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The State of Ski Design

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hit Silverton Mt. yesterday for the first day of the spring unguided skiing season. They had a pretty good crowd (probably 150-200 people), and it got hot and slushy. The shuttle rides give you lots of close up time with the other skiers and their equipment.  I saw everything from a skinny girl on a pair of Fatypus (140 waist, 172 tips) to a big guy on Atomic race GS skis.


At least a dozen indie brands were represented, including DPS, Liberty, Ski Logic, ON3P, Blue House, Icelandic, and a few I had never seen before, besides the latest from the major manufacturers.  Since SM has absolutely no grooming of any kind the skis of choice were heavily weighted towards wide and rocker, but what struck me was the amazing diversity of ski designs within that category.  If seemed like no two pair had the same design.  Huge rocker, no rocker, tip rocker, camber, no camber, wide tips, shark nose tips, pin tails, swallow tails, reverse sidecut, not to mention the incredible range of materials (DPS all carbon to full metal Spatulas). It used to be that all skis had pretty much the same shape, but with internal construction differences, but now design is only limited by imagination. 


As always, because of the above tree line exposure to wind and sun, the SM conditions were extremely variable across the mountain, and changed dramatically throughout the day, but everybody seemed to be making very good turns, although the tools being used were so completely different is was almost like on a personal level they were actually doing different sports.


Not sure where this is all leading (probably more "what skis should I buy" threads), but the current state of ski design is absolutely amazing when you get a chance to see all the front runners in one place.

post #2 of 3

Mudfoot, what were you using and what do you think you might want to buy?

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 



I was with an old school crowd that included a pair of Mantras, 3 pairs of Gotamas, and me on ON3P Viciks (the only ones with any rocker, but not much), all of which seemed to be handling the snow mix without any real problems.  We had everything, including smooth frozen crust, breakable crust, velvety corn, deep slush, wind blow, and powder up to 8" deep, literally varying from turn to turn. On several of the half-pipe chute sections we had slush on one side and powder on the other, so it was left turn=winter, right turn=spring, or vice verse.


As far as what I want to buy, it left me with a strange mix of emotions. On the one hand I realized how many options are out there to demo, which would be really interesting, but on the other it confirmed that a good skier (which there are a lot of at SM) can usually dominate the situation on any "good ski."  I guess the bottom line for me was the conclusion that you definitely do not need hugely fat tip and tail rocker skis to "shred the gnar," but if you get a chance to rent some on a big day, you probably will not be sorry.



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