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All mountain for Niseko Grand hirafu?! Help

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi guys, first time poster, be kind! Wink

I'm a 5'11 (180cm) 150lb guy looking for an all rounder ski for Niseko (Grand Hirafu) - I've been skiing since I was 4 (now 22) all in the French Alps, but missed a few seasons since I've been fully grown so have yet to buy my own equipment, that changes now!

I'm heading out to Japan in November to get my level 1 teaching qualification and then teach for the season, but I don't want a ski that's going to make my spare time less fun! The company I'm heading out with recommends a piste or all mountain ski that has a turning radius of less that 19m and less than 86 underfoot, but if I actually follow these guidelines I feel like I'll be missing out on the best that Japan has to offer, so I'm looking for a middle ground really.

I want to improve my tricks but am not massively interested in parks, just like making the most of trees, powder and natural lumps and bumps - parkour on skis if you will. But need to be able to get good turn shapes on piste. I imagine the pistes in Niseko to be much less hard than that of the alps so I might be able to get away with a wider ski, is that right? Twin tips are a bonus for ultimate fun, but not essential as I can do some backwards skiing with normal skis and won't be doing it all that much probably.

I'm wondering which of these you think would work for me or if you've got other recommendations around this price point. Here's what I've narrowed it down to and the prices I'm looking at:
1. Line Sir Francis Bacon 104 - £360 - I'd love these skis tbh, but I'm not sure they'd be so good on piste for my qualification test.
2. Nordica Soul Rider 97 - £300 - Good turn radius of 16.5 if I got the 170cm, (which would be alright with my size weight?) still twin tip, but will 97 be okay underfoot for japan's pistes?
3. Majesty Thunderbolt 92 - £325 - Can't find many reviews, but it fits the guidelines of my course well, probably the best compromise?
4. Salomon QST 92-99 - £216 - Lots of reviews, nice looking ski, no twin tip, wide enough for powder and strong enough for piste and a bit of speed?
5. Salomon XDR 88 Ti - £230 - Would these or the qst's be better for me?

No need to answer all those questions, there more speaking out loud on my thoughts, but I'd like to know which you think would allow me to have the most fun in Niseko's now whilst holding a good edge on piste for the exam I'll be taking?

Thanks in advance,

Alex


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Wed 1-08-18 14:49; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
As a level 1 you will be teaching beginners on piste almost 100%.
The pistes are exactly that...pistes.
Often hard and polished, often soft and creamy.

To be honest I would take two pairs of skis.

Both my "kids" (in the 20s) have done seasons in Niseko, and both took two pairs.
If you like touring, or think that you might, I would suggest mounting your off piste skis accordingly....thare is not much touring stuff to rent there.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Mike_Pow may be along with advice....listen to him!
There is nobody who knows Niseko/Hokkaido better than he does.
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You need 2 pairs of skis - a pair of teaching skis and a pair of fun (soft snow) skis if you really want to make the best of things. 2nd hand probably if budget is a concern. Don't worry too much about reviews - get the right sizes and shapes (without worrying too much about absolute numbers) and learn to use them properly.

Lots of first time buyers can get hung up on data minutiae, because they lack the practical experience of lots of skis and its the only way they can start to make sense of things.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Cheers rungsp Smile

I'm in the very small minority who skis on one pair of skis for both work and play in the Niseko Resort Area.

I'm 188cm and 95kg and for the past six winters or so have skied on a centre mounted twin tip ski with tip widths in the 113-116mm range and waist widths in the 82-86mm range on lengths between 172-177cm

These dimensions are great for me for the type of terrain and the snow conditions I teach on/in, and I've made a conscious effort to develop my technique and skills to allow me to ski this narrower platform in deep, light, unconsolidated powder.

It's what I enjoy.

This may be a step too far for you at this stage, but I would highly recommend looking at a centre mounted twin tip ski with a bit more underfoot as your 'quiver of one'.

You won't have to do high speed, technical piste skiing for your Level 1 so you don't need a craving specific ski.

Here are a couple of low cost options which may suit your needs

Atomic Punx Five
122-85-112
170cm, 175cm
https://www.glisshop.co.uk/alpine_ski/atomic/punx_five-131031.html

Line Honey Badger
120-92-116
172cm
https://www.glisshop.co.uk/alpine_ski/line/honey_badger-113739.html

Salomon TNT
122-85-112
171cm
https://www.glisshop.co.uk/alpine_ski/salomon/tnt-131627.html

Armada ARV84
120-84-109
170cm
https://www.glisshop.co.uk/alpine_ski/armada/arv_84-130099.html

Nordica Soul Rider
120-84-109
170cm
https://www.glisshop.co.uk/alpine_ski/nordica/soul_rider_84-133823.html


And if you feel an all-mountain ski would be better for you at this stage then you won't go far wrong with something like this

Head Monster 83 Ti
125-83-110
170cm
https://www.glisshop.co.uk/alpine_ski/head/monster_83_ti-123767.html


Who are you training with?
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Thanks for the info!

I'm coming out with EASkiandSnowboard to Hirafu to get the NZSKI level 1.

I've been looking at some videos of people skiing at the level needed to teach level 1 and I don't think I'll have an issue with a little bit wider skis like the ones you've linked here. I guess also because I'm pretty light I don't need quite as wide a ski for powder, or do the two not really correlate?

Do twin tips really ski that much differently to directional skis (in a forward direction ofc)?

Thanks again!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
greeneee wrote:
Thanks for the info!

I'm coming out with EASkiandSnowboard to Hirafu to get the NZSKI level 1.

I've been looking at some videos of people skiing at the level needed to teach level 1 and I don't think I'll have an issue with a little bit wider skis like the ones you've linked here. I guess also because I'm pretty light I don't need quite as wide a ski for powder, or do the two not really correlate?

Do twin tips really ski that much differently to directional skis (in a forward direction ofc)?

Thanks again!


Pleasure.

Your lower body weight certainly means that you'll sit higher in the powder than someone heavier like me.

Not that much difference in a forward direction, but combined with centre mounting I find them so much easier and more natural to pivot.

And easier to ski backwards when teaching.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Just be aware that while Mike gets good results from riding a centre mount and advocates it for his students - some people struggle with centre mounting .
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Just be aware that while Mike gets good results from riding a centre mount and advocates it for his students - some people struggle with centre mounting .


Which is why I qualified it with this

Quote:
These dimensions are great for me for the type of terrain and the snow conditions I teach on/in, and I've made a conscious effort to develop my technique and skills to allow me to ski this narrower platform in deep, light, unconsolidated powder.

It's what I enjoy.

This may be a step too far for you at this stage, but I would highly recommend looking at a centre mounted twin tip ski with a bit more underfoot as your 'quiver of one'.


And also provided a mid-fat traditionally mounted ski recommendation as an alternative to the centre mounted twin tips.

Skiing a centre mounted ski quickly highlights deficiencies in technique, namely

too much fore or aft balance (weight)

too much balance (weight) on the uphill ski, and

excessive uphill ski lead at the start of the turn - the 'toreador' stance - which is the fast track to falling once you hit the powder or crud.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Mike Pow, No problem - just identifying that it can feel really weird. When I've demoed skis that were centre mounted they've felt kinda dead to me. Not unskiable just less fun. So for someone going onto their first pair of skis can be a big transition - though if he has ambitions to be an instructor then maybe it's not bad to go that way from the start.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
@Mike Pow, No problem - just identifying that it can feel really weird. When I've demoed skis that were centre mounted they've felt kinda dead to me. Not unskiable just less fun. So for someone going onto their first pair of skis can be a big transition - though if he has ambitions to be an instructor then maybe it's not bad to go that way from the start.


Yes there's certainly a difference as my many double ejections will atest.

But get the right centre mounted twin tip and work at it and you can have as good performance and fun on piste as on any mid-fat ski.

It's obviously built for purpose when it comes to the park.

Surprisingly (or not so) nimble in the bumps, and gives a very different immersive experience in the powder.

And much easier to tour on giving a more natural glide & stride, especially on steeper terrain.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And the final piece to puzzle; generally, what are the pistes like in Niseko? Are they much softer than that in the European Alps? Or are they groomed fairly hard and so not that different to Europe?
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Personally if I was going to Japan for a season I’d go for two sets of skis if I could - one 80-85mm waist all mountain but piste orientated ski, and the fattest pow skis I could get (because I’d need all the help I could get). I have some Line SFB. I used to have Marker Schizo bindings so I could try out different mounting points. I found centre mount and Eric’s choice (-3 cm) way too forwards after a normal all mountain ski. In the end I settled on -5cm which is the recommended point for those skis.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
greeneee wrote:
And the final piece to puzzle; generally, what are the pistes like in Niseko? Are they much softer than that in the European Alps? Or are they groomed fairly hard and so not that different to Europe?


For most of the season it's packed powder on piste.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Hi @Greenee,
As @Mike Pow says in his opening sentence he is in a very small minority of instructors who use one pair of skis for both teaching and playing and you have to consider what you want to get out of your skiing to decide if it will work for you. If it is as your say, ‘parkour on skis’ then conventional wisdom says that you want something fat (>105mm, some would say >115mm), long, soft and either totally reverse cambered or at least with a decent amount of both tip and tail rocker. This will enable you to float on the surface of snow more, getting into the air more easily and, crucially, give you a much better chance of landing again without double ejecting. If, however what you want is maximum faceshots, making the greatest number of turns out of slopes that are, by European standards, quite short, then Mike’s advice is probably spot on. Big skis will ski 'on' the snow, skinny skis will ski 'in' the snow. I think it would be fair to say that while most people prefer 'on' a substantial minority prefer 'in'.

I would definitely not try teaching on a fat pair of skis, if you even managed to pass your Level 1 on such a pair, then you would really hurt your knees skiing pistes slowly on them day in day out and therefore, if it has to be one pair of skis then stick with Mike’s advice, don’t get anything with more than 90mm underfoot.

Personally, even for just a week’s holiday in the alps I take two pairs of skis, if I’m going to be spending the day largely on piste with friends/family who are not as confident then I really don’t want to be on big skis but if there is the opportunity to get onto a big alpine face then the confidence that a big stable freeride pair of skis gives me is easily worth the cost and hassle of having a second pair.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
+1 ^
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
All the pieces of the jigsaw!

What about bindings etc?

Just that I was so glad I had a touring bindings on an All Mountain Ski.

Go all that feckin way and sometimes you might want to get away from the hordes.

So all Mountain Ski with latest Salmon binding 😁


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Fri 3-08-18 21:18; edited 1 time in total
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Oh and skins 😁
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Okay, so I've found the Scott Slight 93. From what I've read they're really good on piste and they're light and are playful enough in treeline and powder too because of the 93. For the price they seem like a good buy - 440ish for them plus bindings, although the bindings were mark griffon ID 13 110mm.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Buy two previous season or second hand skis. Total waste spending a season in Japow (or anywhere for that matter) without a pair of ~120mm fatties with lotsa tail rocker.

IME in Hokkaido and Akita, the pistes are so soft and perfect there's 0 need for a proper piste ski. Get the Soul Riders (they carve ridiculously well for the size, even on on alpine pistes) and whatever playful rockered surfboards you can pick up cheap.
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greeneee wrote:
Okay, so I've found the Scott Slight 93. From what I've read they're really good on piste and they're light and are playful enough in treeline and powder too because of the 93. For the price they seem like a good buy - 440ish for them plus bindings, although the bindings were mark griffon ID 13 110mm.

The Slight 93's are great but £440 plus bindings is waaay too much for last years ski.

If you want them then for that price I've got a pair of 18/19 180cm Slight 93's mounted with Warden MNC 13 100mm Demo bindings for sale. This is the latest version/graphic that doesn't come out until this Autumn and they've only been skied a few times at the trade demo week in Feb and at the snowHeads two day ski tests in April in Val Thorens. The 18/19 version also has the cut-outs in the tip to accept the Scott skins (which are the excellent Colltex Whizz skins) and the mounting locations on the Warden Demo bases give plenty of space to drop on a touring binding.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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Well, its £440 with a ski bag as well as I'm really pushing it with money to get out to Japan this season NehNeh So if you'd let those new ones go for £400 then I'd consider? Feel free to send me an email @ greeneee@hotmail.co.uk Smile

Thanks!
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