On skiing: More ski for the money


Before heading over to Loon Mountain to check out some of next year’s new skis, I was thumbing through a golf magazine and caught a review of new drivers. What really grabbed my attention was the cost. One was mentioned as being lower priced at $350! Most were $450 to $500.

And that’s just for one club, when we’re allowed 14 in the bag.

It set me to thinking: I should see what $500 would buy in a pair of skis, and that became my goal for the demo. I wanted to see if I could find a pair of skis with bindings in that price range that I would be happy skiing on. (My skis are almost always race skis and most top of the line race skis will run double that, but I wanted to compare the cost of the two sports.)

I started with Blizzard because I always take my first turn on a ski I would select for myself, and I wanted to try one of their slalom skis. I found a ski I liked, but it didn’t do much in finding the price range I was looking for at $1,100. The Quattro series, on the other hand, has a full range of performance and prices. The 7.7 (number is waist width 77 mm) is $499.95, the 8.0 Ca $599.95, and the 8.0 $699.95.

Elan’s Amphibio series features models from $500 to $900 and offers some very good skis, such as the 76 Ti PS El 11.0 at $599.99, and the 80 at $699.99.

Fischer has the Pro Mountain models, their version of all mountain skis. The Pro Mountain 80 retails for $599, the 77 for $499 and the My Mountain for ladies, $599.

Atomic, which always has one of the biggest and most complete catalogs of any company, offers the Vantage series for both men and women. For the men, the Vantage X 75 CTI goes for $599.99 and the X 77 C for $499.99. In the women’s category the X 77 CTI W is $599.99, and the 74 for $499.

At Head, I found the Instinct for men and the Joy for women. The Instinct Strong is $599 and the Raw $799, the Joy Absolute is $549, and the Super Joy $749. I even found some Stocklis, a brand not known for bargains, in the price range I was looking for, such as the Avis Motion for $699.

All of these skis a come with bindings at these prices, demonstrating that good skis can be had from $500 to $700, and you don’t have buy another 13 clubs to fill the bag.

Obviously, there are a lot more models available and you can pay a lot more. Also, ski boots cost more than golf shoes, but there are now very good boots for $300 and some as low as $200. The point is that if we check our egos before we purchase skis, we can get some very good value for very reasonable costs. The next time you go to a demo, try some of these skis. You may be surprised at what you find.

And it won’t be like buying that $500 driver that hits it 40 yards further into the woods.


Now that March is here, some skiers start thinking about the end of the season.

That thinking is premature.

Regardless of the recent thaw, we still have plenty of snow on the ski trails and this month can bring as much snow as any winter month. Also, with Easter as the big weekend of the spring season, we have until mid-April this year, another six weeks of skiing and maybe more. We also have some great events this month.

Next weekend, pro racing returns when the World Pro Ski Tour comes to Sunday River. The quick schedule is a welcome reception at Camp in the Grand Summit Hotel on Thursday evening, qualifying races on Friday and the finals on Saturday. The racing will take place on Monday Mourning, which means it will be easy to view from the trail on ski or on foot or from the Barker Base Lodge. Complete details can be found at www.worldproskitour.com, along with how to register to enter the races.

Skiers interested in the influence of women in skiing here in Maine might enjoy a presentation titled “Sisters of Skade” at the Carrabassett Valley Public Library, Saturday, March 18 at 4:30 p.m.. This program is part of an outreach program of the Ski Museum of Maine and Scott Andrews will do a presentation detailing the history of Maine women’s contributions to skiing in the state. A panel discussion is planned with some of Maine’s most prominent women skiers.

The best ski racers in the U.S. will gather at Sugarloaf for the U.S. National Alpine Championships from March 24-29. This annual championship returns to the Loaf, where it has been contested numerous times in the past. The Narrow Gauge will be the run for all the races, making it easy to walk up to the finish. This is an opportunity for us to see the best of the U.S. Ski Team and some of the best skiers in the world. It will also be a chance for some local Maine skiers to enter the races and see how they stack up against the best. Every once in awhile, a local from a place such as Carrabassett Valley Academy will do well enough to earn a spot on the team. It’s a great event and the team at Sugarloaf can be counted on to make sure it comes off flawlessly.

See you on the slopes.