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Which All Mountain Ski For Scotland

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all. I'm new to Snowheads and appreciate that this may be a tired topic for some but I'm looking for some advice on all-mountain skis primarily for Scottish conditions i.e. variable and generally less than perfect (most years).

I'm an advancing intermediate, 5'7"(171cm), 160lbs (72kg) with 2 seasons of experience after a very late start at 44. I'm looking for something to begin developing off-piste skills on but I'm not after a dedicated powder ski as I'll still need it to cruise around the pistes with the family too. My piste skis are Fischer Fuse 73's, 164cm which I'm very fond of. I've also got a S/H pair of Fischer Watea 78's, 167cm, which I quite like but they lose their way too quickly in the softer stuff. The new skis would be a replacement for these.

Shortlist so far is:
Fischer Watea 84, 167cm
Scott Mission 86, 168cm
Volkl Kendo 88, 170cm
plus the Movement Jam 85, 173cm as the wildcard

Some specific questions:
Does the Watea really live up to all the Ski of the Year hype for those who've tried it?
Will the Watea have enough float for going anywhere I fancy on Scottish mountains?
Anyone tried the new, apparently stiffer, version of the Mission?
Is the Kendo going to be too much ski for me to start with if it's basically a slightly narrower Mantra?

Thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I'd look for longer length's of ski's as a starting point..
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
You can try a few of these skis at the Snowdome at Braehead, not the same as aoutside but will let you know whethr they are too stiff for you. If you're not in Any rush then K2, Volkl and Line have had demos at Glenshee towards the end of the season for the last few years. Add them as a friend on Facebook and you will see if they are planning any events this season.
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I would go for the Dynastar Sultan 85 but in at least a 172 i think they do
However i've not tried the sultan 94 which could also be great

I've been using Liberty Hazmats for the past couple of years in Scotland and have had great fun all over the mountain on them
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I'd suggest an old pair!
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Quote:

variable and generally less than perfect (most years).


Oh ye of little faith Toofy Grin this season will be even better than last (fingers crossed)
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Not that I know much more than you bit....

I can see nothing wrong with the lengths you are looking at. I am slightly taller and heavier than you and prefer 165/168.

I have been on the Watea 84s and personally couldn't understand the hype. I wonder about this 'ski of the year' stuff. It probably comes down to a ba' hair at the end of the day. Out of the rest I have skied the Movement Jams for roughly 2 weeks. I think they are fantastic, maybe not off pistee enough for some, but for me, mostly inbounds off piste with occasional flurries further afield they were superb.

There is a stockist in Aviemore I believe.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
The High Society Freerides on sale here would do you fine!!
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hi there mate
i got back into skiing last year after a long break
try out a pair of Dynastar Sultan 85's a perfect all mountain ski for scottish conditions.
I wqas very impressed with them and will be using them this season again
if your up cairngorm at satart of season you can try mine out to see what you think!!
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Fifespud wrote:


I can see nothing wrong with the lengths you are looking at. I am slightly taller and heavier than you and prefer 165/168.



well if he's wanting to venture under the rope then a way of increasing "flotation" is having a longer ski, 165 is a pretty short all mountain ski.
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Quote:

well if he's wanting to venture under the rope then a way of increasing "flotation" is having a longer ski, 165 is a pretty short all mountain ski.


Floatation isn't much of a concern in Scotland 99% of the time. I've never felt I've needed more than 90mm underfoot in Scotland.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
a bit of width & length is great also in the spring though, arguably the best time for sport up here.
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scottishskier wrote:
Quote:

well if he's wanting to venture under the rope then a way of increasing "flotation" is having a longer ski, 165 is a pretty short all mountain ski.


Floatation isn't much of a concern in Scotland 99% of the time. I've never felt I've needed more than 90mm underfoot in Scotland.


I was talking about something nearer 80mm in waist width, 90mm is stepping into fatboy territory.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Used a 92mm ski all last winter in Scotland - and it was pretty much ideal for the variable 'ecosse' conditions.
As Barry says a little width is really nice in soft spring snow.
And the benefit of a wider ski is that you hit less rocks when it turns deep wink

Proper all-mountain ski (50% on / 50 % off) needs to be 180cm or longer. Unless your a really small dude or a girlie...
Going longer really helps in variable conditions - more edge length / better stability yader yadder.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
The person in question here is 5'7". Like a 6 footer is 12.5cm bigger. A 168 to him is like 185 to the bigger guy. Plus as already stated we're talking Scotland here, we are usually discussing the width of the piste in the same terms as they are discussing the depth of the pow in Verbier - 'yeah it's about 2m' - 'what deep man?' - 'no wide dude'.

The Jams are 185 underfoot. We're talking about a place where you still see signs that say 'carvers £20, skis £15'. Last year when we were renting skis in Aviemore for my son (salomon x wing 8 nothing fancy) the woman would say (every time) ' are you sure he can handle them- they're 'full blown carvers'!

Most folks up there are still on their 220mm rossis that are 40mm underfoot. Go up there something too whacky and you'll either have to be skulking about off the beaten track with your touring bindings or there is a chance they will lock you up as some sort of spawn of the devil.

As for me I'm a small dude and ski like a girlie. I like'm short.

Edited to say the Jams are 84 underfoot!


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Mon 13-09-10 8:42; edited 1 time in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Skis don't know how tall you are, but they do know how much you weigh, so weight is far more relevant than height - albeit that a taller chap is usually heavier, you do get some shorter chaps who weight a bit too. On top of that, the aggressiveness of you skiing needs to be taken into account. I'm 5'9" (177cm I think?) and 11st (70kgs) and have been fine on 183cm gladiators in mixed conditions, I did struggle with them on icy pistes but then I'd struggle with most things as I detest Icy pistes. they were perfect for Utah powder though. Might be worth the OP looking at them as i seem to recall on or two scottish snowheads use gladiators
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks for all the advice guys. I am short (5'7"), the 167/168cms are up to about just before my hairline (which has not receded yet) but I'll look to go longer if the comments are really saying that I need to go above head height.
I'll add the Sultan 85s to the list (thanks for the offer Preefty) and move the Movement Jams up in my considerations. Someone at Ellis Brigham in Aviemore also recommended them for Scotland. Interesting comment about the Wateas as it reiterates what seems to be very split opinions on them on forums. I'll try and give them all a go at Braehead but the experienced opinion is useful as a test at Snozone feels a bit like test driving a car in a car park.
I am trying to move on from skiing like a girlie but having recently learnt in the groomed luxury of the Alps I still have my moments in my home country. I now understand the "if you can ski in Scotland you can ski anywhere" thing but when its good it feels fantastic.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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SD - you sound pretty similar to me, other than I am probably a couple of years ahead of you. At the end of the day its about hours on the snow, and to this end I have done the Warren Smith course twice, once in Verbier and once in Saas Fe (Summer). I would recommend an investment such as this, to help you make a bit of a leap, particularly before any really bad habits get too ingrained.
I know a lot of folks on here go on about wider and longer skis (some of them are no doubt crack skiers - the likes of Haggis Trap) but for more intermediate skiers I wonder as to the soundness of that advice. I have tried experimenting in this manner, like skiing a whole week in the Alps on longer/wider skis and found I was left feeling my technique had gone backwards.
I have just purchased Head Peak 78's @ 165cm, they come up to my eyeline, I have skied them pretty extensively and I can handle them. They cost me £375 - if they only last a couple of seasons before I want to move on it won't be the end of the world, I would rather have something I can enjoy and improve on now, than take a risk. In the final analysis technique and experience is miles more important than the equipment.
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^ fair comment.
though if your aim is to ski variable un-grommed snow then a little extra width and length makes it so much easier.
but you first need to learn good technique from skiing on piste.
taught my girlfriend to ski last winter on 80mm (soft flex) skis - and they were ideal.

though as you commented above some peeps in Scotland still ski on 220cm straights (and they seem to get on just fine!)
the old adage that 'if you can ski in Scotland you can ski anywhere' isn't that far off the mark!
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Mountain spirit in Aveimore is the local Movement stockist, so you'll see a fair few Movement skis on and off the piste in scotland. (I bought my Movement Climax's from telemark Pyrenees though). I was hoping to pick up some new skis in the end of season sale this year as the bindings pulled out of my old Fischers I use for touring, unfortunatley there was no ski sale (to speak of) as Mountain Spirit sold out of most skis during the season as the season was so good.
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Fifespud - The similarity is getting more spooky. I've booked the Warren Smith in Verbier in early December to sort my technique out at the begining of the season. Although I was planning to get some my new mountain skis before I go I may be better seeing where I get to by the end of that week.
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Snow_Dog wrote:
Fifespud - The similarity is getting more spooky. I've booked the Warren Smith in Verbier in early December to sort my technique out at the begining of the season. Although I was planning to get some my new mountain skis before I go I may be better seeing where I get to by the end of that week.


I went early December last year - might even go again this year - finances permitting.

There were only about 3 runs open, which for all but the advanced groups was fine and poor vis for large chunks of the week meant the off piste was out of bounds. I still got lots out of it though, in fact the limited terrain around Lac de Vaux meant I was going up and down known runs. You begin to feel a bit bombarded by theory so knowing the pistes was something less to worry about, particularly as I say in poor viz. Toward the end of the week it brightened up and we did some, what I would call inbounds off piste and a couple of half days on moguls which was good. If like me you are really interested in getting properly on your edges and holding a carve going up and down 2/3 pistes is a good way to bed in the technique.

At the end of the course the instructor (Jordan, good guy) said you have really come on (they all say that - just before the group decides how much of a tip to give the instructor) you should get on wider skis. That's when I spent the next couple of trips on the Wateas, the Lords and the Jams - as I said earlier I didn't feel it did me any good at all - despite the fact most of that time I was in variable ungroomed. Confidence is such a big issue, if you think the skis are too wide or long it chips away at you, even if as HT says it might be the right way to go.

Edited to add - on the WS the first thing you do is the assessment run to decide the groupings. I would say you want skis you know on at the point, its v nerve wracking. There were folk face planting in front of the 50 or so other attendees. It's all laughed off of course but they did get a bit of minor ribbing for the rest of the week.

If you are going out from Scotland you wont be able to get there too early on the Saturday, I would say go on the Friday afternoon. That way you can ski all Saturday to get your eye in a bit. Ideally you would book a private lesson with one of the instructors for the Saturday afternoon.
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Fifespud wrote:
Most folks up there are still on their 220mm rossis that are 40mm underfoot. Go up there something too whacky and you'll either have to be skulking about off the beaten track with your touring bindings or there is a chance they will lock you up as some sort of spawn of the devil.

As for me I'm a small dude and ski like a girlie. I like'm short.

Edited to say the Jams are 84 underfoot!


There's no wonder that there's so many negative misconceptions of skiing in Scotland when people write absolute nonsense like this.

After spending a fair few weekends skiing in Scotland last winter i can't recall seeing more than one or two folk skiing anything like you describe above - tongue firmly in cheek or not, it's comments like this that people can take the wrong way and the image of the Scottish snowsports scene will remain clouded whilst in reality, it's just as progressive as many of the more well known skiing countries in europe!

And as you've said, you're small and ski like a girlie, there's a hell of a lot small folk with similar experience out there that don't ski like girlies and make do just fine with longer and wider planks... maybe you just don't have the natural ability that others have!
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shoogly wrote:
Fifespud wrote:
Most folks up there are still on their 220mm rossis that are 40mm underfoot. Go up there something too whacky and you'll either have to be skulking about off the beaten track with your touring bindings or there is a chance they will lock you up as some sort of spawn of the devil.

As for me I'm a small dude and ski like a girlie. I like'm short.

Edited to say the Jams are 84 underfoot!


There's no wonder that there's so many negative misconceptions of skiing in Scotland when people write absolute nonsense like this.

After spending a fair few weekends skiing in Scotland last winter i can't recall seeing more than one or two folk skiing anything like you describe above - tongue firmly in cheek or not, it's comments like this that people can take the wrong way and the image of the Scottish snowsports scene will remain clouded whilst in reality, it's just as progressive as many of the more well known skiing countries in europe!

And as you've said, you're small and ski like a girlie, there's a hell of a lot small folk with similar experience out there that don't ski like girlies and make do just fine with longer and wider planks... maybe you just don't have the natural ability that others have!


Shoogly - I hoped it was obvious that my comments were tongue in cheek.



I won't respond to your more personal comments!
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Haggis_Trap wrote:
^ taught my girlfriend to ski last winter on 80mm (soft flex) skis - and they were ideal.


me too - i got into touring this year in Scotland and bit of on piste / off piste and can make 2 observations (bearing in mind Im a girlie and ski like a girl Shocked 159cm / 52kg ie short and relatively light even for my height)
1. apart from the odd day, you dont need powder skis for Scotland - ones that handle spring snow, shallow powder, crud and ice will do you almost any day (except some last winter) in Scotland. I skiied shortish (150cm) 90mm waists on touring gear and it got a few confused looks and comments of "they are monsters" from people on far skinnier
2. had a lesson at Lecht for a technique brush up, using my 80mm 155cm 50/50 skis and the instrcutotr commented they were a bit meaty looking for Scotland.
so conclusion is there is nt really a perfect answer, but a ski that can cope with variability is better than a specialist offpiste ski
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Fifespud wrote:
shoogly wrote:
Fifespud wrote:
Most folks up there are still on their 220mm rossis that are 40mm underfoot. Go up there something too whacky and you'll either have to be skulking about off the beaten track with your touring bindings or there is a chance they will lock you up as some sort of spawn of the devil.

As for me I'm a small dude and ski like a girlie. I like'm short.

Edited to say the Jams are 84 underfoot!


There's no wonder that there's so many negative misconceptions of skiing in Scotland when people write absolute nonsense like this.

After spending a fair few weekends skiing in Scotland last winter i can't recall seeing more than one or two folk skiing anything like you describe above - tongue firmly in cheek or not, it's comments like this that people can take the wrong way and the image of the Scottish snowsports scene will remain clouded whilst in reality, it's just as progressive as many of the more well known skiing countries in europe!

And as you've said, you're small and ski like a girlie, there's a hell of a lot small folk with similar experience out there that don't ski like girlies and make do just fine with longer and wider planks... maybe you just don't have the natural ability that others have!


Shoogly - I hoped it was obvious that my comments were tongue in cheek.



I won't respond to your more personal comments!


no need... tongue was firmly in cheek wink
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I am an experienced skier who mainly skis in Scotland and have been thinking of changing my skis this year, have been recommended the Volkl Unlimited AC30 by the shop that I always use as a good all mountain ski. You can check reviews online which say it is a good for a person who is looking to change from an intermediate up to advanced ski.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Thanks to you all for a good range of very helpful comments and much food for thought. What I am principally taking from this is:
- Best width for variable Scottish conditions seems to be anything from 78mm to 90mm
- No real need for fat, 90mm +, powder skis
- Go as long as I feel comfortable width but aim for head height
- Sort my technique out first. Its more important than faffing over which ski to buy although that is a pleasant distraction on an autumn evening.
- I must add the Movement Jams to the list !

Cheers

Snow_Dog

P.S. Thanks for the tips on Warren Smith Fifespud. I'm going w/c 5 December so might see you there if you decide to go again.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I've mainly been skiing Volkl Karmas (86mm) in Scotland the last few years, with occasional use of Volkl Mantra (98mm) or Head Mojo (94mm). I'd say that your conclusion about width is just about right for allround Scottish use, as long as the skis in questions are sturdy enough to get through choppy and icy conditions... I would expect the new Kendo to be a very good ski in this respect - stiff like the Mantra, but not too wide.

Btw I'll be flying from Edinburgh to Warren Smith course the week after you - let us know how you get on snowHead
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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The AC30 is much trumpeted by the much mentioned Warren Smith - although sometimes you wonder as I think he is at least a wee bit sponsored by them. I felt it was too stiff for me, he says not. He reckons it has significantly better edge grip than other skis of this width (I know its only 76!) but still works well as an inbounds off piste ski.

As I say his words not mine, but on the last course I was on he was pushing pretty could skiers (qualified instructors) on to them.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Warren Smith are sponsored by Volkl, but quite openly so.

http://www.warrensmith-skiacademy.com/sponsors.htm

I'm assuming that it's partly some kind of R&D relationship too so it doesn't feel like they are just getting paid to plug any old skis.

http://www.warrensmith-skiacademy.com/news/may10_volkl-2010-11_product-range.html
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Their skis are sponsored by Scott but they can't really push them too hard for a 70 on 30 off job, hence the AC 30's.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Fifespud wrote:
Their skis are sponsored by Scott but they can't really push them too hard for a 70 on 30 off job, hence the AC 30's.


I think that their accessories are sponsored by Scott .i.e. poles, goggles and clothing. But skis are sponsored by Volkl.
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