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best type of ski for refrozen rutted crud?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

I'm wondering about opinions regarding best ski for the hard nasty stuff that we have on all off piste southern exposures for the last month without snow -- may melt during day, refreezes solid.  There may be a narrow band of melt or corn, but for the most part it is just bone-jarring hard.

 

I only have two skis -- Nordica Hot Rod Nitrous Ca in 178cm,  and Dynastar Legend Pro XXL in 187 cm.  In these conditions I was sad to find that the Legend knocks the beejeebers out of me, so I prefer the Nordicas, but they are not quite fun either.  Yeah, I know these conditions are crap but it's what we have, and I hate to be constantly bested by the conditions.

 

I'm wondering about width and longitudinal flex.  Thinking that a narrow ski would catch less on the frozen ruts/blocks, and that a fair bit of flex would keep me from getting knocked around as much, and perhaps on the shorter side to lessen leverage back to me.

 

Any stiff ski will be deflected here, so I'm thinking that a softer flex may help to maintain ski on snow contact.  In the old days I would have preferred a slalom type ski in these conditions, not having the option to maintain torsional rigidity with a softer flex.  But I know very little about modern skis, and wonder what people are using now in these conditions.

 

And the final challenge -- can you recommend any older model skis that fit the bill and can be found for less $$$.

post #2 of 27

No ski is gonna love refrozen. I own a pair of Nordie Burners (CA's with my own bindings), and that's the thing they do least well; too lively. I'd suggest something damp and firm, like Stockli, Kastle, Head, Dynastar, and agree about width. Wider skis IMO just get bounced more, and softer over all will be too springy at any speed. A 68-75 is perfect. Try out a Blizzard G-Power, Stockli SX, Dynastar 4x4, that kind of ski. 

 

But confused: You said "off-piste." Planning to take a hike with these? AT? Unclear what uses you have in mind. If actually for off-piste much of the time, then above are too narrow obviously. Shift to stuff like Stockli XXL, Kastle MX78, Dynastar Sultan 85. But either way, what you gain in stability will cost you in weight...

post #3 of 27


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridahoan View Post


 

And the final challenge -- can you recommend any older model skis that fit the bill and can be found for less $$$.



Claws, Machetes, McGs, pre-hole Fischer SLs

post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

No ski is gonna love refrozen. I own a pair of Nordie Burners (CA's with my own bindings), and that's the thing they do least well; too lively. I'd suggest something damp and firm, like Stockli, Kastle, Head, Dynastar, and agree about width. Wider skis IMO just get bounced more, and softer over all will be too springy at any speed. A 68-75 is perfect. Try out a Blizzard G-Power, Stockli SX, Dynastar 4x4, that kind of ski. 

 

But confused: You said "off-piste." Planning to take a hike with these? AT? Unclear what uses you have in mind. If actually for off-piste much of the time, then above are too narrow obviously. Shift to stuff like Stockli XXL, Kastle MX78, Dynastar Sultan 85. But either way, what you gain in stability will cost you in weight...


Re: off-piste, I just mean off the groomed runs.  Would be mounting standard downhill bindings, so probably no hiking with them, and no worries about weight.  Since we haven't had any new snow for a month, off piste right now means a ski for hard snow -- its much softer in the groomed runs, especially on the edges where the snow has been kicked up.  So I'm thinking of a specialized off piste frozen snow ski.

 

Wondered about the Stockli XXL -- it's been on my list of skis I wanted to try, but won't be able to demo.  I've heard good things about the others you mention as 'all mountain' skis.  But I'm kind of wondering if 'firm' is really what I want.  I think this frozen crud is a very different condition than hardpack, in which I definitely like a firm damp ski.

 

Maybe that Stockli SX.  Thanks for the ideas.

 It might be that a specialized bump ski is what I want -- use to ski Olin Comp IV's and then moved to the Dynastar bump line, but that was a loong time ago, and I have no idea what the new bump skis are like.  Thanks.

 

 

post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridahoan View Post


 

And the final challenge -- can you recommend any older model skis that fit the bill and can be found for less $$$.



Claws, Machetes, McGs, pre-hole Fischer SLs



Used to ski on Machetes. Wish I could find another pair.  Don't even know what Claws are but they sound gnarly.

post #6 of 27

Dynastar Mythic Rider.

post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by huhh View Post

Dynastar Mythic Rider.



Yeah, for the unmelted sun cups, trays of frozen death cookies, just plain nasty rock hard stuff (not old trounced powder, heavy wet crud)?   Realizing I (we) lack vocabulary when it comes to 'crud.'

 

Thinking they might be too much like my Dynastar LP XXLs.  I've decided that for me to ski this nasty stuff at speed is suicidal.

 

What do you like about them?

post #8 of 27

How about some Recons with a rubber-chock type plate?

post #9 of 27

Best ski I've tried in that sort of thing was the Nordica Enforcer (1st gen.).

post #10 of 27

Out of my more modern (i.e. 21st century) skis, the Machete Gs are the best in frozen slush.  Out of all the skis I've skied, my old straight Kästle SGs are the least bothered by it, but they come with their own issues (like not being ideal for slow skiing and being totally unsuitable for sideways skiing).

post #11 of 27

Funny you should axe...........

 

I just skied about 25 of next years skis on a test lap that included a patch of jaw rattling snow exactly like you describe. The width range went from 82mm to 118mm. All got knocked about a fair bit with the narrower skis being far better than the wider ones and the more damp skis being far better than the more energetic ones.

 

The three best of skis currently available were the Fischer Motive 84, Rossi Avenger 82 Ti, and K2 Aftershock.

 

SJ

post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 


Excellent -- I look into those three.

 

I'm ignorant about what damp means these days -- I think likely metal, likely heavier, but I also think, and maybe incorrectly, stiffer.  Can I have a damp but softer ski?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

Funny you should axe...........

 

I just skied about 25 of next years skis on a test lap that included a patch of jaw rattling snow exactly like you describe. The width range went from 82mm to 118mm. All got knocked about a fair bit with the narrower skis being far better than the wider ones and the more damp skis being far better than the more energetic ones.

 

The three best of skis currently available were the Fischer Motive 84, Rossi Avenger 82 Ti, and K2 Aftershock.

 

SJ

post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post

How about some Recons with a rubber-chock type plate?


What's that rubber-chock type plate thing?  Sounds interesting.  Got me a link?

post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

No ski is gonna love refrozen. I own a pair of Nordie Burners (CA's with my own bindings), and that's the thing they do least well; too lively. I'd suggest something damp and firm, like Stockli, Kastle, Head, Dynastar, and agree about width. Wider skis IMO just get bounced more, and softer over all will be too springy at any speed. A 68-75 is perfect. Try out a Blizzard G-Power, Stockli SX, Dynastar 4x4, that kind of ski. 

 

But confused: You said "off-piste." Planning to take a hike with these? AT? Unclear what uses you have in mind. If actually for off-piste much of the time, then above are too narrow obviously. Shift to stuff like Stockli XXL, Kastle MX78, Dynastar Sultan 85. But either way, what you gain in stability will cost you in weight...


momentarily forgot your french, mon ami?  planning to take a hike? that's a good one.

post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 

I put this question to Tom of Denver Wholesale Skis.  He recommends a wood or glass core park ski, such as his Stockli Snake Pop (also because of for older/lower price).

 

Hmm.  Hadn't thought about or ever tried a park ski but could make sense.  The 07-08 Snake Pop seems unknown in this country, and a bit wide: 

 

 

  • 160cm  =  107 - 76 - 97       TR = 18.8m
  • 170cm  =  109 - 78 - 99       TR = 21.5m
  • 176cm  =  113 - 82 - 103     TR = 23.3m
  • 180cm  =  111 - 80 - 101     TR = 24.5m
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridahoan View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post

How about some Recons with a rubber-chock type plate?


What's that rubber-chock type plate thing?  Sounds interesting.  Got me a link?


Nothing fancy.   Something like:

http://www.tyrolia.com/en/ski-bindings/ski-binding-line-201011/plates/raceplate-rdx/index.html

 

Not too tall.      A one-piece plate would give you better damping especially if you glue it down, but that would muck with the flex too much.

 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridahoan View Post


I'm ignorant about what damp means these days -- I think likely metal, likely heavier, but I also think, and maybe incorrectly, stiffer.  Can I have a damp but softer ski?

It means the same thing it always did: vibrations die out fast instead of ringing through the structure. Yes, you can have damp and softer.

post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 

If I go the bump ski route, I'm considering the Dynastar Twister.  The Hart F17 sound even better as I would like a fair side-cut, but too $$.

post #18 of 27

Damp but soft?  Sure.  Most of the all-metal Volants were soft, and all of 'em were the dampest skis ever made.  IMO, no ski ever was better for giving a Cadillac ride in rough  snow.

 

I miss that aspect of them, but they also had lousy edge grip by today's standards.

post #19 of 27

All skis gonna sort of suck in that snow.  Comparatively,  nothing works in those conditions like a damp heavy stiff ski with a lot of metal.  Your XXLs should be great, I am surprised you dont like them.  I totally agree with Mythic Riders- those skis rocked that frozen crud.  LPRs are almost as good, maybe a bit less stable due to a softer overall flex. 

post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 

Getting answers all over the board(s) here from knowledgeable sorts:

 

metal / no metal

wide / narrow

longitudinally stiff / soft

 

so, that's more disagreement than for any other condition that I am aware of.

 

I've been told simply a race ski (slalom) is not what I am looking for because of the uneven terrain -- maybe a race ski for the 100th skier who gets the ruts that just froze solid after the sun went behind the ridge.

 

If I saw anyone rocking these conditions I would ask them what they are skiing on, but am not seeing that.  Not seeing much of anyone on it, just a few fools like myself or some people looking lost.

 

Regarding my dislike of the Dynastar LP XXL for these conditions:  if the ski could bust a little into the surface of this stuff, they might be ok -- eg when it starts to melt a bit.  But most of the days are quite below freezing, though it must melt some, as there is a nice blinding glare.  So those big shovels just deflect mightily at the speed I need to turn them, and delivers a nice shock back to me.

 

I don't have my old machetes to compare as they done broke, but I didn't think of their shovels being all that soft by todays standards, but I'll take your word on it.  They were damp.  I liked them.

 

I think that I want a ski that will maintain contact with snow, so I think damp and soft in front.  Either that or ice skates.

post #21 of 27

Stockli's or similar. it's the kind of conditions that you can get hurt, though, why the interest at all? patience works also.

post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

Stockli's or similar. it's the kind of conditions that you can get hurt, though, why the interest at all? patience works also.


SunCartoon%5B1%5D.jpg

post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

No ski is gonna love refrozen. I own a pair of Nordie Burners (CA's with my own bindings), and that's the thing they do least well; too lively. I'd suggest something damp and firm, like Stockli, Kastle, Head, Dynastar, and agree about width. Wider skis IMO just get bounced more, and softer over all will be too springy at any speed. A 68-75 is perfect. Try out a Blizzard G-Power, Stockli SX, Dynastar 4x4, that kind of ski. 

 

But confused: You said "off-piste." Planning to take a hike with these? AT? Unclear what uses you have in mind. If actually for off-piste much of the time, then above are too narrow obviously. Shift to stuff like Stockli XXL, Kastle MX78, Dynastar Sultan 85. But either way, what you gain in stability will cost you in weight...


momentarily forgot your french, mon ami?  planning to take a hike? that's a good one.


Reduced to tracking my usage across the boards? Last time I was at Chamonix and Val d'Isere (mid-90's), "off-piste" referred to any terrain where ungroomed snow could be found in terrain vaguely served by/initiated by lifts. (Which is a bunch there, including glaciers, often requires guides, who refer to same as "off-piste"; suggest a look at Vallee Blache. Ever had a guide?) In the U.S., as in Yrp, that includes lot of sidebounds where folks hike to ridges, over to trees etc., eventually end up back at a lift. Hike means skis on pack or shoulders, last time I checked. While Euros are in general less enthusiastic about hiking, they still do some, y'know. As in approaches? Getting to chutes? And AT setups are often seen on the shoulders of people hiking, since they may also use skis to tour, even mixed in with the hiking, last time I checked. Even in tight little mountains back east, let alone the French Alps. Since OP was rather vague, I decided to ask. So still unclear what the h you're talking about, but hey, not the first time.  th_dunno-1[1].gif

 

OP: You're just flat wrong about soft skis. A soft tip will not "absorb" shocks from coral reefs, it'll bounce you all over creation. A transversely soft ski will not "absorb" the shocks, it'll deform and cause you to lose grip. Soft skis are for soft snow, which is why powder skis are, ah, soft. The only solution, if you insist on skiing this stuff, is a heavy damp ski with some beef; that's physics. Metal is not so much a stiffening agent (that's fiberglass or carbon) as a damping agent. So metal is your friend. Now in all honesty, the XXL should be OK. But IMO it's too wide. This is why in Yrp, people who ski off-piste in typically dense variable snow tend to use skis in the 80's. We Americans have a width fetish because we get a lot more light pow sometimes and pretend it's a constant condition over here. So look for a ski that's built not unlike your XXL's, but significantly narrower. 

 

Or rethink why you are determined to seek out this stuff, when unless you're touring and can't avoid it, is best dealt with by a brew at the base lodge...

post #24 of 27
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

No ski is gonna love refrozen. I own a pair of Nordie Burners (CA's with my own bindings), and that's the thing they do least well; too lively. I'd suggest something damp and firm, like Stockli, Kastle, Head, Dynastar, and agree about width. Wider skis IMO just get bounced more, and softer over all will be too springy at any speed. A 68-75 is perfect. Try out a Blizzard G-Power, Stockli SX, Dynastar 4x4, that kind of ski. 

 

But confused: You said "off-piste." Planning to take a hike with these? AT? Unclear what uses you have in mind. If actually for off-piste much of the time, then above are too narrow obviously. Shift to stuff like Stockli XXL, Kastle MX78, Dynastar Sultan 85. But either way, what you gain in stability will cost you in weight...


momentarily forgot your french, mon ami?  planning to take a hike? that's a good one.


Reduced to tracking my usage across the boards? Last time I was at Chamonix and Val d'Isere (mid-90's), "off-piste" referred to any terrain where ungroomed snow could be found in terrain vaguely served by/initiated by lifts. (Which is a bunch there, including glaciers, often requires guides, who refer to same as "off-piste"; suggest a look at Vallee Blache. Ever had a guide?) In the U.S., as in Yrp, that includes lot of sidebounds where folks hike to ridges, over to trees etc., eventually end up back at a lift. Hike means skis on pack or shoulders, last time I checked. While Euros are in general less enthusiastic about hiking, they still do some, y'know. As in approaches? Getting to chutes? And AT setups are often seen on the shoulders of people hiking, since they may also use skis to tour, even mixed in with the hiking, last time I checked. Even in tight little mountains back east, let alone the French Alps. Since OP was rather vague, I decided to ask. So still unclear what the h you're talking about, but hey, not the first time.  th_dunno-1[1].gif

 

OP: You're just flat wrong about soft skis. A soft tip will not "absorb" shocks from coral reefs, it'll bounce you all over creation. A transversely soft ski will not "absorb" the shocks, it'll deform and cause you to lose grip. Soft skis are for soft snow, which is why powder skis are, ah, soft. The only solution, if you insist on skiing this stuff, is a heavy damp ski with some beef; that's physics. Metal is not so much a stiffening agent (that's fiberglass or carbon) as a damping agent. So metal is your friend. Now in all honesty, the XXL should be OK. But IMO it's too wide. This is why in Yrp, people who ski off-piste in typically dense variable snow tend to use skis in the 80's. We Americans have a width fetish because we get a lot more light pow sometimes and pretend it's a constant condition over here. So look for a ski that's built not unlike your XXL's, but significantly narrower. 

 

Or rethink why you are determined to seek out this stuff, when unless you're touring and can't avoid it, is best dealt with by a brew at the base lodge...

 

Well, of course no one would want a transversely soft ski on ice.  And damp I agree.  But longitudinally soft is something else, and I think physics would suggest that a less rigid ski would provide more flexible contact with the snow.  I think maintaining contact is really the issue -- in hard bumps one has a chance to absorb the terrain, but in this stuff, there is often no pattern I can find, so I want the ski to do more of the work.  When I get launched off the 'coral reefs', at best it hurts, at worst all hell breaks loose.  That's why I brought this topic up -- thinking that a good modern ski could be torsionally (transversely) rigid but have a forgiving shovel. I think a good modern bump ski may be the answer, but can't find one to demo.

 

Why ski it?  After a month without snow, I'd be crying in that brew if all I did was ski groomed runs, which are three minutes down, 6 minutes up.  Southern exposed 'faces' are a good challenge here at my smallish mountain, though clearly I'd like to minimize that challenge by finding the right tool for the job, and yes, staying careful.  And you bring up a good point -- touring you often can't avoid it (at least not on the PNW volcanoes in summer), so good to have the skills honed.  For example, I remember the first time I hit dragon scale sastrugi it was quite a wake up -- turning with the grain was one thing, going the other way, well, you had to some how get your edges over the ice claws or have them trapped and go down hard.

 

Coral reefs, that's a good description.


 

post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

Stockli's or similar. it's the kind of conditions that you can get hurt, though, why the interest at all? patience works also.


SunCartoon%5B1%5D.jpg



Oh, now I get it. Nice!  But that is next month I guess -- as sunny as it has been, the band of melt seems to have eluded me, even in late afternoon.  I have been looking for that corn to little avail.

post #26 of 27

Alpine touring with skins, boot packing with skis on shoulder. Some of it is much more fun when the skis are light, some of it weight is a lesser concern. Around here,  jaunts out to ridges and special sites are done with whatever skis you like for snow conditions, with the strong emphasis on the actual skiing performance of the gear, not uphill economy. just saying. So if hike means skis on shoulder, why is it a question at all when a person is factoring variables for selecting gear? I'll never understand that reasoning. th_dunno-1[1].gif Went up Shasta. Guys brought gear that was easy to hike with due to light weight, and then had a crappy decent because their gear sucked on variable sun cups and icy re-freeze. I thought the point was the descent. Why else go up?  I could just imagine the arguments for lightweight gear coming along for "off piste" skiing. 

 

 

Want a long, happy, healthy ski life? Don't push yourself  when the conditions aren't co-operating. Skiing that junk is just a matter of skiing correctly to begin with and accepting that it may not always be 'pretty'.

 

FWIW, b'yond, I do a sh&%t load of hiking, so I can follow a definition of hiking, whether to access a European ridge or a North American Chute. I have a sore right trapezius muscle all season to show for it. Heavy gear. biggrin.gif

[b, that is such an odd paragraph, the sarcasm, information, insults, and rambling insinuation and innuendo tossed together in such a hap-hazzard manner; I don't really follow; are we comparing experience? That would be odd too.]

post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 

 

Want a long, happy, healthy ski life? Don't push yourself  when the conditions aren't co-operating. Skiing that junk is just a matter of skiing correctly to begin with and accepting that it may not always be 'pretty'. So when it sucks out, do some drills that you need. A little practice on the frozen sastruge,  sure. Setting up gear for it, not so much.


I'm not talking about that much of a push, really.  I used to ski this stuff twenty years ago on straight skis, and seemed to be doing better than I am now -- that may be due to loss of leg strength and technique, but I would think that modern skis should make it easier now -- if it was the right ski.  I'd like a newish bump ski anyway so at some point I'll try that when I can find a good deal.  In the meantime I'll dig up an old pair of straight skis and see how that feels.  I agree though that it is mostly finesse, and skiing delicately.

 

On a big mountain in spring or summer, as you know you'll likely hit these conditions somewhere on the way down.  Maybe most of the way down if things aren't timed right.

 

Weight not my issue here either, and I mostly agree with you.  I learned glacier/winter mountaineering in order to get to descents, rather than to use skis to get through the deep stuff to get to the climb as the early mountaineers did it, so I wanted good ski gear.  But I will say that if I get back into that now weight will be front and center.  Packs got real heavy, especially if you wanted to set up a high base camp to ski the area.  Rope for glacier travel, harness, ice axe, crampons, helmet, maybe skins, maybe ski crampons, ice screws, pickets, then any camping gear such as tent, sleeping bag, stove, food....  80, 90 lbs easy.  Sure was a good workout when I was in my twenties....

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