not exactly a husky individual myself so no worries. You are in between sizes I'm afraid and the 188 does seem a little much for your weight but not necessarily in this ski. I think if you were looking at other skis in the 188cm length some red flags would pop up. Rossignol still has a perfect fit guarantee I think so whatever you choose you should have the option of trading it if you feel it is wrong, plus Backcountry's policies depending when you purchase it.

I'm never a fan of long skis up in my area, too many tight spots and I really enjoy moguls so I choose lengths wisely with those conditions in mind. I do own both 185JJ and 195AKJJ so I'm aware of how big skis feel and only pull my AKJJ out on very deep days.

If you are really struggling with what size to get you can always look at other things that come in different lengths, just a thought.
If you have always felt you wanted a shorter BD then honestly the 180cm could be the way to go. You will give up some float and charging ability but this ski is not a charger anyways. Its meant to be light, agile, and playful in any length. For myself I wouldn't even consider anything other than the 188cm but I'm 6'1" 178lbs and 42 years old. I tried both the Soul and Super 7 and was amazed at how short they really feel.

Keep me posted and hopefully somebody else will jump on but tough this time of year.

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 13, 2014

Ccholland,

Can I ask how old you are? Just curious if you are a thinner adult or a teenager/college student. Reason I ask is my 17 year old son is 5'11" 145lbs but will keep increasing in height and weight so I have a tendency to chose longer so they last longer.

The 5'11" side of you can easily handle the 188cm Soul 7 but the 145lb definitely puts you towards the 180cm. Based on the fact that you currently ski the 185 Black Diamond I have to recommend the 188cm. I think going down to the 180cm will leave you always wanting more.

If you are willing to sacrifice maximum float, want a shorter ski to manipulate in tight spaces, very tight turn radius on groomers, super quick in moguls, and have always felt your Black Diamonds are a touch long then go for the 180cm if you are an adult. Still growing that wants it to last for a few years then go longer.

The new Rossi series skis are so light I don't think weight will be any issues on the 188cm.

Those are a couple scenarios to think over but it sounds like you are a pretty aggressive skier that loves the sport and is out to conquer the mountain. 188cm in the Soul 7 won't be too much ski to handle, especially if you ski bigger mountains.

Definitely not a black and white answer, but a tough question.

SF

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 11, 2014

Hey Mark,

I am a Griffon fan through and through, been using them since they came out and NEVER have had one issue with them. I love the swing weight, the wide powerful power transmission to the ski, and the added height off the ski for extra leverage when carving groomers on wide skis. I am a very aggressive skier but have been called a finesse skier and rarely fall, I can usually recover so pre- releasing hasn't been an issue. BUT.......

No one will argue that the Pivot has more safety features in how they release, added travel/elasticity , and a more durable binding. If you are a big mountain guy that charges hard and wants the most retention, added directions of release, and more durability then go Look.

If you follow reviews and forums you will see more negative reviews of the Griffon for durability and they can be hard to click into for certain people. I have 5 pair of skis in my garage and they all have a Griffon but that's me.

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 10, 2014

What has been your thoughts on the length of your 185JJ over the years? Too long, too short, feeling of over the tips on deep days, etc?

What are you wanting this ski to do for you over the JJ? My assumption is more muscle??

SF

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 7, 2014

If you have the option of calling the ski shop that will do the mounting try that. Some shops will bend the brakes while others won't. I usually ski on Marker Griffons and have found that 5-8mm over doesn't require a bend, Looks and a Rossi pivots are a little different but should be close.

Jumping up to the 115mm seems a little excessive but it is a soft snow ski and unless you are really laying it over it would be fine also. My TST had a Griffon 110mm on it but Markers have a tendency to tuck up a little better when clicked in.

The 95mm should work just fine, probably even without a tweak.

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 6, 2014

Hey Mark,

That's the width I would choose, TST is 100/101 in the waist and 5-6mm over the 95mm brake will be a great fit. They shouldn't even have to tweak the brake and if they do it will be minor.

Enjoy your setup next year unless you're skiing somewhere else now.

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 6, 2014

Vadim,

177cm is my recommendation. The 185cm will be a lot of ski for you if you're not ready for it. Cochise is a strong and powerful ski so stay with proper size so it remains it lighter and agile in tight spots.

If you said you are very aggressive, charge hard, and expert level, and want a big open bowl ski then the 185cm would be an option.

Good luck!

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 5, 2014

Believe me I know how hard it is to decide on skis and you're not alone, it's gets frustrating. I would not worry about the non metal core of the Bushwacker, it's no noodle. It just doesn't have the dampening characteristics of the metal Brahma or other metal skis like the Volkl Kendo. Like I said to Peter below the metal Brahma feels sluggish in direct comparison to the Bushwacker. The scale may not say a huge difference in overall weight between the skis but trust me, there is. I found the Bushwacker and my Kabookie very good to excellent for firm snow grip as an expert technical skier, metal not needed. Only when pushed very hard on the steeper pitches and if the groomed snow turned marbly and unpredictable the metal versions took over.

SD95 will feel slightly more balanced than the Blizzard lineup, Blizzard always feel a little long out front and a little tip heavy, especially the metal versions. The 179cm SD will be definitely a little shorter than the 180cm Bushwacker, just the way Line measures. SD95 will provide more float because of its width, feel smoother and quieter because of the maple core(almost has a rubber layer feel to it), not as much rebound and energy as the Bushwacker in my opinion. If you wanted a little more width for powder days SD95 is hard to beat, does everything very well. Bushwacker had more energy and felt quicker edge to edge, depends what you're really going for.

Other choices since you asked are Scott "The Ski" in 175cm, absolute blast in the bumps, GREAT hip dragging carver, tight turn radius, great rebound, smooth, under rated ski! Not as slithery, surfy, and won't pivot as well as the others. More powerful tail, more traditional carve to it.

Volkl Kendo is an incredible classic. Light and energetic but powerful. I own the original non rockered version and won't get rid of it. I can hammer any mogul run on it but it takes more work than skis with rocker in the tips and especially the tails. Least forgiving of the bunch, awesome on groomers.

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 5, 2014

Peter,

This shouldn't be a tough decision if you really enjoyed the Bonafide.

1. Why not buy the Bonafide since you liked it?
2. What length of The Bonafide did you demo?

Your weight can handle going up to the 180cm, your height puts you somewhere in the middle. Again I would go off what length you enjoyed the Bonafide. I'm 6'1" 178lbs and ski the 180cm Blizzard lineup.

If you want narrower than the Bonafide I would choose Brahma for your size and based on loving the Bonafide. You will miss the metal in the Bushwacker if you are aggressive and heavier. I have a limited review of both skis way down on both threads somewhere.

Brahma is more powerful, smoother, quiter, more stable, and a little sluggish when comparing DIRECTLY to Bushwacker or even a Volkl Kendo.

Bushwacker is lighter, more energetic, quicker edge to edge because of its weight, faster and able to zip line a mogul field easier than the Brahma. This will get tossed around in heavy crud more than a Brahma. Bushwacker has a glassy ceramic feel to it on firm icy conditions in comparison to the more damp Brahma.

Both skis have tremendous rebound when loaded but the Bushwacker requires less input to get that rebound from it. Brahma has a higher speed limit and will carve up and hold better on icy groomers better.

Your size Brahma or Bonafide is my choice unless you are truly wanting a light and playful performer.

SF



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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 4, 2014

One of my kids will turn 16 years old in October and he will probably be 5'6" and 125-130lbs by then. I would make him buy the 178cm to make sure he gets a couple years out of it and they really do ski that short, particularly if you mount them on Eric Pollards recommended line.

Really depends what your intended use of the Bacon is. Deep snow only then you could size up, all around everyday fun plus soft snow days then stay 172cm. Going from a 142cm park ski to even the 172cm Bacon will be a very different animal on your feet just in overall width and weight while trying to spin it around.

Kids are tough to buy lengths for because they change so fast. If you come from a family that updates gear frequently and passes it down to other kids then stay more true to your current size. If you only get to buy skis once every five years then you better size up and tough out the first season a little bit.

I think for the upcoming season the 172cm will be perfect for you. If you grow a ton for the 2015/2016 season the 172cm could be too short on the deep powder days.



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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 3, 2014

Ken,

Great last name by the way!!

172cm all the way, the shorty is not near enough ski for you. The SFB skis so short if you were a little bit bigger I would recommend going for the 178cm.

I'm assuming your current skis are pretty short?? The 172cm will remain playful in all conditions, even in the park. I'm afraid jumping up to the 178cm with being as wide as it is could hinder your progress as a teenager.

Let me know what you think

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 3, 2014

Hi there,

In my opinion you can't really compare the two skis side by side. That would be an apples to oranges comparison.

K2 Annex is narrower to start with, will have a more traditional on the snow feel for all mountain, flat tail, longer turn radius, will do very good in tracked out snow and crud. Hard to argue that it isn't an excellent choice for someone that wants to tackle the entire mountain and isn't interested in the characteristics of the Bacon I mention below. Cruising groomers will also be more relaxing on the k2 vs the symmetrical shape of the SFB.

SFB is a new school way of approaching all mountain skiing. Plenty of tip and tail rocker, tight turn radius, extremely playful, surfy, buttery, more float in deep snow, excellent for riding switch, and a fun wide park ski. I love the ski to play on in many conditions but I'm used to trying all the different gear and know what to expect.

Hope that helps,

SF

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on June 1, 2014

Luke,

With the little information you provided and not knowing your ability level, weight, and many other variables I would still say 164cm will be too short.

I use my four kids to base other teenagers recommendations off of. Next season one of my kids will be barely 16, 5' 6"- 5'7" roughly 125lbs and I would choose the 172cm for him as an all mountain ski. If Rossi made the ski a touch longer without going all the way to the 180cm I could consider that to get more years out of it. They don't so 172cm is the best choice to remain playful and agile.

Hope that helps,

SF

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Skifreak

Skifreak wrote an answer about on May 29, 2014

Hey Hans,

I always find skiers have favorites or are loyal to a certain manufacturer when it comes to bindings and if you don't then pick one that matches the best. In a color that you like and brake width closest to the waist width.

As far as what binding is safer over the other I'm sure each manufacturer would argue theirs is. Look Pivot and Rossignol FKS have more directions in which the binding will release. Their toes release in a full 180 degree and the heel rotates/pivots to aid in a smooth release therefore less stress on the knees and whatever else. Rossi and Look also state to have the most elastic travel before releasing. There is also a fair amount of metal in their bindings for increased durability.

If my thinking is correct the Salomon was a new overall design for 2013/2014, particularly in the heel. Salomon like a Marker is supposed to have increased power transmission to the ski because of the wider platform for wide skis but how an individual at our levels could measure this is arguable. The Salomon toe does not have upward release but it's specialty is backward twisting falls which is very important. It's been a proven toe for many years. The heel is a normal step in but it's butter smooth, wide, pretty sure interchangeable brakes, and the overall binding is compatible with WTR alpine and touring boots. Plus they really do have a cool look to them.

As far as weight goes they are close enough to each other to not base your decision on this.

That should answer some questions and maybe someone else will add to my comments.

SF

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