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New powder ski advice

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone!  I'm currently skiing on a pair of Volkl AC30's which I absolutely love for ripping the groomers, ice out east, and just about anything except powder.  I was recently out in CO when we got dumped on with two+ feet and my AC30 just didn't do the trick.  I am a high-intermediate skier, raced throughout my childhood, but have limited experience in powder.  I'm 5'11", 200 lbs and looking for a second pair for the 2-3 times/year I'm out west and happen to get a decent snowfall.  Preferably, I'd like something that's versatile, that can handle the bumps, crud, trees and don't chatter too much at high speeds.

 

With all the new technology, I'm so confused about what I should pick up - what size, shape, etc!  I will be heading out to Winter Park in 3 weeks and will have the opportunity to demo a few pairs.  I guess the bottom line is I would really like to know if there is a good all-mountain ski that will give me a bit more float.

 

I really appreciate anyone's input/direction as my head is totally spinning with choices!  Thanks!!!

post #2 of 10

You want a powder ski or all mountain?

 

Anyway, a short search will give you hundreds of threads on the subject.

post #3 of 10

This has to be the most common question I see in ski discussion forums.  Yes, there are lots of great options.  You need something at least 185 cm in length for your size.  I would go one of two routes:  All mountain fat (e.g. Liberty Helix, Line Prophet 90 or 100, older Volkl Gotamas), or go for something with tip rocker only (K2 Sidestash, G3 Tonic, ON3P Vicik, Atomic Charter, etc.).  Since you want versatility, and are presumably used to traditionally shaped skis, I would avoid heavily rockered and reverse cambered skis.  Keep in mind, the skis aren't going to fix everything for you.  If you have limited powder experience, I would actually wager that technique is holding you back more than your skis, even though you know what you are doing on skis in general.  Powder takes way different technique to ski well.  I actually know people who consider themselves to be decent skiers, that can ski powder at the resorts quite well, but when they get in deep wild snow in the backcountry, they totally flounder.  I guess I would try to find some instructional videos to watch- that may be as good of an investment as new skis.

post #4 of 10

in the Sierra, 98mm waisted skis are becoming the daily driver, pretty much handle anything. select that width from Volkl, Blizzard, Rossignol, Dynastar, Salomon etc and you are good out west. Colorado is colder and has lighter snow so a softer ski in this range will work. In the Sierra people still favor a crud buster (ie stiffer)

post #5 of 10

Technique helps a lot in real deep snow. With the rhythm of your turns, pump your legs up and down inside the deep snow (think water aerobics). Also, ski with both feet more evenly weighted instead of mostly weighting your downhill ski. Even with 105mm softish traditional underfoot (05/06 Gotama), I had to really work my technique hard in true 2'+ CO fresh to not get hung up. It was also a real workout - and I'm an athletic 28 year old who lives at high altitude and skis 40-60 days a year.

 

So if you're truly looking for something to make those sort of conditions easier in Colorado, you'll have to probably go with a REAL powder ski, rather than some of what these other people are suggesting (all-mountain powder). Technique only gets you there if you have the conditioning to back it up. Considering you're a flat-lander, good luck with that!

 

I'd recommend something like the Rossi S7 or ON3P Billy Goat. For an intermediate-advanced, I'd probably go with the S7. You won't be charging chop at that skill level (it's weakness), and the additional rocker will help with keeping you afloat, and make it more forgiving. Other options to look at in this category would be the Armada JJ, Icelantic Keeper, Atomic Bent Chetler, and 4FRNT CRJ. For full disclosure I've only skied the S7 and Billy Goat.

 

Chatter at high speeds:

I wouldn't worry about that too much. The payoff in deep snow (if that's what you're looking for) is well worth some minor tip flapping.

 

Bumps:

As long as we're talking about widely-spaced powder day bumps in bowls, they'll do just fine. To work the tight zipper-line bumps for non-powder day at Winter Park, however, you should go back to the AC30s. I've done zipper-lines on my Billy Goats, but the width makes it quite a bit harder. Hard snow bumps? Forget about it - not fun. Look at the forecast before you come out. If it looks like it's going to dump more than 10" on any given day, then bring both the S7s and AC30s. You'll want both, unless it's dumping the whole time you're out here (not going to happen - last week was a freak phenomenon).

 

Trees:

Destroyed
 

Crud:

Fine as long as you're not really charging (30mph+). As an advanced intermediate, or even advanced skier, you won't be reaching their limits. The Billy Goat is a lot better at charging, but you do give up forgiveness and float. Even more-so if you choose a more traditional ski. And, IMO, this is not the trade-off you'd want to make for deep snow.

 

If you want something a bit more versatile, I believe the Rossi S3 and Armada TST are also in this category, but skinnier. However, if you're truly looking for a ski to make deep snow easier, I'd really go with the wider versions of this style of ski. My guess is that you'll still have to work your technique and leg muscles pretty hard to ski real deep snow on these.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks hiplainsdrifter/davluri/brian, I appreciate your "actual" responses!  I'm definitely going to research the models you mentioned and try a few out in CO.  A quick questions on length, however.  I currently ski Volkl AC30 170cm and I love the way they rip the hard stuff.  Will the 185cm skis you mentioned be responsive enough in tight areas around trees and bumps?  Or is the size you recommend strictly to provide me enough float for powder?

 

Also, I agree - the ski will definitely NOT fix my form in powder...I'm just hoping to gain a bit more float and prevent my skis from diving deep while trying to get the hang of it.

 

Thanks again!

post #7 of 10

Fat powder skis will definitely help you get the hang of it faster.  It is hard to balance in powder on shrimpy groomer sticks.  On the length, you should go longer for three reasons-  one, something with rocker skis shorter than it sounds, because it has a shorter running length.  For reference, something like a 188 S7 will actually have a shorter running length than your AC30s.  Because of their rocker, such skis will be quite manuverable.  Second, because length equals stability in powder, especially when skiing longer radius turns.  Short skis bog down faster, that is just the way it is.  Third, because at your skill level you can definitely man up and ride some bigger skis- they might push you a little, but they will push you to get better.  You have 25 lbs on me, and I don't ski anything shorter than 185, even for my groomer skis.  If you are going to go for a ski with powder emphasis, I have to second the ON3P Billy Goat recommendation.  They are hands down the most fun ski I have ever been on, even compared to other skis in their category.  You aren't going to be able to demo Billy Goats in Colorado though.  You might be able to demo some Armada JJs though.  I think ON3P makes the best skis around right now though.  Really, if you don't like em they have a high resale value.  Viciks for all mountain/powder, Billy Goats for powder with hard snow manuverablity.

post #8 of 10


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougNJ View Post

Thanks hiplainsdrifter/davluri/brian, I appreciate your "actual" responses!  I'm definitely going to research the models you mentioned and try a few out in CO.  A quick questions on length, however.  I currently ski Volkl AC30 170cm and I love the way they rip the hard stuff.  Will the 185cm skis you mentioned be responsive enough in tight areas around trees and bumps?  Or is the size you recommend strictly to provide me enough float for powder?

 

Also, I agree - the ski will definitely NOT fix my form in powder...I'm just hoping to gain a bit more float and prevent my skis from diving deep while trying to get the hang of it.

 

Thanks again!


We are the same build and I need a 195+ ski to not sink the tips in deep powder. The best powder ski I know of in that length for skiing trees is the Praxis Powders. You can find them on Gear Swap at TGR all the time for cheap, as it is a very specialized ski (powder, duuuh). There are other brands that also have reverse camber and side cut you could consider to for a dedicated powder ski. I honestly loved skiing my Praxis Pows in trees, but because Mammoth gets tracked out so quick when a run is opened on a pow day, I traded for some 196 PM Gear Lhasa Pows. Since I received them, I haven't lucked into a good powder day yet to try them, but I am pretty sure the float will be close to the PP's and the bit of traditional side cut will make them more manageable in tracked out snow, traverses and in the flats on the way back to a lift.

Edit: This is a pow ski. Bumps don't even come into the equation on a deep pow day and if they were out there, I would use a different ski as a FYI.

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Lindahl View Post

Technique helps a lot in real deep snow. With the rhythm of your turns, pump your legs up and down inside the deep snow (think water aerobics). Also, ski with both feet more evenly weighted instead of mostly weighting your downhill ski. Even with 105mm softish traditional underfoot (05/06 Gotama), I had to really work my technique hard in true 2'+ CO fresh to not get hung up. It was also a real workout - and I'm an athletic 28 year old who lives at high altitude and skis 40-60 days a year.


All of Brian's points are very well made IMO. But the above is quoted for truth. My 190 Praxis Back Country's are 105 underfoot and I still get some tip dive on them. They are great in soft bumps and are much more of an all around ski than a reverse camber and side cut ski will be, but nothing beats the float and turnability at length, than the PP's in deep snow. So it is all a trade off and why I have a quiver of 4 skis to make the most of each day skiingbiggrin.gif

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all of your great input guys!

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