Wednesday, April 19, 2006

skiing: hick nicks ripped sticks

hacked-up Volkl G41 and Salomon XScream Séries skisHere are my skis: fat-ish 188cm Volkl G41's from about 2000 and the legendary mid-fat Salomon XScream Séries in one of their weird power ratings from 1998. As you can see I continue to shred the living daylights out of my right ski, which means both need replacing. The XScream seems to take the abuse well, but the Volkl wood core is exposed to moisture and that's not good.

I have a hate-hate-love relationship with the Volkls. They're fast and they work in powder and crud, but they need a lot of manhandling to turn. I have to ride them for two days before I start to enjoy them. I was suckered into buying them by the petite salesperson at Granite Chief who claimed to ride this length in all conditions. I should have got shorter skis or held out for Salomon's All Mountain skis.

The Salomon XScream Séries is just great in any conditions less than 6 inches of powder or major crud. Bumps, carving, speed, short-radius, long-radius, chopped, ice, anything! They're fairly soft but still respond to aggressive moves. I was very dubious about the Prolink bars you can see in the picture — why not make the ski thicker? — until I saw race stock Salomon downhill skis with three sets of these.

I'm sure I would be happier on several powder skis than the G41's, but I spent 2000-2005 demoing replacements for the XScreams and never found a ski as versatile and unfailingly excellent. Besides, until I stop scissoring my left ski into my right and tearing its top edge to shreds, I don't want to subject new skis to the same abuse. Time to go second-hand.

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