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New Skis Help


Original Post
Chris Johnson · · Boulder, CO · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

I will start this off by putting up front, please don't be afraid to tell me I'm a lil b*tch and I just need to ski more.

Long story short, I'm on my third season skiing, getting 30 days a year. I bought a new pair of boots and skis before the 16/17 season. I got these Armada's in 178 length. abetterski.com/ski-reviews/…;I'm 6'2" 180 lbs. I've never really felt super comfortable on these skis, but being new to skiing, I didn't really have anything to compare them to.

Yesterday, I had the chance to demo a pair of Folsom custom skis. I demo'd the Cash 106's folsomskis.com/shapes/cash-…;in a 187 (or so I thought). Looking at their site, it looks like the sizes are 184 or 189, so I'd guess they were the 189's.

In either case, they were dreamlike. They honestly felt like I was controlling them with my mind. I felt like they held an edge super well, plowed through everything, and felt confidence-inspiring in the bumps (typically a harrowing experience for me).

Since I've improved significantly since I bought the Armada's, I'm wondering if I'd benefit from going to something longer, wider, and burlier. I definitely don't like the idea of "buying" improvements, but the way those skis felt, I'd love to feel that confidence every time I'm out skiing.

Side note, I'm also still trying to get the boots fit right. I take them in to get a bit shaved off my insoles because the outsides of my feet tend to ache first thing in the morning. I skied today on the Armadas after having a bit shaved off and having my right cuff canted yesterday, and was still getting foot pain. On a whim, I decided to switch which feet my skis were on (I always wear them on the "correct" feet according to the graphics) and felt a huge improvement. They felt like the edged better and I had more confidence in left turns, which are normally weaker for me. Am I losing my mind, or could there be a difference in the way they were set up?

Thank you all for reading the novel!

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Armchair Asshole · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 215

Bill Briggs skied the Grand in 1972 with leather boots and telemark skis. HTFU

Fatter, longer skis are good for deep pow (I hope this is obvious at this point). I'm amazed at how many people are skiing the resort on 100+ mm underfoot skis. While it can be done, it's harder to engage your edges, which requires you to really lay into your turns. This can be odd for someone who isn't used to it, and also forces you do go faster and square up to the fall line, something else that can be odd at first.

A more stiff boot can also do wonders to how a ski "feels". Switching which feet your skis are on? I doubt it made a difference, but I could be wrong. I would say it's more mental than anything. I'm not too familiar with Armadas, but freeride skis ski differently than classicly cambered resort skis. Think surfy vs precise.

If something feels good, stick with it. I would dial in your boot game, then worry about skis. Nice thing about living in CO, you have access to a ton of demo days. Every major resort has at least a few of these a year. This gives you the chance to get mileage on skis you wouldn't normally have access to. The only way you're going to figure out what you like is getting out and skiing.

Hope this helps.

t.farrell · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 60

Generally speaking the shorter the ski, the easier it is to control it (esp. at slower speeds which are the case when you’re new) so your experience is a little counterintuitive. I’d say stick with what you have and learn to ski on those because skis are expensive. 


I learned on skimo skis, and I always blamed my shittiness on the fact that I was in an lightweight AT setup. But in all honesty, I was (and still am) just a shitty skier. Different gear might make a difference, but it could’ve just as easily been the snow conditions or any other number of factors. It probably isn’t your gear.  


Also, take lessons.

Tapawingo Markey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 75

Two things: 

I’m not familiar with your current ski but it seems a little short for your size so could be part of what makes you uncomfortable on them. 

Were the conditions dreamy as well when you were demoing the Folsoms? If not and it was really that much of a difference I think you answered your own question. That ski isn’t too wide for an all around ski. Like the previous poster mentioned you may have to lay into the turn a little bit more but if the ski is shaped properly it wouldn’t be much more noticeable than something 98-100 underfoot. 

TLDR; If you loved the ski then that pretty much says it all.

Vaughn · · Colorado · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 50

If you haven't been maintaining your skis, it could be that your inside edges were super dull and by swapping skis you all of a sudden had fresh edges.

John Badila · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 15

Good advice so far.  As far as skiing better after switching right and left skis, have you had those tuned this season?  If not, it's possible the edges have worn unevenly, so now you're benefitting from a fresher, sharper edge on (for instance) the inside of your (now) right ski, making your left turns feel more precise.  I feel it's well worth the effort to learn to do some basic tuning yourself, as you'll save time and money, and be more likely to show up to the hill with waxed bases and sharp edges.  Even if money is no issue for you, dropping your skis off at the shop is a hassle.  

The skis you demoed sound pretty similar in design to the ones you're on, just a bit wider and longer.  Neither of those differences seems like it would make skiing moguls easier in particular--is it possible that the Folsom's have a softer flex?  That would make them certainly more forgiving in moguls and more playful in powder.  That review suggests your Armadas "like to go fast," which usually means they are stiff, and may be unforgiving for a novice skier.  A particularly stiff ski is going to reward good, precise technique and will hold an edge well at speed, but it may tire you out faster if you are still learning, especially if you find yourself having to work against the ski to slow down or make tight turns (for instance, in bumps).  

R P Finney · · Lafayette, Colorado · Joined May 2007 · Points: 0

1. Demo skis get waxed and tuned

2. I bet you don't wax or tune your skis

3. You know how to ski now so buy skis that fit your body size, location, and type of terrain you want to ski.  Yes. I think the skis you own are to small for you.

4. You answered your own question.  You had more fun in good conditions with bigger waxed and tuned skis

I could go on and on about how important tuning your own skis is to your enjoyment skiing them.  

Go see Larry for your boot fit, his shop is in Boulder.  

Josh · · Golden, CO · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 995

one other difference between your old skis and the ones you just tried that could be making a difference:  the tip and tail rocker.  A rockered tip and tail can make a longer ski feel shorter, and it looks (from the links you provided) like your old ski had some tip rocker but maybe not much in the tail, whereas your new one has both tip and tail rocker AND has some tip taper (the widest part of the shovel of the ski is further back from the end of the ski itself, which can encourage easier turn initiation).  Both of these differences in ski shape could be making the newer ski respond better and turn quicker despite its longer length.  The points others have made about bringing them around in moguls and whatnot still stand, as well as the general observation about the waist width of skis-- even for a 6'2" 180lb dude, a 106 waist may feel different to ski on groomed snow that your old 98s.  Good luck and happy turning.

Chris Johnson · · Boulder, CO · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

Thank you all so much. 

Going to try to address most of your questions in one go.

Tapawingo, conditions were fine, nothing crazy. A bit of new snow, but once lunchtime rolled around, things were nice and soft. 

Vaughn, that was my initial thought as well. I got my skis tuned a month or so ago and have exclusively skied on them with one always on the right foot and the other always on my left. I'm going to start not worrying about which is on which foot to get a more even wear.

John, it's entirely possible the Folsom's have a softer flex, but I'm not sure. Because they are custom made, I can change the flex if I wish (though I'd probably just tell them to make me an exact copy of the ones I demo'd since I liked them so much).

RP, yep, I checked out the bases of the demo's to see if they looked freshly waxed and tuned, and they seemed to be in really good shape. Mine were last tuned early Feb, but even with a fresh edge, they still didn't seem to turn in as easily and as readily as the Folsoms. 

Josh, I think you're right on the money. The turn in was a million times easier on the Folsoms. They felt super flickable from side to side, even with the wider underfoot. I also thought maybe the additional width allows my unflexible legs to actually get on the edge better. Would that make sense? My hips, knees, and ankles aren't super flexible, so by having a wider plank underneath my boot, I don't have to get over as far to engage the edge....Just another thought I had as to why the wider ski felt easier to carve with.

jg fox · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5
DavisMeschke Guillotine wrote:

Bill Briggs skied the Grand in 1972 with leather boots and telemark skis. HTFU

Fatter, longer skis are good for deep pow (I hope this is obvious at this point). I'm amazed at how many people are skiing the resort on 100+ mm underfoot skis. While it can be done, it's harder to engage your edges, which requires you to really lay into your turns. This can be odd for someone who isn't used to it, and also forces you do go faster and square up to the fall line, something else that can be odd at first.

A more stiff boot can also do wonders to how a ski "feels". Switching which feet your skis are on? I doubt it made a difference, but I could be wrong. I would say it's more mental than anything. I'm not too familiar with Armadas, but freeride skis ski differently than classicly cambered resort skis. Think surfy vs precise.

If something feels good, stick with it. I would dial in your boot game, then worry about skis. Nice thing about living in CO, you have access to a ton of demo days. Every major resort has at least a few of these a year. This gives you the chance to get mileage on skis you wouldn't normally have access to. The only way you're going to figure out what you like is getting out and skiing.

Hope this helps.

I agree about avoid wide underfoot for skis if you are skiing in the rockies but if you live close to the Sierras or Cascades, 100+ mm underfoot isn't a bad thing to have on piste.

Ross D · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 0

Every run you take is putting wear on your skis; switch them (left & right) at lunchtime. If you've been skiing days and days, yeah you experienced a fresh edge when you finally switched.

Folsom is a very well made ski, and probably had 2 degree edges on it. They also tune them to be perfect so you'll think they are so awesome you buy them.

In the end, you're a big guy and as you get better (ie skiing faster, putting more pressure on your skis) you'll get more comfortable on a bigger ski. Lots of people ski fat skis every day of the year (I know a guy with 120mm underfoot 200cm Folsoms, and he's like 50 years old). Just depends what % of your time you're on or off trail. I think ~105mm is great for a daily driver out west on all but the deepest days.

If you're gonna blow money, spend it on boots first...

bttrrtRock Charles · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 5

Skis and boots (mostly boots) can make a huge difference. Anything that allows you to push yourself faster on more difficult terrain while maintaining composure and control will help you become a better skier faster. I always say the faster you go the faster you learn though this comes with obvious risks (and for clarity I am not talking about just going straight on groomers). That said you definitely do not need expensive gear to get better faster just push yourself.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 14,422
DavisMeschke Guillotine wrote:

Bill Briggs skied the Grand in 1972 with leather boots and telemark skis. HTFU

Correction...  16 June 1971 (a day that will live in US ski history!).  Spademan bindings.  K2 210cm skis.  Not telemark skis.  That was Rick in 1982.

Totally random, we were in Kingfield over the xmas holidaze this year and stopped in to the Ski Museum of Maine where I noticed Briggs had been inducted to the Maine skier hall of fame or some such.  The historian there had never heard of him.  She dug out his bio info.  Pretty funny.

Chris Johnson · · Boulder, CO · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0
Ross Downer wrote:

Every run you take is putting wear on your skis; switch them (left & right) at lunchtime. If you've been skiing days and days, yeah you experienced a fresh edge when you finally switched.

Folsom is a very well made ski, and probably had 2 degree edges on it. They also tune them to be perfect so you'll think they are so awesome you buy them.

In the end, you're a big guy and as you get better (ie skiing faster, putting more pressure on your skis) you'll get more comfortable on a bigger ski. Lots of people ski fat skis every day of the year (I know a guy with 120mm underfoot 200cm Folsoms, and he's like 50 years old). Just depends what % of your time you're on or off trail. I think ~105mm is great for a daily driver out west on all but the deepest days.

If you're gonna blow money, spend it on boots first...

Definitely agree on boots. I bought my boots brand new before last season. I went in telling myself I'd buy whatever the fitter recommended, do whatever modifications they recommended. A lot of the time (now) they don't hurt. Typically first few runs, I have pain on the outside edge of my feet just in front of my heel up to the toe. It seems like once my feet get seated for the day, I'm good. Sometimes, I take the boots off and put them back on after the first hour or so if the pain isn't going away and typically that helps. I'm still working with the fitter on doing small changes hoping to get to a point of perfect feeling every time I put them on.


LiamB Byrer · · North Conway, NH · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 60

I'm 6'1 and 190. I ski in New England and am mostly in tight steep trees. I ski 105 underfoot at 182 every day of the year and love it, despite occasionally suffering on boilerplate/rock hard groomers. I have a pair that are much more rockered that I like in deeper snow and soft bumps because I can really get forward and free up the tails. I'd identify the two types of skiing you're going to be doing the most, and find a ski that aligns with that. Longer, wider, and stiffer makes for an awesome charger but if navigating bumps is a struggle, In my experience you'll have a harder time developing those skills on the bigger ski.

Like others have said a fresh wax and edge will make most skis feel amazing on most surfaces.  If you get on a ski and giggle all the way down, that's the ski for you. 



DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Armchair Asshole · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 215
Brian in SLC wrote:

Correction...  16 June 1971 (a day that will live in US ski history!).  Spademan bindings.  K2 210cm skis.  Not telemark skis.  That was Rick in 1982.

Totally random, we were in Kingfield over the xmas holidaze this year and stopped in to the Ski Museum of Maine where I noticed Briggs had been inducted to the Maine skier hall of fame or some such.  The historian there had never heard of him.  She dug out his bio info.  Pretty funny.

I stand corrected. Still an incredible feat, I'm blown away by the skill needed to pull that off. Thanks for sharing!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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