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Ski for the second half of the day

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I live in the PNW.  The wetter snow tends to bump up a lot faster than dry, Utah pow.  On the busy weekend days when you're sharing the pow with thousands of others, the post-lunch time runs involve thick, cruddy bumps.  Soft enough for you to sink in, but with enough formation that you'll get bounced around if you try to make larger turns. You need something that's stiff enough to bust through the crud on top, but soft and quick enough to maneuver through the bumps.

What do you find are the best qualities in a ski for those cruddy bumps?  What powder skis or wider all-mountain skis have these traits?

I own a pair of the original Mantras (the grayish black ones).  I think these are the softest mantras that were made.  I like the stiffness on these.  I don’t think I'd want something any stiffer.  I'd like something wider to complement these.  Something I can enjoy from start to finish on a busy, powder day.  I find that some of the true powder skis work awesome in untracked and cut-up, but not so good when things are really tracked out.

post #2 of 5

In my experience, a ski with taper and a moderate flex tail, like the Elan Apex or Dynastar Sultan 85/94, works best in open slope skiing where you encounter normal to firm bumps but also want grip on ice; easy to do different things with the turn. Alternatively, you could go with a rockered design, like the Rossi S3/S86, or Blizzard One, that works well in softer snow, great for tight places like trees that get bumped up. Not as grippy or strong as a ski with metal; everything is a tradeoff. I owned several Mantras, still like them a lot, but tail was too stiff to make a good bump ski. Very maneuverable and grippy, though, nice AT ski. Think next year's have rocker, incidentally, so that may change things significantly...

post #3 of 5
Q: is there a reason you are looking for /wider/ than the Mantra for these conditions, or is it just that you want them to be useable in the first 4 runs of (presumably) untracked?
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for a powder-oriented ski to complement the mantras.  I'd like to reserve the mantras for any day where it's snowed less than 8 inches and have something wider for the days with more fresh and not regret my choice if things track out quickly or the 8 inches are more like 4.

Here's what a realistic and typical pow day looks like for me:

Runs 1 - 4: untracked pow in the bowls - mantras are fine when the snow is fluffy, but a more pow-oriented ski is better when it's not so fluffy
Runs 5 - 8: pow in the trees - here's where the mantra isn't ideal and a powder-oriented ski makes life really fun
Runs 9 - 15:  tracked out, cruddy bumps, and some pockets of fresh - ?

There are lots o' good skis for runs 1 - 8; of those, which ones do the best at runs 9 - 15?

post #5 of 5

Ones with Dukes and skins that come with free Avy gear, L1 training and a buddy. Pow all day long! wink.gif


In all seriousness, it probably depends on your style of skiing:

"but soft and quick enough to maneuver through the bumps."


Have you tried not maneuvering through the bumps, and instead, airing over 1-3 of them at a time while still making large turns? Super-fun if you're strong, aggressive, and an excellent skier. If you've tried it, and enjoy this type of skiing, it makes the ski selection a bit easier: something heavy, moderately stiff to stiff, and with tip rocker (XXLs, RC112s, El Dictators, Mothership, Big Dump, Wrenegade). That said, it's a trade-off between that sort of ski and something that does really well in the trees, which usually have rockered/tapered tails, are less stiff, and less heavy.


Fortunately, at least in my area, the trees at resorts with more open terrain where I'll charge chop, are usually open enough for this not to matter, and visa versa for the resorts with more tree stashes that tend to be tighter, where I'll ride my ON3P Billy Goats.

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