What do you consider the best skis of all time?
I'll get the ball rolling here with my personal choice - The Olin Mark IV Comp. I know many folks didn't like it because it was so soft, but it was the ski on which I learned to carve rather than skid turns, so it holds a special place in my heart (and memory). Besides, it was ahead of its time in design. It's ends were turned up similar to today's twin tip skis. Considering this ski came out in the early-mid eighties, I'd say that was quite a bit of forsight.
I'll jump in on this one. K2 TNC's, the old ones with wood and metal core. They were the first ski I could jump on to and not have to get used to. I started on a brand new pair, no tuning necessary, and they skied just perfect. Also the metal between the base abd the core is essential, core shots are almost impossible. Plus they were super stable at any speed. The new propeller (shaped) skis are fun and easy to turn, but let run in chop or even on groomed and they are all over the place.
I love the new "shaped" skis. I have a pair of X-Scream Series (106-68-97) and they are AWESOME. I guess it depends on how fast you want to ski as I've heard that the X-Screams must be kept on edge to be stable when hitting mach speed. I haven't found their speed limit though (and not for a lack of trying).
Also, my Volant SuperKarve I's are outstanding in the crud. They are absolutely bombproof and a great cruising ski!
You may have not tried the right type of shaped skis. I have a pair of K2 Merlin IV's and they are pretty darned awesome. I have gone (literally) from the top of a local intermediate run to the bottom with no turns in between. I was going fast enough to hear my jacket rippling in the wind. Through the entire speed run, my skis were stable and flat. Like straight skis, there are variations of shaped skis. Some handle speed getter than others.
So far, my best ski of all time are the K2 Merlin IV's that I use now. I've had Dynamic VR7's, Rossignol 4SK's, and K2 SLC's in additon to the Merlins. I have also tried the Atomic shapes and Volants on demo days and much prefer the Merlins.
Your probably right. I have heard from many people that the Merlins are sweet, I haven't had the opportunity to try them though. I've tried K2 Fours and some Rossignols and some Elans, I don't remember the models though. I guess I just better get out there and demo some different stuff.
Kneissl White Star
Rossignol ST Comp
I ski on the K2 Fours and I've been very happy with them.
Although, I must admit I was originally drawn to them by the "light."
(These were some of the first skis to have the space-age anti-vibration mechanics built-in, which I think probably do make somewhat of a difference. But the winning factor for me was that these small red LEDs light up right above the bindings when the ski experiences vibration. Being a gadget freak, this became a must-have ski for me. You can't see the lights easily during the day, but at night it's really obvious. One of the first times I bought these skis, when they were brand new, I was riding a lift at Whitetail at night. A skier next to me stared intently at my skis for the entire ride up; the LEDs lit up briefly as we crossed over lift towers. Finally, at the top of the lift, he said "I don't want to sound crazy or anything, but is it me or are your skis glowing?" I think my response was "huh? I don't know what you're talking about.")
Anyway, I haven't had a chance to check out this year's crop of skis. Do a lot have this technology, or is it still limited mostly to higher-end skis from K2? (Do they still include the LEDs, or did they decide that was just a gimmick?)
Yep, this year's crop of skis are technology rich. K2 now has "tuned Piezos". basically this meant that they have tuned the electronic dampeners to different vibration levels for each ski. I guess they figure a more advanced ski will be skied faster and will experience a higher vibration frequency range that an intermediate ski. Dynastar also has some sort of magnetic vibration dampening system on their SF and SX skis. I haven't been on a pair, so I can't comment on their functionality. Salomon stuck to the twin Prolink dampening system that has worked well for a while now. I hear that next year's skis will integrate the ski and binding into one unit. Pretty high tech!
I don't know if those lights on my Merlins are a gimmick or not. When most people ask, I usually reply that I have no idea whether its marketing or it really is tied into vibration dampening - either way, it doesn't matter as the ski is rock steady!! The new skis from K2 look snazzier and shinier this year. Too bad, the older skis had a satin finish that held up to scratches better than the shiny surface. As Gill said, I believe they also upgraded the piezo electric thingamabob. All this new technology ain't cheap though - the prices for equipment have gone up!!
I think the little red light is part marketing ploy and part functional physics. To get a bit nerdy here, the law of conservation of energy states that you can neither create nor destroy energy, only convert energy into other forms of energy. Thus, potential energy can be converted into kinetic energy and vibrational energy (in the case of skis) can be converted into heat energy, or light. I believe K2 chose light energy so they could place a little red light on top of the ski and show the owner that he "system is working".
Regardless, as was mentioned in a previous post, the system does work and K2s are very stable without feeling overly damp.
I still like my circa 1980 Rossi ST Comps. They have simply just skied the best out of everything I ever had. They were extemely fast and quick edge to edge. I did end up breaking them at the end of my first season with them, hit an ice mogul at full tilt! Completely delaminated one ski. I had the Rossignol Club warranty at the time and they were quickly replaced free of charge! However, Rossi no longer made the ST, it was the first year for the FP Comps (Fibro Plaque). I don't think the FP's were ever as good as the ST's. If I had never skied the ST's, then I would think the FP's were the greatest.
I am skiing a set of Rossi shape skis now, CUT something or the other...not that impressed. Does anyone know of a good ski today that would hold a candle to the old ST's???
Mythos, welcome to DC Ski!
And I agree with Ullr, truly impressive
Wooooah guys! Not so fast on living in the past. I loved my k2 uvo's and would have wanted to be buried with them. Then last winter, they had a retro race in which you could only use the older straight skiis at t-line. I almost killed myself just trying to get down the hill once, let alone in the gates. There were some who weren't as lucky as I was and they ended up in trees, ect... I now ski this year's rossi Zenith 9's and let me tell you... The new technology has made this next generation of ski incredible. One thing though, you will not figure 11 a run in them. They are turning machines.
I owned three different models of Dynastar's Vertical Assault ski. I believe they were the same ski, just a different years & colors. They were all 203cm. The skis were great in the bumps & steeps. They were pretty light compared to today's skis.
I still have a pair in my basement. I might have to break them out for next year's Snowy Luau.
We are digging up some history here. I loved the original K2 Comp (circa 1970), and the Rossi Strato was an awesome ski in its day too. Still, the world of skiing has changed so dramatically, even since this topic started in 1999, its all apples and oranges.
I mean technique has totally evolved from where it was just 10 years ago. I pulled up some old slalom footage last year, including Theoni, Stenmark, Killy, and Tomba. I did this after reading that modern slalom speeds are 40% faster than they were ten years ago. Believe it folks. There is NO comparison.
That said, how can we really compare skis?
Finally, I've got a pair of circa 1982 Rossi Equipe SMs in the basement (195's) mounted with Looks. Make me an offer.
rite-on ... my best skis are the latest ones I own.