I had the most wonderful day at the hill earlier this week! Icelantic and Meier Skis put on a demo day which meant I had to (sadly) spend an entire day at the hill, trying out a whole bunch of new skis! Yay 🙂
This is a very specific blog post that only some of you will likely be able to relate to but I had such fun experimenting that I did want to share my thoughts with you. I often find many gear reviews are completed by expert/advanced athletes and that can be limiting. My point of view is definitely not expert!
My current ski quiver (see my LiveOutThere post about skis!) is lacking for me. I have my touring pow boards for the backcountry and I have a beginner ski I use at the hill, one that I’ve outgrown. I now need an intermediate-to-advanced, all-mountain ski that can get handle all types of conditions.
Background and Context:
As a 5’10”, 175 lb woman, I am often balancing that line between both men’s and women’s equipment. My skiing ability is intermediate but I have the fearlessness of an expert and the style of…errrr…rowdy (Translation: I get down everything but it may not be pretty!).
Conditions at the hill were perfect for testing skis with some hardpack, dry fluff, a couple powder stashes, and crud. I skied down groomers, through trees, and steeps; attempting to give myself as much variation as possible.
I tested 6 skis and definitely found a couple of favourites! I tried to give every ski 2 runs but sometimes I just knew after the 1st run that they weren’t the right set for me.
Oracle (164cm, 100mm underfoot)
- This ski was incredibly stable at speeds along the groomer – I was flying and didn’t feel any chatter. The ski was smooth and sliced through the heavier snow like butter, plowed through the crud, and turned for me amazing through trees.
Nomad (171cm, 105mm under)
- Given it was 105mm underfoot, I was pleasantly surprised by how well it performed on the groomer – as long as I did not garner too much speed. When I went through the soft snow and little powder stash, it softly floated like a fluffy cloud! Through the crud, however, I found it difficult to plow through and felt as if the snow was throwing me around.
Saber (165cm, 99mm under)
- A stiffer ski than the Oracle, it handled beautifully on the groomers and allowed me to push my speed harder and faster. Through the trees and down the steeps, I had to work a bit harder for my turns but it only reminded me not to be lazy and focus on my form.
The Doc (174cm, 108mm under)
- Not the ski for me and I knew after one run…but I could immediately tell why this ski would be amazing for a more aggressive skier. I had to work hard for turns on the groomer and it was just too stiff for me off-groomer but if you’re an advanced-expert or simply more aggressive, this would be an incredible all-mountain ski.
Quickdraw (171cm, 88mm under)
- I wrote “Just…weird!” in my notes! This ski was so completely different than any other ski that I’ve ridden and I think it may be suitable for east coast riding. I have a funny feeling that in icy conditions, with sharp edges, this ski would carve beautifully but, since that is not my style, I just had a hard time figuring out how this ski worked!
Big Nose Kate (165cm, 92mm under)
- I found this ski too similar to my current ski which means it’s a great beginner-intermediate ski, or appropriate for someone who’s a more conservative skier or perhaps only gets out for one or two ski vacations per year (as opposed to daily skiing). This ski would be great in a variety of moderate conditions on intermediate runs.
I felt the Oracle ski is the ski for me “right now” and the Sabre is a ski for me to improve. I could handle the Oracle without thinking and I literally giggled while I was on it: it was that much fun. The Sabre, on the other hand, is a slightly stiffer ski that would allow me to continue to improve and grow as a skier. Plus, the graphics on the Sabre are awesome! Of course, I’m not intending to purchase a ski right now but it is in my near future and I do hope to get a chance to test out a few more brands and styles before the season’s out.
Lastly, I debated writing this up at all! Reviewing gear is so subjective and is so specific to the person doing the reviewing that I do wondered if anyone would even find this helpful. However, I know that when I’m looking to make a big purchase I appreciate all the information I can find. The biggest takeaway I found this day was how incredible it was to notice the differences between the skis – something I could not have simply read in a review – and I urge you to try, try, try!!