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Would you buy a ski without trying it?

IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,186 Crazy Baller
I just got a text from someone saying they just bought an A3. When I asked him if he has tried one he said no. He also said he dosent think that will make that much difference. He thinks that all of them will ski about the same (I told him that was not in any way shape or form even remotely correct, but apparently I know nothing about skis). My question to all of you is that if you were switching brands, had never skied on the new brand before, would you buy a ski without trying one first? I bought a Vapor last December. Obviously couldnt demo it but I knew I would have some idea of how it skied as I have been on Radar my whole life.



  • rockdogrockdog Posts: 592 Crazy Baller
    Bought my Prophecy without a demo. Love it. What has brand familiarity got to do with it given every new model is a thousand times better than the one it supersedes?
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,314 Mega Baller
    I tend to go to the other extreme, where I prefer not to buy even the same model that I've demoed. If I like the demo, I want to buy THAT demo. ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,583 Mega Baller
    I bought several slightly used skis on Ski-it-again without trying them. I was always able to get my money back when reselling.
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,186 Crazy Baller
    @rockdog I can see that with brand loyalty, a lot of times they keep the same "philosophy" and if they make a ski that their current riders dont like, I dont think that would be a very easily transition to someone from a completely different brand. Maybe coming from a ski with a completely different bevel or rocker that, I feel like, would be an impossible transition.
  • RazorRoss3RazorRoss3 Posts: 1,356 Mega Baller
    All of the top end skis arebt going to ski the same but I would think that anyone can be at their best plus or minus half a pass on any of them with the right set up. Look at @horton, the man rides 200 different skis a year and still manages to screw his head on straight when he goes back to his tournament stick.

    I personally like to demo a ski but I don't think it's necessary.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,001 Mega Baller
    I have bought used skis without trying them. In general if I was going to pay full freight it would be through somewhere that has a demo program of some sort that I could return if I didn't like it.
    Mark Shaffer
  • Austin BolgerAustin Bolger Posts: 1 Baller
    I think you should give this person a little more credit. I'm sure they've done their research and have sought the opinions of others when considering their ski purchase. Maybe they stumbled upon a great offseason deal that would no longer be available when they'd hoped to demo it. As mentioned by @RazorRoss3‌, I feel that the general consensus is that most of the top skis are very similar. Yes, some are better than others, but not everyone can afford a $1000+ ski.

    Didn't you recently post an article of the A3, describing it as "crazy smooth," "crazy forgiving," and that you'd consider buying an HO yourself?
  • Ed_ObermeierEd_Obermeier Posts: 1,339 Crazy Baller
    Over the years I've bought several without demoing them. Out of all of them the only ones that didn't really work out FOR ME were the Monza and the Strada. Always did lots of homework before buying in an attempt to make a reasonably thought out decision but being in a position to demo everything out there is just about impossible where I live so you make your best educated guess and roll on with it.

    Been on every iteration of a Radar made to date. The Strada I just never got comfortable with (unlike 97% of everyone else who has or had one...), to me it was just way different from what came before (MPD/RS1) and what I'd gotten used to. IMO with the Vapor they've gone back to the general philosophy behind the MPD with a bunch of great design and steroids thrown in. I still think there are 2 - 3 other skis out there I could do equally well on, but being absolutely thrilled with my bright green Vapor I have absolutely no interest in finding out any time soon.
    Ed Obermeier - owner, EZ-Slalom Course Systems
  • ToddFToddF Posts: 576 Solid Baller
    I don't think I have ever bought a ski that I tried first.
    This would make a good poll question
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,186 Crazy Baller
    @Ed_Obermeier I couldnt get along with my strada either. Wasted a season on it. Crappy practice and tournament scores on that thing. The Vapor has made up for that season and more. I love that silly green stick!!

    @Austin_BolgerI did, but "crazy smooth" and "crazy forgiving" are subjective. Both subjective to ski setup, and skier style. Not to mention that all A3's, Vapors, XT's, whatever, dont ski identical, even when set up the same. I can attest to this as I have owned 2 Vapors and they skied nothing a like. Nearly felt like a different ski. You agree with @RazorRoss3 in saying that most are pretty similar. I just dont agree with that. There are too many different rockers, bevels, overall ski designs. The A3 skis nothing like the Vapor and the neither of them ski like the prophecy ( I have not tried their brand new one so I cannot speak for that). Also asking others how they like a certain ski just doesnt matter. I will roughly quote an article I read before about buying skis "just because brand X works well for your friend does not mean that it will help your skiing in any way shape or form".
  • drewski32drewski32 Posts: 218 Baller
    A while back I demoed a nano one with Dave Miller and Dave Goode right there in the boat. A much as they tried to work their magic, I could NOT ski on that thing because it was so slow. Goode let me try it for a month and I finally got my buoy count almost back to normal, but I was killing myself to do it. I remember the feeling of relief when I got back on my D3 and was able to effortlessly swing up on the boat again. I would say that certain companies make their high end skis quite different from others, while some are indeed similar. The first model of the N1 and the helix I'm on now are completely different. I wouldn't buy a ski without at least demoing one of the same model.
  • ozskiozski Posts: 1,678
    At the end of the first demo set I was sold on the Helix, I had been on the Quest for a season at that point and not unhappy with it. I just knew from the first ride the Helix was a better fit and would be the ski that got me into -38 and it did. You should always take advantage of a demo when possible.
    'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.'' Boat 2005 Nautique 196 6L ZO - Ski - KD Platinum

  • aupatkingaupatking Posts: 1,465 Mega Baller
    No ski shops anywhere close to me anymore. Ski-it-again and reviews here is where I go these days. I have to buy and try, basically, because I don't want to drop $1,400 on a ski I don't know. I get minimal loss, with maximum trial. Definitely not optimum, but it has been pretty good to me. I started skiing again 4 years ago after a 20 year hiatus and went with an A2 because HO skis had been my preference and it was a great ski. Bindings have been my biggest obstacle.
  • smalorsmalor Posts: 69 Baller
    No way for me to demo skis.....bought an A3 this year based on research, reviews, and experience with brand. Outfitted the A3 with T Factor front binding based purely on research, and Wiley's rear based on past experience. Everything worked out fine.....this setup works well for me and is comfortable. There will always be a break in period with any new equipment in any sport. Skis are tuneable and people are capable of adapting if the mind is open to it.
  • RazorRoss3RazorRoss3 Posts: 1,356 Mega Baller
    I would like to clarify my meaning. I do not think that all top end skis are the same. I've skied a few, not many, but a few. I'm stating that if the ski is set up correctly that the majority of us in the mid level range could likely run within 3 buoys of our personal best on nearly any of them. It might not be consistent, it might not be your favorite but most of us are in a place where if we're having a problem it is more likely happening from the bindings up not the bindings down. A properly set up top of the line ski is designed to run passes, if set up right we should all be able to run passes on them. I'm the last person to say that my O'brien Elite from '09 skied like my Razor from '12 or that my Razor skis like the used Mapple 6.0 that I switched to this fall after tournament season. In relation to the post however I agree with what @smalor has to say, with research and brand familiarity most of us can make a good decision on what ski we would like based on how we feel we ski and how others have commented on how we ski.
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,186 Crazy Baller
    @RazorRoss3 I like most of what you say, but I have different personal experience. When I was buying my Strada I tried a GOODE and a Prophecy. Could run my opener (34,22) and 36 on it. Didnt have a prayer of 28 off. This was when I was getting into 32 off (when I say getting into, I mean getting 2 EVERY time). Those skis were absolutely horrible for me. To confirm your point, I tried a HO A3 about a month and a half ago, ran 28 off, and ran [email protected] Not quite what I am getting on my vapor but within a few buoys.
  • StejcraftbenStejcraftben Posts: 58 Baller
    I just brought a d3 quest 45 without trying one.... Never even tried any kind of d3. I done alot of research and after 3 sets I love it! I did once buy a ho nos without trying or asking questions. It turned out to be a pile of crap!
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,121 Mega Baller
    edited December 2014
    With no real local opportunity to demo, I used a used EP Comp X2 for a season before I bought a new one. Since then I bought new without demoing and all worked out well - Concept, Extreme 9.0, VTX, Phantom, and possibly a new Connelly next summer.
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,511 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited December 2014
    Heck, I bought a nearly 60K boat without ever starting it up - skis are easy ;) I'm not buying waterskis that cost more than $500 and there isn't really a great way to demo them locally. Even with my snow skis that cost 3x that, you read then buy then hope since there isn't really a great way to demo them either. With the snow skis I've found that they are all good enough within a category where they all work great, switching between last years and this years you can feel a difference but then adjust to the difference and wind up with about the same results.
    As my race coach always said - its the indian not the arrow.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    No shops near me either. After a 20 plus year hiatus I bought a boat and wanted a slalom ski. I read around on the dealer sites to see what skis they had at my level, open water wanting to get into the course soon. After that, I shopped around and found the best deal on one of them and that's what I bought, Obrien Synchro. It's worked well for me so far but my ski knowledge is limited and my amount of time out of the sport is very significant and I haven't tried anything else yet.

    Yes, if I had the opportunity to demo I sure would. Also, as the value of the ski increases so will the liklihood that I'll either buy used or maybe schedule a day at a ski lake that has skis I want to demo. Just lots to take into consideration.
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 5,584 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    Buy, try, keep or sell on SIA. Test anything that you can get your hands on. Invite all your friends over to ski just so you can try there skis.
    Shut up and ski
  • drewski32drewski32 Posts: 218 Baller
    I do agree that most people can ski within three buoys of their average on nearly any high end ski and can adapt to it, but for most of us three buoys and some consistency is a big deal.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 28,921 Administrator
    edited December 2014
    @ms or just get a Monza?
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  • thagerthager Posts: 4,866 Mega Baller
    @MS Hmmmm, that sounds very familiar. Glad I got my Vapor back!
    Stir vigorously then leave!
  • lakeaustinskierlakeaustinskier Posts: 362 Solid Baller
    Try a demo through H2Osmosis. They have a great try it before you buy it program. And I personally think that SIA was invented for this exact purpose. Sure, you'll probably take a small financial hit and take some risk when you buy or sell but the ski that won't work for you might be someone else's "magic" ski.
    Ted Thomson, Austin Texas, Aquaplex
  • kstateskierkstateskier Posts: 524 Solid Baller
    I always demo my skis before I buy them. This past season spent over a month demo'ing the Helix, then went to Florida and demo'ed an A3. Good god that thing felt sluggish, seemed like I ran about the same # of buoys but it took so much more effort. As soon as I stepped back on the Helix and felt the freedom I knew it was the right stick for me (right now). D3 was a pleasure to deal with on their demo program.
    Bradley Beach - Lone Rock Ski Club, Missouri
    2004 Malibu Response LXI, 2014 D3 Helix 66"
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 5,584 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    @Horton That way I always have a fall back ski.
    Shut up and ski
  • wtrskiorwtrskior Posts: 704 Crazy Baller
    edited December 2014
    Ive taken a ride or 2 on a ski and bought or not bought. My most recent ski M6.0 i bought used off SIA and instantly felt comfortable on it. Ive tried multiple skis so getting to the point that I know what should work for me, but it wouldn't even be possible for me to try most skis, def. Not the mapple or other smaller market products.

    Most skiers can't realistically demo a ski and many say it takes multiple sets to really know if the ski is for you, also difficult for most skiers.

    I believe most skiers of most abilities can ski their average on most high end skis within a few sets. Some are more work in some areas, but after a while you get used to the stick you're on.
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