Loon Mtn – Demo Day – Friday 3/20

I’m in the market for new skis, so I have had Ken Jones Ski Mart’s demo day circled on my calendar for a while. Got there at about 8:15 and was going up with my first pair of demo’s shortly after they opened the lifts at 9AM. Seemed like the manufacturers were pretty well represented, all of the majors were there and a couple like Icelantic & Armada were also there too. Not a bad showing for late in the season. The manufacturers reps were pretty good to talk to and since they weren't really trying to sell you anything they were pretty laid back. Got a lot of good advice on what to try. I also highly recommend Ken Jones Ski Mart in the Manchester, NH area. Good people who gave me a lot of really good info and support.

I was looking for the unicorn of skis – the all mountain ski that will hold an edge on hard pack when that’s all you can ski and then go into the woods/bumps/pow with ease when you catch the conditions right. I just can’t afford to go with a 2 quiver ski setup, even though I know that makes the most sense these days. I had a list of what I wanted to try before I got there and hit all of those plus some more. The skis I tried were:

  • Volkl Kendo & 98
  • Nordica NRG80 & NRG90
  • Blizzard Brahma
  • Fisher Motive 96
  • Armada ARVTI
  • Rossignol Experience
  • Salomon Q90

Not a bad ski in the bunch, but my “best of the best” ratings put my favorites in this order: Nordica NRG90, Volkl 98, Armada ARVTI, Brahmas, Salomon Q90. I actually went in today and bought a pair of Nordica NRG90’s. Although watch out for those Volkl 98s – they aren’t available yet but that is going to be a really hot ski next winter. It is a really good ski.

As far as how Loon skied, it was fine. Kind of like many on this forum have described, it skied like the Okemo of NH. The woods were out because they are still coming off of last week’s rain/freeze cycle. There weren’t many bumps but I found just enough to give me something to test the skis on. I really wanted to compare the skis I demo’d as equally as possible so I skied the same three runs with each ski. Up the Kanc quad, across on Grand Junction, down thru Rolling Bear, up the North Peak Quad, down thru upper Flume and then hit the bumps on the side of lower Flume, back up the North Peak quad, across Sunset, thru Upper Picked Rock, & then finish with Northstar or Rumrunner. Rolling Bear & lower Flume had some icy bumps on them, nothing great but enough to try the skis out on something other than groomed hard pack. Northstar & Rumrunner are their racing trails so that was where you could let the skis really fly. I never made it over to South Peak as I needed to rotate skis & runs quickly & that trip over and back would have killed me.

All in all, it was a great day. I flew solo so I could focus on the skis I was trying out. If you are looking for new skis, I highly recommend seeking out a demo day and doing this. It was tremendously beneficial to me in narrowing my choices.

Tents lined up with people who want to give you skis to try - I'm in!:

Rolling Bear (there are bumps there, just low light & a GoPro don't quite capture it):

Top of North Peak quad:

Bumps on the side of Lower Flume:
Attached Images

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