For my birthday, the Grige delivered a 100% awesome two days of skiing at Boyne Highlands in Northern Michigan. I got to demo skis, which, if you were paying attention, is exactly what I wanted to celebrate my sojourn into my "late" twenties. I've always been super happy with my race skis, which I bought off a coach at a camp out west back in 2004. They're really outdated and far to aggressive for me, so the new technology available really impressed me.
One thing I noticed as I tried to do some research in preparation for my day of trying new skis is that there aren't too many ski reviews for ladies out there. Obviously, choosing a ski is really personal, but I figured I would round up my experience with the skis that I tried to add to the literature out there.
First, me as a skier:
I'm a former racer who gets to ski primarily in Michigan or the east coast, so front side shredding is what I am best at. I am looking for a ski that can perform on any terrain or conditions, but really shines cutting through crud, gripping on ice, and providing responsive, fast turns with nearly unlimited speed potential with minimal effort.
I am a very good skier, but i would not have considered myself an "expert". I had heard that a women skiing at a fairly advanced level on aggressive men's skis would likely find themselves on the high end of expert territory in women-specific models, and I found this to be about one thousand percent true. My advice would be to grade yourself only on the terrain you ski most often on when choosing a ski, rather than downgrading yourself for inexperience in certain conditions.
What I Demo-ed:
Nordica Cinnamon Girl (164 cm)
These were the clear winner and probably ruined me for all the other skis for the rest of the day. It's a testament to the talent of the guy in the demo shop that he put me in these first. I loved them from the first turn. While the skis were amazingly responsive, I pushed them as fast as I can go (which is really fast) and didn't experience any chattering or feel reigned in. They turned quickly and easily to avoid other skiers, and I felt in perfect control even at high speeds. I was able to fly through crud without catching edges and float over what little powder there was easily. It was the easiest, most fun skiing I've ever done. I went back to these for a few hours at the end of the day and was shopping for a pair on the ride home. The only con is that the stupid graphics on these could only be appreciated by a 12-year-old or the type of woman who has a dolphin sunset tramp stamp. I don't have a solution for that problem, but I'll be going so fast that no one will be able to see them anyway.
|Nordica Cinnamon Girl|
Volkl Kenja (164 cm)
The Kenja's were a strong second choice for me. They're responsive, light and float-y. I think they would be phenomenal in powder, but since I rarely get to ski powder, it's not a high priority for me. The big cons for me on these were speed and the amount of time it took to transfer from rail to rail. It's a very different skiing rhythm from what I'm used to, though it wasn't necessarily unpleasant. Sadly, these started chattering long before I hit full-throttle and didn't handle crud with the ease that the Nordica's did. Had I not ridden the Nordia's first, or if I lived where powder was readily available, I would be singing their praises. Also, the graphics are notably less stupid than many other women's skis.
Volkl Chiara (164 cm)
These ski themselves, and not in a good way. Marketing them to an "intermediate to advanced" woman is insane, unless she's over 80 years-old. They were sluggish, limited in turn style and radius, and pretty much the opposite of fun in every way. I couldn't wait to get them off. Sorry, Volkl. You really missed the mark on these.
Volkl Men's RTM 84 (180 cm)
It's hard to compare these to the lady versions, but they just don't make/stock women't skis with this level of aggression. My current skis are 173 cm, and I like that. women's skis usually top out at about 164 or 168 cm. Since my skis are so old, these were meant to give me a good idea of what the ski I'm riding now would be like with new technology. They were a ridiculous amount of fun - super fast, a little too long to be considered "responsive", but they were delightfully turn-y and truly just ripped. I loved them, but they're not likely to be much fun on anything but empty groomers. They're just too fast to deal with crowds and not wide enough to be any fun on powder. If I was still racing, I would be all about these. Also, no stupid graphics and not a shade of pink in sight.
|Volkl RTM 84|