For an all mountain skiier, are rockered skis universally better than traditional camber? Or does it depend on the particular ski? Talking about a soft snow bias, trees, bumps, bowls and only running groomers occassionally, but not often in deep pow (although love it when I can find it). Purely Western resorts.
Traditional vs. Rocker skis
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The more soft/deep the snow you will frequently ski, the more the equation tips toward a well-executed rocker/early rise. That type of tip tends to lift the ski tip in deeper snow and can produce a nice, effortless, "surfy" sensation. Such skis are often softer than traditional cambered skis, so they may be a bit more user friendly in bumps also (again, it depends on the ski. Demo if at all possible.) An early-rise ski may also have a raised tail (twin-tip S3, S7, etc.) Those skis release their tails easily and are often very nice in trees. The more you ski groomers or hardpack, the more the equation tends to shift (all other factors being equal) towards choosing a traditional tip/camber. Both tip designs, if well designed, will work in various conditions, but each design is optimized more towards either harder snow or deeper snow. For what you're saying you want to ski, an early rise would probably be more to your taste.
Edited by mike_m - 9/7/11 at 1:34pm