Strangely I've only ever been wiped out by skiiers, both novices and experts(The experts that like to do 80mph down the last run of the day swerving in and out of a crowded slope). Generally the snowboarders go quite a bit slower (actually one reason I stopped skiing was because I was getting faster and faster, and feeling more and more vunerable to being involved in a nasty accident)...with boarding you can go anywhere with less experience, and get away from the crowds. Off-piste is where it's at, and no, I've never started an avalanche
It also gets dark very early, although they generally have lit slopes which you can use after dark.
For me, France is the best overall, but I enjoyed Verbier in Switzerland. Didn't like Austria much (Kitzbuhel), as they were very snobbish toward boarders.
Italy was nice though, cheap and easy-going.
I agree with you about the worry of collision. Two years ago I bought a helmet for the first time. I was amazed how comfortable and warm it was.
I agree about France, where I love the convenience, atmosphere and food.
I've never got on well in Austria and also loved Italy for the friendliness and fun.
Quite a lot of the Avalanches are started by the skiing equivalent of boy-racers.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
Did you ever get to Livigno?
I've been there 3 times. It's not really an advanced resort, but it's like a party land, and everything is(or was when I last went) duty free (there was even a border point crossing into "Italy").
Fantastic place so long as you don't mind a bit of rowdy fun.
"In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher." - Dalai Lama
level of skier - advanced (say, 8/10), e.g. can do turns while skiing on one leg, but do not race or jump.
spend 60% time on piste but want to transition more off piste, hece looking for skis that will be good there. I try to ski in fresh snow every time I see it (but conditions are not always suitable as you know so end up on piste. GF also mostly skis on piste so this plays part as well). I like steep, fast slopes when on piste. Ski fast, long, medium and short turns. Normally ski full day from lift opening to about 4pm.
60% time on piste? We as a family have been skiing on and off for 22 years (since I was about eight) and for the last 10 years have found that most of our time is spent on the Ski lift. We also tend to stick to chair lifts as the T-bar or simmilar really take it out of your legs. (I remember using some button tows in Italy that would pick my sister (8 at the time) clean off the snow and she was hanging/sat on the button)
Also the chair lifts give you time to talk and give much better views.
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Yes, but it was in 1976!!. I can remember a 7 hour bus journey from Milan (up that hairpin road) at the hands of a mad Italien driver. The Rep on the bus was called Alberto, and he kept stopping, and dropping of dodgy looking brown paper parcels into dubious looking establishments.
The resort was then owned by the Galli Brothers (may still be). I was led to believe that they fell out, and each brother owned one side of the valley...and you needed 2 lift passes to ski there. The feud had been well settled years before we arrived.
We stayed somewhere called "The Hotel Pastorello", which had such cheap (duty free) booze, that every evening was a pleasant blur.
I understand that the village used to be cut off every winter when it snowed, so the Italian Govt built a tunnel and gave it duty free status to boost trade.
Don't be silly. I love snow and the idea of being in the Alps but wild horses wouldn't get me skiing...
Skis are like "big shoes", so you might be OK.
Hi AlmaataKZ, The first thing I would ask...are you sure you want to buy. Skis will cost you £350-600, need to be serviced yearly(£35), attract ski carriage on flights (£15-30) and their technology goes out of date quickly. When you hire, you can chose the type of ski suitable for the snow conditions...and even try different types through the week. If you prefer to buy (I always have), then I think it's better to do so in the resort, where you can try them out first. Rental fee is waived if you buy. Now to ski types:
Very good point, I thought about it and still have not decided. the pros for owning is it is cheaper in the long run but if renting you get to try different skis. however, the choice in renting shops is not usually that good. I think what I will do is try to try as many as I can this season and then buy a pair that has the potential to last.
CARVE. These have narrower waists for quick edge changes and shorter turns. They are fun and lively, can handle a variety of conditions, but can feel a bit "twitchy" off piste and don't float as well as wider skis (waist 62-74mm).
ALL MOUNTAIN. These are probably the most versatile category. Depending on the make/model, their bias can go either way (on/off piste). Happy doing a mixture, but still a bit narrow for really deep conditions. Waist 75-90mm
FREERIDE. These have big waists for max flotation, and are happier doing fast GS turns. They can handle the piste OK (depending on model), but are happiest doing fast GS or Super G in all off piste conditions. These are for spending 70%+ of your time away from the piste. Waist 90-105mm)
BIG MOUNTAIN. These are specialist backcountry skis (eg. Heli-Skiing). They are not comfortable on piste. The other types are unlikely to be of interest. Your old skis were great all rounders, which were fairly forgiving. I think they had a sidecut of 100-75-89 and a fairly wide turning radius. You will find the newer breed easier to turn (deeper sidecuts), shorter in length, and much easier to handle off piste due to the extra width...but they can be harder to pivot. I will propose a few "All Mountain skis", as these are likely to give you the best balance, if you are wishing to go more off piste.
SALOMON ENDURO XT800 (£550 inc bindings). Sidecut 125-79-107. Turning Radius 16.3 (175) Nice rounded skis that feel effortless in all turn shapes in most conditions. It has "rocker" technology that helps them float in powder. Make sure you get this years model, as its much better.
ROSSIGNOL EXPERIENCE 83 OPEN (£360). Sidecut 132-83-120. Turn Radius 15.5 (176) Again, rocker technology, and is a fun, good gripping ski. Easy to pivot, well balanced ski, that's comfortable to ski in powder. K2 AMP RICTOR (£540 inc binding). Sidecut 127-80-109. Turn Radius 16 (174) Smooth well damped ski, that is happier in long fast turns. Lacks a little life in short turns.. Also has rocker tech. A "rocker" is the use of reverse camber, where the ski arches upwards, so the middle of the ski, is lower than the tip and tail. This gives excellent flotation in soft snow. The rocker can be tailored to different applications and snow types. Anything else I can help with, just yodel. Cno
thanks a lot for the recommendations - I was actually looking at the Enduro xt800 yesterday on the internet as one of those I should try. Not that it is easy to research on the internet - you do not get a feel of the ski from pics...
What do you think of these ones: Tried any?
This 'rocker' stuff sounds odd. How woudl they behave on piste? Have you tried any? some web comments suggest 'nervous on piste'...
The current thinking is : abt 90mm waist, radius abt 19-20m, not too heavy, preferably plain styling (that may be the most difficult to find!)
System here http://www.whathifi.com/forum/your-system/my-dream-system-oh-maybe-one-day
... I find this is a good explanation of 'rocker' profile and how it is mixed with traditional 'camber' profile.
the question is should I go for 30/70 or 50/50?
OK Al (can I call you this...it's easier!), here are my thoughts.
All the skis I've bought, have been out of date within a couple of years. This doesn't worry me as they are so much easier than the old school 2m jobbies, that are in the attic.
TBH I'm not sure owning your own is much cheaper.
What I would do, is google the resort before you leave, and research the shops that have what you want. You can then book them before you go, to make sure they are available.
The idea of lots of powder is great, but the likelihood of getting it on your one week a year is fairly slim (unless you wait till it snows and go last minute).
If hiring, you can get the right ski for the job; if buying, (imo) you want a good piste ski that isn't too shabby off piste....as that's where you are likely to spend a lot of time. I reckon I would only get decent snow falls (while there) in 2 out of 10 years.
The only one I can comment on is:
SALOMON SENTINEL. Sidecut 129-95-121. Radius 21 (184)
This is a Freeride ski that is quite "piste friendly" for this type of ski. It's a GS ski for laying down fast, long carved turns. Its very stiff with not much sidecut, which is why it works on piste, but makes it more of a handful (unwieldy) off piste.
I will have a look about for your other suggestions, and see what I can dig up. Ski technology moves so fast, that by missing last season, I'm a little out of date.
The only ski that I've tried with a rocker is the Salomon Lord, which I "mouched" for the last day, when I left mine in for a service.
There had been a foot and a half the previous night, and the conditions that day were windy, with sticky snow falling, with near white-out conditions. These skis made it easier than you would expect....but one thing to be aware of is, these very wide skis travel a lot faster than you are expecting, as the don't sink into the snow, but float/skim along the top.
One ski that I have liked in the past was the ROSIGNOL ZENITH Z82 (128-82-112), which feels like a detuned slalom ski on piste and can handle off piste...great fun ski.
Some more Rocker info:
NOSE ROCKER: The reverse camber is at the tip, which causes it to rise earlier for quicker floatation. It's normally matched with flat cambered skis for stability at speed.
TAIL ROCKER: This will always be matched with a Nose Rocker. It stops the tail catching through the end of the turn, makes pivoting, steering and deep snow turns easier.
REVERSE CAMBER: This is for off piste only, as the ski is bent the wrong way. It's often matched with some sort of reverse sidecut.
I think this technology makes the ski feel shorter than it is on piste, and yet help with floatation on piste.
Coming from a more conservatively styled ski, you may find a wide waist too slow edge to edge. Personally I don't like going much above 80mm, as the ski then isn't reactive enough (for me). I also like a turn radius of no more than 16 or 17m.
Bear in mind, the wider the tail of the ski, the harder it often is to skid/pivot, as the tail wants to "bite" and carve out the end of the turn.
If I am boring you with too much detail, let me know...I never know if I'm helping, or just "boring the socks" of folk.
As you can see, it's a bit of a passion, so hardware and skiing technique are things I have been very interested in.
Not sure you will know until you try it for yourself. Get your short list based on "all mountain" flexibility, and don't worry about the implementation of the rocker (or it'll put you off your rocker). The manufacturer will implement it according to its expected use.
All these skis are so much easier to use than yours, that the Rocker is only icing on the cake!
no, not at all. this is experienced based info from an experienced person, so - very sueful. thank you.
I think it is important to be realsitic about what I will ski and how often, as you say. If I lived at a ski resort I would probably have 2 pairs (or whatever) to suit conditions. With realities of one trip per year maybe it is better to rent. Still, one needs to know what to try so very useful to get these advice. If you are one season behind ski technology, I am about 12 seasons behind!
Here's more info on some of these:
VOLKL GRIZZLY. Sidecut 131-89-114. Radius 18.7 (177) Cost £849!!
It's wide enough for powder, yet powerful enough for carving on piste. The binding has an effective 3 position tension switch which alters the performance of the ski. This is a big powerful bruiser of a ski, more suitable for heavier experts. Its 89mm waist mean that it's fairly slow edge to edge, but it is also typical Volkl...ie. heavy solid construction with great edge grip.
VOLKL KENDO. Sidecut 127-88-109. Radius 21.9 (177). Cost £575 inc bindings
This is on the border between AM and FR (probably more FR). It's good on both, and can even handle bumps. It's got energy and grip, but is happier doing GS turns. Smooth and stable.
SALOMON SHOGUN. Sidecut 130-101-120. Radius 25.9 (182). Cost £575 inc binding
Uses bamboo within its construction for a light snappy feel. This is a Freeride ski with 101mm under foot, which is easy to use, with a light feel and smooth flex. Due to its width, it's slow edge to edge on piste. This is a fun off piste ski, that's stable and can be used on piste.
Salomon Lord. Sidecut 128-87-115. Radius 17.4m (177). Cost £495 inc bindings
Easy light and reactive. Less grip on hard pack and not so good for short turns. Good all mountain ski.
As you can see, everything is a compromise; so it's just where you want to make it. Skis seem to get wider every year, which means that the piste skis of today are wider than the FR skis from 7 years ago...ie. making them better in the soft stuff and crud than you might expect.
Thank you for being so gracious.
I (ridiculously) have 2 pairs, both of which date back to about 03. A Freeride ski (now narrower than a piste ski) and a full blown set of Slalom skis (my guilty pleasure )- which I got in a sale. Both of which I love, and both are made by Atomic.
I usually try something out when there...ie. during the time when I've left mine in for the service, at the end of the week.
one month to go!
Where are you heading?
Meribel, 3 valleys
we alternate places we have not been to and places we have been to and liked. this is a repeat - we like it for the vastness of the area and well-connected lift system and Merible is right in the middle of it. we love the food, too. will be a ski-in/ski-out place a bit outside the main village. hope for some snow. none so far...
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