I just had two days skiing on the Dynastar Sultan 94. I am not experienced enough to give an adequate review, but these skis definitely made me wonder about gear and the whole skiiing experience. Perhaps recreational skiers in similar situation may find my impression revelant.
I typically get to ski about 10, at most 15 days a season (need to find ways to crank that number up). Most of my skiing is on man-made snow in Southern California, with a few quick trips to Mammoth when the family is up to it. In SoCal, off-piste means into the dirt, and therefore my ski acquistion was all-mountain with a bias toward hard snow groomers. But it occured to me that it snowed during the majority of my trips to Mammoth in the last two years. So maybe I should try something different as a replacement for my trusty B5. A post here resulted in several good suggestions, and a plan was hatched.
Both logistically and time wise it difficult for me to demo skis. I relied heavily on the reviews and members' reports here for my previous ski buying, and so far my satisfaction had been 100%. This time I was a bit nervous because I had never been on anything wider than 75 mm. (Actually, I did rented fat skis at Mammoth on a powder day a few years ago and thought they were one trick pony, crutches to compensate for my poor skills.) Conflicted between the good principle that it's the indian, not the arrow and the middle-age realism that we don't have time not to get the best arrow we can afford, I realized that I didn't really know what I wanted in a ski besides getting the most fun from it. The extra floatation would help, but would the wide skis reinforce bad habits, ruins whatever meager skills I have acquired, and ultimately limit my skiing enjoyment? And what about all this rocker, tip rise thingy? There is only one way to find out for myself. After carefully reviewing the excellent reviews by Dawgcatching, SierraJim, and others here, I pulled the trigger for a pair of Sultan 94 two weeks ago, sight unseen, for the planned Presidents Day weekend ski trip to Mammoth.
As luck would have it, we had a big snow storm. I was pretty excited driving up Friday night. On Saturday, it snowed the whole day with strong wind, and the upper mountain was close. My first run on a soft groomer, the skis seemed much shorter than its stated length. Others have said it, but I figured 172 cm was long enough for 140 lb weekend warrior. Perhpas 178 cm would be better. They were definitely quick, very easy to ski. They could turn much faster and shorter than the 17 m radius suggested. Maybe I was smearing the turn, but I couldn't care less, it was fun. Then came the test in powder. Accessible slopes were not steep and the float was very nice. In a momment of irrational exuberance, I skied fast into a flat section and got stuck almost to the hips. Digging myself out was quite a PITA. It was a powerful reminder that I still need proper technique to keep the tips from diving. Trying to keep the tips up when it's flat was about the only thing these skis demanded of me.
Sunday started out as a blue bird day. Ski patrol didn't clear Chair 9 for loading till 9:15 AM, but the wait was worth it. The entire bowl which had been closed during the storm was now open. I made short turns, long turns, faster and faster with bigger and bigger grins as I rapidly gained more and more confidence in the skis and in my handling them. I must admit that it felt good to ski fast turns after turns in the deep snow that previously had given me angst and apparently caused trouble for quite few skiers and snowboarders. I made longer and longer traverses to seek out untracked snow. By 11 AM, the entire open bowl was cut up. I moved into the trees with a little trepidation. Holly molly! These babies were so maneuverable. A completely new experience for me. Trepidation turned into confidence. It was a blast. And blasting I did through the chopped up snow back out in the open. Here, perhaps the B5 might have been a little more authoritative and tank like if there was less snow. In the afternoon I spent a couple of hours on groomers, soft bumps with the family. The skis were throughoutly competent. Then I migrated to other side of the mountain, expecting more deep, cut up powder. But by then the grooves and cuts were filled with wind blown soft snow. It was very windy and cold, but I would trade numb face, fingers and toes for no lift line and awesome snow and terrain any time any day. I had the time of my skiing life on this rather smooth but variable density snow. Hard to describe, a more relaxed version of carving on hard snow with my Contact 4x4 is the best description I could come up with. Btw, OFR is what I almost always do.
There is simply no way I could have had so much fun this time with any of my narrower skis. The Sultan 94 are the liberating, thrill giving "crutches" I didn't know I need before. With a very big smile, I'd like to thank Dawg, Jim, alexzn.... for another hit.